A Snapshot

Just to expand on how totally glamorous our life is, I thought I’d provide you with a brief snapshot of what a morning in the Feldmann household is like. In particular, this very morning.

5:15 am

Blair enters our room and claims she had a “bad dream” (further investigation into this “bad dream” later this morning led to a discovery that she is a little liar. Her “bad dream” was that we didn’t have any more pink gum. Which, actually, is true now that I think about it). Since her daddy is traveling, all willpower I have to get her back into her own bed is out the window. And, by that, I mean that since Derrick is gone, there is literally no one here that is willing to get out of bed and take her back to her own room. The coffeemaker isn’t set to start for another hour. Climb on in, Blair.

5:16 – 5:45 am

Blair asks me when she can have her milk. Not incessantly – only every 3 seconds or so. And not annoyingly, only in the whiniest (and yet somehow aggressive) voice ever. When I tell her we will go down in a little bit, she says, “no, Mama. YOU will go down in a little bit. I will stay warm in you bed.” Let’s be honest – she’s probably not wrong*.

(*See: Derrick is traveling and my spirit is broken, rendering willpower obsolete.)

5:46 am

Paige enters the room, asking when exactly it will be time for her clock to turn yellow. Thereby letting her know it’s okay to come into our room. The irony of this question seems to be lost only on the little people in this house. I send her back to her room with the threat of no technology when she “wakes up.” She scampers out yelling pondering about how unfair life is because she has to go back to her own room and Blair gets to stay in bed with me. I agree – it’s not at all fair. I also feel that if Paige used her head and didn’t obey quite so easily, she too could reap the rewards of being a defiant child in a house with a mother who hates mornings … especially cold ones. I’m just sayin’.

5:47-5:48 am

Shhhhh … I’m trying to sleep. It’s blissfully quiet.

5:49 am

The cat begins to puke in the corner, and the dog gets up to investigate (aka, probably eat the puke. It’s gross, I know – but it’s one less thing I’ll have to clean up. I may or may not encourage this behavior.).

Blair demands milk loudly, I put on my slippers to go downstairs to escape to get the calcium-rich milk that will fortify my sweet daughter. And to start the coffee. I swear, I don’t even know why we have an Auto-Program mode on that thing. We never make it to 6:15 am.

5:50 – 7:45 am

The rest of the morning is a blur of trying to get Paige ready for school and finish her homework (that I discovered this morning while emptying her backpack. Don’t judge – I’m not the one in school! How the hell am I supposed to remember to empty a backpack every day?!? It’s not MY backpack!).

I break up 3 fights, and remind Blair twice that Paige actually is still her sister, and that saying she’s not doesn’t simply make it true.

I curse the dog for having to go out TWICE (it’s 6 degrees outside! You’re almost 9 years old! Can’t you get it all out at once?!?).

I switch the laundry. Two times. And silently vow to find whoever it is that comes into our house every day, removes all the clean clothes from our closets, and puts them back into our hampers. Seriously. Who the HELL is wearing all these clothes???

I beg, plead and bribe kids into coats and boots, and then the car. I realize on the way to school that I have no purse or phone, and pray something doesn’t happen because Blair and I are still in our pajamas. And I’m not wearing a bra.

I answer questions about swear words on the radio (damn you, Sirius XM!), and after switching the channel answer questions about how Taylor Swift will “make a good boy bad for the weekend.”

8:05 am

I pour myself another large mug of coffee, and make Blair her second breakfast of the day. Ugh – I swear I feel like I’m feeding these kids at least every day.

I switch the laundry.

8:05 – 10:45 am

I remind Blair that our cat is old, and that she does NOT like to be “squished.”

I remind Blair that our dog has epilepsy, does NOT like to have a flashlight shined in his eyes, and is most definitely NOT a stepstool.

I switch the laundry.

I continue a ridiculous project of ironing the slip covers to our couch. Yes, we have a white couch. And yes, it usually works well for us because I occasionally have to pull off a cushion cover and wash it. However, said couch needed a complete washing after: 1) Christmas time; 2) a birthday party for a 6-year-old; 3) a brief moment of “unsupervised (and unapproved) coloring” for Blair; 4) an a-hole, 80 pound dog who thinks the couch is his cozy bed. When his paws are muddy. And I’m still in the freaking room. (Jerk. I swear, if this happens again there will be a golden doodle-shaped rug in our living room instead of a dog.). I started this project on Monday. Today is Thursday.

