Sunday, November 11, 2012

A glossary of early childhood

There is a certain language that parents develop surrounding the care and feeding of young children. I've been collecting these little gems for years.

Happy hour - the one hour of the day when the kids are playing happily and behaving well. My girlfriends and I have determined that this is usually from 10 to 11 in the morning.

Unhappy hours - the rest of the day.

Fifth circle of hell - what most people call the witching hours of between 4 and 6 p.m.

Bedtime extenders - any request made after being tucked in for food, water, attention or "lost" loveys that are actually hiding beneath the bed sheets.

Emergency poop bath - the only solution to a poop so messy that no amount of wipes will suffice.

Poop check - an attempt to locate a foul odor by checking all bottoms.

Shut-up squares - fig newtons (they just can't make noise when these are in their little mouths.)

Trail mix - what I clean out of the baby's high chair or sweep up off the floor after every meal.

Pee Pee Lifter 2000 - what we call our steam vacuum cleaner.

Drink cart - a nursing mommy on a long car trip who contorts herself into position to keep the baby quiet.

In the poop loop - part of a group that is kept up-to-date on the bowels of another.

Drop zone - any place where we're leaving the children, usually Nana and PopPop's house, and running like hell.

Net thrift - Jim's word for the thrift shop where we pick up old video tapes and DVDs for a quarter a piece. (Yeah, we actually have a VCR.)

window art - the handprints and smears on the kitchen windows. At least it doesn't clutter the house up.

chew toy - what the baby chews on when he's teething

mommy job - any job that requires mommy's help or any job that mommy wants done quickly even though the kids can do it themselves. Mommy reserves the right put on jackets and shoes, wash faces and hands and fasten seat belts if these tasks are not done in a timely manner. And by timely manner, I mean sometime in the 10 minutes after the initial request.

mommy treat - anything that mommy is eating in the bathroom or the hall closet to avoid sharing with the kids.

appetizer course - the frozen vegetables mommy doles out while making dinner just to keep the kids quiet.

Feel free to add your own.

to be continued ... 

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Falling back in

I'm still here and it's still crazy. I got an extra hour last night so I figured now was as good a time as any to fall back into blogging.

Unfortunately, my anticipated extra hour of sleep turned into an extra hour of kid drama. And with baby daddy at work this morning, I was on my own to face the hounds at 6 a.m. starting with my oldest.

Mom, my bed is wet up near my pillow, he stands in the door and informs me.

And then came the procession of stuffed "guys" and a sleeping bag. He tossed my clothes up on the bed and situated his wide-awake, perky self on the floor, on my side, not his father's because there's a vent there and, as everyone knows, monsters live in the vents. I knew he wasn't going back to sleep. Why was he even there?? I drifted back off and woke up nose to nose with Danny when I felt his freezing cold feet on my legs.

Then I heard the baby, who is really not a baby anymore. He was growling and laughing and running around as usual. Owen appeared naked in my bedroom. Fiona hollered from the hallway, Owen peed on the floor.

Great. It's now 6:30 a.m. and I am hauling the steam vacuum from the closet. There went my extra hour.

By 7 a.m. I'm in the kitchen making pancakes, you know, since I'm already wide awake. 

The rest of the day was a roller coaster. With no clear plan, my urge to declutter and have some sense of order took over. There's something about transitions such as turning back the clocks or a seasonal change that makes me want to tackle every pile of crap in sight. Between cleaning rampages, I played two games of Go Fish, peeled a half dozen Clementines for the bottomless pit that is my 2 year old, and put together dinner in the crockpot.

The kids were wild, running, climbing, jumping, clinging, wrestling each other and hitting. At one point, I pulled the jail card on the 5 year old.

Do you know what they do to adults who hit people, Danny?
They put them in jail. 

He looked at me thoughtfully and with a glimmer in his eye and said: But what if they're doing karate? 

After regaining my composure, I pointed out that karate takes place in a studio with mirrors and a sensei, not on the playground. 

The rest of the day can be summed up like this:

Kicked kids out into the yard.
Swept kitchen floor.
Kicked kids back out into the yard.
Hid in the closet and ate their Halloween candy.
Kicked kids back outside.
Swept the kitchen floor.
Fed the kids lunch.
Yelled at kids to stop making noise. (This does not actually work, in case you're wondering.)
Dodged a 2 year old who is trying to tackle my legs.

I also listened to them whine and complain no matter what I did for them or asked them to do. I took Fiona out to run errands with me and took her to the pet store, which is her favorite place ever. When we pulled up to the store, she cried that it was not the right pet store. Danny gave me a hard time every single time I asked him to do something which makes me reluctant to ask him to do anything. I decided that this is the most thankless job in the universe, at least on a minute to minute basis. In the long run, I hear it really is worth it.
Later that evening, my best friend and her family came over for dinner. We wondered what exactly our parents did that made us scared to disobey them. I remember the few times I sassed my mom. The incidents became family legend. I'm still waiting for my 5 year old to ask "When are you going to do any work around here?" Yep, I really did ask my mother that question when she handed me a stack of folded laundry to put away.

No one took a nap today, either. The kids were literally bouncing off walls. By bedtime, the baby was so exhausted that he cried for 10 minutes straight and finally fell asleep when I laid down with him. That was my favorite part of the entire day.