Date Night

Remember when you first got married, pre-kids, and you and your significant other would just “go out to dinner” or “see a movie” or “get some drinks”? If things got crazy, you might even “hit up a festival” or “listen to some live music” (which usually led to “waiting in line at Qdoba” and “spending the next day on the couch”).

It wasn’t a special occasion, and it typically happened multiple times a week (the going to dinner or drinks, not the spending the next day on the couch. Most of the time. Usually.)

Now, we have kids and responsibilities. And we have “date night.” An event that must be planned at least several days in advance – more if your parents are all out of town and you have to have your act together enough to secure a babysitter. They certainly don’t happen multiple times a week anymore. In fact, a date night a week would be rare (don’t judge all you ‘we make sure to have one night a week together’-ers.  My husband travels a lot, he’s super-cheap and our kids are crazy. We’re tired!). Not that I’m complaining. Don’t get me wrong. I love me some Derrick Feldmann and we always have a great time on our dates, but it’s a lot more work on my end than just hopping in the shower and putting on a cute outfit. Part of that being trying to fit into said cute outfit. But I digress.

So, we had a date night on Saturday. With an actual babysitter, and actual grown-up dressy clothes. And adult conversation. And beverages.

But, just to be sure the night was going to go well (and also probably to ensure that I didn’t forget what and who was MOST important), this happened as we were getting ready to leave. Literally getting ready to walk out the door. Our babysitter is actually standing about 5 feet away from me here:

I’m not too sure of this doctor’s skills. She shuts her eyes tight when examining me. Also? When I asked her how the exam went, she looked me in the eye and said “Es ovah, Mama.” Soooo … the exam is over? It’s over for me? I don’t understand, and she was NOT forthcoming. Her bedside manner sucks.

Also, I’m pretty sure my kids LOVE when we have a date night, because staying up past 11:00 pm means we are both exhausted the next day. It also doesn’t help that they both woke up at 6:00 am the next morning. Oh, and that when I told my husband I still had the headache I’d been fighting for more than 24 hours (glad it wasn’t an aneurism, or that cute little doctor would have one HELL of a lawsuit on her hands) he gave me 2 Tylenol. Let me be more specific. He gave me 2 TYLENOL PM. At 6:15 in the morning. I felt drugged. I mean, I was, right? (Yet somehow he ended up being the one who took a three hour nap that day.)
Anywoo, I’m off topic. Surprise.
Our girls LOVE lazy days in our bed … and I’m not going to lie, I do too. They are in their cozy jammies, they smell like the syrup they had on their waffles at breakfast, and I usually get to read an entire magazine while they play or watch shows. Yeppers. We are SUPER good parents. No crafts here! Go watch TV!
Here is what I saw when I pried my eyes open long enough to see what was happening:
Ahhh, the Feldmanns love technology! Also, please note the small timer on the nightstand. The girls were fighting (literally pulling hair and hitting) over my iPad and my phone (Daddy would not share). So I got the kitchen timer so they could rest assured that they were having equal turns. Plus, it scares the bejeezus out of them both each time it buzzes … which is just funny.


Bedtime Stories

Derrick usually does the bedtime routine around here. Let’s face it, by 7:00 pm I’m ready to clock out. And, honestly, the girls are probably sick of me, too. (Not that you’d be able to tell … since they run into the living room where I’m watching ‘The Bachelor’ or reading blog/Facebook posts I’ve missed during the day the news or reading poetry and jump up on my lap to give me hugs and kisses. I don’t really mind that part – I mean, it’s not horrible being the most popular, right? The fighting and screaming that’s also usually involved? That I love not so much.)

However, as a lot of you know, Derrick travels for work. And we’re getting close to the time of year where his travels take him away from home during the week more than he’s here. And while it’s somewhat physically tiring and more than a little mentally exhausting to be with a 1 and 4 year old all day, every day, it’s occasionally pretty funny to hear the “gems” that come out at bedtime.

Blair is pretty cut and dry. It’s her usual routine. Jammies, show, teeth, book, song, bed. Followed by her standing and screaming “MAMA!!!” until I go back in and remind her she needs to go to ‘nigh-nigh.’ And I remember to say it nicely, obv.

