Thursday, December 20, 2012

40 shades of crazy

  Today I read a great blog piece entitled "46 Reasons Why My Three Year Old Might Be Freaking Out." You can read the entire thing here: , but it's a laundry list that includes such gems as "He's not allowed to get in the oven" and "A balloon he got six months ago is missing."

So much of it was spot on and really applies to children of any age, as far as I can tell. And also, adults. Rather than try to reinvent the wheel (blog?) and post variations on why MY children might be freaking out (near as I can tell, "Thursday" is good enough justification), I present:

40 Reasons Why *I* Might be Freaking Out. Some of these have actually happened recently, many are from today, some are conglomerations of several events. Nevertheless:

1. It's 5 a.m. and I got to bed at 1:30 after individually baking, outlining, flooding and decorating six million Christmas tree cookies for teacher gifts because money is tight and it seemed like such a good idea at 5 p.m. the day before.

2. It's 6 a.m. and I have discovered the royal icing is still not dry.

3. I had a dream my husband cheated on me and I can't be mad at him because "I'm not responsible for what I do in your subconscious." Really, is an apology so much to ask for? Men.

4. I just found my hand wash only sweater in the dryer and now it fits my five year old. I am the only one who does laundry.

5. The dishwasher sounds like a trash compactor all of a sudden.

6. When it brakes, the car now sounds like the city bus when IT brakes.

7. The baby pushed the last yogurt onto the floor. 

8. We are out of mop pads. (Goes with 7)

9. I just found a pile of Christmas cards I thought I had mailed out and some of them are international. Happy Valentine's Day, NZ.

10. The electric company wants more money.

11. The city is insisting we now pay to use water.  Jerks.

12. I discovered my three year old does something called "pretend bathroom" about 50 percent of the time I remind her to go, which answers the burning question, "How the hell did you just have an accident when you went to the bathroom 10 minutes ago?" HAHA, Mommy, HAHA.

13. It's time to plan dinner, again. I forgot to thaw anything, again. It's spaghetti, kids! Again.

14. My kids suddenly hate spaghetti.

15. My kids are asking for spaghetti when I have presented them with something they ostensibly don't hate.

16. Guess what? They hate that.

17. The jerk who refused to pay for an item I sold on eBay is taunting me.

18. The good angel on my shoulder has talked me out of mailing her a box of dirty cat litter.

19. The phrase "I don't want to hear tattling" is followed by "ANNA TURNED OFF THE LIGHT! I'M SERIOUSSSSS!"

20. I have heard the following for the 18th time this afternoon: "You're mean, I'm not playing with you!" "Fine, I don't want to play with you!" "MOOMMMMMY, MARY WON'T PLAAAAAY WITH MEEEE!"

21. It might be 5 o'clock somewhere but it's only 3:30 here and that's way too long until bedtime.

22. The Elf on the Shelf is mocking me.

23. The cat has picked the exact moment the baby is finally asleep to try and hunt something directly under her window.

24. If the world does end tomorrow, my hair and eyebrows are a total mess AND there's no wine.

25. My ADHD meds aren't working.

26. My ADHD meds are working too well and I'm trying to re-wire the house.

27. I don't know where the Easter baskets are. (See, 25 or 26)

28. I feel fat.

29. I want to eat all the cookies that are waiting to be frosted.

30. I'm at the point in Doctor Who where Rose is gone and Martha is a whiny pain in the ass.

31. There is no more Gossip Girl.

32. The radio is playing "Christmas Shoes."

33. The radio is playing Kid Rock.

34. The radio is on commercial.

35. I have forgotten, apparently, that I have a device with both tons of MP3s and Pandora. 

36. Pandora plays "Christmas Shoes."

37. Mary wants to know how Santa will know the carrots are for the reindeer.

38. Mary wants to leave Santa a three course meal.

39. Anna wants to eat Santa's cookies when they are put out.

40. Lily is trying to climb out of her crib. It's only a matter of time.

Or, you know, the balloon I got six months ago is missing. 

It could always be that, too.

Sunday, December 16, 2012


  As a parent, I cried on Friday when the news reports started rolling in. I looked at my five year old and was glad she wasn't at school - not because I feared the same event occurring, but because I needed to hug her, give her a cuddle, tell ehr how much I loved her, watch her look back towards her movie and squirm out of my arms because she knows I love her, hug her all the time, and darn it, Mommy, you're taking me away from Tinkerbell. I needed that moment of normality. Needed to remind myself that I am so very, very blessed, that even when I am angry because the girls are fighting, or waking their baby sister, or arguing with me over another cookie or a later bedtime, that I have them. The children that, at one point, I thought I was never going to be able to have, are here, so very real, so safe in our four walls.

The biggest thing my daughters fear is timeout. 

I don't have to worry about "how to explain this to [my] kids." My kids are 5, 3 and 1 and we don't have traditional television. I don't have to worry about Mary going to school Monday and hearing her classmates talk about it because I know her teachers won't let that happen. My kids get to be innocent for a little while longer, thank God.

