Thursday, August 27, 2009

What is this term "sleep" you speak of?

I miss sleep. I remember having only one baby...and there got to be a point where she would sleep through the night. I don't remember when it was, but I'm pretty certain it was before she turned a year old. Of course, with one baby, you can let her cry it out a little. It is very different when you have two babies.

First, Owen does not want to sleep. He resists it with everything he has...he might miss something. You cannot simply lay Owen down when he is tired. It is equivalent to feeding a Mogwai after midnight. Suddenly you hear yelling...snarling...the shaking of crib bars...and every once in awhile, what sounds like something being launched toward the other crib. No, Owen needs to be rocked to sleep...every nap, every night. And if he is not completely asleep, you might as well just continue to rock, because he will wake up, and he will turn into a little Tazmanian devil in his crib. Once Owen is asleep, however, he sleeps well. Unless his brother wakes him up. Which brings us to Connor.

Connor generally goes down without too much of a fuss. For the most part. However, he has some sort of internal alarm clock that is set to go off every two hours. The only way to hit the "snooze" button before the alarm wakes up his brother is to have a bottle ready quickly and shove it in his mouth....generally before you even finish changing his diaper. Sometimes, at 3am, I do not move very fast. That is when Owen wakes up...and begins morphing into a gremlin. If he is tired enough, a bottle and diaper change will be sufficient enough to coax him back to sleep...but if he becomes alert enough, the rocking process must begin again.

My husband makes fun of me and how much coffee I drink. Along with the 5-hour energy shots (which I can tell you do not last five hours. Perhaps they mean five hours of working at a computer or something, not five hours of chasing babies, wiping off the eyeliner that the toddler found and applied to her cheeks while I was feeding a baby, mediating preteen battles, and attempting to clean during children's naptimes.) He can't understand why I'm not completely wired. Over the years I have built up a tolerance to caffeine. I can put away quite a bit before I even get a buzz.

I think someone needs to invent a 24-hour energy shot for moms. It should taste like chocolate. It should also help you lose weight.


I must go chase some babies now...they have informed me that they are finished with their breakfast.

Friday, August 21, 2009


I used to be a neat person. I also used to be sane, but that is another story.

I was very organized. My room was neat...I loved office fact, that was my favorite aisle at the store. I learned how to meticulously balance a checkbook. My mother even once told me that I should be an interior decorator.

So, why, then, do I live in a constant state of chaos? Is it because I married a packrat? Well, partially, but that's beside the point. Is it because I have five kids? Probably, partly. But that still does not explain where my skills seem to have disappeared to. I think they somehow got lost in the fray of being responsible for someone other than myself. That...and somehow priorities began to shift. Watching my kids splash in puddles or paint became more important than keeping them perfectly clean. And life suddenly became more important that my home...because my definition of "home" changed. After many moves, ups and downs, and constant shifting in our family became "home," rather than my house. Houses will come and go...but life goes on...and if you're too busy folding might miss it.

I'm not going to lie...I used to be slightly OCD. My children would attempt to straighten the living room...and I would go behind them and reposition the pillows and the knick knacks. I wanted my baby to always be dressed in the cutest outfit...especially if we were going out somewhere. I look at my poor boys now, one donning only a diaper, and the other in some stained sweatpants, and feel slightly guilty. My toddler streaks through the house with Tinkerbell underwear overtop a pair of ruffly tights...and a Halloween shirt. The pillows are on the floor, and we have very few knick knacks now.

In my defense, I can tell you that Owen loves to dance and cuddle, Connor loves peek-a-boo, and Irelynn bakes up all sorts of things with me...which can be seen by the flour on the counter, the eggshells in the sink, and vanilla extract stains on the floor. Jaylond crushes me in Wii bowling, and the older girl...well...she can ignore me really well....when she's not going on about Edward from Twilight, anyway.

Of course...this also means that I have trouble keeping track of things now. It also means that you could probably scrape together a full meal with the contents that have dropped onto the dining room floor on many days. And sometimes....I have to wear dirty pants because I didn't get to the laundry.

How does one find a balance with kids? I can only imagine how much more difficult it must be with working moms.

I did buy a new planner. It's really cute. The sheets can be taken out and posted up on my bulletin board. I've even began...get this....meal planning. I even broke out different colored markers to fill out the wall calendar with everyone's activities.

If only there was a magic Clutter Fairy to help out with all our...stuff. Come to think of it, a magic Laundry Fairy would be nice, too.

Well, my kids might never know what an organized home really looks like...but hopefully they will know that they were loved, in all their dirty, crazy clothes-wearing, disorganized glory.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Stretch-Strollers, Room Mist, and Hannah Montana

I am often suffer from illusion that fewer kids make for an easier shopping experience. When dealing with five children on a normal basis, the thought of going out with only two seems like...a luxury. A piece of cake. It's what normal people do. I underestimate the issues that still arise when the two children in question are still babies.

My sister-in-law offered to take the older three children swimming. My toddler was ready two and half hours before they were supposed to go...donning her swimsuit, lifejacket, and carrying around towels. It was a challenge to get her to eat breakfast. Finally, the time came, and off they went....leaving Sort of.

