Here are some activities that keep all three of my kids (4, 3 and 1) entertained for at least 30 straight (almost) uninterrupted minutes.
At the end of some days, I think back on the day and reflect on how it went so smoothly. And then (because I never learn), I think to myself, “I’ve really got this whole parenting thing down.”
Then there are days like Wednesday.
God gives you days like the former, to remind you of how much you love your kids on days like the latter.
God gives you days like the latter, to keep your ego in check.
Coincidentally, Tuesday was one of those smooth sailing days. Love how Tuesdays seem to always happen before Wednesdays. Literally and figuratively speaking.
On Tuesday, Charlee took a three-hour nap AND Hattie was asleep for an hour-and-a-half of those three hours. That meant I had a whole entire hour-and-a-half TO.MY.SELF. Unheard of. Because of this three-hour nap (does anyone else keep singing three-hour nap to the tune of Gilligan’s Island?), Big Girl had a very difficult time falling asleep that night. She finally tuckered out around 11 pm. Hattie however, fell asleep around 7:30.
Does anyone see where this is going?
So then we have … Wednesday. Hattie wakes up at 6:15. Ugh. She eventually falls back to sleep around 8. With what I am sure is to be a long while before Charlee wakes up, I decide to get dressed — as in put on makeup and a semi-cute mom-casual outfit. WHAT? I know. It is out of character. Some days you just need to feel good about yourself, right? I think God knew what the day ahead of me held, so he offered me this nibble of confidence, knowing the rest will be completely depleted in about 12 hours.
I hear Charlee’s good morning cry at approximately 8:32: “YA YA YA YA YA YA YA.”As soon as I hear her I think, “This is bad.” Not unlike her mother, she needs an ample amount of sleep to function emotionally the following day. As I make the long walk to her bedroom, I attempt to prepare myself for what is sure to be a toddlerific Wednesday.
The day begins with breakfast… as days usually do. I’m sure you know, deciding on what to eat for breakfast is torturous some mornings. And the obvious way to convey your disgust with what your mom chooses for you is to cry at a very high pitch, as to attract all the neighborhood dogs to eat the breakfast for you. How dare I give her raspberries and yogurt. The nerve.
If I were smart, I would have recognized the spiral for what it was and kept the child quarantined all day. But I gave her the benefit of the doubt, sure that once we got out the door she would be transformed by the light. So I sat her in front of the computer (Go ahead. Judge me. I would if I weren’t me.) and proceeded to play Elmo songs on YouTube while she ate her buttered pancakes (frozen and store-bought… don’t be impressed), so that I can feed Hattie and get our stuff together for a playdate.
About 12 meltdowns later (why won’t I let her wear her boots on the wrong feet?!), I am determined to get out the door before someone dies. Our 10 o’clock date was to the local church that holds a Mom ‘n Tot time on Wednesday mornings. I walk in with Charlee, fully aware that she is teetering precariously on this tightrope of sleep deprivation, knowing her tired alter-ego could rear its ugly head at any moment.
She has a couple mini-meltdowns (a boy was walking inside a train tent, which is clearly terrifying, and a little girl took the bike she wanted to ride. B*&%$), but nothing too dramatic. Then, the final straw comes in the form of a two-year-old girl who takes a hula hoop Charlee is standing by. STANDING BY. Was she playing with it? Nope. Does she know what a hula hoop is or how to use one? Not at all. Did that pink piece of plastic symbolize all that was holding her fragile world together? Apparently.
We left in a trail of tears, a baby in each arm with the eldest screaming in one ear, the youngest’s eyes wide, like, “Mom! Make her stop!”
We recover at home before nap time.
Did I say nap time? What I meant was… she doesn’t take a nap.
C lies in her bed for an hour-and-a-half, chatting and singing … just about the only time that whole day she was pleasant. You guys. No nap. No freaking nap.
That evening, we take dinner to some of our friends. And OF COURSE she falls asleep in the car. After about 20 minutes, she wakes up. And she wakes up angry. Angry at Hattie for having to eat. Angry at her high chair for being too high. Angry at mom for not giving her TWO Gogurts.
At about 6:25, Hattie catches The Crazies from her sister and proceeds to scream, pull my hair, scratch my chest and punch me in the face for the next 3 1/2 hours. 8 gallons of gas drops later, she falls asleep. Only to wake up 22 more times before morning.
And that is the story of how I lost my mind.
Send Target. Like the whole store. Send it to me. And coffee. And a babysitter.
It’s been a while. Not a whole lot of stimulation going on for my brain cells these days. Anything that requires thought or energy (like blogging) has been replaced with brainless activities (like Candy Crush). Maybe someday I’ll have the initiative to update this thing once a week. Or maybe I won’t and I won’t feel bad about it.
In the spirit of organization, let’s use bullet points. Seeing as a thousand things have happened in the last month, these stories are just a couple to whet your appetite for “My Life as a Flawed Mother of Two.”
