We’re Having an Eat Wave


This will be short, as I’m still recovering from a STEM event at Stella’s school last night while preparing to saddle up for a zoo trip with Felix today.  That being said….

Felix is a string bean and would probably eat nothing but fruit if you’d let him.  And ice cream, but you can’t give a kid ice cream for breakfast.  What you can give him are breakfast popsicles- a mom-made blend of vanilla yogurt and whatever else you have handy.  Banana is pretty much always present plus whatever else I have around: strawberries, blueberries, spinach, and I think I’ve even used avocados.  Lately it’s been peanut butter.  I call them Elvis Popsicles, of course.

The dude loves them.  He’ll eat 2 or 3 at a time and ask for more.  Over time, the el cheapo molds we’ve been using have started to deteriorate.  The stick handles have started to crack or been thrown out.  Well, my husband announced he was getting involved and would find a suitable and superior replacement.  I was to dispose of the old molds post haste.

He ordered these cute little things from Amazon.  Cute, sure.  I was pissed because they only held about 2 tablespoons of mixture.  That’s a big old fail right there.  But the magnitude of the fail was not apparent until just now when I attempted to feed my son breakfast.  

Exhibit A: Sorry ’bout the partially-melted face.

 “Oh look at the teeny tiny popsicle it’s so cuuuuuute.” (No, that’s not technically a run-on sentence.  That’s how he sounds.)  Felix refuses to eat these new popsicles. They are simply too cute to eat.  Dammit. 

I have news for Felix. This will NOT become a Precious and will NOT be coming to bed with you.

The Yell Jar


Loads of us joke about accepting our “Mom of the Year” award as we feed our kids Happy Meals or forget to send an extra sweater to school on a cold day.  Some days the whole parenting game is more of a struggle than it should be.  You wake up with great intentions: very little TV, more music, lots of reading, and arts and crafts.  You end up with 2 hours straight of Spongebob, not a crayon in sight, and the only books in use are the ones that your son is using as “tracks” for his monster trucks.

I’ve been ranting about “togetherness” a lot. Some of that has been actual frustration due to more time off together due to holidays exacerbated by wet weather.  I’ve had PMS thrown in to boot.  My patience has been worn to a nub and it’s not regenerating.  I’ve been yelling a lot.  Especially at Stella.

My daughter has been consistently driving me crazy.  The worst thing?  The not listening.  She never ever listens.  Like ever.  You can ask her to pick up her dirty clothes and put them away 16 times.  They stay on the floor.  We’ve asked her at least 20 times a day not to chase the cats, which is a big deal since all the baby gates came down and the cats have fewer “safe” zones.  She chases the F’ing cats.  Constantly.  They run, hiss, and once even attacked her resulting in some pretty good scratches all over Stella’s arm.  Doesn’t make a difference.

I need some kind of parenting camp at this point...

I need some kind of parenting camp at this point…

I feel like I’m constantly berating her.  I feel like she’s constantly ignoring me.  I feel like all I do is bitch and get angry.  And I hate myself for it.  I got so frustrated last night I spent about an hour crying.  I don’t want to be that mother.  I don’t want my daughter to feel constantly picked at, picked on.  I know her teacher is an asshole.  I’ve been hearing about missed recesses at school.  I want to cut a bitch every time I hear that.  But then I find myself hollering at my kids – mainly Stella, as she more often than not seems to be the ringleader for whatever chaos is being unleashed – because I ASKED YOU TO STOP RUNNING AND SCREAMING AND JUMPING ON THE FURNITURE AND NOW YOU BROKE THE PICTURE FRAME AND NO DADDY WON’T BE ABLE TO FIX THIS.

Aaaaand I'm gearing up for next week's conference

Aaaaand I’m gearing up for next week’s conference

I feel like crying now as I type this in the quiet of my office.  I’m dreading the weekend and I hate myself for feeling that way.  The first thing I did this morning when I got here was to Google ADHD and how to get your kid to listen.  I even impulse-bought a book on Amazon, hoping for some answers.  I haven’t wanted to default into the world of ADHD, but maybe it’s time to venture down that path.  Will has it.  I know it’s highly  heritable.  I see similarities in the way Will and Stella both react to different stimuli.  He’s even said they’re wired the same.  Our pediatrician has indicated more than once that he thinks “we’ll probably be discussing ADHD at some point in time.”

