Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Sick child confounds parents, storytime sucks and first haircut

Picked son up from Aunt's house yesterday. He seemed fine while we were saying our goodbyes but fell asleep in the car. As I lifted him out of his car seat he felt really warm. I gave him time to cool down and then checked his temp and it was 102. WTF... we just got over being sick 10 days ago. He was looking pretty sorry, so we let him sit on the couch and watch a video while the rest of the fam ate dinner. He didn't want to take anything to eat or drink. He fell asleep at about 6:30 and we carried him to bed at about 7 -- gave him some Motrin and a few sips of water. He woke up once during the night to use the potty. Husband and I got a chance to put daughter to bed together -- something we never do since she is the second child. It was very nice.

Son woke me up at 6:15 this morning and he was ready to go. He was running all around the house. Didn't want to eat, but he was full of energy and fever was absent. So what the hell happened? I have no idea.

Son was feeling good so I decided to check out storytime at the local library. We used to go to storytime weekly near our old house and son always loved it. I could wander the aisles near the story area with a then infant daughter and keep an eye on son. It worked beautifully. Well, the new library is so stupid. They have three different story times on different days -- one day has baby storytime, one has toddler (2-3 year olds) and one has preschoolers (3-5). The crazy thing.... they don't want you to bring along any kids that don't fit that age group. Look, if you have multiple kids, chances are that some aren't going to fall in the right age group on a given day and they may not be in school yet. I chanced it today and brought daughter (26 months) and son (4). Daughter was doing OK, but a few times she forgot to use a whisper to ask me a question and we got the big old stink eye from the libarian. I left after the first story because I noticed that another librarian was quietly kicking out two mommies who had brought their infants along with their preschool age children. Sorry, I guess you're supposed to leave the infants at home alone (maybe they can do some laundry while you're gone).
The weird thing is that they totally close off this storytime area (in a children's library) with a curtain, so you can't send your child in there and keep an eye on them from the stacks of books. I think this is stupid and I'm now boycotting storytime at my new library. The librarians don't even seem to like children unless they are the type of children who are seen and not heard.

Daughter had her first professional haircut today and she had a great time. I won't go into the 3 years of torture son put us through with cutting his hair -- he's finally stopped screaming and drooling. Son's hair is so thick and grows so fast, it has to be trimmed every 2 months. Daughter's hair isn't quite so crazy. I've cut it at home a couple of times already, but damn, if it ain't tricky to get it sort of straight. And I'm always afraid I'm going to poke her eye with the scissors. So, why not take her where someone else can poke her with scissors. It was great because the whole thing took 7 minutes as opposed to my 40 minutes. It is almost perfect and she was very courageous. She got nervous when I sat her down and she gave me a worried look, but the stylist produced a lollipop and everything was coolio.
Son was very well behaved and enjoyed watching someone else sitting in he chair -- he too received a lollipop.
Oh, then I was just feeling the need to ruin my kids and when they asked if they could go to the golden arches for lunch, I actually agreed. They were stunned at first and a little dismayed that they didn't get a chance to dig into their bag of whines. They even ate the fruit I put on their plates -- alongside their nuggets and fries.

It has been a good day (we even did a craft this morning, went for a walk and made banana muffins after nap!) Husband is now home and bathing the babes, so I can do some laundry:)
Shite, their almost done with their bath so I better go throw in a load.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Libertarian trapped in a mommy's body

I was reading an op-ed piece in the L.A. Times yesterday and it was like a punch in the noggin.
The author reminded me of my long lost political leanings. Before I became a parent I was a registered Libertarian. I was disgusted by both the left and right and felt that our country had strayed so far from what our framers had originally planned for us. Our liberty was being taken away every day from both sides of the political aisle. I''m not a great brain when it comes to politics and I'm afraid my writing sucks when trying to analyze what is going on with our country... I just know what I feel.
Here are some things I believed:
Drugs should be legalized
Welfare and Social Security (two evil things -- I then thought) should be radically altered
We should not enter into wars unless attacked
Stop making so many damn laws and let us decide to live a good life
Radically change the tax system and privatize more of our services

Then Sept. 11 happened. Then Enron happened. Then I had children. My ideas changed so much. I wasn't in need of welfare, but I suddenly had a lot more understanding of single moms who are out there working their butts off and have to put their kids in daycare only to not be able to provide basic necessities for their family. I didn't want our nation to go to war in Iraq. I didn't want my son to die in a war that was unjustified. I didn't want tens of thousands (or more) people to die in other countries because of my country. I wanted us to send more money to countries where people are suffering every day in ways I can't even imagine. I wanted more laws to stop people from abusing their kids. Sounds silly, but I cried when I heard tapes of Enron employees laughing about making money at the expense of others. I began to hate the Republicans so much that I went out and registered as a Democrat. A freakin Dem! Now, I live in California, so I suppose it doesn't really matter what party I register with because the Dems often get the vote here.

