Wednesday, March 17, 2010

When Irish eyes (aren't) smiling

Nine years ago today, I saw a cute guy with a glowing Miller Lite shamrock button across the bar. I wanted the button, he wanted my digits and the rest is history. So, if it wasn't for beer, these three little leprechauns wouldn't exist.

Happy St. Patrick's Day to everyone from me and my little pots of gold. And a happy meetiversary to Josh, the best thing that ever happened to me. Well, besides finding my new Hunter boots. Let's not be ridiculous.

Could they ever all smile at the same time again? Just once?

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Wasps, and not the New England type


You'll have to excuse the crazy-person yelling, but seriously. This calls for it.

Let me first give a little background. For the last few years, every few weeks, I will see a random black wasp on the second floor. That would be the floor where all the bedrooms are. You know, where we sleep. In the dark. When we can't see wasps. Excuse me while I go vomit.

So I see these random wasps and they're usually acting very sluggish, hanging out by the windows. They're easy to kill, since they're sluggish, so I do so and then flush them down the toilet. Because you never know when a squashed wasp could come back to life in the garbage and kill you in your sleep. You can never be too careful as far as I am concerned.

When Maeve was about three weeks old, and not sleeping in her bassinet because she freaking hates that thing, I happened to look down in it as I passed by for a diaper change and saw a black wasp just chillin'. I hyperventilated because HELLO, BABY COULD HAVE BEEN IN THERE, and made Josh kill it and flush it.

But it's weird, I see them throughout the year and never more than one at a time. And every time I freak the hell out and spend days looking for more and then I kinda forget about it until the next one appears.

That brings us to today. I took the kids down to the basement to jump in the jumpy house and was sitting on the couch with Maeve. Josh was sitting in front of the jumpy house and the next thing I know, Jack is screaming and Josh is yelling, "Did it sting you? Did it sting you?"

I jump up and yell, "Oh my God, what happened?" And immediately startle Maeve, who starts wailing. Josh yells that Jack got stung by a wasp and I now see it on the jumpy house slide. Josh pulls his sweatshirt sleeve down over his hand and tries to squish it. Of course, he misses.

So now we have a pissed-off wasp flying around everyone's head. Jack is hysterical because he thinks he's going to get stung again, I am yelling at Josh to get the kids out of there and Emmie is looking at all of us like we're crazy because all she wants to do is jump in the damn jumpy house.

Josh finally kills it while I carry Maeve and Jack upstairs, trying to calm him down. I am usually calm in a crisis, so I take a breath and tell him it is OK. But I have no idea what to do. I am paranoid that he's going to be allergic and stop breathing right in front of my eyes and I kept thinking I really should have been recertified in CPR because I can't remember anything but compressions and breaths and I have no idea how many of each to do and ohmygodhesgoingtodie.

I keep yelling for Josh to come upstairs to help me figure this out, but the jumpy house blower is still on and he can't hear a damn thing. Jack is screaming, Maeve is screaming, I am panicking. And what do I do?

I go to my laptop, duh. Google "wasp sting" and find that you should poor vinegar over the wound to neutralize it, then apply ice. Josh finally comes up and hands me some Neosporin and a Band-aid. I was like "What the hell am I supposed to do with Neosporin? Does the wasp have tetanus and we need to keep it clean?" His response was that it had pain-killing medicine in it and it would help the sting. I can see where he was coming from in hindsight. But in the moment, I snapped at him to get something cold. Like a beer for me.

Jack finally calmed down after I had him hold a bag of frozen strawberries and about 15 minutes later, with the help of "Yo Gabba Gabba," he was fine.

Too bad he'll never go near the jumpy house again. Josh scoffed at that, but I asked if he had ever met our son. This is the kid who after throwing up two months ago has asked me every single night since then if he's going to get sick again. Every. Single. Night.

Needless to say, Terminex is paying us a visit tomorrow. Watch out wasps, we're coming for you.

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Now he did it

This afternoon while I was out spending child-free time at the grocery store during Emmie's nap, Jack's teacher called and spoke with Josh. It seems Jack and his two best friends at school had to pay a little visit to the principal's office.

My first thought was to laugh. I mean really, they're 4. Unless they're burning down the school, what could possibly merit a visit with the principal? But then I snapped into Serious Mom mode and asked what happened.

As I heard from Josh and then from Miss A later at pickup was that the three boys were being loud and talking and not listening during Spanish class. Senorita had had it with them and Miss A happened to be sitting in during Spanish as well and even she couldn't get them to stop fooling around.

So she sent them to the principal's office. Adios, amigos.

No seriously, they went to the principal's office. Which I doubted was a proper punishment considering they probably thought it was cool and not something they should be afraid of.

And of course, Miss A said Jack was smiling the whole time. This kid seriously either has a nervous smile or nothing really does bother him.

He ran out of school and announced excitedly that he went to the principal's office and told me her name and the name of the assistant principal. Apparently they're all BFFs now.

Under the heading of "Maybe He Gets It," Miss A did say Jack's behavior was much-improved after the visit down the hall and he was the only one of the three boys who got to go out for recess. Whoo hoo?

I could chalk it up to spring fever, considering it was 60 degrees and sunny today for the first time in four months, but after yesterday's behavior report that's just not possible. Yesterday he was flinging yogurt at one of those same boys in the lunchroom. Yep, I have the kid who starts the food fight.

Unfortunately I imagine this is just the first of many, many principal visits in Jack's future. Is there a scrapbooking layout for this? I want to remember it in all its glory.

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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Jack v2.0

You think she looks like her brother a little?

Maeve, almost three months

Jack, three months

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Monday, March 1, 2010

Skating on thin ice

Yesterday morning I woke up and told Josh we should take Jack ice skating. Neither Josh nor I had been ice skating in the last 15 years, but it seemed like a perfectly good idea. Last day of February, the Olympics inspiring me, not too cold -- great idea.

We headed down to Millenium Park after what should have been naptime, but was just run-around-upstairs-and-go-pee-12-times time, with high hopes. Josh scoffed when I said Jack needed his snowpants, but I held firm that it was going to be too cold to do without.

After securing our $10 rental skates, we set about lacing them up. Jack was, how shall I put it, less than helpful. He kept trying to kick me and when there's a metal blade that close to your face while you struggle to insert an uncooperative child's foot into an unforgiving boot, well you get a little twitchy.

Once we finally had everyone ready to go, we had to cool our heels for 15 minutes while the Zamboni did its thing. But Jack thought it was kind of cool and we all just watched it go around and around and around while listening to the piped-in 80s music. Nothing says "winter fun" like sitting on the cold ground with Rick Springfield crooning telephone numbers in the background. And then I couldn't stop thinking about "Californication" and Rick Springfield. Eww.

On the ice finally, I have no idea why, but I thought we would just hold Jack's hands and glide along. After a couple of turns around the rink, I figured he would be good to go.

Let me be clear: I have been a mother for four years now and I should know better. You never, ever go into any event involving children with anything but the lowest of expectations. Oh but how I was wrong.

Jack clung to Josh at first, his feet scrabbling underneath him. I tried to calmly tell him to just stand still and get his balance. He tried, but then insisted he couldn't.

He then clung to the railing, kind of sidestepping his way in five-foot increments. He kept sitting down on the side, which caused me to point out to Josh just who made the snowpants mandatory. I know all, don't doubt the Mommy.

It took us an hour to go around one time. ONE. HOUR.

When we had the last 15 feet in sight, I told him he had to hold my hand and go to the end. Damn it, I paid $30 for this fun and we were going to finish strong. And he did. Yay Jack!

I must say, at the end of the day, I was proud of him. He wasn't exactly thrilled about it, but he tried and he kept getting back up and trying again. When it was over, we asked if he had fun and he said yes.

Clearly, my hopes of him throwing a triple axle on his first time out were slightly premature. But he did it, and that's what counts.

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Monday, February 15, 2010

Be mine

Happy Valentine's Day to everyone out there. I realize it's a day late and $15 dollars short (damn that inflation), but as you can tell from the expressions on all their faces, it was one of those days.

And yes, that was the best shot of the bunch.

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Monday, February 8, 2010

Jack: Four years

Dear Jack,

My sweet, crazy, smart, handsome, funny little man -- today you are 4 years old. Four years ago tonight you burst into our lives and made us parents. When I saw you for the first time, I didn't think I could ever love you more and then you turned 4 and I realized my love for you grows every day.

In the last year you have changed so much I don't even know where to start. You're taller, thinner, faster, smarter, more articulate and more interesting. You carry on the most fascinating conversations about your day, your friends and random things you see out the window. Your new favorite thing is to ask me what the street signs say, and then you remember and tell me what intersections we are driving through days later. You're freaky like that when it comes to memory -- you don't miss anything and it's all stored in the vault.