I dare you to Google "ADHD Memes" and see what comes back.  Hateful shit, I tell you.  This was the least offensive example of this variety I could find.

I dare you to Google “ADHD Memes” and see what comes back. Hateful shit, I tell you. This was the least offensive example of this variety I could find.

I feel tired.  I feel so sad.  I feel like a horrible mom.  I feel pretty alone.  I’ve read and researched.  I’ve tried thinking outside of every box I could get my hands on.  Hell, I’ve tried aromatherapy and essential oils.  I want to protect my daughter and help “fix” whatever the hell this thing is.  I want to send her to time out forever.  I don’t want to punish her for things she obviously can’t control.  I can’t cope with the constant noise-making and movement and how it amps up Felix, only exacerbating the problem.

I don’t know what to do  now.

Sigh

Sigh

 

Right Sand Man


After 5.5 years and 2 kids, I feel like I can claim to be a veteran parent of younger kids.   I’ve seen a lot and lived through a lot and ticked a bunch of boxes on that parental survival list: stomach viruses, 2 stomach viruses at once, fevers, strange viruses with corresponding rashes, urine on the couch, poop in the tub, ear infections and subsequent tubes, teething, preschool adjustment, now kindergarten adjustment, dance classes, tantrums, and loads of togetherness.  While I may get plenty annoyed on any given day, very little shocks me anymore.  Felix got me yesterday.

I was warned when I picked him up from school (late, since Stella and I were coming from her Daisy Scout meeting) that I might want to undress him outside when we got home.  It seems his new hobby is shoving dirt and mud and whatever else he can find down his shirt and pants when he’s on the playground.  He was on his second full set of clothes and shoes when I picked him up.  No surprise there.

When we got home, I stripped him down to his diaper in the kitchen, where it’s easier to contain and sweep.  Not much came out.  Ok, great.  I sat both kids down immediately to eat since it was late and they were starving.  After dinner was safely done and hands and faces were reasonably clean, I  took Felix into the living room to change his diaper and get into his PJs.  There must’ve been a half a cup of sand in his diaper.  There must have been a quarter cup of sand adhering to every little bit of skin -including crevices – of his naked little penis, butt, and balls.  It was like he had been dipped into sugar for the holidays.  I have to say that caught me totally off-guard.

Sand does not belong in your pants, son.

Sand does not belong in your pants, son.

At first I tried to swipe it off with a wipe.  That wasn’t happening.  It was too much and since the diaper was on the wet side, it was sticking and sticking good.  And that is not an area that you want to exfoliate in that particular fashion. I had no choice but to carry his naked sandy ass to the tub to rinse him off.  This, in turn, caused Stella to start to holler that she wanted a bath.  I had to shout calmly explain that this was an emergency response to an unhealthy amount of sand in her brother’s butt.  Felix cried – first because I was getting him wet and then because I was taking him out of the water.

We all survived and no testicles were harmed.  But sand.  I hate that stuff.  I really really hate that stuff.  It ought to be a federal offence to have sand anywhere other than a beach.

Speaking of beaches, Stella has a new mermaid decal in her room.  It's pretty sweet.

Speaking of beaches, Stella has a new mermaid decal in her room. It’s pretty sweet.

 

Fruit of the Loon


When I found out I was pregnant with a boy, I got loads of comments such as “Just wait.  Boys are so much _______ than girls.”  Insert any descriptor you like, but the most comments were rowdy, loud, rambunctious, destructive, ravenous, or gross.  Honestly, Stella was so damn loud, rowdy, and gross that I could not imagine that a boy could be “worse.”  For the most part, I was right.  Stella is louder in general.  She’s just as rough and tumble.  Felix has always been my “easier” kid.  Up until recently, that is.

Don’t get me wrong.  It’s not that he’s exhibiting bad behavior, or at least not all of the time.  He certainly has developed a habit of running up to me and smacking me repeatedly.  It’s obviously a sign of adoration.  (I mean that.  I’m not being a smart ass.)  He also loves to pinch those he’s overly fond of.

