Monday, November 25, 2013

A Sweet Bedtime Story

When I was at my mom and dad's this weekend I decided to look through some of my old childhood books to see if there were any the kids would like to read.  I laughed as I reminisced through the stages of my life according to each series of books I thumbed through.

Boxcar children
Mrs. Piggle Wiggle
Babysitter's Club
Ramona the Brave series
Milk Carton Kids
Where the Red Fern Grows (still my favorite)
Charlotte's Web
Road to Avonlea
Saddle Club Series
Frank Peretti Series
Left Behind Series
John Grisham
Lots of various horse books
Weightlifting, athletics, sport psychology books
How to be a better pitcher

I loved reading as a kid! Still do, when I get the time.  So I decided that I would pick a short series and read a little to the kids each night. Heck! I'd seen other mom's post pics of their kids dreamily sleeping before even finishing the story.  I had heard of moms discussing how their kids love being read to at night, and how it relaxes them.  Our family could use some more sleeping at night and some more relaxing, so why not??

So at 8 pm sharp last night I told the kids we were going to brush our teeth, go potty, and head up to Autum's room to read a chapter from Mrs. Piggle Wiggle.  They could even bring their sleeping bags and pillows.  Autum graciously offered her room as a hosting place.  So I carried Autum up to her room, kicking and screaming that she wasn't sleepy, hated her toothbrush and wanted to wrestle with daddy more...I threw her in her bed to which she rolled up and fell out of, hitting her head on her soft book box--that you would have thought was made of sharp steel- by the sound of her scream upon brushing it with her head.  This immediately turned into a full on 3-year old tantrum of destruction.  Throwing pillows, unloading her dresser drawers--all with a crazed look in her eye.  I just left her to be, knowing that it is better to let her diffuse herself.  I head out the door and am met at the top of the stairs by Leah...who is sprawled out across the stairs, face planted in the carpet, crying.  She has one arm reaching down to grip her large flip-flop quilt she sleeps under at night, barely grasping the corner.  I ask her what is wrong-only to be met with louder moaning and drama.  So I just try to bypass her and find Blake-surely he will cooperate.  But Leah then realizes I'm choosing to ignore her and she says, "Mooooom!  I can't do it....waaaahhhh!"

I say, "you can't do what?"
"Whahhhh! I just can't..."
Getting irritated I yell, "DO WHAT, LEAH?"

Carry my blanket's too heavy....waaaahh!"
"Well, fold it up and then carry it upstairs, it will make it a lot lighter!"
And of course, because I know nothing, she responds with, "No it won't! It's too heavy!'

By this point, my thoughts of a quiet peaceful storytime are beginning to dissolve into daydreams.
I finally pick up the end of her quilt and throw it over her head to which Leah crawls it to her room.  Then begins complaining she can't put it on her bed right.  I cut the crap and just do it for her.  Hoping to still attempt a story.

She makes her way into Autum's room--Autum is standing up on her bed now--slowly tearing the wallpaper off her wall (which needs to be done anyway, but not now) and looking at me out of the corner of her eye.  I tell her to lie down so we can read...she jumps and plops down on her diaper-covered bum and says, "NO! I read!"

I, not thinking, begin to argue with her..."No, mommy reads.  She wants to read to you tonight, you can read tomorrow."
"No, I read!" And grabs the books out of her box and hides them under her covers.

Leah is lying down on the floor in Autum's sleeping bag (to which Autum hasn't noticed yet) moaning and groaning about wanting to read because she is oldest and that she is the teacher...and on and on.

I tell Autum she better lay down or I will have to spank her, because she is not doing what I ask.  She sits there and stares me down with her evil stink eye before slowly mouthing, "noooo." (in a barely audible whisper) 

I take Mrs. Piggle Wiggle softback version and swat her on the butt with it.  Then force her to lie down and cover her up with the blankets.  I yell, "WE ARE GOING TO READ THIS BOOK, AND YOU WILL LISTEN, AND YOU WILL LIKE IT!"

As I'm doing this I step on Leah's hair and send her into scream fest 2000...and while consoling her, Autum realizes that Leah is in her sleeping bag.  She throws her covers back and pops out of her bed like its on fire and jumps on Leah's head.  She attempts to pull Leah out of it and Leah's crying turns to laughing which sends Autum into more of a crazy anger fit.  I finally get Leah out of the sleeping bag and onto another blanket and pillow.  Autum then chooses to lie on the floor too.  I avoid that battle and just let her be.  She lies down for a quick second and I begin to read because its the only moment of silence we've had since I began this attempt at reading. 

I begin reading the first few words...and Autum begins to kick her legs up and down, up and down...and that doesn't get a reaction so she begins to kick Leah...up and down, up and down.  Of course, Leah, with no filter, yells, "stop it Autum, you stupid baby!" 

Autum screams, "I'm not a baby!  No Leah, I no baby! Blake a baby!"
Leah, "you are too a baby! You still have a pacifier...ha.ha.ha.ha!"

I first attempt to read over the yelling and just keep pushing through--gosh darnit! Other families do this, so can we!

Then I can't take it any longer.  I yell, "that's it! No books! Time for bed!"
I pick up Autum put her back in her bed, wrap her up tight with her blankets and shove her pacifier back in her mouth-hoping to contain her a few minutes while  I zip Leah up in Autum's sleeping bag, and drag her to her room, with her arms flailing out the end.  I pick the whole entire sleeping bag up and toss it on her bed...shut her light off and stomp out of her room.  Just as I'm closing her door I hear her giggling and asking, "can you do that again? That was fun!"  I snort and shut the door.

