the eighteenth

It is a complete cliche but it happened to me. The spirit of Christmas has returned. Yes, super cheesy, but I am telling the truth.

I remember Christmas as a kid. It had a feeling. A smell. It was my favorite time of year. Then one year it stopped. Christmas time came and nothing. I think I was about 22. It was the worst Christmas ever.But this year was different. The spirit took a little while to get here, but it finally arrived.

She is almost three, so the whole Santa Claus thing is a brand new concept. But by Christmas morning I think she got it. It occurred to me about three days before Christmas, that as a family we could start our own traditions. So cookies, milk and carrots for the rain deer (Ya, ya not a new tradition but...you know). Then The Night Before Christmas Book that auntie Sid sent. It would be perfect. 

I have been a bit of a head case these days (hence the lack of blog posts). My mind and memory are like scrambled eggs. I spent most of Christmas Eve day worrying that I would forget to put out the cookies and read her the story. I felt like I needed to make myself a note. Seriously. I finally broke down and told my sister not to let me forget. The look on her face was priceless. I think she thought I was joking. Nope, 1,100% serious.  Of course she would never remember that I forgot, but the mothers guilt would follow me year after year.

As the light of the day ended, we enjoyed a Christmas Eve dinner with my father (Papy). She got an intro to opening presents as she tore into the gifts Papy brought for her and her brothers. Then before bed the cookies, milk and carrots were out and The Night Before Christmas was read. I kiss on the cheek and off with the lights. As I closed the door, she asked "is Santa coming?"
"Yes, Santa is coming. But he won't come if you are awake." Echoing my mom years ago.

As we helped Santa and the raindeer by drinking the milk and gnawing on the cookies and carrots, I realized that the magic of Christmas was returning.

Before hitting the pillow myself, I put the presents from Santa under the Christmas tree and stuffed a couple of goodies in the stockings. For effect.

She woke us up at around 7:30am by bashing me in the stomach with a book. You should try it sometime. It truly is a lovely way to wake up. I asked her if Santa had come. Kinda like a dog, she cocked her head to one side and in the sing-song voice replied "Santa?"
"Yes, Santa might have come to our house. It's Christmas!"
"Oh." She replied. I could see the wheels in her head turning. Trying to figure out what in the ___ I was talking about.
He ran down stairs ahead of us to turn on the tree and get positioned for a picture. Watch out Ansel Adams! My husband is the pro photog!
As we came down the stairs and over to the tree, she was silent. I was so worried that she would not be thrilled. What if she wasn't thrilled? While it would make for a great story to tell at her wedding, what if she wasn't thrilled and was more interested in the lack of cock 'n balls on the tree? What kind of child have I raised? Have I not taught her better? I mean really. Presents! They are one of the greatest things on earth. Fact.
Anyhow, the look of bewilderment and amazement as she stood in front of the plate with the one lonely, half eaten cookie and an empty glass of milk. "Where did they go?" she said as she looked back at me.
"Santa ate them!" I said with as much glee as one can muster without having consumed a drop of coffee.
"Santa ate them?"
"Yes. Santa was here and he ate the cookies. But he left presents."
My eyes welled up with tears. The magic of Christmas had returned. Right then and there I could feel it in every ounce of my body. It was wonderful. Easily one of the greatest feelings.

And off she went tearing into the wrapping paper. While the few gifts that we were able to afford occupied her for about 13 minutes, it did not matter. The gift of giving her the magic of Christmas is priceless. Those moments will stay with me forever.


the seventeenth

The reflection of the lights twinkle in her eyes as she watches me strategically put the ornaments on the tree. Of course she asks about the cock 'n balls which almost ruins the moment. A couple minutes go by and I realize that things are quiet. She is under the table reading a book (well not really reading because she is barely three, but you know what I mean). So sweet. It was one of those moments you want to stop time.
I start humming We Wish You A Merry Christmas. She yells out to me "No Mommy! No singing!"
"Oh! I am sorry am I interrupting your reading?" I reply.
She responds "I no reading. I pooping. Be quiet!"

Great. Nothing like decorating the tree with cock 'n ball ornaments while she craps her pants under the dining room table. 


the sixteenth

I would like to preface this blog with a warning for my parents and family. This blog post will contain a few expletives that one might consider offensive. Although, in this case it is freaking hilarious.

This is the first year that she is actually "getting" this whole Christmas thing. She loves the Christmas lights, decorations, trees and kitschy lawn ornaments. She encompasses all of these items into one term "Christmas." It is actually quite genius when you think about it.

Anyway on with the story….I finally put together our Christmas tree. Yes, I just said put together. It comes in pieces. Our faux Christmas tree is circa 1970 so you literally have to put each branch in the trunk of the tree. A little wobbly but once she's put together she's mighty purdy. So a glass of wine and I tackled the assembly after the kids went to bed. The glass of wine decided not to put on the lights or the decorations, trashy TV was much more appealing.

