Monday, March 31, 2008

Admin post

I thought I was going to have to declare a tie for the month of March. And then I logged in to find this gem:

Anonymous commented on oops cringe: “IMO, mouth washing is up there with spanking. A really, really bad idea.”

I had gone through about a week's worth of posts yesterday, but I must have missed this one. Or maybe I thought Lisa had pointed it already. Anyway, I gave it a point as it stood for the maybe toxic? soap and another for inciting the ire of the Internets.

I will announce March's winner tomorrow. Karen is in the lead with her really bad ideas.

Saturday, March 29, 2008


Mama has 23 hours of leave. Poppy came and retrieved small people at 11 AM and assured he'd return with them "sometime around 10 tomorrow". I have class on Saturdays, so that limited my fun activities (or at least potentially delayed them). So far I:

- ate a hard-boiled egg for lunch
- went to class
- came home from class, starved. Had I eaten breakfast? No. Lunch? No. What the heck did I eat all day?! A hard-boiled egg. I ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (protein, sugar, carbs - STAT!), had some yogurt, an apple, and a tall glass of iced tea
- thought about grocery shopping since we're out of milk, bread, and cat food
- went upstairs instead and fell asleep
- woke up at 5 PM
- read WME and wrote this post

I think I may have lost my groove, girls. Even the idea of a mani/pedi paled in the shadow of uninterrupted sleep.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Slave Driver With No Fashion Sense

The boys and a friend this afternoon, with Chris as the attending parent while I worked from home in the den. After a couple of hours' hard playing, I heard Chris talking with the kids about snack. Normal kitchen sounds happened for a few mintues, then things got quiet again and I figured everyone was digging in until I heard a big kerfluffle coming from the kitchen. Dragging sounds! Cupboards banging! Excited yelps! I went to investigate.

Three small boys were perched at odd spots in the kitchen, having dragged stools and benches around so they could climb for our candy, which is stored high overhead. Judging by the bits of wrapper and thin layer of Nerds on the floor, they'd already managed to free a few bits from captivity. "Get down," I said, in my most polite do-this-right-now voice (they had a guest...). I noted three small plates of apple and Cheez-Its clearly meant to be snack and wondered why they hadn't been served.

With the climbers safely back on the Nerd-covered ground, I went in search of Chris. I found him in the front yard, chatting amiably with a neighbor. "Huny, did you give the kids permission to help themselves to candy?" From the look on his face, he had not. Also, it might have been a surprise to him that the kids were in the house at all. I left Chris with the neighbor and went back to the house. "Lars, get the vacuum," I directed.

"But I have a friend over," he cheerfully pointed out.

"Yes, you do, and the two of you have made a mess that must be cleaned up right now. Maybe your friend would like to help?" Lars did not look amused. With a glance at my face to make sure I wasn't kidding, Lars gave a resigned sigh and got out the vacuum. He did not ask his friend to help so the friend hovered in the next room, a little unsure what to do. When the loose Nerd count had been drastically reduced (I can't say cleaned up - every time I go in the kitchen I find another one), the boys got their actual snack and I returned to the den.

After dinner, I was helping Ross get ready for a birthday overnight he's going to tomorrow. He'd picked a pair of nice pants (where nice = no stains or holes, not chinos or anything fancy) and I brought over a coordinating polo shirt. Ross regarded me calmly, then held up a not-exactly-nice (where n-e-n = no stains or holes but still a free t-shirt from the local sporting goods store that has seen a lot of washing) t-shirt and said he was wearing it to the party. He jumped in before I could speak, "Mama, I don't want to look like a dork. I want to wear this shirt." I noticed then that he had several of the same t-shirt in his pile of partywear.

"Are you bringing three of the same shirt?"

He looked at me, then at the pile of clothes. He gestured, "This one is to wear to the party tomorrow, that one is to go with my sleeping pants for bed, and I'm going to wear the other one for coming home."