With Paige, it’s a little more involved and a LOT more calculated. How, you ask? Here are a few of the beauties I heard in the 20-minute span when I was repeatedly called into her room after putting her to bed tonight (it didn’t help that I was cleaning the kitchen, which is about 10 inches from her bedroom door):

  • Mommy, I need some water in here. I feel so dehydrated. Really. I am so very dehydrated from running to brush my teeth and chasing my sister, Bear (like I was unsure of which sister she was chasing?).
  • Mommy, can you read me a nigh-nigh book? The ones you read to both Blair and me upstairs don’t count. They were upstairs! In her room! We are down here now!
  • Mommy, I need more pillows under my head. I can’t see these books unless I sit up and it hurts my neck (she gets to have 2 books and a flashlight in bed when we have a good night).
  • After showing her how she can roll onto her side, prop up the book and hold the flashlight to read Mommy, these books are too big, I need smaller books or I will never be able to hold them up.
  • Mommy, I can’t read. I’m trying to look at these books, but I can’t read. I not-so-gently informed her that it was true, she couldn’t read. However, we were not going to learn tonight. So, she could either look at the pictures or I could go ahead and just take the flashlight and all of her books into the kitchen with me.
  • Mommy, I think we need to get some books about Easter.
  • Mommy, remember those cute Elmo Easter eggs Bear got last year? Oh, she was so excited. 
  • Did I have Elmo Easter eggs when I was little? I wonder if we will get them again. 
  • Do you think the Easter bunny knows Elmo? 
  • How many days until Easter? 
  • When are we going to Florida? 
  • What do you … Insert big smooch on her forehead, with a warning letting her know I would NOT be coming in again, I love her very much, and I will see her in the morning.
So, it’s mildly amusing tonight. Check back in after I’ve been doing this multiple days on my own. My guess? Not so funny.
You’d be smart to buy stock in Chardonnay before the end of March. I’m just sayin’.

My Funny Valentines

Let me start off by saying that in the past, I have NOT been a fan of Valentine’s Day.

I get the sentiment behind it, but I really think people should tell one another how much they love each other every day.

And by “people,” I mean “husbands/significant others.” Guess what? I clean our toilets, fold your boxers, and argue with your kids about whether or not their knock-knock jokes make sense (they don’t) or are funny (they aren’t). If that doesn’t tell you how much I love you, nothing does.

Bring flowers home on a random Tuesday. Kiss us each time you walk through the door. Tell us how much you appreciate all we do as often as you think it. Remember to plug our phone in to charge at night.

Vacuum every now and then. I know, I know … I’m a sucker for fairy tales.

Having kids has changed my perspective on February 14th (as well as on everything else, right?). It’s a pretty fun holiday now, especially with two little girls who LOVE everything pink. And pretty much everything heart-shaped, too. And don’t even get them STARTED on candy/chocolates/sweets. You had them at sugar.

The girls working hard on their cards. And fighting over the markers/stamps/cantaloupe snack/chairs … you know, in the true spirit of St. Valentine (or the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, perhaps).

This was also the first year Paige had a Valentine’s party at school. Her in-class party meant cards for each of the other 9 kids in her class. (Don’t even get me started on the fight we had about the fact that she didn’t need to make a Valentine for ‘Paige’. She did NOT understand why she wouldn’t want to give herself a Valentine. Oh, those narcissistic little preschoolers.).

The funny thing is, the day before we made her Valentines, the girls and I ran into one of Paige’s classmates and his mom at The Children’s Museum. We somehow got to talking about the kids and their interest in writing their letters – or, in both of our cases, the lack thereof. “Paige just isn’t willing to sit still long enough to learn how to write them. I sometimes worry she’s behind because her both her bestie and her cousin are all over it. I wonder when she will learn how to write her name?”

You know how people tell you not to compare your kids to other kids? It’s because you will end up looking like an idiot.

We got home that VERY day, and Paige not only signed all of her cards herself (with a little reminding which letters came where in her name), but she also traced all of her classmates names on the envelopes, and even wrote “Happy Valentine’s Day” on her teacher’s card. All while only asking me which letter came next. She only needed help with the ‘H’ (none of us has that letter in our name!).

Well. Color me pink (as in, embarrassed).

Yep – that very clearly says ‘Paige’. Oh, and she knows how to draw hearts, too. This? Is the ONLY Valentine’s Day card I received, by the way. Yep. Being a SAHM is full of thanks and love!

Paige also had a Valentine’s Day party with her Daddy the night before the big day. All the kids in her class and their daddies had a party in their classroom where they had circle time, ate cupcakes, made mailboxes for the next day and had a grand ol’ time. Paige’s teacher noted how pleased she was that Paige was the only one who thought to color the inside of the mailbox … just in case. Have we mentioned how much we love Paige’s teachers?

Paige and her Daddy – she is SO proud!!!
Paige and her daddy working on her mailbox. He was worried he wouldn’t be able to get out of that tiny chair after he sat down.

Circle time – Daddy noticed that Paige seems a bit more distracted than the other kids. Yeah. Tell me something I don’t know.

All in all, it was a terrific Valentine’s Day. And, I don’t want to brag, but I’m pretty sure I have the cutest Valentines around.

