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Yesterday was the school fair.  It is the biggest event for our school.  The kids love it and the parents get to see what creativity our little precious children have been up to.  My time at the school fair is not one of leisure.  I am running with Evie in tow trying to keep all 3 of my kids satisfied and where they need to be at the time they need to be there.  So I look longingly on while my friend with one child sits backs, talks to friends and only has to watch one performance.  Well, 2, but who is counting.  I AM!  I had to make sure I was there for 4 performances.  I know you are so sad for me.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love my kids.  Each and every one of them, but just as I have love times 3, I have frustration x 3, too.  Have you ever tried to corral kids.  I think cats would be easier and rabid dogs much nicer.  I have, on more than one occasion, used my leg as a tool to keep all my kids from getting run over in a parking lot.  It seems even though I have an 11 and 8 year old they have not grasped the concept that huge cars can really hurt you and with the smart phone, no one is watching where they are going in those huge cars.  The fair was no different, however, much more difficult.  Just as I would find all 3 of my kids, I would turn around and find I have lost one.  This is a common occurrence at pick up from aftercare, too.   One always wonders off.  Have you ever tried to find your kid in a crowd of kids that look just like your kid?  It ain’t easy.  I felt the worst for Evie.  She is not old enough to be set free in the gates of the school fair, like her brother and sister.  She was dragged from the Elmo bouncy a million times, because I have to watch her siblings’ performances or go check out the silent auction.  I still missed the auction I was looking for.  At one point, I was searching for parents, who were searching for their kids, who were searching for them and the vicious cycle was started.

I will say that if you ask the kids they had a great time, even Evie.  Oh there was drama, but somehow the kids forget that and only have room for the good memories.  I enjoyed watching the 4 performances, even if they were watched through the screen of my phone.  Now it is on to today where I have to figure out who is going to the Easter party and who will stay to help Daddy with yard work.  Sometimes having 3 kids ain’t so bad.  Those times are when there are jobs that need to be done that I don’t want to do.

Just Stay in the Closet.

Remember those fairy tales you would read as a kid?  You know how everyone, nowadays, say how they messed us all up with all their “lived happily ever after” nonsense?  The fairy tales weren’t a lie.  They just didn’t tell the rest of the story.  Well here is a part of the rest of the story.

A typical day at the Old Homestead:

SoHubby and I go upstairs to have a conversation.  First we had to wrangle the smallest child off of SoHubby.  As we run upstairs we shut the safety gate behind us.  Safety gate meaning keeping the kids away from us for a few seconds to actually have a conversation, not safety gate to actually keep the kids safe.  Our kids are older and should be able to navigate stairs without much trouble.  However, we purposely didn’t teach Evie how to operate the gates and the older ones are too lazy unless it is something really important, like one of the others did them a injustice like look at them or breathe in their direction.  Of course, the littlest one gives us her biggest guilt tool in her kit, the 4 yr old frown.  Since she is number three in a series we have built up our immune to such tactics.  SoHubby and I have a semi decent conversation, meaning there weren’t any interruptions from the small people in the house. As SoHubby leaves to take care of some business, I get distracted by the closets in the kids’ rooms.  I guess  I can’t ignore them, anymore.  Someone is bound to threaten to call the authorities when the kids are wearing tank tops and shorts in 50 degree weather.

