< Things I Can't Say: December 2008

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Monday, December 29, 2008

Busy Day

There are days when I'm done in by noon. Today was one of those days.

Monkey had half day camp at a kids' gym today. So, we were out the door by 9am. Got to the gym, loaded the littles into the stroller and took Monkey up to the gym. Bear starts freaking out when he realizes that he is not going to get to play there. He managed to get himself out of the straps on his stroller and was saying, "I could play, I could play!" And then the screaming began when I told him that he couldn't.

We zoom on out of there, leaving Monkey behind. Drive over to Babies R Us to return a pair of Cub's shoes that he got for Christmas, but that are too small. Unfortunately, while I made certain that I had brought along the gift receipt, I had left the shoes at home. Fortunately, I had at least realized that mistake before I had taken the boys out of their car seats.

So, to try to placate Bear, who is still whimpering about how he "could play," I went thru the drive thru at Krispy Kreme. That seemed to help.

Then, even though we would be early, I decided to drive over to the doctor's office for Cub's appointment for his second flu shot. As I was about to pull into the parking lot, my phone rang. It was the gym...Monkey had had an accident.

WHAT???? He hasn't had an accident since last summer. So, I turn back around and start driving back to the gym(almost 10 minutes away), trying to figure out if I should go into Walmart and buy him new pants and underwear, or if I should just pick him up. As I'm about to turn into Walmart, my phone rings again; someone from the gym saying that they found extra clothes and Monkey is fine, so I don't have to bring him anything.

Turn BACK around and go to the doctor's. Actually get there on time, too. Cub gets his flu shot with minimal crying, Bear gets a pretzel, we're doing okay.

Managed to do the grocery shopping for this week before we had to pick up Monkey. Then, get back to the gym, load the littles in the stroller, go in to get him. He was hiding, not wanting to come home. Bear again starts insisting that he could play and he's miserable. Monkey is afraid that he's going to get in trouble for wetting his pants(he said he didn't know where the bathroom was and it was too late by the time the teacher told him...I'll let that go, I guess). Oh, and Cub is tired.

So, we get back out to the truck, get all three loaded into their car seats...and only then do I notice that Bear must have pulled one of the gym tshirts off the shelf and put it into the stroller.

This is not a place where I could just run back into quickly and hand it back to them- it's inside, up the stairs, and down the hall. So, I would have had to take all three back out of their car seats, taken them upstairs, dropped the shirt off, then back downstairs, back into car seats, then we could finally leave. Sound like too much effort? I thought so, too. So, we just left. I figure that I have to go back to return the clothes that they let Monkey wear, so I'll return the shirt then, too. I just hope it doesn't get lost in all the mess in the truck....

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Is it equal?

After reading this post: (editing to say that I have no idea how to use that trackback thing, but it was about Santa, have you heard about babybunching) over on Baby Bunching, I thought more about this whole equality thing for Christmas.

When I was shopping, it was so much easier to find things for Bear, imagining his excitement on Christmas morning. Monkey will just be concerned with quantity and moving on to the next gift.

If you look at the piles of gifts, it does seem like Bear got the best end of the deal, getting more than Monkey.

But, we already had Christmas at Grammy and Papa's house and I think Monkey's gifts outnumbered Bears at least 2 to 1, if not 3 to 1.

Grandma sent a box full of presents that we will open on Christmas Day. But, I've looked in there...it's like Monkey is an only child and Bear and Cub are some cousins or something that she threw in a token present or two for.

While Cub, at 7 months(today!), doesn't care and just wants to eat as much of the wrapping paper as he can before we stop him, and Bear will be excited for anything that he gets, I care.

I care that Monkey gets spoiled rotten by the grandparents and the other two are afterthoughts. Bear would be content if we just got him one toy that he didn't have to share with his brother. He would jump up and down and clap; he'd get so excited that he would shake. But, it's not right. Monkey could have a million presents and he would still be disappointed when he stopped having new things to open.

So, Santa set out to make things a little more fair by getting a few more presents for Bear than for Monkey.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Mission: Impossible

I've always thought, that while my boys believe in Santa, as long as they don't ask for something impossible from Santa, they should get what they ask him for.

This has been easy in the past. The Christmas Monkey was 2, all he wanted was crayons and paper. Last Christmas, he wanted all different colors of playdoh. Bear just wants "toys" in general.