 
Seriously? No words. This wasn’t even taken on Valentine’s Day. I just had to post it because it’s so cute.

Thanks again for the kazoo, Nani and Botsie. I hope the sarcasm comes through in this statement. This is a rare moment when they are not fighting over it. Also? Paige says it reminds her of a ‘party blower,’ so all kazoo-ing is accompanied by shouts of “Let’s Party!!” and “Woohoo!!!!” Awesome.


Sisters. Ooohhhh, please promise you will always be each other’s Valentines. And mine, too. 

Just Ask Nicely

Soooo … don’t judge, but for the past couple of weeks Blair has been spending about half of the night in our bed. No, that’s not a typo. I don’t mean half of the nights in a week. I mean half of each night. Pretty much every night.

She has always been a bedtime-protester, but it seems to get worse after I am either out of town or not there when she wakes up. Like, say, if she wakes up and her Susu is here because I have to go have my appendix removed. It always leads to a few weeks of readjustment while she basically cries for me nonstop (I mean, I’m kind of a big deal).

So for the past three-plus weeks, she has been waking up WAY too early from her naps, and also at some point in the middle of the night (like, around 2:00 am). And she doesn’t just mill around in bed and wait for us to come get her.

She screams. And by screams, I mean … I can’t even describe it. I think Derrick described the sound that she makes best. Have you ever seen ‘Throw Mama from the Train?’ Because that’s EXACTLY what she sounds (and maybe even looks a little like her. Don’t tell her I said that. I’ll deny it.). And the word she is screaming is “MAAAAAMMMMMMAAAAAA!!!!!” in a deep, raspy, loud voice.

Imagine a much cuter, yet JUST as angry version of this face.

We have been at our wits’ end (wit ends? wits ends?). We were frustrated beyond belief. We were freaking exhausted. We were also worried that the decibel level of the screams would wake up Paige … and possibly cause our epileptic dog to have a seizure.
So every time we heard the start of the screaming, Derrick would get our of bed to handle it (me going into the room only makes it MUCH worse). And, by “handle it,” I mean that he would pick her up out of bed, bring her into our room, toss her on top of me, and then fall asleep before his head hits the pillow. And she basically spends the rest of the night/morning creepily staring at me while I pretend to be asleep. And patting my face every few minutes while “whispering” “mama…mama…mama”. 
And then, about 30 minutes before Paige wakes up, Blair falls into a deep, snoring sleep beside me. But she makes sure I don’t make the error of also falling asleep by jerking her arms every few minutes and hitting me in the nose, eye, etc. 
Did I mention this happens every night? I’m super well-rested and full of energy.
So, last night, I decided to take matters into my own hands. The screaming started at 2:15 am, and I hopped out of bed and walked into her room. Sure enough, she was standing up screaming my name (Mama, not Bis, obviously). I calmly walked up to her, bent over to her eye-level, and put my hands on her shoulders. (Mind you, I was also laughing inside at how ridiculous this was, sure that she would scratch my eyes out if I got too close to her). 
“Blair,” I said quietly, “you need to go nigh-nigh. Please. You need to lie down, and go to sleep. Here, in your bed. NOT in Mommy’s bed. Okay? I love you, and I will see you in the morning. Mommy loves you. Nigh nigh.”
She lay back down. I turned around and walked out of her room, waiting for the screams.
And … silence. What. The. Hell? (And, ‘hell’ was not my first choice of words here … but, c’mon. My parents read this blog.)
Derrick sat up and asked me what happened. I explained my technique, and we both laughed. Out loud. At how ridiculous the situation was.
At 6:15 am, the screaming happened again, but this time for “DAAAAAADDDDDDAAAAAA!” D repeated my technique, and came back to bed.
Silence.
Are you freaking kidding me? Three-and-a-half FREAKING weeks of horrible sleep, stifling angry feelings towards my toddler, and yelling much more during the day than usual. And seriously? 
Apparently we just needed to say please.

Closet Creations

Um, yeah. So, I’ve mentioned before that there might be times when I’m maybe not the nicest mommy in the world. A lot of that probably has to do with my patience level. Or lack thereof.

Let’s see … what could an example be? Oh, I know! Most crafts. Yeah. That’s why we pay to send you to school. I already have to pick peas, noodles, marker lids … you get the idea … out of poor Ramsey’s fur. No need to add glitter and glue into the mix.

What else? Hmmm – oh, right. I hang the clothes in their closets WAAAAY too high for them to reach. Is Paige perhaps a bit behind in the ability to dress herself? Not really (although she does get frustrated really easily. She obviously gets that from Derrick). Is her fashion sense stunted at all?

