Best-Laid Plans

When will I ever learn?

When will I realize that saying something ridiculous out-loud is basically akin to guaranteeing that exact opposite will happen. Something ridiculous, say, like “Hey, I’ll get up extra-early tomorrow so I can get some things done before the girls wake up. Babe, wake me up at 6:00, okay?”

Why did I want to get up at 6:00 am? The girls and I were leaving the next afternoon for a week-long “girls trip” to Lake Maxinkuckee with their Nani, EJ, cousins and various other female family members who will be visiting (okay, fine. We’ll let the menfolk come too, but NOT until the weekend! Except Bostie. He can come whenever he wants. And not just because he sponsored this trip. And my sister-in-law is reading over my shoulder and just reminded me that my nephew is actually a boy. Poor Nate-dogg. When you read these someday know that it doesn’t mean I love you any less. There’s just a HELL of a lot of pink around here).

Phew. Holy digression.

Okay, where was I? Yes. Getting up early.

So, Derrick wakes me and I had the audacity to stay in bed for a few minutes and go through my plan for the morning. And then at 6:02 am Blair started screaming. And then at 6:15 am Paige decided she didn’t want to miss out on any of the fun, either.

Hmmmm. Girls – 1, Plan – 0.

So, later that day we get in the van to drive almost 2 hours to Culver. Thinking to myself (I didn’t dare say it out loud. Okay, I probably did say it out loud. More than once.), ‘this will be perfect.’ It’s 2:15, both girls will be tired. Blair will probably pass out and Paige might even fall asleep.

Blair: awake the entire ride and periodically yelling out “Mama!” And by periodically, I mean probably about once a minute. Paige: passed out for about 20 minutes, then asking how much longer until we could see her cousins. For 2 hours (minus 20 minutes).

Girls – 2, Plan – 0.

The rest of the afternoon/evening went well. And really just well by Feldmann Family standards. Only a few time-outs. Paige only screamed about 50% of the time. Blair actually let someone else hold her (okay, she was still screaming, but she didn’t try to jump out of their arms).

Seriously?!?! ANY amount of grouchiness is worth moments like this…

Bedtime came around, and I put Blair down first. Faaaaast asleep. Paige actually poopied on the potty (shhh…let’s just keep quiet and hope it continues) and went to bed. Ahhhh. Quiet time on the lake with family/friends and cocktails. I’ll admit it. I got cocky. So cocky, in fact, that I posted a picture to Instagram:

Fast-forward to 2:00 am (and try to keep in mind that all three girls and I are sharing a bedroom. Did I forget to mention that?). Blair wakes up screaming. Paige wakes up freaked out. Both girls are hysterical. I try to get Blair back to sleep in my bed, but Paige keeps saying she wants to get in bed with us, too. So I tell Paige I will be back and she can sleep with me, and take Blair downstairs to the couch and try to get her back to sleep. She is STILL hysterical, and now I can hear Paige yelling upstairs for me. So I go BACK upstairs, put Blair in her pack-n-play (which, as you can imagine, went REALLY well) and grabbed Paige. Went BACK downstairs to try to get Paige to sleep, but we could both hear Blair losing it upstairs (yes, Paige, I agree – Blair does sound unhappy).

So we had to do it. We had to wake up Nani so Paige could sleep with her. I knew she wouldn’t care, but waking up Nani is sort of like what I imagine waking up a really drunk crazy person must be like (no offense meant to dear Nani – she will agree). She typically jumps up. Asks about 300 non-sensical questions. Walks around aimlessly in small circles. Then falls back to sleep, with zero recollection of it in the morning. Nope. She’s not a heavy drinker. And, nope. She doesn’t take sleeping pills. It’s just her thing. We love her for it, and it has made for MANY a good story over the years.

I had my game plan. Paige and I walk in, and I gently tap Nani while whispering “It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay.” on repeat. I knew if she screamed, Paige would flip her shit and then we might as well just call it a night. Typical reaction by Nani – I’ll spare you the details (see paragraph above – it was a lot like that, but no surprised yelling “what’s wrong?!?!?!” Well, maybe just once. Or twice. But she really didn’t yell it. HEY! Give her a break! It’s her thing – and, seriously, it’s hilarious!). Paige got into bed with her and fell fast asleep (bless Nani’s heart – she did not. We owe her, big time!).

