As a mother of two teenagers, an elementary school kid, and twin Kindergarteners...I should be able to handle whatever life throws at me. And I do.
However, not always without the help of a little yelling, throwing a taco or two, and of course...beer.
I have three glorious hours with no children Tuesday through Friday, as the boys are into their second year of preschool. I would like to tell you that I spend this time being constructive...cleaning or organizing. I would even like to tell you I spend this time selfishly...sleeping or reading. However, due to the new baby in the house, I have been pretty busy. Onyx, (don't worry...it is a puppy, not another child that I let my husband name,) is a ball of fuzz with eyes that melt you into forgiving him for pooping in the laundry room...and then eating the poop.
Halloween was cold and rainy, leaving us with plenty of leftover candy. Bailey and Onyx have been taking advantage of this fact.
Bailey will grab suckers from the bowl...and bat them down to the floor.
Then Onyx will unwrap the sucker...and lick it.
Needless to say, the candy has been moved. I wasn't smart enough to move it, however, until about the third sucker.
Luckily he has been good about going in his crate when I have to go pick the boys up from school...because I'm not sure I could have handled coming home to something disgusting after the boys showed me their project from school today. The letter of the week is "H," so they do various activities that incorporate the letter and letter sound. I would describe the project...but I think it would be best to just post a picture:
Yes...those are "Hairy H's." No, I do not know where they got the hair from...and I'm not sure I want to know. I think that these might skip the refrigerator and go straight to the circular file.
I thought that this might be the most unsettling thing I would encounter today...but as anyone with children knows, never, ever think that things could not get worse.
I walked down the hallway, talking to my mother on the phone, and noticed a puddle on the floor...that looked like it was coming from under the door to the bathroom. My first thought was puppy pee. Upon closer inspection, I realized that even the puppy could not pee that much...and the door was closed, and I could tell the light was on in the bathroom. I knocked on the door. Owen answered.
"Mommy...my pee came out."
"In the potty?"
"No...on the floor."
I tried to open the door, but it was locked.
"Owen...," I said, "open the door."
"I can't...it's locked."
"Can you unlock it?"
My mom asked if I needed to go, trying not to laugh. I told her good-bye, and tried to convince Owen that he could unlock the door. I finally gave up, and ran to look for the little metal key that unlocks all the doors in the house. In the meantime, Owen was getting frantic.
"MOMMY!!! I CAN'T GET OUT!! MY PEE-PEE IS ON MY FEET!"
I finally found the key, and opened the door, to see Owen standing in the middle of his puddle of pee.
"Just...stay there. Hold on...don't go anywhere!" I was imagining wet footprints up and down the hallway.
As I ran to find some paper towels, I heard a crash. I ran back to find Owen sitting in his puddle of pee.
"Mommy, I slipped on my pee!"
Onyx came running around the corner to see what the fuss was about and skidded across the floor...and into the wall. Before I could catch him, he was already running off, leaving little pee paw prints all over the kitchen floor.
I'm not sure which is worse to clean...a puppy or a preschooler.
I definitely think I will be taking a nice, long bath tonight as I try not to think about hairy H's and puddle-skating puppies.
I have managed to survive the summer. I'm not sure how...some of it is actually kind of a blur...but I am here, and another school year has begun.
There are several things I could write about...so much has happened. I could write about how we got a new puppy. Or how the other day, when I had the puppy outside, the boys locked me out of the house. I could write about many of the boys' antics...but I think I will take a moment to write about something more serious. Something that has been weighing heavily on my mind, and something I have not written about before. While those close to me know that the older two kids are not biologically mine, most people either think that I look young for my age...or probably, more likely, that I got pregnant at sixteen. The older two have been in our custody for several years now, due to abuse and neglect on their biological mother's part. While we try not to remember the past...there are always echoes and shadows...things that cannot be erased. The biggest lesson I have learned throughout raising children is that those former years really are the most important...everything you do and say leaves imprints. Some wounds do not heal.
When Marissa was little she had blond hair that would curl at the ends. She had big, blue eyes, and perfect little lips.
"You are my 'Rissa, my only 'Rissa
You make me happy, when sky's are gray.
You'll never know, dear, how much I love you.