She woke up the next morning and much to her surprise, Christmas was in her house. We walked down the stairs and into the living room. The look of complete surprise that Christmas was in her house was priceless. She stood in front of the naked Christmas tree turned her head and in her sing-song angelic voice asked "where're the cock 'n balls?"

This is the point in the story where I must back track and explain the source of her vulgarity.

She loves to play with him. They roughhouse all the time. She pounces and punches and jumps all over him. Unfortunately she also pounces on his, well….twigs and berries if you catch my drift. In an effort to explain to her that papa has a sensitive area, he told her to be careful of his….hold your applause….cock 'n balls. Don't judge me, I was not home that afternoon. When he mentioned to me that he had explained this cock 'n balls term I almost punched him in the cock 'n balls. Are you kidding me? Really? Of all the things to tell her. Husbands…sometimes they just don't get it. Bless his heart.

The first cock 'n balls episode occurred on a quiet Saturday morning. We were on the couch drinking coffee while the beast and the boys played. It was one of those moments where you are in "ah" of how wonderful life can truly be. She had been rifling through the toy box, when out of the corner of her eye she spotted them. She jumped up and trotted over to two handful sized balls. As she picked up the first one she said with such glee "Oh! My cock 'n balls!"

I almost wet myself. First because I was shocked to hear the words come from her lips and secondly because it was so cute. Really, it was adorable. I had hoped that I heard her incorrectly, so I asked her what she had in her hands. She replied "My cock 'n balls!"
Of course he heard it this time and much like a prepubescent teen he giggled. (I giggled too, but don't tell him that). She did not see our laughter as she was too busy packing her cock 'n balls into her purse….like a true woman. She had it by the balls (Hold your applause. I will keep the jokes coming).

The second episode occurred when we were over at my mother-in-law's house admiring their Christmas tree. You probably know where this story is going. She and I were discussing the tree, the lights and the ornaments. Yes, you got it. She pointed to the ball ornaments and said "Look mommy cock 'n balls!"

I guess we should be thankful she hasn't dropped the f-bomb….at least hasn't dropped it yet.


the fifteenth

I had had writers block for a week and was at a loss. I'd tried a dozen times to write something. Something that had meaning. There are only so many times that one can write random words without getting completely frustrated. At some point something has to stick or else the frustration is, well, it sucks. Literally. The frustration sucks the creative life out of you.

Anyhow, I was feeding the boys and turned my head to look outside and decided I was going to run. Yes, run. Like for exercise. And I was going to run right then. Lately I have been racking my brain on when I could possibly find the time to go to the gym. I am sure that I could find an hour here or there in a week, but I am a schedule person. I like knowing that every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday I go to the gym. Just going when it fits in doesn't work for me. The inflexibility is certainly a flaw. Eventually, I'll work on it. Right now I have other flaws on my list. Plus going to the gym means changing clothes, driving to the gym….all of which take up valuable minutes that I could spend sweating and regretting (the extra serving of carbs).

So this idea of running is perfect…well, perfect if I liked running. I am not a runner. Never have been. I hate running. Even when I was a gym rat, I never ran. I was elliptical maniac. I spent an hour on that stupid machine and then 30 minutes with weights and stretching. I was in pretty good shape…of course at the time I did not think so. Little did I know three and half years later I'd be softer than an angel food cake. The last time I went to the gym I was probably 12 weeks pregnant with the boys….they are nine months next week. You can see where this running thing is a wild idea. I've stepped on the Stairmaster in our garage a few times, but not enough to make any bit of difference. Plus getting on that Stairmaster means cleaning away the crap that has gathered on top of it, which always leads to some organizational project. A project that becomes a perfect excuse not to exercise.

This running thing was a brilliant idea. I mean, maybe I don't hate running any more. Millions of people love running. I need to try to love it too. Seems reasonable to at least try it again. What could it hurt? Ha!

As the boys were finishing up their snack, I ran upstairs (the baby monitor was on so don't go calling CPS) to change my pants and put on another bra (they aren't what they used to be). I pulled my hair back, shoved on a hat and grabbed my sunglasses. SIDE NOTE: an advantage to running from home is that I can wear sunglasses and cover up the dark black circles that are usually concealed with make-up and the likes. You look like a tool wearing sunglasses inside a gym. I need to find all the advantages I can. Hopefully these advantages will add to the enchanting running experience.

I put the boys in the stroller, bundled them up and took them outside to him. He was busy cleaning up after our four dogs (and you thought changing diapers was nasty. Four dogs…need I say more).