I amuse Blair with her new toothbrush, toothpaste and floss from the dentist yesterday. Which lasts for about 3 minutes.

I finally turn on the TV for her – RELAX, y’all! It’s PBS Kids! I mean, how else am I supposed to be able to hear ‘The Bachelor’ while I iron these blasted slip covers? She’s LEARNING!

10:47 am

I switch the laundry.

11:09 am

I snap this picture.

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I realized I need to actively engage as a parent for a few minutes.

I decide this means I need to put on a bra.

G. L. A. M. O. R. O. U. S.

 

 

 

Little Divas

Huh. Who knew?

All this time, we’ve been stressed out about traveling with the World’s Worst Travelers (seriously – they are terrible). I’ve been breaking out in hives before and during air travel. Yelling during and drinking heavily following car travel (hand to God, there were two years in a row when Blair puked in her carseat. Have you ever tried to get puke out of a carseat in a hotel laundry room. Because I have. Twice.).

And then. And. Then.

We’ve been lucky enough to hitch a ride on a … how do you say … smaller airplane the past few times we’ve been to Longboat Key. And, um … the girls were perfect. Like, legitimate angels. Like, to the point where their Nani went out on a limb and complimented them MULTIPLE times on how they were acting. Which, in normal cases, would guarantee they would start acting like assholes immediately following any sort of nice comment about their behavior. But in this case, it just seemed to make them reach for the stars – and fall asleep. IN THE MORNING! And then sleep almost the entire flight.

Maybe it’s the access to unlimited snacks. Maybe it’s the fact that they can sit facing me and know my eyes are constantly on them. Or maybe they are just messing with me.

Probably that last one.

Either way, it just seems to make sense that this would be the answer to all our prayers.

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Proof. See? I’m not lying.

Watch, next they’ll start requesting drivers and servants. Oh wait – they have one already, and they treat her terribly and tell her how to drive.

Divas.

Am I Being Good?

Oh, Blair. Blair, Blair, Blair. Why do you do it?

For the past, um … forever, Blair has been able to go from happy to full-on tantrum in an impressively short amount of time. Like, literally in the blink of an eye. I’m not exaggerating – ask someone who has been around her longer than a few minutes.

Now, I can deal with tantrums. As a seasoned veteran of throwing them myself, having a twin brother who was an AMAZING tantrum thrower, and obviously being Paige’s mom … well, I’m no stranger to trying to diffuse a situation. But with Blair? Things are a little (a LOT) different.

You see, mid-fit (mid-EVERY. SINGLE. FIT.), Blair will turn to me and say in a relatively calm and sweet voice, “Am I being good, Mommy?”

What the what?

(The first time Nani heard her say that, she literally laughed out loud and may have spit out her water. The first time her Aunt EJ heard her say it, she said “Is that a joke?” The first time I heard her say it, I knew that homegirl was messing with my head. Per usual.)

I generally begin by ignoring the question. You know, turning up the radio if we’re in the car, walking out of the room if we’re at home (grabbing her grubby little paws and dragging her out of the store if we’re in public…). However, in her typical Honey Badger style, the question only gets louder and MUCH more aggressive. “MAMA!!!! AM! I! BEING! GOOD?!?!?!?”

At some point  (typically 2-3 minutes into said fit), I snap my patience runs out and I turn to her and ask, “Blair, do YOU think you’re being good?” That question used to quiet her for a second or two, and she would respond with a “No. But I WANT to be good!” Now, after months of this dog and pony show, I usually end up just saying, “Nope. No, Blair. You are not being good. You are not being good even one little tiny bit.” (Other moms, I hope you’re taking notes here – because there’s no way you’re going to win any mothering awards unless you parent just like me. Wait. The opposite of that.)

This quickly devolves into her crying loudly, and following me around yelling “I WANT TO BE GOOD, MAMA! I WANT TO BE GOOD!” To which I inevitably end up saying (in an above-normal-volume), “THEN. JUST. BE. GOOD!!!!”

And thus begins what sometimes can be 40+ minute tantrum (her record is 59 minutes – yep, I time them for evidence to be used against her at an unspecified future time). It’s pretty ridiculous, and at some point I usually end up laughing out loud at the insanity of the situation.

Then I usually cry into my coffee or wine, depending on the time of day (or, let’s be honest – depending on what I have on hand).