Please don't take...my 'Rissa...away."
I remember singing that to her. She called me her "Mo Mo," because her mother would hit her if she called me "Mom." Whenever we had to send her back to their mother's house...I would silently sing that song to myself. I kept a binder, filled with notes and pictures, throughout the custody battle. I would cry every time they came home with another story that they couldn't tell Daddy, because Mama warned them not to talk.
I remember crying myself to sleep every night...wondering what it would take before the children would be taken away from that situation. How far would things go before the court decided that, hey, maybe that house isn't safe after all?
Please don't take my 'Rissa away.
They finally did get taken away...from their bio mom. I was overcome with relief. They were safe now. They had two parents who loved them, and would protect them. Everything would get better. What I didn't realize is how much that would affect who they would become, and how they would deal with life. I feel like those years fractured them...and I scramble to gather all the pieces...to glue them together...but I've never really been good at putting things back together.
She took my 'Rissa away.
The little girl that is now turning into a woman is angry. She's angry at the world...and I don't blame her. She's angry at me. I try to be strong, and put up a wall to protect myself from the hurt...but it's difficult. She doesn't know about everything we went through. She doesn't know that I fell in love with her and her brother before I even fell in love with her daddy. She thinks my words now are hollow. Her words are filled with hatred.
I look at my younger three and hope that someday they will understand why their older siblings are upset all the time. I hope that they will always know our love, and never have to feel that way. I wish the older two would accept our love...and not feel that way ever again.
Hold your children. Tell them "I love you," every single day. Even when they are old enough to roll their eyes...because they need to know and feel that love. I just hope, that maybe when they are adults, all those eye rolls will be worth it because they will have realized, all along, how much they were loved. Until then, I need to brace myself...I need to ride out the storm.
Hopefully one day the skies will clear...and on the other side, I will find my 'Rissa again.
I have been very bad about updating my blog. I have no excuse other than the craziness of settling into a new house and the end of the school year paperwork and events sending me into a downward spiral of guilt and shame as I cannot keep up with it all. The good news is that school is almost over this year...which will be a huge relief for about a week. Then it will transform into a frustrating attempt to keep my children busy and entertained so I don't have to hear five voices echoing, "I'M BORED!" I'm sure that by the end of June I will be counting down the days until school starts again.
I think I will write this post about adventures in baby-sitting. No, not the movie, which is quite entertaining...but the mishaps that happened one evening when I left Jaylond in charge of all three younger kids. I will just start with what we encountered upon our arrival home.
There was water, everywhere. The boys had been taking turns filling cups up with water...and spilling them. On the floor. On the counter. On the couch. Things were strewn all over the living room. A Japanese glass box was broken. The boys were missing. Jay was busy trying to wipe up puddles in the kitchen. I went upstairs, and walked into the boys' bedroom. What I saw next was something I can honestly say, I have never, ever seen before in my life.
The dog had pooped on the floor. The boys had picked up the poop...with their hands...and had thrown it at the wall. There were clumps of DOG SHIT on their wall...and in their HANDS.
When I asked the 6-year-old what Jay had been doing when all of this happened, she said he had been on the phone and the computer the whole time.
Needless to say, he was not only responsible for cleaning the mess...but he was also grounded from the phone and computer. (Facebook also ratted him out, as there was a posting, by him, during the time he was supposed to be baby-sitting.)
I don't know who I was more disgusted with: Jay, the dog, or the twins. The boys, once again, prove to me that I should NEVER put anything past them. All of those horror stories you hear about toddlers doing...my boys have done them. And invented more. The good thing about school starting next fall is that they will be in preschool four days a week, for a few hours each day. I'm not sure what I will do with myself. I just hope I don't receive any phone calls from the school.
My husband and I have not had a date since our anniversary. We have also not watched anything rated above PG since...was "National Treasure" rated PG13? Yeah. So...I decided to be spontaneous. I bought a bottle of cheap wine, and rented the movie, "Date Night" with Tina Fey and Steve Carell. My husband humored me in my feeble attempt to create a "grown-up" night.