You started all-day school in the fall and you adore it. When we get to school, you're so excited to get in the door that you literally jump out of the carseat or the stroller, shrug your backpack on and hurriedly kiss me goodbye before running up to the door. You go in all by yourself, walk down the hall to your classroom by yourself and put your things away in your locker all by yourself. A locker! You're 4, what could you need a locker for? You love all your friends and your teachers and you always come out in the afternoon with a huge smile on your face. And that is my favorite part of my day -- no matter what, you look for me and when you catch my eye, I wave and you light up. But you're also a typical 4-year-old boy when it comes to behavior and we've had to remind you to keep your hands to yourself and try to keep your mouth quiet. Some day you'll figure it out. Hopefully.

You've grown so much I swear you get bigger overnight. Just last week all your 4T pants were suddenly too small in the waist and too short in the legs, so we had to get all new jeans. You love to eat, always asking, "What else can I have?" Some of your favorites are smoothies, spinach salad, tikka masala, almond butter sandwiches, yogurt, cereal bars, apples and pizza. Like your father, you would eat pizza at every meal if we let you. Thankfully, you are pretty open to trying new things and love fruits and veggies, so we hope that continues.

This past year you became a big brother for the second time and this time, it's been a completely different experience. You genuinely love Maeve and are so gentle and nice to her. You always want to know where she is and what she's doing, and you ask to hold her quite a bit. You love it when she smiles at you and have a great time playing on her little play mat with her. You give her lots of kisses and gentle pats on the head and I love to watch you interact with her because it's so sweet. Your interaction with Emmie isn't always as sweet, however. You do get along more and spend more time playing together, but she's normally the target of your aggression. You can just be walking around the house and out of nowhere, boom, you hip-check her for no reason, sending her wailing to the ground. But then you can turn around and be completely nice, sharing a toy with her or asking if she wants to watch "The Wiggles" with you. I suspect this hot and cold relationship will continue for many years, hopefully with less violence.

Some of your favorite things right now are playing at the park, watching "The Wiggles" and "Go, Diego, Go," playing Uno, playing with your train set, pretending to be a veterinarian with your stuffed animals, playing video games on your Leapster, reading books, riding your tricycle, going to the park, playing soccer and swimming. You want to do everything yourself from zipping your own coat to carrying your own milk and food to the table. If you can't get something after a few tries, you're getting much better about asking for help instead of throwing a huge tantrum and screaming. Not that you don't still do the tantrum thing, but they're usually shortlived and not very often.

When you take a shower, you wash your "armhips." You like to go to the nature "nuseum" and you won't eat salads without "yummy screwtons" on them. You like to help Daddy make "smoovies" and you're getting ready to celebrate "Valentime's Day." There are a million more cute things that you say, but your speech is getting more adult by the day and soon, you won't say any of those cute little things anymore.

Yesterday, I took you to a birthday party for one of your friends and there was a magic show. As an adult, I usually roll my eyes and get annoyed by things like that, but watching it through your eyes was a whole new experience. Your eyes lit up and grew wide as he made doves appear out of thin air and you clapped with obvious delight when he changed four birds into a poodle. As I watched you watch the show, I saw unabashed joy in your face. You don't know how to be cynical or doubt what you see. You live in the moment and wear your heart on your sleeve. It makes me so happy to see you enjoying yourself. It makes me sad to see you disappointed. It makes me crazy when I think someone has slighted you. I only want the best for you and while I know disappointment is part of life, I wish you would never know it.

In the last few months, you've been a little wary of Daddy and I being gone. It started when I went to the hospital to have Maeve and has gotten a little worse since Daddy started traveling for work. Every night you get a serious look on your face and ask me, "Mommy, are you leaving? Are you going to leave me alone?" And I always tell you that I would never leave you alone, that someone will always be here with you. I've never experienced this kind of thing with you before, so it's been a little surprising. There are nights when you ask me for the 20th time, when you are supposed to be in bed, and it's a little annoying. But mostly, it makes me want to scoop you up and hug you tightly. Don't worry Jackie, in 10 years, you'll beg me to just leave you alone already, slamming the door to your room. And then I will remind you that when you were 4, that's the last thing you wanted.

When I think back to the tiny baby you were, with your wrinkly brow and skinny arms and legs, I am amazed at the big boy you are now. How did you get from there to here? How did I witness all these days yet miss you growing up? I love the baby in you, but I can't get enough of the big boy you have become.


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Monday, January 25, 2010

Head case

Biggest take-away from our conference with Jack's teachers last week? We have an almost-4-year-old boy who likes to fool around and get attention.

It's not like they told us anything we haven't already heard. He needs reminders to stay on task. He can't keep himself quiet and he can't keep his body still. He doesn't take a nap and he can't lie there quietly for the half-hour when everyone else does.

But you know what? HE'S (almost) FOUR. For the love of God, it's preschool. It's not like he's preparing for the SATs here. Of course I didn't say that to his teachers, because I get it. He's disrupting other kids and they can't spend all their time focusing on him. And that's not fair to anyone.

But in the end, I think it's just Jack being Jack. He wanders around here at home. He has never been a fan of using his inside voice. He's spent the last two years hip-checking his sister and not showing remorse about it. He rarely takes a nap on the weekends and he's definitely not quiet for a half-hour in his room.

When we picked him up from school today, his teacher said he had an awesome day and she couldn't believe how great he was. Apparently, the key to good behavior is a head injury, such as the one he got last night.

If you follow me on Twitter, you know we took Jack to the ER because he fell and hit his head at the pool, complained he was going to throw up an hour later and fell asleep in the car on the way home.

Josh had taken Jack and Emmie and I stayed home with Maeve, so I got the information secondhand, but apparently he was walking away from the hot tub area and the floor was super slippery and when he fell backward, the back of his head hit the raised tile ledge around the hot tub. Josh said he cried for about 10 minutes, and was fine. They went to dinner afterward and during dinner, he ate some pasta but then didn't want his pizza and started crying that he felt like he was going to throw up. After he fell asleep in the car, Josh started to suspect maybe these things were all related.

After they got home and he told me what happened, I called the pediatrician's service and the doctor on call told us we should probably take him to the ER just to be safe. He was sobbing that his tummy hurt and had a bump the size of an egg on the back of his little skull. We had our awesome neighbor (and longtime reader), Chris, come over to stay with a sleeping Emmie and an awake-and-ready-to-party Maeve and headed out to Children's Hospital.

After bathing ourselves and Jack in hand sanitizer several times during the 25-minute wait in urgent care, a doctor pronounced him "likely fine" and told us kids can actually puke twice after a head injury before they even think about giving a CT scan. Who knew?

Jack of course stopped crying the minute we left the house and was all smiles for the nurses and doctor. He gave them all a play-by-play of the events of the night and made everyone laugh with his detailed descriptions. Thanks to our (recently changed and expensive) health insurance, that little excursion set us back a couple hundred bucks. Awesome!

After returning home with the doc's permission to send him off to school in the morning, he finally got to sleep around 9:30 p.m. We were instructed to wake him once an hour to make sure he wasn't concussed and since I am awake multiple times per night to feed Maeve, I just went in and checked on Jack as well. Of course, he was up and ready for the day at 6:15 this morning. Seriously, does this child never sleep in? Does he have a secret alarm I am not aware of?

But apparently, his tiredness made for some docile behavior today. And lucky me, because we dealt with all that nonsense and didn't know how he would be today, Josh didn't fly out as scheduled and worked at home today. Yay! A one-day reprieve from single-parenting! And one more day to sleep in! I mean not that I don't love having my husband around, but let's face facts: my sleep is more important than anything right now.

But he left tonight and I was on my own for bathtime and bedtime. And let me tell you, at one point, everyone but me was crying. And I just had to laugh because there was nothing else to do. I came downstairs with Maeve to find an empty wine rack -- and that's when I started to cry.

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Friday, January 22, 2010

Puke-tastic, part the second

At midnight last night, Josh woke me up with the dreaded words, "Jack's throwing up."

Four days after we dealt with Emmie's chunk-blowing, we had the pleasure of repeating it with Jack. Unfortunately for us, instead of puking on the rug, he puked all over his bed. The sheets, the comforter, his little blanket, his lovey, his carpet, his jammies, everything. Why yes, he did have pizza for dinner, thanks for asking.

Josh took the poor traumatized child into the bathroom while I got to work stripping the bed. Gagging repeatedly, I managed to get the job done while Jack was puking again in the bathroom sink.

