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Sunday, June 30, 2013

I am, I am, I am Supermom....

I admit it, I took my role as supermom a little too far. Maybe it was the somewhat successful trip to Target, or the enforced bed time that led me to the false assumption I could take them to a baseball game.   It's all my sisters fault.  She had free tickets and offered to give them to me, plus one of my younger boys was on a playdate, so I thought I could handle 3 alone. I was mistaken.
I have not been to a baseball game that did not involve one of my own children since I was in my 20's.  This isn't even a major league park, just a local one, that is actually pretty nice.
As I was using all my upper body strength to force the 3 year old in the stroller, I should have realized this was not a good idea, but I didn't trust my gut.   Speaking of guts, there were a lot on display.
I try and have an open mind, and I understand that people come in all shapes and sizes, but what is great about living in 2013 is that clothes also come in all shapes and sizes. I will be damned if this women didn't know this.
When we turned in our vouchers for our tickets the ticket guy informed me that we didn't actually have seats, only the field. That was fine, but now I was cursing my sister because this was all her fault.  Her excuse was that she "had to go to mass" sure.  She knew what she was avoiding.
The other thing I forgot about baseball games is the mandatory cleavage.  I didn't get that memo.   Not that I have any to be showing off anyway.  However, just the other day while we were on our way to the pool I had to pull into a 7-11 and get cold drinks for everyone. The insulated bag was in the back buried under floaties and noodles and I had to bend over to get it.  In this neighborhood a mom bending over into a minivan in a pool cover up must be a hot ticket.   A car honked, a cat called, a guy sucked his teeth at me and I even got a whistle from a guy who was standing only about 4 feet away. That was creepy.  The bag was way way at the bottom of the trunk.  Parker appeared to be concerned.  "How did that guy do that?"  I assumed he meant why and began explaining that some guys are stupid and not gentleman like , then he interrupted me and said he wanted to know how the guy whistled so loud without using his fingers.
Maybe 15 years ago I would have felt violated or concerned for my safety, but that day I was almost welcoming a confrontation. I had a baseball...well ok,  t-ball bat in the back of my van and I would be happy to put it to good use, if I had the energy, which honestly I didn't.
As we made our way through the $5 popcorn stands and $4.50 cotton candy vendors we approached the bouncy house park.  As soon as I realized that the park had one, I knew that the action of the baseball game would go unnoticed by my boys.
$5 each later we were bouncing. Except that every other kid in the county was there and apparently without a parent and the lines to the bouncy slides and houses were all the way to Michigan.  Someone who does not understand the concept of a line is my 3 year old.  He also doesn't understand being forced to wear an admission bracelet or the words "get out".  Sometimes I wonder if I'm going to break his arm from lifting him with it when he drops like a sack of potatoes, but so far he is part Gumby.
He quickly got the reputation with the other kids as the kid who cuts and there was a universal solidarity to keep him from doing so.  Some how the other kids learned his name.  Trust me, he was not the only kid cutting.  But what I noticed is that there were not a lot of mothers around. A lot of fathers drinking beer but not a lot of moms except me apparently.
The two older ones stuck together and I was stuck with Mr. Congeniality.  We waited in line for at least 5 minutes for the sky scraper slide. It would have been shorter, but kids kept cutting.  Finally it was our turn and Oscar took his time climbing the ladder.  When he reached the top, he turned around and what I thought would be an expression of exuberance, was that of terror.  He was screaming so loudly that kids up there were covering their ears.  And he was screaming "mommy!" which is the worst word because I know I'm the only one who can rescue him.  The worker was as sympathetic as any high schooler Carney working a summer job.  I made eye contact with my other sons. I motioned for them to help me and they acted like they didn't see me as I flailed my arms and screamed "I need you!"
By this time the growing line of kids and dads were getting very impatient.   So I kicked off my flip flops and started climbing the ladder.
If I haven't mentioned before, I don't like heights.  I don't like rides and I don't like having my butt front and center as I climbed the stairway to heaven.
I made it to the top and suddenly I completely understood where Oscar was coming from, we were on top of the Sears tower.  Where was my mom when I needed her?  I couldn't climb back down the ladder because I would have had a mini heart attack. My only choice was to go down.  Oscar was having after shock screams as I told him our plan. We only had a choice and the mob at the bottom was growing increasingly more impatient.  I put him on my lap and we slid down.  I hadn't anticipated the added weight and my short shorts riding up my butt to expose the rarely seen skin to the material of the slide which was not at all lubricated.  I know, the thought of a lubricated slide belongs more at a girl on girl wrestling tournament.  (P.S. Don't ask me how I know about that.) So it only made sense that it was as dry as a desert.   If it was a less steep incline I would have stuck but we squeaked down and it burned the entire way.  At the bottom my butt was on fire and I actually tripped over my flip flop trying to get off. One guy clapped. I wasn't sure if it was for my bravery, my grace or the fact the line was moving again.
Clearly an experience that would scar a child. His reaction was to promptly put himself at the end of the line.
Enormous bouncy slides are my kryptonite.  All the strength I had as supermom had been exhausted.  I gathered my boys, passed the teenagers making out, the sprinkler park, the playground, the helicopter dropping marshmallows from the sky, and demanded everyone leave.  I did sweeten the deal with the promise of cotton candy.
This was an experience that made me realize that I have not made it to supermom status just yet. I may need a few years, or need to study the greats like, Clair Huxtable or Marie Antoinette, although I don't believe she made it to be a mother, but she did suggest that everyone eat cake. And here I was letting them eat cotton candy despite the sugar rush later.
I have only been a mom for a decade so I have much more time to earn the title.  I may even look closer to home, to my sister going on 18 years (who knew better than to go to this game) or even more super, my mom going on 45 years of motherhood.  She is the one I still need after all, and yes, I just revealed my sister's age.  You know what they say about payback...plus I figure we will have enough time to work on sibling relationships later.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Killing Time

