Friday, August 31, 2007

More proof

Lindsay takes a nap in the car. It's 90 degrees outside with 95% humidity, yet she insists on the blanket. Before she fell asleep, she gave a look that just said Whatever happened to those naps I used to have in my crib? I hate this, Mama.

Oh, and notice my front-facing seat? Illegal in New Jersey for the under 20 pound set...

ETA: I surely deserve 2 WMPs on this entry if just for the Mommy Driveby in the comments...

My bid

I really hit some high notes this week in my bid for Worst Mama. Lauren had soccer camp this week while Lindsay tried to normalize her naps. Adjusted now from the trip to the West Coast, she could no longer be convinced that 11 AM was a good time for a nap, and insisted on singing for an hour, and then going to sleep. It was a struggle to wake her up at 1:15 so that we could drive a half hour to pick up Lauren. Also, she wasn't really thrilled to be roused out of bed at 8 AM. So I fed poor Lindsay a breakfast and 3 lunches this week in the car, ladies. Breakfast was merely half of a Nature's Promise blueberry waffle, but lunch was a neufchatel (light cream cheese) and apricot All Fruit on whole wheat with halved grapes and strawberries.

I picked Lauren up from camp yesterday, and she said, as she always does when I arrive, that she has to potty. So I told her to find the coach who was bringing the kids inside the school (the camp is on the field outside). The coaches were busy, so she asked one of the older campers. As they were walking to the school, I noticed a suspicious brown stain on her butt. At that moment, the woman standing next to me said, "Do you think someone else besides my 10-year-old daughter can handle this?"

I didn't reply, I thanked the little girl and took Lauren's hand and told her I had to go also.

When we got into the bathroom, I demanded she remove her shorts. "Why?"

"Because it looks like you had an accident."

"No I didn't," she replied indignantly. "I was just sitting in the sand."

And, she was right. I brushed off what I could and then asked her to put them back on. As she was struggling to take off her shin guards and put back on her shorts, she was chatting up a storm about this and that. A couple of 8-year-old girls came in to wash their hands. Lauren prattled on. At this moment, I lost my patience, "Lauren, can you put your clothes back on already so we can go?!"

"Working on it, Mom."

As the girls left the bathroom, I heard the peals of laughter and my face grew hot. Oh my gosh, I just humiliated my own child in front of older girls.

Really. I'm just that horrible.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Under Wear?

Every year, Lars grows at the end of summer. I know, because I bought back-to-school clothes in the July sales four years in a row and was annoyed each time to find the pants were too short (think flood-ready) by August. So, I haven't been surprised to observe Lars is taller each week lately. I have been surprised by how skinny his legs look! He's never been a skinny kid - even when he's stretched out in the past, he's always maintained a solid frame. This year, though, he's gotten skinny. I know it's not just my perception, either, and here's why:

The other day,
the kids had broken a cardinal rule at home so hadn't gotten to have anything for themselves when Chris and I stopped at Starbucks for coffee. Ross was uncharacteristically accepting his frappucino-free plight with the grim look of someone who knows he has no chance. Lars was storming around the parking lot, alternately yelping and fuming, trying to stay both on the sidewalk and out of sight of either Chris or I (completely impossible but he gave it a very good try). Eventually, he realized he was going to have to get in the car, so he threw his entire effort into storming purposefully across the lot (between Chris and I, so not unsafe). Halfway across, his pants - selected for his usual solid frame - slid down to his knees, revealing boxers covered in rainbow-colored lizards. Undaunted, Lars shuffle-stormed the last bit toward the car and hurled himself into his seat, pants still half-mast. We let him slam the door, because VW has good sound muffling and we were hoping he wouldn't hear us collapsing with laughter by the rear bumper. Thankfully, Chris didn't spill either of our lattes, although it was touch-and-go there for a minute.

The Milk of Human Kindness

I've been missing out on points because I'm been shuffling off my childcare duties to anyone who will take them, but tonight! Ah! A point! At supper, Will was vigorously eating pieces of grilled pork chops--without a fork, I might add. Little barbarians that we have around here. Anyway, he bit his finger when he bit down on the pork. He bit it so hard that he drew blood. Tears, drama! No ice, he screams! No ice! Then he starts shouting out "Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow!" over and over. And it sounded so funny the way he said it that I started to laugh. I did manage to cover my mouth and turn away so that he wouldn't see, although I'm not certain my oldest son didn't catch me. I know my husband did. But then again, he was covering his mouth while he was laughing too.

