Care Bear

As you know, Blair had her birthday party just over a week ago. At said party, she was given Share Bear. Well, not actually Share Bear (c’mon – we don’t need another pet … even a cheery purple bear that shares). A stuffed version of Share Bear. Obvs.

Before the party was even over, Paige had somehow convinced Blair that Share Bear wasn’t something she would want. And that Blair would be better off just giving that ‘ol Share Bear to Paige. (Sidenote: this scenario is so, so very like so, so very many of the stories my parents like to tell about me being little. It’s a little scary sometimes just how much Paige and I are alike.)

Paige carried said Share Bear around everywhere we went for the next few days. Since the bear was actually a gift for Blair, and since I was feeling especially guilty after preschool drop-off on Monday, so I decided to head to Target to get Paige her own Care Bear (Cheer Bear, to be exact. And, trust me. I recognize the irony of these stupid bears’ names. Note that they don’t make stuffed versions of Grumpy Bear.).

Fast forward to after school being pretty much just as awful as before school, and … well, let’s just say that Share Bear is now Blair’s again. And Paige did NOT get Cheer Bear. And that Paige is never, ever allowed to play with Share Bear again. That’s right, peeps. I went ahead and took away a toy forever. And I may or may not have said “Forever and ever and ever.”

If you ever need to make a 4 year-old cry, call me. I’m your gal. I’m pretty awesome like that.

So, after multiple time outs and a pretty craptacular evening, Derrick struck a deal with Paige. If she could stay out of timeout for 3 days, Cheer Bear was hers. Three solid days in a row.

And thus, here sits Cheer Bear. Still smiling and attempting to spread cheer to the Feldmanns one and all. But relegated to a spot high out of Paige’s reach. And quietly collecting dust.

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I found this in his (her?) pocket today:

Dear Diary,

Day 6.

WTF? Where am I? These people are so loud!!

I see the child they’d like to give me to, they call her “Paige” (or, maybe “Paige, COME ON! LISTEN!” … which seems like an odd choice.). While she seems so very cute and funny, she also seems to have some sort of disorder that makes her unable to listen and make good choices. So far all she’s been able to do is come stand underneath me and stare up at me. And not the good kind of Care Bear Stare. A sad, wistful stare that makes me feel like in her heart she knows we might never be able to play together.

This morning her mommy was showing me to a visitor, and she asked this “Paige” if today counted as a day towards earning me. “Nope,” Paige responded. Apparently, according to the mommy, Paige was in timeout by 7:00 am . The family hadn’t even made it downstairs for breakfast yet! This might be tougher than I thought…

I sure hope she can pull it together long enough to stay out of timeout for 3 days. I mean, it’s only 3 days – how hard could that be? It’s not like they’re asking her to travel to The Land Without Feelings or anything, right?!?!?

Stay tuned, dearest Diary. I hope to write soon with good news. Until then, let Wish Bear know we could use all the help we can get down here.

 

Monday, Monday

NOT so good to me. (For you young-uns out there, that’s a reference to a song by The Mamas & The Papas. And, no. Not your parents.)

Honestly, I don’t know what the hell the deal is. And I don’t know why I’m even a little surprised. Every time Monday morning rolls around, it’s like it’s our first Monday together. Ever. In the history of our family.

For some reason, everyone seems to wake up grumpy. Paige usually starts screaming about her clock turning yellow around 5:50 am. (Um, duh. Listen. It will turn yellow when it’s TIME FOR IT TO TURN YELLOW!!!) Blair wakes up screaming first for me, then for her daddy. Like clockwork. Pun intended. I obviously wake up grouchy. That happens every day.

I honestly think the turnkey moment is just us all waking up. Seriously. It all pretty much goes to hell in a handbasket from there.

This past Monday was no exception. I am not kidding you when I say I had to ask my girls 20 times to …  well, to do pretty much EVERY FREAKING THING I needed them to do. Hand to God I never thought I would say the words “Paige, you have to wear panties today. It’s a school day.” so many times in an hour.

