Monday, October 17, 2011

Teleportation and other Myths Exposed

After almost eighteen years of marriage and thirteen years of motherhood, I have noticed that the males in my household believe certain myths.  Now I am not talking about area 51 here.  No, these are a bit closer to home.  So I feel the need to expose or "debunk" some of the untruths they hold so dear.  What?  Am I being unfair?  Well yes, but since they don't have blogs they cannot argue with my myths that I hold dear.  Such as all sweets and yummy food must be surrendered to the mom for a "toll fee" bite.  My favorite!

Myth #1.  Clothes hangers when empty will teleport themselves to the laundry room for the next use.  It is not just in closets that I find empty hangers.  Nope.  Why just today I located three renegade hangers on the Little People's bedroom floor.  Just lying there like plastic roadkill.  They have also been discovered under beds, in the bathroom and my personal favorite, buried under the formless Pottery Barn couch in the armpit of Hades playroom.

Myth #2.  Used washcloths also teleport themselves to the laundry room.  My boys are all responsible for bringing their dirty clothes to the laundry room and for putting up the clean clothes.  With constant nagging and harassment positive reinforcement they handle this chore with great enthusiasm.  Except for washcloths.  For some unknown reason they live in the bathtub only.  It is not unusual to spend the entire day catching up on laundry only to walk in the bathroom and find five or more wet washcloths in the back end of the bathtub.  Today they were even folded.  That's right.  Wet, folded and stacked.

Myth #3.  Socks reproduce.  Well at least I think that is the myth.  Why else would they be left all over the floor, and tucked under couch cushions,  in every room of the house if it were not for propagation of the species?  And then they are surprised when they run of of clean socks.  (Insert eye roll and motherly sigh here.)

Myth #4.  Opening the refrigerator multiple times will make the options better.  The Eldest can be a picky eater. I often see him going between the pantry, freezer and refrigerator up to five times each checking out the options.  This occurs only when the options are scarce or really healthy.  I have never noticed that behavior when there is cake, cookies or pie. 

Myth #5.  The more toys on the bed, the more restful the sleep.  Do your children do this?  It is not uncommon to hear loud thunks as darling husband and I are sleeping in front of the TV watching TV at night.  Years ago this would have caused me to jump up in a panic thinking a child was lying unconscious with a broken neck on the floor.  I have learned that it is the sound of large, often heavy toys getting kicked out of bed as they flop over in bed.  Who knew that large Nerf guns were not sleep friendly? 

Myth #6.  This is perhaps the most prevalent myth among young male children.  Evidently they believe that if you urinate inside of the toilet bowl the toilet will snap certain parts off and thereafter you will be forced to dress in pink and wear very large, sparkly bows in your hair.  And as a final offering to the toilet god the lid must be left in the up position.  If you have any ideas on how to debunk this myth I am all ears! 

So what are some of the favorite myths in your house?  I am sure there are some amazing ones out there.  Now if you will excuse me there is a toll fee in need of collecting.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Tooth Fairy Problems

It might be time to fire the Tooth Fairy.  She has become somewhat unreliable in my house.  Now we all know that she has been around the block/world a few times and is not exactly a spring chicken anymore but lately she is missing a lot of teeth.  In the past year she has been delayed by rain, held up by technical issues (her wings went on the blink) and got grounded by all that ash coming from Iceland.  She also got hit by the recession once or twice and had to wait until she got paid for the teeth she already collected before she could disperse more cash. 

Twin B pulled out a wiggly tooth yesterday morning and put it under his pillow as he made his bed yesterday.  Guess what happened?

NOTHING!!!  That's right!  The old girl was a no show again!  Now it did rain last night and we old folks do not like being cold and wet so maybe that held her up a bit.   But Twin B was feeling a bit neglected until we solved the mystery of the non-visit.  The culprits?  Shoes.  That's right shoes.  Evidently the little people left their stinky school shoes downstairs instead of putting them on the shoe rack in their room.  Those nasty tennis shoes rampaged through the house, scaring off the tooth fairy and ended up in my pantry with an unopened Rice Crispy Treat between them.  Awful!  Well maybe the old girl will show up tonight if those montrous shoes are caged up in the closet where they belong. 

