Mountain View Mommy: Sand, Trucks and Testosterone

December 5, 2007

Let there be light!

Filed under: Stuff — by mvmommy @ 3:13 pm

I love the holidays.

My joy starts about September when I can start decorating the outside of the house with Fall things. I have lots of fall decorations, wreaths, candles, etc. When it gets to Halloween, I put up cobwebs and big spiders. There are hay bales with lots of pumpkins on our front porch. There are scarecrows and ghosts throughout the house. And then at Thanksgiving, we just add turkeys and Pilgrim hats. The brining of the turkey, the meal planning, the smells – it all makes me happy. But that is nothing compared to Christmas.

I LOVE CHRISTMAS.

The minute Thanksgiving is over, I kick it into gear and take down about 20 boxes of decorations from the loft. There might be more, but I stopped counting. Every corner of our house has something holiday-ish in it. My sister likes to say that “it looks like Santa Claus barfed all over my house”.  However, I love it.   The banister is wrapped in red ribbon like a candy cane. The front porch has HUGE poinsettias on either side of our door that boasts a HUGE wreath. The icicle lights are hung, and so are the special lights I have around the house.  And of course there is the nativity placed in a special spot.

We have lots of handmade decorations given to us by great-grandmothers, grandmothers, mothers, sisters, and even our kids. Our most prized decorations are the handmade stockings from grandma…. it’s a special design that only the women of the family know, and each family member has one.

And then there is the tree. The tree is the only source of stress out of the whole entire holiday season. I love to get it early. Dec 1st is my ideal date. My husband couldn’t care less if we got it the week before. It doesn’t seem like a big deal until you take into account ‘my light strategy’. I like a lot of lights. No that is not true. I like an obscene amount of lights on my tree. I love it to sparkle.

And I don’t just drape them on there like someone put the tree on a lazy susan and strung the lights while spinning it. I weave it in & out of each branch so that the strings can’t be seen… and that every nook gets a light.

So far I have about 10 strings of light on my tree… and I am only 1/2 to 2/3 of the way done. It’s taken me about 4 hours so far. Thus, that amount of effort is not worth getting a tree a week before. If you are going to put in the time, you need to start early.

This year my husband was on board. We hung the outdoor lights the weekend after Thanksgiving. I even bought a new timer so that they come on automatically at 5:00… right before it gets dark. And turns off at 11:00, right after I go to bed. I actually am so excited everyday at 4:50 that I wait to watch them turn on. That is how much I love them.

AND, Nathan even went with us on Dec 1st to get a tree. It was a new record in our house. The boys picked the tree themselves, and even hung the star.  But that is not the thing that pleases me the most during this holiday decoration process.

The thing that makes me skip for joy every day is my remote controlled Christmas Tree light switch. Yup, you read right. I have a clicker to turn on my Christmas Tree. I no longer have to climb behind it to get to the plug. I don’t have to get dirty from the sap, or tree branches. I just take my little clicker and press ‘on’… and voila…. let there be light.

I only have the tree 1/2 done with lights, but I must have used that thing about 10 times already. Completely worth the $9.99 at Target. Merry Christmas to me.

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December 4, 2007

You know your in trouble when…

Filed under: Stories — by mvmommy @ 8:39 am

your 3 year old walks into a Surf-themed restaurant and sees a life size statue of a surfer girl.

He promptly walks up to the bikini clad statue and grabs her boobs.

You are too busy to notice because you are trying to secure a table for your family, but you start hearing guffaws of laughter around you.

By the time you turn around he is staring sweetly at you, and only trying to stick his finger in her belly button.

Niiiiiiice.

The hostess watched him and simply said, “he’s starting early.”  You think?

December 2, 2007

Great-grandparents

Filed under: Family — by mvmommy @ 8:35 am

My kids are lucky enough to still have 3 great-grandparents around. Two of these, they see on a monthly basis, if not more. They love them dearly, and it goes both ways. Great-grandparents are the most special gift to a child. They are so far removed from having kids of their own, that they spoil them mercilessly.

They are also the WORST offenders of breaking parenting rules. THE ABSOLUTE WORST. And they show NO guilt. Why? Because they are going to die soon, and that is their right in their final years. If you think I am making this up and those are my words… then you are wrong Those were the words of Great-Grandma-Omi about a year ago.

At that time she had been trying to push cookies on my kids every moment that she visited. I had been limiting it to after meals, and only if they ate a decent meal. This time, she showed up at 9:30 in the morning and said that “she was giving my kids these cookies and she didn’t care what I said. It was her right as a great-grandma. And that every-time going forward she would be bringing cookies too. Period.”

