Monday, January 30, 2012

Apparently eating Comet won't kill you

It's time once again for another installment in the Flashback Series!

Time: Some time during 2004
Place: Salt Lake City, Utah
Kids: Aged 2-ish
Challenge: Internal cleansing (aka: Call to Poison Control...#1)

I love it when you get little magnets and such from your kids' day care. They always have very useful information that you're never quite sure when you'll need. Personal fave? Mr. Yuck. And here's why....

Considering the kids were very adventurous toddlers and willing to get into any and everything they could reach, I was always careful to put things up on high shelves. I'm not exactly sure how it happened but Clifford managed to get his little paws on a canister of Comet cleanser with Bleach.

The day this happened, I found the little man sitting in his play room, on the bean bag (just like when he was painted by his brother), smelling like a freshly cleaned bathroom. Once I got a good look at him, and a good whiff, I spotted the Comet.

Here comes another stroke.

Nothing makes you feel more like a crappy mom than having to call Poison Control to ask if the Comet your kid just ate is going to kill him. Turns out there's nothing in it that's toxic. No wonder it doesn't really clean all that well. And now there are whole television shows dedicated to people who eat things like this...for fun. Too bad they weren't on back in 2004, that could have saved me the call of shame.

The Poison Control guy told me that it won't kill him, but he will likely have an upset stomach for some time. Did he? No. The kid never even skipped a beat, just went back to being his usual toddler self.

To this day I still can't figure out how Clifford got his hands on the Comet. Then again, most baby-proofing items on the market today were invented because of devious little kids like him. Let's hope he uses his powers for good and not evil. Prison doesn't look like a nice place.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Hope the kids got on the bus before the torrential downpour....

Every day I push the kids around the house to get them to eat, brush their teeth, pack their backpacks, make their lunches, get myself ready for work. It's kind of like herding cats....or pigeons. They have their moments, and today was no different. I shoved them out the door at about 7:20 and watched them walk around the corner to wait for the bus. About 5 minutes later, the sky opened up and it started pouring rain. It's a little sad but the first thing that went through my mind was "well, at least they can stand under the Metro bus shelter".

Is that bad???

In my school-age bus riding days, I don't ever recall my mom driving me over to the bus stop so I can sit in the warm, dry car to wait for the bus to cart me delicately to school. I had to tough it out. If it rained, I carried an umbrella. If it was cold, I left the house looking like the Christmas Story kid. It's just the way it was.

Some of the other moms in the neighborhood wouldn't think of sending their poor little muffins out into the harsh elements. I probably look like Satan. But I'm convinced my kids will at least have a childhood that somewhat resembled mine, which was a very typical, nuclear family existence where kids played outside and stood at the bus stop....in the cold (gasp).
Your kid will be all pasty and soft and vitamin D deficient.

So here's to tough love. May they grow up to be strong and well-adjusted, and not afraid of weather. Because those are the people that share my commute to work and they're all idiots. Probably because they never had to stand at the bus stop in the rain.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Hop on the bitter bus...I'm drivin'

It's not uncommon for people to take notice of my kids in public places. Complete strangers approach us and ask the same 3 questions:

1. "Ohhhh, are they twins??" - yes
2. "Are they identical??" - yes
3. "Aren't you having so much fun??" - seriously?

People are fascinated. I can't tell you how many times I've heard young, childless girls squealing about how they want twins. Really?

Not long ago a friend of mine from college posted a link on Facebook about something very similar. It was an article written by a mom who is continually told...by complete strangers...to cherish every moment with her kids because it goes by so fast. And she, like me, thinks that's crap. Amen.

It doesn't matter how much time goes by, any time I'm asked by someone how old the kids are, which is usually standard question #4, the response is "Ohhh that's such a fun age!".
My response? "You are clearly out of your damn mind"...said on the inside, of course. I don't need to fight anybody in front of the kids, only when they're not looking.

It doesn't make sense. I absolutely love my children, but I can't remember the last "easy" day I had. If I'm not wasting my last breath repeating myself 17 times for them to do their homework, I'm running from the stove to the washing machine to the grocery store and back to the stove. Fun age?? I'm still waiting for the fun age.
10 ain't it, y'all.