I ran a load of laundry and sprayed the rug down with the Nature's Miracle I bought earlier in the week after the Emmie debacle. Nobody paid me to say this, but if you are a parent, you should always have a bottle of this on hand. It seriously takes the smell out immediately. I laid down a plastic tarp and a sheet on the couch and went back to bed, leaving Josh to spend the night with the puker on the couch downstairs. Seeing as I would have to feed the baby, Josh drew sick duty.

Good thing we didn't send him back to bed because he puked twice more before finally falling back asleep at 3:30 a.m. But of course, he was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 6:30 this morning.

I stumbled back downstairs at 8:30, relieving Josh of kid duty so he could get some decent sleep in our bed. As we passed on the stairs, I told him I was thanking my lucky stars this didn't happen next Monday. You know, when I am alone with all three kids for four straight days. I shudder to think what I would have done if I had to clean up, get Jack settled, stay with him on the couch and still feed Maeve multiple times overnight and get Emmie up for the day. Single parents -- you have my complete and total respect.

Because Jack was so sick, we kept him home from school, but we still had the conference with his teachers. I am digesting all the info and trying to figure out what to say about it all. So I'm sorry, but I will have to take the weekend for that. Suffice it to say we're not raising a sociopath, but he definitely needs to work on his impulse control. As do I, seeing as I stress-ate several more cookies than should be legally allowed prior to the meeting.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tell me how you really feel, Jack

In case you can't see the above picture, it is an art project Jack brought home from school. They asked the kids what they wished for and the teacher wrote it down. My child's says, "I wish I liked my mom."

My first reaction when I saw it was to laugh, because I figured they said "What do you wish for?" and he thought wishing was similar to liking, so he said "I like my mom." At least that's what I was going with until I saw his art teacher at a PTA meeting tonight.

I asked her what the heck and told her how I thought it was funny, and she said he really did say that and his teacher felt bad for writing it that way, but it was what he said. I kept a fake smile on my face while she said she heard his dad was away for work and that we had a new baby at home, so maybe this was his way of telling us how he felt.

Oh my holy hell. My 4-year-old is going passive-aggressive on me through art projects. Not so funny anymore.

I still think he said he liked his mom, not that he *wished* he liked his mom. But wow, really looking forward to the conference this Friday even more now.

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Monday, January 18, 2010


Last year, the day before her birthday, Emmie woke up from her nap covered in puke. That was really awesome. Today, almost exactly a year later, she puked her shit again, this time all over the living room area rug.

If you've never tried to clean a seven-year-old Ikea rug with a Hoover carpet cleaner, well then you've never lived. Not only does my entire house now smell like puke, it smells like wet puke. You're welcome if you just threw up in your mouth.

I was still sleeping, but word on the street from Grandpa was that one minute she was playing nicely and the next, she was yakking all over herself and the rug while Jack stood by yelling, "Emmie is growing up! Emmie is growing up!" Later we corrected him, you know, when we weren't cleaning chunks out of the rug.

My mom woke me up with the news and I came downstairs to find Emmie running around as if nothing ever happened, the rug covered in towels and Jack immersed in a play-by-play of the events of the morning.

Again, Grandpa was a trooper. The man had never changed a diaper until this year, despite having raised two daughters of his own, but this is the second time he has cleaned up after a puking grandchild. The man deserves a medal for this performance, seriously.

Emmie seemed herself most of the day, but we didn't let her eat anything except a few pretzels and a small container of applesauce. She refused to drink any Pedialyte or apple juice and since we wouldn't let her have her beloved milk, she settled begrudgingly for small amounts of water. By dinner time, she had regained her appetite and wolfed down some turkey, a bite of toast, 1.5 cereal bars and two oatmeal raisin cookies.

The most amusing part of the entire day, however, came when she accidentally slammed her fingers in the cabinet door. She was screaming bloody murder and Jack ran up the stairs and yelled in the most excited voice I have ever heard him muster, "Is Emmie throwing up again?!" Apparently, her vomiting made quite the impression on him.

When I asked him before bed tonight what his favorite part of the day was, he didn't even hesitate.

"When Emmie got sick!" he said. Perhaps we won't need to save any money for medical school, seeing as his bedside manner leaves something to be desired.

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Towing the line

I'm just all about reaching out to my readers this week, it seems.

So. Jack. Love of my life, smart, witty, amusing, adorable, frustrating, loving Jack. Mr. Soon-to-be 4 Years Old is having an issue at school. He doesn't want to take a nap. But the rules are the 3- and 4-year-olds either take a nap or have to lie quietly on their cots for the duration of nap time, which is about an hour.

Now Jack, he's not so much about the nap. Definitely not about the being quiet either. He's actually slept three times since September and has remained quiet maybe half the time. This week, things have gotten a little more, shall we say, challenging.

When he came home Monday, he announced, "Mommy, I did not take a nice nap and I wasn't listening. I was standing on my head on my cot!" Imagine that said with a huge smile and a gleeful yell. Mmhmmm. OK then.

Yesterday, I received a phone call at 2 p.m. from Jack's teacher.

"Hi, this is Miss A. from school," she said.

"Hi Miss A.," I replied cautiously.

"I have Jack here with me and he was being so loud at nap time that we had him go out and sit in the hall," she said. "Then he was so loud in the hall that three other teachers had to come out and tell him to be quiet. So I took him in the classroom with me (the kindergartners in his class work on reading when the younger kids nap) and he was disruptive in there as well. I thought a call to you might be helpful. Would you like to talk to him?" she asked.

"Put him on," I said with a sigh.

I hear a little voice.

"Mommy! I was not listening at nap!" he said with pride in his voice. "Now I have to go home early. Oh, and Mommy! I lost my shoes!"

I remain calm and say, "Jack, you need to listen RIGHT NOW. You tell Miss A. you are sorry and you will try harder and you stop yelling and being loud right now."

Miss A. takes the phone back and says she did not tell him he had to go home early and that his shoes are not lost, they were in his locker. She thanks me and says she'll see me at pickup after school.

She waited until after school to request a conference with herself, the other teacher in his class and Josh and me. Awesome. My almost-4-year-old needs a formal conference because he can't keep his shit together for an hour at nap time.

The other issue is that he laughs when disciplined or when he has an altercation with another student. As in, if he hits someone (which I think is pretty rare) he smiles while the other kid stands there crying. Miss A. says this upsets the other child even more because Jack doesn't show any remorse. We certainly see this behavior at home with Emmie, so no surprise there. Another example: he headbutted Maeve last night and I got in his face and yelled about as loud as I could and he laughed hysterically the whole time.

Not sure what the hell is going on, but the fact he shows no empathy or remorse is a little disconcerting. Most kids I know cry or get scared when faced with that kind of yelling -- not mine. And he's always been like this. I remember him laughing and running from timeout when he was 2 and not caring at all when I raised my voice.

So this leads to two questions:
1. Is it an outrageous expectation for an almost-4-year-old to remain quiet and lie still for an hour? What does your school do about nap time for your kids?

2. How does your child react to yelling or punishments? And should I be concerned about the lack of remorse?

Thoughts, please!

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Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

Nothing says 2010 quite like Trader Joe's truffle brownies, so I whipped up a batch on Wednesday. And then Josh took them to a party. A party I did not go to. Instead I stayed home with a baby on my boob for three straight hours. Seriously.

Since he thefted my precious chocolaty goodness, the same chocolaty goodness I promised my babysitting-on-New-Years-Eve-out-of-the-goodness-of-their-hearts parents, I made him go buy another box of mix on Thursday so I could whip up a batch for the new year. Oh who am I kidding -- those were going to be gone before 2009 was.

I let the kids help make the second batch. They loved it.

Sorry, daddy gets to lick the spoon.

OK, that was a lie, Mommy is licking the spoon.

But I want to lick the spoon! Damn it, I am sick of breastmilk.

Then we had a little countdown with the kids before their bedtime, complete with noisemakers and party hats. Jack loved counting down and Emmie was fascinated by the noisemakers. Maeve was pissed it held up her dinner hour by a few minutes. Also, she was not a fan of her hat. But it was jaunty! A jaunty New Year's hat for our 2009 baby!

OMFG get this hat off me.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1...

Happy New Year at 7:05 p.m.!

Let's see how many times I can blow this and annoy the shit out of Mommy.

Even Daddy was excited to ring in 2010.

Happy New Years to all! I am resolving to try and not kill or injure anyone in my family in 2010. Not sure how doable that is, considering Josh is leaving me alone with three kids all week every week, but in the immortal words of Jack, "I can just try."

