Friday, February 27, 2015

Never go up against Noelle when a book is on the line

While Noelle is my mini-me in every physical way possible (well, except for hair color. I mean, I always had dark brown hair and so does Dylan so where is this light brown shade coming from? I digress.) she has more of Dylan's personality traits - sensitive, a little timid, etc. The last word in the world I would use to describe her is 'competitive.' That's me to a 'T.' A challenge? A contest? Sportsball? Bring. It. On. But nothing has ever really fired her up. Until now.

Her school gives each class a library period a week and it turned out that getting to check out books was the best thing that had ever happened to her; she devours new books like they're goldfish crackers and apple juice. (Okay, that's totally me but with red wine and dark chocolate.) The librarian declared February to be 'Caldecott Award Winner Month.' Is that a thing? I guess I could go Google it. BRB.

Okay, nothing official but we'll go with it. At any rate, the school librarian put forth an assignment with an added challenge - the second grader who read and filled out a book report sheet on the most Caldecott books for the month of February would get to pick out their very own Caldecott book to have forever and ever. Amen. She heard that, perked up her ears and It. Was. On.

To be honest, the first two weeks were kind of slow; she would check out two books, read them, fill out the report form and turn them in. Then she heard a classmate say that he had turned in several more than her. Rather than just shrugging and stopping, she viewed it as the ultimate challenge - to beat Emberson. Thanks to the pointless snow day yesterday, she cajoled Dylan to taking her to the local library to scavenge any and all Caldecott books she could for the sole purpose of winning and taking him down. (Shout out to Ms. Beth the librarian who helped determine which titles were there and where to find them.) She had read several last night by the time I got home, read more for her assigned reading time, got up early this morning and read four more, finishing the last report sheet mere minutes before we had to walk out the door. Today she is turning in NINE reports. NINE. That's how bad she wants this. The level of trash-talking that has taken place over the past 48 hours has been truly epic in scope. For that level of dedication, I will buy her the book of her choice because DAYUM.

She said, "Draw down boy!"
Hm. I wonder if there is any way I can leverage this competitive streak to get her to put away her books after she reads them....

Oh, and @SesameSquirrel? I have a young lady who might want to talk to you about library science because BOOKS.

Monday, February 23, 2015

I'm sorry Monday but I just don't think this is going to work out

I've never been one to blame stuff on the day of the week or to accuse anyone of having a 'case of the Mondays' but I could be persuaded to come around to this way of thinking. It began this morning with the news that our school system was on yet another two-hour delay and since Dylan had a big project at his work that he couldn't be late for, I was going to have to go in late. Again. My boss has been extremely understanding but you never want to push goodwill too far or have it seem like you're taking advantage (I'm not, even if they were in before-school care, someone would have have to stay with them - since the program is based in the school, if school start time is delayed then they're not open. It's a trade-off for the ease of not running all over the place.) I had a back-to-back panel and meeting scheduled for this afternoon but I should be able to prepare for both. Thus resigned, I got up and went through my usual morning routine: work out, shower, remote in to be available, pot of coffee, eat breakfast blah blah blah.  Noelle was up first and requested a viewing of Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (good girl.) Noah got up soon after and we were all set for a slow morning albeit one punctuated by blasters and lightsabers.

About 8:45 I decided to begin prepping my lunch and tonight's dinner but before I could start that, had to finish primping (which means brushing my teeth and waving mascara at my non-existent eyelashes.) Okay, good, start making my lunch. Whoops, Noah wants his breakfast. Sure sweetheart , here's your breakfast. Oops Mommy, I spilled my milk. Like all of it. A full glass. Which is now aiming right for the new computer as I still had it up since I committed to being available until 10 because responsible. Quickly sop up the milk and rescue the computer. Comfort Noah that no, I'm not going to throw you out of the house for spilling your milk. Discover puddle of milk on the floor, bite back an oath. Get it cleaned up, new milk poured, back to my lunch.

Crap, I've still got to dice the chicken, saute it and make the peanut sauce as well as clean out the pan since it will be needed for Step 2 this evening. Find the rice, measuring cup and saucepan, line them up for ease of application. The chicken is still partially frozen so chopping is taking a while as I have to blow on my fingers to warm them up. Whip up sauce, start dishes, dammit, where are the frozen vegetables? Right, in the downstairs freezer. Get package of stir fry veggies and seeing the laundry room reminds me that I need to do a load of laundry. Back upstairs, grab the basket, down to the basement. Okay, now time to saute. All browned? Excellent, let's drain it. Wash more dishes, pack up sauce and chicken for later. Run back upstairs to get Noah's library book, remember that I haven't written out the menu and instructions, run back down the stairs to do that. Realized that my forearms are sore and cramping from shoveling so writing looks more like Black Speech than anything else. Good luck tonight honey. Mommy, can you bring my AT-AT up here? Sure Noah. Runs back down to basement, grabs giant AT-AT, runs back upstairs. Movie is finally over (good god that was long), get Noelle breakfast. No spillage. Huzzah! Okay, let's get dressed.