There were multiple timeouts. Many fights between the girls. And more than a few shouts from me. I was done. I was out of patience. I was pissed. To illustrate, I texted my fellow preschool mama who consistently makes fun of me for using cookie cutters to shape Paige’s lunch sandwich into whatever the theme of the day at school is (SEE? I’m a freaking GOOD mom, Paige!!!). I told her I wished I had a cookie cutter of a middle finger. Because that’s the sandwich I wanted to send with Paige that particular day. Yep. I’m super-sweet like that. And, yep. I was talking about my 4 year-old daughter.

Then comes my favorite part of the morning: trying to get out the door.

After repeatedly asking the girls to get their shoes on (seriously – I really do start with asking instead of yelling), I lost it. The straw that broke this particular camel’s back came while I was literally holding Blair down with my legs as I tried to change her poopy diaper. About 10 minutes after we should have been walking out the door.

Paige walked up to me with a smug look on her face, stared me right in the eye and said, “I don’t even like you, Mommy. You are mean, and you are not my friend anymore.” Seriously? SERIOUSLY?!!?!?!?!?! Um, that particular situation may have ended with a smack to the mouth.

And then they both ran off in different directions. I yelled again that it was time to go. Nothing. I then warned them that I would be leaving in 3 seconds – with or without them. Nothing.

So, I went ahead and set the alarm, opened the front door, stepped onto the porch and shut the door behind me loudly enough that I knew they would hear it. Cue the screams and footsteps. And cries of “Don’t leave us, Mommy!!!!” and “Mama!!!!”

Sigh. That feels good. Nothing like scaring your children into making them think you’re abandoning them.

(Sidenote: Kids, come the freak on. Wise up. We aren’t ever going to leave you, okay? Even if we really wanted to, there are laws against that kind of stuff. Plus, you’d probably just wreck the house while we were gone, and then we’d have THAT to clean.)

Soooo … needless to say, things were fairly quiet on the car ride to school. It’s amazing how they can go hours without listening to a word you say, yet they seem to intuitively know when mommy is one smartass comment away from completely falling apart.

What’s that, you say? I haven’t painted a clear enough picture of our morning together? Hmmm…

Below is the conversation I had with my sister-in-law whilst on the way to school. Please keep in mind my van has Bluetooth, which means my children can hear every single second of every single conversation I have. Typically that means lots of innuendo and spelling. Not today.

Me: “Well, we’ve had another one of those Monday mornings. Timeouts, spanks, yelling, screaming. It was awesome.”

SIL: “Oh, I’m so sorry. I’m sure it couldn’t have been that bad! They’ll forget all about it.”

Me (tearing up): “I’m just so tired of feeling like a SHITTY mom. All the time. Paige is driving me crazy.”

PAUSE…

SIL: “Um, are your kids still in the car with you?”

Me: “Yep.”

So, there’s that.

We all trudged into school together (which, incidentally, is at our church. Which is pretty awesome. When I swear in front of my kids on the way to our church, that is.). I saw her teachers and told them I may or may not be back to pick up Paige. They laughed and said “It’s Monday – they are all a little crazy.” Why is it that knowing things are horrible at other people’s houses always makes me feel better about myself? Sorry, but it’s true.

I headed to the gym to sweat out my frustrations, and it helped. Until I went to pick up Blair from childcare and was greeted with the information that “Well, Blair was a bit rough today. She kept pinching and pushing the other kids around.”

What. The. Hell.

Stupid Monday. Thank God it’s over.

Until next week, that is.

Turning Two

Oh Baby Blair.

This week we celebrated the second anniversary of your birth, and today we celebrated you.

It’s hard to even imagine that there was a time when we worried we wouldn’t have a second baby. A time when we hoped and prayed as hard as we could for another miracle in our lives. Another child for us and a sibling for Paige. And, to borrow a line from one of our favorite books, God gave us you.

You with your dark chocolate eyes. You with your infectious little belly laugh. You with your quick little temper and impish little grin that typically follows anything naughty you may or may not have done. You with your outbursts at your sister when you tear off her glasses, and your immediate decision to give her the tightest hug you can give. You with your crazy puzzle skills that I’m pretty sure already qualify you as a genius. You with your love for your big sister and your desire to do everything she does. You with your stubborn refusal to wear pants, sit in any sort of high chair, or pretty much do anything you don’t want to do.