Living the dream here, people.

Living. The. Dream.

See how sweet she looks. Nope. Just worn out from "wanting to be good."

See how sweet she looks. Nope. Just worn out from “wanting to be good.”

Driving Lessons

As you know, Paige started school almost exactly a month ago. Blair, on the other hand, didn’t start until more than 2 weeks later. So, little girl and I had A LOT of time together. (Not that we were lacking on together-time. The only time we aren’t together is when we sleep…and even then, she’s finds a way to be with me most of the time.)

But over the summer, it was usually the three Feldmann ladies. And, if you know my girls at all, you know that it was basically just a constant power struggle for who got to speak. (Okay, I might also be included in that struggle. But, I’m the mommy! What I have to say is the mostest importantest!!) Once Paige went to school, Blair quickly realized there was A LOT of quiets time for her to fill.

How did she decide to fill said time, you ask?

By critiquing my driving. From the backseat.

Yes, quite possibly the youngest backseat driver ever (My company excluded, obviously. What can I say? She gets it honestly.)

You’re probably wondering what that might sound like, and what advice a 3 year-old might have to offer.

Believe it or not, she’s surprisingly astute:

Mommy, you need to SLOW DOWN! You are going to go to jail!

Mommy, that light is red! Stop. STOP!! STOP!!!! NO! Now go!!! It is GREEN! GREEN MEANS GO!!!!!!

(In the turn lane, where my arrow is red): Mommy! Go! Why are you sitting here?!?!? The light is green! Go, go, go!!! We are berry, berry, late!! (That part is probably true, FYI.)

Mommy, you need to do something at that yellow light. (Crying) I do not know what yellow means! What do we do?!?!?

A few things here:

1) She is very, very aggressive with the delivery of her “advice.” Which means I’m basically constantly being yelled at from the backseat. It’s more than a little stressful, and I sort of feel like I’m driving with The. Meanest. Driver’s Ed Instructor. Ever.

2) I believe my caffeine intake has quadrupled since my “instructor” started. I feel like I need to be on my A game. In actuality, I end up just being over-caffinated. And on-edge from all the shoutiness. It’s not pretty.

3) I have begun to question my driving decisions. AM I driving too fast (maybe)? ARE we late (most likely)? CAN I turn on red here…wait. Remember when I said she’s only 3 years old? Why am I questioning myself when I’ve been driving for almost 10 years (or maybe a few more than that. Zip it.)

She’s persuasive, that’s for sure.

So, if you see me driving and I look stressed, now you know why.

I’m just trying to pass the world’s longest and most difficult (yet simple – it really only focuses on speed and stoplight color) driving test.

Wish me luck.

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That sucker may or may not have been an effort to stop the current lesson. And it may or may not have been her third of the day.

First Day of Preschool … and a Traveling Show

On Wednesday, Blair had her first day of Preschool. Yes, she’s actually been attending the school for a year now (well, two, if you count the year she went against our wishes and quit). But, this will be her first official year of preschool – aka, learning things other than how not to pick your nose and push other kids around.

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It was a little surreal. Drop off went well. The teachers said no one cried the entire day, fun was had by all, and Blair was all smiles at pickup. In other words, another child of mine is trying to prove that I am becoming obsolete. I was going to be really sad about it, but then I realized that Blair and I haven’t actually had a break from one another since May, and that during the past few months she has been making me carry her everywhere we go, and is basically trying to climb back inside the womb.

So I ran gracefully walked out of the school. Then I blinked a few times. Aaaaaand, it was time to go back and get her. What. The. Hell. I’m not sure where those 4 hours went, but the only things I accomplished were a trip to Trader Joe’s for weekly groceries, a trip home to drop off said groceries and … um… e-mails? Maybe a “workout”? A few texts/Facebook/Instagram glances?

Let’s just say I was not quite as  productive as I would have hoped. Let’s hope tomorrow fares better on the “getting things done while I’m alone and it’s blessedly quiet” front.

We came home, and Blair reminded me just how hard preschool is (either that, or “The Magic Schoolbus” is super boring”):

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Once again, she will remind you that she is NOT grouchy, she is NOT tired, and she does NOT need a nap.

Yep. Got it.

Fast forward. Enter the “Witching Hour.”

Blair asked me if I would paint her nails. This happens multiple times a week (nay, a day). I said “yes, but tomorrow.”