"Don't you want to look nice for the party?"

Ross rolled his eyes and exclaimed, "Yes! That's why I'm going to wear THIS shirt!" He looked at me
with the sympathy one affords the soft headed until I left the room. A few minutes later, he appeared by my side. "I love you anyway, Mama," he said, "It's ok that you don't know the cool shirts."

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Things Only A Mother Would (Has To) Say

"Did you wipe? Good, then wash your hands and stop talking about poop so loudly in the downstairs hall."

"See? There was a very good reason we taught you not to poke others in the butt."

"Regardless of what he said tonight, I don't think it's a good idea for you to wake Daddy at 4:30am to get your bath going."

"Call me the Minister of Squashing Brilliant Ideas...we are NOT calling the kitten 'Mike Wazowski'.

Mini Me

I found Kate sitting on the sofa in the TV room with her electronic Go, Diego, Go! game. "Hey, Kate, it's time to come to dinner." I said. She looked up at me slowly with a sort of pleading expression. Big. Sigh. "I'm trying to get some work done!" she said.

This reminder that I sometimes forgo quality fun time with my kids in favor of working made the fact that I fully intended to get some work done at the table while the girls were eating a bit awkward. But I did it anyway.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Been Scarce Lately...

So here's my addition to the conversation, since I've been under a rock.

The other night at supper, something happened, who knows what. Will started crying, Samuel was crying, the Ginger Bread Man was trying to deal very patiently with them, but about to lose his cool and what do I do? Whip out the camera to capture it all on film. The GBM looked at me like I literally was the worst mother ever.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Warning Eyes

Lisa commented about The Look her dad used to give and it reminded me of a conversation the boys and I had on the way up to Rochester for their hockey tournament last weekend...

The kids had needed a few too many reminders about manners during our fast food lunch stop for my comfort, especially when facing a weekend full of public meals. "Boys," I began, "We're going to have a lot of meals with your teammates and their parents and your coaches this weekend. I'd really like to be proud of your manners. You know, not have to remind you about them all the time?"

Both kids nodded solemnly, then Ross piped up, "And if we don't have good manners, you can always give us the Warning Eyes." He widened his eyes, furrowed his brow and glared at me. When I cowed a little in response, he arched one brow and sat back on a diagonal, still glaring. Clearly, I was Warned.

"Nicely done! You must see those eyes a lot," I said with a giggle.

"YOU do them, but so does my teacher at school. She can give them to the whole class at once!" He paused a moment, in awe. "And if I still don't use my napkin or keep talking with my mouth full or whatever, you can give me the You're Done Now Eyes and I'll go look for some stairs for time-out." Lars nodded in agreement and they both returned to their lunches, manners intact.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Mopey Mama

For the past year, we've only eaten natural meat products at home. That is to say, they are antibiotic and hormone free, given the chance to walk around (and are able to walk around), and aren't fed strange things. This has meant we eat less meat because our dollar doesn't go as far. It also means that meal planning is somewhat more difficult. I may want to make pork chops for dinner, but they don't have them this week - only cube steak and chicken.

I really wanted to make corned beef and cabbage for St Patrick's Day, but there was nary a natural brisket in any of the local groceries. I had to settle on roast beef, which is also good, but not the same.

I roasted it on a bed of cabbage with carrots and mushrooms alongside some baked russets. It was a solid dinner. Lauren, however didn't like the cabbage and said, "This sucks. It tastes like nothing and has the texture of cat fur" which got her sent from the table without dessert.

At bathtime, I set Lindsay on the floor as I reached to drain the tub. Since the bathmat was in the wash, the tile was quite slippery. Lindsay fell and hit the back of her head.

Lauren got in my face. "That's totally on YOU, Mama. If you'd bothered to take the mat out of the dryer, she wouldn't have fell."