Exhibit A

Exhibit A

Then there’s the recent increase in spitting.  Anything is fair game, whether it be actual saliva, pineapple, powdered sugar, milk, water, blueberries, or apple.  Stella did that, too.  Felix likes to paint in it.  Spitting it on the floor and dancing in it is even better.  I went into the kids’ bathroom the other day to check on Stella in the tub and he had covered a 4 X 6’ section of floor with spit and chocolate milk.  It only took him seconds.

His evening shenanigans have been quite inventive this week. (My Facebook friends will have to forgive me, as I made a couple of posts about this over there.)  One night he called me into his room chattering about “cottonmama.”  What the hell is “cottonmama” you ask?  Cottonmama is  what you get when you eviscerate a pillow in the middle of your bed (in the dark!!) and then decorate it with a portion of your monster truck collection.  The next night was different.  He came and climbed into bed with us, which was odd.  I had a huge work thing the next day, so I just went with it in favor for being well-rested.  When I went in his room the next morning I discovered why our bed was more desirable.  He had upended his entire bag of bristle blocks in the middle of his mattress.  I guess that’ll do it.  Last night he became quite angry with me when I refused to give him the bristle block  bag before he went to bed.  Both of these examples were done in absolute silence.  He’s like a ninja-clown hybrid.

No wonder he got in our bed.

No wonder he got in our bed.

In all seriousness, I don’t think the silliness at night or the spitting/milk mopping has anything to do with gender.  I think he’s just a silly little dude.  Sure, he’s obnoxious some times.  He’s a little kid.  He’s also a remarkable little human being.

His daddy is pretty strange, too, now that you mention it....

His daddy is pretty strange, too, now that you mention it….

P.S. Can a kid eat too much fruit?  I swear Felix eats more fruit than I would think would be possible.  We’re talking 4 mandarin oranges, a banana, and an apple in one sitting.  He’d eat 2 cans of pineapple at once if I’d let him.  I’m always afraid he’s going to crap himself to death.  This is also no doubt part of the reason he’s a total string-bean.

Hell Bath No Fury…


Do you know what I hate?  Work nights that are also bath nights.  I know, I know.  After 5+ years in this rodeo, I ought to be used to it.  But lately it’s been chapping my butt worse than usual.

For the most part, this is something that I’ve juggled solo since our life with children began.  Will has always worked the later schedule, so bath time has come due on my watch.  It used to be it wasn’t so bad.  Your kid gets old enough to sit up and play solo (and by solo I mean you can run your happy ass back and forth between the kitchen and bathroom without too much fear of disaster in either location).  Cool.   Add another kid who has attained the same age.  It’s suddenly more complicated.  There’s silliness and aquatic wrestling.  You worry about a kid getting their teeth knocked out or maybe a concussion.

And the mess.  Oh the F’ing mess.  One kid + bath = moderate water loss on the floor.  Two kids + bath = tsunami.  And by tsunami I mean a quantity of water that is seemingly larger than the volume that initially went into the tub, particularly since the tub is still half full and THEY’RE STILL SPLASHING.

I end up caught between a rock and a soaking wet place.  Sure, I scream and yell at them to knock it off ask them not to splash.  That is not effective.  I threaten.  That is effective for approximately the length of time it takes me to run back to the kitchen and attempt to flip/stir whatever is burning in the damn kitchen at that point.  Finally I’m furious, slinging clean towels on the floor to mop up gallons of water, hauling slippery little bodies onto the saturated bath mat, and the kids are now screaming as well since they’re pissed I’m taking them out of the bath, oh and they’re starving where’s dinner?  Merde.  Dinner is burning/drying out/congealing.

Felix showing me his displeasure about a truncated bath

Felix showing me his displeasure about a truncated bath

I hate it.  This is a real problem for me.  And it seems so stupid and basic that it kills me I can’t solve it.  No, I don’t bathe my children every  night.  No, it doesn’t feel like I have time to bathe them separately.  Yes, I try to meal plan as best I can in order to minimize my actual hands-on time in the kitchen – and admittedly have been doing a pretty shitty job of that lately.  No, it doesn’t seem like feeding them before the bath would work since they act like they have not been fed since breakfast each and every day when I pick them up from their schools.  I mean, do the schools not feed these children?  If I give them snacks, then they won’t eat dinner.  I can’t win.