I head BACK upstairs to take care of Blair. Around 4:15-4:30 am I finally got her back to sleep. In my bed. Every time I tried to stand up with her she would quickly wake and express her dissatisfaction with the situation. So she snored next to me, while I worried about smothering her (yes, yes, yes. I realize she is 13 months old. Sue me – I’m a worrywart).

She woke up early this morning, and I happened to have my phone close by because I was texting Derrick throughout the night – if I’m not sleeping, neither is he…even if he’s 120 miles away. She sat up, crossed her legs and … well, this pretty much says it all:

Stinker. But, oh man, so FREAKING cute. Even on a few hours sleep…

Soapy sass (or, sassy soap?)

Recently, Paige has stepped up the sassiness, taking it to an entirely new level. She’s always had a little sass in her step, but now she’s just downright rude.

For example, she will ask if she can play games on my phone, and I will nicely (seriously, notice no crossed out words here?) say “No, honey. Not right now.” To which she will reply (often while taking a swat in my direction), “Yes I can, Mommy! Now just stop it!”

Or, I will say (less nicely, as my patience is usually wearing thin by this point), “Paige, go sit in time out until you can stop being sassy.” To which she will reply, “No! You go to time out, Mommy! You being sassy!”

Um. Yeah. In the words of a famous clown from my youth, “Homey don’t play that.” (Bet you thought I was going to quote Bozo or Ronald McDonald? Not so much.).

So, we’ve tried time outs, which clearly aren’t working. We’ve tried ignoring her. I’ve even bopped her in the mouth a few times. To no avail. I turned to my sister-in-law, who is the mother of 4 young kids. And to say she has dealt with her fair share of sassiness would be an understatement.

She reminded me that when her oldest daughter, Gracie (now almost 9, and possibly the original ‘Bis mini-me’) was little they got to the point where they had to put a bar of soap in her mouth to stop the mouthiness. And they only had to do it once or twice – after that, the threat of it was more than enough.

Assuming that it would be too much trouble to buy enough duct tape to remedy our problem, I decided to go the soap route. Derrick and I had a talk with Paige about it yesterday (after she kicked her sister and told her to “go find your mommy, Bear!”). She FREAKED out, and all day long all we had to say was “tomorrow when you talk this way we will be putting soap in your mouth.” Not because we were dishing out idle threats, but just because we didn’t happen to have any bars of soap in our house (I mean, who keeps those around? I’m pretty sure we used to have them…right by the phone books and butter churner).

This morning I loaded the girls up in the van and we headed to this little boutique down the street. I’m not sure if you’ve heard of it. It’s called “Target.” Well, I should have learned from past experience with Paige and folks at Target. She proceeded to tell everyone…seriously, EVERY-SINGLE-PERSON… we passed that we were there to buy soap to put in her mouth. Because she’s so sassy. And that it will probably be disgusting. And she may or may not have tossed in a dramatic dry-heaving sound every now and then.

The reactions were pretty uniform – mostly a lot of people with what I am hoping were confused looks (and not a look of trying to remember if they had the number for Child Protective Services programmed into their phone). I’m HOPING people were assuming they had misheard her. She did repeat herself multiple times, probably to clear things up for them. She’s very helpful like that.

I wanted to tell them that I wasn’t going to cheap-out on her. To point out that it’s not like I was going to buy one of those bright yellow bars of Dial or anything. For cry-eye-eye, I’m going to spend almost $6.00 on a bar of all-natural, fragrance-free Tom’s soap!

But then I realized I should probably just keep my mouth shut. “Clarifying” would probably only make the situation worse.

That, and the other moms would probably think I was a big idiot for wasting the money on “nice” soap when any old soap will do.

This Old House

Ahhhh, isn’t living in an old house wonderful? Except when it’s not? Which is, like, most of the time?