The night started off well. The children all went to bed without too much trouble. We poured the wine, and nestled ourselves down on the floor, using the wooden box of off-brand Lincoln Logs for a place to set our mismatched holiday wine glasses that we purchased years ago from Arby's (I think.) We opened a bag of tortilla chips...the ones we have forbidden to let the kids eat because they are the good, expensive kind that we reserve for ourselves. (Don't judge...the kids get most of the good stuff...this is the only food item we strictly reserve for just the two of us.) The movie was okay...and had more swear words than I've heard Owen utter in the last week, mimicking his father.
Bruce put his arm around me. I slowly turned around to see the silhouette of a small child standing silently behind him. I gasped and jumped. Bruce looked at me like I was crazy.
"What's the matter with..." he turned slowly. "Holy Shit!!!"
He walked around, plopped himself down in Bruce's lap, and shoved his little hand into our bag of chips. He began laughing at Steven Carell, who was repeatedly using the word, "whore."
The good news is that we were watching "Date Night," and not some scary horror flick. Mainly because I would have had extreme nightmares of some ghost child standing behind me, watching me silently. Oh...and that Connor would probably have been traumatized for life walking in on some horror flick. But mostly me with the whole ghost child thing. Seriously...that freaks me out.
Perhaps we will try again someday. Perhaps we will have some loving family member offer to baby-sit so we can watch an adult film in the theater, where one does not have to worry about a child creeping up on them. Or try to steal their popcorn. Or say "EEWWWWW" if we try to kiss.
Until then, we will have to rent old movies that are new to us every rare once in awhile and anticipate the creepy ghost children...who turn out to be really cute and make it hard to be truly upset about "Date Night' being ruined.
My husband and I have decided to try to get in shape. I have been trying off and on over the years, losing and then gaining the weight back. The most exercise my husband has gotten was probably the one time, a long time ago, when we tried to do yoga to a video and he complained and farted throughout the whole session. Needless to say, this is going to be a challenge.
There is a small, but nice, little fitness building in our subdivision. There are two treadmills, two stationary bikes, an elliptical machine, weight bench and compact machine for doing leg presses, etc. One wall is a giant mirror. We'll come back to the usefullness of this feature later.
We have decided to start the Couch to 5K program. I have no intention of running a 5K...and honestly, the last time I tried to run was in high school when I wanted to be all cool and join Cross Country to be with my friends. That quickly ended with the first practice when I barely made it half way through and felt like I was going to collapse. I wheezed through a massive asthma attack and told my friends that I think I'm going to pass on joining a sport. So, why I decided to start running is beyond me. I guess just to prove to myself that I could. Bruce has also decided to run...but I don't think that I inspired him...I think a coworker, who has done the program, has pretty much pressured him into running. And so the journey begins.
The program is for beginners...you alternate between walking and jogging for about twenty minutes. As I run, I feel strong...I tell myself, "you can do this...it won't be long before you will be able to wear a bikini." Not that I probably would ever wear a bikini...but...you know...I could. Then, I look over at the mirrored wall. My face is red. Sweat is dripping down my face. The lovely muffin top that I thought my workout pants somehow held in...is flopping up and down in time to Weezer's "Buddy Holly" which is playing loudly through my ear buds (which keep wanting to fall out as I jog.) Now, I can take this image and let it affect me in two ways: I can be thoroughly disgusted, and lose hope. Or, and what I prefer to do, I can ingrain that image into my mind and tell myself that this is why I am running. So that in time, I will look over and see a red-faced, sweaty, sexy person running on the treadmill. Well, you know...fit person. I don't suppose red-faced and sweaty will every really be sexy.
My husband is a week behind me in the program, and does not have work-out clothes. He goes to the gym in his Burger King fleece pajama pants. He also takes the older two kids with him, which provides a challenge within itself. The other night he came home looking irritated. Apparently one child goes from one machine to the next, not knowing how to really use them, and constantly asks questions. The other child thinks he is some sort of extreme athlete and tries to prove he is the master of the machines. Apparently that night he was trying to break a record for running a mile. He had the treadmill set on nearly the highest speed, as he dodged his sister's questions. The last question, which was something like, "hey...shouldn't you be holding onto the handles when you run?," was the distraction that ended in disaster as he turned to look at her...and fell. Luckily he was fine, but the night did not end well as it was "obviously" his sister's fault that he fell on the treadmill.