My first words were, "don't judge."
He laughed. Don't judge usually means I am about to make an announcement that he will laugh at no matter what it is.
"I am going on a run."
"Really?" He replied.
"I said don't judge."
"I'm not." He was smiling so I knew he really was judging. "Don't you think a walk would be better?"
"Here are your sons. I'll be back."
"Do you think this is a good idea?"
"No." and off I went. I figured I'd take a dog with me. Something to keep me from walking the whole way.

I started running the moment I closed the gate behind me. The neighbor kids were out playing. Feeling a little cocky I remarked on how cool their bikes were as I jogged by. One of the neighbors was out in their front yard. The cockiness still in play, I kicked up the pace and ran by giving an "afternoon" as I trodded past. It felt good. I was light on my feet. Found a good pace. I was a bad ass. Look at me. I found the time. I was a born-again. Right then and their running was my new thing. I needed a thing. This was it. I made it out of our court and was thinking that I should sign up to run a half-marathon. What am I thinking? I'm a ___ bad ass. Make it a full marathon. I had been running for about 30 seconds.

As we made our way down the street and onto the running path my lungs started to burn. They were on fire. Wow. Then my calves. About 45 seconds later my ass. I had been running for a whole 5 minutes. I gave myself a break (a rarity) and rationalized that I had not exercised in a long time. Keep going. You pushed out twins with a faulty epidural. You can run. I walked periodically, but tried to run as much as I could. Each time I would walk, the dog would turn to look at me as if saying "really?"

As I rounded the corner back to our court, my feet had turned to bricks. My cockiness had fizzled to embarrassment. I had been gone for about 15 minutes and fourteen of them were miserable. I kept thinking did all runners start off like this? Maybe I will be the next Usaine Bolt….probably not, but a girl can dream right?

You can see that the writer's block passed, or at least for the moment. Nothing like burning ass muscles to help the words flow.

the fourteenth

I'm a bad ass mom. Really. You don't believe me, you should see what happens when she is on a time out. My time outs are so powerful they hurt. They inflict injuries in a stealth like mode. She goes on a time out and then suddenly she has the biggest owie know to man. Truly. Her injuries while on time out consist of hurt toes, week old bruises on her knees that flair up, or some remarkable eye issue that always seems to resolve itself once the time out is over. It really is a remarkable phenomenon. I am mom hear me roar.


the thirteenth

As a mom to three little ones (blessing/curse) I have realized that the hardest part is not the parenting, it is the trying to still be a human. A human with good days, bad days, a horrible attitude and on some days a complete lack of focus. A human who get excited and gitty.

A human who laughs at inappropriate times and smiles at cute boys (men). A human who still gets their feelings hurt but is often forced to suck it up and take one for the team. A human who on the hardest of hard days has to get up in the morning and put on a good front for the sake of my beautiful children. All the while battling my own issues and demons. My own accomplishments and defeats. Realization of my own goals and wants. Acceptance of what is and what will never be.

And it is for these reasons that I appreciate my parents (and those who guided me) more and more each day. Thank you for being human and thank you for the ability to eventually see this fact. Although, it is probably a little overdue.


the twelfth

Everyone (including me) was a little irritable this morning. Which I should have taken as a sign that the day would have a few bumps. Actually, the first sign should have been the snot-snail-trail across her face this morning. It was the first thing I saw when I opened my eyes. Pleasant. Nothing like dried snot before noon. So, because of the irritability I thought it would be good to get out and walk. A little fresh air might help lift some spirits. Plus I had eaten a few too many breakfast sausages. A walk would at least make me feel a little bit less guilty. She insisted on taking her wagon. Which really was not a good idea but she was already in a mood and had enough snot for the entire neighborhood. Fine. Bring the damn POS Walmart wagon. About twenty minutes (which is why walks are not a fav of mine these days) later we were on our way.We had just barely gotten around the block when it happened. I was slightly ahead of her and the stupid wagon. I heard her little feet running to catch up. Then, silence. But for just a second and then came the sliding sound. That girl slid across the asphalt like it was the bottom of the ninth, tie ball game, diving for home plate. Again, silence. And then the screams. Poor thing. I think she was more scared than hurt. Of course I picked her up (cause I am usually a good mom) and told her it was okay. Of course gallons of tears and snot were running on to my jacket...I made a mental note to wash it later on today with the other gazillion loads that were calling my name.

When I put her down, she made sure to pull up her pant leg to assess the damage. No sense falling if you don't have the boo-boo to show off. There it was. A nice case of road rash. She looked at her knee and then at me. Through the snot and tears she mumbled that she wanted a banade (translation: band aide. A Hello Kitty band aide). Still in mommy of the year mode, I told her that when we get home we will get a banade. On we went.

