Life is Sticky. Life is Sweet.

Life is Sticky. Life is Sweet.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


I like to claim that Lizzie is quite independent, but I've been noticing lately she's been getting more and more clingy. She's also been starting to use baby talk, to which I sternly remind her, "I don't understand baby talk. Use your big girl words." I have no idea why this is all starting now, but I'm about to start drinking heavily in the morning if she doesn't stop.

I can't say I have a tough life with her, really. She likes to play, she likes to watch Sprout (I've weaned her off of Nick Jr. because I can't watch/listen to 7 episodes of Dora a day), she likes to color, she likes to be read to, but I can't seem to keep her entertained long enough to do anything. She'll start a coloring page, a game, a book, or etc, then take off and start something new. I know most little kids do that, but Lizzie's Schizophrenic Play reaches epic proportions on most days, leading to frustration, mess, and tears.

Most normal parents in most normal places would promptly put their kid into a day camp or play group to give them some structure, get them to interact with other kids, and--in correlation--get some well-deserved Me Time for themselves, even if Me Time consists of heavy cleaning and yard work (see Cara's last post). But I don't live in a normal area. Day camps and play groups just don't seem to exist up here. I've searched online, asked other parents (oh, my god, don't even get me started about the lack of pre and nursery schools up here. whole other post), and even read the local phone book, but I have a inherent fear of play groups run out of peoples' homes and that's really all that's up here.

{Now this is the part of the post where my mom starts preparing her "You know you can drop Lizzie off at my house any time you want" comment, but I have to stop her and say, "Ma, if I dropped Lizzie off at your house any time I wanted, she'd be there every day! Eight hours a day!"}

That being said, I have applied to get Lizzie into a pre-school in a near-by town for the upcoming school year. Like I said, the lack of pre-schools around here makes getting into a pre-school (even a mediocre one) like competing to get into Harvard. I got the application in the mail, filled it out, and put it back into the mail that same day. I've called 3 times to ask about the status of her application. I've been cheerful, upbeat and perky on the phone to make it sound like I'm Super Awesome Mommy (lordy be, what a stretch that is!). I've even volunteered to be a Class Mother--wait, why did I do that? Aren't school hours supposed to be Me Time?? I've done everything to make it clear that I want Lizzie in that school except bake the owner brownies. I'll be doing that next week since the owner finally told me--in near desperation--that she'll be getting the new school year's budget this week and will be sending out letters the first week of August.

So, keep your fingers crossed that Lizzie will get into Tender Times Preschool. For her own benefit and mine too.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

According to Plan

Today was Will and Liam's first day of summer camp.

I know. I know what you're thinking... that I've been complaining about not spending enough time with them all year long and then here I am shipping them off to camp. I know. I do feel a little guilty about it.

They're going on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, from 8:30 am until noon. They'll get to socialize with their friends and participate in some fun activities. Liam will get some continuity with the whole 'daycare situation' (so he won't be freaking out in September) and Will will get to hang out with his buddies for a few more weeks until they all head off to separate schools for kindergarten.

While they're gone, I'll do fun things like lawn mowing and power washing and pool maintaining and bathroom cleaning-- the kinds of things that are nearly impossible to accomplish with an almost-two-year-old underfoot.

One of the very best perks is that the camp is walking distance from our house. Months ago, Will made me promise that I would give him rides (there and back) in his wagon.

Seventy pounds of cuteness = a serious workout.

Speaking of promises, I also promised Will his very own 'office'. When Will turned three, we got him a bedroom set that included a big wooden desk with a great work surface. For months, he's been asking to bring all of his art supplies upstairs. He's been wanting to stock the drawers with crayons, markers, scissors, tape, glue, paper, etc. I had promised him that we would set things up once the summer started.

For the last five years, Will's art supplies have been kept in a safety locked cabinet. I had nightmares of a toddleresque art mural on my dining room wall or giant ink spots on my couch. Artwork was relegated to the kitchen table only and we've never had any major messes. Now that Will is about to turn five, I figured he was ready for a little independence.

Within 24-hours of setting up his 'office', as he calls it, I found this in the toy closet.

And for a closer look...
The underlining and circle-dotted i... nice touch, right?

