Kids have taken over my room

I woke up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. I sat up, put my foot down and felt something lumpy, so I moved my foot and stood up. Cautiously, I walked toward the door and along the way I tripped, I stumbled, and wondered if I would make it to the bathroom with all my limbs in working order. On the way back, I was much more careful. I knew immediately what obstacle course I had been forced to maneuver-my kids.

When my oldest was a baby he had horrible colic and couldn’t sleep, like at all, unless he was nursing. This morphed into just sleeping next to me, and so it went until we kicked him out. Even then he always managed to find his way back into our bed and eventually our floor when we told him there was no more room in our bed. The pattern went on with all the kids after that. Now my two youngest, who are 2 and 3, both sleep in my bed. They refuse to sleep anywhere else. The 3-yr-old we have tried putting in her room, on our floor, with her older brothers, with her younger brother, and in the end we spend hours trying to get her to sleep for what turns out to be about 2 hours and then she just crawls in our bed anyway. I stopped trying. If next to me is where they want be then so be it.

The older kids are 10, 7, and 6. They all have a bedtime routine. They all fall asleep in their own beds fairly easily. Nevertheless, most mornings I wake up to find anywhere between 1 to all 3 asleep on my floor. They know better than to wake me up, they just grab blankets and pillows and make a spot for themselves. Sometimes I feel it is such an invasion of space. I hate all the blankets and pillows on the floor. I have put them all away neatly only to have them on the floor again the next night. At this point I wonder what the point is of even cleaning them up? We have been talking about maybe getting a house with more bedrooms in the next couple years, but if we don’t even use the ones we have I don’t see the point.

It isn’t always a restful sleep down in Momma’s room. Those two toddlers still wake up in the middle of the night for drinks of water, no blankets, and night terrors. I get up to go to the bathroom more than once, and usually, trip over them. Also, there is a vicious rumor going around that I snore. When I tell the older kids they do not have to sleep in my room if there is so much to complain about, they tell me this is where they want to be. Plus, my 7-yr-old says my snoring helps lull him to sleep. He likes knowing I am right there and he can hear me. I want to be offended by this, but instead I am flattered. Flattered that my kids love me, rely on me, feel safe around me, and want to be near me after fights, hard days, and long nights. They want to be near one another also. The three boys are snuggled right up next to each other. Even after the long long days of name calling and taunting I can see they love each other and find comfort in being together.

I can’t imagine my oldest will be 17 and wanting to sleep on my floor, so for now, while he is young I won’t tell him to stop. For now, before they become moody teenagers who are so confused about everything, I will offer my room as a sanctuary. I want them to feel safe, to gather strength in each other, and know my love is constant, much like my snoring. Hopefully it will stay in their mind and when they feel the world is against them and nothing is going right they remember their Mother and their house is their safe place.IMG-9379

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A Master in Surviving

Dearest Darling,

I am surviving. We are doing well. Child 5 poured all the cups out onto the table, put the cereal everywhere, and crushed crackers into tiny pieces. My allergies were acting up, like a ton, so I took a Benadryl which promptly caused me to pass out while reading numerous picture books to the kids. I don’t know what they did. Probably found my phone and turned on a tv show. I woke up because you texted me. Thanks for that, I think. I listened to some Weezer, did the dishes, and did some laundry, but nothing amazing. I double-checked that the neighbor could pick up children 2 and 3 then off I went to pick up child number 1 from school early. He had that appointment remember? I could tell by his face that the day had been rough. Turns out he got a referral for sliding down some ramp in the school.

The conversation went something like this:

Me: Why would you slide down a ramp at school?

Him: I don’t know. Why not? Everyone else does it? They don’t get in trouble.

Me: Don’t you normally get caught doing the things everyone else does?

Him: Yeah

Me: Maybe don’t do those things.

As you can tell I really dropped some knowledge bombs in his lap. I think he will be forever changed. We made it to the appt., and I had to go in and talk to her with children numbers 1, 4, and 5 in the room too. It was fun. They turned a lamp on and off over and over again. She had one of those Newton’s Cradle things and the kids managed to get it all tangled up. Then children 4 and 5 and I left to wait in the waiting room. It was pretty dull. The magazines were from 2013. Luckily, I brought my phone. They played games and kept refilling their plastic cups with water from the water jug in the corner. It was here I learned that child number 1 misbehaved in class to the point the teacher emailed you. I know that was not what you needed. It wasn’t an email like-Hey, your kid is awesome, and I love his original ideas. Keep up the magnificent parenting job. No. It was more like-So your son, once again, disturbed the whole class during Math. I was busy helping other children, and he didn’t want to do his work, so he didn’t. I thought you should know.

