Saturday, August 27, 2011

Irene postpones 1st day of school, disappoints parents everywhere

This is what the headlines should read in my opinion.  Please, before you think I am being harsh, let me say that I am not implying that parents are ready to give their school-age children the boot.  However, I think both parents AND children are ready for back to school time.

My daughter was due to start first grade on Monday and she was so upset that it was not going to happen.  She is ready.  Her bookbag is packed, her uniforms are now washed and ready to go, her lunch bag is sitting on the counter.  She is so excited to get started...and now she will have to wait at least one more day.

On another note, that means one more day that she is home.  She will most likely be fighting with her younger sister at least 50% of the day.  The other 50% of the day will consist of her wanting constant snacks, asking to go somewhere or do something because she "is bored", or just flat out complaining about all the injustices that 6 year olds must face in the world.

I do get sentimental when I think of how big she is getting...and I remember her being a baby like it was yesterday.  But there is a time for everything, and it is her time to start 1st grade.  I know she will love it and I am eager for her to learn new things and meet new friends. 

So I really think Hurricane Irene screwed most parents...oh, I meant KIDS.  Forget torrential rains and flooding, forget strong winds and extensive power outages...I will forever remember Irene as the storm that postponed the first day of school (and my oldest daughter's first day of 1st grade) in most of Delaware.

Thanks a lot, Irene, thanks a lot....

Uniforms at Lands End

If you need school uniforms, Lands End has great deals on polo uniform shirts.  They are $16.50 each (many colors available).  If you buy 3 or more, you get $2.50 off each one.  Then use the promotion code BETTER11, with the PIN 8515 and you can get $10 off your order of $50 or more PLUS free shipping!!!

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Back to Bedtime

It's that time year again. Kids everywhere are going to back to school (moms everywhere are rejoicing) and summer is coming to an end.   That means that I must get my children, mainly my oldest (who is starting first grade on Monday!) back on her bedtime routine. 

Generally, I like her to be in bed by 8 pm on school nights.  This way she can wake up without being hateful the next morning.  Not that she wakes up all cheery and chipper, but at least she tolerates my constant requests for her to get out of bed and get moving when she is well rested.  And as a side note, why does she get up bright and early when she doesn't have to, but I have to basically harass her to get up on school days?

Let's be honest, anything goes in the summertime.  If the kids are sleeping (and I am still awake) by 9:30, I consider that a good night.  I pat myself on the back and have a glass of wine.

But now, we are back to bedtime business and I have been trying to get started with it this week.  Tonight, I felt like I was going to lose my mind.  My husband gave the older girls baths while I gave the baby a bath and fed her a bottle before bed.  She was out like a light as usual...BUT the older ones were a different story.  After baths, they got ready for bed.  Then the shenanigans began.  If it wasn't "can we read one more book?" (even though we had read dozens),  it was "can I have some water?", or "the sleeves on my nightgown are too tight" or "are earthquakes really bad?" or "are hurricanes worse than earthquakes?" (my 6 year old has an obsession with natural disasters and today's little earthquake opened up a whole new can of worms).  Finally after about 30 minutes of excuses, requests, and questions, it was lights out.  After another 10 minutes, all was quiet.  I checked the clock...9:37.  Not great.

So we have some work to do...but I am hoping by Sunday night, all will go smoothly.  I am sure that I will be the one up all night thinking about my daughter starting first grade.  How did that happen?  Wasn't she just a baby?  I know she will love it. But to me, first grade seems so much older than kindergarten.  She is big time now. 

Tomorrow is a new day and tomorrow night will be a new chance to try to get them ready for an earlier bedtime (while not losing every last little tiny bit of patience I might still have these days).

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Please take a hint...thanks!

At what age do children start to pick up on social cues? I would really, really like to know this. 

When do they start to recognize a facial expression and know that it means to get their behavior in check?  When do they start to realize that certain behavior is not acceptable in some social situations?  When do they stop saying embarrassing things or asking uncomfortable questions in front of people?  When do they begin to see that perhaps they are being a tad unreasonable when they overreact after things don't go their way?

With each passing year I think maybe that will be the year that my oldest daughter will really "get" it.  She shows such promise most of the time...then something happens like I get a phone call and she continues to try to have a conversation with me while I am talking to someone.  Even if I whisper that it is the doctor's office on the phone and I place my finger over my mouth and say "SHHHHHH" almost silently but VERY forcefully while my eyes are bulging out of my head, she stills doesn't get it.  I am not sure how much clearer I can be.

