I Hate You.

My children have reached the age that I’ve become hated on a regular basis. It doesn’t really bother me. My infractions range from not allowing them to watch videos until their brains drool out their ears to requesting that they carry their own backpacks in from the car and eat the dinner prepared rather than make their own meal of pop-tarts and chocolate chips.

Clearly I am a monster.

On a recent trip to the dentist all the girls “failed” their exams and by the time we walked out the door they were all worked into a tizzy over fears of what terrible appointment might come next (also apparently you shouldn’t guzzle lime juice ’cause it’s bad for your enamel- who knew. Sorry Clara!). We dashed across the street anyway and made a quick run through Walgreen’s where I stocked up on essentials for myself (notebooks and chocolates, you know, some days I feel more like a writer than others) and where I refused to buy the girls giant pillow/stuffed animals. Clearly we were there for my wants, not theirs. But it was going to be okay because next we headed for ice cream. Because that’s what we do after the dentist. Is it logical. No. Were we all starving. Yes. Do we all need a reward after the dentist. Yes. And apparently it’s better than drinking lime juice (seriously, who thinks of that? No kid, no more lime juice for you- it’ll wreck your enamel. Actually, who’s kid drinks lime juice straight out of the bottle? This whole problem is totally perplexing me.).

In the drive thru we had a major melt down from two of the three girls that involved yelling at me because the flavor of the day was bad (and also there was no lemon ice for the lime juice lover so that was probably a blessing in disguise) and crying because the other one “just can’t decide!”

So, meanest mother in the world that I am I canceled our ice cream order. Because, really girls, never yell at the person buying you ice cream. This is an important life lesson that needed to be learned. However I did order a family size fries, because there is a fine line between setting limits and torturing you, yourself, the mother and this was a meltdown that needed french fries thrown at it if I ever saw one (Also, I was hungry).

Jane, affronted that we were getting HOT french fries (she hates hot food, I’ve yet to get the concept that cooking requires heat across to her but if you have ideas please let me know), demanded her ice cream and fell to pieces when it was explained that there would be no ice cream.

“I hate you! And I hate you! And you! I hate EVERYONE! And I hate EVERYTHING! … except that stuffed animal…”

My giggles at her outburst didn’t help.

But the french fries did.

We were all forgiven by the time we made it home.

This is a picture from this summer that has nothing to do with the blog post. This is largely because I can’t get my new computer to show me thumbnails of my photos and instead I have hundreds of identical icons to choose from.  All help appreciated!

Moral of the story:

Never underestimate the power of fresh french fries and the evils of lime juice. 

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E-mail Conversation Circa 2012

What follows is an actual e-mail conversation between John and I from May of 2012. At that time Jane would have been about five months old…

…Clara two and half and Ivy five, though not yet in school…

..and e-mail was John and my primary method of communication while he was at work.

John:

Can you email or call Abi and see if they are available for us to visit on the 31st? And to refresh my memory, you were thinking leaving Thursday morning, so I should take off right?

Did things improve with the girls today?

 

Me:

yes until it rained in kitchen – now sucks jane asllep pn arm, stuck and afraid to move

 

John:

Would you mind elaborating on “rained in kitchen”?

 

And then, according to my old e-mails I was cleaning out, I never answered him. Which makes me giggle every time I re-read it. Because what must he have thought at work knowing total chaos waited him at home? “Well, at least they didn’t burn the house down.” or “I guess it’ll be cleaner now.” or “Just another typical day at the Stevens house.” I have no idea, and he doesn’t remember either but, unless it rained in the kitchen twice in May of 2012 (a possibility I am NOT discounting!) I did blog about it…

“It’s Raining…”

 

One of the major problems I have staying home with three kids is that while I’m nursing the baby the other two are doing stuff. Some days they are doing nice stuff and some days are like today. Today I came into the kitchen and found that Clara discovered not only how to change the kitchen faucet from a stream to a spray but that you can also pull out the head of the faucet. I pull out the head of the faucet to wash large pans and clean the sink. Clara pulled it out, must have thought it was actually intended to be the worlds best water gun and got right to work spraying Ivy.

Read the rest of it’s raining here: https://behindthewillows.com/2012/05/22/its-raining/

 

 

Guess What I Made?

“Mom!” says Clara, “Guess what I made?”

Turns out I hate guessing what the kids have/found/made/like/want. Part of this is because Clara likes to tell you “No,” when you guess the correct answer just to keep you guessing.

I do not always appreciate her form of fun.

My tactic in dealing with guessing games has evolved, I’ve gone from interested and caring new parent to jaded mother who has burned by too many fake “noes”.  I now start crazy and guess wilder and wilder items until they become fed up with me and tell me.

The kids do not always appreciate my form of fun.

“You made a pterodactyl.”

“No,” says Clara, “better than a pterodactyl.”

“Well, I have no idea then, what’s better than a pterodactyl?”

“This!” she says and whips her creation from behind her back.IMG_6721-(2sm)

Yeah.

She doesn’t know what it is either.*IMG_6724-(2sm)

But it is so obviously better than a pterodactyl.

*And why? Why do I have to guess what a thing is when she doesn’t even know what the thing is? I also do not appreciate that kind of fun! 