None of the Pleasure, Double the Guilt

Yesterday, I had an appointment with one of my TWO doctors providing care during this pregnancy. My OB/Gyn referred me to Maternal Fetal Medicine because I am old. It's funny, I never thought 36 was old until I got pregnant...annywhoo...I was there for (yet) another targeted ultrasound, this time a detailed echocardiogram on the baby's heart. It was necessary because of "early exposure." To alcohol, that is. (Sigh. This mama guilt is really setting in early.) I didn't have the first inkling that I was pregnant until Iwas already 15 weeks along. Until that point, my dinners usually included wine and there was a VERY fun weeklong vacation in the Florida Keys. I'm no alcoholic, not by any stretch of the imagination. Still, when I saw the pink line in the window of the home pregnancy test, I shuddered with fear of fetal alcohol syndrome. I'm happy to report the doctors saw "no funny stuff" during the hour-long ultrasound, much to my relief. Just when I thought I was in the clear, ready to check out, pay my $25 and run straight home to frame the newest pictures (in 3D!) of my little one, the doctor sternly admonished me for having lost three pounds since my last visit (just one week prior.) I nearly threw my Gatorade at him, but I thought better of it since Gatorade is the only liquid I've been able to tolerate while suffering through a stomach bug this week. I guess the bright side is, I can eat that Chocolate Haagen-Dazs in my freezer AND even top it with my current craving for marshmallows.

Living in Squalor

I think this might actually be my worst bit of parenting to date. I would expect this from a mama who has a little bit of a meth problem, but I, being on a very tight budget these days, am completely drug-free. About 2 days ago Jeremiah asked me if I recalled putting Kate in her overnight pull-up the previous night. "You put her to bed last night." I responded "I assumed you did." He struck a pensive pose. "Yeah, it seems like I would've been the one to do that but I really can't remember and this morning when I went up to get her she was already on the potty and she had underwear around her ankles." We just looked at each other for a moment. "Did they feel wet? Was her bed wet?" I asked. He answered in the negative for both. We assumed she'd gone all night pee-free and allowed ourselves to feel somewhat heartened by this little gaff. An exciting step in the slow journey of potty training! I wasn't about to take that chance again, though. I thought that to myself and then promptly forgot the whole thing.

That night Kate was very late in getting to bed. There had been the stalling, the crying, the 4 fruitless trips to the potty and finally we'd reached the bedding down portion of the show. Such a sweet little girl...I admired her sleepy face as I pulled the sheet up to her chin and leaned down to give her a kiss goodnight. As I did so, I was met with a most foul stench. I change the sheets weekly...usually...don't I? I said "Kate, is your bed wet?" having no idea why her bed would be wet. She shook her head no and yawned. I glanced at the clock, considering making her get back up while I changed the sheets. They really smelled. But it was already 8:00 and I was starving. She seemed so comfy...I'll change them tomorrow, I told myself. I stretched over the side of Sarah's crib and gave the snoozing cherub a peck on the head and left the room.

Wait. It gets worse. As I frequently don't see the girls in the morning before dashing out the door, I did not do any changing of bedsheets before work the next day. Then Jeremiah put the girls to bed that night, while I was making dinner. I failed to make mention of the sheet issue. In fact, I'd forgotten again. Life moves fast, what can I say?

Finally, day 3, it's my morning to take the girls to daycare. I was rousing everyone from their pleasant sleep and rushing them out the door. When I completed my always successful play, the Tickle, Nuzzle, Lift as I call it, on Kate, I was reminded that I am a horrible mother. I picked up the giggly, groggy 3-year-old from her bed and there, plain as yellow snow, was a giant, aged pee-stain. Ugh. I did finally strip the bed at that point but I remain disgusted with myself for letting my kid sleep in her own filth. For 3 straight days. And frankly, I'm a little surprised Jeremiah never noticed. But this isn't about him. I took a whiff of her and she did, despite having bathed before bed, smell faintly of urine...but I was running late and I sent her to daycare like that. Feeling like a dismal failure of a parent I managed to cheer myself only slightly when I thought "maybe this is worth a WME point..."

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Bossy, Bossy Child

So my soon to be 4 year old Kyle has apparently decided it is no longer as much fun to just tell me how to do everything. He has decided that he now needs to tell his teacher at Pre-K just how to do everything as well. She even sent home a note today saying she had to speak to him about how the classroom has only 1 teacher and he is not it! Gee, wonder what that teacher thinks we teach this child at home. See he has this really bossy streak (not my fault at all)....could just be the 1st child thing or the fact that every oldest child (of which I am not) in my family is bossy...however he has decided that I need instruction on how to do everything. Here are the latest rundowns: I need to ask directions to every place I drive (I got lost once on the way to a friend's house so now Kyle thinks I cannot possibly find my way around without help) and keeping to the whole drive thing, apparently I cannot drive either as he tells me constantly to put both of my hands on the wheel and the best of all, I need to call Daddy to help if something goes wrong with the car like having to change a tire. Sheez, did I or did I not manage to carry this child to term and deliver this child into this world? I guess that whole I gave birth to you thing just does not qualify as knowing what I am doing.

