Happy Not Back to School: Homeschool Encouragement

Monday was the first day of public school where we live. Yes, already! Can you believe it? Of course, it wasn’t our first day of homeschool, because learning never really stops around here. ūüėČ

Anyways, I LOVE the first day of public school. Honestly I am downright giddy about it. I feel like a kid skipping school. Not that I ever did that to know the feeling, of course. ?

Not every homeschool mama is doing the happy dance this week, however. All the back to school posts on social media leave some feeling sad and left out. How about you?

Ever feel pangs of envy when you see photos of kiddos with shiny new backpacks, hopping on the big yellow bus? Or perhaps you catch yourself wistfully wondering what it’s like to have SIX WHOLE HOURS to yourself? ūüėČ

Of course, public school moms get their perks too! Sure, when my kids went to public school, there were things about it I enjoyed. But in the end, it just wasn’t a fit for our family.

If you’re already homeschooling, I bet you put a lot of thought into it too. You weighed all the benefits and drawbacks and decided home education was the best fit for YOUR family. That doesn’t mean you will never doubt yourself again, but there’s also no need to wallow in thoughts that don’t benefit your purpose.¬†?¬†(Furthermore, comparing your real life to someone else’s social media life is a sure way to feel crappy about everything, so just don’t even go there.)¬†?

If you’re feeling sad, remind yourself of why you chose this path. Then, celebrate what makes homeschooling awesome!

Like…

  • Letting growing kids sleep as long as they need to.¬†?
  • Making pancakes and eggs when you would be rushing for the bus.¬†??
  • Plenty of time for kids to explore their talents.¬†??
  • Teaching your children things they will use in real life.¬†?????
  • Freedom to travel.¬†‚úąÔłŹ??
  • Empty pools for the rest of August!¬†??

What other benefits can you think of?

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Personally, the first day of public school reminds me how grateful I am. I am thankful to have the freedom to choose what method of education is best for my children. I know not everyone in the world has that freedom, and many who technically have that independence don’t give themselves the autonomy to take advantage of it. Also, I know we may not always have these privileges to this extent, which makes me contemplate how we can make the most of the time we have with our little ones. You could say that the first day of public school is my personal Independence Day, that I celebrate in my own head.¬†?

In conclusion, it’s a new year and a new chapter in our lives that WE get to write. Exciting!!! What will you design for your family this year? ūüôā

Chasing Supermom

Have you ever noticed that the words Preview and Publish look almost exactly the same?  No?

Well, neither had I. ¬†At least not until Friday night when with tired, bleary eyes I looked at the screen and clicked “PUBLISH” on accident. ¬†And WHOOSH, there went my rough draft, landing neatly in your inboxes, complete with typos and run on sentences.

Sorry about that. @_@

When I told my Mom about what I did, she said “That’s what happens when you try and do too much!” ¬†Don’t you hate it when your Mom is right? ūüėČ

Okay. ¬†So I have a little problem with The Concept Of Time. ¬†The whole “Time Is Limited” nonsense. ¬†What do you mean I can only do so much? ¬†I don’t understand. ¬†Surely there is a way! ¬†I will just get up an hour earlier! ¬†You can sleep when you’re dead, right? ¬†<- A saying that sounds a lot better at night than in the morning.

I know I need sleep. ¬†BADLY. ¬†I do NOT do well without a good night’s rest. ¬†But, I hate saying NO. I detest compromise. ¬†And worse yet, I can’t bear to disappoint anyone.

I think it is a common problem, particularly for women and especially for mothers. ¬†Have you heard of the increasing number of women who are taking Adderall? ¬†One little problem: ¬†They don’t all have ADD. ¬†These women are taking a highly addictive prescription drug¬†out of desperation to keep up with every day life. ¬†They lie to their doctor about symptoms they don’t really have, buy pills illegally, or even take their children’s prescriptions. ¬†All in an attempt to be Super Mom.

I admit, Super Mom is an appealing figure, isn’t she? ¬†Super Mom decorates her house with flair on a budget. ¬†Super Mom makes Angry Birds Bento Boxes and delightful Fondant Cakes, all with the ingredients pulled straight from her lush organic garden. ¬†Super Mom’s house is immaculate, cleaned with homemade products that cost less than 10 cents a month. ¬†Whew, that Super Mom is one busy gal…

But I think we all know that Super Mom doesn’t exist. ¬†Or she only exists on Pinterest and the blogs linked thereto. ¬†I like Pinterest. ¬†And I like blogs too. ¬†It’s nice to find advice from people who have strength in areas that I am weak in. ¬†But it has to be taken with a grain of salt. ¬†Blogs are like reality TV. ¬†We only see a small slice of the big picture. ¬†But by piecing together a bunch of these small slices (like onto a Pinterest board, per say), we get a skewed view of reality. ¬†It appears that EVERYONE else is busy being awesome, while we’re still in our pajamas wondering whether to take a shower or pay bills.