I have to say, being given an ultimatum like that about made me un-glued. I am not good with ultimatums. It went badly. But we have worked out a nice medium ground that we are both comfortable with over the years.

Today we went to visit Great-Grandparents Omi & Opa and had lunch out at a restaurant. Believe me this is no small event. They don’t eat out much, so the restaurant we drove to was closed & had been for over a year. Thus we settled for the restaurant that had taken it’s place: Wipe Out. The name says it all.

As usual, every kid’s meal came with french fries. I don’t mind this. I know it’s okay for special occasions and so I don’t make a stink. However, when Justin refused to eat any of the food he ordered because he only wanted french fries… I put my foot down. Thus commenced the battle between bites of quesadilla and bites of french fries. At one point Omi tried to convince me that french fries were ‘healthy’. I am not kidding you. Those words came out of her mouth, along with further explanations about potatoes & such. I stared at her, and shook my head. Only a great-grandmother.

At one point, I took the plate away when he started spitting out the quesadilla and trying to swipe french fries off of Opa’s plate. Mind you, Opa was not stopping him. And at the same time, Omi was telling me the ‘quesadilla was too hard for him to chew’. Oh for goodness sakes, the guy has a full set of teeth and eats nuts. I think he can chew a tortilla and cheese.

After lunch we walked around the park to see the ducks, when I noticed one of the kids had something in his hand. It was too far away to see what it was, and I assumed it was food for the ducks. OH NO… it was contraband from lunch. Opa had wrapped up french fries to take home, and gave it to him on his walk when they were way ahead of me (in the hopes I wouldn’t notice). I said nothing and pretended not to see. No need to beat a dead horse when the horse refuses to die.

Then after the french fry ordeal, Omi decided that she wanted to give them cupcakes. Cupcakes! To reward them not eating their lunch!

For God’s sake, kill me now!  I am the one taking these kids home after these crazy people have their way with them… let’s please try to limit the pain that they will be inflicting upon me when they get belly aches on top of their sugar high.

At least Opa was looking out for me when he said: “Don’t worry. I took off a lot of the frosting already”.

I stood looking upon these modified cupcakes with their 2 inch thick mounds of frosting and thought…. thank goodness for limiting the frosting. What would I have done if they had one more inch of frosting!

November 30, 2007

Pet lovers

Filed under: Nathan — by mvmommy @ 3:43 pm

I always thought I was a pet lover until I met Nathan & his family. They are crazy about their pets. And when I say crazy – I mean wildly insane crazy.  I won’t ‘out’ them on their behavior, because I know they read this and I love them dearly.   But even they sometimes admit that they have gone over the top.   (you know you do)  Once I had a friend like this too. I always thought she was a bit crazy about her cat. But figured it was just her personality. Then more & more people started coming out of the wood-works admitting their pet-behaviour to me. I started to realize that maybe I am no pet lover. Maybe I am just a pet tolerator.

My version of owning a pet is taking good care of them by feeding them, bathing them, walking them, and occasionally playing with them throughout the day. I would not plan my day around them. They would not sleep in my bed. They would not be a factor in my vacation plans. I would have no trouble boarding them if I needed to (assuming the place was safe, nice & kind). I would not be buying them a seat on the airplane. I wouldn’t dress them up in clothes. I wouldn’t include them in portraits of the kids and act like they were equal to something that I had birthed myself.  And I certainly wouldn’t talk about them and compare them to my children as if they were the same.

They would be a part of the family that I loved very much. But they would still be pets. Not people. Pets.

When I write it, it sounds cold.

But honestly I loved my pets growing up… I just didn’t obsess over them like they were children. Which is why when Andrew recently took a healthy obsession in Grandma’s cat over Thanksgiving… I started to worry. I could see the longing in my husband’s eyes. That look that says, “oooooh wouldn’t it be nice to put that under the Christmas tree.”

And honestly, yes it would be. For about 2 weeks.

That is how long I give it until the excitement dies down, and I am changing kitty litter. I already have two kids whose poop doesn’t always end up in the toilet. Do I really need a 3rd with four legs running around, with no ability to ever learn that skill on their own?

And what about the furniture? My kids already beat on it enough.  Do I really need it scratched up too?

Or the cat hair? If I can’t keep the peas from our floor…. how will I manage to keep the cat hair from the whole house?

I don’t know… I want pets, but I really want them when the kids are old enough to help. Though on the other hand, the time that they are the most interested is now. Such a tough decision.  And who doesn’t want a cute furry little kitten around?

