The tides have turned…a new season

I can measure much of my life in seasons. Without elaborating in too much detail, the first season I remember in life is probably when I was 4, before my mom and dad divorced, the next season I remember is when I was in grade school and my siblings were my best friends, moving into adulthood there was the college season, then the season where I learned a bit about who I was in the Army, marriage, kids, divorce, remarriage, more kids. Seasons change and sometimes there isn’t really a defining moment, I just realize that something has changed and we have moved forward. Another season in life has recently passed and noticing Elmo on my Suburban DVD player brought it to my attention.

When we got the DVD player the movies were enjoyable for both Dorothy and Liam, poor Dustin has been shafted since the get-go. SpongeBob, Labryinth (yes, the cheese David Bowie muppets on heroin variety), and Nemo graced the screen so that the kids would ride in silence from point A to point B. Gradually Dorothy began to lose interest in the movies and they were specifically catered to Liam. If the DVD wasn’t on, Kidz Bop blasted from the speakers because Dustin, Dorothy and Liam liked to sing along. Maggie had no interest in the movies or the music, and everyone was happy.

Now that I think about it, I think the change was set in motion after a trip to visit friends when they loaned us a Baby Einstein video to help Maggie out on the ride home. It wasn’t immediate, Liam’s movies still took up most of the screen time, but since that point Maggie’s billing on the screen increased rapidly. Music has ended. Now, when we get in the car Maggie becomes anxious pointing at the drop-down screen, waving frantically and shouting *MELMO* until his little red body and irritating high pitched voice appears. Liam kind of watches, but Elmo is definately not his choice and he watches primarily when the batteries on his Leapster or Gameboy have died.

We have passed the season of “Anything to keep Liam happy” to the new season of “Anything to keep Maggie happy.” To an outsider, these may seem very much the same, but to me, there is so much more. My seasons of life have been dominated by babies and little bitty kids for a long time. The kids are becoming more independant every day. Dustin is growing into a young man and will turn 11 in March. Just a short time ago he was pushing a popcorn popper across the floor squealing in delight as he chased the dog, now he is trustworthy enough to leave home alone for a bit and asking for a cell phone. He had a girlfriend for a couple of days and the girls are starting to notice his big smile and deep dimples. I think that the next decade will be filled with the season of teenagers….

Toy Time at Aldi

I’ve mentioned Aldi’s in the past. I really LOVE Aldi. That store allows me to feed my small army of a family + daycare heathy, deliciously, and inexpensively when compared to large retail grocers. There is very little overhead at the Aldi stores and I think I read somewhere that each store has a maximum of 12 employees. There are no baggers, sweepers or eye-catching end displays, but the food is good, the food is yummy, and we like it.

So, where I was I? Ah…yes…the TOYS!!! Toy time is two weeks a year. All I have to say is WOOT about the prices and the selection! Littlest Pet Shop 12 pack, Fisher Price Little Mommy set with doll, walking/talking Transformer, Spongebob video game, LeapFrog games, and Barbie dolls are in our hillbilly hayloft (the storage space created in the top of our garage by placing plywood across the rafters) along with a stand mixer, crockpot and more! Yup, we hit the toy sale hard this year. My only regret is that I didn’t find a way to show up on Thursday morning at 9:00am when the goods were stocked because I missed out on a really cool fake kitchen set for Maggie and a tool bench for Liam.

39 days till Christmas!

…and the number one reason is

A few weeks ago, when it became evident that Dustin and Dorothy really are headed to Hawaii for the summer, I sat down with Dorothy and asked her if she was excited. Bare with me as you read this dialogue.

Me: You don’t seem happy, what’s wrong?

Dorothy: I’m really worried that Dad and D (stepmom) won’t be careful about what they have in the house to eat, like nuts.

Me: I’ll talk to them about it and give them a new list of safe foods. What else?

Dorothy: I don’t want to be gone from home for so long. I’m going to miss you.

Me: I’ll miss you too. It will be like camp. Everyone wants to go to camp. You will be home before you know it. Is that it?

The tears start to cascade from her little blue eyes.

Me: Sweetheart, what’s wrong?

Dorothy: I don’t want to wear a coconut bra. Dustin said all the girls have to.

 

I told her that Dustin was just joking, and that of course she doesn’t have to wear one of those. I think she believes me. I tried to figure out why Dustin would even tell her that, he’s normally fairly sensitive to Dorothy and will tell her when he’s joking. After much thought, and talking to Dustin, I’m confident that he really thought girls in Hawaii really do have to wear them. He’s never been there, and every picture he’s seen, heck even on Lilo and Stitch, the girls wear grass skirts and coconut bras!