So I would like someone...ANYONE...to tell me what the "fun age" for identical twin boys with ADHD and the attitudes of 15 year old girls really is. Cuz I'm still waiting.

And while I wait, I will happily drive the bitter bus filled with unsolicited comments from total strangers. And Megan's riding shotgun because she'll be the first to tell me that there is NO fun age, and she's excited because I plan to will my kids to her when I die from tripping over the remote control helicopter left on the stairs while I'm running from the stove to the washing machine.

Monday, January 23, 2012

It's not okay to paint your brother with poop

Now that we've established that Clifford is NOT running away (probably because it snowed over the weekend) it's time for another Flashback Series entry! Get excited, people.

Time: Fall 2004
Place: Salt Lake City, Utah
Kids: Age almost 3 and still not potty trained
Challenge: Same poop, different day

After the shitcake incident over the summer, I thought I had weathered enough toddler drama to be fully prepared for anything they could throw at me. De-pooping their room proved to be a nightmare, but it was done. Moving on.

A few months later, when I thought I was surely in the clear, I plopped the tiny terrors in the basement to play with their *poop-free* toys for a while behind a giant gate fit for a Great Dane. I'm no fool. Or am I...This was nothing new, they had played down there in the past and it allowed me the 3 minutes of free time I could scrounge up during the day to get some laundry done.

As most who are currently, or have at any point been parents of toddlers, you know that silence is never a good thing. If you can hear them, you know it's all good. If you can't, shenanigans are likely. And shenanigans are what I got this day. Or should I say shit-nanigans.

Fearing what was behind the deafening silence coming from the playroom, I took a peek to see what was up. And once again, the poop had hit the fan. Alexander had chosen this particular day to tap into his creative side by removing his diaper (still no success on the damn potty training), remove it's glorious contents, and finger paint his way through the playroom. And he didn't stop when he got to his brother.

There was Clifford, sitting on the beanbag with a look of defeat on his face....covered in poop. He was just a stop on Alexander's way to painting the entire room. Walls, carpet, the shit went surprisingly far.

I lost it. So to avoid committing any crimes, I called my younger brother who happened to also live in Salt Lake at the time.

Me: You need to come over here before I kill the kids.
Brother: (giggles) What happened this time?
Me: Not now, I'm seriously looking at prison time.
Brother: Be right over.

By the time my brother got to the house, I had managed to throw both kids in the bathtub so he could deal with them while I dealt with the shitty basement. When it was all over, there had been tears- mostly from me, and lots and lots of cursing- also from me. But at least the basement was clean(er) and no crimes were committed.

I would like to take this moment to thank the good people over at Hoover. You make a kick-ass steam cleaner, and made an otherwise shitty day a bit less shitty....temporarily.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Update on the little runaway....

So Clifford is apparently still intent on running away. After last night's little episode, he's still not satisfied and is moving out.

Me: Finish your dinner.
Clifford: I don't like it, I want something else.
Me: I'm not a short order cook, you're not getting anything else, and now you can go to bed.
Clifford: I'm leaving....I'm going to get ready right now!
Me: Okay...but hey, there's an ice storm coming so have fun with that!

Clifford took the time to stand on the front porch to feel the air and make an informed decision. The next thing I know he's got 4 books and a stuffed animal for his suitcase.

Alexander chimes in: He's going to Isaiah's house.
Me: You can't go to Isaiah's because I'll call his mom and have her send you home....just sayin'.
Clifford: I'm not going to Isaiah's!
Me: Have fun on the lam, kid.

So after a long lecture from Richard about what it means to be homeless and how Clifford's life is far better, he comes down the stairs and says "I learned my lesson". So now he's playing with his Legos.

The end. Until I make him eat something else he doesn't like.

Not afraid to kick some ass

Don't like the rules? Just run away from home

Clifford is moving out. He's had it with all the rules around here. My response? I'll lend you a suitcase.

Last night he threw an epic meltdown because I gave him a gentle warning that he was almost out of clean clothing and he will be doing laundry this weekend. After all, I'm still on strike.

After the dust settled a bit, a new rule was thrown into the ring.

Richard: You can't play any video games unless you're wearing clean clothes.
Clifford: That's the dumbest rule ever! I'm not gonna live here anymore!
Richard: Need a suitcase?
Clifford: Fine! I'm running away from home. Probably tomorrow.