1. Charlee got locked in the car.
Before you start panicking, the car WAS turned on with the a/c running. It was, nevertheless, quite traumatic for all involved.
Clark was playing with Charlee in his truck, with her sitting in his lap in the driver’s seat with the door opened. His truck is gimmicky because he got automatic locks installed after purchase, so when he starts his car the doors lock. And if you shut the door, it doesn’t unlock when it shuts. It stays locked. Very locked. This has happened several times. But never with an 18-month-old inside. Well, obviously this is not a big deal, because I’m home and I have a spare. Problem solved, right? WRONG. GET. THIS.
MY keys are locked in MY car as well. At the same time.
Doesn’t that just make you want to cuss. It sure did. What are the *#&#(*^ing odds?? I’m a math teacher, so I’ll tell you: 1 in a *&#^ bajillion.
We can’t SEE my keys inside, so we don’t know for sure that they’re in there. We just know that we have frantically searched every nook and cranny in the house. After a few minutes, I go out to find Charlee’s face pressed up against the window, tears streaming down her face. “Out. Out. Out.”
So there I am, with Hattie in my arms, trying to sing to her through the window, blowing kisses and pressing my nose up to try to make her laugh. The whole time she’s throwing her head in her hands in pure hysterics. Nothing is working. Keys are not found. Cops are called.
Cops show up with this line: “Have y’all called a locksmith?” Um, no. That’s why we called you, because you are a cop and you can open car doors with your cop-tools. And you do those things as a public service, not for a fee. Turns out, cops don’t have cop-tools that open doors. They have radios that call locksmiths. So after waiting five minutes for the cops to show up, we have to wait even LONGER for the locksmith. Well, this just won’t do. Feeling completely helpless, watching her crumble onto the seat in a hysterical fit, I’m now crying as well. After trying to break into the car using several different techniques, Clark and his friend Chad get a flathead screwdriver and finally pop to the back window open. It takes a while for Clark to get Charlee’s attention, but she eventually hears him and he crawls halfway in to get her out.
It’s not over yet. The police had to call the firetruck just to make sure she’s okay. So the fire truck arrives with the lights on, to the house of the “new people that just moved in.” Turns out, I knew one of the firefighters and we ended up laughing about the whole situation. Charlee recovered rather quickly, surprisingly, especially after the firemen offered her a stuffed puppy and she got to look at the firetruck.
We got Clark’s keys to confirm our suspicions that my keys were also locked in my car. I honestly didn’t even know that was possible in my car. God must have been trying to teach us a very weird lesson, of which I’m not sure I have figured out yet.
2. The Library. The day before, I had taken Charlee and Hattie on a walk that morning in the stroller. While on the walk, I remembered that story time was that morning at the library. I checked my watch: 10:08. I could make it home by 10:15. Story time doesn’t start until 10:45. Plenty of time.
Granted, both girls are naked and I’m sweaty and gross and haven’t showered in a couple days. No big. I got this. I get Charlee out, change her diaper, put some clothes on. I run and change my shirt, put on some deodorant and a thick headband to disguise the grease, and grab my makeup to put on in the car once the girls are strapped in (learned that trick from my sister). Hattie decides to poop. I change her diaper. I load the stroller in the car and check my watch 10:30. Hattie is naked, but we don’t have time for clothes. She’s swaddled. She’s fine. Don’t judge me. I load them up and push the garage door button and run out, straddling the laser.
As soon as I cross the threshold I realize, I don’t have a house key or a garage door opener. Then, I open the car door to realize, Charlee doesn’t have on any shoes. This is why moms stay home. This crap is the reason Postpartum Depression exists.
I debate whether shoes are important, ultimately deciding that I can’t have a naked baby and a shoeless toddler on the same day. I call Clark. No answer. I call our neighbor. She has a key. I run in and get her shoes, hand my neighbor the key and get back in the car. I back out and realize, I don’t have a diaper bag. No diapers. No pacis. No snacks. No wet wipes. I check the clock 10:42. It takes 10 minutes, give or take, to get there. I’m not turning around. I don’t care that my baby is naked. I don’t care that I don’t have diapers. I don’t care that I’m only going to make it for the last ten minutes and that it probably (definitely) won’t be worth the effort. At this point, it’s the principle. We WILL go to the library and Charlee will LOVE IT and she WILL have fun and she will remember that I took her and she will love me so much because I took her to the library.
And we did. And we came in in a frazzled, sweaty mess halfway through in the middle of a book on the most crowded day ever. But nobody pooped.
And nobody commented on my naked baby or my greasy hair … loud enough that I could hear.
And Charlee told me afterwards how much she loved it and how much she loved me for taking her even though it was a monkey circus getting there. With her eyes.
Oh Motherhood. Some days you win. You really just kicked my tail.
That’s enough for now. But here’s a few videos before I go…
This is the only word I hear come out of her mouth some days:
Her favorite songs… she gets a little stomp-happy sometimes.
She acts like she’s never seen rain before… Welcome to West Texas.