The tooth fairy may be old but she is still a quick thinker!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Things I did not know before children.

Long ago I babysat children.  I had cousins and friends with siblings.  I worked for a pediatric ENT.  Totally ready for that whole having kids thing.  Right?  I knew nothing everything about raising kids. After having three boys here are some things they have taught me. 

Baby proofing the house is not physically possible.  You can make it somewhat safer for the child, but the house and furniture will never be the same.  Those child locks on the door will not protect the contents from twins.  They are perfectly capable of tag teaming the door, at 16 months old, and ripping the door off the hinges. 

Banana pudding when flung on wooden mini blinds and kitchen walls is there to stay.  Years later you will still find spots you missed even though you cleaned for five hours.

Never walk away from a toddler who is eating banana pudding.  That two minute potty break is not worth the hours of cleaning.  Also never walk away from a toddler who is potty training.  Enough said!

Boys enjoy crashing into each other for no apparent reason.  They will do this even though it hurts and you tell them to stop.  Broken collar bones are very obvious.

Stores are amazing hiding places for small children.  When you let go of a toddler's hand to pick something up they will be gone in an instant, especially if there is more than one.  People seldom want to get near the hysterical mother screaming children's names in stores.  But they will give you dirty looks and talk bad about you to your face. 

People love stopping you to look at your adorable twin babies.  They just don't like opening doors so you can push the shopping cart  and the stroller through the door while holding onto the third child's hand. 

It is socially acceptable to grasp with both hands, a stranger's pregnant belly.  It is also acceptable to ask  a perfect stranger if twins run in her family or if she took meds or had an invitro-fertilization to produce the twins.

Screen windows are not effective after pencils and hot wheels are driven through them.  Screen windows are also not that cheap to replace. 

Flat paint does not scrub well.  No matter what the brand.

A freshly eaten Oreo will leave evidence when you bite the back of your brother's school shirt right before you leave for school.

Nerf battles take over the whole house.  Bullets can stick to curtains and they will be found under the couch cushions and in the pantry.  Don't ask how, just trust me, they will.  

Cute foam, child sized furniture will turn to mush when children use it as landing pads.  That $300 Pottery Barn couch will be a shapeless puddle of fabric within six months.  That is why I smiled when I bought it for $25 at the outlet. 

Resale and consignment shops are your friend!  You may not ever have clothes to sale after three boys wear them but spending $5 on a pair of dress slacks feels a lot better when the kid shreds them after falling over his brother the first time he wears them. 

Bicycle helmets are a necessity!  They will save your child's life and at least prevent concussions. 

Boys are not quiet, neat or safety conscious.  They do however love their mother above all else.  They will open car doors, house doors and carry in groceries twice their size just for a smile and a kiss.  Neighbor boys will also do those things just because you treat them the same as your own children. 

It is possible to love multiple children just as much as the first child and the love grows stronger each day.

It is possible to be scared out of your mind one minute and full of joy the next.  Children do that to you.  Raising children is worth the work.  Watching helpless infants turn into loving, smart, resourceful young men is better than any Hollywood blockbuster.  I wouldn't miss this show for the world.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Traveling: Then and Now

Long ago in a land before children, I LOVED traveling. In college my roommates would walk in the door at 4:00 p.m. on a Friday asking who was working that weekend.  No football games, no band practice, not on the work schedule, ROAD TRIP!  By midnight we would be packed into the car, often with another car behind us and off on an adventure.  Florida, New Orleans, maybe to-be-decided along the way.  One time we drove from Monroe, Louisiana to Jonesboro, Arkansas to take homemade treats to a friend in a drum and bugle corp.  We  watched the show, visited with our friend, met the group and then proceeded to drive the six hours back that same night.  Exhausted we pulled into the driveway sometime just after dawn.  Loved it!  That was then.