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Exponential fun

On several occasions this fall, Emmie spent a few days by herself at one of the grandparents' houses. Not because I like outsourcing her care, but because it was easier for everyone when I was unable to lift her or when we didn't want her to contract the Swine Flu of death. And hell, it was nice to only be responsible for one kid who is gone six hours per day and can take a shower on his own.

Jack was promised his own visits with the Grandmas when he had school vacation, and this week, he cashed in on one of those promises. He was spoiled rotten while Emmie and Maeve had sister time with mommy and daddy. Emmie was pissed and missed her brother dearly, so she was pleased as punch when he returned home this afternoon.

You would think that the addition of the third child would only raise the level of craziness in the house by a third, but you would be severely underestimating that. I am pretty sure that Jack's homecoming ratcheted up the crazy by at least 150 percent.

There was screaming and laughing and crying and tantrums within the first hour, and that was just mommy. The kids were even more insane.

Poor Maeve had just gotten used to the slightly quieter atmosphere -- I say slightly because Emmie can throw a tantrum with the best of 'em -- and now it's pandemonium again.

I am too tired to come up with a witty wrap up to this post, so we'll just abruptly end there. Sort of like my sleep schedule these days.

Now if you'll excuse me, I am currently trying to recover from bathing two children while the third one screamed bloody murder. The screamer is paying me back with a non-stop nurseathon going on three hours. And yes, I typed this entire post with one hand. Anything for you my readers, anything.

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

I am normally not one for sappy holiday musings, but we really did get the greatest gift of all this year. Of course, I am talking about our newest tax deduction.

May you and yours be the recipients of great gifts, good cheer and easy travels.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Here, mostly

Just wanted to update the masses that the reports of my untimely demise are totally false. The children may have taken over the house, but Josh and I are still in charge. Kind of.

The grandparents packed up and went home on Saturday morning, leaving us alone with the natives for the first time. Everyone has survived thus far.

Jack is being an exemplary big brother, curious about the breastfeeding and eager to help out in any way with Maeve. Emmie is an awesome big sister, excited to give kisses and gentle touches and always on alert for crying, and she will inform us when Maeve needs our immediate attention.

Maeve has been sleeping like a champ, routinely snoozing in six-hour stretches overnight. I have now jinxed it by saying it on the Internet and she will probably wake up every hour on the hour for the rest of my life to spite me. But she is also the gassiest baby I have ever met. I think she is going to melt the polar ice caps with all the gas she is releasing every day. Poor kid.

I am sleeping like a new mom, although Josh and the grandparents have made sure I get enough rest. I get up with Gassy Girl when she needs to be fed around the clock, but I also sleep in with her in the mornings. So that works out well.

Of course, I am in no way ready for Christmas, but I figure people are lucky I even got them a gift with a two-week-old in my house, if I don't wrap the gift, too bad.

So I wanted to get a post out there to show we are all accounted for. And yes, I have a picture of Miss Maeve, the two-week-old. I know that's why you all came here anyway.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Rocking the bells

Yesterday morning I dragged my sleep-deprived ass out of bed at the ungodly hour of 8:30 (shut it, I was up for an hour at midnight and again from 4:30-6:30 a.m.) so I could witness my first-born sing in his first Christmas concert.

I had tears in my eyes -- hormonal? Perhaps. But it was just so cute and I was so proud of him and I couldn't help myself.

I present to you, "Jingle Bell Rock" by the 3-5-year-olds. May your holidays be full of mixing and mingling!

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Monday, December 14, 2009


I have been working on a post since Friday night but can't seem to find the time to, you know, finish writing it. Something about a newborn on the boob and sleep-deprivation. Dunno, but man, it's hard to find the time to write right now.

Let me distract you with some pictures!

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The whole fam-damily

Jack and Emmie met Maeve today. They were so excited they could barely contain themselves.

Maeve was the gracious newcomer, not interrupting or talking too much about herself. Emmie greeted her with inquisitiveness about her background, where she grew up and tried to shove a hat on her head after politely shaking her foot rather than her hand. Jack wholeheartedly welcomed her with kisses and handshakes before showing her who was boss with a few ill-timed, mostly harmless whacks. He blamed her for his unfortunate incarceration in his room.

There were sibling gifts exchanged, which always breaks the ice, and everyone wondered how Maeve knew Jack liked Diego and Emmie liked babies. Maeve was pleased to receive her rattle and lovey, and asked how they could have known she needed both.

We're a five-family now. Let the fun begin.

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Monday, November 30, 2009

I have two other kids, too

You'd think I forgot about my two existing children with the way I have completely ignored them on this blog as of late. But oh boy, are they pissed about the lack of attention. They told me so. So I promised them I would update the world about how awesome they are.

(If you're here for a pregnancy update, still pregnant, still contracting on an irregular basis but nothing that seems to be causing cervical change and still complaining all over the damn place about being nine-plus months pregnant and how unfair it is I have to do things like get out of bed in the morning and go grocery shopping. Josh is not swayed by arguments about these injustices. In fact, he laughs at me and tries to mimic my whining. Whatever.)

Let's start with Miss Emily Jean. This weekend she was trying to get my attention while I was surfing the Internet saving orphans in India and when I didn't snap to attention in 2.5 seconds, she started screaming, "Mom-MY, mom-MY!" And just like that, I went from Mama to Mommy. Of course that got my attention and resulted in tons of positive reinforcement like smiles and clapping on my part, so now she just screams "MOM-MYYYYYY" when she wants something. That's so many kinds of awesome I can't even describe it.

Emmie also caught an awesome cold this weekend, so she's snotting all over the place and leaving a trail of mucus in her wake. When she's not running away from me and my weapon of mass destruction (Kleenex), she's waking up in the middle of the night because she can't breathe. I really hope this keeps up because if there's one thing I don't need when I'm nine-plus months pregnant, it's a full night's sleep.

She also enjoyed her Thanksgiving. She really enjoyed her second helping of air and her third serving of whole milk. The turkey, stuffing, potatoes and broccoli she spit out and threw on the ground? Don't even mention it. No big deal.

Jackson, however, was a pure delight at the holiday table. Seriously. He sat in a regular chair (no booster) and ate politely, asked for more of everything, participated in conversation and cleaned up after himself. I have never seen a better-behaved almost-4-year-old. I complimented him numerous times and told him what a big boy he was. It was so enjoyable. Too bad his sister screamed "Oooouuuuuutttttttt" for 20 minutes at the top of her lungs.

He also attended his first circus this weekend with Josh and another friend and her dad, and a good time was had by all. He came home with a toy four-wheeler and stories about elephants and tigers and a magician. Josh came home with tales of $10 lemonades. Needless to say, Jack drank a beverage from home.

Jack returned to school today, fresh off his four-day break, excited to see his friends and teachers. When he scrambled into the car and started telling me about his day, he recounted what must have been a highlight, considering it made it into the first five minutes of the recap.

"Mommy, I went poop on the potty at school today," he said.

"Wow, that's... great? Did anyone help you?" I asked tentatively.

"No. I wiped myself," he said. "I did a good job."

"Well that's good," I said.

"I checked with my finger after. It was all clean."

Well then. Awesome. I asked if he washed his hands and he told me he used hand sanitizer. Sweet lord, I really hope he was just forgetting the part about using soap and water.

In other holiday news, Mr. Helpful Jack also assisted in the assembly and decoration of the Christmas tree this weekend. He found all the color-coded pieces and handed them to me in the correct order, which was all kinds of awesome because Mommy can't bend over and this made it so much easier. He helped Josh with the lights, but was disappointed when I told him we couldn't put ornaments on because I have a no-ornament policy with an almost 2-year-old in the house. But he was excited to see his handiwork completed when the tree was lit up in the darkened living room.

All in all, it was an enlightening weekend.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Montessori? Yes, please!

I can't say enough great things about Jack's school and the Montessori curriculum they have there. He's flourished and matured, becoming so much more helpful and curious since school started in September.

I think for kids like Jack, who like to explore and figure things out and do activities on their own terms in their own time frames, it's an ideal program. For him, it's been a great fit. He adores both his teachers, loves art and gym class and is constantly asking us what the Spanish word is for things he encounters. The class he loves the most however? Drama. How ridiculously cute is THAT?

He's friends with both girls and boys, 5-year-olds as well as the 3- and 4-year-olds, and is in the diverse urban school setting we always imagined when we said we were raising our kids in the city.

In short, it's the perfect school. Made even more perfect by the fact it's a neighborhood school. And it's free. How ya like them apples? Free Montessori. I swear to God, it's better than winning the lottery. We'll send three kids there and pay nothing (well, except out insanely high property taxes, but still). The private Montessori schools in our area expect parents to cough up $15,000 per year. So we'd be looking at $45,000 PER YEAR just to educate our kids.