This is why I run alone.
Hopefully we will actually continue with the program...with few casualties. I did buy Bruce some running shoes for his birthday...perhaps I should have bought him some running shorts, too. The Burger King pants are a casualty on their own...
I had fully intended on making your birthday today a nice day for you...a special day. I had intended on waking up early to get my shower in before the boys woke up so that you could sleep in...but I'm pretty sure the bomb that I was trying to disable in my dream turned out to be our alarm clock. Unfortunately, the alarm that would not STOP going off was actually Irelynn's...and she was already downstairs...and it woke up Owen. I truly did not want to stink on your birthday, so I'm sorry you had to wake up so that I could get into the shower.
I had intended on Irelynn's pants being clean before school. I had a whole load dedicated to her pants and skirts. I just sort of forgot to put them in the dryer. I'm sorry she was almost late for the bus because we were waiting on a skirt to dry before you could take her to the bus stop.
I had intended on taking the boys out to buy wrapping paper for your presents today. We did go out...and got distracted by the fish in the pet aisle. Then I remembered we were out of peanut butter. And granola bars. Then the boys wanted to look at toys. We made it home...and realized we had forgotten the wrapping paper. Owen was generous enough to let us use what was left of the Spiderman wrapping paper he used for his friend's birthday present. Luckily it was just enough to do the job. And then Bailey started eating the wrapping paper off of your gifts. So...you're presents are mostly wrapped...with little tooth marks everywhere.
I had intended on a nice Birthday lunch for you...to take the little ones and pick you up from work and take you out. I did not intend on backing into our neighbor's car. In my defense, I think both of us were to blame, because we both backed out at the same time, and neither one of us saw each other. We decided it was okay, that there was no damage, no hard feelings...and then I was late to get Irelynn off of the bus. The bus driver was waiting. Irelynn was frowning. Luckily she forgives easily.
I had intended on our children being charming and cute as they wished you a "Happy Birthday." I did not realize just how uncivilized our children are in public. Connor throwing things across the table was not part of the plan. Neither was Owen's loud vocal exercises which drew even more attention than Connor's projectile silverware. Then, as we were about to leave, I see our sweet five year old with a handful of silverware...sneaking it into her coat.
"Irelynn...what are you doing??"
"We need more spoons and forks at home."
Our kid was trying to steal silverware from a restaurant. I told her to put it back. I see her set down a couple forks and a spoon.
"The other spoon, too."
She sighed, pulled it out of her coat, and set it down. My face was now three shades of red.
I am now baking your cake. I fully intend on it being a wonderful cake. I intend on doing an early dinner so we can celebrate before you take Irelynn to her Valentine's Dance. Unfortunately, Owen is refusing to nap...Irelynn made a mess in the kitchen trying to help me clean...and apparently the older two are not speaking to each other. So...I'll do my best.
I don't usually like to compare boys to girls. I strive to be neutral, especially with my daughters, and not box them into gender-specific roles. However, after three years of living with two boys of the same age I have come to the conclusion that boys really are just gross. Not to say that my girls haven't made my stomach churn on occassion, but not quite to the extent or with the same conviction as the boys.
Owen has two primary interests at the moment: Spiderman and magic tricks. There are others, but these are the ones that consume him on a daily basis. He must be adorned in a Spiderman shirt at all times...even if the only one available is covered in yogurt and blueberry juice. He shoots webs at anyone who dares to oppose him. He also tries to shoot the cats with a nerf gun because they are "bad guys." Explaining to him that Spiderman does not use guns is a moot point. Spiderman uses whatever resources he has to defeat cats, parents and siblings. Connor is usually Batman, so this works for him. Batman has a few odd traits, too, though: he uses a sword, wears goggles, and somehow attacks by saying, "Batman" followed by a strange sound that is a cross between a belch and shattering glass.
This morning Owen was not Spiderman. He was a magician. He came up to me in his Spiderman t-shirt and a Pull-Up, and told me, "Mom...say 'Hocus Pocus.'"
He then pulled out a pair of my underwear...from inside the front of his Pull-Up.