It has been almost a whole week since my husband left us for the summer.  It didn't exactly start off the way I had hoped.  Which all I hoped for would be some peace, so anything other than peace is what we had. Within the first morning, I had cleaned up a dogs poop. I don't know which dog, but I have a feeling its the old one.  I also heard Oscar standing up to go potty ( a new trick he has) but at the same time telling me he just went poopy.  When I investigated the seen, it was true he had pooped standing up.

So it was literally a really shitty morning.

I tried to think it was only a coincidence and not a foreshadowing of the next 5 weeks to come.  With the absence of a grown man I have found that my undertones and sarcasm go completely unnoticed.  By the end of the summer I am sure they are going to understand that when I say with fake enthusiasm
"Sure, I would love to get you another glass of milk since I wasn't in the middle of scrubbing the bathroom floor that your brother took a crap on this morning or anything". 
that I don't really mean what I say.

When I was in high school I had to write an essay about what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I said a mother.  That was it. I remember my classmates making fun of me.  Maybe because I was not what one would picture as a perfect "mom" type at the time.  But I was coming from a place of complete
sincerity. When my friends were saying lawyers, doctors, presidents, I just wanted to be at home taking care of my kids.

When I met Don and he and I agreed he could and should follow his passion to teach it was pretty evident that I was going to need to work if I wanted to have 4 kids and be able to pay for them all.  I decided that being a stay-at home mom was not in the cards for me.  Don't think I haven't brought that up to him several times too. I think I have played the martyr on several occasions especially when things get tough at work.   So before he left, he tried to put a spin on it by saying that now was my chance to be a stay at home mom.  Yes that is true, except, in my scenario my husband was home, and we had a lot of money, and children who didn't fight.

I don't know if its the togetherness or the summer but I have never seen siblings fight as much as mine have.  I try to promote a peaceful environment,  at least I think I do, well ok in my head I do.  It always happens in public too. It's like they want the world to know how much they dislike each other.  Shopping with four kids is hard, shopping with mine is impossible. I never do it.   Jack became angry when he discovered that the company that makes fruit snacks really didn't go out of business.  Parker is upset that he can't have Monster Energy drink and Oscar is screaming to get out of the cart (which there is no way in hell that is going to happen). Jack decides to ride on the back of the cart which makes it about 50 lbs too heavy to turn corners. That is when Fin decided to step up the plate as the daddy-fill-in. Telling Jack to get off.  Once he discovers that his calm voice isn't working he keeps repeating " Jack, off!, Jack, off!"

That is when I found the wine aisle. I have never wanted to escape more than that moment.  Apparently everyone in the store had never seen a woman with four boys fighting.   Being a tween Parker is very aware of everyone looking at us so he decided to pretend he wasn't with our family walking 10 feet behind. If you have seen my children, it is hopeless to pretend you are adopted. We all look alike.

