Ms. Johanna

Paige takes ballet class every Tuesday afternoon at Broad Ripple Park. Her teacher is Ms. Johanna, who has been teaching ballet classes there since … well, perhaps since ballet was invented, from what we can tell. To-date, we have received stories of “Oh, good Lord – Ms. Johanna was MY daughter’s teacher!” dating back to a 17-year-old. We are sure there are more.

Ms. Johanna – rocking the side pony, leg warmers and leotard. Actually, sigh, looking better in a leotard than I probably ever have…

We always marvel at how Ms. Johanna is able to captivate a group of toddlers – getting them to hang on her every word and do exactly as she says without having to raise her voice (at least raise her voice loud enough that we can hear her through the glass. Or over our ‘mom chatter.’). She has got it figured out, and she does NOT mess around.

After each class, Ms. Johanna leads the girls back out into the area where the parents are waiting. She always gives a brief recap of how each child behaved/performed in class that day. Paige’s past summaries have included: “very, VERY energetic”; “where does she get all that energy?” and “she’s like a little Mexican jumping bean” (if only you knew, Ms. Johanna).

So, today Ms. Johanna comes out and talks to Kelly (Paige’s bestie’s Mommy) first. Her review is stellar, and even brought joy to my heart. “Audrey (pronounced by Ms. Johanna as “Aw-der-ee”) does a WONDERFUL job in ballet. She has really become a fantastic listener, and it seems as though she truly is enjoying the dancing and learning.” Kelly proudly glowed and nodded.

Ms. Johanna moved to me next, and I awaited her review. “Hello, Miss Paige” she said as she smiled (I never doubt how much she truly loves our kids). She gave her an affectionate pat, turned to me and said “Miss Paige spit on me in class today.”

Yep. Sounds about right.

Merci, Ms. Johanna.

Narcissist

Derrick and I often note that as far as narcissism goes, it seems like our 3 year-old pretty much has the market cornered.

What makes us say that, you ask? Hmmm…if only a few examples sprang to mind.

Oh wait, here’s one. We had to switch Paige’s ‘usual seat’ at the kitchen table. Why? Because we have a mirror leaning against the wall that she could see from the seat. And I got really tired of saying “Paige. PLEASE stop looking at yourself and eat!” Or, I often have to give her arm a little tug as we are walking past windows…or shiny cars…or pretty much any semi-reflective surface in which she might catch a glimpse of herself. Anything like that runs the risk of us being forced getting the opportunity to watch a full-length version of the ‘Look At Me, Watch This, I Paige’ show. It’s cute … the first 300 times.

Oh, oh! Here’s another one! Yesterday (literally yesterday – not to be confused with last night ago), Paige kept stopping what she was doing to run over and tell me she needed “Kiss and a hug, mommy! Hurry!” Seriously cute. So cute, in fact, that I asked her if I could be the President of the Paige Fan Club. She looked at me while she pondered my request, then decided “Well, that is a VERY important job, Mommy. I don’t think so.” After being denied the post for not being up to the job, apparently, I asked, “Well, then who gets to be the President?” She replied “I do, Mommy.” Duh. Of COURSE she is the President of her own fan club. I suspect she might encompass the entire governing board, but I can’t be sure.

Oh, and perhaps this will fully illustrate the extent of Paige’s self-imposed importance. As I write this very post,  she is coloring at the table, referring to me as “Cinderella.” I respond with “Yes?” She quickly corrects me “You mean, ‘Yes, Princess Jasmine.'”

We have been playing this pretend game all morning while I cleaned, made beds, etc. (the irony that she is calling me Cinderella is not lost on me). I am Cinderella, Paige is Princess Jasmine, somehow Daddy and Ramsey are co-kings.

Blair’s character, as decreed by Princess Jasmine?

The Evil Stepmother.

It’s gonna be a LOOOOONG Memorial Day. No doubt all about Paige. I mean, Princess Jasmine.

Annoying … Adorable

I’ve been taking note recently on the interesting double standard I seem to have for behaviors in our house. There are certain things the girls do that make me want to grab a camera to get the visual, or write it down so I never forget it. However, oftentimes my husband will do the same thing, and it seriously makes me want to hurt him.

For example:

There is this adorable sound Paige makes when she’s really sleepy and sucking her thumb. Sometimes I can hear her from the other room. If I lay in bed with her as she drifts off to sleep, I think I could sit and listen to her all night. It makes my heart hurt a little to think that someday she will no longer be a toddler who sucks her thumb in that cute way (never mind even lets me into her bedroom).

However, those of you who know me well know that typically small, repetitive sounds drive me INSANE. Clicking your pen absentmindedly while you talk on the phone, honey? Don’t make me hurt you with that pen. Tapping your foot incessantly while you type as loudly as you can on your keyboard, darling? Seriously, I will break those fingers. Smacking your gum, dear? I will forcibly take it out of your mouth and toss it out the window.

Another example – lots of times when Paige and I are watching TV or reading a book, she will absentmindedly tickle my arm or play with my hair. Seriously? That feeling makes me want to have 10,000 kids. Can. Not. Stand. It.

