Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Dear next door neighbors of 4502....

Last night was one of those nights where I end up wanting to hide in my bedroom closet with a bottle of wine hoping they don't find me.

It all started out okay-ish. The kids had soccer practice, which always makes for a hectic evening, so I told them in no uncertain terms as they were walking out the door for school yesterday that they were to have ALL their homework finished by the time I picked them up...or death would be imminent.

Of course they said they would, and that's exactly what they didn't do.

Despite that, I managed to not throw myself from the roof, got the kids to practice, and prepared for the long evening filled with loads of laundry and 4th grade math.
Once they were home, I sat them right down and made them get started. Things went relatively smoothly after that...until....

During all that homework and reading, Alexander didn't want to eat dinner. I sat it right down in front of him at dinner time and he just said "I'm not hungry, I just want to read".

Not one to look THAT gift horse in the mouth, I let it go. By the time 9:00 rolled around, he had finished reading and was in the basement watching TV with Clifford. No mention of dinner, which had since been moved to the fridge. The kitchen was closed.

I called both of the kids up to go to bed, and they went. 10 minutes later I go up to tuck them in and Alexander was boo-hooing about his stomach hurting.

Me: "You'll be fine. just go to sleep." (sensitive, I know)
Alexander: "But it really hurrrrts."
Me: "Funny, it didn't hurt earlier, and actually it didn't hurt until I walked into this room to tuck you in." (Bluff called) "Go to sleep".

So I go back downstairs....Alexander then proceeds to throw the most bitter, angst-ridden tantrum. Screeching that he was "starving to death" and that I wouldn't "let him eat dinner" blah blah blah.

At this point, it's 9:45 and all I waned to do was go bury myself in the back yard.

Alexander screamed and yelled to the point I was convinced the neighbors would be moving out today. And I let him know that he would end up owing them an apology, which was my attempt to shut him up. He would rather be quiet than have to face the neighbors apologizing for acting like a 4 year old.

Too bad it didn't work. What did was Richard taking video of this little meltdown and threatening to share it with the entire Facebook and YouTube communities. So basically the world.
He finally just quit and went to sleep.

Hope you learned your hungry little lesson, Alexander. I'm not running a 24-hour diner.

This morning we were all up at a decent time and it wasn't a total disaster despite being up late due to all that drama. The boys were getting ready for school and Alexander comes upstairs and hands me a note and says "can I go put this on the neighbors' door?"

Dear Next door Neighbors of 4502

I am very sorry about the disturbense
of your home. I am sorry for being
loud. I promise this will not happen again.

P.S. I'm sorry for all the noise.

Sincerly
Alexander for from 4500



Occasionally, they surprise us.

Of course we said he didn't need to actually put the note on the door, but it was very nice that he wrote it all by himself. And if he feels the need to screech like that again, he can live in the back yard.

Monday, March 26, 2012

He's just not that into you

Last Thursday night the phone rang at 10:51 PM. Usually by this time of night we are all asleep, and if we aren't, the next morning is guaranteed to suck. In this case, we were. Of course this phone call woke me out of what should have been a decent night's sleep only to find that it was Clifford's "girlfriend". And I'm putting "girlfriend" in quotes because she lovvvves him and he could give a crap.

Clifford's 10-year-old "girlfriend" was calling my house to speak to my 10-year-old child at 10:51 PM on a school night. 

NO

Now this girl, who is very sweet might I add, tends to call the house a lot. There was a day last week where she called at least 7 or 8 times while Clifford was struggling through his homework so we just let it go to voicemail....and she just kept calling.

This is how it starts, right? This is how guys make girls completely insane later in life. We call, they don't answer so we get all desperate and keep calling. "Why won't he answerrrrr???" I hope to teach my boys to not be the ones who make the girls turn into nutbags, but that can wait a few years. For now, I'm just pissed that this girl's parents are letting her call my house so late. And why is SHE up?

NO NO NO

I don't let my kids even touch the phone without me knowing who they're calling and why. Sounds overbearing, but I insist on knowing what my kids are up to all the time. And I certainly would like to know if they're calling randoms at such a late hour when they have to get up at 6 AM the next day for school.

Insanity.

So last night when the phone rang at 9:35, I answered. Of course the first thing out of her mouth is "Clifford?". Not "May I speak to Clifford?" or "Hello, this is ____ is Clifford there?"
Number 1...he's young enough to sound like his mother on the phone. Stop calling my house until his voice changes.
Number 2...where are your manners? Jeez.

I then decided to do what could easily be considered, in today's cut-throat elementary school environment, to be socially crippling and said "I'm sorry, but he's asleep. He goes to bed at 9".

He may end up hating me for this one.

Friday, March 23, 2012

My kid plays the cello?

Apparently, when I wasn't looking, Clifford decided he was going to master the cello at school. So much so that he was actually invited to play with the 5th graders in the Advanced Strings Ensemble this morning at school.