Phew! Okay, we're back on track now...until it's time to get shoes and coats on. Sorry Noah, you can't wear your boots; they're still damp (dafuq?) Get your jackets...what do you mean they're not in the closet? Oh right, they're drying in the downstairs bathroom. Run back down, grab jackets, remember that the clothes need to go in the dryer. Take jackets upstairs, pretty much throwing them at the kids, back downstairs to load dryer, back upstairs to get out the door. It's Hat Day, don't forget your hats! Okay, everyone out, it's time to go. What do you mean the doors won't open...oh FFS, they're frozen shut again. Finally get doors open, everyone in. Shit, where are the keys? I can't find the keys, I JUST HAD THE GODDAMN KEYS! Search next to kids, under car, by front door, trying not to slip and slide into the storm drain, still no keys. I'm panicking now as the time cushion to get to the bus stop before the bus is shrinking rapidly. Still no keys. Check the front seat - aha! Down the side where dropped things go to die. Fire up the engine, pray to God we haven't missed the bus.

Whew! Bus isn't here yet, let's go....shit! Shit! Shit! Here comes the bus. Let's move, move, MOVE! Noelle, your door is stuck, get out Noah's side, I'll grab the backpacks just goooo....whoa the sidewalk is icy! Down goes Noelle. You okay honey? Yes, Mommy, I'm fine. Good, let me help you up....whoa! Slide down the the sidewalk into her, get us both across the street, get Noah his backpack and everyone on the bus. Almost fall into slush waving good-bye. Duck-walk back to car, realize my sunglasses are in my backpack which is in the trunk and say fuck it. Off to work and a semblance of sanity.

I picked a helluva season to give up drinking.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Everybody poops. Except when they don't.

Nothing brings more giggles to five-year old boys than poop. Or butts. Or farts. Say any of these words and you are guaranteed at least 15 minutes of relative peace as they laugh themselves sick, them farting on you notwithstanding. I think they're biologically hardwired to respond to it; the trick is making yourself scarce when it happens. And it will happen. Anyway.

Monday the kids were off school for President's Day so I was home with them. We were pretty much confined to the house as there was the outside possibility of the toilet installer coming but they had their 'new' phones so eh, no harm no foul. (I am so over Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja but have no one to blame but myself for loading them in the first place.) I should have known something was amiss when I couldn't get Noah interested in lunch. Some juice, yes, but not food which coming from the human vacuum cleaner should have set alarm bells ringing. Eh, maybe it was just that we hadn't done a lot and he didn't need to refuel. I mean, he did eat a pack of peanut butter crackers so I was sure it was just a being lazy thing.

Until it was dinner time and he complained that his tummy was hurting. As a parent, your first line of reasoning is to send them to the bathroom. Trust me. Nope. No dice. But he didn't eat and whined that his tummy hurt. And it just got worse the rest of the night. My poor baby. He's pretty tough but when your little guy curls up on the bed, crying 'Why is there so much pain?!' your heart breaks as you try to hide a smile because it's just so damn cute. (This is my submission for Mother Of The Year right here.)  His tummy was tender to the touch but suggesting that he might need to poop was met with wails of 'That won't work!' Of course not honey, I don't have 40 years experience with all sorts of digestive issues. Dyl agreed with me that he was most likely constipated so with great trepidation we gave him some apple juice to help move things along. The trepidation came from the last time we did that, he ended up puking all over bathroom and his bed. Fool me once and all....

He slowly sipped it and when it was gone was shocked that he didn't feel better. I, uh, guess I should have mentioned that it would take some time to have an effect but he was miserable so went to the store to get him some stool softener. His choices were pills (snort), suppositories (no. Just no.) or castor oil. Noah, are you SURE you can't try pooping again? No? Okay, castor oil it is. My little trooper drank it up whilst very confused by the taste.

"Mommy, this tastes like oil!"  You're not wrong buds but it will help you feel better in the morning.

Early the next morning he trotted downstairs, bright eyed and bushy-tailed feeling lots better. I only got one half-hug before he announced "I gotta go bathroom!" and tore off. When he emerged, he was a whole new boy. Hooray poop! He was also hella hungry from not eating the past day so he pretty much polished off the rest of the French Toast sticks and there may have been a banana or two involved. It's a bit hazy as I was trying to keep my fingers out of his way.