In the car we had another discussion about behavior.

Me: So buddy what happened during Math today?

Him: Oh, did teacher email you? He said he would.

Me: Well, he emailed Daddy who is away for work this week. Do you think that is the kind of thing Daddy wants to deal with when he isn’t even here?

Him: No

Me: So what happened?

Him: I didn’t know how to do my math and he wouldn’t help me so I was bored.

Me: I believe you did know how to do some of it because it was simple multiplication.

Him: I had already done that. Then there were word problems I couldn’t do. I couldn’t ask for help because I was in group 2 and he was working with group 1.

Me: Did you try to ask for help? Did you quietly read the word problem out loud to yourself? Did you ask a friend or neighbor for help?

Him: No

Me: How about you try those options first before you go about disrupting the class. Also, no electronics today.

Since we have some variation of the conversation almost daily I am sure my words are finally starting to sink in.

At home waiting for us is a big box. It is the boxspring for our bed. All I have to do is assemble it. I start making dinner, kids start doing homework, and so of course everything is moving along like clockwork. Other than the fact that child 5 is grabbing my leg sobbing and won’t let go. I am walking around the kitchen and he is just attached to me. Everyone wants water or juice or milk in a certain cup of a certain color and they all want it now. Child 4 is drawing pictures and keeps showing them to me and is upset that I am not drawing with her. I am still trying to make dinner. The cat wants food now and pencils need to be sharpened and it seems I am the only one who can do any of this. Finally, dinner is ready and minus 1 kid everyone hates it. They all get up from the table and leave. So it is just me and kid number 2 sitting there eating dinner. Of course, I tell the other kids there will be no other food given to them or snuck out of the pantry.

Time to move on to the box. I opened it earlier, but I forgot to cut off on the plastic bands holding the bars together. There is a large kitchen knife right there. I grab it. I cut the plastic band off and with it and chunk of my finger. I screamed some lovely vulgarities that might make a sailor blush. Blood is everywhere. Between my fingers, pooling in my palm, going down my arm, and on the floor. There happens to be a towel on the counter so I hold it on my finger. 1 minute-still bleeding. 5 minutes-still bleeding. 10 minutes-still bleeding. Crap. I am not sure we have bandaids because the kids think bandaids are stickers. Holding the bloody towel on my finger I dig around until I find one on the floor of the hall closet. I wrap it around the finger. Still a lot of blood. I find a second in our bedroom. I wrap it over the other one. Still blood but it seems contained. Now it is time to take some pain pills and put this boxspring together. I make child 1 help. I can’t really use my hand and he got in trouble at school today— seems like a good idea. Let me tell you. Not as easy as it looks on that little paper. It took well over an hour. When two people who are not very mechanically minded try to assemble stuff it doesn’t always go well. Especially, when one of them is now drinking beer and unable to use both hands. Finally, child 3 comes in and child 1 leaves. This child in more mechanically minded but also just 6 so his use of fine motor skills isn’t the same as an older child. Still, who am I to talk? Finally this stupid box spring that cost me part of my finger is done. Time to move the heavy mattress off the brand new bed frame. This ends up requiring children 1 and 3 plus me. When it is done I just fall on the bed and think, I will never ever get another bed ever.

Now it is time to start putting all the kids to bed. This is a whole thing. The books, the water, the teeth, the where are you gonna sleep, fine you can sleep in my bed I don’t care just go to sleep ritual. Child 2 comes home from Religious Ed. class, and I have time to just say hi to him. I have to put child 3 to bed. Then child  2.  Finally, child 1. I have more beer. My finger still hurts. It is like 9:15. Time to chat with you on the phone briefly. Time to watch tv a bit. Time for bed.

On a side note- this AM my finger was still bleeding. Like a ton. I took off the bandaids and blood everywhere. The kids were little freaked out. So was I. I couldn’t look. I just wrapped it in paper towels and drove them to school. After that I went to Urgent Care. They put some fake skin on it and wrapped it. The bleeding stopped. Thank God. I really need to clean our floor. I will put that on the list for later.