I just feel like a big fat old mom failure at this particular combination of skills.  What gives???

He recovers quickly

He recovers quickly

Cave New World


On the heels of the annual great Xmas purge, Will and I used the general chaos and momentum to finally move Will out of his office/man cave in order to give the kids their own room.  We had tried to do it before the holidays but  it just didn’t happen.  As usual nothing was simple: Oui Oui got sick.  I was sick.  Kids were underfoot until Sunday afternoon when Oui Oui felt well enough to take them so we could shift furniture.  The dust was horrendous.  I’m still sick from that.

At last – after months of scheming and “one day”-ing – the kids slept separately in their own rooms Sunday night.  It’s been great.  They seem pretty excited about it.  I’m excited that at any given time there are no more than a handful of toys in my living room.  My home no longer resembles a daycare center.

Felix immediately began exploring his expanded territory.

Felix immediately began exploring his expanded territory.

More space!!

More space!!

There is still lots to do.  I’m ready to take our Xmas money and finally get some adult-like furniture.  For 5 years we’ve had this awful coffee table, complete with missing drawer (the emotional pee-er of the 3 Stupid Cats peed in it one day and it had to be turfed) and rubber bumpers screwed into the corners.

It feels good.  It also felt good to ship everyone off to school and work where they’re supposed to be.  Honestly, I was terrified for Stella.  Her behavior over the holidays was pretty awful.  I predicted a whole lot of red dots and nasty comments for at least a week or two.  Nope.  My girl has toed the line and is acting better at home to boot.  I think, like me, she may have just had enough of Togetherness.  Too much Togetherness is not a good thing.

 

Like a Phoenix Rising From the Trashes


This is it.  The end of another calendar year and holiday season.  In the usual fashion, this week has rocketed by.  Let’s see what happened:

  • Crispi and I had a rather impromptu mother/daughter day in New Orleans.  I really like going there with her, as I go places I wouldn’t usually go with Will.  We had an amazing lunch at a foodie-type place – Johnny Sanchez: the brainchild of chefs John Besh and Aaron Sanchez.  All I can say is damn!  It was so good.  They mixed in crispy fried bacon with the tortilla chips.  That corn…. They could air drop that the Westboro Baptist Church and they would instantly be so happy they’d forget all about bitching about gay people.  It was magic. 

    Me in front of the beautiful “tattoo wall” at the restaurant

        

    Crispi- already happy and she hasn’t even had the corn yet. You know damn well I took food pix, but I’ll spare you.

     

    We learned quickly that my mother sucks at selfies. This is one of mine in Jackson Square. The statue behind us might not be there much longer.

     
  • Yesterday I stripped 2 massive Xmas trees and put that shit away.  That’s satisfying but exhausting.  I still have to haul ours outside for trash/recycling.  Speaking of… 

    As glad as I am to clear the Xmas clutter, I always get a bit maudlin looking at a bare tree.

     
  • Thanks to an old college friend living in that part of the world, I became aware of a garbage crisis in Beirut this fall.  Hell, it may still be happening.  I Googled it, but you know…. Anyway, thanks to 2 consecutive weeks of Friday holidays causing the cessation of our usual pick-up days, we’re having a bit of a crisis ourselves. I’m having to get creative.  The kids are doing their part, playing in 2 huge “trash boxes” full of random packing material that I otherwise have no place to put.  I may have to start my own incineration program.
  • Yesterday I picked up the dude from school for the last day of the year.  He was sitting at a table, brilliantly sparkly and crying like his heart was broken.  Ms. T (Stella’s former teacher and Felix’s future teacher who I adore) had made glitter balloons.  She filled empty balloons with glitter before inflating them and popping them, sending sparkles flying.  Wonderful – and messy- idea.  But for Felix?  You guessed it.  The balloons became Preciouses.  Every time Ms. T popped one, his heart broke.  He got over it once I got him to the car, but I have no clue how to remove the glitter from his scalp. 

    This picture does not begin to capture my son’s gleaming scalp.