When Derrick and I were in our newly-engaged bliss … ha, that’s hilarious! This isn’t fiction, people! Let’s try that again!

After Derrick and I got engaged in 2005, we began the arduous process of trying to find a home. Most importantly, trying to find a home that had the things we BOTH (aka, I) wanted. Derrick loves “fixer-upers.” I love new construction. This was going to be a problem.

After months of searching, we finally found a little house in Broad Ripple. Close to the Monon and parks (okay, we were young and kid-less … close to the bars and lots of fun, trendy restaurants). And, the rest is history. We have owned the same house for 7 years, and have only threatened to sell it once (we finally took it off the market when we both agreed we were the laziest home-sellers ever. Thanks to a toddler and a newborn, most requests to see the house were denied. Not helpful to potential buyers).

Anyhoo, those of you who know me know I have a real love-hate relationship with this house. Love – cottage-like feel, space for kids to play, proximity to basically everything. Hate – mice and spiders (I know, every house has them. Blah, blah, blah. It’s gross. I hate them. The critters here are on steroids), plumbing issues, finding out (all too late) that everything we want to change is “not up to code” or “covering moldy drywall” thus making each project three times what we actually budgeted.

However, my girls have discovered that an older home works VERY well to their advantage. How, you ask? A few examples:

Over the past few months, Blair has become OBSESSED with the toilet. Not using it, mind you. Just playing in the water inside. Opening and closing the lid. Pulling on that fun silver handle that makes the toilet go “Swoosh” … over, and over, and over again. You know what’s even more fun, thinks Blair? Flushing the toilet over, and over, and over again while Mommy is in the shower and can’t reach me (even though she sticks that wet hand around the shower curtain and unsuccessfully swipes at me, missing me by a good two feet, yet soaking everything else in the bathroom). AND, you know what is even MORE fun than watching soapy Mommy try to reach me? Listening to her screech when the water turns from ice cold to scalding hot each time I flush the toilet. This trick is AWE-SOME!!!! And for some reason doesn’t work when I try it in the nice, new houses my grandparents all live in!

Alright, thinks Blair, now this is boring. Plus, Mommy actually seems a little pissed and I’m pretty sure she’s the one that is making my dinner tonight. Now what am I going to do? Mommy’s locked me in here to protect me from Paige and mostly myself keep an eye on me. Let’s see, Blair ponders. This old door LOOKS latched. Let me push on it a few times, then pull. Yep. Success. See? Blair knows that just like every single door in our house, the bathroom door might click shut, but nothing really fits well so doors are super-easy to open (except the front and the back doors, potential robbers. These have been replaced and are deadbolted, chained and alarmed. So back the F off – oh, did I mention at times our neighborhood is … um, questionable? The suburbs it ain’t, folks).

Both girls now know that if something they want is behind a door, a little elbow grease will pop that thing open in seconds. Closets? Silly, Mommy. We will open those doors and TEAR SHIT UP in there before you can even round the corner and realize what we’re doing. Door to the bathroom (aka, home of the fun toilet and always entertaining toilet paper roll). Oh, Mommy. Now you’re just embarrassing yourself. You ain’t seen nuthin’ till you see how quick we can unroll this paper and stuff it all in the potty.

See,  here’s the thing about these girls. They are the loudest children you have ever met (seriously, ask around). UNTIL they are doing something they know they shouldn’t be doing. Then it’s like super-stealth ninjas have replaced my children, and they are fast little f-ers. They can get in, wreak havoc and get out before I even realize they are no longer in the same room with me.

In fact, as I re-read this, it almost seems as if I might be raising future thieves. Hmmm…

Lord, please let them be good enough to not get caught. And also to only steal the expensive stuff that will make our family rich. I mean, we all want our kids to be the best at what they do, right?

Camp Crap

Last week Paige went to her first Day Camp. We were a little nervous (and by “we,” I mean “I”).

Obviously NOT nervous

New school, all new kids, the subject of gardening … none of these are things I enjoy, or in which I really excel.

