Friday, March 30, 2007

Because I said so!

Dear Andrew & Abby,

This is Mommy's list of Things That Must Stop Immediately:

  1. "Is it hot in here..." (Yes, I know Daddy does it, too. But he's bigger than me and you're not. So stop it.)
  2. Accidentally-on-purpose wetting the bed while you are still awake but trying to prolong the torture of sleep.
  3. Encouraging your sister to be the one to go ask for another drink of water or to come and climb in your bed after you've both been told No more getting up!
  4. All. The. Spilling. How do you manage to make even just spilled water sticky?!
  5. All allergic, lethargic, dramatic, and horrific responses to bedtimes and baths.
  6. The tunnel-vision request for nothing but macaroni and cheese to eat. I'm afraid that if I told you that you will turn in to a macaroni noodle if you don't eat something else, it would only supply you with a new goal for which to strive.
  7. The cutting. Yesterday, Daddy found the Discover card bill cut into a few pieces. Of course, he blamed Mommy for trying to hide those new purchases. Maybe you were trying to do Mommy a favor, but this must stop. Or at least do a better job of cleaning up all the evidence.
  8. Getting up no later than 6:30am on Saturdays - the ONLY day we don't have to get up early - and resisting all attempts to pull you to the land of the awake before 7:30am on any other day (when you are supposed to be up at 6:30).
  9. The pre-adolescent response of "GAWD!!" to any request, demand, or reprimand delivered by your parental units. And yes, Abby, this means you, too.
  10. Being so stinking cute that I forgive you for all of the above and so much more.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

I must have been distracted by all the heat in here

Dear Andrew & Abby,

Hey, Mommy found a post I forgot to publish! Oops! This is from the end of February after Andrew's birthday weekend - when we had about four million things going on in the same weekend. I guess it really did take me a while to recover! So here's the link:

In other news...Daddy has taught you a fabulous new funny saying. One of Daddy's cute little quirks is that he likes to sing bits and pieces of songs - usually he only knows one line. Or, he makes up new songs. Oh, they are clever! And now, Mommy is so lucky because he has taught you both this new trick. He starts out with: "Is it hot in here?" And you two little trained monkeys reply: "Or is it just me?" I heard Daddy earlier telling Andrew that he needs to change it a little when talking to the teenage girls: "Is it hot in here, or is it just you?"

I am a lucky, lucky Mommy.


Monday, March 26, 2007

I'll bet Dora doesn't like Oobi, either

Dear Andrew & Abby,

I think I have discovered the tell-tale warning signs of too much television in our house. Specifically, too much Noggin and Disney. For the last couple of weeks, I noticed that Andrew is able to sing along with a few of the theme songs: Wonder Pets, Little Einsteins, Higglytown Heroes, Kim Possible (he's had that one down for over a year, but that one is okay - Kim rocks). And Abby has become the master of Dora sayings. Everytime we get in the van, I hear "Seatbelts on so we can beee safe!" And we certainly know that it's the Map we ask when we don't know which way to go. No, it's not all a bad thing. But it worries me a little that you can both recite this stuff so well.

Unfortunately, even Mommy isn't immune. Last week, I saw a guy with his hand hanging out his car window and I couldn't stop laughing because his hand looked just like Oobi:

What was even scarier? Oobi Was SMOKING! Okay, kids, that's it - we're going to have to start cutting back on the t.v. time! Oobi creeps me out in the first place, but seeing him (it?) with a cigarette hanging out of his ?mouth? was too much.

So now I have a whole new reason to add to the list of Why You Shouldn't Smoke: It doesn't make Oobi look cool, and it won't make you look cool, either.

Your Loony Mommy

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Two peas from the same sick little pod

Begging for a slumber party
Originally uploaded by Cheri13.
Dear Andrew & Abby,

I have been wanting to post this week, but I have been dealing with being very sick and that has made it hard for me to find the cuteness or noteworthiness of pretty much anything you two have done. Not that there haven't been lots of cute or noteworthy things I could mention, it's just that they kind of lost their impact on Mommy while she was lying on the couch waiting for her fever to break or wondering if it was time to switch sides so the other side of her nose could drain.

Daddy was sick first, while I was in San Diego. Remember? Andrew had to be the Big Brother in Charge for a couple of days. When I got back on Thursday Daddy was still pretty sick. Since then, the rest of us have had our own versions. Mommy has been down for the count since Friday night.

