< Things I Can't Say: April 2009

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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Uh-oh, I think that sign is meant for me

Before I tell you about THE SIGN at Bear's preschool, let me tell you about the set-up.

In front of Bear's preschool, there are 3 parking spots, separated from the door by a narrow sidewalk. The door and actually the whole front of the school is made of glass. It's one of the few places that I can trust Bear to get out of the truck and go in, without having to keep a death grip on his hand. I follow behind, walk in the door about 3 feet, sign my name beside his on the class list, then turn around and leave. Bear is off and playing happily with his teacher very quickly. The whole process from getting him out of the car until the time that I get back in less than 30 seconds, probably even under 20 seconds.

So, what's with the sign? Why do I think it's for me?

Well, when I drop him off, I still have Monkey and Cub out in the truck. Monkey's preschool starts a half hour later than Bear's and of course Cub is always with me.

(Prepare to suck in your breath in horror)

I don't get them out of their car seats and bring them in with me to do drop off.

My 20 second drop off would turn into a 10 minute ordeal, unbuckling everyone, keeping them with me while I signed their brother in, and then getting them buckled back in.

I did mention that the entire front of the school is made of glass, right? And that I park directly in front of the school, the front bumper of the truck being less than 3 feet from the door and then I walk in 3 feet into the school. At all times, I can see them, even though it means that I do this odd walking/standing sideways thing.

At pick-up time, Monkey is still at his preschool and Cub is usually taking his morning nap in his car seat. Bear's darling teacher does not turn the sign to "Go"(indicating that parents may pick up their kids) until she has all the kids in their jackets with packed bookbags on their backs. She stands at the door with the kids and lets the kids out as she sees the parent get out of the car.

I don't see anything wrong with what I do. I know that bad things can happen in just an instant, but my kids are never out of my sight. There isn't even an issue with what happens if there is a line to drop-off/pick-up because it's a very small class and I can see if there is anyone else in there doing sign-ins and can wait until they are done.

So, on to the sign today(finally, my point, right?). There was a sign on the door of the preschool that talked about not leaving your car running or the keys in the ignition...but then, the last little bit of it said, in big, bold letters: NO CHILD SHOULD BE LEFT UNATTENDED IN VEHICLES.

I guess I look at it as they aren't unattended, since I can see them. It's not like I left them in the car and then went into the grocery store for a minute.

One of my friends who has just one child is completely appalled that I would leave my kids in the car during this preschool drop-off/pick-up scenario. But, I think that she just doesn't get it. Same with the sign. It's probably intended for me, but I doubt that I'll start dragging the other two boys in with me for drop-off or that I will wake up Cub to handle pick-up.

Any moms out there with multiple small kiddos who agrees? Tell me what you think.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Baby Crack

Since we are on the go all the time, I like to find different snacks for the kids that are portable, somewhat healthy(read: not just straight sugar, could be close though), and not messy.

I tried those new yogurt melts for the baby, figuring it would be something different for him, instead of having to bring his body weight in Cheerios along with us on every outing.

Verdict: He LOVES them. So much so that he will actually shake- a full-body shake- if he so much as sees the bag of them. He'll lunge for them and make yummy-yum noises and cram as many of them as he can into his mouth as fast as he possibly can.

It's such a hilarious sight that Hubs and I joked that the melts are like baby crack. Note: it is NOT a good thing when your four year-old is out in public asking if he can try some baby crack.

Monday, April 20, 2009

One-on-one time: Guilt

I wanted to really make an effort to start spending one-on-one time with each of the boys, doing something special with each of them. This does not include the times when I might take one boy with me to the store if the others are napping at home with Daddy or the times when one is up later/earlier than the other two. I mean intentional activities planned that a particular child would enjoy.

Last month, I took Bear to go see Dora Live!(exclamation point is not mine, but in the name of the show). Yesterday, I took Monkey to a baseball game for their kids' day. They each had a blast on their day. Bear was mesmerized by the Dora show. Monkey had every possible fun thing in his dictionary of fun happen yesterday: inflatables to play on before the game, all his good buddies sitting by us at the game, tons of junk food, a toy, and a playground. They enjoyed themselves and I got to enjoy really paying attention to how they each reacted, the things they said and did, every little moment. When they are all with me, my main concern is keeping everyone safe and I know I miss a lot of the precious little moments.