By the time I was done shopping I had a cart full of junk.  So I accomplished two things, feeding my kids sugar and looking like I was stoned because I had no intention of being the next viral video of
"mother loses it at Target" sensation.  So I just ignored it with my game face.  At the check out I discovered that Jack was carrying a bottle of Chocolate wine, which he proudly told the Target lady was his.   An honest mistake coming from a 5 year old, but I decided to just go with it.  It actually wasn't that bad.

After driving a few miles down the road I discovered we had forgotten the one thing we went for. Milk.     As our grocery cart exhibited,  we are keeping General Mills in the cereal business, we cannot live without milk.  I decided to go to the next grocery store.

I was already exhibiting the signs of post traumatic stress disorder and I knew that if I took them all in with me I would seal the deal of being the next viral video sensation. So I made the decision to take the youngest in with me and leave the other three in a locked (air conditioned) car.
You know, at my regular job, if I mess up I won't get arrested, but being a parent is the only job that if you mess up you can go to jail.  Thankfully when I returned to the car, they were there, and I had the milk.  In fact Jack was even asleep. I was hoping he hadn't gotten in to his " chocolate wine".

Don has called a few times and to be honest it is just so hard to talk.  He misses us, I know, but I don't have time to sit down and chat. And when I do, I don't want to Facetime with him because if he saw me he may think I have given up. My hair would probably stay in a pony tail by itself without a holder at this point.

All this time I had held resentment towards him for choosing a career that made it impossible for me to do my dream job, and here I was failing at it.  All the rules we worked hard to enforce, like not co-sleeping have been dropped.  Oscar comes in and sleeps with me every night and I'm too tired to take him back into his bed.  I figure that I have never heard of a 13 year old boy still sleeping in his mom's bed so I shouldn't be too worried.  Ask me again in 10 years if that was a good idea.

I spoke with a friend today and told him that I was just killing time.  I had to run a few errands.  (All of which could be accomplished withOUT getting out of the car.) I found myself taking the long way.  Celebrating red lights.  Obeying the speed limit.   Listening to music, feeling the wind in my hair  and having everyone strapped in was peaceful.

Killing Time.  On any other day, I complain that I don't have enough time but here, I just admitted I was trying to kill the the thing we all strive to get more of.
When I left Parker asked me how we were killing time.  For whatever reason it made me feel really sad that I had said that.  How could I tell him that taking care of his brothers and him was making me wish time would go by faster?

I think giving the impression that you don't want to be with your child is almost worse than leaving them in the car.  Wishing that my time, that I try so hard to get during the year with them, would go by faster. On the way home I decided that maybe Don was right, this was my chance. It was what I had wanted and wished for and why not make the most of it.  If I look at it as hard, its going to be. If I look at it as fun, its going to be and if I approach it with love, maybe I will get that back.

The way they have been acting is a reflection of how I have been treating them. If I appear that I don't want to be them, why would they want to be with each other?   The poop, well maybe that is a cruel joke for my endless sarcasm, I get it....

I exert a huge effort to keep myself healthy to extend what is already too short of a life. Without trying I'm losing another day I have to spend with the people I love most. Although it may be super challenging time is all we have and the last thing I want to do is kill it.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Yard Sale Pergatory