Husband, on the other hand? He will sometimes try to rub his man toes on my feet while we watch TV at night. Listen, I’m all in for a good foot rub. But, more likely than not your toenails need clipped. And man feet are just gross! Bleachh!

Kid toots? Hil-arious. They will get a guffaw from me every time. And, more often than not, Paige accompanies hers with a loudly exclaimed “TOOT!” Even Blair realizes how funny they are. She tooted the other day when I lifted her bottom to change her diaper, and she looked at me and gave me a huge grin accompanied by a belly laugh! So funny!

Grown-up toots? Not so much. Not funny, and really, not even allowed (unless it’s me – then that is obviously okay. But, Derrick, you can’t laugh unless I laugh first – then it’s funny. If I ignore it, you must too. Especially if I’m pregnant.).

Now, keep in mind that this dichotomy works both ways. When I say something mundane like “Derrick, can you please hand me a spatula?” his typical response will be “You’re a spatula”. That? One of the reasons I married you, D. 
Paige, when I say “you are making bad choices” and you respond (in your sassiest voice) with “YOU a bad choice, Mommy!” Not funny. Hit the timeout chair, sister. 
You know the way. If you get lost, just follow the well-worn path. And whatever you do, DO NOT toot on the way, or I might just have to let this timeout slide. 

Bloodhounds

I’m not sure what exactly it is about me. I only sometimes wear perfume, and even then it’s not much. I make a conscious effort to keep my voice down. I know where all the creaks are on the floors. For the love – I don’t even shut the screen door all the way if I come home after hours.

And yet, it never ceases to fail.

I swear – my girls can LITERALLY smell when I enter a 100 yard radius of them. They can LITERALLY hear me arrive on the property. Even in their sleep. No, I take that back. Only while they sleep.

I could walk out of the room for 3 seconds and somehow scare the bejeezus out of Paige by walking back in and asking her a question. Somehow Blair always seems surprised to find me when she pulls back the (clear) shower curtain while I’m showering. But while they sleep, they transform into super-smelling, super-hearing bloodhounds.

Cases in point:

The girls’ Nani was watching them the other day. When I arrived at her house to pick them up, it was in the middle of nap time. The front door was open but the screen was locked. So, I walked up to the screen and whispered “Pssst” through the door (after specifically NOT locking my van so the horn wouldn’t honk, and being sure to quietly shut the car door. Perhaps I should have coasted into the driveway in Neutral??). Nani assured me the girls were sound asleep, and had been for about an hour. So, I sat on the couch. And both girls began to cry. Yep – nap time over.

The other night I had a pedicure and dinner with my sister-in-law, and I arrived home well after bedtime. I talked to Derrick on the way home, and he assured me the girls had gone to bed and were fast asleep. He had even checked on them about 20 minutes ago and he chuckled that Blair had been snoring with her little bottom in the air. Mind you, I was in Broad Ripple having dinner. It took me about 6 minutes to get into my car and drive home. I pulled into the driveway, walked into the house and this is what I found in the kitchen waiting for me:

Note how she looks pissed? That’s probably because I took the time to take her picture instead of taking her immediately and holding her (she was yelling “Mama,” for crying out loud). 
Any guesses on when Derrick said she woke up and started screaming? Um, about 1 second after I pulled into the driveway. Before I even had the car in Park.
See? Bloodhounds. Let me know if you have any missing person cases you need them to solve. Of course, it would have to be about me … here’s a hint: I’m probably just hiding in the laundry room.

Hidden Treasures

Once, not so long ago, Paige became obsessed with Hide and Seek. It was so cute – she would tell me to count, and then she would go stand smack dab in the middle of whatever room we were in, giggling loudly (needless to say, each round ended pretty quickly – you can only pretend not to see someone standing directly in front of you for so long).

This obsession graduated to hiding objects – or, rather, taking things out of my hand, running to the Time Out chair and putting said item under a pillow. Ha – what a little trickster! So funny!

Now these obsessions are not so funny. Paige has become a pretty decent hider. Granted, she still is fairly quick to reveal her hiding spot with the giggles. But, there are usually a few moments of sheer panic on my part where I quickly run through thoughts of whether or not the doors are locked, if she could have climbed into the dryer, if she could have opened a window (you know, REALLY logical things, since she can’t reach the windows, the laundry room door has a childproof knob on it, and of course the doors are locked – we live in Broad Ripple, for God’s sake).

Oh, and what a hoot hiding objects has become. I spent 20 minutes last week looking for my cell phone. We got rid of our home phone, so I couldn’t call it to find it. Paige was sitting on the couch watching me, and I finally realized she was quietly giggling. “Did you hide my phone, Paige?” “He, he – I sure did Mommy! I hided it sooooo good! You will never find it!” Followed by what I am fairly certain was an imitation of an evil villain laugh.

