Tuesday, January 31, 2012

On Toddlers and The Words You Should Never Ever Say

Today marks the 100th! Day! Of! School! And like everything in the preschool setting, it must be acknowledged and celebrated with great fanfare.  Any hope that we had of just gently sliding past this one was blown out of the water by the constant reminders of the 100th Day of School party and requests to bring in snacks to share and collections featuring 100...things.  I get it, being able to count to 100 is a pretty big milestone in a kid's life and all that but oh my head, the parties.  And of course this means that Parents Are Welcome subtext being If You Miss This Your Child Will Lose All Faith And Self Confidence And End Up Working The Pole At Some Seedy Establishment Off Of Rt 66.  Live with that on your conscience, you lousy selfish parent you!  As a result, Noelle has been very very excited about today for a long time as I made half-hearted and vague almost-promises to be there.  So excited in fact that she bolted out of bed this morning crowing about it being the 100th Day Of School and there will be a Party!  Noah, of course, picks up on her excitement and especially homes in on 'Party'.  Dun dun dun.

To add even more specialness to an otherwise already special day, it is also my brother-in-law's birthday.  Because we are a close family, we get excited about each other's birthdays.  At breakfast Noelle started asking about the party for Uncle Jeff.  Sorry baby, but grownups don't 'do' birthday parties like you guys do.  I don't know why; we just don't.  But! You have your 100th Day Of School Party this afternoon and we can call Uncle Jeff tonight to wish him a Happy Birthday, how about that? This of course consoles her leaving Noah banging on the table yelling 'Pah-tee! Pah-tee' like a miniature fraternity pledge at a kegger.  You would think that after five years of this parenting nonsense I would be able to sense doom lurking on the horizon.  You would think but you would be wrong.

We passed the time on the drive into school/work with Noelle attempting to engage me in a scene by scene breakdown of, wait for it, The Lion King for the eleventy-billionth time.  It was somewhere around BFE Horse Country that I finally gave into temptation and broke out the big Magneto-guns: 'Why do you ask questions to which you already know the answer?' This stumped her briefly allowing me to listen to Noah's chirping, "Unca Jeff birfday...YAY!" complete with throwing his hands in the air like he just doesn't care.  The enthusiasm this kid has for parties is limitless and infectious.  If you need that little something extra to get a crowd pumped for any reason involving a party, let me know. He's available for hire at a reasonable rate.

By the time we arrive at school, Noah has worked himself up into full on-party mode and one look at the building has him eyeing me suspiciously.  'Pah-tee?' he says, not quite a demand but not quite a question.  'No buddy, it's a school day.  It's Uncle Jeff's birthday though; we can call him tonight to sing to him, okay?'
"Okay" he replies in a seemingly acquiescent manner.  Also not helping? Noelle trying to calm him down, "Noah, we have a party today.  It's after naps!" and me trying to shush her by hissing "His class isn't  having a party, it's only for the big kids who can count to 100." One day I will remember that preschoolers have no filter as she OF COURSE turned to him and stated matter-of-factly: "Sorry Noah, no party for you." Now I'm silently cursing myself for not lying and saying that I had to go into work early again and honey, could you pretty please take the kids to school so I wouldn't have to deal with this.

So Noah's whimpering, Noelle's being officious and rather bratty and I'm wishing that I was somewhere that had coffee. Or wine, 8 AM be damned.  We get into his classroom and to put away his stuff and the whimpering has progressed to *almost* tears.  I take him next door to the Older Twos classroom to wait for his teacher and bam! we hit it.  The wall of irrationality.  He lays himself out on rug completely extended crying and yelling for 'Pah-tee! Pah-tee!'.  I, being a superb mother and not at all one who is going to leave the teachers with this display, pat him on his head and say 'Love you, bud.  Have a great day and I'll pick you up after school.' then slink out the door.

What have we learned here?  That the word 'party' is like crack to toddlers (also: ice cream, candy and video game) and the withholding of said crack will lead to Terrible Things. (I did end up sneaking back in for Noelle's party in the afternoon but had to leave to go back to work sending her into tears so Woot! I made both kids cry at school on the same day for different reasons. Skillz. I haz them.) 