It isn’t REAL. ¬†We DO know this, right? ¬†So why do so many people have Pinterest Stress? Why are mothers popping pills so they can stay up until 3 am scrubbing baseboards and alphabetizing spice racks? ¬†Why is our best effort not enough? ¬†What are we trying to accomplish with all of this?

This world we live in has some messed up priorities. ¬†People are often looked at as commodities, their value based on their marketable skills and high production output. ¬†Does this view carry over to how we view ourselves? ¬†Do we place all our value on accomplishments that are visibly seen to others? ¬†Do we feel like if we can’t keep up the image, that someone else can do this better? ¬†Do we feel expendable in our own family?

Not everyone has had the experience of growing up in a stable environment. ¬†When early in your life you have experiences that make you feel unsafe or unloved it is hard to ever totally get your footing back. ¬†In your head you know that it wasn’t your fault. ¬†You know you’re in a different place now. ¬†Still, that feeling of being on shaky ground keeps coming back. ¬†If I don’t do enough, if I’m not enough, I’ll be abandoned… Again.

Many of us have grown up with those feelings. ¬†They don’t just go away. ¬†You want them to go away. ¬†You want to feel loved and worthy. ¬†So you keep trying to do more. ¬†And more. ¬†But you just can’t keep up. ¬†And you look online and see what everyone else SEEMS to be accomplishing and you feel inadequate. ¬†Like you are selling your family short because you don’t extreme coupon or refinish furniture. ¬†For goodness sakes, you can’t even keep the floor clean. ¬†It’s always sticky. ¬†And the shower is mildewy. ¬†And you’re making scrambled eggs for dinner. ¬†Maybe someone else could do it better. ¬†Maybe you could be replaced. ¬†Maybe if you could just find something to give you a little more energy, it would be enough…

No. ¬†It’s just not true.

You couldn’t be replaced. ¬†No one else could do it better, because no one else knows and loves your family like YOU do. ¬†And your family loves YOU. ¬†They don’t love you because you are the best gourmet chef. ¬†They don’t love you because you are the tidiest housekeeper. ¬†They don’t love you because you make fabulous crafts out of burlap and recycled straws, or because you can carve sandwiches that look like Phineas and Ferb. ¬†They don’t love you because you’re the timeliest chauffeur who never says no and never makes them late for an activity. ¬†They love you because YOU are THEIR MOM.

Admittedly, I don’t know anyone who has chefs or housekeepers or chauffeurs. ¬†But I do know, with 100% certainty, that NO ONE loves their chef or housekeeper or chauffeur like a family member BECAUSE of the things they do for them. ¬†If they do actually love these people like family, it is because of the relationships they have developed. ¬†You are not hired help. ¬†You are family. ¬†And family is not replaceable.

It’s funny (in a funny-sad way) that we can be so wrapped up in doing things to make people love us, that we are too busy to build the relationships that would actually bring love into our lives. And failing to build relationships is the one sure way to get what we are most afraid of: ¬†Being Alone.

So if you’re feeling tired and desperate and like you can’t keep up, you’re in good company. ¬†But please don’t resort to things that will damage your health or put you at risk to make it better. ¬†It’s okay to ask for help. ¬†It’s okay to say NO. ¬†It’s okay if sometimes people are disappointed because they have gotten so used to you doing everything and forgotten you are a real, live human being. ¬†It’s okay to leave the dishes in the sink. ¬†Really, it hasn’t killed any of us yet.

No one can do it all. ¬†Work hard but don’t be a martyr. ¬†Care for what is most important. ¬†Take care of yourself, because there are people who need you around. ¬†Let some things go. ¬†Make relationships a priority.

It will be Enough.

These are just my thoughts on the matter. ¬†What do you think? ¬†Why do moms feel so much pressure? ¬†Do you think it always was like this? ¬†Has social media made it worse? ¬†I’d love to hear from you.

 

P.S. Supermom could not be reached for comment. ¬†Her publicist says she’s at a retreat in The Poconos, but who knows? ¬†People who don’t exist are really hard to track down. ūüėČ

It was pretty rude of Supermom to leave me here with all these dishes.  Who does she think she is?

I hear Supermom is really good at keeping up with the dishes.  If you see her, tell her to come on over here.  I could use the help!

 

 

 

The Kindness of Strangers

Yup.  I think this card aptly describes what happened (AGAIN) today.

