Friday, September 24, 2010

Changing of the Guards

Look closely, Raph is in the laundry basket cage and Colin's
shirt is on backwards and there is a pullup on the floor
and a breast pump part and other random scattered crap. Sigh.

When your kids make you crazy because of a certain phase they are in for a looooong ass time you must often repeat, "This too shall pass". Unfortunately, though, if you have more than A child then "this too shall pass" right on to the next child in line. Damn. Maturity is a miraculous thing. Sometimes it sneaks up on you and other times its like a switch is flipped and *poof* your child has matured into normalcy!

Raph has always been fairly easy to manage and discipline. Certainly he is not perfect but the good days to bad days ratio is pretty favorable. He did go through that phase of about 2-3 years where he could not make it through Mass without some sort of forcible extraction and muttered threats in his little ears. But, by then we had Colin who was turning one and the gig was up. Raph sat in his seat with me and Mike took Colin to the back. Guess who's next!? **Ding ding ding** Heidi's turn! Since they are 6 months closer in age than Colin and Raph were there was more over lap. This of course meant that Raph would fidget in his seat and nearly have a panic attack because he would be left in the pew by himself. Now, for the most part, Colin is well behaved enough to make it through a service. Heidi sometimes doesn't make it through the opening prayer. After years of standing in the back with Colin Mike told me, "You get Heidi". Fair enough, for the next 2-3 years you will see me in the foyer of our church.

Its not just church though. I know its hard for kids...sometimes its hard for me too. Yesterday I was at the grocery store with Heidi and Colin. Last fall Colin would reduce me to tears in the parking lot because he was just. so. bad. in the grocery store. Well, things have changed. I had the two of them in the shopping cart that looks like a rocket. They are up high with their own steering wheels. Heidi has long sense mastered the art of Houdini-ing her way out of the straps of a shopping cart but this time she nearly took a header off the top of the cart. She had crawled out of the rocket and onto the ledge where you push the cart. She was making her way down (4 ft drop) the side of the cart when I caught her. My hands were full off food and she landed on top of my selections. I had to put her down on the floor while I gathered the things I dropped and put them in the cart. Meanwhile she took off at a full sprint squealing and laughing down the liquor aisle. I had to chase after her so she didn't break bottles of whiskey and tequila. A couple was looking in the beer cooler when the man said, "Yeah! This is my favorite aisle too!" I prefer jokes to smug glares from other shoppers. Or worse yet "helpful" suggestions implicating me as a pitiful excuse for a mom. They can take those comments and shove it.

I put Heidi into the food part of the cart for the remainder of the trip. She used the food as a step stool and attempted to climb out of the cart. Then scream when she couldn't make it out and fell on top of the food. And merrily throw things out onto the floor. ::palm to forehead:: What was Colin doing you might ask? Happily talking to me about his fuzzy drink and yogurt and whatever else popped into his head. All punctuated by exclamations of, "NO HI-EEE! NO!" By the time we got to the check out I looked like one of those crazed moms from commercials with goldfish in her hair, mismatched shoes looking for a drink. Heidi had thrown papers out of my bag onto the floor countless times. Food items onto the floor. The entire contents of my bag were dumped into the floor area of the rocket ship and I had some smashed boxes of food. Hey, at least this time she didn't throw yogurt cups onto the floor having the contents splash out onto the sushi counter...that was last week.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Who-pons 101

Colin has speech problems with articulation. Most of the time he will replace the first sound of a word with an "H" sound. It can be confusing at times but its endearing. He just saw a coupon printed from our recent trip to Target, "Oh dat a who-pon?" My 3 year old knows what a coupon is and how to use them. You see his mommy is slightly neurotic and will develop a twitch if she goes to a store without her coupon organizer. Its not a bad thing really. My children have an understanding of the value of a know as much as any 3 and 6 year old could possibly understand. Sometimes they will say something crazy like, "Oh that's ok, if you don't like your car you just go to the car store and buy a new one." Well, yes and no. Like I said, they are only 3 and 6.

I fully believe you should indoctrinate the young. Their minds are so malleable and receptive! But really sometimes its just better for your logistics. You really have to explain to them why we take one load of groceries to the car only to go back into the same store to buy more groceries. They pick up on your habits and talk to you about getting a good deal on things. My boys know that there are certain things we can only get when they are on sale and we have a coupon. Colin has now started to call Shop'n'Save "The Fuzzy One" because we had a coupon for Kool-Aid fizzy drink pellets. No way I'd ever buy that crap without a coupon, a sale and $10 off $50 Thursdays. They know this, so often they ask for clarification about which grocery store we are going to that day. Fuzzy, Cookie, Money and the other one. One has fuzzy hinks (Fizzy drinks), free cookies, a quarter for the shopping cart and the boring one with no real perks from a child's stand point. Then of course there is Sams and they "Sell free samples"....semantics.

The day we bought fuzzy hinks I told Colin we were going to the grocery store and since we had a coupon for the Kool Aid we could buy one. His eyes lit up and he ran into the kitchen to get my coupon organizer, "Here Mom, here's your whopons. Let's ho!" See, he *knew* he couldn't go without the coupons! You make Mommy so proud!

