Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Dog dilemma.

Lately the kids have become fixated on the idea of getting a dog. Gary secretly wants one too and so I am currently an island. It's hard. Last night I tried to put to rest the idea once and for all and had to deal with a near hysterical Leia whose friend a few doors down is about to get one. Unfortunately Leia has no understanding of what it means to take care of three small and extremely lively children. Her friend is an only child and also 8 years old. Their home has at least 1000 square feet more space than ours. When I compared our situations it had little effect as you can imagine. Thankfully she became distracted but this morning I had a letter waiting for me which I'll transcribe for you.

Contract for a dog

- clean dog
- feed dog
- brush dog fur
- walk dog
- pick up poo

I will do these things
Talk to me after school
I can't live without a dog

It also came with a lovely picture of herself crying, with speech bubbles containing the words "waaa, no dog".

There is no way on this earth Leia would get up and take a dog outside at 5am should it want to. And of course it completely escapes her that dog food costs money as well as insurance for vet fees. I ALMOST would like to get her her own little toy dog like a Yorkie but you can't take a tiny yorkie hiking or anything. What's the fun of a dog if you can't even take it outside and throw a stick for it and watch it enjoying itself?
Nope. The cause is truly lost and Gary knows better than to push the issue. I would truly lose my sanity if I now had to train a slobbery smelly animal after my youngest child has just learned to use the bathroom day AND night. 7 years of diapers felt like a very long time. I'm just a realist and our experience of owning a dog (before kids) has left a searing impression on my mind.

Also, this afternoon I was loading the boys into the car to drive Spencer to school. Spencer and Nathan had this conversation.

Nathan: Where are we going?
Spencer: What do you mean, where are we going? Can't you see what I'm wearing?
(meaning his backpack)
Nathan: School
Spencer just then gave Nathan a "duh" look.

How soon they learn to be unpleasant and sarcastic!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

What we did on Saturday.

On Saturday we decided to get back out there and take advantage of the Spring weather. We chose a trail near Woodland Park which is about an hour away but it was so worth it. We felt like we were in the middle of nowhere since we had to drive on a dirt track for a few miles before we reached the trailhead. It was a 3.5 mile hike and I was a little worried about the kids at first but they were great. It has been too long and I for one am grateful that Spring is here so that we can do this again most weekends.
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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

St. Patrick's Day Paddy

Motherhood for me is changing. I used to be tired at the end of the day since I spent my time doing physical tasks such as feeding, changing diapers, dressing, pouring drinks, cleaning messes and all the rest of it.
I'm starting to get to the point where the kids can dress themselves, tidy their own rooms (with bribes), get their own drinks and snacks. I no longer have to change any diapers whatsoever and the messes are getting fewer. Of course there's still all the things that go along with maintaining a home but it seems manageable.
However at the end of the day I feel just as exhausted if not more so. I have realized that it's a mental exhaustion of constantly striving to guide my children in the right direction. It's the worry of letting them walk home from the bus stop and debating whether to trust them in another child's yard. They were playing across the street today with two children in their yard. I was by myself in the house doing this and that. Leia runs in breathless, saying that there was an emergency. Apparently Nathan had dropped something from the deck onto the patio below and it had smashed, releasing lots of white liquid. I was mortified and ran across the street fully expecting to see some kind of chemical that was ruining the neighbors patio. Thankfully it was nothing but a bit of leftover drink, covering an area about the size of a quarter. Of course it took a while for my pulse to return to normal.
And when Leia came home this afternoon, she rushed downstairs expecting to find a room that had been tidied by the leprechaun and a pot of chocolate money somewhere.
Now I have never in the whole course of my 29 years celebrated St. Patrick's Day. This year is no different and Leia did not even know the holiday existed this morning. But she had been well and truly indoctrinated at school and had also been pinched several times because she wasn't wearing green. I take issue with that for one and then also with the grief she exhibited because the leprechaun had passed her by. There were tears, clenching of fists, throwing of homework books and so on. I hinted that maybe there was no such thing as the leprechaun and her response convinced me she is not ready to handle the truth about Santa anytime soon.
Now I have enough to do with homework, swimming lessons, parent teacher conferences, spring break, and all the other holidays where I have to take on multiple personas. I am Santa, the Tooth Fairy, St. Valentine, the Easter Bunny, not to mention the organizer of birthday parties. I am not going to be the leprechaun as well. I'm sure Ireland is a great place but I've never been there and the holiday doesn't mean anything to me.
I am so thankful that Gary showed up 10 minutes ago. It's noisy downstairs as Daddy Monster is in fine form, but I can finally switch off from my "alert" status. And sometimes I think that takes more out of me than anything else.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A piece of my evening