This should be easy, right?  Just take out the clothes that are no longer seasonally  appropriate and put in the ones that are.  Sure, if you have children that don’t speak, have no opinion and are robots!  Evie is easy.  As long as it is pink, frilly and has some sort of princess or fairy on it she is all good.  Amber is the difficult one.  She likes going into her closet to access what she has, but then there are the disagreements.  And by disagreements, I mean all out war.  “What do you mean you don’t like the shirt that still fits, but has a kitty on it? It is cute.”  “Mom, THAT IS SO BABY!!!”  “Fine! Save it for your sister.  Maybe she won’t destroy my heart and wear what I pick out.” “YOU PICK UP SUCH BABY STUFF FOR ME!!!”    As we move along to see what she has put into the donate pile and the pile to hand down to Evie, I find the pink jeans.  THE PINK JEANS!! Yes, the pink jeans that Amber just had to have, but has never worn.  Why?  Why you ask?  “Because they fit weird, MOM!”  The “disagreement” starts off calm with just the facts, like she asked for them.  I made sure several times that she liked them and would wear them and haven’t seen them on her body since.  The problem?  At the time she wanted to get the jeans that fit so tight that she wouldn’t be able to sit down without the button flying off and causing a lawsuit in 2 weeks.  So we get the size that was a little loose, so you know they would fit after 2 weeks.  Then the tears start.  “Mom, they look so bad.  Look at this!  It looks weird when I sit!”  “PUT THEM IN YOUR CLOSET!!  YOU ARE GOING TO WEAR THESE JEANS IF I HAVE TO SIT ON YOU AND PUT THEM ON YOU MYSELF!”  “FINE!  You are so mean!!”

I should have stopped after that and called it a day, but I moved onto the boy.  He should be easy, right?  NO!  Sam brings a whole set of other issues.  First, he hates having to change clothes for the season.  This is part of his “I hate change” thing.  He would rather freeze and complain, then change from summer clothes to winter clothes.  Rinse and repeat once summer arrives and he has to change from winter to summer.  Then there is his wound.  The open, gaping wound, which in reality is a scar that he some how keeps opening up over and over and needs a bandaid, because “it hurts so bad”.  The simple movement of putting a shirt on causes him such great pain on this nonexistent wound that he must roll around on the floor for a few minutes, before he will remove the shirt.  No different for the jeans I asked him to try on, which come no where near his wound.  There was a moment of panic when he got stuck in a shirt that was a little too small for him.   After he is released from diabolical shirt, he races downstairs, because I have done the unthinkable.  Interrupt a Spongebob marathon!!

Next I decide, since I am in here, I will organize the dress up/costumes.  Here is where I convene Amber and Sam to discuss what the hell everything is.  Does this shield go with the St. Joan of Arc costume or the St. Michael the Archangel?  Whose pants are these?  Do they go with Aaiken Skywalker or some other character I didn’t know we had?  Does this tutu go with this dance costume or this one?  At this point, Amber is overtaken with the amount of tutus we have and gives up and lets me attach any tutu to any dance costume.  Then Sam and I have the Jango/Bobo Fett argument all over again.  Also, there is the search for the Clone Trooper’s helmet.  How the hell do you lose a big white helmet?  Oh and which gloves belong to which Superhero.  Does Ironman have gloves?  What do you mean Jango Fett has gloves?  Then I crawl up into the bottom of the closet and remember the good old days when our parents didn’t care that we had costumes to go with our imagination.  We did without and we liked it!

And people wonder why I walk into work looking the same as I did when I left on Friday, not refreshed and renewed for the week.  I need a break from my “restful” weekend where I spent time with my family.

 

Dear Cox Cable of Louisiana,

I am not sure what you are trying to tell me these past few days, but I think it is time to cut the crap and just tell me what is on your mind.  We have been together for over 10 yrs.  I know relationships get stale and boring at times, but I thought I was keeping it fresh and new when we got the premium channels, when we got the TV in our bedroom, when we added Internet and phone.   I thought those last 2 would keep the relationship going for a little while longer.  I mean we had finally relented and gave into your pleas of Cox Internet and phone service.

Now, I know you were a little upset when we got TiVo.  In my defense, you haven’t gotten DVR service at the time we got TiVo.  Sure we could have gone to you when TiVo decided to die a painful death during the Brett Michaels Celebrity Apprentice finale, but we had to go with TiVo again.  We couldn’t shake their desperate pleas to not leave them and lovely little *boop*  with every selection.  Don’t think I didn’t notice that you were smiling through gritted teeth when you came and installed this adapter you forced us to get, because we have TiVo.  Don’t be bitter Cox it doesn’t suit you.   I, also, noticed the wedged that adapter has put in TiVo and I’s relationship.