     

I think that’s it – the highlights.  I have a good feeling about 2016.  Here in Louisiana we’re about to get a new governor after spending 8 years under an asshat who was doing nothing but padding his resume and preparing to run -badly- for president.  Will and I have some good plans to finally start getting our home in order.  No more being the neighborhood rednecks.  We’re scheduling support time with Oui Oui and everything so that we can really attack things together without having 2 kids underfoot.  Stella is halfway through what has been a tumultuous first year.  No doubt I’ll have more to say about that later.  As John Paul Jones said, “I have not yet begun to fight.”  Best of all, I’m gathering allies.  Will has 6+ months under his belt in a wonderful new career path -IT.  And Felix is just a wonderful, charming little dude.

To all of you out there, thanks for stopping by to read and comment. I appreciate each and every one of you.  I wish you all a safe, sane, happy, and healthy new year. 

Final morning of 2015 quietly reading – for about 3 minutes.

  

Felix has deconstructed a train track set he got, and is “decorating” the coffee table. These bits WILL cause a foot puncture or 2 before lunch.

 

Snack to the Future


Christmas has come and gone.  Recovery can now begin.

We spent Xmas eve day trying to find creative ways to keep busy.  It was hot outside.  And while that was enough of a bummer, it had been raining for a week straight with several more days to go.  We took a chance and headed to a place called Area 51 – a big indoor trampoline park which conveniently has a special jump time first thing in the morning for younger kids.  That was actually pretty fun.  Felix absolutely hated the trampolines.  If you’d put him down on one, he would scream and cry as if you had placed him in a pool of molten lava.  Finally he discovered the big foam blocks and was content to build.  While I was happy he was actually doing something enjoyable, I was completely skeeved out by the large amount of hair and band-aids stuck to the sides of these things.p6p7p8

Santa din’t have anything to assemble this year, so that made things pretty easy.  The kids each got a cute play tent and sleeping bags, along with other miscellaneous toys – Nerf guns, action figures, and Snackin’ Sara.

I am impressed that Nerf now includes safety glasses.

I am impressed that Nerf now includes safety glasses.

Y’all, this thing is horrible.  Its mouth is the exact shape of something you’d see in an adult store.  It has a huge rectangular hole in its ass which I suppose prevents  constipation.  When you turn it on it won’t shut up, demanding food, snacks, juice, to play, to sleep, and “Stinkaroo,” which obviously means it has crapped out the Play-Doh food you have to make for it while it hollers at you about being so hungry.  That, candidly, is the best part.  It’s been a huge source of amusement to me listening to her yell at Sara “I know you’re hungry.  I’m making your snacks now!  I can’t play with you because I’m making your food.  You have to be patient!”  Yeah.  Dinner takes a minute to make, doesn’t it?  In any case, Sara got fed a lot that first 48 hours.  She was well on her way to being morbidly obese.  Then Felix kept trying to steal the Play-Doh food and we kind of had to hide it.

You can't tell in the picture, but Stella's nerves are pretty shot here due to the unrelenting needs of Snackin' Sara.

You can’t tell in the picture, but Stella’s nerves are pretty shot here due to the unrelenting needs of Snackin’ Sara.

The kids had another Santa visit the day after Xmas when the entire extended family invaded his maternal grandmother’s house for that annual celebration.  It’s always intensely crowded and loud.  I think most of the grownups were worried about how to explain why Santa was there rather than back home in the North Pole, but the kids were too busy conducting the Elf Inquisition – asking him what their elves’ names were.  I can happily say my kids were not involved in that, seeing as how we abstain from Elfing.  Felix amused himself by stealing everyone’s candy.  He had about 7 candy-filled candy cane Preciouses by the time we left.

Felix and the beginning of his Precious collection

Felix and the beginning of his Precious collection

Aaaaaand about an hour later

Aaaaaand about an hour later

And in a totally unrelated bit of news, we went back out to see Star Wars again.  I just love it.  What can I say?

I did share our collectible glasses with the kids....briefly.

I did share our collectible glasses with the kids….briefly.

 

O Come All Ye Grapeful


I’m hosting Xmas dinner this year.  By my count, there will be 11 of us.  In my house.  All at once.