What??

He's the teeny one behind the giant cello

I'm not certain when all this happened, but he seemed to take his part in it all very seriously. It was worth ditching my conference call so I could see it.
Little talented booger.

And then there's Alexander. While Clifford seems to be my stage kid, the one who is relatively fearless and enjoys performing, Alexander would rather hide in the bathroom.
However, on this particular day, he was very brave and took his role in the dramatic portrayal of Brown vs. The Board of Education a little too seriously. Good job! I'm not sure I foresee a future in the dramatic arts, but he remembered his lines and I could actually hear him this time.

He looks so angry

There go my hopes of them being the next twins discovered by the Disney Channel.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

This will hurt you a lot more than it will hurt me

After last week's drama-filled evening of stitches and tears and pleas for mercy from shots, it was finally time to have Alexander's stitches removed. I don't know how I could have missed it since he has spent the entire week very loudly counting down the days to when he didn't have to go to school with that splint on his hand, which is now all dirty and gross.

Alexander: "Finally 7 days! Can we get the stitches out? Can we? Please???"
Me: "Yep, and I'm gonna do it."
Alexander: "YOU'RE gonna do it???"
Me: "I am, it'll be fine."
Clifford (as he's passing through the kitchen): "Snitches get stitches."
Me: "Thanks for the reminder."

And thanks to my mother, the nurse, I have been well educated in stitch removal, as well as how to treat several general (and not so general) wounds and ailments. I know a lot about which medications are good for what issue, maybe a little too much, to the point some of my friends are convinced I could possibly be a drug addict.
Wine addict, maybe. But I digress.

Fast forward to Alexander's anxious meltdown in the bathroom 45 minutes later. He thought he would lose his entire hand because I was hovering over him with tweezers and teeny tiny scissors to get at those stitches.

Several moments, a few gasps and a little bit of unnecessary drama later, they were out. I made Alexander watch the whole time in an effort to toughen him up a bit, and I totally plan to use this little experience as leverage when he boo-hoos about the 3 budding cavities he has to have filled in that mouth of his.
That's in May. I can't wait.

In the mean time we're stitch free (for the time being). Let's hope broken bones aren't next on the list.


Looks like I have a pest problem (other than the kids)

Monday, March 19, 2012

All hail the mighty Ritalin pill

Every now and then I feel guilty about having to give my kids medication for their ADHD...and then I get over it when they come home with their homework finished and no one had to pull me aside to let me know that one of them got caught trying to light a Lego on fire at the after-school program.

Recently, their doctor prescribed a teensy dose of Ritalin to be taken just as school is letting out so they can get through the traumatic homework time. Today was day one...MIRACLE.
Sad, I know. Clearly they really need that medication.

So hopefully this will make the evenings more enjoyable for everyone involved (ME) and I won't have to continue developing my refereeing skills. Fingers crossed.
In fact, they both got to play outside immediately after we got home. They said they needed to "go catch inchworms".

Let's hope those disgusting things don't end up in the washing machine or medicated heads will roll.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

That's Mommy's knife!

And just like that, and thanks to Megan, a phrase was coined. The original phrase has 'cheese' instead of 'knife', but that's a long story. That was back when I used to eat cheese, now I just dream about eating cheese.
That's an even longer story...back to the knife.

Life would be really boring without a little drama, right? Right.
Earlier this evening, after picking the kids up from their after-school program, I was piddling around upstairs while Alexander was supposedly doing homework. Clifford had already taken off to run wild through the neighborhood since he didn't have homework (according to him), when I heard a *bang* followed by a blood curdling scream. A scream only a mother could know. Something bad just happened.

Alexander was in a full scale panic saying he had cut his hand and there was BLOOOOODDDDD!!! (that was him screaming).
I, being the eldest child of a hardcore nurse, said very calmly, "okay okay, let me look, calm down."
At first all I saw was a little bit of blood on his left index finger. No biggie, right? Then I opened his hand revealing a nice, deep gash in the webbing between his thumb and index finger.

Whoopsie.

So I dragged him to the kitchen sink and made him rinse under water for a sec so I could survey the carnage.
"Yep, you need some stitches little man."

'WHHAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!" (that was Alexander, not me).

I called Richard to make sure he was on his way home before leaving the door unlocked for Clifford and off we went to Urgent Care.

Please no shots, please no shots, please no shots.....


Urgent care was almost empty so I foolishly thought we would be in and out. Almost two hours and several desperate pleas from Alexander to "not give him any shots" later, he was all bandaged up and we were out of there. Thank God he managed to choose the absolute sharpest knife in the block, made for easy stitching.

Thanks for the knife set, Megan! It was a good Christmas gift. Nice and sharp.

The moral of the story...don't touch Mommy's knives!