I've always been a coupon user and generally frugal. I splurge now and then but I HATE paying full price for anything. Really it pains me. Even as a kid I would save my money and save it and save it. I remember once for Christmas I got 2 truffles. For a little kid who grew up in the country something like a truffle is big. Really big. I ate one that day and saved the second one. I saved it so long that when I finally went to go eat that truffle I opened the box only to find a mouse had nibbled on it! I was reduced to a sobbing heap. Disregard the mouse factor (I SAID I lived in the country) but isn't that heartbreaking? I still remember it very clearly and that crushing blow of disappointment. Anyway, now our house is rodent free but I still tend to save and scrimp and get way too excited about free hot dogs and paper towels (I got both this week). I think its a good quality to instill in my children. Delaying gratification, working hard to save and then now and then you get to get something really special. Usually that special something won't be ruined by varmints but ya know.

I've explained how coupons work. How sales work. How advertising will sometimes make you want to buy things you don't need. The difference between wants and needs. How companies pay for advertising so that you buy their products so that they can make money. A little lesson in Capitalism is important. Colin now says, "Daddy go to wook to buy me hicken." Move over bacon, chicken is the way to his heart! In turn the boys have started earning money by picking up the stupid gum balls in our yard. The rain must have been just right this year because there are an obscene number of gum balls on our trees. The boys fill up buckets upon buckets of those suckers. Once they earn enough money they go to the toy store to buy something of their choosing. If something they want is more than what they earned they can either pick something less expensive or wait and go back once they earn more money.

I think children these days (damn that makes me sound old or like I might burst into show tunes from Bye Bye Birdie) are accustom to getting anything and everything. No consequences for their actions and their every whim catered to without question or delay. I suppose its easier to just say, "Sure honey! Whatever you want!" They will be more agreeable and *love* you for it...until the next time they want something. But that doesn't not help a child grow into a responsible adult. When that child grows up their boss isn't going to say, "SURE! Go ahead and take a few days off, leave early and miss a deadline! I'll give you a raise too!" I think it is a huge disservice to children to let them get away with everything and give them everything. The sense of entitlement is rampant and unbecoming.

I worked in a university for years and the change in overall behavior is alarming. The difference from when I was a student, grad student and employee is amazing. No longer do students work hard for a grade. Then bitch and moan to a professor or TA and have their Mommy call from 5 states away to say its not fair that their BAAAYBEE got a D. Really? Consequences are a good thing. So are mistakes. If you never let your child fail how will they really learn? If they let their child get a D because they never went to class then they might just learn something. Obviously not the subject matter but that they have to be accountable for their actions.

Soooo this got kind of jumbled. Coupons, Capitalism, Rodents and Entitlement. Got it? Good.

Can you just see that bubble over her head saying "WTF Mommy?"

Monday, September 6, 2010


Its an old adage that babydom is so very fleeting. Cliches like that don't come from the ether, they are true and often repeated. Early childhood is a tug of war for parents. You are so eager for that next phase, newest milestone and yet you want them to stay that age forever. At least the good parts. I could do without night wakings and diaper changes but I digress.

Even still, those mundane daily events you want to cling to on a certain level. I remember when we got new bedroom furniture not long after Colin turned a year old. I was taking the drawers out my old night stand and I found a newborn diaper stuffed in the back. I was nearly reduced to tears when I saw that weensy diaper. How could my Tasmanian devil of a child ever have fit into a diaper no bigger than the palm of my hand?

Now when I get up with Heidi at night (yes she still gets up at night) and nurse her, I love it. When she has drunk herself into oblivion I raise her up and rest her head on my shoulder. Her long legs wrap around my waist and I drink her in. I rock and cradle her limp, heavy body and know that this too will end. She rarely sits still much less lets me rock her so I take my brief sleepy moments at night with a certain amount of joy. These little moments are to be treasured, though I don't usually feel treasured when morning comes all too soon. She is my baby, my last baby, and I won't have many more of these moments. Every day she is more child than baby. I love her new phases. She is a character, mischievous and a joker but you want to savor those baby moments as long as you can while looking forward to what lies ahead.

Every night Raph falls asleep as soon as he is still for 30 seconds and Colin bounces around in his bed. He comes out to the living room and says to Mike, "Daddy, I rock you?" He's torn between enforcing bedtime and enjoying his moment with his *baby* boy. Every night after Colin is back in bed Mike says that he wants to rock him because how long will Colin actually want to sit with him? So, Raph crawls into bed with us in the morning, Colin rocks at night and Heidi nurses around 4 am every night. They will always be our babies, even if Raph scoffs at the notion. They grow so quickly, seemingly overnight at times and they are disappearing before our very eyes. What replaces the baby is something even better, albeit not quite as nostalgic. There is something special about a baby. Everyone, no matter who they are or even if they are holding their own baby, turns and looks when a baby enters a room. Babies are magnetic because they are here for such a brief, sweet time.