Then my other daughter (who will be 3 on Sunday) does the same sort of thing but the intensity is magnified by a million because she really can't take a hint.  She will ask for the most unreasonable things while we are in a place where I can't possibly accommodate her, like asking for strawberry milk while driving to the beach.  I guess water or a juice box are not acceptable alternatives.  She will whine about it and pay no mind to my death glare.  She will continue to carry on about it...and I am convinced she would do so even in the presence of "Supernanny" Jo Frost. 

So when do they start to realize that they need to be on their best behavior in public places, such as stores or restaurants?  When do they start to get embarrassed or ashamed of their behavior when complete strangers are staring at them?  I know I, for one, am most certainly embarrassed. 

I am sure it will happen sooner or later...and I will wait patiently for the day that I don't have to give one "look", squeeze one arm just a little tighter, or whisper a small threat into an ear while out in public.

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Dinner Without Kids

The other night my husband and I were out to dinner without the children (yes, it was wonderful...thanks to my great in-laws!).  We were at a restaurant/bar at the beach and almost all of the tables were filled with adults only...except one table in the corner (maybe they strategically put that family in the corner because they had a child).  It looked like a couple with their little boy that was about a year and a half old and a set of grandparents.  The dinner started out peacefully enough.  I was just enjoying my time away from the kids and hardly paying any attention to the table in the corner.
Then I saw the little boy out of the corner of my eye as I was setting down my 2nd pint of beer.  He had clearly lost interest in his little bowl of snacks.  Obviously, he's getting to the age where sitting endlessly eating excessive amounts of puffs or cheerios is just not an option.  So as he began to go into a tantrum, I caught the eye of the mother.  She was lifting him out of the highchair as he was arching his back and screaming. We made brief eye contact and in that couple of seconds, I tried to convey to her that I understood her pain.  I wanted to go over and say, "It's okay, I have 3 kids and I understand."  I wanted her to know that we were not some fancy free couple out for a night of partying like it was our normal nightly routine.  We were usually in the same predicament as her...except times 3 (even though we try to avoid this situation by forgoing restaurants altogether these days).  I really did feel bad for her.   
Then I am assuming her mother (the child's grandmother) asked the mom if she liked the wine that they ordered.  I heard the mom snap back, "I haven't even had a chance to try it yet."  She was getting very frustrated.  Still, I felt bad for her...but another part of me was thinking, why did you even take him out of the highchair? Now you will never be able to put him back in without an even bigger tantrum.  I was also thinking, if you are this frustrated with the one, PLEASE do not have more.
So as the crying continued at that table, we promptly finished our drinks and paid they bill.  I was not annoyed by the crying, but I was in no mood to listen to that when I hear it on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis at home.  I am all for taking kids to restaurants...and to be honest with you, I love being out without my kids and seeing suckers at other tables trying to keep their little ones happy and quiet.  But sometimes I have to think, why do parents even bother?  Is going out to eat so imperative that you must bring your child who clearly has no interest in sitting in a restaurant unless there is a clown making balloon animals or doing tricks for them personally throughout the meal?
After paying our bill that evening, we checked in with my in-laws and got the report that they kids were fine.  So...we moved to the bar area and had a few more drinks while the happy hour prices were still in effect (I have never been one to turn down a good deal when I see one).

Have you ever been out to dinner without your children and seen someone else with kids?  Did you feel bad for them or just think "thank god we got out alone!"?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

It's Lights Out

So in the wonderful storms that zipped through North Wilmington yesterday, our power went out.  It went out at approximately 12:40 pm.  I called Delmarva Power around 4:00 pm and they said that it was estimated to be restored by 5:00 pm.  To my understanding, I think the word "estimate" means to calculate something roughly.  Wow, that was really a rough estimate.  Every time I called, they just pushed the estimated (there's that word again) restoration time back by 2 hours.  But I am sure they were doing their best.
By 8:45 last night, the darkness was setting in and the kids were losing their ever loving minds.  My 3 year old went from thinking the power outage was fun and "exciting" (she loves that word) to wanting to move to a new house with lights and TV.  She was unhappy with every aspect of our situation.  There was a cute bunny in the front yard that my 6 year old tried to point out to her.  She informed us that she didn't like bunnies anymore.  She said she didn't like anything anymore and just wanted to watch a TV show. 
Finally we decided to pack it up and head over to my sister in law's house.  The kids acted like we were going to Disney World.  They were screeching and cheering about a sleepover at their aunt's...because she would have lights and a TV there.  All they cared about were the damn lights and TV (I started thinking maybe, just maybe, they were becoming a little too dependent on TV...hmmmmm). 
It got me thinking about how they are so accustomed to modern technology that they were melting down after less than 12 hours without electricity.  (I was also melting down...mainly due to the fact that the temperature in the house was climbing and I loathe humidity.)  I highly doubt that either one of my 2 oldest daughters would ever last as a contestant on Survivor.  The baby on the other hand, could have cared less. But give her 2 years and I am sure that she will be jumping right on the "complaining and whining about things out of mommy's control train".
All in all, it was fine and we came home early this morning to every light in the house on and the TV blaring.  The funny thing is that the girls watched one movie this morning and haven't really watched TV since.  Not once have they asked for it to be turned on and they are quite content playing.  But I am sure that if there was another power outage, it would take t-minus 2 minutes until the complaining started. 