I blinked. "Go to your room" was all I managed as I scooped Lindsay up in a towel.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


It was 74 degrees in Georgia, yesterday. Sunny and breezy and the kind of day that was just meant for playing outside. Unfortunately I have been working like a dog all week ironing, hanging, and tagging a hundred kid sized pieces of clothing for consignment. And I was on a deadline. The drop-off date was today. So it was with much guilt that I looked out the window at the perfectness of the weather, knowing there was no way I could manage to bring Ben & Clara outdoors unless I could find a way to plug the iron in out there. And I am not quite sure how the HOA feels about outdoor ironing.

So, when Ben woke up for his nap around 5PM I gave him his standard instructions: "Go potty, put some pants on..." (he naps in his shirt and undees) and asked Allison to take him outside to play for an hour or so while I was making dinner. She happily complied and I was so relieved at having my mommy-guilt assuaged, and having one less mischief maker around during dinner preparations, I never gave it another thought.

An hour and a half later I called everyone for dinner. The kids came in from outside and The Man came up from the basement where his office is. As we were gathering around the table, The Man declared "Ben. Please go get some pants on before you sit down." I spun around.

Yep. The first warm day of the season and my kid was out front playing for AN HOUR AND A HALF in nothing but a t-shirt and his race-car underwear. No shoes. No pants. Forget worrying about outdoor ironing, I might as well just go ahead and hang a rebel flag from our mailbox, now. Our redneck status has been permanently solidified in the eyes of our returning-from-work neighbors. Who, I might add, are already none too pleased with our broken fence and the weed garden we have growing in our island.

"Oh Allison." I moaned. "Why didn't you make him put on some pants?" Picturing the neighborhood tongues wagging as I spoke. "You can't have possibly thought it was fine for him to be out there in his underwear!" She started sputtering and Brandon, finally grasping the situation, convulsed in a fit of laughter onto the floor.

Although it is not very Worst Mama-like, I would like to note, in my defense, that I did peek outside to check on the kids during this hour and a half period. I spoke to Allison briefly about what she and Ben were playing, to make sure she was keeping a good eye on him. I just didn't realize from my vantage point that he was pantsless.

Wonder Twin Powers! on Sunday we had a wonderful morning of tobogganing on the many feet of snow we've had this winter. No helmets, crazy carpets and big, big hills. Bruiser fell out of the baby sled twice and landed face first in the snow, and then shouted for more. Clever Monkey wept and whined as I made him pull his own sled back up the big, big hill (see me smirking here)

and then we went for lunch, and Bruiser was sitting on a chair in the cafe and fell off. And hit his head on the window sill. And had to be crazy glued back together in the emergency room (thank you, socialized medicine)...

And I thought this was kindof funny because his brother has a scar in exactly the same spot. So I said that they could activate their super powers by pressing their scars together. Forgot to mention that he needed to wait until his brother's head had healed.... screaming... and not just from Bruiser...

Oh, and if the emergency room staff had asked any more pointed questions about his cut forehead, old goose egg and fading black eye... I might have been entertaining CAS (our child protective services organization) this week. So, thanks, clutzy toddler!

So you know where you can take your potty language

FlapScrap said...

Forty years ago in England, the word "bloody" was as offensive as the so-called "F-word" is today. It's wonderful that we vest some words with enough power to convey our feelings. Instead of forbidding the full use of our language (with soap or with "comment deleted") we should teach a healthy respect for it, as we would with any tool.

One WME for you, and one for the administrator!

We Mamas here each have our own parenting style. I admire Karen's writing lines and mouth-washing. Chez Stoll, we allow potty language - which is our generic term for both talking about the process of excreting waste and use of words deemed inappropriate for public use. Occasionally, there is a stream of such words that Lauren will have the need to release there. I think it's just as important to know how to use these tools as it is to know when you can't use them.

As for the blog, as it reads in our sidebar: Your comments are welcome as long as they're polite. We reserve the right to delete comments that aren't polite, use inappropriate language, or advertise products.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Darn Mirror.

