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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