You see, we have to bring a picture ID to our subdivision pool to check in. ¬†Along with the magnetic card that opens the gate and a color coded wrist band. ¬†I’m pretty sure they would do a retina scan as well, but the HOA budget doesn’t allot for that AND mowing the grass.

Anyways, it’s all good. ¬†I know they are just trying to control the chaos, which I totally understand. ¬†And I do always remember to bring my ID to the pool. ¬†Along with towels, sunscreen, floatation devices, swim diapers, wipes, water bottles, snacks, and three children. ¬†But, after 2-3 hours of sun exposure and constant “Is Everyone Not Drowning?” vigilance, I pretty much NEVER remember to remove my picture ID from my pool bag.

Which brings me to today…

I decided to make the trek to Whole Foods.  Pretty much everything I needed I could get closer to home, EXCEPT for Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans.

I know it might seem crazy to a “Normal” person to drive 45 minutes away just to get chocolate coffee beans. ¬†But as you may have already figured out, I’m not “Normal”. ¬†Ha! ¬†Anyways, in my defense, I do have to get up at 5:00 AM tomorrow, probably after a meager amount of sleep. ¬†And it’s going to be a busy weekend.

I NEEDED THOSE BEANS!

Plus, the boys really prefer Whole Food’s “soft” bread to Mommy’s Homemade Rock Bread. ¬†And Alaskan Sockeye Salmon was on a one day special, so I didn’t ONLY get espresso beans. ¬†I got a cart full of stuff, including one bottle of wine to drink with the salmon. ¬†And THAT was my problem.

As soon as I put that bottle of wine on the conveyer I realized that my ID was probably at home in the pool bag.

Now, do I look like I could be under 21? ¬†Possibly to a legally blind person. ¬†But even a legally blind person could tell by the height of the small blurry figures in my company that I am not that young. ¬†I mean, I don’t think I look BAD for my age. ¬†Possibly with some Botox to paralyze the deep lines on my forehead I could even pass for… 30??? ¬†So I was hoping that the cashier Just Wouldn’t Ask.

She did.

And OH MY GOODNESS, she was so slow in ringing things up! ¬†I had already heard the woman behind me whisper to her husband that she had picked the wrong line. ¬†I didn’t want to make a big deal of it. ¬†So I took a quick peak in my wallet and said “I forgot my ID in another bag. ¬†I can give you my birthdate or you can just take the wine off.”

She took the wine off the bill without saying a word.  So I swiped my card and was loading my bags in the cart when I heard the lady behind me again.

“How much is that bottle of wine?” ¬†The cashier didn’t know. ¬†“Oh, just ring me up for it! ¬†Can I have it now, please?” said the woman.

Then this dear stranger handed me my abandoned bottle of wine. ¬†She explained that it just wasn’t right, that she understood stores needed to ask for ID’s, but they needed to use common sense too. ¬†I thanked her and her husband profusely and tried to give them cash, but they wouldn’t let me. ¬†They waved me off saying “Just enjoy it!”

I mean, how nice is that? ¬†Obviously, I didn’t NEED the wine. ¬†I mean, after a trek to Whole Foods with three kids I needed wine as badly as anyone NEEDS wine. ¬†But it wasn’t a dire situation. ¬† It was pure generosity, just a gift to make another human being’s day a little brighter. ¬†So, thank you, THANK YOU again to that sweet couple who gifted me, a total stranger with a bottle of wine. ¬†I so appreciate the act of kindness and I will be sure to pass it on to someone else as soon as possible!

AND I came home and put my ID back in my wallet. ¬†I’ve heard it can be useful to have for with you, even for things besides buying alcohol. ūüėČ

 

How about you? ¬†Have you ever been the benefactor of a Random Act of Kindness? ¬†I’d love to hear your stories!

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The Decorating Blues and Other Non Problems

So, if you recall awhile back, I talked about going and picking out paint for the guest room.¬† What?¬† You don’t remember??? A story about PAINT CHIPS didn’t make a lasting impression?

Well, a quick recap then:  I bought a gallon of the first shade of blue that caught my eye.  I was pleased with myself for not obsessing over the decision.

UPDATE:  Obsessing may be a good thing when it comes to choosing paint.

Sure, I freed myself from the confines of perfectionism, but I also sentenced myself to several years in a blue walled prison.

Okay, it’s not REALLY that bad.¬† It’s “kind of” a pretty blue, just maybe a bit brighter than what I would have chosen if I had gone through my usual decision making process.¬† My husband on the other hand, thinks it IS THAT BAD.¬† He has labeled it “electric blue” (totally an exaggeration) and called it “hideous” (a matter of opinion).

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Okay, so my quick pick blue was a slight fail, not an EPIC FAIL, just a regular lower case letter fail.