You with your calls of “Mama” as you run towards me with a huge grin and arms raised for me to pick you up – even though I just left the room a few minutes earlier. You with your cries in the night that have always been immediately silenced by sleeping on my chest. You with your little midnight snores that make my heart ache with how much I wish I could keep you this age forever.

But I can’t keep you 2 for long. You already show a fearlessness that both awes me and terrifies me on a daily basis. Someday, my Baby Blair, together you and your sister will rule the world. Be kind to one another, and take care each other. You are each the other’s keeper – keep each other safe, dry each other’s tears, share each other’s joys. And never, ever, for one second forget how much your Mommy and Daddy love you. No matter what.

Until then, keep surprising us and making us laugh (and sometimes cry) every single day.

In other words, just keep keeping it real, Baby Bear.

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Whew – enough sappiness (why do my kids’ birthdays always make me cry?!?!). We had a fabulous birthday week and a fun (albeit CRAZY) birthday party today for Blair. I think it was a hit! A princess-y hit at that!

Paige had a meltdown after she dropped her cupcake (and promptly decided she needed to take a nap) and Blair was acting like she was drunk … which she probably was. If it’s possible to get drunk on sugar, that is.

Here are a few pictures from the week o’ celebration and the party today:

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Going for the glasses (see the impish grin?) …

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Aaaand, putting the glasses back on (those poor glasses).

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They can’t stay mad at each other for long. This was about 3 seconds later.

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Oh, how much fun it must be to have a sister? Besties forever.

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This is what she looked like when we went into her room on her birthday morning. How could she be so very sad when we all were singing “Happy Birthday?” Oh wait …

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Nothing streamers on her door and a star-shaped, sprinkle-covered donut won't fix!

Nothing streamers on her door and a star-shaped, sprinkle-covered donut won’t fix!

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And a giant, shiny balloon! (I was going to write “a giant number 2 balloon,” but that just sounded gross.)

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Please be sure to note how sad Paige looks in these present opening pictures. To say she wished it was her birthday would be a DRAMATIC understatement.

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She blew out both candles by herself! Oh, and went ahead and sang “Happy Birthday” to herself, too. Obvs.

Pantless

When I dreamt (dreamed?) of becoming a mother, there were lots of things I imagined. Cute little baby laughs. Tiny baby tushies. Reading my favorite childhood books with my children snuggled around me. I was even smart enough to imagine the not-so-fun parts like poopy diapers and spilled milk (see how smug I am?).

One thing that did not enter into my mind?

Fighting about pants. Oh, Blair – we fight about pants every day. Not which pair of pants she could wear. But just wearing pants in general. Little Bear would prefer to be sans pants 24-7. And not just pants. Really any type of clothing designed for the bottom half of her body. I’m not sure if she thinks t-shirts are dresses, if she’s trying to assert her independence, if she just hates pants, or if she’s messing with me.

I’m pretty sure it’s the latter.

Regardless, I have to shove  gently place her little legs into pants/leggings/shorts/skirt/diaper cover each morning. And she reacts like said clothing item is made of hot acid. As a result, this is what our mornings look like. Every. Single. Day.

In between high-pitched screams, she's yelling "Take. Pants. Off. LEASE!!!! (Please)"

This was just this morning. In between high-pitched screams, she’s yelling “Take. Pants. Off. LEASE!!!! (Please)” At least she’s polite about it.

And a 20-30 minute fit ensues. She typically recovers enough to eat breakfast, or at least to toss it on the floor. She seems resigned to the fact that we will NOT be letting her leave the house in just her diaper, so she moves on.

At least until it’s time to put on her socks, that is.

 

Blair vs. the Dentist

So, it’s been awhile since this happened, but I had to go ahead and write about it.

Little Blair has had all of her teeth forever. In fact, I sort of feel like they all ‘sprouted’ the same week. There was none of the “oh, I think she’s crabby because she’s getting teeth” like we had with Paige. Blair would get 2-3 teeth at a time and the next week start all over again. In fact, I enjoy saying that Blair actually has ONE MORE tooth than Paige – which is technically true.