Keep in mind that no more than 3 hours earlier, he tried to run away from home when I told him he couldn't play on the computer and I made him do his homework instead. I just said "okay, good luck. I'll be upstairs working out".
He got to the porch, stood there for about 3 minutes, came back inside.

Advice from Megan, "if you're gonna run away, do it in summer".
That's good advice, Clifford.

As of this morning, Clifford is still living in the house. He hasn't packed his suitcase, just went out the door to school asking if I would be the one picking him up tonight.

*sigh*

Thursday, January 19, 2012

And just like that, the memory vault is cracked open

Today I had the good fortune of receiving an out-of-the-blue instant message from a friend at work telling me how much she enjoyed reading my blog.

Me: Thank you! That's so sweet!
Molly: I stayed up too long reading it.
Me: I should have started it years ago, I have lots of stories.
Molly: You should start a flashback series.

GENIUS

Too bad I don't own an actual DeLorean.

So here we go, Flashback Series Entry #1. Thanks, Molly! You kick ass!

Time: Summer, 2004
Place: Salt Lake City, Utah
Kids: Age 2 1/2
Challenge: Potty training, and not throwing myself from the roof

Who needs to use the actual potty when you have a diaper on to make it all so much easier? That's at least what I was convinced the boys, who had yet to formulate a complete verbal sentence, were saying to themselves.

The kids and I had been going around and around with the potty training and they just weren't havin' it. So I let them hang onto the safety and security of those diapers and didn't stress it...until this partuclar day.

Summers in Salt Lake City are hot and dry. So to avoid the mid-day heat, the kids were in their room with nothing by diapers on happily playing with their many many toys. All was well, the calm before the shitstorm...literally.

I started to hear all this giggling and excitement coming from their room and when I went to investigate, I found Clifford standing on his bed, diaper in hand, peeing down onto a battery-operated toy that clearly was never going to work properly again. Faster than the obscenities could travel through my brain and out of my mouth, I scanned the room only to spot Alexander, who had also taken off his diaper, which was NOT clean, and was happily steamrolling poop into the hardwood flooring with a plastic push toy.

Here comes the stroke.

It seems that although my sweet, well-behaved children refused to use the potty, NOTHING was going to stop them from making shitcakes on the floor, to the detriment of their toys.. and my sanity. Thank God it was warm out because I went bananas and threw every salvageable toy out into the front yard and hosed them all down. I considered doing the same to the kids but figured the neighbors couldn't handle that.

Internal dialogue:
Maybe I could just donate them to another family. The kids, not the toys.
Nah, they would just be returned within the week. What's the point in that?

So I kept them. The kids, not the toys.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Parenting skills from the Dog Whisperer

That Caesar Millan is so talented. He can take a very naughty dog and turn it into a certified service dog in 20 minutes. He makes that sound that commands attention. "Chsshh!!" So I was thinking....if it works so well on dogs, maybe it'll work on naughty kids.

Lately the kids have been particularly challenging. You say up, they go down...you say no, they do whatever the hell they want. It's infuriating. I'm over it. But just like Caesar says, you have to harness the negative energy, remain calm and try to not let it make you want to launch yourself off the roof.

So I decided to spend a day following the kids around the house making the "Chsshh, chsshh, CHSSHH!!" sound any time they acted up. I can't really say it was very effective....they just looked at me like I had 8 heads, BUT it shut 'em up for a second.

This may require another full day of research. Maybe they'll get so sick of me saying "chsshh!" that they'll just behave to avoid having to deal with all that.

That's success in my opinion.

Friday, January 13, 2012

It's homework, not waterboarding

What is it about homework and kids? Some days it's no problem to get them to sit down quietly and be cooperative little "angels", and other times (last night) it's a shitshow.

There was a school thing last night so the 4 of us were over there until about 7 PM, and I had a feeling that the kids hadn't done their homework in the after-school program like I ask them to do every day. I'm a slave-driver, I know. So I half-expected a challenge getting them to sit down and do it without a fight.

Little did I know Richard and I would get a level 15 meltdown from each of the kids on separate occasions between the hours of 7 and 9 PM. Not exactly the best time for any of us. The witching hour.