I really thought Monkey was going to ask Santa for Octopus Playdoh. That is what he yelled at a different Santa a few weeks ago at the mall. He got close to the ropes and yelled out, "I want Octopus Playdoh." He continued to talk about it for the past few weeks, so I made sure to get it for him. Easy enough.

But, then, last night, what does he decide to ask for from Santa? A water squirter a.k.a. a water gun.

Yes, that's right. In the middle of December, on the coldest day we have had yet, with temps never hitting double digits, he asks for a water gun.

Where on earth can you get a water gun in Western PA in the winter?

And this is ALL he wants. Even Santa tried to encourage him to say other things he wanted. The only other thing Monkey came up with was that he wanted a bucket for water to fill up his squirter.

That's it, nothing else.

The Octopus Playdoh? According to Monkey, Grandma is sending that from NC. Why he thinks that is beyond me. I know I didn't put that on the list I gave mil.

Monkey is convinced that Santa will bring him his water squirter.

It's going to take a Christmas miracle to pull this one off.

The Real Santa

Why on earth did we wait in line for 2 1/2 hours to see Santa?

Well, first off, because I had waited until December 22 to take the boys to see the big guy. I figured who waits that long? Doesn't everyone take their kids to see him much earlier in the month?

Wrong, of course. There was a massive line.

But, we were already there- and that is the most inconvenient mall to go to from our house. There is no direct way to get there, no quick little trip down the road.

Though, the reason I chose that mall is also the second reason why the line was so long.

The real Santa is there.

I don't just mean that he looks like he could be Santa all on his own, without the help of a fake beard and wig. There are plenty of Santas around now who look the part. Not at all like when we were kids.

But, not only does this Santa look like the real thing, he acts like the real thing, too. He loves the kids. He has kind words for everyone and never gets impatient. He answers the kids' questions, no matter how strange, and with a ready answer that satisfies them that yes, indeed, this is Santa. He never rushes anyone off his lap and makes sure that you are getting the best pic that you possibly can- he called me over to fix the boys' pants legs. He answered Monkey's question about where he lives- that yes, indeed, he has a little house in our town(there's a little Santa house out on the lawn in the square) and one at the North Pole, and another in Colorado, where Santa spends his summers fishing. He even answered Monkey's question about what color fishing pole he uses(red, if you are wondering).

He makes you feel like he thinks your kids are the most precious things in the world and has a kind word for mom and dad, too, gently reassuring you that you are doing a fantabulous job.

Of course, all of this attention means that the line moves extremely slowly...and it's long to start with, since who doesn't want to go see the real Santa?


After the incident at my brother's church on Sunday, I was feeling like I pretty much suck at being a mom.

But, tonight, I took the boys to see Santa. Again, by myself since Hubby was working.

It took us about 2 1/2 hours to get thru the line to see Santa. Somehow, I managed with all three.

Monkey never ran off, Bear was content.(Except for the brief time when we were two families away from it being our turn and he bolted for Santa and timed it so that he was in someone else's pic with Santa...but I won't even count that. Who could blame him, really? That was a long time to wait.) Cub was flirting with everyone in line. Even though it was well past all three's bedtimes by the time we got halfway thru the line.

At one point, Bear was gabbing away in the stroller, Monkey was busy talking to the kids around us, and I was managing to nurse Cub while standing up and yet still staying completely covered.

Da da da da da DA! SUPERMOM!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I will not be sucked in!

I've had several requests this week for our address and I know it's for Christmas cards. We've also received quite a few in the mail already.

I'm just getting around to addressing ours tonight and I even have a time tomorrow when I can get to the post office without a single child in tow.

But, I'm refusing to get sucked into the reciprocal Christmas card. I'm not going to feel guilty that someone sent us a card when we aren't sending them one. People send them to be nice, not to receive cards in return, right? Right?

My Christmas card philosophy(yes, I feel so strongly about this that I have a philosophy on it) is that Christmas cards are for people whom you aren't going to see during the holidays. Far away relatives and friends.

Back when I was working, I did give Christmas cards to my fellow teachers, and that was mostly a reciprocal thing...but I had time for stuff like that back then. Hubby is giving cards to some of his clients and that's a good business thing.

But, giving them to people we are going to see during this Christmas season? No, I'm not going to do it.