If someone asked me right now… would you have another baby or a pet. I would say baby. 100 times over… baby.   At least the work you put into a child comes back in spades.

Maybe I am not a pet lover. I am a “pet lover” lover.  I guess that will have to be good enough for now.     Please Santa – don’t send me a kitten for Christmas.  If you do, I will be sure to pay you back in full.

November 21, 2007

15 lousy minutes

Filed under: Parenthood — by mvmommy @ 8:18 am

Every time we come home from Andrew’s preschool, it’s a mad dash to get lunch on the table. The kids are usually super hungry from being outside & playing. And I am hungry, and trying to get them fed so that I can eat. Usually things are a bit on edge until their bellies are fed. Today was no different. Except for the following 15 minutes…..

When getting out of the car at home, Justin stepped on Andrew’s bear. His bear is his snuggly and he can’t sleep without it. Since Justin’s shoes were full of mud, that meant it had to get washed… but had to be done before nap time which was in 1 hour. Thus that became priority #1 over food. Into the wash it went, then I went off to make lunch.

But I realized that Justin needed his asthma steroids pretty soon. Since it makes him a bit hyper-active… he needed it to take it now so he could wind down in time for his nap. So I got that into him, and proceeded to make lunch.

However then Andrew insisted upon helping me make lunch – so there was an argument about him washing his hands: he didn’t believe me that I would wait until he was finished, thus didn’t want to go to the bathroom. After negotiation, he finally went.

That was when I heard the gagging. Justin was standing over one of the floor rugs, and looked like he was going to hurl. I tried to talk him into taking a few steps to the hardwood floor – to avoid barf on the weave carpet. I didn’t want to run over to him, for fear that me being excited would make him lose it before I got to him.

‘Luckily’ he took 5 steps and hurled everywhere. At that point, I was trying to reach him without touching the mess. But then he slipped in it, and fell down and banged his head on the floor. So now he was bawling because he was hurt, and bawling because he was covered in barf.

So much for keeping myself vomit-free. I ended up plopping myself right down in the middle of it so that I could pick him up off the floor and try to stop him from from crying. While I was doing this, I was trying to stop Andrew from coming over and stepping in it too. Likewise, I am trying to strip Justin & I from all the clothes we are wearing.

Clothes off, time to clean him up … then I realize he has a poopy diaper. So now I have to figure out whether to clean up the poop or the barf first. And I am still yelling over my shoulder at Andrew to stay away from the mess on the floor.

Justin is now getting hosed down in the sink, naked. I am getting wiped down with a paper towel. A diaper and pants are put back on him, and he is placed on the couch. I turn on a show to distract the kids, while I pray that he doesn’t barf again on the couch. Really I just need five seconds to focus on cleaning the floor before anyone else gets hurt.

While I get started, Andrew decides to unload a bucket of sand onto the couch. As I yell at him to stop taking off the shoes covered in sand… sand spills everywhere on the couch and is now sticking to Justin who is still a little wet from his recent hose-down. Now I have to stop cleaning up the barf and focus on cleaning the couch, the floor, and my kid up from the sand.

Sand is now cleaned up, back to the vomit. Justin is now crying because he’s hungry. Floor is cleaned up finally. I am still in my underwear & bra… and I move to the kitchen to finish making lunch.

At this point Andrew remembers that he wanted to help me, and freaks out. He starts running towards me, yelling at me to stop & wait for him. Of course he smacks his head into the cabinet and starts screaming.

It is at this moment when I chose to lose it. It had only been 15 minutes since we arrived home, and frankly everything was demanding Code Red Priority #1 attention. I excused myself from both my screaming kids… walked upstairs… put some clothes on… and came back down in mismatched clothes… still smelling a little like the poop & barf… and finished lunch.

It is moments like these when words don’t do parenthood justice. There is simply no way to make you feel the same way I felt during those 15 minutes: confused, frustrated, disgusted, overwhelmed, desperate, sympathetic, worried, and all together like a failure as an adult who is supposed to be able to handle situations like these – because for goodness sakes I am the MOM.

November 19, 2007

Follow the path

Filed under: Parenthood — by mvmommy @ 4:10 pm

A tip to the wise:

When your children tell you … “don’t come in here, we are building a garage for you & don’t want you to see it”…..Be sure to go in there.

Do not let the hammering in the bathroom continue without checking it out. Do not assume that just because they were hammering on the floor, or on the rubber mat, that they have continued to do so.