Tonight, Jack fed me this little tidbit he learned in school today.

"Mommy, Vincent Van Gogh is an artist and he paints flowers," he said proudly.

My 3.5-year-old just schooled me in some rudimentary art history. That's worth every penny we pay in taxes and then some. Seriously? I still can't believe our luck.

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Monday, November 9, 2009

The one where I am tired

First, look at all of you with your comments! I have some serious reading and commenting to commence. Which I will do some day this week when I am not so exhausted.

You might think I would be well-rested, what with only having one child around for the last week, but you would be wrong. The child I did have around was sick and clung to me like a life raft for four days. Unless he was sleeping in his own bed, Jack never. stopped. touching. me.

He laid next to me on the couch for eight hours each day watching kids TV and either had his head on my lap or was fidgeting his feet in some bizarre sort of kitten-pawing action on my thigh. I am pretty sure I have a bruise from his nonstop contact. And every time I would nicely ask him to please stop it for the love of God, he would tell me he didn't feeeeeel goooooood and give me a pitiful look. Do you know how hard it is to physically remove the foot of your ailing offspring?

And let's all remember that the sick child I had at home is the one who wakes up at 5:30 a.m. every day. So it's not like I was sleeping in and resting. Oh no, he still woke up early every damn day, so that pretty much sucked. When you're sick, you're supposed to sleep in. Someone needs to tutor him in the ways of the sick day.

And it's impossible for me to get any stretch of sleep longer than an hour these days, what with the shifting and the sighing and the snoring. No, not on my part, on Josh's. I even bought him some Breathe-Right strips to see if it would help and I think I can tell you, he is the only person on earth for whom Breathe-Right strips actually enabled him to snore more. It was like it opened his sinuses fully, thus allowing him to get even more power behind his breathing.

Oh yeah, and I have to pee like twice a night and I can't get comfortable and I keep waking up on my back, which makes me short of breath, so I have to turn over and that's like trying to roll a tractor-trailer back upright after it's spilled crates of live chickens all over the Interstate.

Hopefully I can get some sort of decent rest tonight and come back full recharged tomorrow, ready to show you pictures of the remodeling and the new bedroom configurations and share how I almost flooded the house with my crazy nesting.

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Trick or germs

We take a break from our regularly scheduled swine flu update to bring you this special Halloween Report. But before we get to that, wanted to update everyone that Jack has joined me in the world of pork and came down with the H1N1 early this morning. Fever of 101, hacking cough and complaints that his chest and throat hurt bought him a stay-home-from-school pass that came with his very own day o' TV. I watched eight hours of kids' TV today. Eight hours that kept him quiet on the couch and me happy next to him with my laptop.

He was holding steady at 102 degrees tonight before bed, so we're looking at another day home tomorrow followed by a scheduled day off of school on Friday, making this a five-day weekend. Whoo-hoo?

Anyway, back to our special report.

Trick or Treat, or shall I say Trick or Germs, was awesome for both kids this year. Jack was an old pro and Emmie picked it up very quickly. After the second house, she realized people would give her shiny wrapped objects if she said the magic words, so she started saying, "tick teet" without being prompted and "tank you" about 50 percent of the time. Jack took charge, boldly going up to the houses and would have probably done the whole street by himself if we let him.

It was freezing, but everyone had a great time. Daddy was offered beer at one house and Mommy pilfered a full-size Twix from Emmie's bag. All in all, a solid outing once again.

Happy Halloween!

We met up with some friends from the neighborhood. Notice Emmie has her eye on their candy.

No, I don't WANT a sucker. I want M 'n Ms.

My parents never let me have candy. Just wait til they find out I am planning to eat all of it.

Jesus Mommy, you are so embarrassing making me hold your hand. Can't you just stand over there so I can pretend I don't know you?

People, I am a DRAGON. Not a dinosaur. Have you ever seen a dinosaur with wings? Stop being stupid.

Nooooo, not the Three Musketeers, Emmie! Don't you know you always go straight for the Milky Ways?

OMG, who stuffed a pumpkin under that woman's shirt? Oh wait. That's actually Mommy's belly. Nevermind.

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Friday, October 30, 2009


Remember a few weeks ago when Jack fell on the playground and gave himself a black eye? The day before school pictures were set to be taken?

We got the pictures back today. I introduce to you, my son, the scarred one. I'm not sure which I think is more awesome: the look on his face or the black eye. I don't think we're going to have them retaken; we'll look back at this shot someday and remember it fondly.

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pumpkin fun

As in years past, I was once again solely in charge of the pumpkin carving at Chez Snarky. I told Josh recently he only wants to benefit from holidays, not participate in them. Case in point: he doesn't carve pumpkins, but he eats all the kids' trick-or-treat candy. He doesn't help put up the Christmas tree, but he damn sure wants the presents under it.

But whatever. I like to do this kind of stuff and someone needs to make memories for these children, damn it, so I take on that role. Josh scoffs and says they're too little to remember, but someday when Jack reminds him that daddy painted outside instead of helping him carve a pumpkin the year before he turned 4, I can say I told you so. And that's one of my very favorite sayings.

But today was pumpkin day and everybody had a grand time. In previous years, Jack didn't want anything to do with touching the innards of the gourd and there was no way I was letting him anywhere near a knife. But this year he attacked the task with great gusto and Emmie got into the act as well. I still didn't let him near the knife, but apparently it was myself I should have worried about when it came to that.

Damn that $5 pumpkin carving kit from Walgreens. There I was, sawing along on pumpkin No. 1 when out of nowhere the stupid thing breaks off from the handle and tears across my fingers. There wasn't any frost on the pumpkin tonight, but there was sure a lot of blood on it. Jack asked why Mommy yelled and I said it was nothing, quickly wiping the evidence away with multiple paper towels.

I was carving out the mouth/teeth portion of his pumpkin at the time, so now I am worried there was some weird vampire thing going on and I will be the subject of the next installment of the Twilight series.

So anyway, here's the photographic evidence of Pumpkin Carving 2009, Now With Spurting Blood.

Mommy, this is fun! Can I have the knife now?

This is squishy. I am going to throw it at my brother and see what happens.

It doesn't look nearly as bad as it was. I could have bled out right there in the dining room. Seriously.

Hey why are we outside in the dark? And no, we won't smile. We're going to egg the house later, so watch out.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Lame, but cute

I don't have the energy to post anything of substance tonight because I spent three hours painting Emmie's new bedroom and then I went out to dinner with my friends. Let me be the first to tell you that I overdid it and my body is not pleased with me. I told Josh I am retired from painting. He said until tomorrow. He's so concerned.

In place of witty blogging, here's a video of Jack singing a cute seasonal song he learned at school.

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

In sickness and in health

Most people associate the phrase "in sickness and in health" with marriage vows, but I assure you, it is much more applicable to your relationship with your children. If your spouse gets sick, well that blows, but it doesn't suck the soul out of your heart and cause sleep deprivation the likes of which has only been used as a torture device by the CIA.

When your spouse gets sick, you feel kind of bad and then get really scared you're going to get it next and then finally are just all kinds of annoyed because HELLO, it's a sore throat, deal. But when your young children get sick, they neeeeeed you. In the middle of the night. Multiple times. And when both your children get sick at the same time? You might as well just camp out in the hallway because you're not getting any sleep in your own bed, that's for sure.

Last night Jack went to sleep at his normal time with a bit of a cough. He quieted down pretty quickly, so I figured he would be fine. Emmie went to bed at her normal time with nothing but a few sneezing fits throughout the day. Emmie sneezing repeatedly can only mean one thing and it's that she's getting sick. I tried to pretend it was just construction dust and ignored it. She awoke screaming at the top of her lungs at 8:40 p.m. For a kid who has been sleeping through the night for almost a year now, that was not a welcome deviation from the norm.

She didn't have a fever, but she was covered in snot and generally unhappy about life. We dosed her up with Motrin and Josh rocked her for a few minutes. She protested when he put her back in her crib, but she was conked out in a few minutes.

Predicting doom to Josh, I should have gone to bed right then. But I didn't. I stayed up voting for myself in the "Best Mommy Blog" contest and painting baseboards for the new bedroom. Josh shooed me to bed at 11 p.m. and the next thing I knew, I was awoken by a cat coughing up a hairball three rooms away.

Except we don't have cats anymore. I struggled to place the sound coming out of the monitor and realized it was Jack, hacking up a lung. This continued for several minutes, so I got up and got him some water to see if that would help. The time read 1:37 a.m. on my clock. Awesome. Jack, surprisingly, wasn't woken by his lungs exiting his body. So I woke him up to give him some water and Motrin and he promptly went back to sleep. And back to coughing.