I have also come this close to ruining this child's birthday. I had the kids with me Monday and had to go to the grocery store. I, being very sick and my husband being out of town, my brain is not really firing on all cylinders. So, we come out of the store and I get to the car and pop the trunk like I always do. Easy right? Not so much when Kyle's big birthday present, a real bike, is still in my trunk. Aaaarrggghhhh.....Kyle being the smarty pants he is looks at me and says...."my bike for birthday?" I of course play it off like "oh, I don't know"....sheez....what will I do next, tell him Santa is not real???

Administrative note

August's winner will be announced on Tuesday, September 4th...right in time for rack up those Worst Mama Points, ladies!

The criticism continues.

So today for Wordless Wednesday on my own blog, I posted these pictures of Ben standing in the corner. Because I thought they were cute. Allie woke up and saw me posting them and said

"I can't believe you are putting those on your blog. I can't believe Ben crying makes you happy. You should write about THAT on worst mommy ever"

"Oh." I said. "I never thought of it that way, honey."

"Maybe I can get a point for this."

She scowled at me and walked away.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Hey all! Thanks for the invite to the Worst. Mama. Ever. club. I'm positive my boys applaude my joining an actual group as they have been saying all along I'm the WME! So, like my sister Paige, I will tell you a little about me. I'm 33, married to Kevin and have to little boys, Kyle 4 and Todd 2. Oh joy! This is all new stuff for me as I have only a sister and mother and my husband has 4 brothers and 1 sister. He laughs everyday at me and needed more boys in the family. He thinks it quite hysterical that the boys have no fear and scare the sh** out of me on a daily basis because of it. And best of all he just chuckles with total glee as my once scheduled, clean, orderly and somewhat serene environment has been upended and turned all around to accomidate boys...not to mention....boys just smell bad...I now have blog, thanks sissy for turning me on to it and would love to have you all visit and see my little darlings. Thanks again for the invite! Ashley

Monday, August 27, 2007

Ben joins his siblings in the case against me.

This morning was a typical Monday morning in my home. I was trying to get Ben and Clara bathed and dressed and ready for Gymboree. Ben needed a snack before we headed out and we went through the normal routine:

"I don't want that bowl. I don't want that snack. I don't want to sit here. I want to watch TV while I eat." to which he received my normal response:

"Too bad. Too bad. Too bad. Too bad" until I finally snapped and said "Just eat your snack!" rather loudly.

Okay I yelled.

Ben then replied with "Why you have to be so gwouchy." Big sigh on my part.

"I'm sorry Ben, just eat your snack."

But no, he couldn't let it go.

"Mom, why you yell at me? I don't like yelling."

Again I sigh, and apologize and he gives me a gracious "That's okay, Mommy"

But I must admit this trend of my children pointing out all my parenting shortcomings to me, is wearing a little thin.

I realize that this is probably a result of my prayers for God to help me become a more patient parent. But really, I can't help but think that God's chiding voice might be slightly less iritating coming out of say, a burning bush, than my three year old.

I can't fault the effectiveness of His methods though.

I Haven't Even Yet Begun to Fight

But when I do, on or about December 29th of this year, beware...

Thanks for including me in your blogging fun. Lisa Provost, dear friend and possibly the Worst. (mean)Mama. Ever., comforted my fears of impending motherhood by sharing the secret: we ALL screw up, ALL the time. Good thing for the kids that we're the only mamas they will ever have! Good thing, too, there is a group of smart, witty, honest and supportive women to brace our collective falls and curb our collective self-doubt and guilt.

Epiphany Alone suggested a short, introductory post, so here are the vitals: I'm 36 and 22-weeks pregnant with a baby boy. I'm not married, but my baby-daddy (Phil or "PG") and I have been in a loving, committed relationship for more than eight years. We live together in Fort Myers, FL, just 1/2-mile away from my sister (Ashley) and brother-in-law and two precious nephews. Our baby was not planned, or even anticipated, but we believe he is a blessing and a gift.

I write about my adventures in life at Stop by and say hello sometime!


Sunday, August 26, 2007

Scary clowns - the fatigued mama's best friend

Kate's been watching Pee Wee's Big Adventure over and over this past week. She really gets into it -worries about Pee Wee's bike, worries about who's taking care of Speck while he's on this adventure and tells us she's afraid of the clowns. Pee Wee dreams his bike is smashed to bits and taken to the ER where terrifying clowns make a half-hearted attempt at fixing it but then declare it dead, and laugh menacingly about it. "Don't worry" I say "I won't let those clowns get you."