So when you go into the bathroom 20 minutes later, and find a hole in your bathroom wall, just know it was your fault.

Do not be surprised to see the plaster on the ground.

You took the shower, all the while patting yourself on the back at how wonderful your kids were playing together without your supervision. You bought them the plastic hammers. They are boys for goodness sake. What did you think would happen? Sure they didn’t do anything in the past year with the hammers; that was because they were storing up their creative juices for one big construction site with your name on it.

So don’t yell. Smile calmly and explain how we don’t make holes in the walls, and then have them clean it up.

And when you ask where else they built… and they reply nowhere. Don’t believe that either. They are just afraid you will make them clean that up too.

Instead, just follow the path:

* the indents in the railings on the stairwell,
* the chipped paint off the banister,
* the holes in the wood next to the carpeted stairs,
* and the grey plastic paint from the hammers… now forever etched in your walls.

Know these were all done in love, to build you the best dang garage a mommy could possibly need.

November 17, 2007

Midnight with my baby

Filed under: Parenthood — by mvmommy @ 3:52 pm

The other night Justin had a cold. This is not unusual, but with his asthma it results in hours of humidifiers, Tylenol, inhalers, nebulizers and oral steroids. This can, and did, go on into the wee hours of the morning.

This particular night though, he remained in quite a good mood. Instead of being upset by all the frantic action to keep him from coughing, and help him to breathe… he revelled in it.

Justin spent those hours when he should have been sleeping, talking up a storm. I think he was taking advantage of the fact that Andrew was asleep & couldn’t talk over him (or for him). He told me about all the things he liked. He particularly listed everything that he was currently ‘in love’ with, which included a stuffed cow, a dresser, a power cord, and the clock with the little numbers. He asked hundreds of questions about all the interesting things he could see in the dark. And particularly liked the lights on the walls when cars would drive by. Frankly I had never heard him talk so much.

Unfortunately, though, he showed no signs of improving from the variety of medicines we were giving him, and showed no signs of sleeping. I was starting to lose steam.

We were rocking in the chair together (trying to calm down after another asthma treatment) when Justin looked at me, held up two fingers, and said: “I am two, Mommy.”

Sure enough I looked at the clock and it was 12:30 am … the morning of his birthday. Yup, he was officially two. How he knew, I am not sure.

For weeks he had been insisting he was one. When asked how old he was going to be – he would hold up both hands, with just one finger, and adamantly say ONE. In fact, he had never even held up two fingers before without help (and that is quite a feat for little hands and uncoordinated fingers).

But at that moment he realized it was his birthday, and he was now officially two. He smiled proudly at me because he KNEW he was right; he wanted to share the moment just with me, while we were quietly sitting on the rocking chair in the dark, hugging each other.

Happy Birthday sweetheart. Sorry you are sick, but I am glad I got to snuggle you on the instant you figured out that you were two. There are so many more things to come, so many things to look forward to, so many things to enjoy right now in this instant. I hope we can talk about it again, just the two of us, at midnight on the rocking chair.

November 15, 2007

Now that’s dedication

Filed under: Stories — by mvmommy @ 8:24 am

When I met my husband, I soon learned of his addiction.

It’s ice cream.

However, I am not sure that I would classify it as an addiction. It’s more a super-power of some sorts. He can consume large volumes of ice cream faster than any human alive. Yet he manages not to get a headache from the cold. AND, his mouth never gets too cold … thus, he is never forced to take breaks from the huge-single-scoop-like-proportions that he calls ‘a spoonful’.

In the early days of our dating, I learned of his ice cream fetish when his roommate would complain that every bowl in the apartment was always dirty because Nathan had ice cream every night. (Let’s not go into why they didn’t just wash them everyday.) And then later, his mother bought him bowls specifically FOR ice cream. And upon further inspection, I noticed that there was never a lack of options in the freezer. There were always ‘choices’ for your ice cream dessert; none were stale, and all were used quickly so that new choices could be brought in.

Impressive I thought to myself: a man who loves his dessert like I do.

In the early days of our marriage I tried to keep up. We would eat out of the carton while watching a show, and for every 2 spoonfuls he got – I could barely scarf down one. And I was trying. Trying HARD. I don’t like to be weaseled out of my fair share of a dessert. I am competitive that way.

So I tried to swallow the large portions, that he called spoonfuls, quickly. They were so huge they would make my mouth cold. And in the time that he shoveled another one down, and was offering me a 2nd, I was still trying to frantically swallow so I could ‘keep up’. In the end we had to agree that he would slow down, because I was watching him & counting. And there was NO WAY he was going to finish that carton by himself just because of his super-human-ice-cream-eating-mouth.

