Wednesday, July 25

Random Conversation of the Week

Doodles: Mommy, when I grow up, can I be pharaoh?
Me: No, sweetie. There are no pharaohs anymore.
Doodles: Why not?
Me: The pharaohs all died long ago. Egypt is now ruled by a president.
Doodles: What's a president?
Me: He's someone chosen by the people to run a country [Note: I am aware that Egypt's president wasn't exactly chosen by the people, but cut me some slack people! The kid isn't even four yet]. We have a president!
Doodles: Who's our president?
Me: George Bush.
Doodles: Who's Egypt's president?
Me: Hosni Mubarak.
Doodles: Is George Bush a boy or a girl?
Me: A boy.
Doodles: Is Hosni Mubarah a boy or a girl?
Me: A boy.
Doodles: Are all presidents boys?
Me: It's happened that all of the U.S.'s presidents have been boys but they don't have to be boys. Girls can be president too.
Doodles: Oh. Can I meet Hosni Mubarak?
Me: What?
Doodles: I want to meet Hosni Mubarak. Can I meet him?
Me: Oh, sweetie, that's not going to happen.
Doodles: Why not?
Me: Hosni Mubarak is very busy running Egypt! He doesn't have time to meet with us, I'm afraid.
Doodles: Oh. Can I have a Popsicle?

Birthday Blues Redux

Shhh, I'm hiding in my office. In about 45 minutes, I get to go out to dinner with a girlfriend--no kids!--but for now, I'm trying to recover from the last three hours when my children broke me. Broke me, I tell you!

The Pie and Doodles both have birthdays coming up at the end of August. They'll be having a joint birthday party, as no way am I going through party hell twice in the same month. Doodles has had his theme picked out for months now: Egypt's pyramids (and he's always very specific to say, "Egypt," which is odd given that I don't think he knows about the Aztec pyramids or any other pyramids for that fact).

When he was turning two, the theme of his party was obvious: Doodles was way into his guitar. He played that thing every day; he was completely obsessed about it! But Pie doesn't have any obsessions the same way (unless you include tormenting me as one of her obsessions, but really, I have no desire to throw a "Watch Mommy Go Insane!" party). She has a lot of mild interests, but nothing that sticks. I'm trying to stay away from the branded party, although truth be told, she is rather fond of Hello Kitty. At first I thought we'd do a beach themed party. I ran it past her a few times, and she seemed to like the idea. But then the two of us were in Target the other day, and they had a ton of train stuff, some of it quite cheap. "Trains, trains, trains!!" she exclaimed with glee. It had crossed my mind to throw her a train party, but I hesitated because I wasn't sure if she genuinely liked trains or just played with them because that was what Doodles played with.

Me: Do you want to have a train birthday, Pie?
Pie: Yes! Train birthday! Train

I stocked up the cart and throughout our shopping, I would periodically check in with her.

Me: Pie, do you want a beach birthday or a train birthday?
Pie: Train birthday!
Me [just making sure the order wasn't influencing her answer]: Do you want a train birthday or a beach birthday?
Pie: Train birthday!

Yeah! Theme chosen by Pie. I bought a bunch of party favors and thought about the train cake I'm going to make her. We finally finished up at Target and I'm putting Pie into her car seat.

Me: How exciting! Pie is going to have a train birthday!
Pie [looking at me like I'm nuts]: No! No trains! Butterfly birthday!

Sigh. At least I still have the receipts.

Wednesday, July 18

Tears and Blood-Curdling Wails

I cannot fathom--cannot even begin to fathom--that when Doodles was the age that Pie currently is, I was one mere month away from giving birth.

And that is simply because the Pie is making me insane. I was going to actually write that I don't know how this happened, because Doodles was such an angel at this age... and then I went back and read my blog. Hmmm. That selective Mommy memory is already setting in, because, apparently, Doodles was no angel at this age. However, Doodles had a secret weapon the Pie doesn't have: Doodles had the finger. Yes, that's right, Doodles has always been--and may always be--a finger sucker. He also has a thing for his belly button, a holdover from the days when he was obsessed with my belly button and I was able to transfer him to his own (and woe to the person who tries to block that belly button with a snow suit or tucked in shirt). Whenever Doodles got upset, he'd retreat to his finger and belly button and all would be calm.

Ah, the Pie. The Pie who's only source of comfort is the Ming Ming, which I am trying to slowly but surely (and with utter failure) wean her from. So instead of soothing herself, Pie works herself into the tizzy of all tizzies. She has mastered the temper tantrum like nothing I've seen before. What causes temper tantrums? Easier to list what doesn't cause them. What doesn't cause them is... Hmmm, let me get back to you on that.

