November 30, 2006

As Easy As Walking Out the Door

With two small kids, even the littlest things take a Herculean effort. Take, for example, the simple act to getting into the car. Usually, my car routine runs something like this for a simple run to Safeway.

Step 1: Announce we are leaving. When 3 yr old (3YO) hears this, she immediately declares she doesn't want to go anywhere and runs upstairs to hide. Ignore 3YO and grab 1 yr old (1YO). Shove squirming 1YO into socks, shoes and jacket. Release now screaming 1YO and start negotiations with 3YO. Start with nice voice, move on the threats, capitulate with promise of a donut. Get socks, shoes and jacket on squirming 3YO. Find own shoes, socks, jacket and purse. Head for door.

Step 2: Get out the door. 1YO begins to freak out with irrational fears she will be left behind and begins crying and holding on to your leg for dear life. Pick up 1YO and comfort her while grabbing keys and open door. 3YO shoots out the door and immediately runs for the street. (Why the street? Why? We have a nice lawn, driveway and sidewalk but no, it's always the street.) Try to quickly lock door while holding 1YO and watching 3YO in the street at the same time. Convince 3YO to return to car and start to load.

Step 3: Re-entry. 1YO begins whining and saying "pa-plach, pa-plach, pa-plach". Realize you have left Patches, ultimate security blanket inside. Wrangle 3YO and 1YO back inside.

Step 4: Begin Hunt. Upon entering, dog immediately freaks out. He goes wild with joy because you have come back after having been gone all of 90 seconds. He immediately lunges at you, knocking over 3YO who starts crying. Comfort 3YO, reprimand dog, all while holding 1YO who continues to moan "pa-plach, pa-plach." Stumble around living room kicking over piles of toys and worn clothing looking for one of the seven Patches blankets you bought at Wal-Mart. Locate Patches, give to 1YO, who melts in your arms and begins patting your back lovingly.

Step 5: Attempt Second Exit. Now you can head for the door again. Except you can't find 3YO. A quick look around reveals her discarded shoes and flung jacket. She emerges at the top of the stairs with the story that she wants to bring her blanket as well. Unfortunately, her blanket does not have any clones so you begin to explain that if we bring it and it gets dirty, we will have to wash it which means no sleeping with it during nap. 3YO promises most solemnly not to get blanket dirty. Capitulate. Insert squirming 3YO into shoes and jacket again.

Step 6: Get out the Door v.2: See above only this time, 3YO runs across the wet lawn dragging blanket through mud and into dirty street. Sigh. Finally, finally get 1YO into car seat and buckled. Spend 3 minutes running up and down sidewalk chasing 3YO. Finally overtake child and make mental note to start working out. Catch breath. Load 3 YO into car. Sit down in front seat and realize you left the shopping list in the house. Visualize list and coupons sitting on kitchen table.

Step 7: Internal Moral Debate. What to do. Unbuckle kids and go back for list? Brave store without a list and risk missing essential item and have to return again? Leave kids in car while you grab list? Immediately visual 60 Minutes report of mother who left kids in car and they got stolen or hurt. Visualize trying to get them unloaded again. Visualize wandering around store without a list. Debate.

Step 8: Re-entry v.2. Decide to risk it. Leave kids in car and run inside. Get mauled by dog (again) who is so happy to see you. Grab list. Run back to car, heart pounding. Make second mental note to start working out.

Step 9: Drive. Finally. Start car. Head for market. Totally exhausted.

I find I've turned into a very slow drive. I savor the drive. It's my chance to unwind and re-energize for the terror that shortly follows: getting kids safely through parking lot and store. So next time you're behind a slowly moving mom, give her a break. Odds are pretty good she's merely recharging for the next big adventure in childrearing.

Posted by Chrissie at 10:08 AM | Comments (0)

November 29, 2006

A Year Without Thanksgiving

So, we missed Thanksgiving this year. No turkey. No stuffing. No gravy or green beans. Not even a sliver of pumpkin pie crossed these lips. Instead of gaining the obligatory five pounds, we lost it. Self-imposed diet? Nay. The culprit was, instead, the flu. Yes, it struck Kulia, moved to Leina, overtook myself and claimed Kevin as its final victim. We are only now emerging from its deathlike grip. The girls are pretty much back and I'm beginning to feel human once again.