I head back to Autum's room to calm her down to sleep only to be blinded by a strobe light flashlight she is holding that I have no idea where she found.  She refuses to hand it over, so I jump into the bed and after a quick wrestling match, I get it back.

I shut her light off, leave her room (knowing I'll be back in about 2 seconds) hear her say, "Goodnight Poopy Mommy!"


So there is my version of a perfectly peaceful night of reading with my kids.  Remind me that we are not your typical family and we probably will never do typical family things.

PS-I get to the bottom of the stairs to see Blake and Jerad sleeping all cuddled up peacefully in the rocking chair.  Meanwhile I am anything but relaxed and peaceful.  Feeling like I just finished a workout : sweating, frazzled, and angry.  And in need of some wine.
Autum's first haircut

Post-5K goodies and warmth
Happy Birthday Mimi!

This is what Leah won! ahha!

Autum was having fun with the glasses too

Eating ice cream at Mimi's house for her birthday!

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Thing About Public Bathrooms

When I go to a public place with my children, I always dread the possibility of us having to use the store's bathroom.  And because I have a 3-year old newly potty trained child--we visit a lot of bathrooms.  Mainly because she is still in the excitement phase of needing to see what every toilet, every soap dispenser, every paper towel holder, and how every sink works.  So odds are we going to visit the public bathroom at some point while in the store.  So this leads to a complete mental battle for me, especially if I have to go too.

My mind conversations go something like this,
"I hope the handicapped stall is available."
"Maybe I could push the whole cart into the bathroom stall?"
"I could leave Blake and Leah outside the bathroom door in the cart, surely they won't kill each other in the short time we are in the bathroom...well, that depends on if Autum has to poop or not, that could take awhile...and how many paper towels she needs--I'll need time to roll all those back up in the dispenser..."
"Wonder if the locks on the doors are high enough for the kids to reach and escape.."

Obviously I have to give in make the journey to the back of the store, where all bathrooms are inconveniently located.  Usually dragging Autum by one hand and sprinting with Blake in the cart, while Leah lollygags behind trying to point out something I cannot see or hear as we breeze by in a blurred hurry. 

Once we get there, we have to establish who has to go the worst..Autum usually wins this argument.  Then we all cram into a tiny stall--or at least Blake and Autum and I do...and THIS requires very strategic planning.  I have to place Blake in a spot where he isn't tempted to dip his hands into the toilet water...or wave his hands in Autum's mid-stream potty.  AND, I also have to place him where he can't crawl out from under the stall wall and peep in on the elderly lady using the restroom next to us who is struggling with her panty hose.  I seriously have considered hanging him by his jeans on the coat hook, because that is the best option in such a small space. 

Next I have to answer all Autum's questions that seem to come to mind while sitting on the pot.  "Mommy, you poopy?"  "I think old lady toot, mommy!"  "She poopy too?"  "Why Bobby bottom look diffwent than mine?" "Old lady has ugweee shoes."  "I get sucker for going poopy?"

Then... we all have to shift around while I attempt to unroll enough toilet paper to wipe Autum with, that tears off in 1/2" increments from the dispenser--then shift back around for me to wipe her...without my hair falling into the water.  Or my phone or purse or wallet...Then we shift back around while I try to get Autum's pants back up as she screams "I do it!"  And fights against the problem of pulling her pants up but not her panties and getting confused why her efforts are not producing results. 

Then we all shift again so Mommy can use the potty.  This, my friends, is where the bargaining begins...
"DON'T stick your hands into the trash can! I said DON'T...Blake, mommy will spank your hand if you stick your hand in there...  I said STOP! (this time meaning business as I reenact what could happen to him by slapping my own hand and pointing to him)

When he is bored with the turns into and foot wrestling meet.  My squeezing him between my feet so he doesn't lie down on the nasty wet tile floor to attempt to crawl out...or hooking my toe in his hood on his coat to prevent his escape or laying in disgusting bathroom floor gunk.  And is followed up with, "Mommy will get you a sucker if you stand up"--because usually he is just out of arms reach...Or "Mommy will let you ride in the car shopping cart..."  And finally, "Autum get Blake off the floor, now!"

And the worst is when Autum is all done wrestling her pants and decides she is done with being in the stall, while I'm still seated with my pants around my ankles..."I done, mommy! Bye! Bye!" 

And me, "No....No....No, Autum.  Wait for Mommy!"

She replies, "No!" As she wiggles the door lock loose...

"No, Wait! Autum, Mommy will get you chocolate...please, leave that door shut.  My pants are still down, Mommy is still going potty...

"Why??? Mommy poopy?  Eeeeewwwww."
(usually by this point someone lady is chuckling in the stall down from us)

"No, Mommy no poopy....but you need to wait for Mommy."

Click! Door swings open and they all escape like rushing water through a flood gate...and I shift into full on sprint get my pants up and caught up with the rest of the escapees...
I get them all wrangled up and walk out the exit doing a final check...
Are my pants zipped? Toilet paper on my shoe? Dress tucked in my panties?

Okay, let's go.

So if you see us sprinting past you to the back of the store...get out of the way!