Today I happened to receive a book from one of our clients. Dave Duffy's "Can America Be Saved from Stupid People" further rocked me. I've only read a few essays from the book, but now I can't stop thinking. I don't agree with Dems on many issues. I don't agree with Repubs on most issues. At heart, I agree with many ideas of the Libertarian party.
But I just can't seem to jive being a mom and being a Libertarian. Becoming a mom really screwed up my politics! It's not that I didn't care about other people before -- I always did and have always had favorite charities and organizations I support. I just wanted everyone to do that. If we all decided to take care of each other without being forced to do so, wouldn't this be a great world? But after having kids I realized that people often don't do that. Some people like to kill other people. Some people are power-hungry and step all over others. There are evil people who will make or steal a buck at a cost to someone else.

More thinking and reading is needed....

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Back on the farm

This is the first weekend in quite a while that we haven't been tending to a sick child or had plans to be somewhere. We woke up and wondered, what should we do with the kiddos on this beautiful day? Yes, there are a dozen or so containers of plants that I need to get into the ground or else I've just thrown away $200, but I'll do that tomorrow (tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow).
The kids were in rare form this morning and we all just had a good time hanging out and playing games. By 10 a.m. I decided it was probably too late to head up to the S.B. zoo (Kid #2 doesn't do too well without her nap), so we opted for the local farm. I grew up in the area and man, has this place changed. We've been going with the kids since it was just one kid who was 6 months old. The farm used to be this fruit stand where you could get local produce and, in October, your pumpkins. They had a couple of animals a few years ago. Now the place is so crazy. There are animals galore, a train ride, a pony ride, a bounce house, a tractor ride, a sandbox and slides. Our first house was about a mile away from the place so, when I was working outside of home, Luc and I would often stop there after the daycare pickup to get our produce.
Anyway, today was a bit of nostalgia because we haven't been back in a while. The new house is about 5 miles away and we just never head out there anymore. The kids had a blast feeding the animals and climbing on the haystack. I remember being there when Lucas was 2 and Amanda was itty-bitty in the sling -- what a difference 2 years makes! Now they are both running around!

Phil's got the kids out now and I'm supposed to be working on the book.... Uh... I'm having major writer's block and rather than try and work through it, I'm avoiding it. I'm writing on my blog that few people read and of those few, I'm sure none could give a bleep about my local farm.
Time to the see if I can dislodge whatever is blocking my story.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Going green at home

I admit that going green isn't easy. We're down to one minivan and a scooter. The scooter is husband's transportation to work and it is saving us money and hopefully saving the environment a bit. I can't ditch the minivan yet because on at least three days a week I'm transporting 4 in carseats -- I don't think the Prius would do. Once the kids are out of the carseats we'll scale down to something that drinks a bit less.
I've recently started focusing on going green at the old homestead. I am a bit of a clean freak -- don't read that as neat freak because mess is apparent in all areas of my home but dust and grime are less likely to be found. I have always been a heavy user of all sorts of dangerous substances to clean my house. The more powerful, the better, I always thought. You name it and it was probably in my laundry room/garage. I loved buying cleaning products -- some women like shoes, I love the newest thing from Mr. Clean.
I remember a year or so ago I was shopping in Whole Foods (something I rarely do because it is too much for our humble finances) and I noticed their natural cleaning products. I stopped for a second to browse the offerings but moved on without much thought.
Last month things changed. The drain in our master bathroom shower decided to stop working. Husband went out and bought some liquid plumber or something. Didn't help. Next stop the hardware store for advice and they pointed us to this crazy lye containing product that had a skull and crossbones on it. They said it would do the trick. I worried for husband's safety as he poured the junk down the drain and ventilated the room. Next morning drain was still being a jerk. Back to the hardware store where we bought a snake -- what a sight it was with husband and I trying to get that thing down the drain. It did el-zilcho. I hopped online to find help and was pointed to a natural remedy of baking soda and vinegar. Husband was still cursing at the drain as I poured in a bunch of baking soda and vinegar. The drain hissed and fizzed at us -- we waited a few minutes and then poured boiling water down the drain. Presto, chango, the clog was cleared. All it took was a little help from some natural ingredients.