Plus, we did photo cards this year. Most of the people I can think of who have sent us cards so far or who are going to, they don't need a pic of my boys. They'll say oh, how cute, and then pitch it after Christmas, just like I do with the pics of their kids. Is it okay if I admit that? Enough clutter accumulates around here without me keeping all the Christmas cards we get every year. So, yes, if you send me a card that has a pic of your kids on it, it will eventually make it into my trash can. I'm a hypocrite here- it disturbs me to think of my kids' pics getting thrown away...which is why I don't send out their pics to people whom don't have any reason to keep a pic of them around. If you don't want a Christmas card with a pic of your child on it to end up i n my trash can(though, I will admire your child first and display the card for a few weeks), please don't send me one. That will be one less card I have to worry about reciprocating.

This is the beauty of sending out my Christmas cards so late in the season- I can feel bad for just a short period of time for not reciprocating Christmas cards but really can't do much about it, unless I want to send out New Year's cards instead...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Playing favorites

Let me just say that I LOVE all of my children. I love them equally, all the time, no matter what.

But, I'll admit that sometimes a child will make it really easy to love him and other times, he will make it really hard.

Let me repeat: I LOVE all of my children. I love them equally, all the time, no matter what.

Okay, that said.

Bear is such an easy child to love. So easy-going. Let's take sleep as an example- since sleep is usually something that can be an agonizing experience with babies and toddlers and on up. When he was a baby, we could just put him in his crib and he'd play for awhile if he wasn't tired until he finally fell asleep. When he'd wake up, he would play for awhile before demanding that we pick him up. When he got old enough to crawl up the steps by himself, he would go to his crib alone and stand there, holding onto the bars, looking longingly into his crib, should we not put him to bed when he was tired. Even now, he goes to bed without a fight and doesn't cry if he's not ready to sleep or when he wakes up in the morning. I'll go into his room in the morning and find him playing with his stuffed animals or his blanket. And he always greets me with a smile and a "Hi, Mommy!"

Cub should be exempt from the comparison, since he's still a baby...but Bear was only waking up once or twice a night when he was 3 days old. I remember getting up over and over to check to make sure that he was okay, since I was used to DEMON SLEEPER, aka Monkey, who didn't sleep for longer than 1.5-2 hours until he was 6 months old.

Bear is easy-going in everything he does. He'll eat whatever you put in front of him. He gets excited over the least little things- like clapping and jumping up and down when I get him a drink. He snuggles up on my lap, gives lots of hugs and kisses, and has a smile that lights up the room.

Bear is often overlooked by his extended family, so I don't feel too badly extolling his virtues here. It's not that they do it on purpose. Monkey is a leader: LOUD and demanding- it's almost impossible to ignore him. Cub is still a baby and babies are passed around and cooed at. Bear is content to play on his own or to bring someone a toy with a sweet "Here ya go" and go back to his playing. He doesn't get in anyone's face and demand attention nor is he a baby who needs held.

So, I almost overcompensate for the lack of attention he receives from other family members. We go on secret trips to get ice cream, he gets to stay up later than the other two, and occasionally gets away with murder.

One last time: I LOVE all of my children. I love them equally, all the time, no matter what.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I never thought I'd do it

Before I was a mom, I never thought that I would dress my kids alike, not even if I had twins. Just another one of those "I'll never do that" thoughts that went right out the window once I became a baby buncher.

It's not every day, but it's often enough that my kids are in matching clothes.

The reality of it is that my kids are so close in age, I'm usually shopping in the same store, often in the same section for them.

When there are sales, it's the same clothes but in different sizes that are on sale. So, do I just get them each one thing but it's different from what I get the others? Or, do I get them each three new shirts that match each other? No brainer to me. I'm not going to pass up something like a Children's Place fleece for $1.99 because my boys would match if I got it for them.

Now, I know that I could buy them the same clothes and not have them wear them on the same day. But, it's so easy to decide what one is wearing and then just get the same thing out for the other two.

And, if we are going out in public somewhere, particuarly if it's somewhere where one of them could run off(like the children's museum or the zoo or Walmart, if I'm being honest), it's easier to have them all dressed alike, so I can say "Have you seen another child who is wearing this outfit but is a bit bigger/smaller?"

Alright, it's never actually come to that, but it is easier for me to do my one, two, three count(where I am constantly keeping an eye on where my boys are- counting them one, two, three), when they have on the same outfit. They stand out from the crowd that way.

Until they get old enough to complain about it, I'll continue to buy them matching clothes.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Shush, Mama Big-Mouth

A friend of mine just had a baby...or rather, his wife did. And what do I want to do? Exactly what annoyed me when I had my first baby: give tons of advice. I'm blaming it on the fact that I think a guy would appreciate tips on how to best deal with a newborn and that I would never say these things to a woman.