We usually pick flowers and put them in her stroller, but since she had her damn wagon I could tell she was going to hunt down some big ticket items. And less than a minute after sliding into home plate, she had to touch it. She grabbed that thing like it was the game winning ball. She had reached out and taken a handful of a cactus. Now, I am not a cacti expert, but this thing was mean. Her poor little starfish hand was covered in tiny little thorns. Her hand looked like it had grown hair. I don't know what she did but the thorns were everywhere. On the front and back of her hand. And as any two-year old would do, she rubbed her hand on her jacket. Which pushed the thorns in further and broke off the ends. I did my best to pull out the thorns with my nails, but there were hundreds of them.  Tough little girl. She didn't shed a tear. Just snot. Again, on we went. As we walked, I kept looking back and asking to see her hand. I was so scared that it would swell, which would trigger some horrible chain reaction which would sent her body into a complete swell....yes, yes, worse case scenario person I am. But come on! What if? How the F would I get it all together to get her to the doctor with two semi-mobile, centipede crawling babies...okay, yes, yes. Too much coffee. Calm down. Is it too early for a drink...it was going to be a long day.

She made it home alive - no horrible adverse reactions. Thank God. I outfitted her knee with two Hello Kitty banades. Which she then had to show off to her brothers. She told them that she phell (fell) and don't touch her banades or they would be in big trouble.

Tomorrow is my Monday. Back to work. But I might grab myself a banade, just in case.


the eleventh

I don't usually stay home with the kids during the week - I work. So on the rare occasion that I do, I try to tolerate treasure each moment. I mean, I stay home with them on the weekends but that is different. While there is always things to be done (endless list of to-do's) over the weekend. The schedule is flexible. Although it might not appear to my husband that I am flexible. I am. Just as long as I can eventually get my chores done. The worst feeling is starting a Monday completely unprepared for the week. All moms know what I mean by "prepared for the week."

For me there is something sacred about Monday - Friday. It's as if those days are mine. My schedule. My routine. Hello, my rules. So when the one of them woke up at 5:30 am (after both of them fussing all night - which by the way sucked cause I had a few too many chardonnays the night before) and I had not yet showered, I took a deep breath and reminded myself that although today is a Monday it is not My Monday. Breath, Breath. I gleefully swooped up the baby to discover that he had peed through his pj's. Well, then I guess his waking up early is justified...you are forgiven. We scampered (not so much, but it sounds cute) downstairs with a dry set of clothing for him. As he was having his morning bottle, sans wet clothing, I enjoyed a few sips of warm, fabulous, strong, dark, French (get your head out of the gutter).....coffee. Of course that was short lived because the other one woke up too. So there we were, the three of us hanging out watching a little news while the beast continued to sleep.

At around 7:00 am she stumbled down the stairs and into the family room. She always looks like she pulled one over the night before and is still drunk. She walks funny and her hair...girl, her hair. I pity the man who marries her if the hair thing continues. She looked like a heathen. Something between Cousin It, an 80's hair band with a little Flock Of Seagulls thrown in. It's hot. But to top it all off, she is in pink-penguin-footed pajamas. Rachel Zoe would die. She saunters in and immediately started asking questions about what I was doing. She doesn't get the whole no questions till 8:00 rule. Obviously not my Monday.

Almost every single toy ended up on the floor and after picking them up twice I gave up. The pillows were off the couch. Blankets were strewn about. I was almost in the corner rocking back and fourth....the clutter it kills me. But, remember, it's not my Monday....secretly, I wanted My Monday back.

As the day went on, we played outside and while I was inside checking on the boys, she ran inside (with the hair-do flapping in the wind as she ran) and told me the dog pooped his pants and it stinks. I laughed. I guess their Monday isn't so bad after all.

We all went for a walk. She pushed her twins in a stroller and I pushed mine. I guess I missed the memo because each time I tried to talk with her, she would tell me to be quiet because her babies were sleeping. Again, I laughed.

Later on in the day we were sitting on the couch together eating raisins out of the tiniest box know to man. I looked over at her and whispered (her babies might still have been sleeping) "I love you."

She turned her head and with a huge smile whispered "I love you" and then put her tiny two-year-old arm around me. I laughed and a single tear ran down my cheek. I want more of their Mondays.


the tenth

Our first real Halloween was a success. She is 2 1/2 so, its not really the first Halloween. Just the first official. The first year she was in this world, Halloween was merely a day where I could dress her up in some hilarious costume and try to get her to smile as I talked a little smack behind the camera. She was a hydrangea. The costume was handmade and fabulous. The following year she had been diagnosed two days before with pneumonia. It was raining and she was in no mood to be dressed up and photographed. I have a series of pictures documenting the full meltdown (they will be featured in a slide show at her 16th birthday and a second showing at her wedding). Needless to say she did not step foot outside that Halloween. Plus what would a 1 1/2 year old know about Halloween? Waiting another year wouldn't hurt. Plus IMO (in my opinion) candy is like crack for babies.