I did find it, eventually. Okay, not eventually – actually pretty quickly. Right about the time after threatening to turn off the TV for the rest of the day. And I may or may not have threatened to not let her have her blankie in bed that night (Hey, I never said I played fair all the time).

Today, while Paige was at school, Blair and I decided we needed to go to the mall. (She’s a smart one, that little Blair! Full of good ideas!) 15 minutes, two overturned diaper bags, an emptied toy box and one emptied craft drawer later, I found my wallet. In with Paige’s sticker books.

Ugh, Paigers! So, so irritating. But, I’m not going to lie – also pretty funny. Stinker. Now we’ll just have to talk about how hiding Daddy’s things is even more fun that hiding Mommy’s …

Terrorist Plot

I’m working on a theory. I’ve decided that I’m pretty sure the terrorists are trying to bring down America through the use of our children. Specifically, babies and toddlers (but only because that’s as far as my research can go – I sincerely doubt parents of tweens and teens would disagree with me. Hell, my own parents might very well still agree).

Here is my case for this:

First, it seems as though the majority of children seem to choose 4:00-5:00 pm to begin the meltdown process. It’s a unified effort. Rarely does one sibling choose to completely lose it while the rest calmly look on in wonder. No – it’s a symphony of whines, screams and tantrums sometimes with a fight and/or an injury tossed in. At our house, we may as well light-up the path to time-out from now until bedtime. And it slowly (okay, quickly) drives us into madness. By bedtime our eyes are glazed over and our senses are dulled from drinking trying to keep our patience.

Second (at least in my house), I’m pretty sure my toddler is trying to make me feel like I am an idiot who is very likely losing her mind. A few examples (Keep in mind these are stories from TODAY, people!! Also, keep in mind that it is only 2:00 in the afternoon as I write this post!)

On the way to swimming lessons today, Paige and Blair were listening to some songs from Paige’s Kindermusik class. One song came on, and the lyrics were first in French, then switched to English (don’t be too impressed – she also knows almost all the words to Fun.’s “We Are Young”). The conversation went like this:

                     P: “Mommy, what are they saying?”
                    M: “It’s in French, honey. I can’t remember the other words.”
                     P: “It’s called English, Mommy.” (Said with a CLEAR disdain for my idiotic reply).
Oh, so sorry Paige. English. That’s right. I surely didn’t think you were talking about the other words in the song that I couldn’t remember. The ones that would help me remember the title of said song. You were talking about the other language. The one I speak everyday. The one I’ve been speaking for more than THREE DECADES. The one I taught you to speak!!! 
Phew – deep breaths.
Another example – again, from today. I asked Paige before her nap if she’d like to wear leggings under her dress, stating it seemed more comfortable. She looked at me like I was crazy and said “No, no leggings.” I went back in a few minutes later to check on her because she was screaming her head off. What was wrong, you ask? “Mommy, you forgot my leggings!! Sleeping in a dress isn’t comfortable!!” 
Wait, we had this conversation! You were specific! Weren’t you? Did I imagine that whole thing? Am I losing my mind? Did that even happen?
And I swear to God there was another story I wanted to put in here, and I can’t for the life of me think of it. I’ve replayed the morning and my head and I’ve got nothing.
Uh-huh? See? This is how they will creep in, people. We will be drunk tired and doubtful of what we used to think of as our own common sense.
Well-played, terrorists. But know that we are onto you. And we fully intend to come up with a plan to thwart you. Probably tonight. Or, maybe tomorrow. Hell, probably never – we’re just too tired. Well-played…

Happy Birthday, Blair

How is this possible? How did this happen? Wasn’t I just holding a tiny newborn baby just a month or so ago?

Blair Elizabeth turned 1 yesterday. Which, incidentally, also happened to be Mother’s Day. And celebrating Blair was a WONDERFUL, perfect way to spend the day.

Oh, “Baby Bear” – I can’t even begin to tell you how much you mean to us. Your smile melts my heart. Your mischievous ways make my spirits soar (even though I pretend to upset, it secretly makes me proud of you when you stand up to your sister already!). Your sweet hugs and kisses breathe life into my day. I don’t know what we all did before you came. You make our days happier and our lives complete.

Happy, Happy birthday.

Some visual highlights of the day:

Cake and icing made by Mommy, with “help” (aka, taste-testing) from Paige

Birthday love from Nani and Susu!

One of the only times they actually sat still long enough for me to get a picture!
(this is a very common scene – Paigers hamming it up, and Blair soaking in whatever 
it is her big sister is doing)

Our happy little birthday girl!

Singing “Happy Birthday” (she wasn’t sure what to do – and then Ramsey stole half her cake off her tray)

Presents!! She had LOTS of help opening!

Aaaaannnnd, this was her favorite thing. The $1.00 bow I used on one of her presents

After everyone left I put the balloons on the floor to let the girls play off some of that sugar. Blair points to them and says “ba” (ball, maybe?)

Ha! Wrapped up in her balloons and laughing while taking off into the kitchen!

Post-party Peppa Pig (a new favorite – have I mentioned they might watch TV sometimes?)

One last smile before bed