Sure, I can fake being excited to meet new people, but oftentimes social gatherings make my stomach churn. And you can admire my potted plants at my house, but really they are just hanging baskets put into pots. Don’t get me wrong – I cut the wires off the basket part. I’m not a moron – just lazy and incredibly inept at keeping plants alive.

People and pets? I’m all over it. Plants? I will most certainly kill you.

So, I’m not going to lie. I was sort of hoping Paige would come home each day chock-full of gardening wisdom she could pass along to me. For God’s sake – the camp was called ‘Green Thumb Cubs.’ I can tell you she had a decent time. Each day at pick up she said she had fun, but that she “didn’t LOVE it, Mommy.” (I suspect that had more to do with her bestie being in a different class, but that has been remedied for the next session).

What did I pick up each day instead? A sweaty, cranky toddler and a bookbag full of crafts … I mean, crap. You all know we’ve had issues with this distinction before, but honestly, I sort of suspected things to be a bit more “crafty” in my terms, and less “crappy” in Paige’s. Here are a couple examples of items discovered in Paige’s backpack (or, ‘packpack,’ as she calls it):

A “nature wreath” … I’m guessing? It came with zero information about it, the teacher was busy reading a book when I picked Paige up, and Paige provided nothing to help me decide what it was.

Um … a rubber glove. Each “digit” is filled with a little cotton and some seeds. Again, Paige didn’t know what it was (clearly money well-spent) and I kid you not when I tell you that the note attached says that the ‘seeds included MAY sprout into plants.’ That will be hard to check. Unless we head to the landfill.

Seriously. They are as crappy as they look in the pictures. In fact, the pictures are sort of over-glamifying them (I might have just made that word up – if so, I call dibs. It’s awesome).

And honestly – I’m not a horrible mom. I LOVE when I get projects, and couldn’t wait for the day Paige brought home cute little items and gave them to me with a sticky kiss and shouts “Look what I made for you!!” I have binders for my kids’ artwork, and I regularly rotate displays so they can see their things. Okay, just Paige has artwork. But Blair DOES have a binder. Which I’m sure we will fill with crafts once she starts school and someone is willing to clean up the mess she will most certainly make with whatever adorable item she makes for me.

Anywho. I thought to myself, “Self. Let’s cut them some slack. They had a classroom full of 3-5 year-olds, and they probably tried to pick crap crafts that were easy for all involved, and relatively quick to make. Also, they probably wanted to do things the kids could explain to their parents. Thus improving the significant parent-child interaction after camp each day.” (I may or may not just sound that intelligent in my head. If I tried to tell someone else this it would probably sound like “What the hell is this crap?”).

Granted, Paige was so tired every day that she was pretty much a sealed vault regarding information about camp. So, yesterday Paige walked into the kitchen and I pointed to the nature wreath (?) proudly displayed on our bulletin board.

M: “Paige, tell me a little more about this nature wreath you made at camp last week.”
P: “What nature wreath?”
M: “This one right here. That we put up after camp last week. With the sticks, dried leaves, and dead grass glued to it.”
P: Eyeing the wreath skeptically. “Mommy, I have no idea what that is. Mrs. Watsons (Mrs. Watson) told me to make it, so I glued those things on it.”
M: “Oh, but it’s so pretty, isn’t it?” (No, it’s not)
P: Looking at me like I’m a crazy person. “No, it’s not.”

Wreath, meet our trash compactor.

Paige, you have no idea how rewarding it is (sometimes) to have a mini-me let me know my thinking is on the right track. Even if my mini-me happens to be 3.

Poop

I’m not exaggerating – I’m pretty sure we have spent as much time this past month TALKING about poop (or, “poopy” as we like to say) than anyone reading this blog has spent actually pooping on the potty. Because that’s how all grown-ups describe it, right? You need to “poopy on the potty?”

Paige has been potty-trained for a year now. Peeing on the potty is old hat, and we rarely have accidents anymore. Unless she’s too busy doing something to go to the bathroom (could you imagine if adults did this? Oops – I peed my pants, but I was just too into this conference call to realize I had to go!).