This was her first official Halloween. The Friday before we had an official dress rehearsal. My photo friend came over to take some pictures and I bribed her to smile using....yes, baby crack. She smiled and stood as angelic as ever. The boys were not to thrilled with their penguin outfits, but they did seem to enjoy grabbing the hood of the other (which at the front had a bill = handle to pull on) and knocking the other one over. WWF wrestling 8 month olds....I can feel my hair getting grayer.

On Halloween morning I knew that the day could go so many different directions. We could have a replay of "the pumpkin patch" incident or with the fairy costume could come the Tinkerbell personality. I was hoping for the latter. I made sure that I had cooping mechanisms on hand and prayed that I would have extra patience. Hoped being the operative word.

As dusk approached, we fed the beast (cute nickname for her, right?) and started practicing our trick or treat greeting. She stood grinning as I dressed her up. She loved it but was not to into the wings or the hippy crown. Fine. I was not about to push my luck. My father-in-law and I strapped on the Bjorn packs, each complete with a cute penguin baby.

He was busy putting the final last minute touches on our Halloween decorations. He would catch up with us. We did a test "treat" at our neighbors house. She rang the doorbell and then started to walk away. I encouraged her to stand at the door and wait for it to open. She was completely confused. As the door opened she stood stone still. I told her to say trick or treat. Nothing. Stage fright. The candy bowl came down to her level, I gave the nod to take some candy. She took one piece and looked back at me. Again, I gave her the nod. She dove in and grabbed a huge handful. That's my girl. We said our thank yous (or I said it on her behalf) and we walked away. About five seconds later she uttered "trick or treat."
The evening continued in a similar fashion. She would shuffle up to the door and stand stone still and silent. The neighbors would compliment her and she would just shovel the candy into her bucket. As we were walking away, she would utter the magic words "trick or treat."

The bucket got so full that he carried it for her. About half way through, she caught on that he was helping himself to her booty. She scolded him a few times. Little did she know that her cuteness was scoring us candy for the next six months....isn't that why we have kids? To score candy and eventually fetch adult beverages?

All in all it was a perfect first official Halloween. And while I would love to say that I am looking forward to next year with three kids....I am not. Maybe they can all be dogs and I have them on leashes?


the ninth

I am not exactly a people person...well, maybe it's not people, it strangers. Okay, you got me, it is people that I don't know. I am just not a small talker. So why, why did the universe make me drop two eggs which found two sperm and...well, we all know the rest of the story. Anyhow, for such a anti-small talker person, why do I have twins? Twins = small talk. Twins also = fascination. Why do people care so much about twins when they are all the rage these days? Hell, it seems in Hollywood that everyone is doing it. Twins are the new botox. I am not famous, but take twins (plus a 2 year old) into a store and a lot of people are looking. And I know its not because of my cute shoes.

My technique is to smile and keep walking. The smile has to be a love to stop, but you know... kinda smile. It is the disappointed smile that will hopefully chalk up some pity points.  The same kind you give to your annoying neighbor. You don't want to be thought of as a complete B, but you also can't stomach another round of questions. Plus, I just don't have the time to talk. The weekend is only so long and then Bam!...Monday is upon us. Hours in a grocery store is not my idea of a great weekend.

If you slow down, you are doomed. So you have to keep going at a good clip or you have given the "a-okay" for them to come over (block the entire isle) and ask the stock questions. Twins? How old? Both boys (duh)? Oh, and how old is their sister?
But you have to be careful with older ladies. If you smile to big, mark my words they will get a closer look. True story, an older lady followed me through Costco until she was able to catch up and get a glimpse. She wanted to touch their cheeks but the snot running down their noses deterred her at the last minute.

As any mom knows, when entering a store you have a window of time before the kid will self-destruct. The self-destruction can be in many forms. Some come like waves. Others like tsunamis - wiping out everything in their path including you and your patience. Most stores won't let you pop open a bottle of booze with out paying, so you have to make it through till the end. No escape.Well my theory is that the more kids, the narrower the window. It is a get-in get-out thing. No time to chit chat. Even if you don't know where you are going, you have to pretend you do. 

My husband is the kinda guy who could carry on a conversation with anyone. He smiles and acknowledges each person walking by. It really is a great quality. I am kinda jealous. Okay, maybe not. Anyhow, I love it when he comes shopping with me, except that he ignores the cardinal rules. I'll be half way down the isle, look back and he is not there. I back track and there he is smiling and talking to the someone. When he is through I ask him, "who was that?"
"I don't know. They wanted to know about them."