PS: Noah's teachers delicately let me know at pickup that he had an 'emotional' morning.  Yeah, no.  We're good.  It's the party-crash.  Gets them every time.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Then There Were Two

Since the month after Noah was born, we have had 3 vehicles, an ancient Jeep Wrangler (my very first new car), an almost as ancient Honda Civic (Dylan's very first new car) and a not quite as ancient Chevy Malibu that was my grandmother's.  Now, two people did not need three cars especially since the next possible drive was (hang on, counts on fingers) a good 13 years from getting her learner's permit, let alone license yet hang onto the Jeep we did.  It ran fine, it was serviceable but really, not a logical choice with two kids in car seats and one of said car seats being an infant seat and do you know how tiny the 'backseat' of a Wrangler is? Let's just say that when Noelle sat behind me, she could stroke my hair without having to reach much at all.  Slowly, the Jeep was retired from use, only broken out when another car was in the shop or meets it's untimely demise a la the Civic last year.  (That would be the day from hell Bee Tee Dubs.)

So we sank a good chunk of money back into the Wrangler to get it road worthy again until we figured out what the next step would be.  Now, because the Wrangler is a stick shift and I'm the only one in the family who can drive a stick shift, I drove the the Wrangler with both kids back and forth to school/work every day for 3 months. That was when we got the minivan and lo, there was space and it was good.  But still, the Wrangler sat in the visitor spot because WHAT IF WE NEED IT AGAIN?

And need it again we did this fall during the whole ridiculous can't get the tire to not go flat on the van saga that consumed a good 3 weeks of our October.  And it limped along like a trusty old workhorse.  Well, that settles it!  Never gonna give it up because WE MIGHT NEED IT.

And there is sat until Dylan and I came to our collective senses (only taking 2 years to get there.  We work slowly.  Kind of like Hobbits.) that it is pretty ridiculous to pay insurance premiums on a vehicle that sits in the parking lot like a decrepit superhero, waiting for the right situation to rumble in and save the day.  This was my baby, my first adult purchase I made all by myself and I say that with not a small amount of pride.  Should we donate it? Sell it? WHAT TO DO?????  It just so happened that I had a conversation with my best friend and she mentioned that she was pretty sure that there was a CarMax car buying center in Cockeysville where we could just take it and walk away with check in hand.  An excellent idea, that.

So Saturday morning, I got up and took the Wrangler for it's emissions test in case the imaginary authority figures at the MVA would not allow me to sell the car without the emissions test being done. I have issues, I know.  It passed, surprisingly so the plan was to take it to the center after Noelle's dance class.  12:30 pm rolls around and I grab the keys for the last time and hop it, trying to remember to savor the moment but really just wanting to get it done since I needed to get the house cleaned before my parents arrived at 3:30.  I'm excellent at scheduling by the way.  As I'm making one of the last turns before the town proper, I heard a large bang-WHUMP coming from the rear of the Jeep.  No, the tires were fine, it was handling fine, must have been a tree branch or something in the street.  But wouldn't that have been ironic if it blew up right when I'm trying to get rid of it? 

I get to York Road, in the home stretch when I realize that I'm not 100% certain where the place is.  I mean, I know the two roads that it's between but not the exact location.  As I'm pulling up to a light, it changes from green to yellow so I step on the brakes.  And keep stepping because THERE ARE NO BRAKES LEFT ON WHICH TO STEP.  Oh irony, you BITCH.  Dropping it down to a lower gear to try to get through the light and not be broadsided, KA-KLANG! The transmission starts going.  YOU HAVE GOT TO BE EFFING KIDDING ME. I AM HALF A MILE FROM THE SHOP.  NOT EVEN.  I still haven't found the Buying Center and with a very broken Wrangler and nursing it up and down York Road with NO BRAKES and almost NO TRANSMISSION when I finally stop and call for directions.  Like I said, I'm excellent at scheduling and maybe also a tad 'LALALA I CAN'T HEAR YOU'.  And also controlling my rising hysteria because WTF?!?  I somehow get it moving again and make a U-turn to go the other way on York Road and seriously COASTED into the parking lot and a space, somehow managing to avoid an accident or snarling up traffic on a nice Saturday afternoon on a busy main street of a large town thus forever endearing myself to the good people of Cockeysville. 

Once I managed to unclamp by hands from the steering wheel, I exited the Wrangler for the last time with no regrets, no maudlin tears remembering adventures and loyalty but with profound gratitude that I arrived safe and would never have to repeat that stunt EVER AGAIN BECAUSE OMFG. When it was my turn, they asked it it could be driven I did volunteer that I was pretty sure that the transmission just went but they didn't believe me so tried to drive it oh HA HAHAHAHA.  It was TOAST.  DONE.  But when all was said and done, it provided one last service for us:  it gave us over $1500. (Though 5 miles.  Couldn't it have waited to go 'kerblooey' for 5 more miles?)

So thank you, my beloved purple Jeep.  I'm just sorry that we had to part on such an anticlimactic note.  You will be missed.