Richard was three seconds from an aneurism so he finally retreated to the bedroom to hide after managing to talk Clifford off the ledge and get him working on his hurricane drawing.

I stayed behind to take more shrapnel and help Alexander with his math. Not exactly my strongest subject.

But all this parenting "success" wasn't achieved without having to deal with the "you're torturing me" tantrums, which I just don't understand. They work harder at trying to get out of doing homework than they do at the actual homework, which always takes a fraction of the time in the end. Does being 10 years old mean you're required to spearhead an independence revolution and anyone over 4' 3" is NOT to be trusted?

I'm gonna die early because of all this stress. Who's gonna help you with your math then??

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The stuff my kids learn from 5th graders

My kids are fairly impressionable. Blame it on their premature births and slightly delayed maturity, but they tend to be sheep on occasion and follow the herd. Most kids do anyway.

Well from time to time when I have to torture the kids and make them take showers (the horror), the bathroom mirror gets nice and foggy, and what kid can resist a nice, fogged-up mirror to scribble all over? After seeing what they do to my car windows, I'm surprised this doesn't happen more often.

It wasn't so much that there was writing on the mirror this time, it's what was written that really caught my attention....two days after it was written there.

After my own foggy-mirror shower I noticed all sorts of scribbling and it took a moment, but I realized it wasn't just scribbling, there were words. The first sentence was some sort of whimsical reference to the Twelve Days of Christmas written out all cursive-y and sing-song-y.
Found directly underneath was the following, exactly how it was written:

"F**K YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"  (we have a big mirror)

Thought #1- I'm pretty sure I know who did this
Thought #2- At least he censored himself
Thought #3- I'll break this kid and get him to confess, mafia style

Shortly after my F**K YOU mirror discovery, I left to go grab the boys from school. Once they were locked securely in the car, with no option for escape, I gave the old "you have ONE CHANCE to cough up who did it" speech. Of course the threat of all electronics disappearing forever and ever was incentive, yet both pointed fingers at each other and a stand-off was established. Not unusual.

The benefit of being mom to these two is I've learned to tell when either of them is lying...and the perp this time was Alexander. Of course he wasn't givin' himself up quite yet. Poor Clifford had to beg, plead, threaten him for an hour before he finnnallly cracked. shame.

Me: Where did you learn that?
Alexander: From the 5th graders. They say it all the time.
Me: Charming kids

Some may find it appalling that a 10 year old would use such bad language. I found it a little humorous but made sure I let him know that it was not at all acceptable and won't be tolerated. Somewhat similar to the response I had when, in Kindergarten, Clifford took it upon himself to call his day care teacher a "stupid mother f**ker". And no, he didn't censor himself. Thanks, older kids. I'm glad you're there to teach my kids proper language skills.

At least he used it correctly in a sentence.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The pediatricians office is no place for adults in pajamas

The kids had a pediatric appointment this afternoon so I yanked them out of school, threw them in the car, and off we went.

As we pull into the office parking lot, I see a high school-age girl and her mother heading in. The girl was wearing plaid pajama pants and I remember thinking to myself, "That's so stupid. Why is it so hard to get dressed before leaving the house? I don't care how sick you feel, you look ridiculous." Judge judge judge.
Anyway, we make our way in, the boys sit down, and the pajama girl's mom and I jockeyed for position at the reception desk.

After all the paperwork was complete I sat down next to Alexander, when I happen to glance up and noticed that not only was the pajama girl wearing her jammies, so was her mother. And not only that, she rolled in with her slippers on as well.

Are you kidding me? You and your high school-age daughter can't possibly be bothered to put on a pair of jeans? Was the thought of peeling yourself from the couch and putting on clothing you shouldn't be ashamed to be seen in public in such a hardship?

I don't understand this little trend. More and more I'm spotting girls, guys, MOTHERS, going to the grocery store, the mall, and now the pediatricians office, with their pajamas on.
So now people are stupid AND lazy.

