Thursday, January 26, 2012

Sick Day

Gotta admit. While my first thought when I realized Max still had a fever this morning was, “Poor baby!” my second thought was a little lighter on sympathy and a little heavier on “A day home! With a baby who will probably sleep a bunch! So I can pretty much do what I want to all day!” I know. I’m terrible. Just keepin’ it real. (For the record, Max isn’t gravely ill or anything – most likely a fun combo of teething and a cold...)
Anyway, a dose of Tylenol, a few school arrangements, and I’m back in bed. When the bigguns wake up, Ryan asks Calvin if he wants to go to Mrs. Pam’s or stay home with Mommy. He chose me. I’m touched. I also ask him, “Are you sure you won’t miss your friends?” Like I said, just being honest here.
Our morning started how I envisioned: Calvin playing happily by himself, Max sleeping, and me facebooking, blog-stalking and Pinteresting. Then Max woke up and Calvin got chatty. Max fed me animal crackers. And his fingers. Calvin showed me a few of his favorite pictures in a book about stars. Turns out they’re all his favorites. I might have been getting a little annoyed, until Calvin asked me in a sheepish and super-sweet way, “Will you play Angry Birds with me?” How could I say, “No – even though I’ve been granted a rare opportunity to spend time with you all by yourself and you’re actually being a perfect angel, I’d rather waste my time reading about random strangers and re-pinning adorable projects I’ll never have time to actually do. Maybe next time.” So, I told him I’d get down the game as soon as Max was done nursing.
Fast forward a few minutes. Calvin appears, with a slightly-guilty look on face producing a bag of Angry Bird paraphernalia (yes, we have REAL Angry Birds, complete with catapult sling and all – my big brother finds the best Christmas presents!) I immediately question how Calvin was able to reach said bag. It’s stored on the top shelf of his closet. His next statement is to be read with wide eyes, and a range of emotions from pride, to guilt, to absolution, in that order. “I put the bouncy ball on the red chair… and I reached it… but I didn’t fall!” OH! Well in that case… After a lecture on safety– and after I asked for a demonstration of how he did it (he failed to mention the dresser’s part in his brilliant plan), we began our game. It was actually pretty fun, but when the rounds were over and my little opponent wanted to move onto the next game, I devised the mommy version of the Great Compromise. Let’s look for fun kid ideas on Pinterest! It was ingenious, really. And it woulda worked, if one of two things were true: 1) We didn’t have dial-up Internet, or 2) Calvin had patience. We quickly settled on making yogurt and honey popsicles. In retrospect, homemade popsicles probably aren’t the solution to a patience problem. The next few hours included:
- Timer setting and regular popsicle checking, complete with races to the freezer and a pretty sweet dive across the tile executed by my little man
- Two versions of the I Spy card game. Calvin won both games. When I said I didn’t want to play again, he said, “Come on, Mom. I promise I’ll let you win!”
- Stealthy Pinteresting in between more-worthwhile duties
- Me laughing out loud at this quote my sister-in-law had pinned, then Calvin insisting that he would get it if I explained it. Somehow, he got it. :)
- Lunch
- Kitchen clean-up teamwork (Favorite quote by C as he wipes the crumbs off of the table, “There’s gonna be a little sweeping, too.”)
- Glorious, glorious simultaneous nappage (and by nap, I mean Calvin being banished to his room to wallow around in bed and talk in various imaginary voices until the timer dings and he can run back out, ready for action)
- Max and I acting as spectators for the Calvin Ball Olympics 2012. Today’s events included ball karate and races. Ribbons were awarded. I believe the blue ball ended up with the most.
- Calvin licking Max’s hair.

Finally, when Max went back down for another nap, Calvin asked if he could watch a cartoon. I agreed, though reluctantly. And then I let him watch another one so I could finish this blog post.
And that, my friends, is why I think God hasn’t made us rich so I can be a stay-at-home mommy.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Slave Labor

Now I know why my parents used to always answer any complaints over house chores with, “Why do you think we had kids?” I have recently become a firm believer in child labor.

It all started over Christmas break. On the way home from my folks, I had a major whine fest about how I wear so many hats, have so many jobs, and can’t keep up with any of them. My thesis statement was basically that my life sucks. Ryan, in typical man style, took it upon himself to solve my problems when I really just wanted him to feel sorry for me. That’s ok, because it ended up being a very productive convo. I added my own “pretty please” requests and we came back home with a plan.

Let me just say, I married, and subsequently gave birth to, flippin’ rock stars! The new rule is that after supper no one stops working until the kitchen is clean. When we run out of kitchen jobs for the boys, we “dismiss” them to clean the living room. After the first night I figured that’d be pretty early. I don’t particularly enjoy being molested by the broom and Calvin’s wiping skills mirror the other kind of wiping he does on a daily basis – the kind that, until recently, required a “final wipe” by Mommy or Daddy. But, a few weeks in, our little laborers are actually getting pretty good. And the best part is that the kitchen (and most of the living room) is clean every night by 6:30. Heck to the yes! Sure beats the previous nightly schedule. Now I feel like I can truly enjoy my evening. Slave labor? Yes, ma’am!