Now, long, long ago in a clueless galaxy far far away, I was once childless. During this time, I felt very confident about what I would do as a mother some day. I had all kinds of ridiculous ideas about children. Most of my baseless proclimations have fallen to the wayside now that I have my own kids but one has held true.

I refuse to take my children out when they are sick.

I remember strolling through the a department store years ago and coming upon a frazzled mom and a clearly sick kid. Glassy eyes, runny nose, cough and general misery. After shooting the mom a stink eye, I'd move on quickly while trying to hold my breath and muttering to myself. "Why would a mom do that?" I'd wonder. The kid is clearly sick, crying and miserable. Why are you out shopping? It just didn't make sense and it still doesn't to me. When my kids are sick, we hunker down, and tough it out at home. They are spewing grem-laden coughs and wiping their noses with their hands. The last thing I want to do is take them out and infect others.

But this last week I came very very close to breaking my resolve. Today is day 8 of our self-imposed isolation. Yes, that's right. I have not left the house in 8 days. Being stuck with a sick 3 yr old and a sick 1 yr old in the same house for over a week is hard. Oh is it hard. Add in your own sickness and it's pure misery. I'd love nothing more then to pack them into the car and head to Target so we can wander the aisles for a little distraction. And if there were someway to encase us in a bubble that filtered out all germs, I'd do it in a heartbeat. Alas, such technology does not yet exisit. Until then, I will remain here, up to my ankles in used kleenex and empty baby Tylenol bottles.

But oh, what I wouldn't give for a slice of pumpkin pie!

Posted by Chrissie at 09:12 AM | Comments (0)

November 21, 2006

Come Play With Me Sister

Ah, the five sweetest words any mother could ever wish to hear. Yes, Leina has finally turned the corner. For the past 17 months her mantra has been "get that baby away from me." But yesterday, she changed her tune and I actually watched as she grabbed her sister's hand and said, "come play with me Kulia."

I wept with joy.

Through the torrential flow of motherly tears, I watched Leina lead Kulia up the stairs hand in hand. A sigh of joy escaped my lips as I settled down with the paper, a cup of coffee, and a bit of quiet mom time. I heard them as they trugged up the steps where Leina declare they were going to play house. There were various thumping sounds and then I heard Leina singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

Next thing I knew, she was standing right next to me, twisting in place and looking around vacantly.

"Um, Leina, where is your sister?" I asked with a tad of concern.

"She's upstairs," Leina replied and wandered toward her kitchen set.

"Is she in the play room?" I asked.


"Is she in your room?"

"No. She's in her room," Leina clarified and began shuffling threw plastic loafs of bread.

"What is she doing up there honey?" I asked, my motherly concern raising a level from green to yellow.

"Oh, we're just playing house," Leina informed me, "I tucked her in and now she is taking a nap."

Seeing as how it was 9:30am, I was pretty sure Kulia was wide awake. Straining my mommy senses, I could hear her calling out. Only the sound was very faint. It was as if it was coming from behind a closed door. Motherly concern racheted up to orange in a heartbeat.

"Leina, did you put Kulia in a room and close the door?" I asked, nervously.

"Oh mommy," Leina piffed at me, "she's just taking her nap. I had to close the door or she wouldn't sleep. When she cries for me, I'll go get her."

We were at red. I put down the coffe and headed upstairs with Leina on my heels. Sure enough the door to Kulia's room was closed and I could her here inside calling, "EEEEINA! EEEEEINA!"

"Coming baby!" Leina yelled in reply and threw the door open. And here, lying on the ground in the complete dark, was Kulia. Leina had arranged a little bed with a pillow, her blankets and an animal. As I watched, Leina re-tucked Kulia, sang her a very off-key lullaby while rubbing her back, planted a kiss on her head, and walked out, closing the door behind her and leaving her sister alone and in the dark.

"See, aren't I a good mommy?" Leina grinned up at me as muffled wails of "EEEEEINA" began drifting from under the door.

Ah yes, let the games begin!

