Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Going to Lose My Mind

Today is "one of those days" where you just want to crawl back into bed and start over.

5AM
Decide NOT to go to the gym. Turn off alarm, go back to sleep.

7AM
Reluctantly get up. Step on scale. Curse self for not going to gym. Feed children and self.

7:30AM
Get in shower.

8:15AM
Rushing around, trying to get self and 4 little ones ready to leave the house by 8:35. House looks like a bomb went off, no time to deal with it now. Rushing, rushing. Drama Queen comes to me and tells me she threw up. Am skeptical. No drama involved, am sure she did not throw-up. If she had, the neighbors would know about it because she would be freaking out. I examine her: no fever, no signs of vomit. She takes me upstairs to show me: a puddle of icky spit on the floor. Not really vomit. I question her: "What were you doing when this happened? Were you running around or jumping around? Does your head hurt? Your tummy? Do you feel like you need to throw-up?" No, no, no to all my questions. Then oldest daughter tells me that Drama Queen launched herself from the top bunk, down to the floor about 6x in a row and then sort of threw-up. A ha! "So you WERE jumping around!" To which she replies: "No I wasn't. I was jumping OFF. That is not the same as jumping around." I DON'T HAVE TIME FOR THIS! She asks if she can stay home from school to which I reply ABSOLUTELY NOT.

8:25AM
Go outside to warm up car. Need to clear a pathway through the sea of toys in the garage so that I can get a Triple Baby Jogger loaded into the car. (I borrowed it 2 years ago and no longer use it so am returning it to owner later in day. However, owner forgot about meeting me so I wasted 20 minutes waiting and was then late for preschool pick-up.) Struggle with giant stroller but finally get it loaded.

8:35AM
Tell son that he needs to be dressed NOW (after numerous warnings) because I am loading all the other kids into the car and when I come back inside, I am taking him out to the car whether he is dressed or not. Everyone thinks I am bluffing, oldest daughter even comments on it.

8:38AM
Drag SCREAMING child outside, in his underwear (which he put on backwards). I grabbed his clothes, socks and shoes and headed out the door with him. I made him walk from the house to the car in his underpants only. He is screaming and wailing and boogers are running into his mouth. I put him in his car seat, strap him in and off we go. My daughters are in shock and keep asking me if I am going to make him go to school naked.

8:42AM
Arrive at neighbor's house. Get (still screaming) son dressed (in car). Realize I forgot his coat. Cannot really send him to school without coat. Take him into neighbor's house. Apologize for dropping off Maniac Child and ask if she can find a jacket for him. Leave Maniac (she will drive to preschool) and take her 2 oldest children to school along with my 2 oldest.

8:50AM
Dropped everyone at school and am now driving to my destination, feeling terrible and feeling like I should just go home and clean my messy house. Decide to pull off the road and call husband for some reassurance. He answers (usually I get voicemail) so I start unloading on him about my morning and he is responding with: "Right. Yes. Um-hmmm. I know." Very generic comments. I realize that I am a rambling lunatic (I guess the Maniac Apple fell from the Lunatic Tree) and he doesn't want his coworkers to know that his crazy wife is on the phone. Great, very supportive. Thank you.

Fast Forward:
3:00PM
Maniac calmed down as soon as I left him with the neighbor. Am in the process of cleaning up messy house. Keep thinking about making my morning coffee but every time I head for the kitchen I get side-tracked by the mess. Am taking the kids to Wendy's for dinner even though its not Thursday. Cannot possibly deal with cooking, still haven't cleaned kitchen from breakfast. Need a nap.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Happy Thursday!

I have not blogged for a while. First of all, January is SUCH a boring month. Secondly, I find it hard to get motivated to do ANYTHING in January. Its cold and dark and dull (after the excitement of Christmas). Most people are really motivated in January (New Year's Resolutions and all) but I am the opposite.

So today I thought I would blog about THURSDAYS. I love love love Thursday. It is my favorite day of the week, always has been. There are lots of reasons I love Thursday:

1. It's almost Friday. I like the anticipation of the weekend.

2. There is (or used to be before the Writer's Strike) great TV on Thursday night. Most notably: Survivor, The Office, Grey's Anatomy, This Old House and House Hunters. (No, of course I don't watch them all on Thursday. I TiVo them.)

3. I don't cook on Thursday. We go to Wendy's every Thursday night. This is because my husband has choir practice on Thursday night and it is just easier to eat at Wendy's and then drop him off at choir on the way home. When I get home I get the kids ready for bed without having to clean up dinner dishes.