Since then I've been online looking for recipes for natural cleaners. I've been using baking soda paste to clean the grout in my bathrooms, a mixture of vinegar, soap and water to clean windows and surfaces like that, a little baking soda sprinkled on the carpet before vaccuming, hot water and vinegar to clean our granite and kitchen floors, etc....
There are two things I will find hard to give up -- Comet for my kitchen sink (nothing gets it as white as my beloved Comet) and Pledge for my wood surfaces. I read something about using cooking oil on wood, but that really just freaks me out. I may give it a try, but I'm highly skeptical.
Oh, I lied, I do admit to loving the clorox wipes for everyday use on bathroom counters and toilets -- germs freak me out and my brain won't let me believe that my vinegar and water mixture is killing the germs on the seat. I have a bunch that I stocked up on and when that is gone I told myself I'll buy no more. We'll see....

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Spring is here!

I have been looking forward to Spring since like November. We had a really freaking cold winter this year (too bad not much rain) and I've just been dreaming of the days getting longer and warmer. Th.... Just had to leave for a minute because the Jehovah's Witnesses came by for their weekly visit. I've tried in every nice way to tell them that they won't convert me, but I think I end up seeming more and more like a candidate to them. I make the mistake of telling them that husband and I were both raised Christian and have strayed from that path (maybe I shouldn't tell them "strayed" because they seem to like that) and that we talk a lot about religion and we come up with more questions than answers. But I think I've been quite clear that we are not going to be part of organized religion at this point in time. Husband is much an agnostic, bordering on atheist, while I seem to tend toward the idea of God but I can't put faith in much more than that. Religion has been used for such evil and still is and I fear that I cannot muster even the tiniest bit of faith in anything other than Jesus was a good man and God caused the creation of the universe. It scares the shite out of me because what if I'm totally wrong and I am damning my soul and the souls of my children -- you know, I was raised Catholic and they used to be big on that damned souls thing.

Anyway, I was going to write my post on the entrance of Spring and my back problems (husband is a PT and would KILL me if he knew I was sitting at the computer right now), but the Witnesses have sapped my will to type. Now my brain is stuck on philosophical questions that I know will never be answered.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

They have me surrounded

Phil got a last minute invite to head down to O.C. to visit with an old friend who was visiting. He headed out yesterday and left me flying solo with the kids. All of my plans for doing some major gardening went out the window because my muscle (the husband) was gone. Kids and I survived and had some fun. But I was hoping for a bit of time to myself while they napped. I put them down and cleaned up a bit and then decided to sit outside (it is gorgeous outside today) and read the paper. It is so rare that I get to read much of my beloved Sunday paper.
I set my glass of ice tea on the table outside and was just opening up the "Current" section when I heard the buzzing. I didn't need to look up to know what it was and I quickly ran inside, abandoning my refreshment. From my slider I spied two gigantic hornets flying around my patio cover. That's it, no way in hell I'm going outside now.
I have a HUGE fear of flying, stinging insects. Hornets, wasps, and yellow jackets all have the power to turn me into a crazy, arm-flailing woman. I would almost knock over a small child to get away from these creatures. The fear has been around as long as I can remember. Honeybees are OK as long as they aren't the "killer" variety, but all other flying, stinging creatures are out.
The fear is so crazy... I know it is. I mean, sometimes I actually think that they are out to get me... I really freakin do. I need to be locked up but I have abandoned sand toys at the park because a wasp was following me and the kids and was trying to get us. It just knew we were going back for the sand toys and kept trying to attack us.
Now I'm being kept hostage inside my home on this beautiful day.
Oh, they are so ugly. They are so, so ugly! Hornets just seem to love our eaves and I guess this is the time of year they are looking to start a family. Last year we located a large nest in our eaves and after husband sprayed the thing with poison, he counted at least 30 of the disgusting thngs. The hive itself was hiddeous!
I could go on and on.... Husband thinks I'm nuts (not only for this fear) and he just hopes I don't pass this on to our children.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Amanda hates me and I hate the dentist

My daughter has already uttered the dreaded words... "I hate you, Mom!".
It's bad enough being called "Mom" instead of mommy by my 2 year old, but throw in the I hate you part and it really makes long for her pre-speech days. Luc still has never said this to me, but I know he picked up the "I hate, blank" thing at preschool. It's I hate girl stuff, I hate pizza, I hate practicing.... So of course Amanda picked up on this and decided to apply it to me when I don't give her or do something she wants.
But I will take an I Hate You over her full-blown tantrums. They are getting less frequent, but no less extreme. Everyone who knows here will vouch for her being the loudest little girl, ever. She is loud when she is just talking normally but when you really P@!s her off she sounds like a train wreck.