Luckily (for ALL of us), you two have had the most mild symptoms. The worst thing is that the virus traveled to your ears and you each now have an ear infection. But since that is an infection and not a virus, we have yummy pink antibiotic for that! So it's been a week full of snot and thermometers and medicine in our house. I was glad that the weather has been nice a couple of days so we could open the doors and windows and air out some of the sick that is hanging like a haze in our house.

This is the first time you two have been sick at the same time, and I have to say, it works out pretty nicely. You have been fairly inseprable over the last couple of months and being sick together has at least prevented me from having to constantly try to keep you apart.

It amazes me that a brother and a sister, with five years between them no less, could want to spend so much time together, even at bedtime. You can ask Uncle Travis and Uncle Dusty - we NEVER wanted to spend that much time together when we were little. A couple of months ago, there was a night when we let you two sleep together in Andrew's bed. Mommy and Daddy have now added that to the list of things we would never have agreed to if only we'd been able to foresee the consequences. Now you want to sleep together EVERY night. Unfortunately, this doesn't work very well for actual sleeping. There is a distinct slumber party atmosphere to the whole thing, which is why this practice has never been allowed on a school night (which, as I recently explained to Andrew, is any night before you have to go to school, which does include Sunday!). But that doesn't prevent you from asking. And asking. And, when you get an answer you don't like (that is, any answer that is not Yes), from just climbing in bed together anyway and clinging to each other like castaways on a wooden raft in a thunderstorm. Mommy has to literally pry you apart (that crowbar Mommy keeps by her bed has come in very handy), and then drag one screaming child (usually Abby) back to her own bed.

I am so glad that you two love each other so much that you can not bear to be apart even in sleep. I do have to say, though, your combined forces are surprisingly strong and have made Mommy more and more convinced that the two of you are more than we'll ever need. Can you imagine if you had a third member of your army? Sometimes it's enough to give Mommy nightmares!


Friday, March 16, 2007

Maybe the Mother-of-the-Year Award is still in my future, after all

Dear Andrew & Abby,

There are many times when I feel like one of the worst parents in the entire world. I think it's a pretty common side-effect of motherhood. I have spoken to other women who have had the same thoughts. Of course, we can't all be the worst parent in the world. At least not at the same time. Occasionally, I like to indulge in watching SuperNanny (when I can sneak in a few minutes between Daddy's Sports Center and World Poker Tour) because it helps to prove that there really are other parents out there struggling with bigger discipline issues than we have in our house. But sometimes I doubt the truth of SuperNanny. After all, it is television - reality television. And how real can that be, when Rob and Amber have been kicked off the Amazing Race?

Luckily, I need look no further than our local news for solid proof that your mommy is at least not the worst parent in Indiana. Several months ago, this happened in Indianapolis. See? At least your mommy always makes sure you put on a hat when you go for your daily walk down the interstate. And then just this week, there were two more stories meant to help reassure parents all through the great Hoosier state that, in the race for last, we aren't even in the running. Do I need to remind you that Mommy makes sure that you are wearing your helmet and knee pads before throwing you from the car window? And the feces - hey, Mommy always wipes up the poo after we have finger poo-painting time.

Okay, clearly, I joke. But my first reaction to the latest story about the boy who was stabbed was a phrase that is abbreviated WTF - and one of those words is definitely a word you two should not be hearing or saying. So I joke to avoid thinking about the kind of parents who consider some of these home situations normal and acceptable for their children. And really, based on a couple of other stories in the news recently - the father in Pennsylvania who knocked his child unconscious and left her outside to die, the Michigan father who strangled and then dismembered the mother of his two children while they slept down the hall - Indiana isn't the only one with parenting issues.

In all seriousness, stories like these make me want to go crawl into bed with both of you and cuddle and kiss you and promise you that I will never leave you in filth, let you walk down the interstate in just your undies, or associate with anyone who would ever stab you and throw you from the car window. And then I want to lock you in your plastic bubbles so you will never be exposed to this kind of insanity - so you never even know it exists. But since I've managed to catch whatever bug you and Daddy have had, I guess for tonight I'd better just take my ibuprofen and climb in bed. Right after I set the timer to record SuperNanny.

