Sunday, December 26, 2010

Big Foot Sightings

My daughter (the magical bird) wanted many things for Christmas.  The most important thing, however, was not princess-related, nor was it an Easy Bake oven.  No, my little girl wanted a Fisher Price Big Foot Monster.  He walks.  He talks.  He throws a ball.  He does somersaults.  And he sings.  He also happens to terrify my son. 

Oddly enough, the twin that finds this growling, singing creature frightening is not the clingy one.  No, Connor finds him fascinating.  He pats his head and tries to take the remote from his sister.  Owen, my rough and tumble boy who makes noises that oddly resemble Big Foot's sound effects is the one who keeps a distance. 

He will stand close enough to watch the thing in action...but he always has to have an escape route.  I walk into the kitchen where Irelynn and Connor are laughing as she makes the monster sing.  Owen is peering around the corner of a cabinet.  The monster says, "BUDDY..." Owen inches a little closer.  The monster moves his eyes back and forth as he makes silly sounds.  Owen creeps a tiny bit closer.  Then, the monster exclaims, "WATCH OUT!"  He proceeds to do a somersault.

"SON A BEETCH!!"  Owen shrieks as he bolts out of the room.

I contemplated correcting our son on his language...but then I figured the tumbling monster was punishment enough, as I saw him hiding in the other room.

Man, if only these things existed when I was a would have been so much more fun tormenting my younger siblings.  We had to pretend my brother was kidnapped by aliens, having been replaced by a robot version of himself, to terrify my sister.  Although, as I recall, that worked just as well...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Magical Birds and Solid Houses

I love that my daughter has an imagination.  I'm not really sure where she got it from.  Certainly not her father.  The closest thing he has to imagination is the desire to have the Star Trek universe actually exist. I have my moments, but for the most part I am a pretty boring person, as my older children can attest to...and my older children, for that matter, are not the most imaginative kids.  My son is a very literal, black and white kid.  In fact, if you begin to get into anything abstract, you begin to confuse the poor boy.  My older daughter does not like to do activities on her own...she is more than happy to have someone else take the lead in any form of entertainment.

So how did my 4-year-old become so...creative?  I'm not sure, but she is quite entertaining.  Like, last night, for example:  she came up to me wearing Owen's mittens and my colorful scarf.

"Mom...I am a magical bird."

"A magical bird?  How are you magical?"

"Well...I can make it snow.  I can also make it rain.  And I can make it rain...candycanes."

"That is magical."

Then she started making shapes with her hands, asking me to guess what they were.

" it...a planet?"

"No,'s a submarine.  Can you guess what this one is?"

"Um...a plane?"

"Nope.  Just a triangle.  Mom...I think we should paint our house with green and red stripes.  Right now it's too solid."

I hope she never loses that sense of imagination.  She helps me realize that we could all use a little magic in our lives...especially when we live in solid houses.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Finding Common Ground

The difference in my twin boys' personalities is quite striking at times.  They are certainly individuals.  Both of them get put in "time out" for different reasons:  Owen is usually on a rampage, throwing remote controls, smacking his brother, or head-butting me because I told him that he could not, in fact, have chocolate for breakfast.  Connor, on the other hand, is put in "time out" because he just dismantled his father's device that connects the TV to the internet and external hard drives thus making it possible to watch YouTube...or his vast collection of Christmas movies. 

Once in "time out" (which is basically their crib...the only unit still capable of containing them...or, well, Connor...for the couple of minutes needed to teach them a lesson,) they both cry.  If Owen stops crying, I know it is because he has either cried himself to sleep...or he has escaped "time out."  If Connor stops crying, I know it is because he managed to get ahold of the baby monitor, and is busy changing frequencies...and most likely trying to send out coded messages in hopes of contacting extra-terrestrial life.  If the boy had a screwdriver and a wire hanger, I'm sure he could do it. 

One thing that the boys both agree on, however, is that it is fun to repeat naughty words.  Especially when their father is angry.  The other night we decided to make them some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  I was spreading the peanut butter, as my husband was trying, in vain, to open a new jar of jelly.

"Son of a BITCH!"

The boys look at each other, smile, and repeat.

"Son a BEETCH!"

Bruce, not capable of controlling himself, continues...


The boys, in unison: "SHIT!"

Bruce, now getting the look from me, tries to catch himself mid-swear.

"GO...ah.....ARGHHHHHHH!!!!"  He is now denting the lid of the can as he beats it against the counter.

The boys giggle.

"Gahhhhhh....ARRRRRRGHHHHHHH!"  I was impressed that Owen actually repeated it, and did not resort to the actual phrase, as I'm sure he knows it by now.

The lid finally let loose, and all was well in the Sawdon household again. 

However, now Owen gets put in "time out" because when he doesn't get his way, he smacks his brother and yells, "SON A BEETCH!"