4. I get together with a good friend on most Thursday afternoons. I love our tea time and our kids enjoy each other's company too.

5. There is no preschool on Thursday. This means that once I take the girls to the bus stop, I can come home and get started on my day without taking 30+ minutes to drop off at preschool. I try to stay home (wearing my slippers) for the whole day. I plan errands for another day so that I can just focus my attention on projects (laundry, bills; no REAL projects) at home. This also means that I do not have to fight with my son to get his clothes on in order to get him to school. Yes, we are still fighting about this. Some days are better than others. There will be days where he happily gets himself dressed, trying on every article of clothing he owns and leaving them strewn about the floor. Other days he freaks out at the mention of clothing. Other days he tells me he can't go to school because he doesn't have enough time to play with his toys and with his brother. (How can you argue with that? I thought he was very sweet to want to spend time with his brother; but he later the same day he told me that he decided he didn't want to be brothers anymore.) A day of no fighting definitely makes Thursday a Happy Day. :)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Oh the joys . . .

Oh the joys of owning an old house.

Critter Control came today. We have bats. And squirrels. The bats (at least some of them) are "wintering over" a/k/a hibernating in our attic. And we most likely have a female colony which means lots and lots of baby bats come spring time. My mind is spinning with all the information about repair, removal, cost, etc. It is very complicated. For one thing, we live in a twin, which means we share a wall with our next door neighbor. We have a joint attic. There is no sense in repairing gaps on our side because the bats will just find a gap on our neighbor's side and enter through his house and then roost in our attic again. (Our neighbor has never done bat prevention or removal, which may be why we keep getting re-infested.) So we have to get our neighbor on-board with bat and squirrel removal and prevention.

In addition, our roof will need replaced in the next few years . . . once the roof comes off, all the animal-proofing would need to be done again. So we are either looking at animal-proofing now and then a new roof AND animal-proofing some time in the next few years, OR just do both the roof and animal proofing now. I just placed a call to the roofing company to have them come out and tell us how many years our roof has left so we can figure out the cost/savings of bat proofing and/or getting a new roof. The good news is that our homeowners may cover some of the costs of the bat and squirrel removal as well as replacement of attic insulation that they have destroyed.

The guy from Critter Control showed up just as we were ready to leave for the bus stop this morning. So I quick called my neighbor to see if I could send the girls to the bus with her. I sent them off to school while I gave the Bat Man our bat history and then showed him the attic crawl spaces, etc. A little while later I realized that I forgot to finish packing the girls' lunches -- I usually cut up an apple at the last minute so it doesn't get yucky and ditto with the bagel and cream cheese. But in the rush to get the bat inspection going, I forgot to give them their fruit and bagel. So all they have in their lunches today is yogurt and cheese sticks. Not to mention that they both walked out the door in jackets, thinking it was warm like yesterday BUT IT'S NOT! I might have known this if I had gone to the gym this morning at 6am as planned. But since I slept in, I had no idea that it was like 32 degrees this morning. The poor things will be cold at recess. No Mother Of The Year award for me today. I do, however, think I deserve an award for having more bats in my house than anyone should ever have. I'll have to think of a really catchy and clever name for that award.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Shout-out


Many people have commented on our family Christmas card for 2007 and have asked me who designed the card. Here's a shout-out to Em Tanner who did a fantastic job creating a unique card. She designs all sorts of fun, personalized stuff, which is great because one of our children has an unusual name so I can get her personalized items through Em. Em also has a blog that I enjoy reading and if I'm ever in Tennessee, I am going to book her for a photo shoot because I really like her pics and her funky style. (For those of you who don't know, I am a photography Blog Stalker.)

Update

Hooray! My 4 year old is still getting himself dressed (most) mornings and is HAPPY about it! I was congratulating him on his Big Boy behavior and he hugged me and said, "Thanks, Mom." Then, about 20 minutes later he came to me and said, "Mom? Thanks for saying to me that I am a big boy." How sweet is that?!

While combing my oldest daughter's hair this morning, my heart nearly stopped. I thought I saw a louse. Turns out it was just mulch. Visions of distress filled my head in the seconds between seeing the mulch and discovering that it was, in fact mulch. I cannot tell you how relieved I am. I usually find mulch annoying but today I love mulch.

A bat specialist is coming tomorrow to thoroughly inspect our house. I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Baddest Boy

Yesterday I was cleaning the kitchen and my 4 year old son proceeded to brush crumbs from the counter onto the floor. So I scolded him. A minute later he did the same thing but with scraps of paper. So I scolded him again. Then, very dramatically, he put his arms on the counter and then laid his head on his arms and said, "I am the baddest boy in the whole wide world!" And he meant it. He was really sad, almost crying. So I hugged him and told him that he was not a bad boy; that he was a good boy and that I loved him and was not angry with him.