Interestingly enough, I have a scar in the exact same place on the exact same hand from a knife doing the exact same thing-- attempting to cut an apple when I was a kid.
Alexander likes that we will both have matching scars.

Thumbs up, y'all!


....and Clifford lied about not having homework.

Monday, March 12, 2012

The "good" kids showed up again

This kid experiment is not without its surprises. After Friday's little trip into the firey depths of Hell where the kids played the part of the Devil so perfectly, Saturday seemed to look up, and yesterday was even better. They were both outside most of the day terrorizing the neighborhood.

Better the neighborhood than me.

But being the wise, trap-avoiding Mom that I am, I KNEW the end was likely near. After all, we lost an hour over the weekend which is basically license for the kids to go crazy for at least a week.

Shock of all shocks....they were little angels this morning. No fighting, no arguing, they followed directions, and got to the bus stop on time....

WHAT THE HELL?

Obviously I'm not planning to put all my eggs in this basket lest I end up in the trap again...and this time I've stocked up on wine, just in case. I'm no fool.

The new reign continues....we're still trying to decide if it's us or the kids who are really in charge.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Operation: Tough Love, Day 6-ish- "I will not fight with my mom"

Turns out there's wine in the trap. 

After an otherwise lovely day (day 4) the kids went crazy and Day 5 turned into a WWE Smackdown. 

6AM- kids woke up embroiled in a full-on death match with each other. All that was missing was the ring and the 'ding-ding'. It's a good way to start the day, if you're equally insane, which I'm dangerously close to right now. 

The day ended the same way it began with the kids in school in between. There was screaming and crying and lots and lots of mouthing off. It was then that the trap ran out of wine. 

The rules are still the same...they can basically do nothing but read books and ponder their existence in this world, so I can only attribute the sudden degradation of civility to that solar flare storm we supposedly just experienced. 

So to properly reward all the shenanigans, the kids had to write, 100 times each, "I will not fight with my mom" Bart Simpson style. This isn't the first time sentences have been shamefully written, and I doubt it will be the last. 

He got a C in handwriting

So I'm on the lookout for the next trap, and this time I'll be sure to stock up on the wine for my own safety. To be continued.....

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Operation: Tough Love, Day 3 1/2- The new normal??

Well....other than having to push the kids to get their homework done, I can't say that there has been any significant fall-out from the new regime. I mean, besides the no TV, video games, etc. They'll always complain about that, but yesterday and today went quite smoothly.

Could it be working?? Maybe. But I'm not holding my breath and I'm definitely not plugging the cable boxes back in just yet.

This could all be one giant mom trap. They're just waiting for me to fall in....

I hope there's wine in the trap.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Operation: Tough Love, Day 2- *SIGH*

"I will wipe the floor with your scrawny ass."

At least that's what I was saying to myself when Alexander decided to be a complete turd this morning. Of course he didn't finish all of his homework last night, clearly due to the stress of all the new rules, and had to get up early to get it done before school. So he was a complete joy when we woke him up. JOY.

He gave us about as much trouble as he possibly could, probably just because he didn't want to finish that homework, which took him all of 5 minutes by the way. Ugh.

Both boys were just fine as they left for the bus, but as soon as I picked them up this afternoon for a doctors appointment, it was the crap show all over again.

"I'm hungry...can we go to Chick-fil-A after?...I'm bored...how long will the appointment take?...Do we really have to go?... blah blah blahhhhhhhhh...."

Kill me

The appointment went off the rails almost as soon as it began and I just sat back and let both kids make complete fools of themselves.
Internal dialogue: "It gets worse before it gets better, it gets worse before it gets better. And if it doesn't, sell them on the open market."

The kids' pediatrician has the patience of a saint. I guess you have to to actually be a pediatrician, so his response to all of this was simply "oh, they're fun aren't they?"
Yeah, they sure are. Vomit.

This evening hasn't gone exactly beautifully, but we're almost through Day 2. Tempers are flaring, attitudes are bitchy, and I just want to go to sleep so I can be done with this day.

Is 6:30 too early to go to sleep?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Now they want to move out

Should I let them? Maybe.

After picking the kids up from school in the evening there is usually a small window of time where I have the chance to shove a snack in them and get them started on their homework before the big meltdowns occur...and that moment is almost immediately after walking through the door. I will still have laptop and purse in hand, coat on, and they've been bitching at me about "starving to death" since we got in the car.

Today was no different...but since the new rules are in effect, instead of standing over them holding them down with one hand so they don't pop up from their chairs and guiding them through their math with the other, I simply said "sit down and do your homework, I'm going upstairs."

And upstairs I went. So there.

They say that when you make a change in the house to hopefully redirect an otherwise nasty kid it almost ALWAYS gets worse before it gets better if it's actually working. And it has gotten worse.

