Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Toys R' Us and the T-Rex

Yesterday morning I took the girls to the library. Great idea Mom! Ava picked out some "just right" books to read and finish her summer reading log for first grade, there were arts and crafts at the table for the kids to do, and I bumped into a friend and the kids played for a little while. It was a lovely morning.Then I had a bad idea. Possibly the worst idea I've had all summer. I left the library and took the kids to Toys R' Us, foolishly thinking I could pick up a couple things I needed and let Maddy find something to buy with a gift card from her birthday. We weren't there THREE minutes and all hell broke lose. Maddy wanted OUT of the shopping cart, she was having NO part of sitting in there... the front or the back. So she ran around up and down the aisles finding random things and throwing them into the shopping "taco" (her word for carriage).
Ava was always one aisle over yelling, "MOM, MOM, MOM, MOM, MOM, MOM, MOM, MOOOOOOOOOOOM, come see this. Come see THIS, HEY MOM...come see THIS!!!!" In the bike section, Maddy grabbed a helmet and put it on backwards while Ava rode a bike all around the aisles. Then Maddy (with her backwards helmet) plopped herself down, whipped off her shoes and tried to put on some Barbie roller skates...only problem was that they were still in the box - which she was trying to tear into. I had to wrestle her to the ground to get the helmet off, her shoes back on and the piece of ripped Barbie cardboard box out of her hand. What is it with toddlers....they have a grip like a vice when they want something! I was seriously sweating, trying to round the two of them up and get out of there. I also ran around trying to put everything back where it belonged. In any event the two of them will never see the inside of that store again if I can help it.
Later that day -- I'm on the phone with my friend - finalizing plans to go out for dinner (and MUCH needed martgueritas) when I hear both children screaming crying and my husband screaming on the top of his lungs (which is RARE). Ava wouldn't leave Maddy alone....and JUST like we keep warning Ava..."ONE of these days, Maddy is going to lash-out at you!" The day finally came. Maddy bit Ava...hard. I was in the middle of lecturing Ava of how I told her this day would come when I looked at her hand and stopped dead in my tracks....HOLY CRAP, it looked like the tooth marks from a T-Rex rather than a two-year old. I mean, look at this kid's picture. This is a happy time....a b-day party.... and look at her face...would you mess with her? The kid had pickles and pancakes for breakfast this morning. She's one tough cookie.

PS: in the last blog...I talked about how Maddy is always naked, wears Ava's underwear, writes on the floor with sidewalk chalk. So the next day she did all those same things again and I finally caught her on film. Please note....she has Ava's underwear on....but backwards, two different colored shoes on the wrong feet and other than that, she's naked and up to no good.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Holy crap School's almost back in: A Day with Maddy

My friends were recently telling me that I should have the video camera running of Maddy 24/7. She's always doing something that could possibly make me the next 10,000 winner on America's Funniest Home Videos. I didn't video her today, but let me give you a little play by play of Maddy's day.
  • She stripped off her clothes at least 4 times.
  • She walked around with Ava's flip-flops on the wrong feet and tripped about 100 times.
  • She tried to bite Ava and when I scolded her she slapped me. "I WAP Mumma" she said as she struck my butt with both her hands.
  • When she WAS wearing clothes, her outfit of choice was Ava's underwear (which she wore over her diaper) and Ava's camisole "bra".
  • She dragged her little chair into the bathroom 3 different times and stood at the sink washing her hands, all the toothbrushes, and rubbing soap ("wope") all over her belly, arms, legs and hair.
  • Without her seeing me do it -- I put some sauce in a pan on the stove to heat up for dinner and moments later she scrunched her nose, sniffed the air and said, "Me see the meatballs."
  • On our walk around the block, she stopped about 48 times because apparently her doll wanted to get in and out of her carriage (BTW Maddy calls a carriage a "taco") She would say, "Baby cry." "Baby want out taco." Then four steps later, "Baby sit in taco." And when the baby wouldn't sit up straight in the taco -- she flipped it over on the sidewalk and kept walking.
  • While she napped, I vacuumed and mopped the kitchen and dining room floors. When she woke up she took her diaper off and peed on the kitchen floor and then wrote on the dining room floor with sidewalk chalk. (why do I bother cleaning?)
  • When I came home from food shopping (went without her, thank goodness) she walked around with two avocados for about 20 minutes, in and out of all the rooms. I think she was giving them a tour of the house.