Unfortunately I don’t have time to recover my confidence before I move on to the next project. ¬† It’s crunch time on picking out decor for Dash’s room.¬† The curtains from his room were moved to the new guest room and he has no curtains.¬† Oh, and he was not happy about HIS curtains and HIS queen sized bed being taken away either.

“Uh-oh” he said when he saw the curtains going.

“Bed-bed?” he said when he saw the bed going.

Uh-oh bed-bed is right.  I have no idea how I am going to get this child to sleep in his crib.  And very little idea how I am going to decorate his room, aside from a few things I found on Pinterest.  This website called Lay Baby Lay has some great inspiration that I hope to draw from.  Although will it turn out that good when I put it together myself?  Likely not.

I at least tried to get started by picking up a thick stack of paint samples today.¬† I am going back to my perfectionist roots and I intend to carefully compare every option.¬† The boys were with me of course, and Finn quickly chose a palette of yellows that he thought would be perfect.¬† One of the shades was called “Decisive Yellow”.¬† I wasn’t sold on the yellow but I was a big fan of the irony.¬† Beau however, was more cautious.¬† “Yellow?¬† We need to meditate on this for awhile.”

Words of wisdom, Beau, words of wisdom.

I know, I know, this is NOT A REAL WORLD PROBLEM!  But I continue to whine nonetheless.  And rant.  Expect a lot of sleep deprivation fueled rants here on The Ordinary Chaos until Dash become accustomed to our new sleeping arrangements.  I apologize in advance while I still have my wits about me.  (More or less.)

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The Exuberant Mr. Tom

When I was a kid, I had a friend who I would go and spend a week with most every summer.¬† This friend had a baby brother she adored. Let’s call him Tom.¬† Tom was the same age as my own baby sister, probably about 2 at the time.¬† My little sister was sugar and spice, a precious doll baby who was always smiling and well behaved.¬† So, when I got to my friend’s house this particular summer, I was HORRIFIED to find that little cherub faced Tom was actually the Muppet Animal in a toddler’s body.

In my twelve years of life I had never seen anything like it.  This wild, untamed little person was wreaking havoc on their entire household!  What was wrong with this child?!?  What was wrong with the whole family?!?  I was aghast as over the week I watched one chaotic situation after another unfold involving Tom.  Tom was screaming.  Tom was throwing things.  Tom somehow locked himself in his room and cannot get out.  Tom was screaming more.  Everyone was running around like chickens with their heads cut off  trying to appease this pint sized dictator named Tom.

At the end of the visit I eagerly went back to my own home, where three little girls sat around quietly playing with dolls and reading classic literature.  I was SO very glad I would never have to deal with the likes of TOM again.

At least not for another 23 years.

My Tom, aka Dash, was born like a tiny 8lb 4oz freight train.¬† The doctor was running down the halls of the hospital just to get there in time to catch him.¬† He started screaming immediately, didn’t stop for about 3 months, and now he just REALLY LIKES to scream.¬† The littlest thing will set him off.¬† Zero to meltdown in one second flat.

But really, he doesn’t need something to upset him, he’ll scream just for fun.¬† SCREAM. Laugh. SCREAM. Laugh.¬† SCREAM some more.¬† He is delighted by his own deafening loudness.

Take this morning for instance.  Up until 10pm the night before (as usual), Dash slept in until 7:30.  I carried him down the stairs, but when I went to set him down, he pulled up his landing gear and refused to stand.  I set him down anyways, gently, because frankly, I wanted both hands to get the coffee pot going.  Cue SCREAMING.

Okay, maybe the little dear is hungry.¬† I had promised Finn I’d make waffles, but I gave everyone yogurt smoothies to tide them over.¬† Dash was happy with for a minute, until he decided it was more fun to turn the sippy cup upside down and watch it drip.¬† I took it away because yogurt smoothie is too expensive to pour all over the floor.¬† More SCREAMING.

One thing that Dash really likes playing with is water.¬† It seemed like a good substitute for the dripping smoothie, so I filled a little plastic tea pot and gave him a bucket to pour it into.¬† He took the lid of the tea pot and dumped it on the floor.¬† “WAWA!¬† WAWA!” he hollered in a raspy voice, demanding a refill.¬† Soon, all the kitchen towels are on the floor, soaked to capacity.¬† Finn comes in the kitchen to check on his waffles.¬† “Be careful, the floor is…” BOOM.¬† “wet.”

Thankfully, he wasn’t hurt, just wet and ticked off.¬† Okay, that’s enough of that.¬† “WAWA! WAWA!¬† WAWAWAWA!!!!”

Soon enough (as in before my brain completely liquefied), the waffles were ready.¬† Everyone was at the table eating.¬† Dash took a couple of bites and then started chucking his food at Beau.¬† “AGGGGHHH!¬† I can’t eat!¬† That’s disgusting!!!” wailed Beau, pointing at a piece of waffle.¬† Beau has a weak stomach, which is an inconvenient trait to have around here.