Yesterday I had a migraine. Good LORD my head hurt. It kicked in around lunch time and refused to budge the remainder of the day. So when it was nearly bedtime for Kate, and the TV room was still littered with toys, I found myself fresh out of creative ideas to convince her to clean up her mess. We've made it a game. We've sung songs about it. Last night, I just wanted it done and by golly, I wanted her to do it. After asking several times, oh so politely, that she clean up her toys I finally said "Kate, if you don't clean up those toys the scary clowns will surely get you and there'll be nothing I can do for you at that point."

I stood, bleary-eyed and nauseated, in the doorway of the room while Kate raced frenetically around, throwing toys into the toybox and mumbling over and over "those clowns aren't gonna get me." Jeremiah looked at me, shaking his head disapprovingly. I worried a little that we might be up a lot at night, doing our magical parenting voodoo to clear the room of evil clowns, but mainly I was just pleased to see her fear had been so motivating. I made a mental note of it, in fact. Desperate times call for desperate measures and I fully expect to be desperate again in the near future.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Begins where?

I have it sort of in the back of my mind that I want to raise my girls to appreciate that we're part of a community and that people who are as fortunate as we are should give of themselves, whether that means time or money or both. I suspect those values are easier to instill when you're part of a church or synagogue and there is a place you are regularly that makes you feel as though you belong to something bigger.

I wasn't raised with organized religion, and as Alec and I have different faiths, it is hard for me to know where to begin with all of these bigger issues. I know my parents wanted us to choose our own faith, but without any exposure at all it seems the answer is I have a sense of not belonging.

Soccer camp is led by a very conscientious man. One of the older kids in his mentoring program is raising money for the food pantry in his town, and so the coach decided yesterday to bring ice pops for everyone rather than spending their change on the ice cream truck, and said if they wanted to they could give their ice cream money to Stevie for the food pantry. I guess Lauren had forgotten that she'd put her change into her lunch bag and didn't give it to Stevie. When we got home and found the four quarters, she was distraught.

"I was supposed to give this to Stevie!"

"Oh. Well, you'll see him tomorrow, honey. You can give it to him then."

"Mom, you don't understand. There are moms and dads out there that don't make enough money to feed their kids, and they give them breakfast in the morning and don't know how they are going to get them dinner. The food pantry helps them out..."

I was breathless, and almost teary. "That's true. It makes us especially grateful that we don't have to worry about that," I replied.

"Yes," was all she said.

But the rest of it? I'm not sure how much she can understand. I certainly forget a lot of days to be thankful for what we've got. Geez, some days I'm even grumpy about it. I sighed and resolved to be better. I just wish I knew where to start.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Brownie Mix

My last two weeks have been filled with fluffed pillows propping up my bad leg and a parade of drinks and snacks offered whenever I murmur. I haven't had the inclination to do anything that might qualify for WMPs - keep the peeled grapes coming!

Seriously? Chris has been fantastic about letting me rest. He's taken charge of pretty much anything requiring two legs and hasn't been the least grumpy about it. He's even indulging my cravings, which is why Pixie is currently wearing a glop of brownie mix behind her right ear. She isn't pleased about it, although I'm fairly sure she hasn't quite figured out what's happened yet. She's chattering at me about it though, because she has already determined that no matter what is on her head, she doesn't like it. I'm running a bet with myself about how much she'll yell at me before she gets off my lap. I'm giving long odds on a lasting lecture - it's pretty cold tonight and the window is open.

Somebody save me! In lieu of torturing my children, I've turned on the cat.


So, as I have pretty much been absent for the competition this month I thought I would make a confession so I could have at least one lousy point.

For the past 3 days I have allowed Ben to eat Cheetos and part of a yogurt cup for lunch. No funny story, no long explanation, I just didn't feel like fighting the food battle.

I guess I realized this was actually a problem when today I said, "I am making my sandwich for lunch" and he said,

"Yay! I am ready for my Cheetos"

I guess tomorrow I will have to break the cycle. I would say at least they were baked Cheetos but in Ben's case that makes it worse since his doctor said I should be pushing fatty foods.

De-Fault, the two sweetest words in the English language!