Kids: "We can't live like this! Why don't you want to do stuff for us anymore?? We're moving out later tonight! I don't want to be on my own!!"

Yet you're moving out later? Sure.

...oh now I hear the Dustbuster.

Cross your fingers, people. I found a new gray hair today and I'm pretty sure these kids are the reason for it. 

Operation: Tough Love, Day 1- Not a complete failure

So here we are, day 1 of the new household regime, one without me or Richard pushing the kids from room to room in the morning so they don't screw up their routine and end up missing the bus (again).

The result? Not a total disaster. Maybe because they knew it was coming? Who knows. But the day started like any other. Richard woke them up and said "okay, you're up, now you're on your own".

Alexander got himself dressed, came to me for outfit approval, and went downstairs to feed himself. Clifford rolled around in his bed for another 30 minutes complaining about not being "able to move" and even went so far as to roll onto the floor and start hollering in that whiny "I'm not really hurt but I want attention" voice.
My response from the other room: "Sorry you fell, get dressed and go eat."

He finally fell in line, but not before I got up and walked right past his room to go downstairs only to hear, while he was still on the floor, "Whatttt?? You just walk by and not help meeee???"
That's right.

He eventually wandered down to the kitchen to get my approval of his outfit (which I don't require, for some reason they just ask me for it) and he was wearing a navy blue long-sleeved shirt and faded black sweatpants that were clearly last year's size.

Clifford: "I'm wearing this, I like it and it's comfortable, do you like it?"
Me: "Love it"

Throughout this little morning process all either kid seemed to be concerned with was whether the cable still worked, since it was to disappear because they weren't paying for that little luxury. Richard had quickly pulled a few cables from behind the TV and of course those little nerds found a way around it. "The OnDemand still works woo hoo!"

Yeah, It'll be unplugged completely tonight, don't get excited.

It was touch and go when it started to get closer to when the kids needed to leave to catch the bus. I threw out a couple of warnings to watch the clock since, after all, it would be a much bigger pain if I had to add driving the kids to school into my schedule. Selfish, I know.
Shockingly they made it on time and even had their teeth brushed. Hooray for small miracles.

Maybe they'll actually get the hang of this it will become the new "normal". Maybe I'm insane. Both are possible, but there was far less boo hooing and yelling this morning and I believe it was because Richard and I both decided we didn't give a crap anymore.

Complacency has it's benefits. On to day 2.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Cruel and unusual

In an attempt to prevent a Defcon 1 (or is it 5?) meltdown Monday morning by springing the new "rules" on the kids, I've been dropping not-so-subtle hints to prepare them for Armageddon.

"You know the cable is being turned off Monday, right? You know you're on your own for school lunches, right? You know you'll have to keep track of your own homework, right?......"

Of course this is just enough to get the kids all fired up and start complaining that they will "die because they won't be fed". So in response, I made them do all their laundry today.

Kids: "THIS IS SO NOT FAIRRRRRRR!!!!"

Me: "Hey! At least you're starting with all clean laundry so it will be at least a week before you have to go to school in dirty, wrinkly shirts."

Kids: "WAH WAH WAH BLAH  BLAH BLAHHHH!"

And for that, you get nothing but carrots to chose from when packing your own school lunch.

I assume that the preemptive barking coming from both of them is a good thing, let's me know it's working. Maybe.

So we're preparing for Operation: No More Disrespectful Kids, day 1.
Bloodshed is a distinct possibility.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

I would like to glue their mouths shut

Respect in my house seems to have hit an all-time low. Any and all requests for simple, every-day things, such as taking a shower, are met with resounding whines and miserable attitudes. Is it the age? Is 10 such a horrible age to be? I would love to be 10 again. To not have to pay bills or be bothered with adult crap. I would gladly forfeit all that responsibility....but these rotten creatures don't seem to get that. Time for a little social experiment.

This morning Richard and I decided that if the kids want to feel all entitled to the stuff they have and the things we do for them and act like turds, then the only way for them to learn a little humility is to see what it's like if we just disappeared.

It'll be like It's A Wonderful Life. Sort of.

Try living without Mom for a few days, kids...you might just want me back after all this is over.

So the rules are as follows:

They'll get a wake-up call in the morning, but that's about it. They are each responsible for getting themselves dressed, fed, making their school lunches, brushing their teeth, doing their laundry, doing their homework, taking showers, cleaning up after themselves, all without endless prompting and redirecting by yours truly. And I'm certain there are more things they won't get. Oh yeah, they don't work so they can't pay for the cable so it's going off.

TOUGH LOVE

I have no doubt they will end up at school at least once in their dirty pajamas without having showered or brushed their teeth. This could get ugly. I shutter to think what the bathroom will look like in a week.
But hopefully it works.

I should let their teachers in on this little plan so they don't call me when they suddenly have "that stinky kid" in their classes.

Let the games begin, little turds......