Frankly, I thought no one could rival this obsession.

Until Justin was born.

Justin can put away ice cream faster than we can dish it out. Honestly, if you make the mistake and serve him first… and continue to scoop ice cream for the next person… you have made a fatal flaw. He will be done before you bring the next bowl to the table. And he will be demanding more, and won’t give in until his needs are met. At two years old, he is definitely his father’s son.

But today….

Today he outdid his dad.

He ate his ice cream in record speed. While I savored my first spoonful, he was tilting the bowl to get the little drips that had melted before he could eat them. After successfully wiping it clean, he got up to clear his bowl. He walked to the kitchen, and stopped mid-step. He just stood there, staring at his bowl in horror.

Then he turned around and high-tailed it back to his seat. Threw the bowl on the table, jumped in the chair, and declared….

“THERE IS ONE MORE NUT IN THERE!”

Sure enough. He had missed a quarter of a nut speck that was left over from the Rocky Road he had consumed. And there was no way that little morsel was going to live to tell the tale.

He scraped it out, swallowed it, and got back to clearing his bowl – clearly proud of the work he had done.

I think Nathan has some serious competition. I can just picture them 10 years from now, having an ice-cream-a-thon. You think I am kidding… but you are sadly mistaken. That day will come. Guaranteed. And when they are sick to their bellies from the gallon they consumed in 5 minutes, I will be finishing my first scoop slow and steady, going back for a little more ….. if there is anything left.

November 13, 2007

Drying off

Filed under: Body Parts — by mvmommy @ 9:58 am

There are many moments that occur during my day when I think… wow… I couldn’t have predicted that one. Often they are the funny moments, those moments that I just thought people made up about their kids to get a laugh. Now I know that those stories are true, because someone couldn’t possibly make these things up.

Tonight during bath-time things started off the same.

Whoever gets out of the bath first, gets to pick the book. Predictably, Andrew got out first and I gave him a towel to start drying off.

Andrew: Mom, feel me, I am all dry.

Nope honey, you still have to do your legs.

Andrew: My feel my legs they are all dry now.

Okay sweetheart almost, but you have to do the back of your legs too.

(At this point I have taken Justin out of the tub and he’s laying on the floor next to where Andrew is standing, and I am drying him off as I watch Andrew towel off.)

Andrew: Am I dry now mom?

Yup, good job. The only part you missed was your bottom and your penis. Don’t forget those.

Justin: Andrew has a big penis

It is at this point I notice that Justin’s is lying on the floor, with his head positioned almost straight under Andrew’s bum.    Of course, he is taking the opportunity to size up his brother.   Boys will be boys, it doesn’t matter the age;  size does matter to them.

Andrew finishes drying himself, but is still standing in range of Justin.

Justin takes the opportunity to reach up, grab Andrew’s penis, and say:
“I have Andrew’s penis!”

Andrew swats him away, without a word, and simply goes about getting his underwear on.

I am sitting on the floor at this point trying to compose myself.  Did that just happen?

I try to explain to Justin that we don’t grab our brother’s penis. In fact, we don’t grab anyone’s penis. In fact, we don’t touch anyone in that area, girl or boy. Unless …… oh forget it.

Get your clothes on boys, let’s get in bed. Mommy needs to go downstairs and have a glass of wine and figure out how Daddy is going to explain this all to you tomorrow.

November 11, 2007

Retirement plans

Filed under: Stories — by mvmommy @ 9:48 am

A conversation from today, after Andrew noticed something completely obscure that no adult would have noticed:

Me: Andrew you are getting smarter by the minute! Soon you are going to smarter than Mommy & Daddy.

Andrew: Yeah, I am getting soooo smart. You won’t be smarter anymore, and I will be the smartest!

Me: That is right. If you get smarter than Mommy & Daddy, then maybe you will have to start taking care of us… instead of us taking care of you. (don’t they say you have to start early for retirement planning?)

Andrew: That’ll be GREAT! (with enthusiasm)

Obvious pause

Yes. That will be real great.
(said with an clearly nefarious tone in his voice)

Hummmm… maybe I shouldn’t dream of my kids taking care of me when I am older. I have a feeling that he might already be planning ways to show me how my decision to limit his sugar intake might not have been have been my wisest choice. I can see visions of my chocolate addiction being limited in my 80’s to ‘one half of one piece, and only after I eat my strained veggies and drink my Ensure’.

Payback could be painful.

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