Yesterday Kate didn't want to go to daycare. This is not unusual. The announcement that it's time to go usually provokes protests - "No! No daycare! We're hangin' out here today!" Yesterday, reportedly, was no different. After the usual battle Jeremiah got both girls in the car, in their carseats, belts buckled, cheeks kissed. Just as he was climbing into the driver's seat Kate said "I have to go to the potty!" Jeremiah was dubious. "Do you really have to go to the potty or are you just stalling?" (We tell Kate she must be Russin because she's so often stallin' or pootin') Big doe eyes blinked back at him and nodded, "I have to go to the potty!" Jeremiah gave her a very grim look and said "if you're lying and you don't really need to use the potty when we get in there, you will not be allowed to watch any DVDs tonight when you get home." She assured him she had to use the potty. So everyone was removed from the carseats and toted back inside, causing Jeremiah to be late.

Kate did not have to use the potty.

I was informed, since I'd be picking the little darlings up, that Kate was not to be permitted a moment's time with the television. "I've got your back" I stated seriously, steeling myself for blows in the evening.

Then it came. I picked them up and home we went. It was at least 15 minutes before Kate requested Nemo. I was impressed. "Kate, don't you remember this morning daddy told you there'd be no TV tonight?" Scowling and then "I want to watch Nemo please." I stood my ground, shook my head. Arms akimbo, she stomped her foot as hard as she could manage and declared for the very first time "You're MEAN!"

My heart was aflutter as I thought instantly of the WME point I sound roundly deserve. "I'm mean?!?" I said with mock horror "would you say I'm the worst mama ever?"
"Yes!" she replied to my abject delight "you are and you're MEAN!" I couldn't believe it, it wasn't even my punishment! She retreated to her play kitchen and began to grill all the unfortunate toys and dolls in sight. When she ran out of toys to grill, she stuck her own head fully on the grill, pulled the cover down as far as she could get it and hit the little "ignite" button that makes all the gas-grill-turning-on sounds. I thought, admittedly with pride, that was a bit dramatic.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Sent off to camp

I sent Lauren to soccer camp today, her second day. After yelling at her yesterday for not eating her lunch, I carefully made the sandwich she requested and then forgot to pack it in her lunch bag.

What was in her lunch bag? Three pretzels, a small red delicious apple, and a toddler-size box of juice.

I'll bet that'll be satisfying after playing soccer all morning...

Sunday, August 19, 2007

And the vacation ends with a bang

We decided when we booked our trip that the red eye would be best for our 2 girls. Really, we were trying to time it so Lindsay just slept the 4 1/2 hour flight from San Diego to Newark. Lindsay has never been a co-sleeper. At 2 months, when we moved her into a crib in her own room, she instantly preferred sleeping in her crib, and would just grab her knit blanket, insert her thumb, and go right to sleep.

Alec and Lauren's seats were in the first row of first class, and my seat was directly behind Alec. He was managing the luggage, so I brought Lindsay onto the plane, where I sat next to a panicked-looking woman in her twenties.

"He'd better sleep!" she said tersely.

"She...and she is very tired." I replied without looking at her.

"I bought a first class ticket so I wouldn't have to sit next to a baby..."

I didn't acknowledge her.

A woman sitting in the same row across the aisle from Lauren graciously offered to switch seats so that "our family could all be in the same row".

Before we took off, Alec scooped up Lindsay, who fussed as we ascended, for about a half hour, and then her whines became quieter. I awoke as the flight attendant was checking if anyone wanted a meal, and Lindsay was in the final throes before settling to sleep while Alec was arguing with the woman behind him. Lindsay didn't wake until about 20 minutes before we landed, sleeping on Alec.

As we deplaned, Lauren said that her tummy hurt, and I replied we were all overtired and would go home to sleep. "Okay," she said weakly.

We took the courtesy bus to the car, buckled in headed for home. About 2 exits from home I heard that horrible wretching sound and realized that Lindsay had gotten sick all over herself. I touched her bare foot, "It's okay, baby. We're almost home..."

"Should I pull over?"

"No, we should just get home. It looks pretty contained to her seat..." I started to say as she threw up a second and then a third time.

"Daddy, you really need to look at this..." Lauren started to say, and then she too began wretching, and vomited all over herself, her seat, and her new flamingo she'd picked out at the San Diego Zoo.

I opened my car window.

Alec opened his.

Lindsay threw up a fourth time, and Lauren a second, and then third. We were still about 2 miles away from home.

"At least we weren't on the plane," Alec said flatly.

I looked back at sad eyes, they were both absolutely covered. Instead of everyone snuggling into our warm beds we were looking forward to bathing them, re-jammy-ing them up, and cleaning out the car. I began to laugh softly.

Alec laughed too.

"Why are you laughing," Lauren asked weakly.

"I'm just tired, sweetie. I'm sorry you're feeling sick..."