He coughed non-stop for the next four hours. He coughed until he woke up for the day at 4:40 a.m. Who voluntarily gets up before 5 a.m.? How is this child even related to me? And more importantly, what did I ever do to deserve this sleep deprivation? Because when Jack wakes up at 4:40 a.m., so does Mommy.

In the meantime, Sleeping Beauty (aka Josh) hadn't missed a single wink and was snoring on his side of the bed, buried under the covers. I have never been more annoyed by him as much as I was at that moment. Here I was working on about two hours of sleep, all stolen in 15-minute increments when Jack's coughing slowed down, and now I was going to be awake for the day at 4:45 a.m.

Emmie wanted to get the band back together, so she joined the fun at 5:15 a.m. when I first heard her playing with the crib soother. I bit my own lip to stifle the scream coming out of my mouth and turned the monitors down a bit. Josh thinks I keep them at "jet-engine level" anyway, so turning them down just made the yelling quieter, it didn't silence it completely.

I laid there listening to the singing/coughing from Jack and the whining/lullabye music from Emmie for a little while and when Emmie went from whining to screaming at 6 a.m., I snapped.

"JOSH," I hissed. "I can't. I just can't. I know you have to work but you have to get up with them. I haven't slept all night. Literally, all night. I am pregnant. I am exhausted. I. Can't. Do. It."

He asked me what I wanted him to do and I cried in exasperation that I didn't care and I just wanted to sleep for an hour. Sixty measly minutes. I grabbed a pillow, stuffed it over my head, and found a comfortable position for my fat, pregnant ass. I don't know what he did or how he did it, but I woke up an hour later when he brought a happy Emmie in to our bedroom, joyfully yelling, "Momma! Momma!"

Jack didn't have a fever, so I sent him off to school. That's where he got this damn cough of doom anyway, so they could deal with it. I think the lack of sleep finally got to him, however, because he finally took a nap at school. I think his teacher almost fell over when she saw he really went to sleep, but he did. He came out to the car a little dazed, and cried that he wasn't feeling well, but perked up once we got home and he had a snack.

Emmie spent the day plowing through a box of Kleenex, clinging to me and generally acting like someone who will be seeing the doctor for an ear check in about two days if this keeps up. After he ultra-early wakeup, she took an awesome (insert eye-roll here) one-hour nap and woke up supremely cranky. Because she was sick, I let her have a cereal bar at each meal, therefor negating all the progress we have made in just saying no to cereal bars in the last two days. I am a sucker.

I spent the day wondering if it was naptime yet and trying to peel Emmie off my leg so I could use the bathroom alone. When I left her with my sister-in-law so I could run to Home Depot and pick Jack up from school, I think my ear drum ruptured from the screams she emitted. Thank goodness for my sister-in-law because thanks to her playing with the kids, I got to take a short power nap and woke up feeling slightly less like death was near.

I am guessing tonight is going to be much like last night and I am prepared to play the pregnancy card if I have to. Josh is working from home tomorrow and he is so doing the early-morning duty. My sanity depends on it.

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Uncontrolled chaos

This morning started off much like every other morning of my life for the last five months with Jack yelling, "Mooooommmmyyyyyyyy I have to go pee on the poooootttttyyyyyyy" at 5:45 a.m. You know what it's like to be awoken out of a sound sleep like that? I'll tell you. It's like a garbage truck slamming into your car head-on. One minute you're driving along minding your own business and the next, you're covered in airbag dust and old banana peels wondering what in the hell just happened.

I stumbled out of bed, helped him to the bathroom and told him to summon me when he was ready to go back to bed. As soon as I got my pregnant ass settled in a somewhat acceptable position, Jack stuck his head in the doorway and stage-whispered, "Mommy? Do I have drama class today?" Because I wasn't prepared for that kind of thinking at 5:45 in the a.m., I asked him to repeat himself and after realizing he wanted to know what he was doing at school today, I mumbled something abut gym class and drama being what we were doing right then. I escorted him back to his room and re-settled myself into bed again.

Not even three minutes later, I heard, "Moooooommmmmmyyyyyyy, I have to go pooooooop on the pooootttttyyyyyyy." Seriously? You couldn't have done that three minutes ago when you were already in there? Seeing as I had been up approximately 57 times since midnight to pee, complain my back hurt, ask Josh to rub my back, pee again, heave my body all over the bed trying to turn over and take some medicine for contractions, all I wanted was some decent rest for another hour. Josh sensed my need for sleep (well, he sensed it because I was huffing and bitching a blue streak about how this is such BULLSHIT that our kid gets up so damn early and doesn't get enough rest and we're all doomed because he's going to turn out stupid from lack of sleep, it says so right there in "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby.") and offered to take one for the team and handle this bathroom expedition.

I thanked him profusely and waited for the inevitable wail I knew I would hear from Jack's room when he saw Daddy and not Mommy come in. He is not a fan of Daddy handling the early-morning wakeups and will protest if presented with that option. Sure enough, within miliseconds I heard Jack crying, "But I want Mommy!" Josh is a veteran of this nonsense, however, so he knows now that Jack won't stop whining and also won't stop complaining he has to use the bathroom, so he just picked Jack up and carried him into the bathroom and eventually, he stopped complaining and just got down to business.

Jack continued to voice his displeasure in the only way a 3.5-year-old can, and that's to say at the top of his lungs, while I tried to ignore the sounds coming through the wall. I knew that if I could hear him loud and clear, Emmie could also hear him through the other side of the wall. And 6 a.m. is no time for Emmie to make her appearance for the day. Josh finally got him to quiet down somehow and I relaxed a little. Until Jack somehow stubbed his toe walking out of the bathroom.

The shrill screaming started right outside Emmie's room and resulted in the immediate interruption of poor Emmie's sleep. Poor Emmie who normally sleeps until close to 7 a.m. Poor Emmie who was woken out of a sound sleep by a screaming banshee, which caused her to start screaming in the same manner.

So at 6 a.m., Josh and I were in bed listening to two hysterical children scream their faces off. I can't think of a better way to start my day. While I went to calm Jack down and tend to the toe of death, Josh got Emmie and brought her into our room to hang out between us while we pretended she was actually going to go back to sleep. She behaved for a little while before sitting up and poking me in the eye repeatedly while asking hopefully for milk and a Diego video. Again, just the way I like to start my morning. Maybe tomorrow we can do it all again!

If you're looking for me, I'll be the one in bed at 7:30 p.m. tonight. Of course, it won't be restful considering I can't sleep comfortably for more than an hour at a time (see: third-trimester of pregnancy), but damn it, I will at least try to pretend I am enjoying it.

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Random funny Jack-isms

"Mommy, I need to wash my armhips (armpits)."

(While helping in his class, I tried to wash my hands while he washed his and he put his arm out to block me) "Mommy, we wait turns."

"I am going to hug the baby in your tummy."

"Mommy, I am just kimming (kidding)."

"You have to wash like this (interlacing his fingers) because that's where the germs live. Miss Ashley tell me that."

"Mommy, porcupines have sticks on their backs." (Thank you, Diego video.)

(Seeing me get ready to leave for a meeting at his school) "Mommy, are you going to wear your boots so you can be fancy?"

"Is the new baby going to eat squished food?"

"Mommy, you did not take a shower today, that is why you have pony hair (a ponytail)."

"Frogs eat bugs. And then the bugs are in their tummies and the bugs are broken."

"Mommy, someday when I am big, I will get married and I will live here with you!" (Let's see what your wife thinks about that one,buddy.)


Jack was watching me type the last of this and announced he wanted to spell his name and Emmie's name. So I am turning this over to him.

jack emmie 1234567890 mommy

(He is clearly a genius.)

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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Suckitude, Part the Second

As we left it last post, Jack's school called and the secretary said, "Is this Amy? Hi. Jack had an accident."

My first thought, upon seeing the caller ID, was that he had thrown up. Emmie puked in the morning, so of course he would be puking in the afternoon and I just knew that I would be puking by dinner. Great, just great.

Except then she said he had an accident. The day before he had "an accident" and they just changed his pants to the spare we leave at school. So what the hell were they calling me for? Just change him.

"He fell on the playground and we don't think he has a concussion and he didn't break anything, but he fell on his head and we have him here in the office and we just can't calm him down," she said. "I think you need to come and get him."

What the? Fell? Head? Concussion? Well, shit. That is no good. I told her I would be right over and hung up. My next realization was that Emmie was in the middle of her nap. How in the hell was I going to get her up and downstairs and into the car without carrying her? This put a kink in things.