I decide to get out of the house, and head to the dollar store, followed by the mall. My mother accompanied me and the boys. I was feeling pretty good....stroller, check. Diaper bag, check. Bottles....juice...snacks, check, check, check. Pacifiers and blanket animals...check and check.

I always forget just how big our stroller is, though. It is the stretch limousine of strollers. It is a double stroller...PLUS an added seat off the back to accomodate the toddler. It is a brilliant design for someone with three little ones....and a real bitch to turn corners. People stared. We almost took out a couple of end caps. Connor lost his binky. Owen dropped his bear. Connor threw his juice.

We ventured on to the mall, and tried to maneuver through Bath and Body Works. I think I rear-ended an old lady. My mom accidentally sprayed room mist on her wrist, and promptly used the tester hand soap to wash it off. Connor tried to sample some antibacterial lotion from a display. We smelled some candles, and left.

It was then that the rest of the kids met up with us, and their aunt went on her way. After getting some icecream (not because the kids deserved it, but I think my mom and I did,) we returned my mom to her house, smelling like Fresh Cotton. I then found out that my husband would be working very late tonight.

So, I decide to try to make my life taking the kids to another public place. I decide to let them rent movies to watch tonight, so I wouldn't have to deal with arguing. Not wanting to risk taking out a rack of New Releases, I forego taking the stroller in, and carry Owen...while Jay carried Connor. Owen grabbed my keys and began smacking me in the face with them. Irelynn grabbed the new Hannah Montana movie, and started describing the pictures on the back...and telling me that it was NOT Miley Cyrus on the back, it was iCarly. Whatever. The older two commenced arguing about whether to rent Inkheart or Coraline. Finally a decision was made, and we made it to the counter. The lady looked at me like I had three heads. I calmly paid her, and took the "New Moon" candy out of Owen's hand and put it back. Irelynn wanted to carry Hannah Montana. Owen wanted to smack me some more with the keys. Jaylond wanted to know what we were having for dinner.

Dinner. Crap. I pulled through McDonald's.

The older girl wanted to know what they did to deserve all the neat stuff cream, movies, McDonald's. I told her every once in awhile we get to splurge.

"Oh. I didn't know we could afford all this in today's economy."

We made it home. I bathed the boys with the help of Jaylond...although I had to take over dressing Owen because he kept getting away from him and crawling off naked. We watched Hannah Montana and now I have the damn "Boom-Dee-Clap-Dee-Clap" song stuck in my head. I'm sure Irelynn will want to watch it again tomorrow.

I hope Bruce doesn't work late tomorrow. I think I need to get out...without children. Perhaps to return the Hannah Montana movie...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

School, Christmas Music and Out of Work Elves.

The start of the school year is creeping up...normally I would be excited and slightly relieved (even the Wii gets old for the kids once in awhile)...but this year I am starting to feel anxious. And not in a good way. The source of my anxiety is the fact that my husband has already started listening to Christmas music. In years past, I could avoid it until 100.3 WNIC started playing Christmas music in early November. However, now with internet radio stations allowing you to choose your favorite genre of music...there is no escape.

Why should Christmas music bring on such feelings? It is a reminder of what will soon arrive...the start of school, which brings the onslaught of new and innovative ways to drain parents of money. School pictures, touch-ups on school pictures (heaven forbid your child have a blemish,) yearbook orders, fundraisers, school supplies, school clothes, "cool" shoes, lunch money, and field trip money. And toddler will be starting preschool. I know she's ready...but I'm not sure I am.

The thought of the multitude of paperwork coming home is enough to make me want to seek shelter somewhere. My primary goal over the last year has been to get myself organized. It has yet to happen. As I sit here, I am surrounded by unsorted mail, two packs of crayons I bought recently because they were cheap, scattered coupons, an empty wine glass and a bottle of sunscreen. How am I going to handle the influx of handbooks, syllabuses, magazine fundraiser order forms, read-a-thons, jumprope-a-thons, picture information and school internet usage forms?

Then...that leads to the holidays. Christmas with FIVE kids now. I'm not sure how to explain to the three-year-old that the economy has hit Santa hard this year...he's had to lay off some elves and outsource to other mythical creatures. Perhaps the kids should leave out beer instead of cookies this year...

I'm not sure where I was going with this blog entry. But all of the sudden I feel like a candy cane and some hot chocolate...with a little Peppermint Schnapps.

It is still August, right?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

When did this happen??

I see it coming. It won't be long now. My days of sitting boys on the floor with a toy are over. They race each other across the carpet on hands and knees. They pull up to the couches and grab books. They yank magazines off the end table and rip them to shreds. They work together to climb, pull, and throw Wii accessories.

Yesterday Owen let go of the couch...and fell. Connor pulled up to the walker and took a few steps with it. Irelynn has had the upper hand for awhile now...but they are beginning to tag team her.

I am afraid I can no longer avoid it. In one month they will be a year old.

I look at my babies...Owen with his big toothy grin...Connor with his curls...and realize....

I am about to have THREE toddlers.