Love you,

xoxo

Texts I Didn’t Send

Today marked the first day, of many in the weeks and months to come, where Pete is traveling all week for work while I am home tending the kids. We communicate mostly by text. I feel like most of our conversations happen by texting throughout the day, so much so, that when he gets home sometimes I have no clue what to say. However, with him being in meetings all day and my not wanting to disturb him I decided I would write down the texts instead of sending them directly to him. I wouldn’t want him to be deep into some meeting about numbers and all that math stuff when he feels his phone vibrate with a text reading- Oh my god, Robert just peed all over the floor and laughed as he opened the patio door to go outside naked. Super interesting I am sure, but is it interrupt a meeting good? Not so sure.

So here are just a few of the messages I wrote down but did not send.

I love being guilted into playing Barbie only to be told I am doing it wrong the whole time. 

You know how I liked to dance around and do squats while I unload the dishwasher and make zucchini bread? Well, as I was getting low, my knee let me know it was no better with a sharp twinge. Sorry, guess I won’t be popping my booty for a couple weeks more.

I am upstairs wiping down the boys’ bathroom door and walls when I realize there is brown stuff on the wall that I am really having to scrub, like use my fingernails scrub. It dawns on me that this is probably snot or poop. Has my life really come to this?

I saw a headline that read- Jennifer Garner Looks Somber as She Runs Errands. Haha. That is newsworthy? Here is a headline- Mom of 5 looks like she will cut a mother* as she runs errands.

So your son threw a piece of bacon at me because I was dabbing while making eggs. Apparently, that is not a thing. Well, I hate to tell him, but I just made it a thing. Hmmm. Maybe dab squats should be a thing. Thoughts?

Those are a few insights into my life, and rather interesting things I tell my husband throughout the day. I know he must have been ever so sad to miss out, but now he can read them all at once.

 

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Wonder Woman’s Mom Bun

I am playing with my daughter. She wants to us to be Super Heroes. She asks me what my super powers are. I thought about it and came up with a few.

1. The best hugger/cuddler ever. I must be because I always have people crawling on me, laying next to me, or sleeping on top of me.

2. Boo-Boo fixer extraordinaire. Did you stub your toe? Hit your head? Fall? Get stung by a bee? I got this. A kiss, a hug (see I am a great hugger), ice, band-aids, and chill on the couch.

3. Multi-tasker. I can make 4 lunches, call a doctor, tell my son where his shoes are, let my husband know where his glasses are, and wipe up spilled juice all at the same time.

4. Chauffeur. This isn’t one of my coolest super powers. It is one that I am very good at though, due to much practice. Take husband to train, kids to school, kids to practices, games, appointments, and whatever else pops up on the calendar. I can load and unload kids like it ain’t no thang.

5. Ability to listen to a long story and not die. Ok this one is a big one. Like the story about that one time at recess when he and his friend we talking about monsters, and his friend has a monster under his bed, his bed has Superman sheets but he doesn’t like Superman as much as Batman, and why does everyone like Marvel, that Avengers movie was pretty good, but Minions was funnier, oh, and did he forget to mention about his friend at recess who has monsters under bed? If you don’t die of boredom you are a superhero.

6. Finder of Treasure (and things that your kids think are treasures). Kids can’t find stuff. There is some sort of eye shield or block that prevents them from seeing the shoe, the jacket, the toy, or the toothbrush right in front of them. They looked everywhere, they have been looking for 15 minutes, they are in total melt down mode because it is gone, and in strolls Mom who lifts up a blanket and BOOM! There it is!

7. Laundress. I have the power to ignore laundry for days. Piles of clothes all over the house. Laundry in the washer, laundry in the dryer, laundry folded and on the table. I also have the power to wash 7 loads of laundry in one day. Do with that power what you will, but I have it.

8. Dirty Diaper Dynamo. I can change a dirty diaper anywhere with almost anything. I can change it in no time flat. Time me. I have done it in public, on the grass, a carport, a port-a-potty, the side of the road, and a grocery store parking lot to name a few. I have used diapers, shirts, paper towels, maxi pads, and underwear to clean up and/or cover a baby’s butt. It takes a special kind of mom to be a Diaper Dynamo.

9. Human Lie-Detector. Try to get something pass me. Go ahead child of mine- I dare you. Your verbal ticks, odd facial expressions, changing the subject, loud yelling of not me/I didn’t do it are all cues that you are hiding something from me. Won’t make eye contact, change in daily habits or actions– I got you. It won’t be long before I will have the truth. Watch out.

10. Speedster. When it comes to grabbing a child before they fall or run into the street. The ability to grab a cup or plate before it falls and makes a huge mess everywhere. Grabbing a toy that has been launched across the room before it hits someone.