I can see our oldest begin to rearrange things in the cart...It looks like she is calculating which box of snacks to rip into first. The self-destruct count down has begun and we just started. Better stock up on the Chardonnay.


the eighth

Halloween is not my favorite holiday. But with kids I came to terms with it and will accept it until the kids get old enough that I don't have to care any more. I do, however, love giving my kids new experiences. We had traveled to the pumpkin patch last year with her. I was pregnant with them and have the unsightly pictures to remind myself of that. At the time she would have nothing to do with sitting cute on a pumpkin to take her picture. I was very hopeful that this year would be different. Hopeful. Hah, what a joke.

I spent the day before planning. Early breakfast, early nap, quick snack and then off to the patch. We had been talking about going to the pumpkin patch for the past few days. I was trying to pump her up. Trying to use the pumpkin patch as a bribe to be good. The day started off wrong. Breakfast at 11:30 (I guess that is not really breakfast anymore). She resisted taking a nap and then only slept for an hour. Dear me. I should have seen the signs.

We loaded up the truck. Three kids - check. Diaper bag - check. Bjorn packs (2) - check. Water and other life supplies - check. We were off. I was excited. I just knew this would be a special experience. I had remembered the camera and was determined to get a picture of the five of us. Ten years from now I would be able to look at that picture and smile at our first "patch" experience as a family. Little did I know this one would be hard to forget.

We arrived, packed up the boys and all held hands. We walked into the patch. Pumpkins were sparse, but it was the week before Halloween. It was more about the experience and not the pumpkins, but I encouraged her to run for them. Run for the pumpkins little girl. It was beautiful. A little back ground music as she ran through the grass on to the dusty field of pumpkins would have been perfect. She bent over and picked up an odd shaped pumpkin. She turned, looked back at us. She threw the pumpkin on the ground. She picked up another with the same intent. I hustled over with a baby attached to my chest, so running was not an option, and told her not to throw the pumpkins. People were looking at us. She muttered something and walked to the next. We managed to keep the poor pumpkins in tact by moving on to something different. She talked and laughed at the animals. My eyes teared up as she gibber-jabbered at the sheep that sat chewing his cud. Wow. If only I was so excited by such small things.

We were walking back to the front of the patch, back to the truck when she saw it. I had hoped that she would be so interested in the pumpkins that she would miss it. She didn't. There it was. In all it's glory. A huge red bouncy house in the shape of a ship. How could we say no. Well, we could, but.....

I should have known. I should have known with the way things had panned out so far - late breakfast, short nap, spiked pumpkins....

She went into the bouncy house and never came back. Our five minutes were up and her turn was over. She could have cared less if the world was coming to an end. She could have cared less if we had left her there for the rest of her life. With babies attached to our chest, we could not crawl into the bouncy house. She finally emerged after going down the slide. He had to make it a sneak attack and grab her as she peeked out the door. It was over. Right at that moment the day had taken a dark,dark turn. We became those people. We became those people that others talk about. Those people with there hands full with babies and then a screaming, crying child. Except our child spits too. She was mad. Wait, not mad. Furious. There was no rationalizing with her. I had been here with her before. For him, it was his first experience. She had hit the point of no return. It's birth control.

We wrangled her into her car seat and then into the house. She continued melting down and seemed to need a moment to her self. I took off her shoes and put her in bed. It sounds so graceful in words, but trust me, it was far from that. I was wrangling a spitting cobra. Again, birth control.
As I closed the door behind me, it took all I had not to have my own fit. She continued on for a while and then silence. About ten minutes later, she came downstairs and in her sing-songy, lisp voice turned her head to the side and asked for some raisins. I asked her the magic word and she sweetly replied, "please."

the seventh

I am aware that my actions (as a human being/mom) have an affect on my overly spirited, challenging two-year old. That every breath I take and each word I utter are being stored in her little mind, only to come back to haunt me in the near future. I have accepted this and do everything in my power to think before I act and have some kind of filter before I talk. I have tried to convince my husband of this fact as well. He is still in a bit of denial.

It had been one of those days. You know the type - on the verge of tears, ready to scream until the whole world goes silent. Completely questioning how I got to this place...oh, ya. Sex. Why don't they teach you this in high school sex ed? Anyhow, he had offered to help me put the kids to bed. Smart, smart man. While he was trying to corral her and get her in pj's I tackled the boys. She is like herding cats and they are like dressing a slicked piglet. He told her to take her pull-up off. She, in her spirited fashion, wiggled out of the pull-up and flung it towards him. He picked it up and playfully whacked the diaper across her face. She laughed in complete glee. I glared. I glared into the depth of his soul.
"Really?" I asked. "That is not a good thing to show her."
He giggled (like a child) "It's okay. It's just silly."
No wonder I call him my first born child....