Well … I’ll let you be the judge:

This is this morning. She is wearing footy jammies, a bear hat and one foot of Blair’s first Halloween costume, a Tinkerbell pixie dust purse and a Wonder Woman tutu. And her pink glasses, obv.

This is brushing her teeth after she got dressed this morning. Ok, fine. This afternoon. OK. FINE!!! It was 3:45 pm! Don’t judge – Derrick’s out of town. She is wearing black Hello Kitty sweats, a polo dress (backwards) and, although you can’t see them, Tangled panties (inside out and backwards). When we left the house, her shoes were on the wrong feet and her coat was on upside-down. If you even dare try to suggest that any of the above, um…transgressions?, be fixed, Paige will promptly (and loudly) let you know that she ” LIKES THEM THAT WAY!!!!!”

The funny thing? Blair is actually TOTALLY into choosing her outfit. She may or may not own her very own pair of legit Ugg boots. Because she flat-out refused to wear the Fuggs (aka faux-Uggs) from Target. She is LIVID if I don’t put a bow in her hair in the morning (sadly, she calls everything ‘bow,’ while pointing up to bows, barrettes, ribbons, and ponytail holders – let’s just say it takes a while to get it right each day). She likes us to hold her up so she can point to the SPECIFIC outfit she wants to wear each day. And if I turn away and then go back to give her another choice, she will pick the same outfit, over and over again.
See the picture above? That is probably one of the most expensive outfits in her closet right now (aka, a gift from a grandparent … Nani and Botsie, specifically in this case.). It was Paige’s originally, and she wore it once (because it snaps in the back, and Paige wouldn’t sit still long enough for me to snap it up). 
Oh boy. This should get interesting.

Poop

This may be stupid. I’m sure I’m jinxing myself. But, I can’t. I just can’t keep it from you any longer.

Folks. We have a pooper.

Paige has officially NOT pooped in her diaper for the past three weeks.

Now, you might be thinking, “Um, this should DEFINITELY not be a big deal. Isn’t that child 4 or something like that?” Or something more along the lines of “What the hell is that mom’s problem? Didn’t she try pulling out all the stops to make this happen?”

You would be a tad self-righteous and much judgy-er than folks I like to hang out with … but you also might not know Paige all that well. To say we have been dealing with this stubborn little girl’s potty issues for awhile would be the understatement of the year. Probably the century. If necessary, please review our efforts here (circa early-summer 2012). And also here (a few months later). Also, please keep in mind that Paige was fully potty-trained (from a #1 standpoint) by August. 2011.

Yes … more than a year ago.

Derrick and I had officially decided that one of us would probably end up going to college with her, because we’d have to be there to change her poopy diaper each morning.

And then, I ran into a mom friend of mine who I knew was having similar issues with her daughter who is just a few weeks younger than Paige. And they had recently solved their problem. By taking away something she loved.

And then it hit me. Oh. My. God. It was brilliant in it’s simplicity. Sure, we had threatened, yelled, and taken away books, blankets, stuffed animals … pretty much everything. But we had not yet stooped to taking away the one thing she loves most. More than anything in the world.

Technology.

People. I shit you not (pun entirely intended). We told her one time – ONE TIME – that if she pooped in her diaper, she would get no technology the next day. No iPad. No iPhone. No TV. No iXL. Nada.

Oh, and I also may or may not have made a point to stress that Blair would not be affected by this ban. That if Paige lost privileges but Blair wanted to watch a show or play with the iPad, then Paige would have to go into the other room and find something else to do.

That first nap after the new rule, she tried to call my bluff. I was prepared for this (I mean, I’m not sure who she thinks she’s dealing with … because she’s dealing with the girl who wrote the freaking book on being stubborn). And she had to sit in her room while Blair and I watched a ‘Bubble Guppies.’ And while her Daddy and I laughed unnecessarily loud every 10 seconds or so. It sent her into a tailspin.

And she has not pooped in her diaper since. No kidding. Not ONE. SINGLE. TIME.

In fact, she even went to school last week and pooped. At school! In a public bathroom! Holy turnaround!

My favorite part of this story is that her teachers said following said poop, Paige walked out of the bathroom back into class, arms raised in victorious pride, and loudly announced “I just poopied on the potty everyone!” And her classmates cheered and clapped. What? That didn’t happen to you at some point today? Seriously? I would have paid money to see that. 

And now, before she goes to bed, I always ask “Okay, what happens if you poop in your diaper?”

And she looks at me with those big eyes (crossed, usually, because her glasses are off) and somberly replies, “No technology, Mommy. Don’t worry – I will NOT poop in my diaper.”

What 4 year-old talks like that – or even says the word ‘technology’? One with a technology problem, I would guess. But you know what her problem isn’t, anymore?

Pooping on the potty.