Allison. My child who is most like me. Therefore it is inevitable that I will have days where finding my own, occasionally not so pleasant, attributes reflected back at me might rub me the wrong way. Today for instance, I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Sleep deprived and unable to find a thing that fit to wear to Bible Study, I was snappy and surly from the get go. While I was wrestling Ben into his third pair of jeans (Why does that boy have to keep growing?) Allison sulked into the room in her robe. It was about twenty minutes before the bus was expected.

"All my jeans are too tight. I don't have anything to wear."

"How can they be too tight?" I snapped. "You just wore them last week!"

"Well they were too tight last week too."

"Well, I'm sorry, but you are going to have to figure something out. Now is not the time to tell me this."

We bantered back and forth about this for a minute until Allison finally wailed, "I don't have anything to wear and YOU DON'T EVEN CARE!" I am telling you, it was the perfect stereotype of a whiny hormonal teenage girl.

"No." I responded, stonefaced. "I don't. It's fifteen minutes before your bus comes. I don't care a bit. You can tell me about this again this afternoon. I might care then."

Allison stormed weeping from the room. She went downstairs and found some capris and made it onto the bus on time. I felt pretty self-righteous about the whole thing too, thinking 'She really had a lot of nerve bringing this to me in the morning. Especially this morning when I was already in such a bad mood. I hardly got any sleep. And then to make matters worse, not a single pair of jeans fit...'

Yep. It took me that long to figure out we were both upset about the exact same thing. Crap, I hate being a hypocrite.
Nothing so needs reforming as other people's habits. ~Mark Twain

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Oops. *cringe*

I've written in the past that we treat underage cursing with doses of soap on the tongue. I've been careful to note that the particular flavor of choice is a non-toxic Method hand wash, dispensed from the kitchen sink which is closest to our time-out spot. Imagine the little cringing feeling that washed over me this evening, as I found myself refilling the empty Method bottle with a jug of store-brand clear liquid soap - the same jug we've been refilling from for probably a year now. The store-brand liquid soap is not overtly labeled non-toxic. It is also not labeled 'do not eat,' however, so I'm not planning to wake the kids up and take them to the ER to have their tongues scraped. I feel even more grateful now that underage cursing was a very brief fad here...

Monday, March 10, 2008

Fish face not so funny?

It was a little chilly out yesterday but not cold enough to keep the kids from playing with the sidewalk chalk on the driveway. They were all out there with Daddy and Uncle Steve - Steve drawing chalk outlines of the kids' bodies while I was inside working on dinner and the sun was setting. I looked up to see Sarah at the glass French doors. She had her face pressed up against the glass humorously. I walked over, got down on my knees and stuck my face against hers through the glass. She backed up and glared at me.

Sometimes it's a little hard to get a laugh out of Sarah so I went for the blowfish effect with my mouth on the (frighteningly filthy) window. No go. She was saying something but I couldn't tell what. I stuck my hands up to heighten the blowfish impersonation effect. Now her lower lip was quivering. She put her hands on the window. She's finally playing with me! I went for the sidelong view this time. She banged her hands on the window. The nose? Not amused.

It was a full minute at least before I finally realized...she was begging me to let her in out of the cold. Oops.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

The Policeman is Gonna Get Ya'

On the way back from church Kyle was not cooperating with putting his seatbelt on (this is a frequent battle with him). He is in a booster which allows him to use the regular car seatbelt. Anyway, he is in the back of the Expedition messing around when we start driving home...Kevin and I just assume that he is already buckled up when we hear him whine from the back seat. We realize at the same time that Kyle has not buckled up and is currently trying to get the thing clipped thinking this is just so funny, ha ha. So we both tell Kyle that he better hurry up because the policeman is going to pull daddy over and take Kyle away because he does not have his seatbelt on. Kyle thinks about this (for a milisecond) and gets upset, crying by now and yelling at my husband to stop driving. Since this is quite fuuny my husband and I cannot resist and continue to tell Kyle the policeman is going to get him if he does not hurry up...Kyle is screaming and crying by this time (practically hysterical and constantly turning around to look out the window) and we are laughing so hard we can hardly see the road in front of us. Kyle did get his seatbelt clipped (yea!), crisis averted, and is all smiles the rest of the way home.