And where was I during all of this? Standing by....watching....laughing....wishing I was videoing.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

School's Almost back in: Age is just a number

I teach first grade. I know children of this age range do not have any concept of time. I ask them how old they think I am (34)and I get answers that range from 62 years old to 16 (those are the kids I give the A's to). But yesterday's conversation between Ava and her friend made me want to submerge myself under the pool water for a long, long time, perhaps 62 years, and possibly even rethink my career.
Ava and her friend were playing in the pool with a doll that can go in the water. Her friend Abby had the doll on the raft and said, "My baby can't go in the water because she's only one month old." Ava says, "Oh."
Long pause, "How old's your baby?"
Abby: "one month."
Ava: "Yeah, but like, how old is she?"
Abby: "She's one month Ava."
Ava: "Abby, you're not understanding me, I want to know how OLD she is."
Abby: "AVVVVVAAAA, I told you she's ONE MONTH."
Ava: "I know she's one month, but that's not my question. I want to know how old she is, like I'm 6 and you're 7, how old is the baby?"
Abby looks to me for help. I say, "Ava, the baby was born, then turned one week, then two weeks, then 3 weeks, and then a month. Babies are one month and then two months, and they have to be 12 months old and THEN they start counting by years, they are one year old, two years, old, etc. So this baby (mind you, I'm referring to this inanimate object who's floating upside down in the pool at this point - I think Abby was trying to ditch the thing so Ava would forget about it already) is not 6 years like you, it's only ONE MONTH old. It was born in July and now it's August. It's a little newborn baby." Whew, that outta clear things up.
Ava: "Mom, you don't understand my question, I just want to know how old the baby is. I'm six years , Abby's 7 years, how old is the baby?"
Me: "She's zero ok? Zero years old Ava." ("patience is a virtue, patience is a virtue" I say in my head)
Ava: laughing, "Mooooom, no one is ZERO years old!!!! Just tell me how old the baby is!!!"
Abby and I exchange looks....she tries to explain it, I try again to explain it. This exchange went on, and on, and on....it was seriously like "Who's On First." I thought (hoped) that at any minute someone was going to jump out of the bushes and tell me to "smile" because I was on candid camera. No such luck, I had to pay Abby 5 bucks and a Popsicle just to say her baby was 2 years old. (crap, I promised a long time ago to tell only true stories huh?) No money, just a Popsicle, but it does the distraction trick every time.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

School's Out: NH Vacation re-cap

Wow. Dare I say it? The end of summer is fast approaching. I remember fondly looking forward to our August vacation week at a Lake house in NH, but thinking it would mean the beginning of the end of summer. The good news is I now have enough material for my first Parenting Guidebook called: "Never Ever take your children, husband, parents or in-laws with you on vacation."

Let's start with the ride up...we were three cars following each other and me, hubs and Maddy were the lead car. My mother was driving the second car because my Dad had fever, chills, runs (and why was he even going you wonder? I wondered the same, but he was fine later). Speed limit was 65, we were barely doing 60 in the right lane and my mother was about 100 miles behind us. Rolly looks at me and says, "Ahhh, I can't do this the whole way." No worries hubby, only moments later we were doing 5 mph in bumper to bumper traffic on 95. I found this quite annoying, as I thought I was the only one headed North for vacation this week. There were two cars using GPS (each GPS leading us a different way) and we all had printed directions from mapquest that brought us to the wrong place. There is a lot to be said for the old-fashioned way. Note to self: next time ask for directions from the owner of the damn place OR, how's this idea - try a MAP ! (wait, will there BE a next time!??!)