However, you have gone too far this time, Cox.  You are messing with my ability to catch True Blood.  Do you have any idea the delicate balance that has been put in place just so I can watch True Blood every Sunday?  And I must watch every Sunday, because it is a crime against my sanity to wait any longer.  I have to get the kids to bed, which is no small feat in the middle of summer.  I have to fight off the husband so I can watch every blood dripping morsel that comes out of Eric’s mouth.  You have pushed me to the edge, Cox, and I am not afraid to jump. And that jump would be to AT&T U-verse.

Oh they have been begging for my attention for a long time, Cox.  They keep knocking on my door and whispering sweet nothings into my ear.  They can give me cable, DVR, and Internet at much lower prices.  I have been beating them off with a stick, because I am loyal to you, but don’t think it hasn’t crossed my mind.  You have won out due to my ability to not accept change easily, but my need to know that the services I pay for will be there when I want grows stronger every day.

TiVo don’t think I don’t hear you snickering in the background.  You are walking a fine line, too.  Don’t think I can’t sense the nerd snark that comes through my computer screen when I do a chat service call with you.  Oh, you nerds think you are clever, but I know your ways.  I watch The Big Bang Theory, afterall, way too much to NOT know how you work.

Cox I am giving you one last chance.  Get my TV working the way it should and I will stop calling and hassling those annoyed customer service representatives you make me wait so longer to get the pleasure of speaking to.  Or better yet, I can make my kids go several days with the Disney channel and Nickelodeon and then pack them into the car for a nice long roadtrip…to your corporate headquarters.  You don’t want to see the chaos and mayhem those 3 can cause when they have been cut off from their constant zombification through the Disney channel and then the rage that builds up when you are stuck in a small space with your siblings and parents.  Oh yes, Cox.  Don’t push me.  I am a woman on the edge and the only way to keep me sane is to supply me with the sweet stuff: the last season, EVER, of Dexter, continuous new shows of True Blood, non-stop Realhousewives of whatever and all other bitchy reality shows.   It is my drug and you are my drug dealer.  If you can supply the goods then I will find someone who will.

Consider this your first, only and final warning.

 

Seriously,

 

SoMo

Woman on the edge

There we were having a quiet dinner in our usual out of the way little cafe named, Chick Fil A.  There we sat at our usual booth enjoying the end of the day munching on chicken sandwiches.  The younger kids running from the playroom to the table for bites of their chicken nuggets and swigs of their ever so healthy Sprites.  Kidsize, of course.  At the table directly behind us sat a mom with 3 children, as well.  The difference between us was that all of her children were under the age of 6 and mine varied in ages of 10 down to 3.  I am constantly caught between navigating the world of a preteen middle schooler, the ways of a grade schooler and the delights of the pre-school set.  It can make a person dizzy.

Amber sat across from me in deep thought.  I was trying to not notice, because it would be nice to enjoy a dinner without dodging in depth questions about sex, drugs and rock n roll.  Okay, maybe not the last part, but you can’t have the first 2 with out the last one.  Just as  I thought I had escape this dinner without discussing the complexities of middle school girl drama, Amber piped up with a question belted out at a volume for the whole restaurant to hear.  “Mom.  Is there anything such as a trisexual?”  *sigh*  And there it was.  I had gone many days without a question that made me want to run for the hills, but my time had come to put on my big mom panties, remain calm and handle the situation with grace.  “Amber!  Really?  Where did you hear such a thing?”  I will spare you the rest of that conversation, because it was a lot of “she said and he heard it from him and told….”  If you have interacted with a preteen at all in your life, you know the conversation.  The ones where you get lost, your head is spinning and you wondered who dropped a ruffie in my Coke Zero.  I simply explained that there was no such thing as a trisexual, totally controlling the urge to blurt out that a trisexual is someone who would try anything once.  It is funny how kids don’t get sarcasm and jokes and take everything so literally.  Or maybe not.  I didn’t need Amber’s Catholic school filled with kids running around screaming that Amber’s mom told them what a trisexual was.  So even though I thought my answer was adult like, I punctuated our conversation, as I always do, let’s keep this conversation to ourselves.