 

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Dustin handed me his homework from last week. I’m supposed to sign it and send the form back. I look through the packet and see he’s been learning about timelines and on his there is a comment that says “Not Appropriate.” I take a closer look. Dustin had put his birthday on the timeline and the words “Went pee for the first time.”

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Maggie’s first birthday is coming. To quote Liam, “I don’t love it.” It seems like she shouldn’t be one already. I cut her some bangs the other day so she could see, they gave her the Kid look. Gah.

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Liam is full of piss and vinegar these days. Some days he’s sweet as an angel and then the next he’s out of control. I won’t miss this stage.

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On Mother’s Day we went to a restaurant that you have to ride a ferry to get to. It was really wonderful. Here is me with the kids

Mother's Day 2009

Are you going to watch Super Why, or not?

That is the big question with Liam right now. Every morning he YELLS from the family room. MOM! Are you going to watch Super Why, or not?! Everyday my answer is that I will watch it during naptime.

He is going through a rough time right now. He struggles between wanting to be big, which he demonstrates by standing fully erect and puffing out his chest, and wanting to be a lap baby. One moment he tells me that he is a “big strong man” and the next he is climbing onto my lap asking me to hold him. As annoying as it can be that he wants to regress, I’ll take it for what it is, just one more phase, and likely one of the last where he’ll still act like the sweet little baby he used to be.

Oh the tragedy!

Dorothy wore a pair of no-show ankle socks today. When she got home today, she was quite distressed.

“Mom! Everybody thought I didn’t have on socks today!”

“Really? Why do other kids care about your sock status?”

“I don’t know, but I was sooooo embarassed.”

“Dorothy, you have socks on. Why didn’t you just show them?”

“I don’t know, but I’m never, EVER wearing these again.”

Now, I’m sure I had my fair share of dramaz when I was 7, but oh my goodness. I would have never suspected that the lack of visible socks would be so tragic in a first grader’s life.

Where do I pick up my award?

What was I thinking when I boiled 18 eggs? Seriously, I think I have finally lost my ever-lovin’ mind. I’m not worried that they won’t get eaten or used, but I may never be the same again after guiding my children through the egg dying process.

Dustin: The careful egg dyer. Ensure that each color is properly represented and that a few eggs are double dyed with one color on each side.

Dorothy: The experimental egg dyer. Overdying colors and long soaks in single colors is the key to really cool eggs.

Liam: The more colors available, the better, and all eggs should go in all cups of dye, even if that means removing a sibling’s egg and putting it into the *wrong* color, or worse, breaking it.

Maggie: Sits and watches and wonders why she can’t fling pretty colors and eat the eggs.

Our egg dye process took about 35 minutes from start to finish. All of our eggs are a muddy shade of blue, thanks to Liam and his assertive personality, though some do have SpongeBob and Hannah Montana wraps on them. Only 4 eggs met with a tragic end before their time.

To the Spring Sing we go!

Tonight is Dorothy’s spring sing. I am not really excited about going. It starts at 7:00pm. Dorothy, Liam & Maggie all go to bed at 7:30, so this should be fun…especially since, as of this entry at 3:20, Maggie has only napped for 20 minutes due to one really loud big brother. Did I mention that I will be attending this wonderful event alone? Like without my better half, who has been sick for the last few days and will be working tonight.  Oh, and Liam freaks out in crowds. Seriously freaks out. Our last two attempts at school functions with Liam have not gone well at all. He has had major meltdowns both times. I’m sure Dustin will behave wonderfully, it’s just the two littles I am concerned about. I really do wonder what childless person scheduled this.

Add another dollar to the therapy fund

Dustin’s birthday is tomorrow. He is turning 10. He spent the weekend at his dad’s, where I assumed they would celebrate. For whatever reason, the celebration was small and Dustin was told that his gift was something that had been given as a family gift a couple weeks ago, it was his to share. Hmmm…yeah, it upsets me that he was largely ignored as an individual here. They did get him a cake.

So…the kids were returned to me last night during dinner, and the way I cook it was no problem to add two to our dinner table, even though it was unexpected that they would return during the meal. I had baked cupcakes during the day for snacks. Our plan had been to celebrate Dustin’s birthday on our Wednesday Family Night, but plans are flexible, so the cupcakes became birthday cupcakes. He really wanted an XBOX 360 or a Wii, neither were in our budget for birthdays this year, and I told him in advance that we just don’t spend that kind of money on individual birthday gifts. So, I told him last week to set his sites a little lower. Wanting to have a little fun before we gave him his big gift I reminded him about the money talk, then I went and got a 2pack of pens and put it behind my back. He was like, “what is it?” and I hand him the pens. Oh lord. His eyes welled up with tears and I instantly realized that it was a bad joke….I said of course we got him something else and I hugged him tight.