Here is a random sampling of tempter tantrums we had in one twenty-four hour period. This is in no way a complete list:
--We're three minutes in on a twenty-five minute drive to a friend's for a playdate. Pie is wearing her galoshes. No, it's not raining. Yes, it's close to 90 degrees. But it is the footwear she has chosen and I am not one to make any fashion demands, so galoshes it is. Only these galoshes are hand-me-downs and they're two sizes too big, so while we are going 55 mph on a highway, and she is safely strapped in her car seat, the boot falls off her foot and onto the floor. "Booooooooot!" she yells. "Sweetie, I'm driving and I can't reach your boot. As soon as we get there, I'll put the boot back on you." "Booooooooooooot! Boooooooooot! Boooooooooooooooooot." Tears and blood-curdling wails ensue.
--At the ice skating rink, Pie is on the ice with her coach. A boy waiting to enter the ice falls down. I help him to his feet. Pie witnesses my absolute betrayal, the fact that I have touched another child. Tears and blood-curdling wails ensue.
--At one of Doodles's friend's houses, the play tunnel, basketball hoop, water table, and selection of snacks is insufficient. Pie wants to go elsewhere. Specifically, the street. In traffic. I, surprisingly, have to veto. Tears and blood-curdling wails ensue. Playdate ends early.
--Pie wants to wear her polar bear socks to bed. "No, dinosaurs! Dinosaurs!" Put on dinosaur socks. Dinosaur socks are yanked off. "Socks, socks!" Other socks are found, put on, and subsequently yanked off. We give up on the socks, place Pie in her crib, and leave. "Socks! Socks! Soooooocks!" comes the wail from the bedroom. Tears and blood-curdling wails ensue.
--"Pie, would you like water or milk with lunch?" "Water." "Would you like a sippy or big girl cup?" "Big girl cup." Return with water. "Other big girl cup! Other big girl cup!" Try three other big girl cups. "Other big girl cup!" Cup goes flying across table, splashing water all over mail. I decide no water for Pie. Tears and blood-curdling wails ensue.
--At home Pie doesn't want to get dressed. When she does get dressed, she has to select and then reject twelve items. Which is fine. Because we're home. But then we go out and in the middle of, oh, anything, Pie will walk up to me and suddenly demand, "Other dress! Other dress!" I don't know about you, but I try to carry as little with me as possible when I go out. And I generally don't carry around multiple changes of clothing for my daughter. As you can imagine, tears and blood-curdling wails ensure.
--Pie tries to pour coffee on Adam's work computer. Adam removes his work computer. Tears and blood-curdling wails ensue.

We've been having these kinds of days lately. Doodles is sharp enough to realize that when Pie is really going strong, he should back off. Granted, not always, but he generally cuts me enough slack that I only have to deal with one angry child at a time. He's gotten good at saving his misbehavoir for her naps, although in some ways it would be better if I could just lock them both in a room at once.

But I survive, counting the minutes till Adam gets home and I can chill. And by morning, I'm revitalized, ready to start again.

This past Monday, was particularly bad and I couldn't wait to get those munchkins to bed. After all was quiet, I poured myself a big glass of wine and sat down to finish up our DVD of Big Love. By the time it was done, I was feeling human again, and I got into bed and curled up with my book. Things were looking up. By 10:30, the lights were off and I was sleeping in my warm cozy bed.

Until... 11:03, when the Pie started screaming again. By 11:23, there were little feet digging into my side as Doodles escaped the noise of their shared room (and the crying has to be pretty obnoxious to wake Doodles up--almost nothing wakes him up!) to our room to avoid the screaming. So it wasn't a great night's sleep.

But you know how there are those special moments with your kid that just makes it all worthwhile? Let me tell... this wasn't one of them: The next morning, I woke up to a warm body snuggling against me. Doodles took my arm and wrapped it around his body and he inched in closer. We lay there quietly, enjoying the peace. Adam was downstairs, the Pie was--finally--sound asleep. After fifteen minutes, Doodles rolled over, and gave me a huge smile. "Mommy?" he said.

"Mmmhmmm?" I replied, in my happy place.

"Mommy?" Again, the heart-melting smile. "Mommy, why do you have such a big tummy?" Poke, poke, poke right in the belly.

Let the day begin.