Now.  The planning begins at least two weeks in advance.  Laundry has to be completely caught up so a household of five (four this weekend) can  be packed up.  Weather reports must be checked so that everyone is warm, dry or not to hot.  If the beast is not traveling with us, then the vet has to be scheduled to board said beast.  Medications have to be filled.  Toys have to be packed.  And activities must be planned for after arrival, and if on a long trip, scheduled along the way for relief.  Healthy snacks are purchased, portioned in individual serving sizes so everyone can have their own, and reduce the level of fussing, arguing and pushing for premature termination from a sibling or parental unit.  Road rules have to be established before starting off on the trip.  I get one CD of music then you people get one movie.  If the three of you cannot agree on a movie then I listen to my music all the way there.  The van aka "The Mothership" has to be cleaned out of the day-to-day filth of three children so that she can be ready for travel filth.  Really, do you know people with clean cars?  I only know one and it's not me!  By the time the trip is over and the unpacking begins I feel like I have run a marathon.  Except I don't run, that is to much like work!  And the brood wonders why I roll my eyes every time they say "Road Trip"!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Uniform Blues

It is fall here in Tennessee and unlike in my home state of Louisiana that means cooler temperatures in the morning and evenings with beautiful temperate afternoons.  Of course that also means that instead of shorts the little people have started opting for pants and short sleeved shirts to wear to school.  They are still in elementary school so the summer uniform consists of short sleeved uniform shirt with khaki shorts or PE tee and shorts.  The winter uniform, which will be in effect next month, is dress khaki slacks or PE sweats.  No problems with figuring out what to wear, no drama in the mornings, easy stuff.  Except when it is time buy new stuff.  Only one brand/store is sanctioned by the school so the cost is your first born and all your chocolate.  We parents get by with the used uniform sale at the school and then only supplement if necessary from the store.  Now the first few years were great.  Hand-me-downs from big brother and the sale carried us most of the way through the year.  This year...not so much.

The eldest came home to be schooled after fourth grade so we are now officially out of hand-me-downs.  Last May when the uniform sale hit I was scheduled within a inch of my life and did not get to the sale.  We got through the beginning of school with our leftovers from last year.  And then Twin B did it again.  He grew!  A and B are not identical.  B has 1 to 1 1/2 inches on his twin at any given time.  Fine.  No problem.  Went to the uniform store yesterday, dropped $65.00 on two pair of slacks to get us through this week. (I don't know why the kid actually wants to breathe when the pants are buttoned anyway.)  Good to go!

Today is field day.  They both needed to wear their PE sweats this morning.  Can you guess it?  Ding, ding, ding!  Gold star for you!  B doesn't fit in any of the old sweats!  And there is only one almost decent pair left. Two small holes on each knee count as decent right?  I forgot that I had cut off all the old ones and made them into play shorts this summer.  Oops!  Back to the uniform store for four pairs of sweats today.  I haven't been yet but I am sure the price will make me seek comfort in my secret chocolate stash.  Now where is that brick so I can put it on their heads to keep them little.

Monday, October 3, 2011


I went to see the new movie "How Does She Do It" last night."  It was a cute movie but not earth shatteringly funny.  The one thing that annoyed me was the unflattering comparison of working versus nonworking mothers yet again.  Having been on both sides of this discussion I must say, there is NO easy way of being a mom.  No matter if you work outside the home, or in the home, it is still work.  Work we signed up for voluntarily but none the less, real physical labor.

If you work outside the home then all the work to be accomplished at home still has to get done.  Children have to be taken to and from school, fed and hopefully, if they remembered to bring the laundry down, in clean clothes.  School projects have to be supervised, tests studied for, and extracurricular activities managed.  And they need to have your time along the way for kissed boo boos, bedtime stories or real conversations about their day and life stresses.  Then, you have to do your job so you can come home and put in your other eight hour day.  Hectic, stressful and not easy.  It helps if you have a job you love like the movie's character but either way the job pays bills so it has to be done and done well.  Your day, your time, is not your own.  Conflicting schedules have to be juggled all the while praying like mad that you don't drop a single ball or they might all fall down.