Things like how to do a really good swaddle wrap, what to do when breastfeeding makes your nipples feel like glass is being sucked out of your skin, what a lifesaver a swing can be, and how it's okay to be an emotional disaster shortly after giving birth.

I never wanted to hear any of those things from anyone, though. I wanted to figure it out on my own. I also think that other people's advice is tainted by their bad memories- they don't REALLY remember what it was like to have a newborn; they've romanticized their memories, saying some nonsense about their child sleeping thru the night at 3 days old- it's not true, it's just that they don't really remember what it was like.

My advice? Oh, it's not subject to a poor memory. Everyone else's is, but mine is perfect...or at least, I must think so, to open my mouth and spew out all the knowledge that I've gained from baby bunching.

Really, I wouldn't be surprised if his wife wanted to punch him in the nose for making a suggestion to her about what to do with the baby and prefacing it with "Shell says..." or maybe she'll just want to punch me instead...maybe I better put off my visit until I can learn to keep my mouth shut. Then again, I'd like to see him before he goes off to college.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I doubted him for a minute there

Last night, I went to my monthly MOPS meeting, so Hubby was home with the three boys, having to take care of bedtime.

When I got home, I went in to check on the boys.

Found Bear fast asleep in his crib in just his diaper.

It's COLD here. And our windows are old. We stay warm enough, with portable heaters helping out.

But, it doesn't get so warm in here that it's okay to put a child to bed in just a diaper. Actually, even without the cold to worry about, putting a child who is able to remove his diaper to bed in just a diaper isn't a good idea.

So, I went downstairs to ask Hubby why on earth he had done that. Bear is usually a pretty agreeable child, I can't imagine that he gave Hubby a hard time about putting on his pjs. Can totally see Monkey refusing, but not Bear.

Though, before I even had a chance to ask him about it, I did realize that it was more likely that Bear took his pjs off than that he never had them on in the first place. Hubby laughed at me for even thinking for a minute that he would put one of the kids to bed in just a diaper.

I found Bear's pjs tossed behind his crib and managed to get him back in them without waking him up.

Friday, December 12, 2008

What else doesn't she tell me?

Bear started a pre-preschool class last month. It's just once a week, for 75 minutes. But, it was something that he needed.

When we drove past his school, I pointed it out to Monkey, telling him that that was where Bear was going to start going to school.

Monkey responded by telling me that he watched a movie over there. He has an active imagination and the school is near a bunch of stores, so I figured he was making it up or was confused and thought the movie theater was there.

The first time Monkey was in the car when I dropped off Bear at school, he told me that it wasn't Bear's school, it was a sleepy school that Grammy took him to. Ooookay, still attributing this to his imagination.

Then, this week, we were driving past the school and Monkey told me how Grammy took him and Bear to the sleepy school a long, long time ago, before Cub was born, that he and Bear had to lay down and take a rest while they watched a movie on the tv. He went on to say that he peed in his pants and the teacher put on rubber gloves and put a diaper on him, even though he wasn't a baby any more.

That kind of detail got my attention.

Half of the building where Bear goes to school is a preschool and the other section is a drop-off childcare place. I've never used the drop-off care, but mostly because I think it's something like $12/hour for my older two to be there. Not because I think there is anything wrong with it- obviously, since I'm fine with sending Bear to school there.

So, I decided to ask Grammy about it. She got the most guilty look on her face and said yes, she took them there when Hubby and I were in California back in March for our anniversary. She stayed with the boys for the five days that we were gone and left them at the drop-in center while she had a chiropractor appointment. She said she was afraid that I'd get upset if she told me.

Am I upset that she took them to the drop-in center? Absolutely not. I'd probably take them there once a week or so if I could afford it.

But, I am pissed off that she didn't tell me about it. It makes me wonder what else she does with the kids that she chooses not to tell me.

A new start

I just started blogging at the end of this past summer. It started out as a way to keep track of the boys' milestones, funny little things they say, as well as letting the relatives who live far away get to "see" them as they go about their daily lives. Oh, and a tiny bit to prove to Grandma(mil) that we aren't always "doing nothing" which is what Monkey tells her everytime he talks to her, regardless of what we had done that day.

But, I started adding more to the stories, more of me in them. And, not everything is appropriate for the fam to read. Not without them getting offended or thinking that I must be a terrible mom.

Hence, the need for a second blog. One that's MINE, where I can say all the things I can't say on my "everyone can read it" blog.