The table was quickly vacated and I washed Dash up.¬† Within moments he was back at the table, climbing on top of it, eating the big boys’ breakfasts off their abandoned plates.¬† Perhaps this was his plan all along?

After breakfast is REALLY over, I am trying to clean the kitchen.  Dash wants to be IN the dishwasher.  Like standing on the door.  I remove him for his own safety.  SCREAMING.

I wonder if recordings of babies screaming have ever been used in psychological warfare?¬† I mean, I hope not, but it would probably be very effective.¬† After a couple of hours of listening to Dash’s high decibel complaints, my eyeballs feel like they are going to fall out of my head and I just want to melt into a puddle on the floor (except that we have enough of those already.)¬† The point is, I will give him most anything to get him to settle down.

Oh, you want to smear blueberry juice all over yourself?  Okay.  Hmm, we do have to wash you off before you go on the carpet.  SCREAM!

Dump the crayons out all over the floor?  Why not?  I hate to risk upsetting you, but may I suggest some paper to go with those crayons?  No?  SCREAM!

Oh, you found my camera?  And you have that in one hand and a piece of waffle in the other?   Sorry to bother you, but could we please not rub the waffle on the camera lens?  SCREAM!

I was really starting to think that this was A LOT of meltdowns, even for Dash, and he might not be feeling very well.  Then the big boys decided to start moving furniture around in the living room and putting cushions on the floor.  Dash was immediately distracted from his tantrum and delightedly joined them in dismantling our primary living area.

All three of them played nicely for quite some time, at least until Finn closed the door on the playpen with Dash inside and we all had a moment of panic that he was going to freak out.  Fortunately, Dash knows how to dismantle the playpen.  He learned that around the same time that he figured out how to open cabinet locks and scale furniture to reach the highest vantage point.

Yup.¬† He’s a real handful.

So, what ever happened to Tom?¬† I don’t know, I lost touch with my friend when her family moved out of state.¬† But I have a feeling the now grown up Tom is using his boundless energy and exuberant personality to do something fantastic.

And I’m sure Dash will do the same.¬† As soon as he gets over the food throwing stage.

 

The exuberant Mr. Dash.

The exuberant Mr. Dash.

Naptime Half-Baked

What’s that?¬† You’re planning to do something while your child naps???¬† SHUSH!!!!!¬† Don’t say it out loud!¬† In fact, don’t even think it.¬† Don’t you even dare to put your plans out there in the universe.¬† Why not, you ask?¬† WHY NOT???¬† Because those precious little babes will somehow find out that you NEED to do something while they are resting and will drop kick your plans from here to Thursday.

Oh sure, I hear you, “That’s ridiculous!¬† Babies don’t know your plans!¬† They sleep when they’re tired!”¬† Look.¬† I know it’s crazy.¬† And I don’t know how they know.¬† I just know that they know, okay?

Maybe they can sense the anxiety of a parent in need of a break.¬† Kind of like a predator in the wild smells fear.¬† I’m sure not ALL babies come endowed with such talents.¬† But in my experience a well planned day that includes a list of things that MUST GET DONE during baby’s sleep time, means there will be NO BABY SLEEP TIME.¬† At least not until early evening, then they will fall asleep for 25 minutes, just enough to ensure they are climbing the walls until midnight.

I see you’re still rolling your eyes.¬† Fine.¬† I will give you an example to prove my point.

On Friday, I had several things I needed to accomplish.¬† I needed to pay bills and catch up on paperwork (desperately).¬† And I had also committed myself to making fifty brownies to help feed a group of volunteers.¬† The brownies had to be delivered at 5:15 sharp.¬† Of course, when I volunteered I envisioned myself delighting the crowd with ooey-gooey scratch baked deliciousness.¬† When it came down¬† to the wire, I ended up with five boxes of store bought mix sitting on my counter, waiting to be combined with eggs and oil.¬† Well, sometimes you just can’t do everything.¬† Anyhow, all I had to do was make the mix into brownies.¬† An easy peasy chore for nap time and I would pay bills while they baked.

Sounds like a plan, right?

So, nap time came and went with one problem, Dash would not fall asleep.  Still, I was hopeful.  He surely had to fall asleep soon!  Okay, so it ends up being past lunchtime and I still have not so much as had a shower.  FINALLY!  He falls asleep in my arms.  I lay the little angel down and run to get myself cleaned up.  Surely he must be extremely tired and will sleep a good long while.