Pooping on the potty? Another story entirely. She HAS poopied on the potty before, but each time a new day rolls around, Alzheimer’s sets in and she thinks she’s scared again. Of what? Well, we get a litany of excuses. Sometimes snakes live in our potty. Sometimes she’s scared it will hurt her tummy. Sometimes she looks me right in the eye and tells me “I just like pooping in my diaper. Okay, Mommy?”

Challenge accepted, my friend.

We have tried bribery. M&Ms have graduated to mini-peanut butter cups to a FREAKING sand table she can only play with after she poops in the potty. I even convinced her that while she sleeps Mommy and Daddy go out and play with her sandbox because, hey, we both decided to poopy in the potty that day. (As opposed to our pants? I don’t know – she hasn’t logically thought through my argument. Yet.) Her response to me? “Well, maybe I don’t need a sandbox, Mommy.” So she longingly stares at it when we play outside, but she has become fine with the fact that old sandbox will keep collecting dust.

After a few weeks of this, I may or may not have snapped. I may or may not have put a screaming Paige down for a nap in her panties. And I may or may not have told her that if she won’t poopy in the potty, she can poopy in her bed. And I may or may not have told her she would have to clean it up (because, let’s face it. I’m SO sick of touching her poopy!!!). Yep. She went to bed hysterical. I sat on the couch feeling guilty. Then I went in and put a diaper on her and read her an extra book.

Paige -2, Mommy – 0

Then I had an idea. One morning we were watching TV reading lots of educational books, and we saw a commercial picture of a little girl using the potty with a cape on. I asked Paige if she liked that cape. She replied that she did indeed like that cape. In moderately disturbing haste, I concocted a lie story about a Pooping Princess. She brings capes to all the little girls who are scared to poopy on the potty. She leaves them under their pillow at night, and then the little girls can wear them to feel brave. Mommy had one when she was little (no, I didn’t), and so did all the other Mommies (no, you didn’t). She seemed interested.

I quickly texted Nani and told her I needed a cape, ASAP. Nani immediately texted back “What kind of cape?” (Which, incidentally, is why we love Nani so much. She did not question WHY I needed a cape, or why I was texting her about it at 6:30 in the morning. Only what kind of cape I was in the market for.) “A pooping cape.” I replied. And so it begins.

So far, so good. The pooping cape appeared, and while each day I have two 40 minute fights about getting Paige to poopy on the potty, we have gotten … um, results.

Notice the Poopy Cape on her lap. We’re not sure why she needs to be naked. Honestly, at this point we figure it’s better to just go with it. And, for the love of God, how many more times can a grown woman write the word ‘poopy’ in a blog??

Let’s hope this trend continues, because, let’s be honest. Changing a 3 1/2 year-old’s poopy diapers is disgusting.

Greasy Assumption

I had a 5:00 meeting last night, so as Derrick breezed in about 3 seconds before I needed to leave (while he was on a conference call, no less), I quickly shouted “Dinner! Bath for Paige! Horrible naps – so bed by 6:30!” as  I ran out the door. Mom shorthand that I can only hope Dad speaks (because, who are we kidding? I certainly wasn’t going to take the time to write him a note on how to parent his own children. No people – he’s not BABYSITTING. He’s being a dad. I can’t STAND when people say that. But, I digress).

So, this morning when I got Paige ready for camp (again, a post for another day), I wrestled her until I could hold her tight between my legs calmly brushed her hair into in a ponytail. I noticed it was a bit – how you say – greasy. And by greasy I mean I could have probably used it to quiet creaks in the doors at our house. All of them.

So, obviously, I blamed her daddy.

Rinsing Paige’s hair is a test in both patience and agility, as she typically screams at the top of her lungs that her ears hurt while grabbing them and wriggling away. Where’s my sympathy, you wonder? She’s got tubes, folks. The water DOES NOT hurt her ears. I’ve confirmed it with her ENT. And, more often than not her “wriggling away” actually involves knocking her little sister face first into the bathwater. Which, as you can imagine, is a treat for everyone involved.

So, yes, I assumed that Daddy decided to half-ass the hair-rinsing part of the bath.