But as the weekend went on and the news got worse, not better, I felt myself starting to wrestle with what I was seeing. First the numbers, far greater than the single digits first reported. The pictures of parents wailing outside the school. The names and faces. The stories of the teachers who gave everything to save even one student. My husband asked why I was reading about those teachers, those innocent babies, if it made me cry.

"Because this is their story," I said. "They won't get to tell their own anymore. These are the stories their parents want told. Emilie Parker's dad wants me to know she loved her sisters, liked to color, hated trying new foods. This teacher here was going to see The Hobbit on Friday night. These are things people want us to know."

I don't care about gory details. I don't need traumatizing pictures and if I never hear the gunman's name again, I'll be fine. But the names, the faces of these children, I want to know about them. I want to hear their stories because those are the only stories they're going to have anymore.

Then I look at my own children. My own colorers and picky eaters and movie watchers. And I don't want to send them to school this week.

I know I have to. I can't live in a culture of fear, can't put that on my kids, have to rely on statistics that schools are generally safe, that this was an isolated incident, that my children are going to grow up and make me crazy and have kids of their own one day. But it's so hard.

Today Tim took the girls to church. Lily had a cold so I stayed home. Just at the time church was starting, I got a call from my husband.

"What's going on?" I asked, because he should have been in a pew at that point. My pragmatic, level headed husband was quiet.

"They're not having Sunday School today," he said. "They're having a p-a-r-t-y in the hall across the street."

"So?" I asked. "Have fun!"

"I couldn't do it," he said, and it dawns on me this was not a church wide party but an all ages Sunday School gathering. "I couldn't leave them in a huge hall full of kids without being there. Not after Friday. I know that's silly and they'd be fine but I couldn't do it."

As he said the last part I felt a knot in my stomach that I didn't know was there relax.

"Thank you for not doing that," I said. 

"We're going to go do something fun," he said. "I'll see you later."

I don't know what the answer is. Mary will go to school tomorrow because she loves school and I know she'll be okay, but I wonder when I'll no longer feel relief when I go to her door to pick her up. When it will become commonplace again to just drop her off and get her, my biggest worry being whether she ripped her dress or talked during rest time.

I know it's illogical. I know it's so incredibly unlikely anything will happen, to her, at school, ever, and especially this Monday when everyone will be on high alert. 

Those parents in Connecticut never saw this happening, either, and the part of me that's a mother cries with them whenever I think about it. My girls are so blessed and don't even know why. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Swamp Mushy Muddy

Yesterday was a gray, dreary day, which made it the perfect afternoon for...

In case you're unfamiliar, Muddy Buddies are the crack of the snack world. They're these chocolate-peanut butter-powdered sugar-Rice Chex confections that take about 15 minutes to make and about 5 seconds to consume in their entirety.  If you want to make this yourself, I wouldn't rely on the following "recipe" I'm about to post, but Google is your friend in this instance. First, gather your ingredients:

Assemble your helpers:

(Please note: Helpers may be a bit over excited. Usually best done when the baby "helper" is napping.)

Pour your cereal into a large bowl and set aside:

Pry chocolate from hands of preschooler:

Combine your chocolate, butter and peanut butter in a microwave safe dish, heat until smooth and stirrable, add your vanilla. Make sure to leave some chocolate out for quality control purposes:

Pour mixture over cereal, mix well until all pieces are coated. Expect smaller helper to completely lose interest at this point:

Once mixed, allow older helper to pour powdered sugar into bowl, mix well. 

(Two notes here. First: The recipe tells you to put the mixture in a two gallon freezer bag and toss the sugar in there. I didn't have one of those and spaced on buying them, so I just divided the mixture into two bowls and stirred well. Second: Five year olds are nearly incapable of smiling normally for photos. This is doubly true if sugar is involved.)

The recipe concludes with "spread Buddies on wax paper, allow to cool.

Funny, waiting was the hardest part of the whole thing.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Mama Grinch

  It's almost 8 a.m. here in Casa Trois and Anna is dancing around the Christmas tree, making up her own words to "Deck the Halls."

"The-se stockins ARE FOR SANTA!" she belts impressively, before looking over and seeing the snack I'm handing Lily.


I satisfy her craving for Nabisco and watch her prance near the tree. After last night I'm just glad she's not hiding from it.

But to explain last night, first we have to go back to the weekend. 

I explained in a prior post ( ) that we don't really 'do' Santa, preferring to explain it as a fun game, and that, despite the creative ideas rolling through my head, Tim was ambivalent about spending $30 on the Elf on the Shelf. Not that I blame him. That's a lot of money for some felt and plastic, even if it does come with a book. I consoled myself with promises of after-Christmas sales (white tree, you will be MINE!) and let it go.

Until sometime over the weekend, when I was indulging in some wine with friends, and a Facebook notification popped up from another friend, alerting me to a Barnes and Noble sale where said elf and book was $13. I got excited and immediately ordered. (Okay, in the interest of full disclosure I may have been sliiiightly tipsy and I may have had to try two or three times to successfully complete my order, and I may have babbled about it to Tim juuuust a little too much, but the point is, that was a really good bargain and the Internet Deal gods do not wait for perfect sobriety.)