Putting my first-born's needs above all others, I tried to rouse Emmie to no avail, so I reached into the crib and picked her up. Then I carried her down the stairs. Sometimes, you just have to carry your 25-pound toddler in an emergency, cerclage or no cerclage. She woke up enough once we were downstairs that she could walk out to the car on her own two feet, so off we went.

When I arrived, he was sitting slumped in a chair with his teacher and a bag of ice on his face. I could hear the moaning before I got around the corner in the office and when he saw me, the wailing started anew. When he turned toward me, I felt awful. His poor little eye was all black and scraped from the eyebrow, down around his eye to his cheek.

I sent my beautiful child off to school that morning and they sent him home a scarred prize-fighter. Apparently, he was running and missed the steps on the playground and hit the ground with his head first, then his hands. But seeing as he is a boy and we have definitely had our share of injuries over the last three years, I was pretty calm about the whole thing.

His doctor didn't seem to think anything was serious enough to merit an office visit, so we hung out on the couch and played and watched a little Wiggles until he calmed down. He was pushing his sister down after about an hour, so I knew he had to be fine.

The best part about the whole incident? Picture day was the next day. Oh yes, my kid had a black eye in his first school picture. And when another mom suggested I could just have them retake it later, I asked if she was crazy.

"I have a blog, this is material too good to pass up!" I crowed. That's me, always exploiting my children for material. But how can you not show this off?

Day 1, ouch

Day 2, even better

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Suckitude, Part the First

As usual yesterday morning, things were a little chaotic around the house. Josh was up and out before 7 a.m., Jack woke at the ass-crack of 5:45 a.m. (after waking me up TWICE to go potty during the night) and Emmie was screaming in her crib at 6:40 a.m.

Can't we ever just start the day on a nice relaxing note? Why isn't my life like a Folger's commercial where I am awakened by the smell of brewing coffee in my crisp, clean 1,000-thread-count sheets with a breeze gently blowing the curtains back to reveal a glorious sunrise? I mean I don't drink coffee, my sheets aren't exactly crisp, we can't sleep with the windows open because we live on a busy street and I hate light in the room when I am trying to sleep, but other than those minor details, I would love to wake up like that just once.

I dragged my tired ass through the getting ready-breakfastmaking-lunchmaking-getting kids dressed routine and noticed Emmie was a little whiny. But I don't have time for drama in the morning when we have three people who need to be out the door by 8:25 a.m. for the brisk walk to school.

As I picked out clothes for Jack, she followed me around his room screaming. I calmly peeled her off my leg as I headed for her bedroom. As we walked in, she backed away from me, looked up and puked all over the rug. Oh for God's sake. I don't have time to clean up puke on this tight schedule, much less figure out how to take a puking 20-month-old along to drop her brother off at school.

Just as I was staring at the rug and trying to calm Emmie down, keep her away from the puddle of vomit and answer eleventy billion questions from Jack about why Emmie threw up, Josh called to tell me he needed me to read him something from a Post-it in his office two floors away or he could not function at work. That would be when my head exploded and my brains scattered all over the walls of Emmie's room.

After depositing Emmie in her crib so I could clean the rug, I shooed Jack into his room to continue getting dressed and ran downstairs to get the Post-it note info. I ran back upstairs, phone to ear, where I got Emmie dressed and corralled both kids downstairs to put on shoes and get everyone and the Hummer-sized stroller outside. We were running only three minutes behind, a feat of epic proportions considering what I went through moments before.

Emmie and I went about the rest of our day, grocery shopping and making a trip to Target. I figured her being in a stoller and not a cart would contain her pestilence somewhat and I really didn't care about other people's feelings because I really needed some organic turkey, damn it, and I wasn't going without my new favorite lunch -- grilled turkey and cheese.

Just as I was sitting down and blogging about my day, Jack's school phone number appeared on the caller ID. Was this Jack's mom? He had an accident.


(More on this tomorrow, right now, I need to head out to an event involving adult beverages and no children. Plus, everyone likes a two-part blog post, right?)

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009


You know what we haven't seen the likes of on this blog lately? A nice bullety list of random goodness. Let's rectify that, shall we?

* I am officially in the third trimester now at 28 weeks. Wow. This is just flying by isn't it? Let's all pretend I am not giving birth in about 10 weeks. Because if I don't pretend that, I might freak out and have a pregnancy panic attack because OH MY HOLY HELL I AM GOING TO HAVE THREE CHILDREN UNDER FOUR.

* Speaking of three children, my mom told me today that she picked the kids up some Christmas jammies this weekend. She was going on about how cute they were and how they were matchy-matchy and I asked if she got three pairs. She said no, why would she get three? I had to remind her WeeBey would be here for Christmas and she shrieked and said she forgot. This is my fear about daily life in December: I will leave the baby behind someplace because I forget I have three of them. But with three, I guess I'll always have a spare so it will all work out.

* Jack slept until 7:30 this morning, making it three consecutive days he has slept past 7 a.m. If you have arrived at this blog using the Google search, "What to do when my 3.5-year-old won't sleep past 5:15 in the morning and I want to shoot myself" then I have your answer: Put the child to bed at 6:30 p.m. and put the gun back in the locked storage box in the closet. I am living proof it works. I now finally believe everyone who told me that once their kid gave up naps, they started sleeping longer at night. Oh it was a battle to get him there, what with the horrible months of 5:15 wakeups, but we've maybe kinda sorta possibly figured out what works. And I am sure it will change tomorrow just because I told the Internet and everyone knows when you do that, it comes back to bite you in the ass.

* We're having blown-in insulation blown into the house today. This involves them removing a course of siding, drilling holes into the outside of the house, then oozing some liquid foam into the spaces between the whattya-call-the-2x4s-that-hold-up-the-floors. This will save us approximately $75,421.38 in heating costs each month. No lie. It was like we would turn the heat on and open the front door and all the windows every winter. Not to mention the pipes that would freeze every single time the temperature dropped below 15 degrees. There's nothing quite like the look of panic on Josh's face and watching him run downstairs in his boxers with a blowdryer in one hand and a space heater in the other after I throw open the bedroom door at 7 a.m. on a Sunday and scream, "The pipes! The pipes! Shit!"

* Part of the whole "popsicle pipe" problem is that there is a hole between the inside of our kitchen cabinet and the outside of the house. It's covered by the siding, but there's just a big ole' gaping hole there for no reason at all. As the guys were blowing the goo in there today, I thought to remind them about the hole. Good thing -- because now there's three inches of white foam covering all my cleaning products. I'm sure they'll clean that right up.

* Emmie, Queen of Doing It Myself and Duchess of No I Don't Want To Hold Your Hand Mommy, held court in Whole Foods this morning. I needed to grab a tube of toothpaste for the kids after she attended a little music class there and figured I could just run over to the health and beauty section and run on out. Clearly, I have never been a parent before. She threw herself on the floor, rolled around, screeched and refused to get up after I told her she most definitely could NOT take all the bottles of lotion off the shelf. Seeing as I am not allowed to lift her, other than in and out of her crib at naptime, I was at a loss. Didn't have the stroller with me (because I am a DUMBASS) so after 10 minutes of this nonsense, I picked her up and carried her out. Contractions within minutes, but they stopped when I got home and sat down. I guess they're not kidding when they told me not to carry her around with my cerclage in place.

* Remember when I said I was never doing construction on this house again? I am such a lying liar. Also, a glutton for punishment. In true Snarky Family style, I am pregnant again and we're starting another remodeling project again. While I am pregnant. Did I mention I was pregnant and we're remodeling? I am screaming silently right now. I look just like that famous painting. It's quite frightening, I assure you. But the project is necessary for all the important people in this house (that would be me and Josh) to maintain our sanity with the impending arrival of our bundle of joy. We currently have three bedrooms upstairs, plus a sunroom. The sunroom is a piece-of-shit, uninsulated, sloping-floored catchall for all the crap we need to store someplace. During the summer, it's usally 714 degrees and in the winter it's 45 degrees below 0. It currently holds tools of all make, model and size, holiday decorations, baby gear, a steam cleaner, St. Louis Cardinals lawn chairs, cans of paint, old toys and this safe that says "Property of Al Capone" on the outside. It will soon contain our Emmie and her things, as we are gutting it and making it a fully-functioning bedroom. That makes this a five-bedroom (plus office that could be a sixth bedroom) house and hopefully completes any more goddamn remodeling we have to do. Other than the upstairs bathroom. But that can wait. You know, until the bathtub falls through the floor.