11. Super Strength. OK I haven’t personally lifted a car off anyone or anything, but I hear it happens. I do know that I have had a bad strapped to my chest, a toddler on one hip, and a crap ton of stuff in my other free hand on a fairly regular basis. I want to see you mere mortals do that. This is some super hero mom level stuff right there.

Since I was playing with my daughter though, I wasn’t sure if she would recognize all these amazing super powers just yet, so I grabbed her Wonder Woman doll, threw her hair up in a mom bun and said I’ve got this- Let’s play!

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WE WENT ON A WALK

We went on a walk. A walk around the pond. A walk that is just shy of a mile. Who knew that this simple walk would open up a world of discovery? Also, who knew this walk would take over an hour? Surely not me.

IMG_7828.jpgWe started by finding an old tree stump, and what good is an old tree stump? Why, it is a stage for funny faces. It is clear as day, and how I could have ever seen it any other way is beyond me.

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Sadly, we learned that things live and they die. Even cute furry woodland creatures. We also surmised that it wasn’t unlikely that our inside/outside hunter cat could have very well been the attacker.

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We stopped at the playground, swung on the swing, went down the slide, but in the end the best thing to do was run and hide.

IMG_7840.jpgWhen it was time to go and continue on our way the thing to do was watch other people play.

IMG_7843.jpgEven though we saw death we saw where life starts too. A nest in a tree glory be who knew a walk could be so fun.

IMG_7847.jpgRocks and cement blocks leading up to a school what good are those unless you know how to pose!

IMG_7851.jpgWe almost missed this guy, he was hard to see, but we had luck on our side that day and we found the duck.

IMG_7856.jpgSometimes the road is long and the journey takes longer than we expected. There is no shame in sitting down and taking a rest before you get up and start again.

IMG_7873.jpgWe were almost done, tears were on the way, and the only thing we could thing of to do was to stop and play.IMG_7864.jpgThen sit for a moment and take in the view. To pause and say thank you. Thank you for this life we lead, thanks for the rocks and trees, thank you for ponds and family, and thanks for this little rest.

IMG_7877.jpgThen one last thing before we were on our way- rocks in water what more is there to say.

Back to School- hurry please!

Ok ya’ll, are you ready for back to school? I am! I for real am. I crave the structure that the school year brings. I need things written in my calendar- soccer practices, religious ed, and school events. This free for all of kids wanting, needing, demanding, and craving electronics all the time is driving me bonkers. I know I can’t be the only one. We have a system where they are just given 1 hour. After that they have to work for it. They have to play outside, ride bikes, or read books. It is a minute for minute kind of deal. So sure, there is a lot of baseball, bike riding, playing at the nearby playground, but there always seems to be more begging for, asking for, fighting over electronic devices. I now hate all electronic devices. They are the devil. Sometimes I will tell them to just watch a movie but the arguing that goes on over is it too baby, is it something we have seen before,  or is it too scary is enough to make me want to smack my head into the wall. So yes, I long for, desire, cannot wait for the first day of school. I will have 3 in elementary school. This is great, amazing, wonderful. All day 5 days a week. No I will not cry when I drop my child off. No I will not wonder where the time went. I will instead celebrate by having a glass of wine and watching tv all day or something. My daughter will be in preschool 2 days a week. This means that 2 days a week I will have only 1 child in my house. Just 1. For me, this is amazing. I can go out for coffee or brunch with friends. I can go grocery shopping or Costco shopping with ease. There will be a nap time when no one is here and it is just me. I could, if I wanted dance around naked. I won’t but I could. I get to exercise again. Over the summer this has been almost impossible. I can’t figure out which kids to take and which to leave home because my kids are at that in between age where it is hard to cover all 5. 10 is too old for the gym daycare, but can I leave him alone for an hour? Sure, I think so, but then the 7 yr. old gets mad. So in the end, I stay home and gain 5 lbs. We have neighbors. It took until the end of summer for my kids to realize we had neighbors. Now they run back and forth between the two houses. I love this. It feels so idyllic. It is one of the things that makes me love this small town feeling we have going on here. I am sad to give it up. However, I am not sad to send my kids to school. For the first few weeks of school I will be fine with school and then the back and forth between houses. What I am worried about is how in the world do I play with my 2-yr-old still at home? I believe I have forgotten how to interact one-on-one with tiny kids. They have each other to play with, to fight with, to tackle, tickle, and ignore. Now, 2 days a week, it will just be me and him. Hmm….  Is it bad if I just encourage alone, imaginative play during this time? It has been years and years since I have had just one kid in my house. It will feel so weird. It will be wonderful. It will be scary. It will be lonely and freeing. It will be so many things. I am ready though. It is time for the kids to go to school. We’ve had our fun and now it is done. Let’s go school!!!!View More: http://jenniemariephotography.pass.us/weigel