Tonight Leia was involved in a performance of a musical program at school. They have been working on it for a while during music lessons and she was very excited. She did very well and I was very proud of her. Beforehand she was very fixated on the idea that the songs would make me cry. Apparently, her teacher had told them that the singing would make the parents cry. As I was getting her ready for bed when we got home, she asked very eagerly if I had cried during the singing. I am afraid I had to tell a little white lie. I mean, I'm British for goodness sake. I said that perhaps I had some tears in my eyes. Well Leia was jubilant. She jumped for joy. Why should my own child wish to reduce me to tears? She surely is an American child. I think I'm going to have to steer her away from all this touchy feely stuff! Forgive the quality of the pictures. They're not up to my usual standard due to the fact we were stuck in the very back

This was Leia's face when she first spotted us in the audience. She looked quite anxious until then.

Performing her heart out.


Spencer wanted a piece of gum. In exchange I asked him for a picture. He didn't quite smile but he at least looked in my direction. What am I going to do for his birthday photo shoot?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

To laugh (or not?)

I had an interesting morning. I decided to go to the gym and exercise. Not very interesting I hear you say but just wait. I deposited the boys in the play area and disappeared off to kill myself for 30 minutes. I was running around the track upstairs and could see what was going on with the boys while I was at it. At one point I could see that Spencer had been put in time out. Thrilling! I was in such suspense over his offense and I was not disappointed. My dear little blonde haired angelic sweet 5 year old boy told some other boy to "Kiss my a#s".

Disclaimer: I have never uttered these words in my life. Gary assures me it has been years for him. I can only assume Spencer heard it at school or the same playroom where he decided to repeat it.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Wuv, Twoo Wuv

This morning Nathan said "Mommy, I wuv you". It's very special when your child first says that to you voluntarily, without you saying it first. That will definitely carry me through the day including a jam packed fundraiser at Chick Fil A which is no doubt going to drive me crazy.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Nathan's birthday and the consequences!

It's been a rough couple of days for Spencer and therefore it has leaked onto me. Because when Spencer is upset, he gets angry. Nathan's birthday gift this year was a Smart Cycle. It's like a stationary bike but it hooks up to the TV and you can play racing games and other educational games using a joystick etc.... As you can imagine this toy is the biggest hit. In fact I didn't anticipate just how much excitement it would generate. Spencer is literally sick over the fact that it belongs to Nathan and he has to wait for Nathan to let him have a turn. Even though Nathan has been wonderful about sharing it, he is convinced that he is not getting to play with it AT ALL. He doesn't want to go to school because it's in the house. Today we went to Target to get Nathan an additional game for it. Some friends gave him a gift certificate to go buy one with. I have had to rule that Spencer doesn't get to play with it before school and this is because he will dominate and Nathan will not get a look in. I want Nathan to be able to open up his game and play with it for a while before Spencer and Leia get home from school and force him to take turns with them.
The result of all this is that Spencer is having ten times as many tantrums as usual. We've had a few showdowns on the naughty chair and although I am always victorious it leaves me feeling exhausted. Today in the store he called me "a mean mommy" because Nathan was getting the game and he was getting nothing. And when I refused to buy them candy at the checkout (due to the fact we have candy and cupcakes at home) he said "Well I'm going to save up all my money and one day I'll have $100 and I don't care what you say, I am going to buy just what I want." Bless his heart, I really feel for him. Leia deals well with all this this. She knows her time is coming but for Spencer it's all a little too much. He's even decided that the shoes I recently bought him are "stupid" and he needs new ones. He keeps pulling the straps so tight that he's completely missing the velcro so they won't stay shut. I went into school with him just now and mentioned to his teacher that he may be a little out of sorts today. More like he's seething with resentment!
And we have been experiencing some less than great side effects of this climate. Yesterday we went to the park for an hour or two. I just sat on a bench while the boys played. It was about 65-70 degrees which I didn't think anything of. My forehead and the part of my chest that was exposed now have a really bad sunburn. I mean the kind that you normally get when you lay on the beach all day and it's 90 degrees out. It sucks! And then I got a message from Leia today. She went to the school office because her hands were hurting. She left me a message to bring her in some lotion. Her hands are so cracked and dry almost to the point of being bloody. It's quite hard to keep on top of all this dry skin and itchiness. Having said all that though, I am LOVING the climate here.
Anyway, here are a few snaps from the festivities yesterday.

Sitting down to dinner amongst all the balloons.

Make a wish!

Nathan blindfolded as we brought in the bike.

Playing a game.

It's so much fun!