"Mom, how does the Tooth Fairy fly through the air?"
"How do YOU think?"
"I think moms do it."
"But how can a Mom be a Tooth Fairy?"
"Good moms are lots of things, Princess."

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Another Parenting Moment Unenvisionable Pre-Children

I exit the store and pull the Suburban out of the parking space, passing the store display window as I leave the parking lot. I stop short.

Cuddle Bear?
You did that, didn't you.


I drag the Cuddle Bear back into the store and set her in front of the owner.

"Well, hello again!"

She said she's the one who de-pantsed your mannequin. And she's sorry.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Because It's Been Awhile Since I've Griped About Homework

I would do it again in a heartbeat.

The cruise. There is no fallout that would make it not worthwhile. None.

That said, the past four weeks have been....er....challenging? Difficult? Loud? A living nightmare that I can't seem to wake up from?

Yeah. That one.

There was spring break. And we likey institutional structure. Well. One of us does. And that Friday it was time to pick the homework back up. Mind you, there had been four weeks, FOUR WEEKS, where Princess completed her homework on time compliantly with a decent attitude. It didn't exactly lull me into complacency- it's not like the stomach aches or the twitch went away, but, you know. You start to like it.

And then it aaaaaaaaaaall hits the fan, it's all too much, and you get this:

and in response to the child reporting to the teacher that you "won't help her," and the child reporting back to you that the teacher said, "tell your mom that she has to help you because moms are supposed to help their children," and the resulting e-mail from the teacher saying that what she actually said was, "I know your mom helps you; moms are supposed to help," you make her this:

...which you find the next morning looking like this:

The next day a note came home requiring my signature to inform me that Princess had not turned in her required on book a week.

No kidding?

I slid aforesaid book across the counter to her, and she read it perfectly. With expression. I said, "I do NOT think your homework is too hard for you at all," and I slid the note in front of her. "I think you should read and sign this, too." The Oscar the Princess look shoved itself onto her face.

I KNOW what it says.
Then tell me.
Dear Parent, as you know
No, you said you know what it says. So tell me.
I forgot.
Then read it and tell me what it's telling you.

So she did. With the grouch face.

I don't know what compelled me. Maybe righteous anger that she can do her work, she just, you know, won't. Maybe getting-ahead-of-myself fear for her future. But I said, "do you remember that letter J wrote to you in the cover of her baby book?" (nods) "Do you remember what it says?" (shakes head). I went downstairs to get it. When I got there I stood in front of the door remembering that Josh locked it to keep the kids from using the toilet in there and not flushing and letting it sit and sit and sit until it becomes and actual part of the toilet, forgetting that it's a keyed lock and we don't have the key so now we have to wait for a slow weekend to break off the knob and replace it.

I kicked the door a few times chanting "frick" softly to my self.

I went back up.

"Ok. So I can't show it to you. But I remember it. She told you that she wants you to do all your work in school so you can finish and have choices for a job. J didn't do all her school, and that's part of why she is having so much trouble now. J couldn't take care of you, but she loves you and cares about you. She wants better for you that she had for herself. She wants you to do all the school you can."

Josh overheard and came in. He reminded Princess that just at dinner she was talking about what she wanted to do for a job as a grownup. What was it again?


I said, "Princess, do you know that regular kids answer questions? It's called talking. You can do it, too. You can be brave and answer Daddy's question."


And the three of us went on to have an actual conversation. Once in which Princess actually spoke. Not that she was happy about it. I was not being sarcastic when I encouraged her to be brave: talking to us feels like a risk to her.

At the end, Princess still had her arms folded across her chest and a semi-crabby look on her face. Josh said, "so what do you think a regular kid would do now?"

Smile. And hug you.

"Why don't you try it out, honey? Practice being a regular kid. You can be brave. You can do it. Try it out. See how it feels."

And holy shnikers, she did.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

End of Spring Break Soapsud Reflections

I was wondering, while washing the dishes, why 3/4 of the children can lose their tempers and scream something unsavory at me, and it ruffles none of my feathers

while 1/4 of the children send me into a paralyzed depression.

I think it's because exactly 1/4 of the time I suspect the unsavory things might be true.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

My Suddenly Empty Room

"Look! You made Mommy crabby!"
"No! You made Mom crabby!"
"No, it was YOU!"
"No, YOU!"

Which I found entirely fascinating, because I was feeling the least crabby I have felt all week. Because all I was doing was being entirely fascinated.