"How do you know I did it?", he asked. Good one, honey.

The office is closed until further notice.

So, in addition to putting the Crayolas on lockdown, I spent the day spreading the six bags of mulch that have been lying in my driveway for the last few months. I also packed away our double stroller and tried, in vain, to get the pool filter working. (Bill, of course, fixed it within two minutes of arriving home.)

When I walked over to pick up the boys, I was armed with two blue Fla-Vor-Ices for the ride home. (Totally a mother-of-the-year move.)

Mmmm... Fla-Vor-Ice....

Well, it turns out that Fla-Vor-Ice can be a pretty tricky thing when you're not quite two. Liam kept forgetting which side was open and which was closed... sending precious blue ice and juice to the bottom of the dirty wagon.

Will's take on the situation: "Man, he is NOT smart."
This is an actual quote, people.

A little dirt wouldn't stand in Liam's way. He'd just fish the pieces of ice from the bottom of the wagon and scream in protest when I tried to intercept them.

Will just found the situation completely hilarious. He even helped his little brother by kicking the pieces of ice so that they'd be within his reach. And me? I thought that I remained pretty calm. Afterall, this is only day two of summer vacation and there are plenty of 'not according to plan' moments ahead.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Surveying the Damage

Friday marked the end of my tenth year of teaching. (It would have actually been the eleventh, but I took a year of maternity leave with Liam.)

As I cleaned out my room, I was reminded of what a rough year this was. Handouts and worksheets going all the way back to September sat in tall, completely unorganized piles. Student papers, which had been collected with the intent of grading, sat alongside in their own messy stacks-- ungraded. The notices on my bulletin boards were outdated and the supply caddy on my filing cabinet had been emptied long ago except for a few paper clips and some nonfunctional pens.

As I arrived home on Friday, I began surveying the related damage at home. There are months of fingerprints accumulated on every possible surface and small mountains of laundry in the basement. The refrigerator, the stove, the bathrooms... just about every room needs an overhaul. Cabinets are stuffed with kids art projects and receipts and mystery phone numbers and dates scrawled on random envelopes. The kids' dressers are full of winter clothes that need to be packed away and the front closet is packed with shoes that will no longer fit. There are bags of mulch in the driveway and an inch of pollen and dirt on the trampoline. As a matter of fact, just about everything in my backyard is begging for a power wash.

Thankfully the summer is my time to regroup. Time to spend with my husband and kids. Time to organize and put my house back together. Time to plan for next school year.

There's only one problem. Eight weeks doesn't seem like nearly enough time.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Short, Sweet and Potty

Potty training is not for the faint of heart. There's a lot of frustration, juice-and-water rationing, rinsed-out Dora panties hanging over the shower rod, high fives, pennies handed out, Clorox wipes, and missteps leading to puppy-like puddles.
On the plus side, my floors have been cleaner.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Everyone Uses New Phrases as a Parent

Phrases I never thought I'd utter until I became a mom:
1. "Put your clothes on right now!" (Also known as the "I'm NAK-KID!! I'm NAK-KID!!" moments)
2. "You can have ice cream for lunch if you let me take a shower." (I will use bribery to be able to clean myself)
3. "Don't make me come in there!" (It's so cliched, but I really do say it. A lot)
4. "Get down off the counter before you fall and kill yourself." (Lizzie's a bit of a climber. And fearless)
5. "Do you have a poopy butt? Turn around and let me look." (Self-explanatory)
6. "Don't cry, baby. It's just a little puke." (Said most often when covered with vomit that stinks of oyster crackers and apple juice)
7. "You better stay in bed or Daddy will come in there." (This is only said Friday through Sunday nights since I'm usually at school at bedtime)
8. "Okay, I'll call Santa and let him know." (Been saying this a lot lately as Lizzie has suddenly realized that requests to 'Santa' will produce presents at the end of the year)
9. "Sorry. My daughter helped." (Used to explain pen scribble on homework, which was greeted with hysterical laughter from teacher{s})
10. "No. We're staying outside." (Anyone who knows me knows I'm more of an "indoor girl.")
What are some phrases you find yourself using as a parent that makes you:
a. Cringe
b. Shake your head in amazement