When we first told the boys they’d be helping out a lot more, we were met with a bit of resistance. To provide visual evidence of why their current chores aren’t enough, I used my hands to show what a list of each person’s contributions would look like (Mommy’s hands were spaced much wider than Daddy’s until I realized I better not push my luck!) which inspired Reed to write a “chore list” for the whole fam, complete with little check boxes beside each item. I gotta hand it to him, Reed does more than I realized. On his list:

- Picksup
- Clensthedishwshr
- Gisulowis (didn’t know getting paid counts as a job – sign me up for THAT full time, please)
- Gostoosgool
- Snaks
- Hlpsdecirsomiuste (got no clue, but nice job doing it, Buddy!)
- Plas

Max’s list was cuter, but I kinda sorta put it in the compost trash bin (where 98% of our drawings and lists wind up eventually), and now I can’t read it on account of the coffee grounds and eggshells that I hid it under (been busted too many times!) I do remember that he “poops” (THAT, Reed can spell right!) and “vakums” (Hey, somebody’s gotta do it. Momma sure doesn’t!)

Ode to the Girls

Since I’m nearing weaning time for the last time ever (unless the Big Man upstairs – and I don’t mean Ryan – has other plans), I’d like to thank my two overworked sisters. Thanks, girls, for all you’ve done. Thanks for being the sole nourishment for my three boys for their early months. Thanks for helping them grow fat and strong and healthy. Thanks for giving them super-dee-dooper immune systems so I don’t have to worry about sick kids. Thanks for being ready at a moment’s notice to hush a fussy baby. Thanks for acting as a pacifier after you’re empty but Momma’s still snoozing. Thanks for allowing me to boast stripper measurements for awhile (well one outta three, anyway). You may be a little worse for wear, but I’m sure that you (and I) will experience a miraculous return to our pre-baby state, right?

I’m pretty much past the point where I feel like a truly “nursing mother.” I no longer soak through four layers when I’m away from my munchkin for a few hours. I range farther than 10 miles away from the bambino. I don’t feel that tingly feeling when I hear cries. I’ve passed on those oh-so-sexy nursing bras and returned to my prettier, if slightly ill-fitting, undergarments. I’ve turned in the pump I borrowed and reclaimed my lunch and prep periods at work. I’m even starting to feel like maybe the tiny bit of milk I’m producing probably doesn’t require those extra 500 calories I’ve been diligently consuming. And all these things (except the last one) are really nice! I’m excited to have my body back to myself for good. But there’s a little part of me that wants to keep on nursing indefinitely just because I know once I stop, there’s no going back. That this time I can’t comfort myself with the thought that I’ll get to do it again someday soon. No – this is it. I will never know that bond again. Kinda sad.

But…I suppose it’s not nearly as sad as nursing an 18 year old, so I guess I’ll cut Max off before it gets creepy, cry a little, and then go buy a new lacy (and super supportive) bra for the girls!

Just for fun, here’s a list of things I’ve done while breastfeeding:
- Read the entire Mitford series (actually most of that was done while pumping in the janitor’s closet at school), several other novels, eleventy billion magazines, and more than a few children’s books
- Graded papers
- Eaten--and made at least parts of--countless meals
- Gone to the bathroom (both varieties), complete with proper hand cleansing (ok – only one hand was cleansed, but it was the only hand I used, so I say it counts)
- Ridden in a moving vehicle—and before you dial DFS – the baby(ies) was (were) buckled in their car seat. Me? Not so much.
- Tended to baby’s boogers, ear wax, baby acne, cradle crap, and other things only a mother could do without throwing up in their mouth at least a little
- Dressed, undressed, put on make-up, applied deodorant, trimmed nails, etc.
- Cried (in pain, hormone overflow, happiness, sadness about being nothing but a milk cow, sadness about nearing weaning time, etc.)
- Gave Calvin his first hair cut
- Made a batch of dinosaur munchies with the bigguns (yes, the gas range was involved and yes, I was standing up)
- Chased down, caught, wrestled into position, and spanked Calvin – twice (if you know Wild Child, you know that’s no small feat--even without something attached to your boob)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Homemade Baby Wipes

My sister worked at a daycare that made these to save money. I actually prefer them to the more expensive “real” ones. Yay, cheapskates!

Lidded plastic container
1 roll of high quality (I use Viva) paper towels
¾ c warm water
1 ½ T baby oil
1 ½ T baby shampoo

- Cut the paper towels in half with a electric filet knife or a fine-tooth saw. Place in container with the cut side down, and remove the cardboard center.
- Mix the liquid ingredients together then pour gently over top of paper towels.

- Pull from center to use.

Monday, January 2, 2012

I'm an Oxymoron

I swear I'm bipolar! One minute I want to quit my job, shoot my husband, drop the kids off at the nearest doorstop, and burn my house down. The next, I'm on a walk (alone - which is probably important in this equation) thinking how perfect my life and family are!
We've been off of school for two weeks now, so there's been a lot of together time, which in our house equals sibling rivalry to the max (well, actually, to the Reed and Calvin), a messier house, more meals to cook, and more frequent opportunity for spats with the one they call the Mac Dad. Fortunately, it also means margin in our life. It's given me time to get caught up on a few things, pursue a couple of creative endevours, and have time to breathe and think! We also had two days that felt like spring, so I've been outside and slightly more active. I jumped on the trampoline with the boys (holy workout, Batman!) and then took them on a walk one day. I was feeling good then, but the next day, I snuck a walk in by meself. Wow! Amazing what a little fresh, and, more importantly, kid-free, air can do for the spirits! I came back all glowy and chipper and thanked Ryan for watching the boys so I could get away for 20 mn (yep - that's all it took). He said, "I guess 20 minutes is a small price to pay if it makes you feel this good," which probably loosely translates to, "Twenty minutes of wrestling yeahoos is worth it for you to not be a B-word to me," but whatevs. Life is good!
I go back to work tomorrow. If you find three cute boys on your doorstop, don't worry. I'll be back in 20 minutes.