Not the Worst Mommy in Indiana, or even the Mid-West, at least not this week

Thursday, March 8, 2007

I'll take my super-sized order of guilt to go, please

Dear Andrew & Abby,

Wow. Where to start? I have been gone to a conference for work in San Diego since Saturday and got home very late last night. While I was gone, Daddy got sick. He ran a fever from Sunday on, had a very sore throat, and was generally pretty miserable. When I called Monday to check on everyone, Daddy told me that Andrew had been great. He cooked dinner several times - you two ate a lot of Spaghettio's - and kept Abby playing quietly in his room so Daddy could rest. He was such a grown up - a Big Brother. I was very, very proud. Plus, now we know he is capable of such behavior. Hah hah!

Abby missed Mommy and asked every day if I was home yet. I left the van in Indy before I left and when you guys picked it up, Abby was even more convinced that, every day when you got home from day care, Mommy was home.

On Tuesday when I talked to you both, I told Andrew that I would take him to a special dinner at Chuck E. Cheese as a big thank you for being such a good helper while I was gone. After that, when Daddy tried to take you guys out to grab some food, Abby refused. She said she only wanted to go to Chuck E. Cheese so she could see her mommy. I maybe should have waited to tell you about Chuck E. until I got home.

San Diego was beautiful and the weather was perfect. My conference was good and interesting. I learned a lot and got to see a couple of friends I hadn't seen for years. But knowing that Daddy was pulling all the weight while he was sick and Andrew was having to step up and help out, boy did I feel guilty. But it was San Diego, after all, so it's not like I didn't still have fun. I got to go to Sea World for our Tuesday night event and I thought about you guys the whole time I watched Shamu and friends. And I did spend over $80 in the gift shop in guilt gifts. That counts for something, right?

And besides, I think I have been paying for my absence pretty much non-stop since I got home. First, I climbed in bed with Abby when I got home at 1 am - I didn't want to catch anything from Daddy. She peed on me some time before 2 am, so we were up changing sheets. I couldn't get a corner of the pillow for my own, so my already stiff neck screamed everytime I moved. Let's just say there wasn't much sleep for Mommy. And the house. Oh. My. Goodness. I don't remember the last time I saw our house looking in such a state of disaster. And considering the normal state our house is in, that is saying something. Pieces of paper from a cutting craft of some kind. Used Kleenexes STUCK to the floor. A counter overflowing with empty water bottles. Another overflowing with dirty dishes. Clothes every where. It was bad. Super bad. So far, I have the living room in a more presentable state, have done a bit of grocery shopping (you know, we were low on Spaghettio's), started the laundry, made dinner, waited on everyone, and put both of you to bed. The dishes are waiting. Daddy is feeling a little better, but his improved health has only helped him focus on the March Madness which has begun in our house.

So my guilt is starting to ease up some. While I was away, someone accused me of being high maintenance. After being home again, I'm thinking that she doesn't know from high maintenance until she meets you guys! I love you and I am so glad to be home. But next time I leave and Daddy gets sick, I'm hiring a professional nurse/maid to come and take care of things until I get back.

NurseMaid Mommy

Saturday, March 3, 2007

The second rule is money found in the dryer belongs to Mommy

Dear Andrew & Abby,

It's confession time. Mommy is struggling. We've been having a rough time lately, and I am running out of ideas. The Mother of the Year Award is a long abandoned dream now (see trying to kill you with applesauce) and now I am concentrating on just trying to stay out of Mommy Hell and/or avoid having someone take you away from me and Daddy and give you to someone who actually knows what to do with little child people.

Before we had kids, we talked some about what it would be like. I thought about it a lot. I was ready. Ha ha ha ha ha. If you EVER hear anyone tell you they were ready when they had kids, they are LYING! No one is ever ready. No matter how many books you read or people you talk to, you just can't know what it's like until it's your turn. I didn't know it then, but there is a secret parent society. The first rule of Parent Club is - you don't talk about Parent Club. Oh, sure, you let other people THINK you are talking about it, but you're not. You're saving all the really gory details for the members-only discussions. And even then, there are some things you just don't share with anyone. For example - and I'm about to let out a big Parent Club secret here, so I'm taking a big risk to tell you this - your dad and I have only discussed a particular incident with Baby Andrew a couple of times since it happened. The incident when Baby Andrew was so constipated that he had a poop of clay that got stuck. Yes, stuck. Half-way. Apparently, based on the wailing and the very red and angry face that Baby Andrew made, there was a good deal of pain and discomfort associated with a poop of clay sticking half in and half out of your pooper. Mommy freaked out and called the nurse, but before I could bring myself to explain the situation, Daddy was busy solving the problem (you are so lucky to have him as your dad). We - no, HE - had tried to pull the clay poop out and that didn't work. So he PUSHED IT BACK IN. And then Baby Andrew was able to get some momentum behind the effort and get things worked out within a few minutes. Now, I tell you this at risk, not only of my Parent Club membership, but that I have successfully given you all the reasons for birth control you'll ever need and I will never have grandchildren. It's a risk I'm willing to take because I need you to understand just how far I am feeling in over my head with you both right now.