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Abandoning My Post

I am abandoning my post. Worse, I will be waking everyone at some ungodly hour (think 4am) to make sure they are conscious of my departure, since I can't drive to the airport myself (think broken leg & standard transmission). Tomorrow morning, I will take off for Toronto, designated site of this year's What The Hell Sabbatical, the chance for mothers to spend a few blissful hours sans husband, sans children, sans cares...pas sans wine, pas sans chocolate, pas sans spa treatments!

In preparation for the event, the kids are up an hour and eleven minutes past their bedtime (currently). This should neatly ensure that they are surly and argumentative through most of tomorrow, which will grate Chris' nerves to nubs before Saturday even begins, which will set a fantastic tone for the weekend.

I'm off to pack now. Chris will have to help me with my suitcase and getting things up from the laundry and whatever, so he's bound to notice I'm headed out, even without the pending 4am wakeup. Ordinarily, I would sort of dread leaving my boys (all three of them) behind but, once a year, I can't wait to do it.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

But when he was bad he was horrid

Yeah, so I've dropped of the W.M.E. Planet. Please don't let that fool you into thinking I have been off being a good mother. Surely you people know me better than that.

Ben, my three year, is a very bad boy. He's actually a terror. It's too bad there isn't really a boat that would come take him to "Where the wild things are" because he'd give Max a run for his money. He is just awful. Any confidence I had built up over the years of parenting the older two has been obliterated by Ben. Oh, for the most part, he is not defiant. But he has defined mischievous in a whole new way. And when he does the things he knows are wrong for the 254th time and I question him about whether he did it, he always smiles his mischievous grin and says, "Yes mommy". And no punishment seems to be strong enough to keep him from doing it again. And again. And again. Oh he's so affectionate and sweet. He's always ready with hugs and "I love yous." But the boy has me at the end of my rope.

And lately, he has taken to yelling. Sometimes in frustration, sometimes just for dramatic emphasis. And when I don't respond fast enough, or in the way he prefers, he stomps his foot and yells. "I need you to do it right now!" And so now the words "right now" have been removed from his acceptable vocabulary. And yelling at mommy is not allowed either. In principle anyway.

And tonight, at dinner when I discussed this new phase with Shane, explaining (okay, whining!) that he keeps yelling at me and demanding everything "right now", Shane said:

"Well he's just repeating what he hears you do"

Hmmph. Apparently everyone in this family is a frigging parenting expert these days.

Points for Daddy

So last week while I was writing like my fingers were on fire, the Gingerbread Man took the boys to the river, where there's a little island in an inlet. They came home sooner than expected because Samuel got upset at something or Will got upset at something and everything escalated, and before you could say "Blink," Samuel had thrown sand at the Gingerbread Man's face. So, for punishment...Samuel waited upstairs while we conferred. The GB Man was all for making him scrub the play structure with a toothbrush. I suggested a punishment that fit the crime, so he blind-folded him and put him in time-out for 15 minutes so he would know what it felt like to be blind (you know, sand in the eyes). Creative and effective.

All childcare and no sleep make Lisa a mean mama

Yesterday afternoon I'd gone 2 straight nights without sleep of any meaningful kind. I have a twitch in my left upper eyelid (I used it as an excuse to get a larger monitor at work) that I suspect is the result of exhaustion. Monday night Kate played the night away as loudly as she could and during this party of hers she managed to squeeze out the contents of her prescription steroid cream for eczema all over her bed. Jeremiah mentioned that when he took her to daycare her hair was full of the stuff but "it was so much easier to brush!". He's a glass-half-full kind of guy.

Anyway, it was nearly bedtime last night and Kate, now fully the product of a lost night of sleep, was an impossible monster. She'd refused dinner in any form and was sitting in the TV room watching "About the Bugs" (when you tell her it's called "A Bug's Life" she thinks you're saying "Buzz Lightyear" and gets very testy about your mistake) when I came in and announced "it's time for a bath you stinky hippie". She immediately began to wail and, although I'd made no mention of bed, went on and on about how she wasn't tired while she melted off the couch and into a puddle on the floor with her head down. I turned off the movie, picked her up and carried her into the bathroom where the bath awaited her. I plopped her in and began soaking her down and sudzing her hair while she continued to weep uncontrollably. She began calling for her daddy and I just said "Daddy isn't going to help you now" while rinsing her off. Then, because she refused to use the potty, I sent her to bed without a story.