I weep for the future.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Parenting should require a license

...or at the very least etiquette courses.
Yesterday I decided it would be a good day to escape the terrors in my house and head out to the outlet mall to handle the long-overdue exchange to the Polo store. Seems I'm not a size Small in Polo. A Polo size Small is apparently meant for toddlers, so the tops that Richard so lovingly purchased for me needed to go back. It was late in the afternoon when I finally got there so the crowd was thinning a bit. Perfect time to browse a little to see if there were any suitable replacements for the toddler tops. Luckily, I found a couple of tops that showed promise (almost never happens) so I went to try them on.

The door to the women's fitting room was situated right beyond a hugely overloaded rack of deeply discounted stuff that was being picked through by a woman with her young daughter in tow.  I maneuvered my way around the rack and almost tripped over all the stuff this woman had on the floor of the store, she had clearly been shopping for a while.

And where was this kid while her mom was trying on every...single...blazer, right there at the rack.? She had plopped her little butt right in the doorway to the fitting room guaranteeing that for me to get in there, I would have to step over her head...or ON her head.

So there I stood, holding my stuff with a look on my face like "hey, move your kid so I can try this crap on" when I'm finally noticed by this kid's mom. She looks down and says "ohhh, honey, you're gonna have to move out of the way".

The kid moves exactly 3 centimeters to one direction..STILL in the doorway...and her mom just smiles at me and lets out a little snicker as if to say "hey, what can you do? La la la la la la".

I know what you can do. Reach down and physically move your kid out of the doorway before I step on her head, that's what you can do.

What is wrong with parents?? I have made a point to use little situations such as this where it was MY kid who was in the way to actually say...out loud..."It's not polite to block the entrance to ____. Leave room for people to get by."
Simple right? Apparently not!

I wasn't really in the mood to obnoxiously say "excuuuusssse meeeee" to the kid so her mother could hear and hopefully get the hint that she clearly failed at parenting in this particular instance. I instead too a deep breath and stepped over the kid, making sure I came close to grazing her head with my foot.

Winner.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The laundry fairy is officially ON STRIKE!

We've been lucky with the weather lately. Instead of the usual 30+ degrees we often see in January, it's been hovering in the 60's. That's when I say to the kids "GET OUT OF THE HOUSE!" It's a wonderful day to ride that bike Santa brought you.

Today is one of those days. The boys had been doing their best to destroy the house so I stood in the middle of the hallway and shouted "Time to go outside!!!"
After dealing with the usual moans and groans heard from lazy children, I mentioned to the boys they should at least put on some clean shirts. After all, I don't want the neighbors to get all judgey thinking these kids are actually homeless.

I was met with this:

Alexander: "Uggh! Why do I have to put on a clean shirt...there's nothing even CLEAN!!"
Clifford: "C'mon Mommmmmm!!!"
Me: "Are you SERIOUS? That's it! I QUIT!"

What followed was a shameful series of incomplete sentences about how I bust my ass around this house and the only reason these kids even have clean clothes to wear in the first place is because I WASH THEM.

So I've officially gone on strike. I will do nothing other than take the time to teach these ungrateful little monsters how to do their own laundry. And I look forward to the day when they come to me and complain they have nothing to wear because nothing is washed.

Looks like the recently-vacant Laundry Fairy position has yet to be filled. Time to put an ad in the paper, boys!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Ding dong....they're finally back in school!

I can finally reclaim my house. The tree and all the rest of its "friends" have been properly stored away, the house has been cleaned, and the kids have gone back to school! Can I get an amen??

This holiday went by really fast...but not fast enough to keep my house from suffering the trauma of two very bored 10 year olds. They drove me bananas, and I'm certain I drove them equally as nutty. I managed to have them in my house, as well as the houses of family members, for weeks and no one killed them with a treenut. It's the little things.

So now we're on to the cold, cold winter. The first day back to reality and we awoke to bitter temps outside. Hoping the pipes don't burst, that would be fun.

Speaking of winter misery, I'm glad now that I have my Verilux Happy Light to maintain a reasonable mood at work. Best gift-with-purchase ever. Of course all my coworkers hate it and give me endless crap for it...and have even resorted to hiding it from me. They'll thank me one day when they're also happy. Bitter Betties. But more on that later.

I'll also have to save New Year's resolutions for a later post...still working on those. Note: they will definitely include eating better and working out on the reg (per usual). Short term goals, everybody, short term goals!

For now I'm enjoying the silence.