Posted by Chrissie at 09:09 PM | Comments (0)

November 14, 2006

Beauty School Dropout

For the last two weeks our modem has been in its death throws. It could only last about 10 minutes before dying a horrible death. Do you have any idea how hard is it to regulate your internet access to 10 minutes a day? This weekend, Kevin got it fixed (with a little help from Comcast) and we are back on-line. Yes.

During this internet blackout, I've been trying to explain to Leina that Halloween is over. Her sense of time isn't so hot. When I tell her we have to wait a year until next Halloween, she thinks about that and says, "so, we can go on Friday?" I've trying showing her a calendar and explaining days and weeks but she just gives me this squinty look and tells me to stop teasing her.

So, to distract her from halloween, I decided to wave the flag of Christmas.

"Halloween is over honey. Now it's time for Christmas! You need to start thinking about what you want to ask Santa for." All thoughts of trick-or-treating were instantly wiped from her mind and visions of sugar plums danced in her head. She mulled the concept of Santa over in her mind for a while and then, last week on our way to Safeway, she announced the following.

"Mommy, I know what I want from Santa. I've been a very good girl, you know, and I have this great idea! I think Santa should bring me... a pair.... of.... SCISSORS! Do you think he will? I reeeeealy reeeeealy want some scissors!"

I was dumbfounded. She could ask for anything from Santa and she wanted scissors? I tried explaining that she might be shooting a bit low but nothing would dissuade her. She was adament. All she wanted from Santa was a pair of scissors. Amazed and bemused, I took her down the school supply aisle at Safeway and picked out a pair of kid scissors and handed them to her. Her eyes grew wide, she began wiggling with happiness, clutched the scissors to her chest and began beaming joy at me declaring "this is the best day ever!!!" For the next few days, she was a scissors maniac. She snipped, she cut, she loved every minute of her new toy.

And then it happened.

On Friday, she came downstairs and announced she had cut her pony's hair. I expected to see strands of pink or orange My Little Pony hair clasped in her hands. But while she held plenty of shorn locks in her hands, they were not neon. Oh no, they were brown. Curly brown hair. My first thought was, "where did we get a brown horse toy from?" That thought was quickly wiped from my mind as my eyes rose from her hands.... to her head. Yes, the "pony" in question was not of the My Little variety. No, the hair in her hands had come from her own head.

The whole left side of Leina's head was shorn. As far as I could tell, she grabbed chunks of her own hair and snipped and snipped and snipped. The mound of beautiful curly locks where her very own. She had butchered her own hair.

I was stunned. First astonished silence. Then I fell off my chair laughing. Through the tears, I tried to explain to a very puzzled 3 year old that you NEVER NEVER NEVER cut your own hair. Leina processed this and then asked me...

"What about cutting sister's hair?"

"Did you cut Kulia's hair?!?!" I asked with panic in my voice.

"Just a little," Leina replied, "and she was very good. She sat very still and didn't cry or anything."

Kulia trotted around the corner at this point and low and behold, her bangs were noticably shorter on one side. After a long talk and a visit to the hair cutters, Leina has learned a very valuable lesson and is sporting a nice layered looked; scissors are only for cutting paper. And I learned that a 3 year old and sharp scissors should not be left unsupervised. Ever.

Posted by Chrissie at 10:07 AM | Comments (0)

November 02, 2006

Cutting the Strings

Halloween was a success. Peter Pan had everything but his belt. Tinkerbell had some rockin' last minute wings. They also had runny snotty noses so there wasn't much trickortreating. Sigh. I did get a bunch of pictures and some great video of the two of them playing together in costume. Beyond adorable.

But this weekend, I am cutting the strings. Kulia is 16 months old now and this weekend will be our first day apart. Yes, that's right. For the last 16 months, I have spent every single day with Kulia. Leina we have farmed out to various relatives for sleepovers as needed. But not Kulia. She has stayed with me. Until now. Until tomorrow. For tomorrow, I hit the road with Kat for a much needed girl's weekend. We are heading for the coast with the dogs and a car full of craft supplies and leaving the men-folk and small children behind.


Posted by Chrissie at 09:37 PM | Comments (1)