The moral of this story? Learn to love your poop as when you can't, you'll be very sad indeed. Just know that I'll bring the castor oil.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

And in the fourth hour, she started work

Sometimes when you step back and look at your life and schedule, it really doesn't seem possible to complete as many tasks as what you've done in less than a third of a day. Yet they are done which is either a testament to superhuman strength and juggling ability or a complete psychotic breakdown minus the really good drugs. Pretty deep for a Thursday morning, no? To wit, my day so far (so far being 9:50 am.)

5:20 - drag my tired ass out of bed
5:26 - drag said tired ass onto elliptical machine
6:30 - stumble off of elliptical machine
6:31 - try not to fall on shaking legs going back up the stairs
6:31:30 - gasp 'Good Morning' to Dyl
6:32 - view set of stairs to bedroom with dread and possibly some tears
6:50 - receive surprise visit from Noah whilst clad only in underwear and bra. Good morning! I'm sorry honey, I'll start saving up for the therapy now.
7:00 - downstairs for breakfast with no stumbling. Hot water is a miracle worker y'all.
7:01 - smugly smug that there's an hour to get stuff done before kiddie prep gets into high gear
7:20 - realize that I haven't finished my breakfast yet. Crap. Damn you, iPhone!
7:20 - 8:10 the following happens in no particular order:
  • Put away dishes from last night's dinner
  • Prepare Noah's breakfast
  • Unload dishwasher
  • Reload dishwasher
  • Prep my lunch
  • Unload dryer (downstairs)
  • Forget next load of laundry, run back up two flights of stairs to get it (sobs)
  • Go back downstairs to laundry room (goddammit)
  • Load washing machine
  • Fold towels
  • Prep dinner marinade
  • Wash prep dishes
  • Finally finish coffee
  • Dig crock pot out of cabinet
  • Write out dinner preparation instructions
  • Find rest of dinner items
  • Set out pans and items needed in proper places on stove
  • Eye solidified bacon grease under the burner, decide I don't have time to give a fuck
  • Back upstairs to brush teeth and apply make-up
  • Prepare Noelle's breakfast
  • Fill water bottles for kids
Now it's time for the kids to get dressed, brush their teeth, comb their hair, wash their faces and make their beds. Though I usually end up brushing their hair, washing their faces and making their beds. Ten minutes until we walk out the door so just enough time to throw the chicken in the crockpot, pour the sauce on it, make sure the crockpot is actually plugged in, turn it on, do a sweep of the house for anything needed for work or school, check that lights are off and thermostat is set and Noah, where are your mittens? No, Noelle, you can't wear shoes without socks today. What do you people do with your hats?! 

Out the door at 8:50, I've already been up for three and a half hours, still have a full day of work ahead and there may not be enough coffee in the world today.

But at least I can sit down there.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Obsession is Nine-Tenths the Law

For the past few months Noelle has been talking about cell phones whereby 'talking' I mean 'obsessed' with them. At least once a day she'll ask why she might need one, what she would do with one and is it fun having one. The answers are usually when she gets to middle school and is involved in activities (drama club, basketball, school projects, etc.) that we can't get to in the middle of the day, you can't use them in school but yes, you can stay in contact with your friends (and us) and yes, it's a lot of fun but personal responsibility, don't ignore the real world, blah blah blah. She's not asking- precisely - but it's clear it's on her mind. (Okay, who in the world would give a second grader a smartphone? I mean really, what would possess someone to do that?) I've resigned myself to fielding these questions for the next four years but framing it as teaching good citizenship (and reining my own use in because she'll learn it from watching me.)

Well, last weekend Dylan and I decided it was time to upgrade our phones. We each had an iPhone 4, the cheapest available two and a half years ago, and they were struggling with only 8 GB of memory, we couldn't update operating systems and half the functions didn't work. (Clearly we are not early adopters. Get off mah lawn and all that.) Knowing that we keep our stuff for a long (long) time, I researched the various options and costs, settling on an iPhone 6 with 64GB. (Thanks to it being President's Day weekend, we walked out with an even better deal than I imagined. Thanks Verizon!) So here we are, each with a new iPhone 6 in hand...and two iPhone 4s. Strangely, they didn't take them as a trade in (HAHAHAHAHAHA) so now what? If you guessed 'taking all messaging/calling features and apps but music, YouTube and games off the phones and giving them to the kids for their own systems', take a bow. They're still connected to the WiFi at home but have no access to the app store (not that they know the password to authorize any purchase. Hell, I'm not even sure I remember any more.) Of course there are limits on the use but yeah, my kids now have their own phone. I should probably delete some songs though as the explicit version of 'Payphone' isn't really something she should be listening to. Responsible parenting and all.

Can you guess who asked this morning if she could tell her friends that she has an iPhone now? Well done, me. Very well done indeed.