Now, I guess Amanda could have picked up the I Hate You thing from me because recently I could have been overheard saying that "I hate the dentist."
I really do. There is one dentist that I love (he is so kind, and gentle and empathetic to my crazy fears) but alas he is not on husband's crappy hmo plan so I can only go to him when I've got extra cash. So, I went to the hmo dentist (nice, but in a car salesman type way) and he informed me that I need a root canal in one of my molars. He said that the endodontist covered by my insurance (where I'll still have to pay $650 for the job) isn't that great and he said that I could go check them out but he hadn't heard the best things. Great. I'm already a nervous dental patient and now I'm being told that I have to see a specialist that might not be so special.
I went in for the procedure yesterday. I've never had a root canal, so I didn't know what to expect. But I have had novacaine shots from my fabulous dentist and he is always very gentle -- taking up to 3 minutes to inject one shot. And he always makes a point of telling me to close my eyes before he comes at me with the huge needle. Well, the doc yesterday barely introduced himself and then asked me to open wide and came at me quickly with the shot. He took about 15 seconds to inject two separate shots. It was quite uncomfortable and my internal alarms started going off right away. Now, I'm not afraid of pain, heck, I gave birth to two children. So, if the procedure will hurt a bit, that's fine. But my fear was that the job wouldn't be done well and would require subsequent procedures to fix... that I wouldn't like.
Doc left the stall to let the novacaine take effect. My palms started sweating, heart started racing and I was a caged bunny. I've had panic attacks in the past and I knew one when I felt it coming on. I grabbed my purse and told the staff I had to leave and reschedule the procedure. The doc came out to ask if everything was alright and I just said, trying to fight off tears of embarassment, that I was going to have to take valium or something before I had the procedure done. I left, feeling a bit mortified by my behavior but also relieved.
Now what do I do? My fabulous dentist referred me to a very gentle endodontist in the area. I called to find out what they charge for a root canal and it is $1200. So, now I have to decide if I want to fork out an extra $550 now for piece of mind. I'm confused and more than ever I hate going to the dentist.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

We made it!

So we made it through the weekend with the cousins! All the kids were really kind to us, but Phil and I really need work on remembering that these little people are, well, still little. Everyone went down to bed easily (because we wore them out!) and our own two actually slept in until 7 both mornings! The thing about caring for 4 kids is that someone is almost always needs something. With two you can go almost twenty minutes before someone asks you for something.
The house isn't as wrecked as I imagined it would be and I did actually cook two meals -- it is tough to cook for other kids because they are just as picky as mine, except not in the same way.

Abby made me determined to get a boob job. I was helping her in the bathroom today and she looked at my chest and said, "Aunt Mo, how come your boobs, are, well, they're not like a grownup, they're more like a kids."
This kid is killing me! I asked her what she meant and she got a bit embarrased. She said that mine weren't as big as her moms. I explained that people's bodies come in all shapes and sizes and it is part of what makes us unique. I wanted to tell her that she should have seen me before two babies sucked the life out of my chest, but I didn't.
I know my rack isn't what it was in my twenties, but since I never was too large on top, there isn't a big pull towards the earth. But now... you know they say kids are honest about these things and so I know that if I had a few thousand lying around and I wasn't terrified of being put under without a good reason then I would go for it, definitely.

Trying to get everyone fed, bathed and tucked into bed last night I was reminded of the old Yiddish folk tale, "It could always be worse"
Tucking our two angels into bed tonight was a delight. The clothes are all picked out for tomorrow and I know that leaving the house tomorrow will be a breeze.

Although the cousins are very well-mannered, fun kids, this weekend did help Phil and I feel confident in our decision to stick with two kids.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Night one almost done