It is hard to keep such a conversation quiet when eating dinner in the restaurant that draws every mother within a 25 mile radius.  As soon as the offending question left Amber’s mouth I noticed the mom behind her practically get whiplash with her shocked and disgust.  I will admit I got great delight in this woman’s horror, because I noticed she had 2 boys and a girl.  I knew that one day she would be sitting on the other end of an unexpected, embarrassing question just as I was.  I knew that she thought in her head that she would say this or that and HER kids would never so much as think of such things as this little heathen behind her was doing.  My smile grew greater.  I knew she was listening and judging the whole time and I noticed I simply did not care.  All mothers judge other mother’s kids until they get to the point of sympathy, which is usually around the pre-teen age.  You have weathered the preschool, the grade school and after you wake up from your nightmare and accept that you are a parent to a preteen, you learn to give a sympathetic smile.  You only reach outright laughing hysterically in the presence of a mom in such a situation when your own kids are grown and you have been through it all.

I had been in this position before with Sam, 6 at the time.  Oddly at the same restaurant in the same booth.  I wonder if it was Chick fil A itself that brought out the sexual curiosity of my kids or maybe it was the booth that emitted some chemical that got their brains churning, yearning for embarrassing information.  Hell, I am sure it is whatever addictive concoction they put in their chicken that spurs on such exquisiteness.  Sam had sat across from me and asked me, again at a volume that would alert the whole restaurant to his curiosity. “Mom!  How are babies born?”  “Really?!  I will discuss it with you in the car.”  That time I had to speak over the roar of laughter from the seasoned parents that happened to be in the restaurant that day.   I had decided right then that if he didn’t mention it again I would let it go.  Not my son.  Not the boy who picks books to read based on them being filled with real information and not the nonsense of made up stories.  Sure enough he had asked me as soon as he got into the car.  I explained to him the technical workings of making a baby and then how they were born.  He responded in the same fashion as Amber did when she was 8, “EW.  That is gross.”  I will admit that I am glad that I had c-sections with my kids, because I can delight in telling them the truth that I was sliced open  and each one of my children were pulled out.  No discussing the details of a natural birth and no mentions of pushing babies out of parts that leave grown men weak in the knees.  If I had to endure a c-sections then I should reap some benefits.

My theory has always been to give simple, age appropriate answers to these difficult questions that every parent dread.  I don’t care how much you are in touch with yourself and liberal in your thinking, to sit across from that sweet face you watch grow from a wee little baby to an innocent child and explain the inner workings of sex, emotions and how the human body works while making another human it is a bit unnerving.  We are working up to the major discussions, which I hope come little by little and when my kids are older.  I have not decided which age would be the best, because I know that no such age exist.  Much to the dismay of SoHubby, I have discussed, homosexuals, how babies are made, how babies come into this world and how one must protect themselves in certain situations.  I do wish we were in a time when such things were not discussed and children remain innocent until their wedding night, but as I get older and hear many of my older generations tell their stories I am not sure that time ever existed.  I would rather have my children know our view on things and be armed with correct information than to be confronted with misinformation from their peers.  So as we visit our favorite dinner spot after a long day of school, work and daily life I eat my chicken sandwich waiting for the next uncomfortable question to arise and hope that I may accept the challenge quickly, graceful, truthful, and age appropriate.  And I apologize to the unfortunate mother, who happens to sit next to us and get an earful, when I delight in their outrage and horror.  It is the little things in life that keeps us going.

We are embarking into the world of hormones and mood swings.  I knew it was coming, but I was not prepared for it AT ALL.

Amber is becoming a tween.  She is advanced, she, of course, has started with the hormones, mood swings, eye rolls and anything else comes with the pre-teen set.  She will be11!  I don’t remember it starting this early.  I am really scared for the future.