The next morning, while rallying the troops, she took off her pj's and her diaper. I figured something was up because she was much to willing to comply with my wishes. She slipped out of her diaper, and while I was on the floor gaw-gawing at them, a soft "thwack" hit my face. Without even looking up, I knew. A soft, wet, full overnight diaper had just run across my cheek. I lifted my eyes only to find her looking so very pleased. In my nicest morning disciplinary voice, I told her "That's not nice. We don't hit people with diapers." In the back of my mind I am thinking why, why do I even have to be saying this? And while my mind was formulating an answer (not quite enough coffee), she chimed in with a cheery, "It's okay mommy, it's just silly."
He's dead meat.


the sixth

The shuffle of little feet across the carpet. The suckling slurps on the nipple of the bottle. The endless laughter at such simplistic things. The tantrums complete with crocodile tears, stomping feet and screaming "no's."
The whisper of  "I love you" uttered with a slight lisp.  The horrid smell of dirty diapers. The clanking of forks on plates during 6:00pm dinner. The spring-sprong noise as the Jumper-roo is in full effect. The Cheshire cat smiles when they lock eyes. The silence of sleep. 

The middle of the night, placing my hand on their chest - just checking. Lurking in their room. Listening to their innocence. Knowing that in the morning the clanking, clattering, chatting, screaming, crying, laughing, talking, playing, smiling will all begin again. I too shuffle my feet across the carpet. Closing the door behind me, whispering I love you (without a lisp).


the fifth

It goes with out saying that I am in love with my kids and I would never turn back the clock. We have been truly blessed. Words do not express the feelings when you hold her for the first time, see him smile or hold them in your arms and hear the words I love you. It's a euphoric feeling. But when I hear friends and co-workers talk about having kids, I can't resist putting in my two cents....well, usually it's more like 25 cents (two cents won't get you crap these days). I often warn not of the pain of childbirth (believe me. I pushed out twins with a faulty epidural), or the huge financial impact (hello, three kids in daycare full time), or of the various hormonal repercussions of pregnancy and postpartum (gotta love crying or freaking out for no reason). I warn of the life change.

It is a cliche, but kids change your life. Literally, your life as an individual will no longer be your life. It is now their life. Your life will revolve around them. At times that is wonderful and at times it is a bad dream. Kids complicate things. 

I truly long for the ability to just pick up and leave the house within five minutes and only one trip to the car. Days were spontaneous. Dinner was unplanned and uninterrupted. Empty weekends. A quiet Friday afternoon became busy with drinks and dinner with friends. Sundays were filled with long afternoon naps and a load or two of laundry. Weekdays were waking up, working, relaxing then doing it all over again. I almost hated weekends because I would be bored. Now like any mom, any down time is spent figuring out how best to spend any extra moments - laundry, vacuuming, moping floors...it is a toss up. Staying in bed all day drinking coffee and reading a good book has certainly gone to the birds. Reading anything other than baby food jars and Bambi is a bit of a pipe dream these days.

Of course things won't always be this busy. This too shall pass and another season of our lives will begin. But to those who are "sans" kids I say, live it up. Enjoy the simpleness of it all. Of course I was on the receiving end of this exact advise and look where it got me.


the fourth

I think it was my fourth trip from the truck to the house...well...maybe it was my fifth. Who knows! I had made quite a few trips. Smarty pants me, I had scratched the idea of loading the car in heels and had resigned to a pair of Crocks until I reached the office. Shuffling in and out of the house, with each trip she told me to "be careful mommy. Watch out mommy. Good job mommy." I would always reply with "thank you, thank you." Of course muttering under my breath something about the days when I had quiet mornings with one trip to the car...those were the days. On the fifth trip (or what ever it was) "Okay, it's your turn. Let's get in the car."  Dead silence, she dropped her sippy cup and said "no." Oh my. It isn't even 7:30am and this is how it starts. I am often amazed that we (as a society) continue to breed. I took a deep breath.

This morning was not unlike any other morning. Up early, a cup of coffee before the little ones start fussing. A shower, make-up and hair, a tad bit of laundry, more coffee and then up-se-daisy. Rise and shine little ones. I could tell it was going to be a rough one when before she opened her eyes, her first word was "no." Now, not all mornings are difficult. There are certainly those where I get to work and realize that I might actually be able to make it through the day without feeling like screaming. I guess those are the days that I think of having more kids....idiotic. Yes. Completely. Please commit me.