Yesterday, I hit that point where I wondered what I was smoking when I came up with this idea.  The cooking is one thing.  I still have to make my kitchen timeline and oven schedule, but it’s doable.  Totally.  It’s the cleaning.  That’s the part that sucks.

People tell you when you have young kids that you have to “let the unimportant things go.”  For many of us, that means the house.  Sure, you vacuum/sweep floors and wipe down counters like Daniel-san on crack.   You don’t want your home to look like it belongs on Hoarders.  You pick up toys to avoid broken toes/ankles/hips.  But the finer points of housework?  That’s where the system breaks down.  To me, that qualifies as “unimportant” in my day-to-day life, behind such things as keeping my family fed, clothed, and reasonably clean, and paying bills.  Clean baseboards < cooking dinner, you know?

Until something like this happens.  Then the veil is lifted and I suddenly realize how awful my house is.  So I swept and I mopped and I scraped up cat vomit – loads of it.  The bastards must be eating tree needles, as their oral excretions have increased exponentially since the holiday season kicked off.  I cleaned bathrooms.  I got out the Magic Eraser and scrubbed the fronts of cabinets, baseboards, the walls.  There was a random handprint on the wall in the hallway.  It looked like grape jelly. WTF?  I blame Felix.  It corresponds to his height.  Then again, it could be a relic from Stella.

The evidence

The evidence

Looks totally innocent, no?

Looks totally innocent, no?

I think in my mind I accept the patina of kid filth with the logic that once they hit a certain age, we can simply nuke the place, repaint, acquire more adult furniture, and move on with life as if this Grunge Age never happened.  But it’s getting ridiculous.  It’s getting old.  Santa, I need a Roomba, a case of Magic Erasers, and about 6 more hours in a day, s’il vous plait.

We did bake cookies.  We cheated even harder this year, and Crispi got some pre-made dough which was already rolled out into sheets for you.  Think of what sugar-flavored wax would taste like and there you have it.  Still, our cookies actually looked like cookies this year vs tumors.  Maybe next year we can make actual dough.  I guess that will all depend on my baseboards and the prevalence of jelly handprints.

Stella took decorating this year very very seriously

Stella took decorating this year very very seriously

Felix chose to eat his sprinkles

Felix chose to eat his sprinkles

While not so much into decorating cookies, Felix was quite content to merry up my glass of wine

While not so much into decorating cookies, Felix was quite content to merry up my glass of wine

 

The Rat in the Hat


Despite not attending a myriad of Xmas activities due to fatigue, illness, or just not feeling it, I did want my kids to see Santa.  Fortunately, a local bank – of all things – put on a free Santa event.  Score!  Best of all, it was close to home and nowhere near a shopping hub.  So off we went on Saturday morning.  We arrived kind of late, so we missed much of the music and refreshments.  But Stella and Felix were the only kids there, so we got lots of time and attention.

I’m pretty lucky, I suppose, that neither of my kids have ever exhibited Santa Terror. (The twisted part of me is kind of bummed about that, as those can be some hilarious pictures!)  Both of them marched right up and sat down.  Felix was a tad shy, but only for a moment.  Stella acted as group spokeswoman.  First she gave her own orders; she wants a doll that snacks (one of those globawful Snacking Sarah Baby Alive things that looks as if it should be sold in an adult store), sparkly shoes, and Pie Face, a game whereupon you get cream pies thrown at your face.  No comment.

See how good I've been??

See how good I’ve been??

Santa then asked Felix what he wanted.  Before he could utter “McQueen” Stella told Santa he could just bring Felix “some cars.”  But she wanted Santa to understand that Felix kept taking the ornaments off the tree.

"And he picks his nose, too."

“And he picks his nose, too.”

Fortunately Felix's natural charm undid any damage.

Fortunately Felix’s natural charm undid any damage.

She just totally threw her brother under the holiday bus.

The next day during lunch at Oui Oui’s house, Stella made sure everyone knew of Felix’s penchant for undecorating.  You know, just in case someone was looking for an excuse not to shop for her brother.

I won't forget this, Stella.

I won’t forget this, Stella.

‘Tis the season for tattling and keeping score.

Aaaaand a holiday Precious plucked from a cousin's tree. Stella had a point....

Aaaaand a holiday Precious plucked from a cousin’s tree. Stella had a point….

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