* You might ask why we don't make two of the kids share a room to save some money, don't you people know there is a recession and you are a SAHM, you selfish whores of consumption? The answer is because Josh and I would go insane if our children all got up at 5:30 a.m. every day. Although Jack has been sleeping well for three whole days, we know better and realize it won't last. Rather than have him share his passion for torturing his parents at 5:30 a.m. with a sibling, we elected to have a room for everyone and everyone in his/her room on the third floor. This leaves a guest room free for guests (read: grandparents who are gracious enough to get up with the children when they sleep over) and an office in which Josh can hide from the kids in the basement. It also means everyone will sleep on the same level of the house and I won't have to clomp up and down the stairs to deal with nighttime wanderings, midnight feedings or requests for glasses of water.

* Apologies for the shit I just spewed forth. Tune in tomorrow for All Ultrasound Pictures, All The Time. Subtitle: "I Finally Found A Flashdrive So I Could Scan The Damn Things In A Month Later."

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Monday, September 21, 2009

School daze

We're still trying to figure out how things work with the new school schedule here at Chez Snarky. But one thing is for sure, Jack loves his new school. Can't wait to get there in the morning and comes out with a huge smile on his face in the afternoon.

He sits next to a little boy named Josh at lunch, loves to play on the playground at recess and has a lot to say about the drama class he has on Thursdays. How cute is that -- drama for 3-year-olds?

We had a lot of real-life drama around the house during the last week, however, because Jack's sleep went in the shitter. He stopped taking naps and started getting up at 5:30 a.m. every day. That meant he was only getting about 10 hours of sleep per day and it just wasn't enough.

Oh the tantrums and the general weepiness and aggression made the four hours I got to spend with him after school extra-special. I even tried making him take a nap on Friday when he got home. Oh foolish Mommy. As if.

This weekend culminated in a sleep-deprived heap of crying at soccer. At 9 a.m. He just couldn't deal with the other kids trying to kick the ball at the same time he was trying to kick the ball and he ran off the field crying. You would think his utter exhaustion would have resulted in a nap that day. You would be wrong.

Throw in a cold-cough-runny nose that he picked up compliments of school, and you have a recipe for disaster. He clearly needed more sleep than he was getting. And it wasn't happening.

I couldn't take it anymore by Sunday night and decided to hell with it -- he was going to bed earlier than ever before. We gave him his shower at 6 p.m. and he was in bed at 6:25 p.m. I never heard a peep out of him. He woke up at 3:30 to go to the bathroom, went right back to sleep and managed to sleep until 6:20 a.m.

Building on that success, I planned to have him in bed at 6:30 again tonight. But he pretty much lost his mind during dinner. He refused to hold his cup with his hands, spilled it everywhere trying to hold it with his mouth only, was told if he didn't hold his cup with his hands, he would have to go straight to bed and because he's 3.5 years old, guess what he elected to do? You got it -- he tried to do it without hands again and we sent him away from the table. You would think he hadn't finished three-quarters of his dinner already, the way he carried on.

We told him if he couldn't stop throwing a tantrum, he would have to go straight upstairs. That's when he started sobbing, "I am so tired. I am tired. I need to go to sleep."

Poor kid. So I took him upstairs and tried to settle him down. There was a lot of crying and after finally getting him into bed, I didn't hear a peep out of him after 6:45 p.m. I felt awful for him because I know how it feels to be that tired, but at least I can recognize it. I don't think he's capable of that yet, which makes it so hard to figure out what's going on in his head.

So for the next few days, I am going to keep attempting the 6:30 bedtime and see where it gets us. Poor Emmie is totally confused by the whole thing and starts screaming and crying when Jack goes upstairs to take a bath without her. She then spends the whole time she has us to herself pointing to the stairs and saying, "Ja? Jaaaa?"

I really hope we settle into a new routine soon.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Not only was it the big first day of school this week, but it was also Jack's first soccer match last weekend. He had two lame practices in preparation for the actual game, which consisted one week of a circle of kids kicking the ball to each other and another week where they had no coach, so he kicked the ball around with Josh and his uncle Thabu.

The day before the big game, Josh and I decided we needed to start some serious training. We figured a regimen of two-a-days, wind sprints and dribbling drills would be a good way to start. But then we realized we would have to show him how to do the wind sprints and that would really suck, so we took him to the park for some one-on-one instruction instead. We took his goal and ball that he usually uses in the house to the park and kicked it around for an hour. And yes, Josh lets our kids play full-out soccer in the house. Also, T-ball. Which Mommy doesn't allow because the ball hits the flat-screen and Mommy doesn't want to replace it.

When we showed up for the game bright and early Saturday, ours was the only kid running laps on the track. I mean we didn't make him, he asked! Who am I to deny a vigorous pregame warm-up? By the time the team picture was over, Jack was raring to go.

There are 10 kids on each 3-year-old team and the rule is five of the children play 10 minutes, then they have halftime and the other five kids play the second half. Jack started off the game and on the first possession, this was the result:

Seriously, look at the ball-handling skill on that kid. He scored on TWO goalies. I am seeing Adidas contracts in our future.

Emmie apparently doesn't think Jack is all that, as she refused to watch him play and instead spent her time ignoring him and sitting on the track. She likes Ronaldo and can't be bothered to cheer for anyone else. That's the Brazilian Ronaldo, not the other one.

A few plays later, he scored AGAIN. If he's going to play like this, we need a celebration move. I am taking suggestions, if you have anything clever. Ripping his shirt off and running downfield is so 1999.

Then, when the second half started, they asked if he wanted to play goalie. Yep, my kid doesn't sit. He's that good. Guess who blocked two shots on goal, shutting the other team out for a 3-0 victory?

We'll be stepping up the instructional time from now on, getting him a private coach to work on advanced heading and dribbling techniques. I figure he'll be ready to move up to the 4-year-old division next week just so he doesn't get bored. He also travels with his own personal fan club.

Clearly, my worries about him not inheriting my athletic ability were unfounded. Thank God he takes after me. (Although my family would tell you he's a lot faster than me already. And I can admit my one weakness; speed is not my gift. Good thing I batted left-handed because I was already one step closer to first base on that side of the plate.)

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Monday, September 14, 2009

First day of school

I have been talking nonstop about Jack's first day of all-day preschool for the last two years now. I go on and on to anyone who will listen how awesome our neighborhood school is and how it's FREE! MONTESSORI!

Except then the day came to send him off to all-day preschool with his backpack and his lunch and his blanket for naptime and I was suddenly unsure. What the hell kind of parent sends her 3-year-old off for a whole day with two women she met for 15 minutes two weeks ago? He needs me! What was I thinking?

And then we were there, and he was putting his backpack in his very own locker. Yes, my 3-year-old has a LOCKER. And carrying his lunchbox into the classroom and getting settled in.

At least they'll remember his name. And he's the only Jack in his class (shocking, considering every third kid in this neighborhood is named Jack) so that's good. Somehow the nametag made me feel a little relieved. They would at least know what name to call him in timeout if he started hitting the other kids.

Then he gave us a kiss and a hug, and was off to the other side of the classroom to explore. This Montessori thing had to be created with Jack in mind. Tons of interesting little toys, each with a place and everything in its place. He walked around with a HUGE grin on his face and was genuinely delighted to be there. I breathed a sigh of relief -- this was the best decision for him. I believe he will flourish in this system.

And that was our last view of him. His teacher asked him if he would like to sit down on the rug and read books, and he did. Just like that. Sat right down and got to work. We said our goodbyes and he waved dismissively. I guess he didn't have any reservations about staying.

On the way home, pushing an empty stroller, Josh asked me if I was sad. I told him I wasn't sad that he was going to school, just sad that he's not a little boy anymore. He's so grown up and doesn't need me as much.

I arrived at pick-up about 10 minutes early, along with several other moms I know, anxious to see them come out of the building. I felt like someone waiting for their long-lost love outside airport security. I craned my neck, kept checking the time. When the door opened and I saw a different teacher with a different class, my heart lurched.

But then there he was -- second in line out of the door and looking all around for me. I waved and got his attention and I thought my heart would burst waiting the 45 seconds it took for him to reach the spot where I could take possession of him on the playground. I'm not sure who was more excited to see who, or gave who the bigger hug, but it was definitely one of the best mothering moments I've had.

We walked home, him with his snack in the stroller and me chattering away with a million questions about his day. I couldn't tell you the route we took home or the amount of time it took. But I remember everything about our conversation. Someday I'll be lucky to get more than a grunt out of him after school, but for today, when he was 3-and-a-half, he was an eager participant in the discussion. And for once, I just lived in the moment and took it all in.

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