Banana Rama

I fear the banana. Seriously. The banana terrifies me. Because when the Pie points and says, "Banana! Banana!" you never know what you're going to get. The first step is to hand her the entire unpeeled banana. Whatever you do, do not peel the banana without first obtaining explicit permission. I'm not even going to go to that place you go to when you do an unsolicited peeling.

The absolute best case scenario is that she takes the banana, plays with it to within an inch of its life, and then hands you back a completely mushed up banana with the expectation that you will then peel it and eat it for her viewing pleasure.

The worst case scenario is that she asks you to start to peel it, but midway through the peel, she suddenly changes her mind, and howls angrily at both you and the banana.

In-between scenarios include asking you to begin peeling the banana, and then she carefully pulls the peels off one by one and three days later you find an unpeeled banana trapped in the sofa cushions.

People, please. Hide your bananas! I beg of you!

Wednesday, July 11

Mean Mommy

I absolutely won the Mean Mommy of the Year Award last Sunday. We had a fun-filled morning at the beach with my mother-in-law in New Hampshire. It was a bit chilly out, but the kids didn't care one whit (although it made me cranky. As I said to Adam, "We have a word for this kind of day at the beach back home [in Miami Beach]. The word is February." They had a blast. Pie searched for shells and just stood at the ocean's edge. Doodles had a blast making a "castle" (otherwise known as one big mound of sand) and then digging a moat around it. Adam ran interference with whichever kid my MIL wasn't watching and I had a great time sitting in a beach chair reading a book just for fun. Yeah!

Except that at one point, Doodles somehow got some sand in his eye. He cried and cried, which I encouraged to get the sand out. We beat a retreat from the beach and he seemed fine so we went out for a delightful lunch (note to self: Next time I plan on getting back on the healthy eating track, consider not ordering fried oysters, fried mushrooms, French fries, and a S'mores Sundae). Periodically he'd complain about his eye, but he had fun.

On the way home, the munchkin passed out in the car. So tired! (Did his sister, who we wanted to nap, fall asleep? I'm guessing I don't even have to answer that one for you!) We transfered him to the couch when we got home. At about 3:30, I shook him awake. "Hey Doodles. Hey Doodles! Do you want to go to a carnival with your friend Grape?"

Doodles doesn't wake up well from naps, but he does okay when he has an incentive. I had made plans with Grape's mom to meet at the carnival in the neighboring town, but I hadn't told Doodles because I didn't want him to get all worked up.

"Do you want to go."

"Yes!" he shrieked. "Can I go on rides?" Then he starts rubbing his eyes. "My eyes hurt!" he complains.

I take a look and sand is still coming out of them. I peer into his eyes and see globs of sand inside.

"Oh, sweetie," I tell him. "I'm sorry. I'm not going to take you to the carnival. I'm going to take you to the emergency room."

I'm sorry, no matter how you paint it, the emergency room is just not as fun as a carnival, even when your mom says things like, "Aren't you lucky getting to watch this completely age-inappropriate film in the waiting room?" and "My, isn't this an adventure?"

He was actually somewhat game for the adventure part until the pediatrician came at him with the eye irrigation.

Guilt. Guilt. Guilt. And it was the last day of the carnival and by the time we left the ER (two and a half hours later), the carnival was over. I let him rent a movie but it just wasn't the same. This is definitely one for this therapist when he's grown.

A Pie by Any Other Name Would Smell Trouble

I'm not sure where she learned it, but Pie's new phrase is "Look at me!" It is yelled everywhere for any purpose. While I generally find it amusing, the other folks, um, dining (using the word in its loosest meaning) at Costco weren't impressed when Pie filled her fork with cheese from her pizza, leaped to stand on the bench, waved said fork around, yelling, "Look at me! Look at me!" I tried not to look.

She screams. Oh, does she scream? Did I put the markers in the wrong place? Scream! She can't put the cushion back on the couch? Scream! After running away from me at top speed three times, forcing me to put her back into her stroller? Scream! She didn't want to be pushed in to the table? Oh, wait, she did. Oh, no she didn't? Scream! Just feels like expressing herself? Scream!

Apparently Pie is a big fan of the younger kids in her day care room. But this week, I'm afraid, she had an issue with "gentle hands." In giving a hug to her a littler friend, the hug turned into more of a wrestling match. Um, gee. Wonder where she got that from? Oh, Doodles! Where are you?