He was thrilled with the PS2 😀

Happy Birthday to Dustin!

Dustin forgot his homework

I walked into my playroom this morning aterJohn had already left for to take the kids to school and I notice something out of place on the couch. Yup, there it was, Dustin’s homework in a nice little pile on the cushion. Topping the pile was the Free Homework Pass he was given for his birthday month. A sure way to lose recess at school is to forget your assignment sheet. A sure way to lose money from his class account (a behavior system) is to not turn in your homework. A surefire way to lose even more is to not turn in your signed report card holder….doggone close to straight A’s with much improvement from last quarter I might add. So the obvious thing to do would be to pick it up and put it in his room, or to leave it and let the babies tear it up – this would be the natural consequence and multiple lessons would be learned. The first would be that lack of personal responsibilty with your homework has not one, but numerous consequences, one would be longstanding because a zero on a homework assignment is difficult to overcome, another would be longstanding as well because he’d likely be in more deep water if his sister ate his report card holder.

I thought for a moment about taking the papers to his room so that he could take them all to school tomorrow. This seemed logical.

Logic did not prevail. I thought maybe there was another lesson that could be taught. This lesson would show him that I take a personal interest in his well being, that he is more than just “one of” in the household, and would likely reaffirm that I love him very much and will go out of my way for him. I woke John, the son, to watch Liam and one of the daycare kids, put a jacket on Maggie and took the missing papers to school.

I did not stop there, though. I took the baby and walked Dustin’s things into his classroom. His teacher saw me. His classmates saw me, and then Dustin turned and saw me. He looked upset, his head had been down, I’m sure because when he got to school he realized what he had left behind, and he knew that calling me would have been the wrong answer. He was going to suck it up and accept the consequences of his negligence. He looked at me and a look of relief flooded his face. An instant smile replaced the saddness. He stood. He hugged me in front of all his 4th grade friends and he told me he loved me, thanking me a dozen times. I guarantee the lesson of responsibility has been learned today, and in the process I think something bigger was gained in our relationship of mother/son.

I don’t know if he noticed my shoes today, but if he did he would have seen his own Napoleon Dynamite snow boots that I slid on so that I could leave in a hurry.

Until further notice, I’ll assume it was an accident

There was a time in the not so distant past where what happened in my dryer today would have been a tragedy. There was a time, maybe less than two years ago, where when I opened my dryer door and found the scene that I found this evening would have been a situation where I immediately logged onto www.diaperswappers.com for a sympathetic ear to cry to. However, tonight I’ll blog about it and hope that either someone can relate, or at least find a little humor in the story I am about to tell.

Pre-Goodmama, I had what most cloth diapering moms might consider a nice *hyena stash* full of Clothmopolitans, Fussybutts, Righteous Baby, First Class Baby’s and other high-end work at home mom (WAHM) made diapers. Several of the aforementioned diapers, some really nice bamboo preflats (here’s my plug for www.hyenacart.com/littlemstore) and all my Thirsties covers were in the wash today. Cold rinse, hot wash, cold rinse and into a HOT dryer we go. I’ve done this routine more times than I can count over the last 3.5 years, so it is easy to understand how I missed the BRIGHT ORANGE CRAYON that was dropped into my diaper pail. Had I taken the time to gaze with admiration (as I embarrassingly used to do) as I put each diaper in the dryer, I might have discovered it before it was too late, but no…I grabbed the wad of clean, wet diapers and threw them into the dryer and turned it on. Maybe had I checked to see if they were dry when the buzzer sounded, I could have saved one or two of them, but nope…I just turned it on for the 2nd cycle without a glance or a thought.

Every.Last.Diaper is now a shade of orange and/or has bright orange markings all over them.

I am glad that I never gave in and bought a GoodMama and planned my child’s college tution based upon their resale value, because as of today, at least half of my diapers officially have been resigned to the FFS (free for shipping) section on www.diaperswappers.com or www.clothdiapernation.com .

 

….or maybe I’ll market them as High Quality, Preloved, UNIQUELY HAND DYED BY A CHILD diapers, and I’ll get some money out of them when Maggie finishes using her pretty diapers.