Friday, May 31, 2013

Colorful Morning

"I want OATMEAL for dinner!"
"You mean breakfast?"
"No! I mean OATMEAL!"
"Well, maybe if you ask nicely for some oatmeal for breakfast, I will make you some, Hazel."
"Can I pleeeeaaaassseeee have oatmeal?"
"Sure!  Do you want pink oatmeal?"
"Millie, do you want pink oatmeal, too?"
"Okay! You can have pink oatmeal, too!"
"(sobs) She said no to me!"
"She said no to ME, not you.  Why are you crying?"
"Oooookkkkaaayyyy. (sniffle)"
"HEY!  I want the blue bowl!"
"YAY!  I get the blue bowl!"
"NO!  I get blue bowl."
"(sobs and whining) Mama!  She said no to me again!"
"Hazel, it doesn't matter if Millie says no, I said yes.  For the last time, don't worry about it!"
"Okay!" Turns to her sister in an annoying sing-song voice:  "Ha ha!  I get the bluuuueeeee bowl!"
"(sobs) Sissy not niiicceeee!"
"Hazel, stop. No teasing.  Millie, you can have the green bowl."
"NO!  I want pink bowl!"
"Sorry... pink bowl is dirty."
"Noooooooo!" as she dissolves into a physical puddle on the floor. "I want the pink bowl!"

And that's exactly how we started the morning.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Short Stories

Time seems to fly by so fast these days and the girls are growing so quickly that I am completely overwhelmed with the thought of documenting it all. So... I haven't been.  Brilliant, right?

I have this nonsensical fear that if I write about something that has happened, or write a letter to one of the girls about life these days, I'll forget something else that was just as funny/magical/dramatic and somehow, it lessens the spirit of this whole thing... which is to document our life as a family.  To laugh at the absurd.  To survive having two girls under the age of 4 or 8 or 10 or 15 or 30.  To provide them a snapshot into our lives that they can look back at in 20 years to know more about me, more about Benny and more about what they were like as kids and what life was like "back in the day".  One can only hope that they will at that time realize that at one point, their mother still had most of her marbles... and through these entries, they'll be able to track when, where and why she lost each one. 

And also, there's the part where I subconsciously think two things at the same time:  1) I'll always have time to write about the birthday party, or the first potty words spoken to a little old lady at the store... and I'm sure I'll totally remember it tonight after the kiddos go to bed... if I have any energy left to do more than pour a whiskey and watch re-runs of Grey's Anatomy; and 2) If I don't write about them growing up... maybe they won't grow up.  Maybe they'll just stay my babies forever and ever.  

But here's the really stupid part about #1:   I can't remember what I had for breakfast on any given morning, so how can I possibly remember these things that are going on in our life and try to write them down a day... a week... a month later?  Because we all here in this little blog know that I don't have the energy to write anything more complicated than a Facebook status after the kiddos are asleep. I just can't.  So I don't.  As for #2?  It's a working theory.  See, I'm part mom, part scientist.  So far, all of my experiments in denying reality have failed spectacularly.  But I am nothing if not positive.  And tenacious.  Benny calls it theory tenacity.  I call it survival.

And all of this is just a super long introduction into a few short stories that I have managed to remember from the last few months.  So, without further ado....

Wuv. Eye. U.
It all started when I was trying to get Millie to say I Love You.  She was just starting to put words together to form sentences and you know... parental competition with Benny had me trying to coax the first I Love You from her lips so that I could be all.... I win!  She loved me first!  Not that I would do anything so juvenile.  Twice.

Anyway, I started doing the classic sign language for I Love You which entails pointing to my eye, then crossing my chest with my arms and then pointing at her.  Yea... my bio also includes knowing three words in sign language.  It's gonna take me places.  Anyhoo, Millie really got a kick out of the movements and one night after I put her down and did the usual song and dance with the I Love You motions, she responded back with a Wuv. Eye. Uuuuuuu!

Just like that.  It was awesome.  And for the last few months (I'm sure it's more than a few, but I honestly can't remember when this first happened so let's just say "a few" and know that it means more than three but less than 12) this has been our routine.  She has never gotten the hang of I Love You, or even I Wuv You... but who are we kidding?  The Wuv Eye U is totally intentional.  It's our little thing.  Every night... "Wuv Eye U, Millie!"  "WUV  EYE UUUUUU, Mommy!"  In a sweet, childish, sing-song voice. Over and over and over again.

It's... heaven. 

Holy geez.  Before I had kids (and even after I had kids!), I swore that Barbie would not enter our home on the grounds that... OMG, I do not even want to get into this right now about everything that is wrong with Barbie.  It's a whole post unto itself.  But damn, Gina!  You have little girls and POOF!!! Barbies just materialize OUT OF NOWHERE.  We have not bought a Barbie for either girl, and our friends and family know better than to give them Barbies.  And yet... THEY'RE HERE.  In my home.  Naked.  On my kitchen table during dinner.  Weirdly shaped hands and feet in the applesauce.  Hair an unbridled mess.  And the oldest, oblivious to the fact that my inner feminist is melting and bleeding from her eyes, innocently begs me to braid the Barbie's hair while she eats her chicken nuggets.

So, I don't know who Ali is.  There's no Ali at school, as far as I know.  Hazel doesn't know anyone by the name of Ali... but damn if every time I ask her what her dolly's name is, or what we should name the squirrel who keeps eating all of the birdseed and making Mommy's ears bleed, she doesn't say with a forthrightness and sincerity that you can't help but wish that all people had:  "Ali.  It's a she, and her name is Ali, Mommy." 