Christine saved my life this week by giving me the most condensed version ever of the conference she attended. She does that. It took me about three days to process what she said, so I wrote it on my hand:

Here are the things that actually do make me crabby:
1. fighting
2. tattleing
3. taking your booster seat out from under you in the car and hitting your sister over the head with it repeatedly.

Actually, there are really only two, because fighting and tattling never happen separately. And there was a lot of it this morning.

MooOOOOOooooom, Peanut is using my marker and she's not being respechful with it and she keeps slamming it into the table and writing on the table!
Wow! You sound really frustrated that Peanut is using your marker. I wonder who told you that you had to let Peanut use your markers.
No one.
Oh! No one told you that you had to let Peanut use your markers, and you're letting her use your markers, but it makes you feel really frustrated.

Confused look. Suddenly empty room.

MOOOoooooOOOOoooom, I put Peanuts bike away and Peanut threw my bike RIGHT ON THE GROUND!
Wow. That sounds like it would be really frustrating! I wonder what on earth would make Peanut so angry she'd throw someone else's bike?

Confused look. Suddenly empty room.

Why do you think the kids are so upset that you're singing?
I don't know.
Hmm. Let's pretend you did know. What would you say?
(Really long silence. Per Christine, I put the look on her face onto mine, and tilt my head to the side. Princess becomes increasingly annoyed)
You don't want to talk. That's cool. Let's not talk.
Oh. They want you to not sing, but you want to sing and you want them to like it.
ARRGH! (stomp stomp stomp stomp SLAM)

Suddenly empty room.

How on earth can you be crabby when you're in a suddenly quiet and empty room?
You can't. You can knit.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

When Mother's Day Comes Early

"Let's make Mom a pwesent!!!" spoken in hushed tones by the two children who still cannot pronounce their "r"s.
Peanut and the Cuddle Bear disappear into the depths of the basement playroom.

"Hewe, Mom! Happy Mudder's Day!" shouts the Cuddle Bear. Peanut stands nearby with a grin.

I open the leftover birthday gift bag, peel back the left over birthday tissue and expose...

"What on earth..." Orange rolls of foam spill out. Thousands of them. Josh loves Amazon.
And I recognize them.

Peanut claps her hands.
"They're eaw plugs!" squeals the Cuddle Bear, "you can put them in your eaws when Pwincess sqweams!"

"Oh my. Thank-you, girls. That's so, um.... thoughtful."

Because, of course, it was.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Who Made Spring Break an Annual Event?

It is three hours into spring break, and I have already officially lost it.

Princess is super-nice while Josh is here. Or when anyone is here. Or when she's somewhere else, but as soon as that door shuts...

Well. Not so much.

So the door shut this morning, and immediately Princess began yelling at her sisters about cleaning up their room. Then, when they started yelling at her, she wanted me to "tell them to stop yelling at her."

When I went up to check on said supposedly cleaned-up room (and whatever was making to sound of hyenas in heat fighting each other to the death), Princess was in their room threatening to hit them with a doll chair held over her head.

I sent her to her room. Mostly to calm down my now-triggered self. And was told to shut up.

She calmed quickly because there was a pile of laundry to put away on her bed. Who doesn't love a good pile of laundry? I wasn't angry anymore, but my cow, this stuff HURTS! and I wasn't quite done hurting. So going in was certainly a mistake, but I did anyway. I mentioned that I really did not appreciate that she could be plenty nice while Daddy was here, but turns mean to me as soon as he leave. And I suggested that she reflect on the fact that she spends faaaaaaaaaar more time with me, and perhaps said time would be more pleasant for both of us if she used some of that niceness on me. Except I may have actually said, "fake niceness," which of course was another mistake. Then I went downstairs.

Probably as a direct result of the fake niceness barb, Princess went a whole fifteen seconds before whining about how she couldn't finish her laundry because she didn't have enough hangers. Because there is no way in the world you can do anything with laundry if you don't have a hanger. Putting things in dressers is unthinkable. I told her that if she felt she had too much clothing (which she does. I'm a sucker), she could feel free to bring some to me for storage for someone younger. To which she complied.

By throwing them at me.

And in the course of the dialouge that came next, I broke out the sarcasm. A lot of sarcasm.

Is that mistake #3? I lost count.

She said don't talk to me anymore. I said gladly.

It was all very therapeutic and conference-speaker worthy, let me tell you.

The part I'm thrown by, is what she's been doing since then. She has been walking back and forth, around and around. Pacing is not unusual for her, but it's not pacing. She's trying to get my attention. Probably for resolution.

And I don't know what to do.
I guess I'll go give her a hug.

Only 108 more hours to go.