You Never Let Me...or Other Motherly Themes

In stark contrast to yesterday's cold monsoon, today is gorgeous and sunny (if a little muddy). The boys started the day with hockey, then had only showers and a bit of schoolwork to do before having the rest of the day to play. They'd scheduled a 2pm Club Penguin date with a hockey teammate and Ross knew some other friends were scheduled to be on the street this afternoon as well. At noon, I served lunch and told Ross we could work on his schoolwork right after, so he'd be ready to play. Two pieces of pizza and a club soda later, he asked for "time to digest" before studying. I agreed, with a reminder that he would not be allowed to play before his work was done.

Half an hour later, he was "still digesting." I gave him a skeptical look with my eyebrows raised but he was unmotivated and looking quite comfortable with it. Two o'clock arrived and left and Ross didn't even notice. Around 2:30, he came into the den, "Mama, we have a problem!" He was clutching something in one hand and looked for all the world as if a bag of flour had been thrown at him. A thick trail of white dust led through the entire house, from the den to the boys' bedroom upstairs. It seems the squishy thing Ross bought in the school store last week burst while he was playing with it, sending what appeared to be cornstarch flying everywhere. I got Ross to throw the remains of the squishy thing out and blotted his clothes off with a damp cloth. Then, I got out the vacuum and began cleaning up the rest of the mess. When I'd gotten about half-way up the stairs, my eldest cherub shouted over the vacuum, "Mama! I'm ready to do my math now!" You probably heard me laughing.

Cornstarch cleaned up and boys in the basement dealing with their hockey gear, the doorbell rang about 3:45pm. Three of Ross' friends stood on the porch, eagerly hoping he could come out to play. I told them he could come out when his schoolwork was done and they all nodded with understanding. Did I think he would be out soon? I shook my head and explained that he hadn't really started yet. One giggled, one rolled his eyes, and the other gave a huge sigh as they ran off to do whatever it is boys do.

Ross came springing up the basement stairs calling that he'd be there in a minute - he just had to get his jacket! Then he noticed the front door closed and me not chatting with his friends. Then he realized I was STILL GOING TO MAKE HIM DO HIS MATH. I offered to sit down with him and do it right then, but he preferred to shout and rail about how I never let him do anything fun first. We sat to do a little work when he'd calmed down but his thoughts were scattered and he slid down into another grumpy pout before we finished. Just now, he cried out, "Why should I do my math anyway? They won't be outside anymore by the time I'm done!" I should say, especially if you pout until it's dark out...

Fellow Mamas, give me strength! I'm doing my best to ignore him when what I really want to do is stuff him in a sack until his sense of responsibility kicks in.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Saturday, What A Day

[Cross-posted from Reason Enough]

5:45am - Wakeup (sort of); shower. Think about the happy jig I would do in honor of the last Mites away game, if only I were a little more awake.

6:00am - Lars has huge sneeze. Gob of mucous gets stuck in his throat and he gags a little. Recovers; seems bouncy.

6:05am - Breakfast. Wonder how the children can be so talkative at this hour and how long I can go without actually giving a response.

6:25am - Pile into car; drive to Morristown.

6:55am, 100' from entrance drive to rink - Lars pukes a little.

6:56am: Chris pulls car over in rink driveway but not before Lars pukes a lot.

6:57am: Lars pukes some more, thankfully now outside the car.

6:58am: Another Bears family arrives. Situation is quickly assessed, Ross and Chris go with other family; I wait for Lars to feel a little better and then take him home. We drive with all the windows and the sunroof open. We freeze but it's better than the windows closed option.