Another thing Parent Clubbers don't tell outsiders about is what happens when you add more kids. In the case of raising children, 1 + 1 does not equal 2. Sometimes it feels closer to 20. At 3 and 8, you have figured out how to work together, and your tag team efforts to resist sleep and rules and routines and in general anything your dad and I want you to do have created an exponential, synergistic (in the evil kind of way) force that just might kill me.

Bed time has become Hell on Earth. Worse than dealing with clay poop every hour of every day. At least clay poop doesn't get out of bed 500 million times a night after it's supposed to be asleep. Or scream and cry. Or jump on the bed. Or sneak out of its room to pilfer drinks of water which lead to bed-wetting to the point where Mommy's newest addition to the bedtime ritual is to remove any kind of water-holding vessel from the bathroom. No, clay poop just sits there. Half in, half out, being its clay little self. There are times - usually about 9:30pm when we have been in the "going to bed" mode for two hours and you are both still getting up out of your beds to laugh and play in the hallway or Abby is screaming and Andrew is whining for more book time - I long for the return of the clay poop days. I've come to realize that - another Parents Club secret - babies are easy. Yes, there is the whole lack-of-sleep thing, and the eating all the time, and the fragile you-might-break-them issues. But for the most part, a baby's life is a simple one. Eat. Sleep. Poop. Repeat. Babies stay where you put them. They don't talk back. They don't get out of their beds. They don't play in the bathroom when they are supposed to be brushing their teeth and make a big mess with the water. They don't scream and kick when you're trying to put their pajamas on. Okay, I'll give you the last one. But baby kicks don't have the same impact that three-year-old kicks do. Or the same anger. Woo! Do they have anger management classes for toddlers? Because "use your words" doesn't seem to be working too well in our house.

Now, I know that there are all kinds of people out there who have a lot of advice they could offer your Mommy. And they'd all be happy to, if only I would ask. Or publish this post on a parenting support site. The trouble is that I already know what I'm supposed to do. I know you both need a routine. And we have one. Of course, we (and by that I mean Mommy and Daddy) haven't been very good at enforcing it or even reminding you of it on a very consistent basis. We're tired. Work wears us out. Truthfully, life wears us out. The rush to get home, get you from daycare, make dinner, eat dinner, make sure Andrew does his homework, run off to any functions we might's a lot. And since we don’t get you two picked up and home until almost 6pm and bedtime is at 8pm, we only have a couple of hours to get it all done each night during the week. So by the time we need to put you to bed, we’re tired. Our last ounces of energy have been sucked from our bodies like a cowboy sucks barbecue sauce from a slab of ribs. And we had gotten to a certain comfort level with Andrew before Abby was born - and even for a while after - that we could let him have some independence from us during the bedtime routine and he could and would do some things on his own. But now that we are dealing with the Power of Two, we can't do that anymore, and neither of us has adjusted well to that new truth. In fact, I'm not sure your daddy has even acknowledged that it IS truth yet.

I'd like to think that it would be better if I was a SAHM (that's Stay-At-Home-Mom), but I don't think I can believe that, either. I'm afraid that if I was at home all day, I would still be this worn out and frustrated and unorganized and not as good of a mom as I want to be. I'd just have a little more time at home to think about it all.

So, my little ones, loves of my life, Mommy needs a little help. I'm on my way to San Diego for a work conference right now and I won't be back until late Wednesday night. But when I get back, I want to start a new day in the House That Chaos Built. It will only work if you help. It's become quite apparent that I can not cope under the current environment. I'm not sure how much I'll be able to convince Daddy that the point of no return is upon us. So for a while, until he faces reality, it might just be us. You help Mommy keep her sanity, and Mommy will try not to look and sound like a crazy scary banshee mom. It's a good trade-off, right?

Love you still, but even more once you give it up and GO TO SLEEP already,