A month or so ago we received a neighborhood email asking if anyone was interested in participating in a neighborhood yard sale. I think I was the first to respond with a huge YES!
I forgot about it until the night before.  The ads had been placed, the flyers with our address had been distributed and we were now locked in, and we were  not going to be yard sale party poopers.
Last night we had a rare night out with friends.  While we should have been home pricing things and sorting things to sell we were picking our beer in a beer garden.  Lets just say between Don and I we had a generous garden bouquet.
When we arrived home, we briefly discussed what we would be placing in our yard and up until that very moment, Don had completely forgotten about this. Even the next morning he had no recollection because while he was "listening" to me ESPN was also on, so I'm sure I sounded more like Charlie Brown's teacher.
I stood up with every intention to start sorting but found my bed way too appealing,  and decided to go there rather than organize stuff nobody wants, including us.
I set my alarm to ring 5 hours from that moment.  It came too soon and before I knew it, I was up ransacking the house for things to sell.
If people had any question if we were going to have any more babies, their answer could be found in the yard daycare I had displayed.  A crib, saucer, high chair, toys that I randomly selected by thier level of annoyance. Ironically, most of the toys displayed came from my mother-in-law. She has a unique ability to find the most annoying toy in the Universe and give it to the boys, and go back to her home 1500 miles away.
In addition to doing this we had an 8 a.m. T-ball game, which as you can imagine was met with as much excitement as a person running a marathon after a bar crawl.  Actually, there was such lack of enthusiasm that I wondered if I was still buzzing because every kid appeared to be walking in their sleep.
I returned home to find Don sitting in a chair in the yard in the middle of a family history of child bearing.  Suddenly I didn't want to sell the crib. Don and I were giving the same people different prices.  I would say $50 he would say $30.  These people didn't need to bargain with us and by the time we finished arguing about the price they had moved on down the street.
I asked Don, how he could place a dollar value on the baby backpack that I fondly remember climbing a mountain with?  He asked if we were going to use it again, which is a cheap attempt to get me to state the obvious, which is (no).  Damn him!
 If my brain wasn't so foggy I would have had the ability to come up with something witty.
People that shop yard sales can be summed up in 3 categories. Hoarders, Weirdos and Nosy.  I had one lady ask about our dog crate and judging by her shirt, she already had too many dogs as it was.   People ask questions about the stuff like I have written the owners manual on it.  "About, how much is the maximum weight this can hold?" I don't f'ing know? Get in and we can find out.  The other thing I am not going to do is convince you to buy my stuff.  You either need it or you don't. More than likely you don't, but you will buy it anyway. Don on the other hand turns into a used car salesman. Demonstrating a folding chair. His motivation is to sell whatever he can so he doesn't have to carry it back into the house.  He was successful too. Later we discovered that his fly was unzipped so we weren't sure if that was the reason his sales numbers were so high, whatever, it worked.
The nosy yard sale goer just wants a sneak peek into your life and ask you questions. " So, you have kids?" No. We just like to pretend like we do. Not to mention the fact that 4 of them are now playing with the toys I selected and each have  friend over which makes me look like the little old lady who lived in a shoe.
I hate yard sales.
I thought my prayers had been answered when a van and a trailer pulled up filled with Amish folks.  They got out like the crew that services the Indy 500 race cars.  Within 2 minutes they had already searched the premises, test driven the stroller and high chairs, deemed all of our stuff unworthy and hopped back in the van and left.  They were gone before they even arrived and never said a word to me, despite my attempt to be friendly.
Just as they left, a huge truck arrived and I remembered that a sofa bed I had purchased a week ago was being delivered today.  That was something I hadn't even discussed with Don, but thought it would be a nice surprise. It wasn't.
Maybe I should have measured the stairway that would be a necessary path for the sofa bed to get to the desired location upstairs (which I did measure).
After a long 45 minutes and a delivery men who seemed to join TEAM DON in their distain for my lack of preparation, they were able to birth the sofa upstairs and only had to remove the legs to do so. The delivery guy actually appeared to be pouting and I wanted to remind him I know a thing or two about squeezing huge things through tight spaces and smack that pout right off of his face, but I got distracted by an old man looking at our blender. Why he was touching the START button I'm not sure, followed by the question, "Does this still work?"
I said, " yes, very well when it is plugged in, are you looking for a blender?"
Prime example of yard sale category "weirdo"
By this time Don was back but now giving me the silent treatment for failing to mention

a) that I bought a sofa bed and
b) I didn't tell him and
c) I didn't exactly measure properly

Thankfully it began to rain and we could put the remainder of our stuff we don't want back into our house, back into our house.
When it was all said and done we made enough money to cover our dinner of beer last night.
If a yard sale did anything it surrounded me in a purgatory of baby rearing memories along with the pain and with the addition of weird people who liked to run commentary on our belongings as if we can't hear them. "This looks really used". Well, duh. Its a plastic backpack from Dora that has traveled to Florida and back, Mexico and not to mention its assembly in China, or the dozen times it has been dropped down the stairs and possibly defected in for all I know. So yes, it looks used, that is why it is $1 and not retail value of $9.99.

The one thing we agreed on when it was all said and done was that we will never be doing a yard sale again. One afternoon was long enough in the yard sale purgatory.