Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye, 2011!

It’s New Year’s Eve and the holiday season is officially drawing to a close. I’ve boxed the ornaments (the tree will be left up until tomorrow or Monday when I can bribe Tim to drag it back up into the attic. That’s right, we Fake Fir around here), taken down the stockings and put away all the Christmas presents. Tonight the girls will spend the evening with my parents while we head over to a high school friend’s party. And yes, I am totally overdressing for it, because where else will I get to wear my cute, festive things?

This past year was full of unexpectedly good things. My husband has found his niche in the education realm and is almost done with his master’s degree. We welcomed Miss Lily, also known as LilyKat or Baby Lala. Mary continued in preschool, Anna turned two and hasn’t stopped making the world aware she is a force to be reckoned with ever since.

And me? It was my first full year as a stay at home mom and I finally feel like I’m getting the hang of it. I had another birthday, the day after Lily was born. I’m comfortable in my own skin for the first time in, well, ever, I think. There’s a confidence that didn’t exist 10 years ago, that’s for sure. I’ll never claim to be a great wife or mother but you do what you can and hope for the best. The only real goals I have in 2012 are to finally run that 5k I’ve been working towards and actually keep up with this blog. I know, I know, don’t get too ambitious there, killer.

As I look forward to 2012, the shorter part of my family appears to be living in the moment entirely. Mary and Anna are exploring the rules of cause and effect, it would appear. Tim just got out of the shower, and from the other room, I hear this exchange:

Anna: Why Daddy take a bath?

Mary: Because he’s stinky!

Anna: Oh.

So there’s that. They’re realists if nothing else.

How about the rest of you? What are your New Year’s Resolutions?

Friday, December 30, 2011

A love that dare not speak in art class

Anna and I got some rare one on one time this morning when Mary woke up talking about a dream that would generally occur only after one drops acid and I determined she was feverish and therefore not going to be attending art class with us.

“There were piggies!” she said animatedly, her cheeks bright pink. “They were sitting in trees and brushing their teeth and eating mud!”

Uh huh.

She also didn’t want breakfast, a sure sign she was down for the count, at least for a little while. Mary and Anna are their daddy’s girls and missing a meal ranks high on the list of Worst Things Ever. But it wasn’t all bad. Husband Tim is home from school until the third and that meant a morning of pajamas for the oldest and youngest and an art class date for Anna and me. (But not before we stopped for coffee and a donut, of course. “A big donut! With sprinkles!”)

All the way to art class, Anna asked when we would be there. Through a mouthful of the donut we split 70/30 (gee, why am I not losing weight?) she asked where Miss Stacie was. Miss Stacie teaches Mary and Anna’s art class and Anna has a bit of a girl crush on her. If we drive by the building where art class is, we hear about Miss Stacie. See a blue minivan on the road? “Dat Miss Stacie car!” And any bit of coloring or painting done at home must be hung on the wall with great exclamation as Anna pretends to run her own art class, with Mary and Lily as somewhat unwilling (and unwitting) participants.

Excitement was at an all time high as I parked Tim’s car (smaller, gas efficient, good for transporting one or two monkeys but not the whole clan) and got her into art class, where it was a small gathering of just one other little boy. Anna immediately refused to say hi to Miss Stacie, which is also par for the course for her. Anna’s hero worship exists at manageable distances only.

Miss Stacie got out the paint. Did Anna want to paint? Of course not. Anna wanted to cling to me like a rhesus monkey. Did Anna want to make a Happy 2012 hat to wear this weekend? No, Anna wanted to watch Mommy paint on the mural paper.

“We could have stayed home and done nothing,” I reminded Anna. “And Mommy wouldn’t have needed to get out of her pajamas for that.” Anna remained unmoved. Did Anna want to make a snowman to hang on the fridge? What are you, new?

“What do you want to do?” I asked her. Radio silence. “Do you want to paint?” I get the hairy eyeball. “Do you want to go home and see Mary?”


“Do you…want to go to Target?” (What? I have errands to do and I am not about to waste a morning out sans 2/3 of my offspring.)

“Yes! Yes! Oh Target!” And with that she ran over, gave Miss Stacie a huge, cuddly, lingering hug and said goodbye.

Okay. I asked again if she wanted to stay, maybe do a little painting, make herself a snowman. She looked at me as though I asked her if she’d like to submerge herself in boiling oil.

So we went to Target but didn’t stay very long because holiday stock was at 70 percent off and the place was a zoo. I like discount Christmas cards as much as the next girl but not enough to throw elbows. Also, spoiler alert? Brown reindeer Peeps look anything but festive. I tried to look at wrapping paper and ornaments, many of ours having been sacrificed to the gods of toddlers and cats over this joyous Christmas season, but the other people gave me looks that suggested I’d lose a limb as soon as do a price check. Anna was cheerful as she said goodbye to all and sundry as we abandoned our cart by the door, headed into the parking lot and buckled in for the trip home.

“That was fun, wasn’t it, Anna?”

“Where Miss Stacie?”

“Miss Stacie is at school, Anna.”

“Are we going to art class now?”

“Art class is over, Anna.”

“Aw, MAN! Wanna go art class!”

Sigh…the course of true love never did run smooth.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Little hands, little sleep

There's something about starting a "mommy blog." You almost don't want to admit you're doing it, not in the age of STFU Parents and childfree blogs which mock the existence of sites where the writers extol the every smile, coo and bowel movement of their child(ren).

But this is not that kind of blog.

I am the stay at home mother of three small children (TSC for the lazy?), all girls, ages four, two and four months. By extension this means I am underslept, over stimulated and completely addicted to caffeine in all forms. My two year old, upon seeing the glorious orange and pink Dunkin' Donuts sign, will cheerfully crow "skim milk no shuga!" from the backseat (followed closely by "donut, mommy? Just one?"). In a former life I was a journalist and damn good copy editor, in this one I freelance and run children's birthday parties. If you had told me 10 years ago this is where my life would be, I'd probably have laughed in your face.

Now, I laugh, but for other reasons:

*My sarcastic four year old, Mary, who asked me why our house wasn't covered in Christmas lights like the neighbors'. "Because Mommy's a slacker," I snapped. "Everybody knows that," she replied dreamily.

*My two year old, Anna, who eschewed opening Christmas presents to tear her way through a snack sized box of Goldfish crackers, and then, upon noticing her presents, asked if they contained bacon.

*The baby, Lily, who literally screams with delight when her father walks in the room and has since she was practically brand new.

*My husband, who has the unique ability to bring me to the breaking point and then say just the right thing to make me not kill him and laugh instead.

And, of course, I cook and clean and beat my head against the wall and log more miles on my vehicle than a Manhattan cabbie. It's a hell of a journey.

Join me, won't you?