No sooner do I turn the water on, I hear crying.¬† Make that screaming.¬† “It’s not possible”, I think.¬† Must be the sound of the water… echoing, or the pipes.¬† Screaming pipes.¬† Hmmm…¬† I turn off the water.¬† Nope, it’s really Dash.¬† Go in his room and he’s sitting there looking pitiful with tears streaming and wild hair as though he’s been sleeping for hours. Poor baby, maybe a bad dream. (Although is it even possible to be that far into a sleep cycle in less than 10 minutes?)¬† I try laying with him thinking SURELY he will fall back asleep.

No. Such. Luck.

Now the problem with a baby who hasn’t gotten a good nap under his belt is that he is CRANKY.¬† There is no pleasing a tired child.¬† You cuddle him, he arches and squirms.¬† You set him down, he goes boneless and shrieks.¬† You offer him food, he throws it.¬† You offer him a drink, he dumps it.¬† You give him toys, he hits you in the head with them.

But, I have run out of time.¬† I have slightly over ONE HOUR before I have to leave to pick up Finn from school.¬† If I don’t have brownies in the oven in 20 minutes they will not be done before I need to jet.

Here is where my own stupidity comes in.  Instead of going the easy (normal) route and putting the brownies in pans, I decided to make them into single servings by baking them in muffin tins with silicone liners.  And since I only have enough equipment to do 24 servings at a time, I basically made what could have been an easy couple of trays of brownies into a huge hours long ordeal.  Why???  I have no idea!!!  It seemed like a good idea at the time.

So, here I am having set Dash down in the kitchen and there is NOT A SECOND TO LOSE!!!  He is whiny at first but soon enough he is amusing himself and I am off and running, scooping the batter into the liners.  I look out of the corner of my eye and Dash is in the pantry.  Oh, great, he is opening containers and has found bags of dried heirloom beans.  (Yes, there is such a thing.)

Please, Dash, please do not dump out those beans!!!¬† He is shaking them and trying to figure out the zip lock.¬† I would love to stop and take the beans from him, but that would cost precious seconds.¬† Oh, thank goodness he put them down.¬† But, wait, he now has a box of Seven Grain Pilaf.¬† He opens it, dumps the grain pouch onto the floor where we take off our shoes and chucks the box at me with reckless abandon.¬† Next, he moves on to the garbage can.¬† “DASH!¬† STAY OUT OF THE GARBAGE!!!”

His attention is diverted.¬† Uh oh, he is coming towards me.¬† OUCH!¬† Now he steps on my foot to make himself a little taller.¬† He is putting all his weight squarely on one of my metatarsals and it is far more pain than you would think such a small being could inflict.¬† His little fingers are patting around on the edge of the counter, trying to find something to grab.¬† But both of my hands are involved in the brownie making industry and cannot be distracted from their task!¬† I try to wriggle my foot out from under him without making him fall, but I can’t so I just have to endure the pain until he gives up and moves along.¬† Ah, relief.

I narrowly meet my deadline for getting brownies in the oven.  And after slaving over box mix treats until 4:50 pm, we are ready just in the nick of time to deliver them.  They look like sunken cupcakes with no frosting.  Brilliant.

And guess who falls asleep in the car on the way to drop off the brownies and gets his second wind to last him until 11pm?

So, I think you see what I mean about planning to do things while the baby is napping.  Or you just see that I have no time management skills and that little boys are not the only ones creating chaos around here.  Whichever.

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This photo depicts a reenactment of actual events. No heirloom beans were harmed in the process.

This photo depicts a reenactment of actual events. No heirloom beans were harmed in the process.

 

Looking Presentable Is A Real Hassle

Having kids really changes a person’s priorities.¬† I think those of you with toddlers or who remember having toddlers will relate.¬† If you are thinking of someday having toddlers, you can’t say I didn’t warn you.

A very long time ago, back when we were dual-income-no-kid people, I remember going to work wearing a put together outfit, brand new from my weekend shopping trip.¬† I had flawless French manicured finger nails and matching toes.¬† A working mother of two somewhat snorted at me and said “Well, you can tell SHE doesn’t have kids!”¬† A conversation ensued and some co-workers insisted that it wasn’t about being a parent, you should take care of yourself either way. I agreed and thought that if I became a mother someday I would CERTAINLY still take care of my appearance.¬† I mean REALLY, how are kids an excuse to have unmanicured nails?

Fast forward a decade and 3 kids later…

My idea of a manicure is taking the nail clippers and evening out the jagged edges.¬† A pedicure is once a month putting another layer of nail polish on top of all the other chipped layers. Sure, it doesn’t look great, but I don’t think I stand still long enough for anyone to notice.