So we made it through dinner with four kids. It's so funny because nowadays 4 kids (ages 5-2) is such an oddity. But my mom reminds me that when she was raising us it wasn't such a big deal.
It only took like an hour to pack up the four kids to our dinner destination -- unnamed pizza place.
Yes, I got four kids to the potty, changed a diaper, dumped sand out of four pairs of shoes, got jackets for three (oops, missed one) and got everyone packed in the car in about 50 minutes. Then I spent another 10 minutes searching for my keys that somehow ended up in someone's play purse.
We headed to the pizza place and the kids had strict instructions to be on their best behavior and I must say that they were on their best behavior for their ages. There was a bit of under-the-table shananegans going on in the booth. They got a chance to play some racecar video games in the little arcade area. Boy cousin chowed down 3 pieces of cheese pizza before the other three even made it through half a piece. Husband showed up as the kids were finishing and he quickly ate a few slices. Childrearing is bad for digestion.
Two people stopped me in the pizza place to ask if all four kids were mine. Although I would like to claim that they were (remember, they were behaving fairly well) I admitted that only two were mine. I wouldn't have this smokin' figure if I had given birth to 4!
We headed to Baskin Robbins next store. Boy cousin continued to amaze me by eating his entire kid scoop, while the other three had a few spoonfuls before claiming to be much too full to eat another bit -- well, Amanda actually dropped her cup of ice cream after three bites.
Husband was highly annoyed with the rambunctious behavior so we had some words, but that's all water under the bridge now. I have to try to remember that he was treating whining PT patients all day, while I had had plenty of practice with this raucous brood.
In the ice cream place another man stopped me to ask if all four children belonged to me -- do I look like a baby-machine!!??

Next stop was the video rental store -- love our town because pizza place, ice cream place and video store are all next to each other (and video store isn't a chain but a local mom and pop place where you can also rent adult films). We let the two oldest kids choose the videos for movie night. Got home and I won't go into details, but all went well (we decided to skip a bath and are putting off bathing four children until the morning) and they are all sleeping now.

The best part is my kitchen is as sparkling clean as I left it. I swear, if I did have four children I would probably never cook dinner again. If I could choose one room in my house that has to be immaculate, it is the kitchen. I have been known to scrub down cabinets and floors at midnight so that I can wake up to a beautiful kitchen to cook breakfast. It took us so long to clean up the mess in boy's room, girl's room, bathroom and family room tonight and I can't imagine if I was also facing a sink full of dishes and a floor full of crumbs. Four kids can destroy a house in no time. The cousins arrived at 2 and by 2:15 Lucas' and Amanda's room were destroyed. My family room was a mess with toys, crayons, papers. The easel paper roll was emptied and Amanda had decided to take her spray bottle to "clean" my windows -- this means she sprays the windows with water and holds a towel in her hand, but doesn't actually wipe any of the water away.
House is almost in order again because I'm a freak and it's all set to be destroyed again tomorrow.

Mom has offered to take the whole brood off our hands for a couple of hours tomorrow and Phil and I are trying to figure out what we'll do with ourselves. He has very particular ideas and although they sound appealing, my garden is calling. I'm sure we'll both win in the end.

They're here!!!

So, we're watching two of the cousins for the whole weekend. Phil and I can get a taste for what my mom's life must have been like when she had just four. We'll have a 5 year old, a 4 year old, a 3 year old and a 2 year old until Sunday night. Why am I sitting here typing this? Well, I provided them with some Teddy Grahams and yogurt so now they are quietly snacking while I stole a minute to write this.
Molly, I hope you're reading this. If you jabber me Sunday night and don't get a response, call the authorities:)

What would you do with $267 Million?

I was watching the news this morning while husband got the kids squared away with breakfast and they mentioned that the lottery jackpot here was up to $267 million. I don't usually go in for that sort of thing, but while I applied my mascara I thought that with that much money I could certainly hire someone put my makeup on for me every morning... probably with better results.
After I dropped Lucas off at school, Amanda and I headed to the market to stock up on some fruit and veggies for the weekend -- my kids go through fruit faster than Grandma can go through a pound of See's Candy, and that's fast!
After we checked out I noticed a lottery machine. Interesting. Was it a sign? I never noticed it there before, so I decided I better take a chance. There was a dollar in my pocket that I had been meaning to throw in the trash and I decided to put it in the machine. Now I may be holding the "golden ticket". If I do win, I suppose I should share some of the winnings with Eric Spillman over at KTLA, since his story alerted me to the huge jackpot.

What will I do with the rest? Unfortunately (not really) I have a very large family -- 6 siblings, plus one brother-in-law, 2 parents and 2 parents-in-law -- so we'll have to spread the wealth amongst them. After squirling away some for our kids' Harvard educations and donating a sizable chunk to charity, I figure husband and I should be able to afford a pretty nice spread here in suburbia, and perhaps we can even spring for a vacation pad in Hawaii or someplace tropical. If we do that, however, I'll also have to pay for some pretty intense therapy to rid me of my terrible fear of flying.