So, based on all of the parenting items I constantly read to make myself a nervous wreck, I knew it was time to take her to the dentist. I made us joint appointments so I could cross mine off my to-do list (in true SAHM fashion, it had been about a year and a half since I was last at the dentist).

I was a little worried. Remember, this is Blair we’re talking about here. She’s just as spicy as Paige. But MUCH less of a rule follower. With Paige, I could simply tell her that “it’s Mommy’s turn to brush your teeth, now.” And that was that. Mommy brushed her teeth. With Blair, I tell her that and she looks at me out of the corner of her eye, locks her jaw as tight as she can, and proceeds to shake her head so fast I’m a bit worried it might fall off. “No, no,” she says, “Mommy, NO BUS TEEF!!”

And, I’m not gonna lie. Lots of times, it’s not worth the fight. So, no. Okay. Mommy no bus teef.

Hence my concern.

Blair had her “appointment” first. Let’s use that term SUPER loosely. Paige was at school, so it was just the two of us. Blair proceeded to tear through the waiting room toys while I filled out her paperwork, then informed me loudly that “I poo, Mama!” (Which was true. I know, I know. Potty train her already. Blah, blah, blah. No! She’s still a baby, okay?!?!?!!)

Eventually they call us for our appointments, and we head back. Blair’s is first, and I try to sit her in the big chair alone. Nope. Not gonna happen. We sit in the seat together, and Blair locks the jaw. Sorry. Not looking in this mouth, sister. Not even long enough to count her teeth. Nada. Nothin’. Just a quick smirk smile at the dental hygienist, and it was time for my appointment. Which looked like this:

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Because everyone has their teeth checked and cleaned with someone on their lap, right? Oh, with an iPad. Obvs.

However, don’t call her a fool, folks. She made sure to turn on the charm just long enough to get the little goodie bag and a balloon at the end of the appointment. Or, “BOON!!!!” as she kept shouting.

Seriously, people. You think you’re immune to these brown eyes and juicy lips?

You don’t even know.

Oh, yes. I WILL take a balloon after basically treating you like dirt during my appointment. And you? Will be sure to tell my mommy how cute you think I am. I know, I know ... you are completely under my power.

Oh, yes. I WILL take a balloon after basically treating you like dirt during my appointment. And you? Will be sure to tell my mommy how cute you think I am. I know, I know … you are completely under my power.

Happy-ish Birthday

Yesterday was my 36th birthday. I am officially closer to 40 than I am to 30. Which is weird, because a lot of the time I think of myself more along the lines of late 20-ish. In fact, I still am sometimes surprised to find myself married, a homeowner, and the mother of two kids. I’ve been known to think, “Whose kids are these?” But, I guess that really doesn’t have anything to do with my age. That’s just because I wonder who the hell is raising them. Wolves?

Anyhoo – my girlies we kind enough to wake me up at 6:15 am yesterday morning. Paige had a sweet card with a drawing of she and I holding hands (no sign of Blair or her Daddy – just Paige and Mommy. What I imagine is her idea of utopia.) They gave me wonderful presents – a skirt that a girlfriend had actually given me the night before (Paige just brought her gift bag up and tried to pass it off as her own), a dress that is about 2 sizes too small (They think I’m so skinny!) and – wait for it – a night in a hotel. No, no – not a romantic night with my husband. Duh. A night all to myself. No other sounds except the turning of magazine pages, maybe a rom-com chick flick, and the click of my iPad when I turn the “pages” of a newly downloaded book. Heaven. You might think this is an odd present, but I’ve been asking for it forever. If you know me at all, you know that I could very well channel Eloise and live in a hotel – I love them that much. And I also love alone time. I was single for a loooong time before I got married, and quiet time is something I rarely get anymore. Trust me – I’m a MUCH better person after a little dose of alone time.

So, the day was off to a good start. There were lots of pre-school meltdowns, but they happened downstairs and I stayed out of it and let my husband handle it. He took Paige to school, and Blair and I headed to the gym. I almost died in one of my favorite classes, which I consider the sign of a good workout. (Note to Danielle at the YMCA – please don’t give me extra sets of burpees for my birthday next year. I’d like to be able to move later that day.)