For the record, it's actually a he and his name is Steve.  Steve the Squirrel.  Steve the Squirrel who is going to meet Mommy the Marksman if he doesn't stop making so much damn noise every morning at 6 a.m.  But if calling him Ali and referring to him as her makes Hazel happy... well, Ali is a very nice name for a female squirrel. 

So, we got a puppy a few months ago.  We thought she was a blue heeler and since I grew up with a blue heeler, I was pretty excited about the prospect.  Turns out she's part blue heeler, part terrier, part pain in my ass.  She was supposed to be about 40 pounds.  We'll be lucky if she gets to 20, which as we all know means smaller poops.  So in that aspect, she hasn't fully ruined my life.

She's a good pup... just, you know... a pup.  We weren't in the market for a puppy.  We wanted a full-grown dog, because every kid should have a dog.  Especially a dog that Mommy didn't have to train or yell at or kick or begin to loathe because it made her yell all the time.  And I was finally past my trauma of trying to juggle kids and a dog which led to Bailey, our first dog, being sent to live with some friends.  Because Mommy... Mommy just couldn't handle the thought of kids and a dog to take care of.  And yet somehow, Mommy FORGOT ALL OF THAT.  Mommy's good friends failed her by not reminding her of what a pain having a dog can be at times.  But then someone dropped this little 2-month-old ball of fur off in the middle of the street. I met her, the kids met her.. and we all fell in love.

For a few weeks.

Then she got bigger and more.... terrier... who likes to bite and nip while she plays. And often that biting and nipping evolves to gnawing on the girls legs.  Which means that I can't go a day without threatening to beat her.  I don't actually beat her because that would be wrong and I would never condone that type of behavior. 

But it sure is cathartic to threaten it.

My Little Laughing Sociopath
I suspect that one day, Millie is going to read this next entry and get upset or feel bad or, I dunno... go pack her kill bag.  But I'm telling you....  this kid is going to be hard to discipline.  She laughs at everything.  She laughs when you're mad.  She laughs when you're sad.  She laughs when she's headbutted you... again.  For the 14th time.   She laughs even harder when she draws blood.  Where Hazel gets upset that you're upset, Millie thinks it's HILARIOUS.  Try putting a 2-year-old in a  car seat who thinks it's super funny to see you sweating and mad at her.  You try it and then tell me if you didn't at least think about flipping out on her just to see if that would work.  Or throwing her through the window if she doesn't get her butt in the seat and stop trying to get out of the seat belt.  Or (seriously, Millie?) pulling your hands away while you're buckling her up.  Because her hands are actually stronger than your hands.  It's 90 degrees outside, or it's raining/snowing/hailing outside and this little girl thinks that it's a good time to fight you getting into the car seat.  But she does it while laughing like it's a big joke.  And you know that yelling at her isn't the way to go.  Because at the end of the day?  She's just a damn happy kid.  And who wants to be the person to make the kid cry just to get her in the car seat?  I'm happy that I have a happy kid.  I call her my little sociopath because, hey... every family has one.  And honestly?  In my family, it might be me.  And I turned out okay.  Mostly.

To cope with it, I carry a pillow with me in the car so I can scream into it prior to pulling out of the driveway/day care and at stoplights.  Free therapy.

So, while it's possible that reading that about herself and the fact that I called her a sociopath might lead to her being upset, it's 100 times more likely that she'll laugh about it.   God, I hope that when she's reading this in 20 years, she still laughs about stuff like that.

March, April and Mayhem
Since March, my work travel schedule has been insane. I have racked up more frequent flier miles than I know what to do with. And, joy of joys... Benny's schedule has been a beast, too.  This is life in 2013.  Benny and I have engaged in what can only be described as baton parenting.  One of us leaves for a work trip and comes back, only to have the other one leave for a trip within a couple of days.  Thank God our kiddos are resilient.  The only way I've gotten through the last three months of travel hell is to tell myself that it isn't always like this.  And that if we could make it through May, the worst of it is over. Well, we made it through May with most of our sanity intact. We celebrated with a camping trip... the first for our little family.  And I cannot adequately describe how refreshing that trip was for my soul. 

When I was a kid, I have great memories of camping with the family, playing kick the can, going on bear hunts and giggling all night in the tent with my sisters.  These day, when I've got on my Mommy hat, I'm usually the bad guy telling the kiddos to get back to their room and no more going potty... you've gone potty 15 times in the last 20 minutes, you've got nuthin' left to get out. But when I heard the giggles and laughs and  "poopy butt's" that normally get them sent to timeout, coming from the camper at 10 at night, I let them be.  I let them make memories.  I let them love each other and life. 

The laughing... well it was just part of the whole beautiful trip.  A trip where they ate hot dogs and s'mores fresh from the campfire.  They played in the stream.  They caught fish.  They made mud pies.  They found night crawlers and named each one of them and moved them from one side of the campground to the other... including a stop on Mommy and Daddy's arms.  They went on a bear hunt. They were amazed by everything and wanted to see and touch and smell and hear everything.  They sat around the campfire staring, hypnotized, into the flames.  They pooped in the woods.  They got dirty.

They laughed and the birds in the trees were envious of the glorious sound.

And my life?  Complete.