I'm not really sure what to say about that.
Later, he pooped in his Pull-Up.
I'm going to take a moment to note that we are having many issues with potty-training. Both boys know how to use the potty...they just refuse to do so most of the time. They are totally unconcerned with the nastiness (and rashes) that result from this choice.
I went to change him, and his bottom was bright red. After several attempts to wipe, with him squirming and crying, I decided to just stick him in the shower. As soon as I get him set, Connor walks into the bathroom...naked from the waist down.
"Mommy, I want bath."
"Not now, Connor...Owen isn't getting a bath...he's getting a shower."
"Oh. I'm dirty."
He holds his hands out to me...and they are covered in poop. I turn him around and see that his bottom, legs and socks are also covered in poop. I wipe up what I can, and stick him in the shower with his brother. After hearing several versions of a song where the chorus consisted of variations of "booty-butt-butt," I hear Irelynn, who has now entered the bathroom, say, "Ew, Connor...are you peeing in the shower?"
I look in at him. He grins back at me, peeing.
"Connor...don't pee in the shower."
I finally get them clean, and notice Owen has a nice dangling booger. Now, of all things, this is one of the few things that actually make me feel sick to my stomach. I reach to get a tissue...but not before he gets it with his finger...and puts it in his mouth.
I shudder, and for the second time today I am rendered speechless. He just smiles.
The boys are now in bed, and as late as it is, I might have to take a shower myself. I really need to get rid of the boy cooties.
I am emerging from paperwork and boxes to attempt to post an update. The Sawdon family has been through quite a bit over the last few months.
After a year of renting a four bedroom house (which even a four bedroom rental is difficult to come by,) we have moved into a five bedroom home. I cannot express just how much of a difference one more bedroom creates. Irelynn, who was sharing a room with the twins, now has her own bedroom. She has already adorned her space with Hello Kitty items and a Justin Bieber poster. The boys have also adorned her room with action figures and streaks of make-up she got for Christmas on her walls. Note to relatives: giving a five-year-old make-up is asking for trouble. Giving a five-year-old with twin three-year-old brothers make-up is asking for disaster.
In other news we have lost...and gained...another pet. We had several issues with Kenobi running off, and having to hunt him down. This was frustrating, but his anxiety and aggression at the vet's office became a much greater concern. We had to reschedule an appointment to have him neutured because he was too aggressive and hard to control. After the second time, they had to put him down because he was literally attacking people. Needless to say, we will not be getting another dog. My sister, for my birthday, brought a little bundle of fur across the state to surprise me. Long-haired, Siamese, and tiny, she won over everyone...even Bruce who wanted to kill my sister at first. We named her Bailey, and she became quick friends with Maggie. She has become the spoiled baby of the family, receiving treats on a regular basis from all members of the family. Maggie also gives her treats...by entering the pantry and chewing holes through bags of cat treats, and then scattering them onto the floor. We have since learned to only buy cat treats in canisters with lids, and put it up high out of children's (and pet's) reach.
I am also entering the world of couponing. Living in a bigger house is wonderful, but it means I have to learn to budget a little better. I never realized just how crazy the coupon world is...it is like an extreme sport. So extreme, in fact, that my oldest son is getting sports injuries in attempts to help me save money. While we were dropping off our recyclables at the recycling place in town, I thought I would check the newspaper bin to see if I could score some extra coupon inserts that people had thrown out. There are huge dumpsters, each allocated for a different item (plastics, cardboard, magazines, etc.) The newspaper one was quite full, and I was able to find some. Jay climbed the other side of the dumpster to help. (I want to add here that I did not actually ask him to help, he offered on his own accord.) After a few minutes I told him we probably had enough, he could get down.
I looked over at him.
"What do you mean?"
He put his hands in the air, and I saw that he was hanging, from the dumpster, by the seat of his pants.
"My pants are caught."
Not to worry, my teenage son was able to free himself from the dumpster...but I'm sure it severely hurt my chances of him helping me in the future.
Perhaps the five-year-old would be of better use...she could actually fit inside the dumpster to search...
I know some of you are concerned, but it's okay...with all the money I will be saving I will be able to afford therapy for my children later. I'm sure they will need it.