I pretty much always let my hair air dry and I tell myself it looks pretty good because it has some natural curl to it.  Until I look in the mirror and realize it looks like a ragged mop head. I still have some pride, so I quickly remedy the mop situation with a pony tail or chic messy bun.  Hopefully I have a nice fabric band to use, but in a pinch the rubber band that came wrapped around the mail will do.

The lighting in my bathroom must be magical because I can usually convince myself that I look pretty decent without makeup.  Then I catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror outside of the house and recoil in horror at my own zombie-like reflection.  At that point if I can get to my car, I start searching under the seats and in the compartments, trying to figure out where I left my makeup bag because I cannot remember for sure the last time I used it.

I have some pretty nice clothes, but am hesitant to actually wear them.  Knowing that whatever I choose will have banana smeared on it within 30 minutes is enough to make me pick sweatpants and a 2 sizes too big t-shirt every time.  Then of course there is the trick of just wearing work out clothes because I am totally planning to work out.  Really.  At least maybe.

Of course I do feel better when I make an effort to look nice.¬† So when I have somewhere to go I carefully calculate how much energy I should put into my appearance based on several factors.¬† Such as, how many people am I going to see?¬† Will I see anyone who I know or who I might see again?¬† What will everyone else likely be wearing so I can be sure I don’t look the worst?

And what happens when I do try to look presentable? While I am drying my hair, baby Dash turns on the bathtub water and¬† throws all contents of the cabinets in the tub.¬† Of course I try to stop him.¬† I turn off the water about 20 times, going back and forth, making sure he doesn’t burn himself and I don’t electrocute both of us with the hairdryer in the bathtub.

While I do my makeup, Dash takes my hairdryer out of the cabinet and pours baby shampoo in it.  So, the next time I try to look presentable I will smell like burnt soap.  I look in the mirror to see if despite it all I at least look fit to function in society.  My smokey eye look is more like I walked through a cloud of smoke.  Grey eyeshadow is somehow all over my face.  Too much looking at Dash and not enough looking in the mirror.  Could I get up early and be perfectly coiffed before anyone else gets out of bed, you may ask?  The answer is no.  No I cannot.

TOO. MUCH. TROUBLE.

And this is why I am now THAT mother.¬† The one with the matted hair and under eye circles, shuffling through Target in her hoodie sweatshirt and pants that have peanut butter finger prints on them.¬† The one who young childless women snort at and say “I’m NEVER going to look like THAT when I have kids!”

Just wait and see.¬† They’ll get you too, my pretties, they’ll get you too.

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Chaos in Letterland

Today my kindergartner’s class is having a Letterland Parade.¬† If you’re not familiar with it, Letterland is a phonics program that uses cute little pictogram characters to teach reading, writing, and spelling.¬† Anyhow, the assignment is to come to school dressed like your favorite character.¬† Since I am the Queen of Procrastination, upon receiving the email informing me of the event, I didn’t even take note of the date and decided to look at it LATER.¬† When later finally came, I realized I only had 3 days to come up with a costume. OOPS.

Now, some of the character choices make it very easy to pull together a simple costume.¬† Seriously, if you have a daughter you can get away with doing NO WORK by choosing Vicky Violet, it’s just a girl wearing purple!¬† So, this was my big chance to pick something easy.¬† But I blew it.¬† “So, Finn, who’s your favorite Letterland character?”

“NONE.¬† They’re all dumb.”

Well, I should have seen that coming.¬† Beau (who didn’t do this in Kindergarten) looked over my shoulder at the email.¬† “I would pick Peter Puppy.”¬† Finn agreed, Peter Puppy would be acceptable.¬† So, that was it, the chance to dress him with little to no cost or effort, POOF!¬† Gone.

At first, I panicked a bit.¬† Then I remembered the internet and whined on Facebook about my plight.¬† My friend Jaclyn was kind enough to give me a link to a simple tutorial on Puppy Ear making.¬† But darn that Pinterest, I just had to look.¬† And of course, I find dreamy pins of costume tutorials far over the head of someone who doesn’t even own a sewing machine.¬† I did get the idea to put pipe cleaners in between 2 pieces of felt to make the ears more lively.¬† So, long story short, after over $20 blown at Michael’s and most of my Saturday spent stitching felt ears together with a needle and thread, Finn has a Peter Puppy outfit.

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I think it looks pretty cute and Finn is excited about it.¬† (The pictures are terrible, that’s what happens when you are rushing to get to school and your good camera won’t work!)¬† It’s too bad that the red letter P’s look coral pink, which hopefully isn’t the kiss of death at school.¬† (He hasn’t noticed the P is for Pink Problem, so please do not tell him!)¬† Even my husband seemed impressed.¬† Either that, or he was just looking at me like I was crazy.¬† I’m not sure which.