Fast forward to yesterday, when I got the shipment e-mail. I decided to try and get the kids ready for the elf's arrival, which I decided we would name Sprinkles. (Yes, I know, you're supposed to let the kids name it and maybe I will, but when I was pregnant with Lily, Anna wanted to name the baby nothing and Mary was lobbying hard for Apple Juice. I'm not optimistic about the next several years with Poopy the Elf or somesuch.)

I gave them the basic gist. I made sure to use the key words "story" and "fun game." But you know, at that age, they don't really separate reality from fiction so well. Mary was looking at me with shining eyes.

"It's AN ELF?" she squeaked. 

"Yep!" I said, glad she was enjoying the fun.

"And it goes back to the NORTH POLE?"

"Yep!" I replied, and she grew even more excited.


"It does!" I said, practically glowing with the pride of a Good Mother Who Has Given Christmas Magic. Anna piped up.

"Is it gonna eat us up?"

I paused. I told her no. Then I realized that she was grinning at me, and that this was one of Anna's "jokes." (Other "jokes" that day had included announcing she really has to poop while at the playground, less than 10 minutes after our arrival, whereupon I loaded everyone up and rushed them home, only to discover the clever ruse. So this was at least funnier than that, which made me wish I could start drinking at 4 p.m.)

The evening carried on. I went in the bedroom to put away some laundry and came out to discover Anna had quite literalyl started taking apart the Christmas tree. She was holding a bough in her hands and reclining back on the other lower branches, sitting on lights and displacing the few ornaments I'm silly enough to leave at child level.

"ANNA!" I exclaimed. "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?"

"Nothing," she smirked, as I tried to fix the tree.

"Ohhhh Anna," I muttered, and then turned and winked at her. "Maybe I *should* let that elf eat you up." I smiled at her. The look of absolute horror that she gave me told me that earlier had not, in fact, been a joke.


"Oh honey!" I said. "It's not going to eat you up! The elf is a story! It's pretend!"


"No!" I said desperately. "Honey! Listen to Mommy! Mommy was kidding because of your joke! The elf is a story! A game!" She started to calm down. She eyed me.

"It's just a fun Christmas game," I said. "It isn't real. Like Santa."

From behind me, I heard Mary gasp.


I whirled around. I couldn't tell if she was serious or not.

"Honey, Santa is a game, you know that. Mommy and Daddy told you that. We visit Santa at the mall and write letters but it's a game. It's a lot of fun, but it's a game. You know that." 

"Ohhh," she said. "Wow, I can't wait to tell all my friends at schoo-"

"No way. You do NOT tell the other kids that. IF YOU DO THAT I WILL GET YOU NO PRESENTS."


Anna stopped crying. Mary wandered off. I'm not sure if she believes in Santa or not, but I think she's cool as long as there's something under the tree with her name on it. I kicked myself for being the worst mother EVER and bought about $25 worth of baking supplies to make Christmas treats today to make up for it.

Muddy Buddies make everything better. 

The "elf" should arrive any day in the mail. I showed Anna pictures this morning and she seemed okay with the idea. 

"That elf looks nice," she said. "I like that elf. Not like that other elf. He hits me."

I decided to leave well enough alone there.

Fa la la la la.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Lather, rinse, repeat

It's the holiday season, and as those of you who follow me on Facebook know, "Santa" has been quite busy trying to track down Anna's number one Christmas wish: A "working owl."

Preferably purple.

I know what purple is. I have no sweet clue what "working" means in this context.

"Is it a wind up toy?" Mary asked Anna.

"Yes," she said.

"Does it walk?" Mary asked Anna.

"Yes," she said, and I started Googling wind up toys from the '70s on eBay.

I found a couple, but they were tiny. As in, "Lily will eat them and we'll spend Christmas at Hasbro Children's Hospital" tiny. And about $10 each. Then a friend linked me to a plastic toy owl that, when pressed, sang a couple of notes.

"Anna," I said, "What if your owl sang instead of walked?"

"That could be cool," she said. I began to "buy it now."

"And I want it to walk AND I want to sleep with it so I want it to be soft."

"Anna, they don't make that toy. Santa doesn't make that toy. What about just a soft owl you could sleep with?"

"Okay," she said. I sighed in relief and paid $7 for a stuffed owl on Amazon.

And the singing owl, just to be sure.

They both arrived today and I think she's going to be thrilled. If I don't kill her first.

Because if Santa were to make a "working Kim" toy that said fun phrases, these would be my top 10 for today.

1. Stop Fighting

2. Work it out. Stop tattling.

3. We don't hit.

4. Go potty.

5. Just try. GO POTTY.


7. Get down the hall, Lily is sleeping. (to be repeated LIKE A BROKEN RECORD)

8. Don't be sassy.

9. Stop slamming the door.


Is it bedtime yet?