Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Life's Little Excuses

Sometimes life seems to get in the way of all my good intentions.  I suppose you could call it excuses, but, really, they are a series of unfortunate events that make it damn near impossible to function in a responsible, proper manner.  Such as the dishwasher breaking, causing all dishes, from a family of seven, to be done by hand.  Everytime I go to do them, Connor manages to climb something and either get stuck, dance on the dining room table, or get to our multi-function printer and start making copies of his hand.  The dishes get put off until naptime...or sometimes the following day.

Then there are the attempts to eat healthy.  Surely this one should be able to be accomplished...I do have control over what I decide to eat.  What usually ends up happening, though, is once I finally have the boys in their chairs with their (insert meal) and start to search for something to eat, they throw their food on the floor and put their hands on their heads, and say "ah duh!"  All done.  So, we break out the washcloth, get them out of their chairs, sweep up the mess, and then chase them through the house.  And then pull Connor away from the printer again.  I take away something they shouldn't have, put it in our bedroom for safekeeping, notice a piece of leftover Christmas candy I had stashed in there because the kids kept stealing it....and eat it because now I'm starving.

Then there are the times I go to update my blog...and am distracted by the boys arguing over an old graham cracker that I missed when I swept earlier...or my toddler telling me she wants to watch "Scooby-Doo" for the 5th time....or Connor making copies of his hand again.

Actually...I got pretty far this time...perhaps it's time to check on the boys...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

One of the Drawbacks to Having a Smartass Kid...

Sometimes my toddler acts like a toddler.  Like the other day when it was time to turn off the Wii, and she threw a temper tantrum that shook the house.  The rest of the time she acts like a teenager-in-training...from the eyerolling to the Jonas Brothers poster on her wall.  Worst of all, her smartassidity levels are skyrocketing.

Last night was a challenging night.  My husband went to Canada for work that day, so dinnertime was mine to deal with alone.  Children can sense is then that they pounce.  The older ones fight.  The youngest ones have a yelling contest that ends in spitting and placing pizza slices on their heads.  And the toddller grins as she avoids drinking her milk.

" need to drink your milk."

Irelynn commences yelling with the babies.

"Irelynn.  Drink.  Your.  Milk."

Irelynn grins and giggles, but does not drink her milk.


She smirks as she glances at my bottle.

"Mommy.  Beer."

I then do the thing every parent does...begin to count out loud to three, hoping that the child will listen before I reach three...because honestly...I'm not sure what I'll do after three. 



I stand up....and she takes a drink. 

My biggest challenge with this child is to try to discipline her without revealing that I secretly think she's pretty damn funny at times.  Although...I'm not sure what I'm in for when she becomes a teenager...

Monday, January 18, 2010

Oh the Noise, Noise, Noise, NOISE

While my home is normally what I would call a cacophony of sound at any given time, dinnertime seems to be the culmination of all noise.  This is the point of the day when all children are gathered in one place...all with very important (and not so important) things to say...and all very hungry.

It was Spaghetti Night.  I have a love/hate relationship with Spaghetti Night.  On one hand, it is a simple meal to make and everyone loves it.  On the other has to be, without a doubt, the messiest meal you can serve a child.  First of all,  it contains a sauce that stains the floor so badly that despite steam mops, Lysol floor cleaner, and even the Magic Eraser, the stains remain ingrained in our floors for days until they finally dissolve away.  Not only can you find sauce on the floor...but also all over our two youngest children.  A bib is no match for Spaghetti Night.  While the sauce is the obvious source of frustration for parents, the noodles also present various mess opportunities...they stick to walls, they make long slurping sounds when sucked up by a toddler, and they find their way into all sorts of nooks and crannies that can only be discovered later upon removing diapers at bathtime.  It all makes for a suitable environment for noise to fester and grow.

The older two were arguing.  I do not remember the argument....I vaguely recall discontent and my head throbbing.  In between rebuttles, the toddler was singing "Jingle Bells."  Loudly.