As we got settled in, everyone quickly assumed their "roles" for the week:
My Mom: Nervous Nelly (aka: the slowest driver on this side of the Mississippi)
Nervous Nelly reported for breakfast the first morning and told us that she couldn't sleep the night before because there was a noise in her room. A noise she couldn't quite figure out, but she thought perhaps it was a spider spinning it's web. You know those noisy web spinners keeping everyone up in the woods at night. Then THAT night she couldn't go to sleep because we had a fire in the fire pit. She waited until every last ember faded out. She wanted to float in the raft in the lake but was worried she'd float away (on a lake as still as a mirror). And what? We'd all just sit there and and wave good-bye. Around dinner time on the last night at the house my mother asked me if we had the little side rail on the twin bed Ava was sleeping in. My friends and I all laughed at this, "WHAT!?!?!? She's SIX!!! She hasn't had that side bar thing in at least three years!!! She's FINE!" Don't you know -- at about 2 in the morning I heard THUMP and then crying....Ava fell out of the bed. Lesson learned: Mom is always right.
Mother In Law (MIL): The Planner
The planner started making lists of what we needed to bring to the lake house about 6 months ago. I think I was brushing snow off my car in January and she was asking me how many rolls of paper towels we should bring with us for our August vacation. Last time I checked we had 4 written lists going....
1)what we needed to bring
2)what supplies she had already that she was bringing
3) what we would buy when we got there
4) and questions to ask my poor friend who rents this place every year and has been badgered with questions ever since (thanks Jenn!)
We also had 2 mental lists going which we had continuous conversations about....how we would pack the cars AND most importantly -- what we were going to eat on which nights. The end result: thanks to the planner, we had EVERYTHING we needed right down to jewelry cleaner. But we learned that for some things you just have to "go with the flow" as they say. I don't think there was one night that we ate what/when/where we originally thought we'd eat but it all worked out.

Maddy: the all-nighter
This will be chapter one of my parenting guidebook. Never take your two year old somewhere for a week and think they will nap, sleep through the night or sleep at all for that matter. She would not lay down and go to sleep and kept saying, "No like it, no like it." We had to drive in the car for naps and rock her to sleep in her carriage at night and in the wee hours of the morning on the first night she climbed out of her pack n'play and got wedged between the pack n'play and the bed. So the rest of the week she slept in bed with someone. The night my mother-in-law slept with her, one of my friends and I were out in the living room on the sleep sofa. We were awoken by Maddy around 2 and she was up until about 4:30 talking, laughing, singing at the top of her lungs, to the point you had to wonder if she was smoking crack in there. She sang Twinkle Twinkle, Happy Birthday, she growled like a tiger, at one point she told my MIL, "See you wayter, I go Mahket Bahket (market basket)." I thought for sure she would never sleep again even when we got home, but so far so good with that. Oh, and let's not forget to mention the fact that instead of spending Tuesday at Story Land....we spent it at Wolfeboro Pediatrics and then Rite Aid because Madelyn (who has not had an ear infection in 18 months) got an ear infection.

My Dad: The Army Cook
This name fits him so perfectly. He was in the army. He always cooks as if he were feeding an army. And he acts like a drill Sargent around the grill. God forbid anyone should ask how many burgers or hot dogs to cook, because although we are trying not to be wasteful of food he finds this question very insulting, as if we were bring stingy with the meat. One day we were all sitting at the table, we had already finished eating lunch, and he was at the grill with 12 hot dogs and 7 burgers cooking at 600 degrees (if you turn the gas down he will say something grouchy and sarcastic like, "Did you want to eat this burger sometime in the next 6 to 8 weeks?") Then we wrap it all up only to be thrown away days later (although, he will eat a reheated burger, I have to give him credit). The poor starving children in Ethiopia.