For as long as I can remember, Doodles has wandered into our bed in the middle of the night. We've set rules about when he can come in (he must at least first attempt to sleep in his own bed). But for the past week now, Doodles has been spending the entire night in his own bed! All the way through! He wakes up much more chipper than he used to. But then again, he wakes up much earlier than he used to. Guess who we can thank for that. In my half fog of the wee early hours (just before 5 a.m.), I hear murmurs of a conversation coming from the other room. I close my eyes and think, "Just another half hour. Let's make it another half hour." But within minutes, our door flies open and a little person stands in the doorway and yells--yes, yells at 4:55 a.m.--"Hey guys! It's morning time! Pie needs you!" It's always "Hey guys." Where did that come from? And then he flies back to his room to yell, "Hey Pie, they're coming!" And god forbid we don't move fast enough. Back he is, to insist, "Pie wants you to pick her up!" One morning he actually said, "I told her to jump without using her hands but she couldn't do it." Oy. He's masterminding her escape now! I can see her crib vaulting in the not-too-distant future. Do we really need to accelerate the process?

What I Don't Know

I'm sorry, but can I just say, one more time, I don't know, I don't know, I DON'T KNOW! I'm sorry, Doodles, that your mother has such tremendous gaps in her very expensive education, but I simply don't know any of the following (all inquired about before noon on a single day; this doesn't include the forty questions I was able to give some sort of answer to):

--How the pee and poop slide out of the body beyond the fact that the bladder and bowels fill and then everything seems to find its way out.
--Who's pitching for the Red Sox tonight.
--How mommies' bodies make ming ming
--Why Moses died. I do know he's not buried in the pyramid but I don't know if he has a special tomb and how people find him if he's not in a cemetery. Or why Moses taught the Jewish people about God.
--What science is.*
--What that is (when "that" is some random object being pointed at from the back seat of the car as we're driving 40 miles per hour).
--Why dinosaurs roared.
--If lightening is squishy.

*Note when this question befuddled me, I called my father, who is a sciencephile. He gave Doodles a five-minute explanation, the gist of which was: "You know about the stars, right? And you know about dinosaurs, right? Well, science is when you take all the information you know about something and you organize it. You make connections between the things you know."

Flashforward to that night at dinner.
Me: Did you talk to anybody today?
Doodles: To Peter!
Adam: You talked to Peter?
Doodles: Yeah.
Me: Did Peter explain what science is?
Doodles: Yeah.
Adam: So, what is science?
Doodles: It's when you connect stars to dinosaurs.

Wednesday, July 4

Happy 4th of July!

Ever have one of those days? You know the kind of day when the person previously organizing the neighborhood 4th of July parade decides her kids are too old for the parade and some how the organization of the parade falls into your lap? So you quickly make some signs and go with a neighbor to put in the neighborhood only to discover that no, packing tape won't stick to telephone poles, stay up way too late the night before burning patriotic music, get up early in the morning to buy size D batteries for your boombox, help your son dress up his bike, get your kids dressed in their red, white, and blue and properly decked out in sporty novelty headbands, tattoos, and bracelets? You lead a large crowd in the Pledge of Allegience (don't forget: it's indivisible, not invisible), and then march around the block trying to stay just far enough ahead of your son to get a decent picture?

The kind of day when about 40 of your friends come over to the house but you can't say more than two words to any of them because--oh no!--the corn needs to be replenished and is that person standing by himself? He needs to meet so and so. And, oh, four more kids need tattoos and, hey, everything is calm, but you can't talk coherently to anyone because you just realized you've had three glasses of wine and the last thing you ate was the four spoonfuls of frosting after making the mini cupcakes six hours earlier and you are absolutely incapable of coherent conversation? And the outdoor BBQ you planned is jeopordized by rain so you come up with the brilliant idea of putting the tables on the front porch so you're still outside, but if it rains, you have cover, and you wait for you husband to tell you what pure genius this idea is, but he just grunts and says, "Can I start grilling?" The kind of day when your son won't stop bugging you with the "Can I have a cupcake? Can I have a cookie? Can I have a chocolate pretzel?" until you finally say to him, "Why don't you just eat what you like and not tell me?" and you realize he's taken it to the next step and is eating cookies in his bed, is running down the street in his bare feet, and has convinced his friends it's okay to jump on his bed. And then when you finally calm down and everyone's fed and you're ready to socialize everyone leaves the party despite your begging them to stay?

The kind of day when you suddenly have a backyard, a front yard, a front porch, a living room, a dining room, a kitchen, and a playroom to clean but you're exhausted and you have to blog and all you want to do is just sleep, but you kind of dread sleeping because the sooner your sleep the sooner you wake up and tomorrow is supposed to be a day full of rain and you don't have a single thing for your kids to do?

Yeah, me too.