I would like to take this opportunity to tell you that I have NEVER told him that he was bad. I will tell him that he has made a poor choice or a bad choice but have never told him that he, himself is bad.

Today at church we were sitting in the pew and he turned to me, in tears, and said, "Mommy. I AM a bad boy. Because I do things that are wrong." I quietly told him that I love him and God and Jesus love him, even when he makes bad choices. Since we were in the middle of church I could not really launch into a discussion but obviously this has been weighing on his mind.

I didn't have to wait long for an opportunity for a discussion.

Earlier this evening he got into trouble with my husband for something. I have no idea what happened but my oldest daughter came to me and told me that my son was upstairs crying and when she asked him why he said because he is the baddest boy in the world. So I went up to him. Poor little guy. He was so distraught (which was actually very cute). I asked him what was wrong and he started with the Baddest Boy talk again. So I asked him if he sometimes think about the things that he does that he knows he shouldn't do; and he said yes. I asked him how it makes him feel when he's made a bad choice and he said it makes him sad. I told him that he didn't have to be sad because if he just tells God what he did and asks God to forgive him, that God will love him anyway and it will be ok. So then I asked him if he knows where Jesus lives and he said, "In heaven" and I said yes, but he can also live in your heart. His eyes opened wide and he asked "how?" so I told him that you just have to ask Jesus to live there. I told him that the Baddest Boy feelings he has is the feeling of Jesus trying to talk to his heart so that he can make better choices. I asked him if he wanted to ask Jesus to live in his heart and he said yes. So we got the the whole family together and we held hands and we prayed for him. He said a sweet little prayer to God and Jesus. It was such a tender moment because he really, really meant it. His little eyes were screwed shut and I could tell that he was concentrating very hard on listening and then on saying his own little prayer. We all cheered for him when it was over.

As there is never a dull moment in our house, just as we were about to pray we heard the high-pitched squeak in the wall that can only come from a bat. Great. I guess the warm weather today woke the darn thing up from its hibernation. At the TOP of my To Do list for tomorrow is to call a Bat Removal service. I just hope it stays in the wall and does not venture out into the house tonight.

Friday, January 4, 2008

I can't believe it . . .

My 4 year old woke up this morning and happily got himself dressed!!!!  This is the child who REFUSES to wear clothing!  Not only was he HAPPY about getting dressed, he did it himself, without even being asked!  I have no idea why he has turned into a compliant child.  I don't know how long this will last but I am hoping he will never go back to the naked, screaming child that he was in 2007.  (See?  I am already making it sound like it was SUCH a long time ago.)

My rule is this:  if he can get dressed without crying, then he can stay for Lunch Bunch at preschool.  (Lunch Bunch means he gets to stay for an extra hour of school and eat lunch with his classmates and then he gets 40 minutes of playtime before going home.)  The Lunch Bunch reward works well because you cannot just show-up for Lunch Bunch, you have to sign-up in advance.  This means:   
a) He has to have a good morning in order to get permission (from me) to attend Lunch Bunch; and 
b) He has to have a good morning on the actual day of Lunch Bunch or I won't let him stay for lunch.  

So as stated, if he has a good morning, he gets to stay for lunch.  Do you know how many times he has stayed for lunch so far this school year?  2 times.  That's all.  That means he has been a screaming maniac for the other 50+ days of school.  

I sincerely hope he is turning over a new leaf.  I will keep you posted.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Now I Know

I finally figured out why my 4 year does not want to go to school most of the time (besides his hatred of clothing). He likes being home. I know he likes being home but I finally discovered the reason why he likes being home.

He was breezing past me in the hall and said, "Mom! Me and my brother and the girls is gonna play swimming lessons!" I said, "Wow, ok, that sounds great." And he said, "Yeah. There is so many kids in this house to play with. It's fun. I wouldn't like it if there was just one kid here. Cause then I would have to go to school to play with friends. But there is lots of kids here so there is always someone to play with!" And off he went to his pretend swimming lesson.

I was so touched to hear him verbalize his appreciation for his siblings. There was a time (with each pregnancy) when I was concerned that my child(ren) would get less love and attention as each new baby was added to the mix. While this may be true at times, I hope the love and acceptance and comradery that they get from each other makes up for the times when I am too overwhelmed to give them the individual attention that they would get if there were fewer kids running around.

Hmmm . . . maybe its time to add ANOTHER baby to the mix? Only joking!