That started me feeling guilty. So much they say and do, all those cute little toddler/preschool moments...I know I miss a lot. It just isn't possible to hear/see everything when you are out and about with three kids under the age of five(or when you are at home with them...). My kids don't get the attention of only children or children who are spaced further apart. How much am I missing out on?

Then, there's the guilt of knowing that a child who is left at home while his brother is having fun would LOVE to be doing what we're out doing. Monkey would have loved the Dora show. Knowing his brother got to go, the next time he saw a commercial for it, he told me that it looked like such fun and when was his turn to get to go? *Cringe* He wouldn't get to go. Bear would have been tearing it up on all those inflatables yesterday and how he coveted his brother's toy that he brought home(no, I couldn't have brought him one, too- it was a giveaway at the door and they wouldn't give me another- I tried). It would be different if they had completely different interested and I felt like I was sparing them the torture of having to put up with a day full of activities that is only for brother's enjoyment. Maybe as they get older and their interests vary more, I won't feel so guilty.

I have a different type of guilt towards Cub. He's just shy of 11 months right now, so he has no idea what he is missing and can't really participate in the things his brothers want to do, so I don't feel guilt leaving him at home. Instead, I feel guilt that I don't have the time to treasure all the little baby times as much as I'd like to. He's such a contented baby that it's easy to let him play while I deal whatever catastrophe his brothers are causing.

Of course, if I weren't finding time to do things one-on-one with each child, I'd feel guilty about that instead. And if I were spending all my time cuddling the baby, I'd feel guilty about that, too. The mommy guilts.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Who's going to get his way?

Bedtime around here has been more of a challenge since I moved the two big boys into the same bedroom a few months back.

We have gotten into more of a routine and most nights I'm able to put one boy to bed and have him be fast asleep before the other's bedtime. Not too bad unless we are out late for some unavoidable reason(few and far between, since I consider bedtime to be a sacred thing and don't like to change it for very much) and then trying to put the boys to bed at the same time results in the wrestling match I wrote about a few months ago.

The issue right now is how very different the boys are. When that was just Monkey's room, he was incredibly, well, anal, about what was allowed in his room. Everything had to be in exactly the right spot and nothing extra was allowed to be in there. His blankets had to be put on in exactly the right order and his stuffed animals(the only toys I allow in bedrooms) in precisely the correct spot, nothing on the floor, closet door and dresser drawers closed tight.I distinctly remember a night where I heard him out in the hall at the top of the steps bellowing for me. I went up to check, since it sounded like he was being attacked by a monster or perhaps had an eardrum burst, only to find him standing there with the price tag from a shirt that had just bought him. When I had removed it, I guess I hadn't thrown it away, just put it on top of his dresser and then it had fallen to the floor. In complete disgust, he told me "THIS does not belong in my room."

Bear, on the other hand, thrives on chaos. He likes to open all the dresser drawers and go on a scavenger hunt to see what he can find, strewing clothes all over the place. The closet can be a fun place for him to hide or for him to hide one of his brother's precious blankets. He's also likely to kidnap a stuffed animal or two. He has no qualms about falling asleep wherever he happens to be when he finally wears himself out.

I really thought Monkey was going to have some sort of breakdown when his pin-neat room was turned into a bomb site, but over the past few months, but I was trying to let them work it out. I admit that I was hoping that Monkey would win out, but it seems like Bear is winning this battle. Unfortunately for mama, who used to never worry about having to clean that room.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Finally Friends

It used to be that if we were going somewhere like the zoo or the science center or even just the park, Monkey would ask me who else was going to be there, wanting to be sure that he had a friend to play with.

But, yesterday, he asked if we could go to Chuck E. Cheese. Ugh, no way did I want to go there, especially as an impromtu trip, since I need to mentally prepare myself for that place(aka take a valium or two).

Figuring it was an easy out, I gently told him that none of his friends were going to be there so maybe we'd go another day when they could meet us there and he could have someone to play with.

Tilting his head to the side, narrowing his eyes, and looking at me like he thought I was stupid, he told me, "But, (Bear) is there. I can play with my brother!"

For the longest time, Bear was considered a baby, not a playmate. He didn't "do" anything, just hung out in the stroller or on mama's hip. But, now that he is approaching three, his older brother has deemed him a worthy playmate. Maybe not his first choice yet, but we're making progress.

See, having my boys so close together does have benefits.