"Shut up!"

"Jingle Bells, JINGLE BELLS..."

"YOU shut up!!"


"Oh, Owen..."

I look over to discover Owen with his plate of spaghetti...on his head.  Noodles slid down the side of his face...and he was quite pleased with himself.  Connor began laughing hysterically.


The older kids are momentarily distracted.  A plate crashes to the floor, followed by a sippy cup.  So ends Spaghetti Night.  Spaghetti Night also usually ends with multiple baths for the children...and beer (for me.)  I think tonight I will serve something that does not have sauce.  Or noodles.  Perhaps some chicken nuggets....with a side of earplugs.

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Things They Don't Tell You About Motherhood...

Motherhood is one of life's greatest adventures.  It changes you.  It challenges you.  It completely breaks you down.  It makes you stronger.  It will simutaneously make you lose your sense of self...and yet complete you.  It is not for the weak...yet you will not realize how strong you really are until you look back on it.

Starting in pregnancy, your body becomes alien to you.  It is no longer your own.  You marvel and wonder about the little life growing inside.  Once the baby is out...although you have been waiting to have your body back, the realization will never really be your's again.  Not in the same way.  Learning to accept and love this new body is difficult.  Is it worth it?  Of course.  Do you ever really feel the same?  No.  And while this stretches you....pains you....overwhelms you...and utilizes so much of your strength and endurance for a good part of a still does not earn you the right to be called a "mom."  This was something I learned back when I still had my body.  My body was mine...but my heart belonged to the two children that came into my life unexpectedly.   

You come to find out that the trials and tribulations, the joy and the amazement...the growth and the change that consume your life thereafter...these are the things that begin to define you.  Or you choose to react and respond to the events in your life...this is truly what makes you a "mom."  And you will know the moment...when it hits you.  It could be a simple as a little girl looking into your eyes and for the first time calling you "mom"...even though you only came into her life a short time ago.  It could be the first time your baby gets hurt...and your heart drops as you clutch him tight.  Or it could be in the moment that you feel like you have failed...when you are so frustrated that you feel like giving up, but realize you never could.  That as angry as you are, as upset and heartbroken as you know that it is only because you love them so much it tears you up inside.  These are the moments that you feel helpless...and then later realize you were stronger than you thought. 

They don't tell you that sometimes you become restless.  Your prior hopes and dreams have been put on hold, and you begin to wonder, as you slowly lose your old sense of self...will they ever come true?  Or are they things that you must put away, like the doll your aunt made for you, and your 7th grade diary...memories of your past?  Just as your body is no longer the same...your goals have changed, too.  Sometimes...this makes you sad.  Mostly it makes you realize how you have matured...and that the things that are important now are not things.  But, you still have those moments of driving to the store (late at night so that you can actually go without children) and finding yourself singing the lyrics to "What's Going On" by the 4 Non Blondes and wondering what kind of life you would live if it wasn't completely consumed by children.  And then you wonder how sad and lonely you will be when they have all moved out.

I'm not happy with my body; I'm not sure I will ever come to terms with that.  I don't regret it for one moment, though.  Even when my 3-year-old sees a commercial for tummy-flattening pants and tells me she wants some...for me.  I'm not sure how motherhood is defining me...I still have many years to change and grow.  I just hope that I will be the definition of someone who has lived and loved...and made a difference.  I hope I am not defined by my my muffin-top, or gray hair...but by the moments of strength...the laughter...and the love that I hope they know and feel.  Especially because the muffin-top isn't going anywhere anytime soon, and my hair will probably be completely gray before my twins turn two.  I will cry many more times as the older children make it through their teen years, wondering if I will make it through them myself. 

