Flowery

I was in town Sunday night when I got a call that Jane’s alarm clock had broken and that she would like to talk to me.

Jane then very politely requested that I go to the Dollar Store in town and buy her a new alarm clock, “But not one of those plain black ones with all the buttons like yours. A unicorn one.”

When I explain that the Dollar Store was unlikely to be open, (think small town Sunday night, the grocery store was closing in ten minutes and the gas station only had another hour) and that even if it was, it was highly unlikely that I would find a unicorn alarm clock at the Dollar Store (that being a weirdly specific request that I’ve never even seen before, much less at our, nice but relatively small local Dollar Store).

Jane heaved a sigh out of her little seven year old body that rivaled that of the most put-upon mother and said. “Can you just make sure it’s girly then.”

Up a creek I would have been, except that I was at a friend’s house who happened to have an old unused alarm clock as well as a resourceful high schooler. Her daughter kindly went to work printing out pictures and created the most flowery, girly unicorn alarm clock that has ever come out of our little town after dark on a Sunday.

While I was sure it wasn’t quite what Jane had envisioned, it was pretty impressive, except for one thing, it only beeped.

And so, despite the fact that Jane has only used radios as alarms in the past ,when I arrived home, well past her bedtime, (girly, unicorn alarms take a bit of time to create) I set it up anyway.  This morning when my own radio alarm sounded I headed upstairs to see how Jane’s “surprise” alarm clock worked out for her.

“Mom, it looks really pretty but it makes a bad noise. When I woke up this morning I was screaming.”

I feel it needs to be explained here that Jane wakes up earlier than her sisters or me because it takes her 57 times longer than us to get ready. I give her an extra 30 minutes.  Sometimes it helps. And sometimes, like this morning, John is up getting himself ready.

Thankfully he was able to turn off her alarm clock, show her the girly pictures and calm her down.  Now despite the fact that she disparaged her wonderful creation as being “an alarm clock that Granny would use” (for reference Granny is her Great Grandma, so I think she got that spot on) she happily set it tonight before bed and double checked that she knew how to turn it OFF when it makes that bad noise again in the morning.

I can only conclude from this alarm clock fiasco that unicorns are indeed magical beings. How else would Jane have accepted a machine that makes a noise so irrefutably terrible that it woke her up screaming as her new alarm clock?

 

 

 

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I Don’t Believe in Fiction

“Mom, I just, I just don’t believe in fiction.”

That’s a Jane quote that when placed in context with the picture above invokes all the cliche wonderfulness of a child’s imagination.

In reality that’s a Jane quote delivered at bed time. As I’m sure you are aware bedtime is an excellent time to practice fictionalizing your monsters.

Context and timing. I swear the ups and downs of parenting all boil down to context and timing.

 

The Best At Remembering

Recently Jane’s snow pants went missing. I’m not sure how regular of a reader you are, or if you live in the area, but this is January in Wisconsin. It’s cold and we do things outside. Snow pants are super necessary.

On the evening it was discovered that Jane’s snow pants were missing, we were on our way to the kids’ cross country ski lessons. Again, when you are seven and the windchill is in the single digits snow pants are super necessary for skiing.

In attempting to track down the snow pants we decided that they were either, still at the ski place from last time we were there, left at Grandma’s where the kids had been since the last time they skied or in the back of the truck in the ginormous pile of bags, ski clothes and general debris.

The only thing we knew for certain was that they weren’t in the truck and so a lively discussion of where they might be started. It was all hypothetical and going fine until Jane panicked when she realized she  might have left them at Grandma’s, about a two hour drive from home.  Then I reminded her that Grandma is a wonderful Grandma who will pack up forgotten items and send them in the mail the next day.

“Really?” says Clara, “I didn’t know she did that.”

“Yeah,” Jane says, “once she mailed me my rainbow crown.”

“What rainbow crown?”

“The rainbow crown that Otis broke and then that one guy was at our house I think his name was uhhh Matt, yeah Matt and he fixed it with that thing that started on fire in his pocket and then I left it at Grandma’s and then she mailed it to me” Jane explained.

I broke in with a “Wow. Yup. She’s right, good memory Jane” (Because Otis is a little boy who moved across the country almost three years ago and the man who fixed it was indeed named Matt and she only met him that one night, and no matter how you cut it that’s a pretty good memory).

“Yeah.” says Jane with not a hint of modesty, “I’m the best at remembering.”

“Okay remembering girl!” I said, “Remember me this! Where are your snow pants!!!”

“Mom. I don’t remember stuff like that!”

 

They were at the ski place. She… forgot… them there. 

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. 

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/