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Power of the Video Game

I would like to send out a heartfelt "thank you" to my in-laws, who got the boys a V.Smile game system for Christmas.  You see, previously, they were running around, throwing plastic food, jumping on the couch, licking DVD's, and yanking the gate away from the stairs.  Owen stuffed the cat into a Christmas bag, and they were dragging him around by the handles.  Then, Connor got into the box with the game system and handed me a remote.  I hooked up the system, and I am now sitting here, drinking coffee, and updating my blog while the boys both sit (yes, sit!) on the floor, playing a "Cars" video game.  Ah, sweet silence. 

I might be able to actually sit down myself for more than 30-seconds.  I never thought I would encourage my children to play video games...but with these two...I might make an exception...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Runaway Strollers and Clip-On Earrings

While I like my new house, and my husband seems to like his new job...moving has come with a new set of challenges.  Not the typical ones I was prepared for...the kids all seem to be adjusting to their new schools; even the preschooler loves her new school.  No, the biggest challenge is not having friends or family nearby to help.  I am learning how to truly be alone and handle the daily struggles of life with five kids. 

One big one is that Irelynn now goes to school four days a week instead of three.  There is no bus for the that means, four mornings a week, I dress all three younger ones down to hats and mittens, scrape off the van, drive to the school, unload the double umbrella stroller, strap them in, and herd them into the school.  I then repeat the procedure again three hours later. 

Connor will not keep gloves on.  He repeatedly takes them off...and throws them.  I need to either buy a roll of duct tape...or buy a coat a size too big and sew the ends of the arms shut.  If it wasn't 12-degrees out with a windchill of so cold Richard Simmons was seen wearing full length pants, I would just give up and forget the mittens.  But when we have to walk through a parking lot and cross two streets to get to the school...I need to do something.

I think I look like a bit of a freak as I come to the school everyday...pushing two toddlers in a stroller with my preschooler hanging on.  I'm certain of it when I pull the stroller out, and then as I unbuckle Owen, a gust of wind sends it rolling into the parking lot, and I am forced to chase it down.  Then, when trying to strap Owen into the stroller, I realize he had one of Irelynn's big, bright clip-on earrings...and he was trying to attach it to my hair.  So, he begins laughing hysterically and yanking, while I'm trying to get it out.  I finally break the earring, and get it out, but my hair is now standing on end.  I finally grab Connor and stuff him in the stroller...retrieve the mitten he just threw...and run with the stroller across the parking lot, the two streets, and into the school...where I find my daughter waiting.

"You're late, Mom." 

"I'm not that late...only a couple of minutes..."

She glares at me.

"I'm sorry, Irelynn."

I have since started giving myself 20 extra account for glove wrestling, toddler wrangling, ice scraping, stroller operating, and those last minute diaper changes because Owen is on a pretty strict pooping schedule.  This still puts me there just in time. 

I'm sure I'll laugh about this period of time in a couple of years...when all of my children are in school...via bus.  I will laugh because while I have a few hours to myself, some other poor sucker will have to deal with my children for part of the day...

Friday, December 10, 2010

Stress is formidable foe.  I thought I had it under control.  I established a routine.  I layed out clothes the previous night.  I started making lists again.  I even started working out...dusting off the Jillian Michaels DVDs and pulling out the weights.  I was feeling to handle anything.  Then it happened...Owen discovered that he could climb out of the crib. 

Every child does this at some point.  It was bound to happen.  How could one little toddler throw off my entire sense of self-purpose?  I keep telling myself that it is not the is stress.  Stress is a funny multiplies.  It turns a rational person into a raving lunatic, scouring the cabinets for chocolate and telling her children that if Mommy doesn't get some quiet-time, she will send a personal message to Santa regarding coal.  And it all starts with a toddler climbing out of his crib.

No naps equal cranky toddlers.  Cranky toddlers turn into impish creatures that wreak havoc on the household.  They pull out plugs.  They wake other sleeping toddlers.  They think the litter box is their own personal sandbox.  They rip their sister's Kids Bop CD case.  They push toys through the mail slot.  They pull ornaments off of the tree and throw them at the cat.  And they make their mother have to decide who to run after first:  the child that is trying to scale the living room shelf, or the child who is surfing on the end table. 

By the time the older kids come home, I am talking through gritted teeth and counting how many bottles of beer we have left for after bedtime.  I am glancing at the clock, counting down how many more hours are left until bedtime.  I don't quite remember getting through the evening...I vaguely remember the preschooler not making it to the potty in time, leaving puddles on the kitchen floor.  I remember the teenagers arguing...and one nearly breaking a drawer in the fridge.  I remember a cranky preschooler wailing about a hurt hand that she is positive her older brother broke. 

I end the night with a couple of glasses of wine, and baked Tostitos (so as not to ruin my healthy efforts.)  Take that, stress!  Of course, in the end, stress wins.  I wake up to realize that I have gained a pound overnight.  The kitchen is still a mess from the night before...and today Connor realized that he, too, can climb out of the crib. 

Curse you, stress.  I shall retreat to my coffee and usual rant peppered with words like "punk-ass kids" and "for the love of Pete WILL YOU STOP!!" 

But just wait until I order those crib tents online...