Anyone else have any problems with the storms yesterday?  If so, did your children act like you were doomed to live in the darkness forever?

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Some "Me" Time

Last night, I was listening to some excerpts from Tina Fey's Bossypants with a couple of friends...and I was literally crying.  I laughed so hard that I definitely had to wipe a few tears from my cheeks.  We listened to her suggestions on how to get some "me" time.  I think I laughed so hard because every single one of those suggestions had entered my mind.

The one I liked the most was to say you were going to get diaper cream and then just stand in your child's room alone as long as possible until your spouse comes and asks, "what are you doing?".  I also loved how she said to go to the bathroom as much as possible or stand at the kitchen sink and eat the rest of your child's meal while they pull on your leg and cry.

This got me thinking about how I try to carve out a little "me" time each day...okay, maybe not each day but as often as possible.  I realized that I do try to get some down time for myself quite often...and I might even venture to say that I do things without realizing it because of the possibility of being alone.

One thing I might do is purposely forget things at the store.  This guarantees another trip.  I also get things that I might not like thinking that I can just return it.  Again, this will mean another trip to the store, hopefully flying solo.

Sometimes I say I am going to put laundry away and then I just lay on my bed for about 10 minutes in silence. When I hear someone coming up the steps, I just jump up and get to work.   

Doctor appointments are another excellent way to get some "me" time.  I really enjoyed my doctor appointments when I was pregnant with my youngest daughter.  I would generally go to these appointments alone and I really didn't mind the ridiculously long wait.  Sometimes I would  get there and they would tell me that my doctor was running 45 minutes to an hour behind.  I would just grab a magazine and settle in for a blissful hour of mindless reading.

And a hospital stay is the jackpot.  I can't even tell you how excited I was to spend a 3 day "vacation" in the hospital after my 3rd c-section.  I bought new pajamas and packed for it with the enthusiasm of someone going on a 3 day cruise to the Bahamas.  By day 2, I was bored to tears and ready to come home...but man, that "me" time recovering from my 3rd major abdominal surgery with a newborn in tow was ultra relaxing. 

Of course, there are always the times that I just come right out and say I need to have some alone time.  I definitely cherish that time...and I love the time that I do spend with my kids.  But everyone needs to carve out some "me" time and I think however you need to make that happen, then go for it!

How do you make time for yourself?  Please give me some tricks ideas.

Monday, August 1, 2011

How long will it last?

Every time we get something new, whether it is a computer, a car, a new piece of furniture, or a new kitchen floor (as we did today) of the first questions that pops in my head is "How long will it last?"

How long will it stay in that condition?  How long until one of the kids spills something, colors on it, spits up on it, or ruins it in one way or another?  The over/under on that is usually about 1month.  I always like to hope for the best and be prepared for the worst (like a same day disaster).

Tonight I almost told the kids that they couldn't walk on the new kitchen floor for a few days.  If they objected, I was thinking of some reason that I could give them that would keep them off of it would burn their feet because there are chemicals on it, or walking on it could break the floor and they might fall through it into the basement.  Then I decided against it.  I don't want to scar them for life. 

Instead, I just said to be very, extremely, extra, extra careful when in the kitchen.  Approximately 2 minutes and 10 seconds after saying this, my oldest daughter spilled a few drops of apple juice on the floor.  I saw terror in her eyes.  Right that moment, I showed her how easy it was to clean it up (just like the other floor) and told her it was no big deal.  Well, now that I think about it, I really went and screwed myself.  Trying to make her feel better just guaranteed that I will get about a dozen spills in the next week. 

So tonight I was thinking that maybe we should not get new things when the kids are little.  Maybe we should just deal with everything as it is and we can work on getting new things in about 15 years.  This is the same thought I had when we got our new van, or when we got the new laptop and my then 3 1/2 year old wanted to play a game on it, or when we got a new sofa.  But I never learn my lesson and I continue to add to my anxiety by getting things that I know will eventually be shot to hell within a short period of time. 

Have you ever gotten anything new that ended up getting ruined by one of your kids? I know I can't be the only one. Please share!!!