We always make it into the car and there is usually that final trip to grab my coffee/water of life or what ever you want to call it. There are days when I drive away and have to drive back only to realize that I did not forget what I thought I forgot. We always make it to daycare into the arms of our wonderful provider. Who seems to welcome the craziness of my three kids - we are often half of her daily inventory. Good thing she is not sick of us. As I close the door behind me, leaving my kids crying or smiling, laughing or screaming, I realize how glad I am to go to work. But at the end of the day, no matter what kind of day it has been, it is a pleasure to see their faces. Well....maybe that is a lie....it is a pleasure to see their faces as long as they are smiling. If there are frowns....oh well. I guess it's too late now.


the third

She put me on a time out. She said "that's it! time out!" She repeated it over and over. Really drilling the point.

She pulled a full carton of eggs off the counter and quietly took eggs out of the carton and put them on the floor. Tick, tick. I heard it in the background but had no idea what that noise was. She put me on a time out?

She found a permanent pen, drew on my french table cloth and on the side of the drawer. We now call her the graffiti artist. And she put me on a time out.....

She had been sneaking them for days (we later discovered). A white powder on her lips. A little suspicious, but who has time to investigate? Teething tablets....took them out of the diaper bag, out of the ziplock, took the top off and helped herself. Put the top back on, back in the ziplock and back in the diaper bag.....we call her the druggie. And she put me on a time out!

She lies. Lies all the time. Through her teeth. No shame. Did you go potty in your pants? "no." The nerve of her to smile as she responds. Did you go potty? "No!" The sing-song in her voice actually is cute. But the smell that just came out of her you-know-what, not so cute. She lies. So we call her the pathological liar. And she put me on a %$#@*&% time out!?!?!?

She sat on one of them. Sat on him like he was a ride at the fair while she yelled out a version of "yee-hah." She sat on him and looked shocked when I was upset. She put me on a time out (really).

She stole the pacifier. She took it out of his mouth and ran. Forest Gump, full on Hussein Bolt Olympic time trial ran. Along the way she "disposed" of the pacifier in a secret location (still unknown). Like a drug deal gone bad, she stole the goods and in an instant it was gone. Where...who knows. Because she is a liar and won't tell where it really is. Probably with the lost socks from the laundry...I knew there was a culprit! We call her a kleptomaniac.....and she put me on a time out :)

She is two and already draws all over my stuff, sneaks things that taste good, lies (or doesn't truly know the difference between yes and no), and she steals. She put me on a time out and I laughed out loud at her.

Thank god she is only two.

the second

The camera clicked away as my mind played ping-pong.
Bouncing from one memory to the next. The beginning - the horror we felt. Two babies...really? The current - wow, this really is our life. Forever. The recent past - tears of joy, tears of frustration, tears of pure and utter exhaustion. There are so many happy memories, which is more than I can say for some (so I should not complain). Yet, it is so sad sometimes took look back and realize that it all occurs in just the blink of an eye. It seemed like just last week that they were so small, so pliable...still so very sleepy. They sit now (literally) in a bucket full of towels and roll around on a blanket blabbering and drooling. She plays in the background. Trying to find some kind of trouble, just enough to get a little (or a lot) of attention. She too was once so small. All that you gain as they grow, you lose too. The innocence, the smell, the softness, the almost lifeless sleep.

So now as the only noise in the house is the flicker of the fan, the breaths of babies in the other room, and my fingers tap-tap-pause-tap-tap-tapping, I sit back and my mind continues to ping-pong from one memory to the next. Smile.


the first

While Friday's are my favorite day of the week, I often find that they are the hardest. Friday nights I find myself in a scramble to organize the two days that follow. How am I going to juggle all that needs to be done (groceries, cleaning, diapering, napping...well probably not, but I always have it on my list...and then writing. Which also always seems to be at the bottom). What needs to be done and what actually gets done are two totally different things.

So does one hoof it to the grocery store first thing Saturday morning. Beating the crowds and the people who shop for pleasure.(..you know what I mean? The people that roam the isles with nothing but time.) Getting to the store just in time when there are only three checkers and they are still stocking shelves. Or do I pass on the early riser shopping and sit in bed with my kids and my husband and enjoy a cup of coffee...which is usually cold by the time I actually get to drink it - between the "mom, mom" and the diapers and the bottles and warm sippy-cup milk. There are no wild Saturday nights, well maybe they are wild. Sometimes I stay up till 11pm. Barely stay up. I usually fall asleep with the TV on. Watch out, mad crazy party woman I am!

Then we come to Sundays, which are just plain depressing. Monday is looming in the horizon, but you try to squeeze out every last drop of the day. By Sunday evening I am gathering up, preparing for the week ahead. It kinda feels like working in a restaurant. Preparing for the next day's morning breakfast rush.

When the alarm goes off at 5am on that Monday morning, hatred for that alarm has never been stronger. But as I stroll into the kids room (with a warm cup of coffee...that is a weekday gift) and touch their warm cheeks I realize that I'd take another Saturday and Sunday in an instant.