We then headed to lunch with some family members, then home where Paige and I snuggled on the couch while she watched ‘Little Mermaid’ and I perused the new Garnet Hill catalog. D came home early and I went to get a mani/pedi. Nothing to complain about here. All is well.

Until … I headed home to pick up my family. See, our babysitter had to cancel for a work commitment, so Nani offered to watch the kiddos while D and I had dinner. When we got to Nani’s house she was still hosting her board meeting, so we rushed the hooligans outside decided we’d take a Feldmann family boat ride. The first boat ride of the season.

It was going well – I was driving, the girls took turns “driving”, we spotted some turtles. D and I enjoyed an adult beverage.

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The girls are actually having fun in this picture, even though it looks like they are screaming. Well, they are screaming, actually. But happy screams. With these kids, you have to be able to tell the difference …

Then Paige decided she was done behaving and it was time to stop listening. I’m not sure how many of you have 4 year olds, but I’m pretty sure that their brain is hard-wired with a “mute” button for the voices of their parents. Paige is a RIDICULOUSLY bad listener, and lately it has hit an all-time low (or would it be an all-time high? Either way, it’s REALLY bad). We have had many a timeout, multiple spankings, and more mommy-yelling incidents than I’d care to admit. Basically, I vacillate between feeling angry and guilty pretty much all day long. It’s awesome.

Where was I? Oh yes, Paige decided to climb up on my lap again, even though I had asked her multiple times not to. She did anyway, and proceeded to knock the key of the boat into the ‘off’ position. Remember how I said this was the first boat ride of the season? It wasn’t just OUR first boat ride. It was the boat’s first time out on the water. I think you see where this is going…

The boat wouldn’t start, the engine flooded, and we ended up  (finally) floating into a dock. We were on the opposite side of the lake, I had forgotten my cell phone at Nani’s, and Derrick’s phone was almost dead. I almost felt like looking around for hidden cameras. Luckily, Susu lives on this particular side of the lake, so we walked the 15 minutes to her house. Oh, did I mention Paige was barefoot? We NEVER let her out onto the dock without shoes, and I figured “this one time” would be fine because I carried her down to the boat. Murphy’s Law is in full effect.

We made it to Susu’s, and Blair was THRILLED to get the chance to see two grandmothers in one evening (can you imagine being so blissfully ignorant to what’s going on around you? We are so stressed and irritated, and Blair just knows that she left Nani’s house and somehow ended up at Susu’s. What a night!). Paige was a WRECK. She felt so horrible about everything, and Derrick and I took full advantage of the situation to make her feel worse, hoping that she might learn her listening lesson. She may have even said “I am so scared you might fall overboard, Mommy.” And I may have answered, “Well, I might. Maybe next time you’ll listen.” Cringe. Go ahead. Judge. I felt horrible even just typing that out.

Mommy fail.

There was lots of car shuffling (D also had our van keys in his pocket, which happened to be blocking all the other cars at Nani’s. The van, obviously. Not his pocket.). And I gave the boat one last shot. It started after a couple of tries, and I drove it across the lake back to Botsie and Nani’s. Silently fuming. Mostly because I had poured out my glass of wine during our walk to Susu’s because I was carrying Blair.

Needless to say, heading out to a restaurant was the LAST thing I wanted to do at that point. I was sweaty, I was irritated, and I was feeling guilty for how I had treated Paige about the whole thing. It’s amazing how quickly they seem to forget about something (I hope) and yet as parents we hang onto the guilt for D.A.Y.S. Probably years, for all I know. Ask me in a few.

I decided I just wanted to hang out and order pizza. The girls watched a cartoon, we chatted with Nani, and then everyone had cupcakes. We sang ‘Happy Birthday’ twice so that each girl could blow out a candle. And you know what?

It was actually the PERFECT birthday. A perfect example of what my life is like. Lots of family, lots of love, lots of special treats, and lots of craziness.

I would have made a wish when the girls blew out my candles, but I didn’t need to. It already came true:

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