This morning when I went upstairs to rush her out the door to daycare, I found her in the bathroom, having already used the potty. She was flushed pink and looked as though she still hadn't slept. "Come on!" I said, trying to sound cheery despite the fact that I was now on day 3 without sleep because Sarah, running a fever of 103.5, screamed most of the night. "I'm so proud of you for using the potty on your own! Did you wash your hands?" She was crumpled on her stepstool in front of the sink and mumbled a "no" into her arms. "Come on, you need to wash your hands after you use the potty!" I chirped. She looked up to face me, her eyes all glazed-doughnut looking, and said defiantly "we don't have time for this!" Out of curiosity I took her temperature. 101.4. Now who's the jackass? I carried her downstairs, promising to fetch her a cup of water. I got her some Tylenol, and gathered all my work-related items so I could rush out the door (late) and leave both sick kids with Jeremiah. Half way to work I realized I'd forgotten to get her that cup of water.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I just don't wanna hear it

They were playing a spoof on the radio today about Nicole Richie. Without missing a beat, Lauren asked, "Will you love me when I'm big and fat and weigh 40 pounds?"

Oh, for the love of...

Those of you who know me know I struggle with my weight. At the opposite end of the spectrum, my sister is in her third go-round of in-patient rehabilitation for her eating disorder.

"I will love you no matter what." I reply. "But you need to know that was not a funny thing to say..."

"When my friend was here, do you know what we played?"

Through gritted teeth, I say, "No."

"We played that our moms were dead."

I sigh, "I would be very sad if my mom was dead."

"Mom, it was just a game."

I cough, not able to even manage a hollow laugh.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Throwing out other children's toys

I had dinner over at Chris and Karen's on Thursday evening. Chris made some mad asparagus frittata, which Lindsay devoured - she easily ate over a third of it herself, chased down by a sleeve of crackers, several glasses of milk, and most of Karen's bowl of chocolate ice cream while Karen and Chris debated whether Ross' not coming inside when called for dinner merited a separate punishment other than not getting to have dinner or dessert. My own prejudice had colored my impression that we Mamas bare the brunt of being the disciplinarians while Dads get to be "The Fun Parent". Suffice it to say, Chris really should start Worst. Dad. Ever., because he'd win it hands down.

Chris and Karen keep about a dozen or so toddler-appropriate toys on hand to distract their smallest guests from eating all their sons' toys. This proved particularly handy this visit, as Lindsay at one point tried to use the boys' DS players as cymbals and snacked on a few Japanese Pokemon cards while using a Cars-themed Matchbox van as a roller skate.

As I gathered Lindsay's travel toys into the diaper bag, I noticed that they had a set of Dora figures. Now this had been a favorite of Lauren's - Dora, Boots, and Swiper the Sneaky Fox accompanied us on every restaurant trip from the time she was 18 months old until well beyond her third birthday. It traveled with us to Hawaii when we visited Alec's mom. My own mom bought a set to keep at her house.

I said, "That toy is on Mattel's lead paint recall list..."

"Really?" Karen said.

"Yeah, it was very sad in our house. That was one of Lauren's favorite toys..."

"I didn't really go through the list that carefully," Karen admitted. "We told the boys not to put Thomas into their mouths..."

"Lauren can still barely obey that instruction. Lindsay just laughs."

I awoke this morning to an IM from Chris letting me know that Dora was not deadly, details of the toy's manufacture, and that he was pretty sure trying to throw out other kids' toys earned me a Worst Mama Point. But, Chris, it wasn't just your toy I tried to throw out...I actually threw Lauren's out and instructed my mom to do the same...

Thursday, August 9, 2007


My Breast Cancer 3-Day team has a Company Store. Lots of us contribute goodies to it and our co-workers willingly dole out dollars for the stuff, which we've been sticking in a group savings account for our fundraising. Last night I was making chocolate chip cookies and congo bars (like blondies but better, really much better) for The Store. As I was easing the first batch from the cookie sheets to the cooling racks Kate sidled up next to my leg and gazed at the counter.

"What cha makin'?" She sweetly asked. "Cookies." I responded, focused on my task at hand. She took a dramatic whiff of the fresh treats in and said "Are they for me?" "Nope." I said. She stood there for a minute while I ignored her, then retreated to the living room.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The bonus of humidity

I have discovered that there is one bonus to this humidity--the doors to Will's bedroom stick. Whereas he has gotten past those "child-security" door locks in minutes, he's now stuck in there until I've had my fill of freedom or until he agrees to be nice, whichever takes longer.

One more note, or rather a question for Karen: how long did it take Lars' black eye to go away?

Monday, August 6, 2007

An Actual Point

When I started collecting Worst Mama Points, hoping to win the coveted Worst Mother of the Year award, I was - believe it or not - kidding. I won't deny there is a certain perverse pleasure in moaning, "Oh, I'm just the WORST mother!" at the children whenever I make an unpopular decree but, all my collected points aside, I'd never really taken WMPs seriously.