Since I have started working full time, time is at a premium.  There is just never enough hours in the day to get everything done.  Many things have had to wait.  SoHubby mentioned last night, while grocery shopping, that I could make the frozen meal I was looking to buy.  I asked him where was the time?  His brilliant plan was for me to cook meals on the weekend, freeze them and then during the week I can just heat them up.  Sure let’s add cooking meals for the week onto everything else I have to do on the weekends.  I know, I know, moms do it all the time.  Well, this mom is tired and would like to relax.

I figured after spending the first half of the day with the girls that I could negotiate some chores out of them.  Oh yes, you better believe I gave the 3.75 yr old some chores.  And none of that pick up your toys, bullshit.  I am talking heavy duty chores.  We spent the morning picking Amber up from her friend’s house after a sleepover, then it was to Old Navy to return some items (when did stores stop doing exchanges?)and ended up buying Amber some things, then we walked around the new beauty store in Elmwood.  Then it was off to the mall to get a Father’s Day gift for SoHubby.  We couldn’t just do that and go, there was snacks to get, because you know the kids are starving!  Then we had to go to the Disney store (or as Evie says Disney World), Hot Topic and then finally we could go.  The girls kept bugging me to get their nails done.  What has happened to the world?  I was never concerned with my nails as a child and, now, my child is constantly asking for pedicures.  *sigh* And whatever Amber wants, Evie wants, too.  Yeah, I am not spending $25 for a 3.75 yr old to get a pedicure, only to mess it up as soon as she walks.  I talked them down to me doing their nails.  In exchange, Amber would dust her and her brother’s room upstairs and then vacuum upstairs.   Why shouldn’t I get some help?

Everything was fine and dandy until we get home.  Then the foot stomping, huffing, whining, mean eyes and  annoyance so bright you could land a plan on our front lawn started.  She said she was NOT ANNOYED, but I am an annoying expert.  I know when someone is annoyed.  I basically told her that if she wanted something from me then she need to help out.  It is not like I asked her to scrub the toilet with her toothbrush and then do 100 burpees.   Then the arguing started.  No matter I said she had to get the last word in.  Since I am mom I shut that shit down!

Just as I was in the middle of this little tete a tete with Amber, I overheard a conversation between SoHubby and Sam.  SoHubby came in and asked for Sam to help him in the yard.  So Hubby has been cutting grass and doing yardwork all morning while Sam was inside in the cool air watching whatever he wanted (little secret:  He wasn’t watching Superheros or Star Wars.  He was watching Jessie.  This blows his argument that we never let him watch his shows.  His shows are the same as his sister’s shows; he just doesn’t want to admit it.)  and playing on the laptop.  So when I heard Sam say, “No.”  I ran downstairs and got in his face.  I told him that he has been doing whatever he wanted all morning and, now, was the time to help his father.  SoHubby is no help.  His excuse was that Sam was just joking.  Everyone is joking once you call them on their bullshit.  He is currently outside helping with the yard work.

I use to joke that we had kids to do chores.  Now, my mindset is that they live in this house, they make the mess, they ask for things they want, so why can’t they do things around the house to help the adults out who are not only taking care of the house, but outside of the home working as well?  I am not sure if this to teach my kids not to be selfish or just fed up with little tyrants barking orders.  I am sure it is a little of both.  And none of this negotiating crap, either.   Amber will ask, “How much will you pay me?”  when I tell her to do something.  I have become everyone’s grumpy grandfather.  I start listing off all the things she has and does.  At that point she is annoyed and wants me to shut up so she goes and does what I told her to do.

It is never too early to learn that to get what you want in this world, you have to work.

Summer is Here!

The kids had their last day of school and we are embarking on a new adventure:  Summer without mom.  Like many things this year, summer has my stomach all tied up in knots.  I won’t be here.  I will be at work.  The kids will have camp 2 days a week and MawMaw the other 3 days.  I wonder what will go on while I am gone.  Will my house be trashed when I get home?  Will the kids survive?  Will MawMaw survive?  All great questions and all with answers to be told in the next 3 months.