You know, I could go on and on about the people on this trip (except for me of course, I'm a pleasure to vacation with!) ;) But the truth is, we had a great time and a lot of memories to last a lifetime. I am so grateful my children have both sets of grandparents who are young and active and able to vacation with us. So I'll have to change the title of my book after all.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

School's Out Day: who's counting, I lost track

Ha! A whole week without blogging, I SHOWED YOU who's NOT addicted to blogging anymore. Now, after many harassing emails and IM's from my countless dedicated readers (Janice and Pam) I am back on the wagon. So let's catch you up to speed.
My husband was on vacation and the kids were up every single morning before 6 AM. And he's like, "How come when I'm leaving for work in the morning everyone's sleeping and now that I can sleep, everyone is up?" Good question hubs. Of course his first day back to work, he's heading out the door at 7:15...and the kids are sound asleep. He's talking to himself as he walks outside, "Oh yeah, yeah, where's everyone now? Daddy has to go to work -- doesn't anyone want to say goodbye to daddy? Nooooo, everyone's sleeping. OK, Bye kids....nice seeing you, have a nice day today."
Ava lost her other bottom tooth on Saturday morning eating a bagel at Dunkin Donuts. The only problem was that she was sleeping over my parents house that night, which meant my parents had to play tooth fairy. This wouldn't concern me if it weren't for my vivid childhood memory of the time the tooth fairy forgot to visit. Those who know me know that I can't remember what I ate for breakfast so the fact that I remember this is pretty impressive. I remember waking up, finding my tooth still in the pillow and giving the tooth fairy a piece of my mind. No joke, I was bull shit. Stomping my feet around my room saying, "I HATE YOU TOOTH FAIRY. I WILL NEVER NEVER NEVER LEAVE YOU ANOTHER TOOTH. YOU FORGOT ME. WHERE'S MY MONEY YOU NO-GOOD-ROTTEN &*%#&%&" (Ok, maybe not that last part) But anyway, I went running downstairs all flabbergasted and told my mother (in the excessively dramatic way that only I can do) that the tooth fairy didn't come. She had that "Oh shit" look upon her face and quickly explained that it had been a stormy night and the tooth fairy couldn't fly in the rain and wind. Huh. It sure sounded good, I processed the idea for a few minutes while I ate my Lucky Charms. Yup. Made sense, I could understand that reasoning. And for the record I did go back up to my room and apologize to the tooth fairy. But, no worries, the tooth fairy came to Chelsea (and made in and out without getting mugged) and left $5 which Ava then traded to my dad for a $10. No flies on that kid.
Last night I dreamt I was on the next season of MTV's oldest show"Real World" and I kept wondering if I should leave the show because it could be inappropriate as a public school teacher. When the camera panned across my face for my close-up I had orange mush all in my teeth from eating those Goldfish crackers (had I brought the kids with me to the show, why did I have their snacks?) I must have left the show cause here I am in my basement. What a shame, they had us set-up in one sick house in Can Cun. What can I say, I'm a dedicated public service provider.
Last but not least, my 6 year old is officially 6 going on 16. Her mouth and attitude these days are simply not acceptable. For the past week, I have done nothing but reprimand her for her flippant remarks. Does this happen in your house???? Luckily I have called in the reinforcements: Maddy. We were heading out yesterday and I told Ava she was not getting an ice cream from the ice cream truck and she replied in her screechiest, nastiest little voice, "YESSSSSSS, I AMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!"
I replied in my low stern voice emphasizing each word, "YOU. BETTER. WATCH.YOUR. MOUTH." I go storming off (ranting and raving to myself: "I'll show you, the LAST thing you'll get is an ice cream. I'll tell you WHAT...I will NOT have a little nasty bratty little girl in this house. You better watch yourself, you better NOT talk to me like that, WHO DO YOU THINK YOU'RE TALKING TO") and I see Maddy right up in Ava's face with her chubby little finger pointing at Ava, "YOU WATCH YOUR MOUT AVA." I thought maybe Ava was going to clock her, but she actually laughed, which lightened the mood. Off we went, and no she did not get an ice cream from the ice cream truck (my mother wanted to know if I got her one in the end....ye of little faith).