I lost my cool

I got to spend the weekend without kids and hanging out with the hubs. Let me say-it was wonderful. The summer hasn’t been super stressful, but I was (ok still am) tired of all the whining and crying and fighting, so this was perfect timing. We went to Kentucky, a music festival in Louisville, and I realize this was probably an odd choice for thirty somethings, but once the decision was made we began to get excited.

Armed with nothing we walked from the hotel to the waterfront. I had gone to the bathroom before leaving the hotel and the walk was only about 5 blocks, but oh I really needed to go again. I am an anxious pee-er, this on top of having kids, means that moment we entered the festival I had to go straight to the porta potties. Don’t you love it? Once this urgent situation was taken care of I could finally absorb my surroundings. I immediately noticed one thing. My outfit of shorts and a tank top was totally frumpy. If the hairy chin and upper lip I noticed for the first time ever weren’t dead giveaway I was helping to shift the mean age, well my clothes were. The shorts were so short ass was hanging out, in contradiction to this, the waists were so high I began to wonder if 18-yr-olds no longer had belly buttons. The shirts were all cropped so that all the skin showing was the small bit from under your boob to about an inch above your naval. I don’t wear long ‘mom shorts’ I feel mine are fairly short, but here I was so dated. I left my boob glitter at home and when I saw a sign from some punk kid that asked girls to show him their glitter boobs for a dollar it took my husband telling me to just walk away so that I didn’t go up to him and explain sexism, misogyny, and feminism. I still regret I didn’t, I don’t care how drunk that idiot was, he needed to know girls with glitter boobs don’t owe him a thing. Speaking of boobs, the boob sweat game was fierce, the music was so loud my husband said we should have taken those ear plugs from his mother, and our arm band stating we were over 21 seemed to make us even older.

Music though is ageless so armed with our frumpy clothes and beer we went to listen to Wacka Flocka Flame. Squeezed in tight, the aroma of pot everywhere, watching a man in a tight sparkly speedo weave in and out of the horde, we awaited our first act. We were soon met with mosh pitting skinny white dudes. Luckily they were skinny and my husband works out because kept me quite safe. They may have been tiny white guys, but 30s or not I am a petite person who could have been knocked to the floor many times over if not for my husband’s arms creating a barrier. The music was good, the sun scorching, and after a couple hours I realized I made a vital mistake-I wore gold colored flip-flops that had no support at all. They were also the only shoes I brought. My back hurt so so bad. It was killing me, I needed some type of orthotic support. Screw my cute pedicure I needed arch support!!

We didn’t just hang out at the waterfront, we spent our mornings meeting up with old friends. It makes my heart warm, I miss Kentucky even more, and I am thrilled that friendships can endure years of separation. I also learned that conversations about alcohol have switched from what stupid crap you did while wasted to what is the best way to cut down on your glycemic index while drinking, and how the switch to wine so that beer gut isn’t hanging out makes the  most sense. Also, if you want to indulge you really need to watch the desserts because desserts and beer is just too much. If you wanted to veer from the topic of alcohol other topics of conversation include: marriage, divorce, children, illness, and home ownership.

The whole weekend I was hyper aware of my age. I am sure no one else noticed or cared in the least, but I couldn’t help but notice that while in my mind I am the same college girl who went to school in Louisville, I had in fact gotten older and not even really noticed. At all the concerts the people surrounding me, for the most part, were closer in age to my 10-yr-old. I longed for shade and bottles of water, and really did I mention my back hurt so bad. I enjoyed the music, to be free from children, to dance with my husband, and enjoy the feeling of being back where we fell in love was priceless. Then to experience Weezer was worth it all. 15 years ago many I knew went to a Weezer concert, I didn’t get to go, and ever since I have been eager to make up for it. So on the final night, as the final act, Weezer graced the stage and, for once the people surrounding me were my age. We sang along to all the songs and in that moment felt ageless. That my friends is the power of music. It was so worth it. Even if my back still hasn’t fully recovered.

 

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