However hubby was definitely not impressed when he saw that Dash had drawn on the door with pencil while I was preoccupied. (In my defense, I WAS watching him out of the corner of my eye and he was only 2 feet away from me, but with Dash you have to be FAST.)  And no one was very impressed that there were no clean knives in the kitchen because I spent my whole day playing costume designer and had neglected all my other household duties.

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Looks like I’m going to be playing catch up for a couple days.¬† And scrubbing pencil off the wall!¬† Well, you can’t do it all.¬† You just have to pick the most important things.¬† And this weekend, the most important thing was a t shirt and hat Finn will wear for one day.¬† Hmm… ūüėČ

Now that's a happy puppy!

Update:  He had a good day being Peter Puppy!

The Things A Mommy Puts Up With

You’re not eating right now, are you?¬† Good, because this is a little gross.¬† Although if you’re a Mommy like me, you probably have acquired a very strong stomach from years of being on Bio Hazard Cleanup Duty.¬† That warning was pretty much just for Daddies.

So, anyways, there was a BOOGER on my IPad this morning!¬† EWWWW!!!¬† Finn had just been playing some Bad Piggies before school.¬† He emphatically denied knowing where the suspicious substance had come from, but knowing him it wasn’t a real stretch that it would be entirely too much trouble for him to interrupt his game to go get a TISSUE!

If my husband got past the initial gross out warning to read this, he is saying to himself “And THAT is EXACTLY why the kids are not allowed to touch MY IPad!!!”¬†¬† It’s true, Daddy’s IPad is off limits while Mommy’s IPad is 90% used for Angry Birds and educational apps. (Okay, that’s 85% Angry Birds and 5% educational apps.)¬† The point is, Mommy will put up with a lot.

Mommy will put up with little toddler fingers picking food off her plate, just to taste it, and then the half chewed morsels being spit back out on her lap.

Mommy will put up with little feet nestling next to her face while she sleeps, only to be kicked in the jaw when those little feet wake up in a sour mood.

Mommy will notice that her child is about to go into school covered in peanut butter, and put up with sacrificing her own jacket sleeve for an emergency clean up.

Mommy will put up with finding calcified string cheese under the seats of her mini van.  And of course, she put up with the smell that string cheese gave off while it was calcifying under the seats of her mini van.

Mommies put up with all these little indignities and many, many more.¬† And they do it all with smiles and love.¬† BUT… this Mommy had better NEVER, EVER find another booger on her IPad!!!

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Parenting, Perfectionism, and Paint

We really need to do some painting around here.¬† I know probably most of you had your baby’s nursery all painted and decorated months before they were born, but around here we like to wait a little longer.¬† Or a lot longer.¬† My idea was to wait until the baby could choose how he wanted his room decorated.¬† Upon writing that, I realize how ridiculous it sounds.

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Anyways, Dash is almost 1 1/2 and the guest bed is still in his room, along with his crib.¬† It’s another story, but he has pretty much taken over the guest bed as his own and recruited me as his roommate.¬† Who wants to sleep in a baby jail when you could snuggle up with Mommy on a nice big bed, you know?¬† I know you all are tsk tsking about how I have ruined a perfectly good child.¬† But Dr. Sears says it’s okay.¬† And he IS America’s pediatrician, you know.¬† So it’s all good, EXCEPT when we have guests.¬† Then it’s a bit of a mess.¬† So, hubby has decided that it is time to kick Dash out of the guest bed by setting up the new guest room.¬† Getting him to spend the whole night in a crib will be challenging to say the least, so let’s continue not to deal with that and start with the easy part:¬† PAINT.

When I pick out paint, I usually like to go and get about 70 paint chips, even if they are all different shades of the same color.¬† I’d hate to miss the perfect hue. Then I take the chips home and hold them next to every item that is in the room.¬† Then I make careful observation on how the color changes in different lighting, usually over a period of at least a week.¬† Once I have picked the color, I put all the chips away for 6 months until I have forgotten which color I wanted.

But yesterday, my hand was forced by the Sherwin Williams 30% off sale.¬† Last day for a discount!¬† So, I went in the store with nothing to guide me but a pillow sham.¬† I bought a gallon of the first shade of blue that caught my eye. In and out of there in 10 minutes tops.¬† It was so simple, so freeing!!! I don’t even have the paint chip so I can’t obsess over whether I like the color in every lighting or know if I made a terrible mistake.¬† Oh my goodness, WHY didn’t I get the paint chip?!?¬† I’m starting to hyperventilate…¬† Okay, deep breaths, it’s all going to be okay….

Well, this is either a major win against Perfectionism or a terrible loss for Decorating. ūüėČ

What about you all?  Are you on top of all your decorating projects or do you have stacks of wasted paint chips like me?