And I may or may not have shared my assumption with a couple of friends today. And maybe a few casual acquaintances. And a stranger or two. (What can I say? It was seriously that greasy. People were staring.).

Since it’s camp week, we’re doing baths every night to rinse some of the paste-they-call-sunscreen off her skin. Today I waited to shower until the end of the day so we could have both girls shower with me. I’m just that lazy good of a mom.

I went into my room to get dressed and got ready to go downstairs. I heard something in my bathroom and said “Paigers? Are you still up here?” She replied, “Yes, Mommy. I’m just polishing something up.”

Suspicious. Especially since I’m pretty sure she has no idea what it means to polish something.

I walk in and in the two minutes it took me to get dressed she has somehow gotten the spray lid off her detangler. And she is pouring it into her hand and rubbing it on her hair.

Aha. That explains the greasy sheen.

Sorry Daddy. Let’s just save that assumption for another day, shall we?

Mom of the Year

I am constantly keeping tabs on myself to be sure I include all of my top-notch parenting moments in my application for “Mom of the Year.” I’m not sure where exactly to send it, but I’ve got a pretty strong dossier started.

For example, we recently had a ‘photo shoot’ for Blair’s one-year pictures. It included both girls in tutus painting canvases in our driveway. Now, I did my research and chose non-toxic acrylic paint. But, I was still a little freaked-out when Blair put a couple of fistfuls in her mouth.

But not freaked-out enough to stop the photographer (I mean, how cute will those pictures be?!?!?). In fact, I didn’t really start to worry until after baths when Blair was having her bottle. I was discussing it with Susu, and she sort of freaked me out a little (Thanks a lot Susu – you just HAVE to make me care about my kids! Sheesh!). So, I called Poison Control. And the call went like this:

Me: “Um, yes. My 1-year-old put some acrylic paint in her mouth. I don’t think she swallowed any, and I cleaned her mouth out with a towel and gave her some water. Weeeellll, she actually put some in her mouth twice. But I cleaned it out both times! And gave her water to drink. Both times.” (In my head I’m thinking “Stop talking, you idiot – you are only making things worse!”)


Operator: “And how long ago did your daughter put the paint in her mouth?”


Me: “Oh, about an hour and a half ago? Maybe two hours?”


Operator: Silence … followed a few seconds later by an, “Oh. Wow. Okay.” 

Which I can only assume translated to something along the lines of “Huh. Well, if you were worried enough to call Poison Control you probably should have done so a few minutes after your daughter put the paint in her mouth. Not NINETY minutes later!!” (and let’s be honest, it was probably closer to 2 1/2 hours).

Obviously, Blair was fine. I KNEW she would be fine. I just needed them to assure me she would be.

They did ask me for my address to send “an informational packet of stickers and magnets” to our house. Which I can only assume translates to “a representative from Child Protective Services.”

Oh? What’s that you say MOTY Committee? You need another recent example? Sure:

Those of you who know Paige know that when she gets sleepy her eyes get a little … what’s the PC way to say it? Crossed.

So, she’s been seeing a pediatric opthamologist to keep an eye on things (HA! See what I did there? Keep an eye on things?!?! Totally unintentional, but hilarious).

I was noticing the other day that it seemed to be getting a little worse, and my next thought was that I’m pretty sure her last appointment was right after Blair was born. And I know they wanted to see her at least once a year, if not every six months. I wondered if I maybe forgot to transfer the appointment when I switched from a paper calendar to iCal. THEN, I remembered that we got rid of our home phone, so I bet they called to tell me about the appointment and they got a message that our line had been disconnected and they didn’t have my cell phone number and they didn’t know how to get a hold of us to make sure Paige came in.

Whew. See how exhausting that was to read? Imagine how the receptionist at Midwest Eye Institute felt as an over-caffeinated me made the call to explain all of this to her.

So, she said it was no problem – she’d just pull up Paige’s record and we could reschedule the appointment.

Oops, Mrs. Feldmann. It looks like you did miss an appointment. In February. And it’s taken you until June to even think about the fact that you might need to get your cross-eyed little girl in her for a check-up.

I got this competition in the bag, people. Locked up tight.