If you are a stay at home mom the juggling game is still the same, it is just the details that change.  Because you are at home others assume that you are available to help out at church, school, and at a moment's notice pick up items forgotten by other members of the family.  It is assumed that your house will be spotless, your meals will be home cooked, your children perfectly dressed and school projects wonderful because of your availability.  But of course real life intervenes and on a regular basis throws all schedules out of whack.  Extracurricular activities take on a life of their own, shoes go in gutters, children lick the floors and walls of their school come home sick, volunteer projects get out of hand and just as quickly as the working mom, your day, your time, is not your own.  All the balls are in the air and if one falls the rest quickly follow. 

Why do we do this to ourselves?  Are we as women all crazy gluttons for punishment?  I don't think so.  Recently a innocent comment about sports got me to thinking about women and how we behave.  "Oh yeah, your a woman so you think with your heart, not your head."  This referred to a woman's support for a particular team because her husband liked the team.  I think that statement defines women.

We do think with our hearts.  It is with out hearts that we desire to become mothers, give up our bodies, vices, sleep and the ability to accomplish more than one errand without running to the ladies room. It is with our hearts that we nurture our children, protect them, love our spouses, and maintain family relationships and friendships.  When we take on that big project at work or decide to home school a child who is struggling, we do so because we are looking at the big picture.  This project will provide for my family, this child needs more help.  We are not organizing a flow chart in our heads and deciding if we can fit it in the schedule.  We pick up that extra ball and toss it in the air because our heart calls us to help, to love, to be of service for others.  Love cannot be decided with the head.  And we love fiercely.

Working outside of the home, working in the home, it is all based on love.  And that is why we should support each other as passionately as we support out families.  Because we are all juggling.  We are all doing the best that we can in a crazy, hectic world that often expects the unrealistic from mere human beings.  We are all struggling with the same basic issues and lying awake at night, making lists and double checking that nothing has been dropped.  Good luck this week with juggling your schedules and commitments and take an extra moment to be nice to another mom.  

Saturday, October 1, 2011

What was I thinking?

Have you ever caved into the demands of children only to ask later, "What was I thinking?"  Actually after today I am beginning to wonder if I was taking drugs thinking.  For several years the Little People (Twins A and B) have asked if they could join the scouts.  Knowing that our schedule is insane on a normal basis and that darling husband works a bazillion hours a week I said no.  Well this year I caved, lost my last brain cell, and said "Sure, you can all three join Cub/Boy Scouts!"  "We will figure it all out."  Really???  I am not new to this mom game.  The eldest is 13 years old for goodness sake.  I know that promises made by children are soon dropped like dirty shoes on a spotless floor.  But I went there anyway.  What was I thinking?

First off scouting is not a poor man's activity.  Uniforms, books, patches (yes they all have to be sewn on) and camping gear will run high dollar.  Ladies, this seriously hurt my shoe/Godiva budget! Next, they all have meetings to go to weekly.  Two different meetings added to an already complete schedule.  Then there are the camping trips.  The short people only have two a year, the eldest has one a month.  There are badges to be earned (worksheets to be done by the boys and their parents/den leaders) skills to master and physical fitness challenges to be recorded and improved upon.  Of course all this is on top of homework and any other activities they might be involved in on a regular basis.  What was I thinking?

Now don't get me wrong, I still feel that the Boy Scouts is a valuable experience and will build character and useful skills.  But WOW!  The amount of time far exceeded my expectations.  Today between all three children, DH and I spent from 10:00- 4:45 on scout related stuff.  My only free day of the week.  And people were peeved because they were working on multiple objectives that are due tomorrow at 4:00 p.m instead of playing with friends on a beautiful day.  Promises to work hard and cheerfully put in the effort to achieve desired goals; dropped like stinky shoes.  What was I thinking?

But the work is done for today.  Well, all except that 30 day record of physical activity that is due tomorrow that we haven't started yet.  Yeah, I wonder if they give mom merit badges for under achiever?  Now, where did I stash the chocolate?