I am going to give you some information that I am sure no one has ever reveled, before.  Childcare is expensive.  It is really expensive for 3 kids.  Luckily, our school offers summer camp…with discounts for more than one child…with discounts for paying up front…and is one of the cheapest in town.   The kids will be able to get in some swimming and some face time with friends.  Amber is a little saddened since she is on the older side, this will be her last year to be eligible for this camp, which means most of her friends are going to much cooler camps that we either can’t afford or don’t know about.  Another little secret is that there will be gaps in childcare that will need to be filled. I guess the school needs 3 weeks to prepare for the school year, so parents have to hustle.  Like always I plan and hope the plans work out.

The only thing that hasn’t change this summer is that I have all the great things I want to do with the kids running through my mind.  And the only other thing that hasn’t change is that all those great hopes will not play out for many reasons like the other summers.  We will sit back and wait for what the summer will bring us.

I have learned through the small amount of time that I have with my kids to really enjoy it.  I am not saying that every minute is a love fest.  I mean we are the Southern household and we don’t always get along, but I don’t worry about hugging and kissing the kids in public.  I don’t rush to get through a shopping trip with them.  I listen a little more with their long winded stories that lead no where.  Life is changing and we are changing with it.

 

From SAHM to WOHM

This is a HUGE change for me and the entire family.  I will start a full time, 9-5 in an office, job on Monday.  I am excited, terrified and worried all at once.

There have been some MAJOR changes in the Southern household lately.  I have been on an emotional roller coaster these past 2.5 months and I am ready to settle into a new routine.  I am not entirely happy to be leaving my SAHM post, but am ready for a new adventure.  I think I have found a good office and, hopefully, will learn a lot from my new co-workers.

A BIG concern was who will take care of Evie while I am working.  It just so happens that SoHubby will be with her for the mornings, then she will have MawMaw three times a week and her favorite Special Instructor twice a week.  It is such a load off my mind to know that she will be with familiar faces.  Evie is so excited to go to her SI’s house, which has taken some of the worry off of me.  And when she is with MawMaw she will be at our house, which should ease the transition from having mom all day to seeing mom only in the mornings and afternoons.  It will be hard on me.  I will miss her terribly.  It doesn’t help that she has asked me several times, with that little face, “You go to work, mommy?”.  I think I will feel better once she starts school in the fall.

I am wondering how I will feel about this other side of the debate.  My whole identity has been wrapped up in being a SAHM.  What will my identity be, now?  My belief system is changing.  Many things that I have held to be truths for the last 12 years has been shattered in a matter of months.  Like my house needing to be cleaned everyday…gone.  There is no time for that and I have learned that the world didn’t stop and the house is not a complete disaster.  I have, also, learned that I don’t have to do everything.  The kids can help.  SoHubby can help.  And most importantly, if these little things don’t get done, the world doesn’t end and we all won’t die.  I am such a routine person, that any small change to that routine is hard for me.  Grocery shopping will be done whenever and probably with all 3 kids in tow.  It will be rushed and not like a precise mission as before.  Relying on SoHubby to do appointments, shuttling kids and sharing household duties means letting go of how I want things done to allowing for him to do things his way.  BIG changes.

It, also, means learning to deal with stress and unexpected changes better.  My new motto is it will all work out.  Why?  Because it has to.  There is no room for stress filled tirades.  Somethings will just have to wait for another time or have to be  let go of altogether.  It is a hard road to change your entire identity that you have become accustomed to for over a decade.  I will say that I am happy that I have had the younger years at home with my kids.  I think it was better for them and better for me.  That is not a statement on anyone else; just a statement on our family.  SoHubby says that the universe is unfolding the way it should.  I say I wish I would have had a heads up, but I  am living and learning.  I have rediscovered how great our friends are, reconnected to family and shown me that life doesn’t have to go the way you plan for it to be good.

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