Children have a funny way of draining the life out of you....and then making you feel alive.  I heard a quote once, and I feel it pretty much sums up motherhood: "Kids are like sponges. They suck the life and energy out of you, but squeeze them and you get it back".  Just don't ever forget to squeeze them....and squeeze them often.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Mommy Quirks

It struck me the other day that, as a stay-at-home mom, I have acquired a few learned behaviors...or quirks, from having very little adult interaction.  My oldest daughter left the bathroom door open (which is a no-no in this house now that we have babies that like to climb toilets, unravel toilet paper, and use the plunger as a weapon,) and I confronted her.

"Did you just go potty?"

She looked at me, raised her eyebrows, and repeated, "potty?" 

This was the moment it dawned on me...there are quite a few things that I need to work on before entering the workforce again someday.  The general reference to the restroom, for one thing, as the "potty."  And, probably the fact that whenever something good happens, I clap my hands and say an enthusiastic "yea!"  Or, from all the years of rocking and soothing babies, the tendency to begin swaying back and forth if I'm standing in one spot for too long.  I suppose, judging by the grin I always get from my husband and older children, I don't really need to be cutting their sandwiches anymore.  It could be worse...I could be cutting them into dinosaurs or butterflies, like the little ones....I only cut their's in half.

I couldn't hold a conversation with someone about what happened on the last episode of  "Lost."  Or even "House," which was one of my favorites.  I could, however, go into a lengthy conversation analyzing why Diego and Dora's parents never seem to be around while they are out on dangerous adventures.   Or how I think that there's something going on between Handy Manny and Kelly, the owner of the hardware store, because it seems she "always has what he needs."  ((snicker))  Ok, see?  Now that's just not right.

I suppose I need to try and look at how my time at home with five children will benefit me someday in the workforce.  I suppose I've also acquired some useful skills.  Adaptation, for one thing.  I am required to always be adapting to changing conditions.  I have fairly good reflexes now, although I'm not sure what kind of job I would be doing that would require that.  Catching juice cups that are shoved off of trays, grabbing a boy about to do a wicked freefall from an end table, or saving my favorite magazine from being torn to shreds do not seem like things you'd write on a resume. 

Oh well.  I suppose the first step is admitting I have a problem, right?  I've done that...and I still have a few more years until all of the kids are in school.  I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Belly Button Insults and Bubble Wrap

There are many contributing factors to my mental state.  I could probably write a discertation on the inticracies of motherhood and it's affects on a woman's brain...but I shall focus on a few current events for the moment...the ones that are driving me to consume this bottle of Canadian Molson much more quickly than I probably should.

There are the small things...the fact that the preteens have found everything to argue over, from who had the remote last to who has to set the table.  It is always disasterous when Literal Boy and Oblivious Girl have a confrontation.  With their powers combined, they create....noise pollution.  Added to the mix is the much younger, yet surprisingly skillful adversary, Copycat Girl, who while battling her older brother with wit, proclaims, "my bellybutton says you're an idiot!"  For once, he was speechless.

What truly has me unraveled lately, however, is the youngest of the family.  Connor, to be exact.  This child has trouble written on his forehead.  And I don't mean the time the older kid thought it was funny to label him with, this child truly is trouble.  He pushes stools to various objects:  shelves, the counter, the dining room table...proceeds to climb the stool (or chair, if it was available,) and scale the object of desire.  Whether it be paper from the printer, or Hershey Kisses from the candy bowl...this child has figured out a way to reach it.  He uses drawers as stepstools to get to the electronics (now up high.)  He jumps on the couches and uses them to get onto the end tables.  He also jumps on his sister's bed, uses his old walker as a scooter, climbs into the doll stroller, and rides the cat.  His twin brother is not quite as adept (his shorter, stubbier legs fail him,) but he is in close pursuit.  I am considering wrapping them in bubble wrap and just letting them loose. 

In the meantime, for tonight, they are locked in the living room with their father while I hide for a little bit.  Unfortunately, I cannot hide from the noise pollution. 


My husband just opened the gate.  Now I cannot hide from Monkey Boys, either.

Is it bedtime yet??

I do believe it is early enough to have a second beer...