Today seems relatively boring by my normal standards - I only have two kids running laps around the house and they're both mine, so I should be motivated to get some badly needed errands done, or at least get off the computer and do something meaningful with said progeny.
Instead I'm parked right here, chatting on Facebook and putting together my dream cool weather wardrobe.
Hint: Yes, it is possible to be a stay at home mom and have a "lazy day" from time to time, today being the perfect example. No, it is not possible to be a stay at home mom and buy whatever your heart desires from the J. Crew and Banana Republic web sites. But in my dreams, I have a closet full of shrunken blazers and silk tops, to be worn with the perfect fitting trouser, boyfriend and skinny jeans and accessorized with lovely costume jewelry. Of course, these dreams also include children who would never dream of running up to me and hugging me before announcing "I have jelly all over my hands!", or removing their diaper necessitating an on-my-hands-and-knees cleaning extravaganza, or coming up and biting my leg for the hell of it. I also have closet space in this dream. And the inclination to do things like deep clean the baseboards. And bake homemade treats. And, and, and...
Right, so the lazy day we're having. Anna is a totally different child when she's not bouncing off the walls with Mary. And she's a combination of devious, outgoing and outright hilarious. To wit:
"Mommy. can I have some animal crackers?"
"Yes, in a minute, once Lily is asleep."
"She's asleep!" Lily, who was sitting my arms and violently protesting the idea of going to her crib, seemed evidence to the contrary. I told my middle child as much and she slinked back to the play room, a sly smile on her face.
I rocked Lily and heard Anna's very noisy zoo toy go off, at top volume, jazzy Alphabet Song tune ringing out through all corners of our house. (In my dreams, there is a greater distance between playroom and bedroom. And closets. Did I mention the closets?)
"Anna, turn that off!"
"THE ELEPHANT SAYS-"
"Anna! Turn! that! off!"
"CAN YOU FIND THE MONKEY! OOH OOH! OOH OOH!"
"ANNA TURN THAT OFF!" (Apologies to my voice teacher, who told me I needed to stop yelling to maintain optimal vocal quality.)
Silence. I started rocking Lily. I laid her in her crib.
"MOMMY I JUST GOING TO THE BATHROOM OKAY?"
Lily finally conceded the battle and went down for a nap. About time, too, considering between a cough and teething she had slept for maybe five non-consecutive hours the night before. (ASK ME HOW I SLEPT.) I got Anna some animal crackers and apple juice.
"THE ELEPHANT SAYS!"
"Anna. Turn it off!"
The fake wolf howls erupting from the armchair told a different story and I switched it off.
Now, the snack rules in our house are clear. You get one snack at snack time. It might be a pretty big snack if you didn't eat a great breakfast, but you get one portion of animal crackers, one glass of juice, etc. There are always exceptions, but that's the party line and we hold to it. Sounds harsh, but otherwise, they don't eat lunch.
I heard the episode of Diego end, and the next thing I knew, Anna was at my elbow with her empty cup and bowl. She had her sly grin again.
"Hi Anna," I said. "Put your bowl in the sink, ok?" The girl who could live on nothing but donuts and apple juice if given the chance paused. She thought it over. She knew her chances of getting more juice were nil.
"Mommy can I have some milk-" and here she attempted to act casual - "with my more animal crackers?"
Three year olds don't do casual well.
"You can have water," I said. "But no more crackers. If you're still hungry you can have carrots."
"WATER!" she shouted, as if trying to wake Lily. But she'd never do that, would she?
Lily eventually woke up of her own accord and I brought a smiling, happier baby into the main part of the house.
"Anna, look, Lily's up!"
"Oh good! Now I can be loud!"
And it's not even noon.