This weekend, though, I sent my kids (and husband) from excited cheering - MAMA MADE A ZONE-CLEARING PASS TO HER OWN PLAYER! - to terrorized cries when I hit the wall (immediately after the fabulous pass, of course) and didn't get up. Despite the fact that mine is an injury more annoying than life-threatening, the kids, Ross especially, didn't take watching me go down very well. Even though they saw me back on the ice the very next morning, watching the championship game from the team bench and standing on the ice (supported by the coach) for the medals ceremony, I think the memory of my fall is still pretty fresh.

The boys have not been angels since my fall (except for Chris, who is clearly winning Best Husband this year) but they have each been noticeably more attentive and even Lars has clingy moments. He hasn't tried to wedge himself into my lap in months but he managed to balance all 55 pounds of himself on my one good leg this afternoon for a quick cuddle before running outside to aim pop-flies at his brother's head. I'm hoping my recovery will be fast and that the scary part will fade into a dim memory for them. I'm hoping they will one day be able to tease me for my thoughtlessness, getting injured mere minutes (game time) before the championship game. Really - who does that? I'm hoping this will, one day, earn me a facetious WMP. For now, though, I think it may be too real to count.

Does cheating at the WME make me a worse mama?

My brother was obviously upset by Joy edging me out there on the home stretch of July. He provided me with something he felt sure would rack up some points:

From: Kevin Provost>
Sent: Fri 8/3/2007 4:39 PM>
To: Provost, Lisa>
Subject: WME submission

>I was mowing and I kept hearing a funny noise. It seemed like it was
>coming from near the right, front wheel of our old Lawnboy, but I
>couldn't really tell because we have one of those mowers that shuts off
>if you release the handle. So I asked Kate to stand in front and look
>underneath as I wheelied the thing up on its rear axis. She told me
>several times that she couldn't see because the spinning blade was
>kicking gravel up into her eyes. Then I remembered I'd forgotten to
>feed her that day! So I gave her a Red Bull made her promise to keep
>her mouth shut. Anyway, it was a sheared flywheel key.

And I said:

>From: "Provost, Lisa"
>To: "Kevin Provost"
>Subject: RE: WME submission
>Date: Sat, 4 Aug 2007 11:12:13 -0400
>It's getting pretty competitive up in that piece. I don't think
>they'll be impressed unless I can include Sarah in there, too...

So then he responds:

Sarah? Sarah ... Oh my god, I must have left Sarah at the bus station.

At first I thought "oh yeah, that's completely believable, August will me MINE!" but then I realized Joy lives right here in Atlanta...and she might come by my house and then she'd know. she'd know my neighbors pain...we never mow the lawn.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

And the winner is...

...Joy, of course! Sorry, Joy, but you are the Worst Mama this month.

Great posts, everyone. Keep it up! Our next tally will be after Labor Day, right in time for what every one of us Worst Mamas is waiting for: back to school...

Friday, August 3, 2007

Brotherly Love

"MAMA! Ross is gonna hit me!"

"So move away from him."

"I CAN'T! I have to hit him first!"

"Well, then, get in there! Deserve what you're about to get!"

Shopping with Allison

Today I took Allison shopping for back to school clothes. We picked out 2 outfits, 2 pairs of shoes and a backpack. It took us over 4 hours. No joke. About 3 hours in, I was getting grouchy. I wanted to make a quick spin through a store to see if they had a top I wanted to wear for my anniversary next week, and then hit the shoe store next door for her. She was whining that she just wanted a drink first, she was "soooo thirsty." Well I snapped at her.

"Allison, I have trooped up and down this mall and spent a fortune on you this afternoon and now when I want to stop in one store you won't let me. This seems very ungrateful to me." I was feeling my worst mother points melting away in the midst of my self-righteousness.

To which Allison replied,

"You always do this! You do something nice for me and then you take the niceness away by trying to make me feel guilty about it. I hate it!"

Oh Man. It's official, I'm a martyr.

And I have been called out on it by my ten year old daughter. Who taught that girl to think anyway?

Leading by example

Kate: Gimme my water!

Me: I won't give you anything unless you ask politely first. It's very rude to say "gimme" anything.

Kate: Yes please can I have my water.

Me: Much better, here you go.

Kate: Thank-you.

Me: You're welcome, sweetie, now gimme a hug.

Thursday, August 2, 2007


Today there was a huge paper wasp in my car. I noticed it right by Lindsay's car seat just after I'd buckled her in.

I left her door open and opened the hatch and waited for the giant bee to fly out while my kids sat blissfully unawares in the car.

When it finally flew out the hatch, I screamed as it flew by my ear.