Waiting With A Camera

When you have kids you wait.

You wait for babies to wake up, kids to eat, shoes to be found, shoes to be put on, shoes to be discarded, new shoes to be found and new shoes to be put on. You wait for really, really, long stories to be told, one last swing, three hundred million tricks to be performed and kids to fall asleep.

When you have kids you wait.

A lot.

In theory during all this waiting I could focus all my love and attention on my wonderful children. (Three hundred million tricks people!?! I ran out of attention long before we hit 500,000.)

In theory I could practice zen like patience and being calm. (Hello, my name is Jessie, have we met?)

In practice I take pictures.

Taking pictures looks just like focusing all your attention on your children but really it’s the camera that is focused on the kids while your brain focuses on lighting and composition. As an added bonus, with the wonders of digital photography, zen like patience is completely unnecessary as you can just click and click and click some more.

Now pulling out a camera when forced to inactivity is my default mode.

Today I was waiting for Jane.

I wait for Jane all the freakin’ time often. This time I was waiting as she crossed a foot bridge at my parents’ house. The bridge used to be a Billy Goats Gruff bridge.  Now, partially under construction, it’s more like the tightrope at the circus.

Jane was not impressed.

Falling off the bridge would have dropped her a maximum of two feet into shallow water and mud. I was unimpressed by her drama and sat down to wait.

Of course that really meant that I sat down and started taking pictures.

Balancing her way toward me with all the flair and high drama of a real tightrope act, she caught me snapping a photo.

“MOM! THIS IS NOT THE TIME FOR PICTURES!”

I’m not sure she was correct on that. It sure seemed like a good time for pictures to me. But it became quite clear that it was most certainly not the time for laughter.

Note: If you are going to laugh at children in the throes of high drama, I highly recommend hiding your face behind a nice large DSLR camera rather than the smallest smart phone on the market. 

Bike Rider

Jane has been using a scoot bike for the last few years.

A scoot bike, for those of you who are not familiar, is a bike that has no pedals/gears/etc (some people call it a balance bike).  Kids can learn to balance and steer while they push themselves along on their feet Fred Flintstone-style. Jane was a master scoot biker but until this last week was completely unwilling to make the transition to *gasp* *shudder* *panic* …pedals.

But, this week, she, with help of a ridiculous purple Disney princess endowed bike (thank you Grandma Mary) was convinced to give the pedals a try – sans training wheels. There was panicking. There was whining. There was moaning. There were two really unconcerned and unhelpful parents because they had seen her navigate the downhill slope of our terribly rutted gravel driveway on her scoo

t bike and she was going to be fine as soon as she tried it.  Twenty min. later Jane was riding a real bike.

An hour later she called me out to watch.

Personally “Mom, watch me!” inspires feelings of dread and desperate wishes to have something, anything, else to do. But not this time. This time I was excited for her. She was riding a real bike.  With pedals. It’s a big milestone. I willingly went to the driveway to watch.

Foolish, foolish mother…

“Mom, count how many times I can go around the circle.”

(the circle being the small paved area in front of our two-car garage.)

“One!”

Foolish, foolish mother.

….

“Five!”

I was still proud of her.

“Twelve.”

I was still proud but the novelty had worn off.

“Twenty one.”

I sent Clara for a camera so I would have something to do.

“Thirty seven.”

“NO! You didn’t’ say thirty six, this is thirty six.”

“Oh, I just counted in my head.”

“That doesn’t count!”

“… thirty six….”

“forty five…”

Foolish, foolish mother.

“MOM ARE YOU STILL COUNTING?!?!”

“SIXTY EIGHT!”

“Aren’t I good at bike riding?!?!?”

“… seventy… three…. *yawn*”

I started daydreaming about setting time limits. As in, “Yay! You learned something new, I’ll be encouraging that new skill for the next five min and then I’m moving on. Ready… Go!”

“eighty eight”

This is right about when Clara, also bored out of her skull wanted to show off her bike riding skills too. Complete chaos ensued. Bike crashes, screaming, fighting, gravel needed to be brushed out of palms, the whole nine yards.

The dust settled, and there was Jane, still riding her bike and also demanding the entire driveway to herself.

“Fine. You can have the whole driveway but I’m not watching anymore after one hundred.”

My feelings of pride were lessening, the novelty was gone and my encouragement was getting mighty thin.

“ninty nine.”

“one hundred!!!”

Foolish, foolish mother.

“Aren’t you going to keep counting?”

 

Moral of the story: “Watch me” never, ever, ends well for the mother.

Temporary Brain Loss

Ivy is going to be in middle school next year.

I’ve heard that children lose their brains around this age. Ivy’s pretty smart though, maybe it won’t be so bad.  I’ve even been told she’s good a conversing with adults…


Ivy: “Do you know ‘Thriller’ by Michael Jackson.”

Me: “Yes.”

Ivy: “I don’t.”

Ivy: blink, blink… blink, blink…

Me: blink, blink…

Ivy: blink, blink… blink, blink…

Me: “Why do you ask?….”


… Yup.

Middle School.

Temporary brain loss.

It’s happening.

Wish us luck.