7:30am: Lars makes it to the house before the next round.

7:35am: Lars goes to shower. I start laundry and clean car.

7:55am: Lars asks if he can have a granola bar. Uh, no.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

PTO business

Lindsay sits at the conference room table in the teacher's lounge at 9 AM this morning, eating a snack out of a Pyrex container - CJCIs which are green from being colored with Crayola Washable Markers during a meeting with our pastor, and dino-shaped chicken nuggets from last night's Lenten dinner at church which spent the night in the diaper bag in the car. She has Ranch Dressing in her hair from last night, and her left ear is green from the aforementioned meeting with the pastor.

Lauren's teacher enters. "Her hair looks cute. What product is that?"

I reply, "Hidden Valley Ranch from last night's dinner."

"Hmm." She stifles a laugh.

"It really works for her though. But don't get too close. She smells vaguely like Doritos."

"Did you know I was once a Perfect Mom? And then I had three kids..."

"Yes, I think I know that song. Go ahead and hum a few bars though..."

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Why I am on edge lately.

Clara is teething. So, despite her typical sweet and easy going personality (HA!) for the last week month she has primarily looked like this:
or like this:
And most often like this:

And I have looked like this:
Anyone want to babysit?
Cross posted from Joy in Chaos today.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

There's no Mama-ing before coffee

My husband and children are morning people.


Please refrain from speaking until I've poured at least a cup in me. Preferably two cups. Thank you.

This morning, with Alec in...oh I don't know...where ever he is. Calendar says last week Phoenix, this week Fort Lauderdale, next week Atlanta...I had the dubious honor of walking Lauren to the school bus stop. Lindsay toddled along beside me holding my hand. On the way back, she was walking beside me, but refused to hold my hand. So I kept walking, calling, "Come on, Lindsay, we're heading home!" as cheerfully as I could muster.

After a few steps, I realized she was not following, and turned to discover my unevolved precious little in the middle of the street, happily examining her index finger and deciding to chew on it.

I picked her up, gave her a swat on the behind, and said, "Lindsay DOES NOT go in the street. No no. NOT IN THE STREET," sternly.

Riiiight. Because it's not like anyone was watching her or anything.
I just finished screaming at my four children so loudly that my throat actually hurts. I am sure that guilt is imminent but right now, with steam still coming out of my ears, I just want a lozenge.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Down to Eight Toes

Regardless of offense or punishment, Ross enters every disciplinary action as if he is about to endure unspeakable torture. He will occasionally go to time out with only a little stomping but growls or tears are not uncommon when he's sent to sit on our seat of 1500 sharp, pointy nails and you wouldn't believe the fuss he kicks up when told to write lines using his own blood.

In stark contrast, we have Lars, Master of the Sad Face and recipient of the 2007 Child Who Did The Worst thing distinction for carving his brother's name into our new dining room table. Lars steels himself for every punishment with the sort of grit you might expect of a Viking. He stomps to time out now and then but he goes there and sits there and, after the fuming and glaring, usually doesn't commit the same offense again (at least not that day...). Today, though, Lars couldn't remember to shut the front door and it's good and cold out. He got a warning the first time and the second time, he sat in time out for the third. I lost it on four - LINES. Five rounds of "I will shut the front door every time," ought to help him remember! He allowed himself a quiet, exasperated groan as he sat down to write but he knocked them out. He paused before getting up to ask what would happen when he forgets again - more lines? I gave him my best 'don't test me' look and told him I'd be cutting off toes next.

Later, two neighborhood kids were over to play. Lars brought one in to use the bathroom and I heard him say on the way back out, "Make SURE you shut the door all the way behind you. You don't want bloody boots!" I can't wait for THAT to come back...

Congratulations, Round the Bend!

You're February's Worst Mama with 5 WMPs!

Let the March Mama Madness begin...