People – I. SAID. YES. JUST, NOT NOW.

And thus began what I like to refer to as “the traveling fit.” Actually, in my head I like to call it “The Traveling Shit Show.” But when I say that out loud, it all of a sudden sounds circus-y and happy.

And it is not that, my friends. It is NOT that.

For the next forty-nine minutes, homegirl cried (what appeared to be real tears) and screamed “I. WANT. YOU. A. PAINT. ME. NAIIIIIILLLLLS!!!!”

I moved to the living room. She moved to the living room.

I moved back to the kitchen. She moved to the kitchen.

(It bears pointing out that the “moving” here happens either on her bottom or on her tummy – ALWAYS whilst on the ground. Thank God she hasn’t figured out that getting up and walking to me would just make the torture that much worse.)

I moved to the bathroom off the kitchen (and shut the door). She moved to the bathroom door, and proceeded to kick it repeatedly.

At one point, she and I were back in the kitchen, and Paige came in to ask me a question. Paige, who is notoriously sensitive to loud noises (especially of the ‘Blair complaining’ variety) is so used to this behavior that she simply raised her voice, literally  stepped over her fit-throwing sister, and proceeded to ask me her question. That’s how often this happens, people.

Having had enough, I headed up to shower – figuring it would take her at least 10 minutes to bottom-scoot her way up the stairs and into my bathroom. Nope. She made it in 5.

After ignoring her through the end of the shower, the drying off, and the lotion portion of getting ready, I couldn’t take it anymore. I headed to the bedroom door (she was sitting just on the threshold). I calmly said “Bear, I’d love to help you, but I can’t understand a word you’re saying. If you would like to stop crying, that would be great.”

Yeah. That went about as well as you thought it would.

Finally, after about 15 more minutes of this, I couldn’t take it any more. She had already thrown/kicked the door open, and had worked her way into the hallway right outside the bathroom door.

I decided confusion might be my best option.

I popped my head out of the bathroom and sweetly said, “Oh, hi Blair! Is there something you needed? What’s up?”

Cue: utter confusion. She immediately stopped crying and looked at me. Stunned, it seemed. After a few seconds she said, “Um, I guess (pronounced “duess”) I want my Bunbun???”

Mission. Accomplished.

Until the next Traveling Fit. Also known as the Traveling Shit Show.

Either way? I’m screwed.

 

A New Week

I’ll keep this brief. Because, I’m not going to lie. Kindergarten is really hard work – and I’m exhausted. (Seriously – I’m only about 2% joking here.)

The first week went well – Paige had early dismissal, which means she got home at 1:00. And then proceeded to torture, torment, whine and cry her way through the afternoon and into bedtime. I’m actually not sure who that child was. And, for those of you who have witnessed a “fit a la Paige,” you know that’s a HUGE effing thing for me to say. Honestly, I would not have been at all surprised to see her head spin around and to have to clean up pea soup puke. She was that out of sorts.

So, we had a very low-key weekend of snuggling, resting, watching movies, and thanking God for the 2 rainy days in a row so we could do nothing and not feel guilty about it (except during Paige’s soccer game. Which she had to play in the rain. And also to which she had to be dragged into the car because apparently she “hates the way rain feels.” I don’t know how the game went. I may or may not have poured myself another cup of coffee, grabbed a footie jammie-clad Blair and hopped back into bed to watch the latest ‘Sophia the First.’ Tee-he.).

Fast-forward to this week, and it’s like a new child is in my house. Pick-up from school is downright fun – we carpool with the cousins, and on the days I pick them up I frequently find myself laughing out loud at the crazy shenanigans happening in my car. (I mean, when are bad knock-knock jokes, teasing about boys, and little kid toots ever NOT funny?). In fact, yesterday was the first time her Aunt EJ brought her home (remember, early dismissal … NOT a slacker aunt), and I found myself watching the clock and the driveway, not really knowing what to do with myself. I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face when she finally jumped out of the car (and then proceeded to run right past me into the house, slamming the door in my face and ransacking the pantry for a snack).

Evenings are relatively pleasant (with Paige, that is. The honey badger has spotted a weakness in the ranks, and has seized the opportunity to rear her cute-but-deadly head. She is having a ROUGH week). Paige comes home and tells me about school. She plays in her room. She only teases Blair a few times an hour. It’s decent. (Remember people: low expectations. They are the key to my sometime-sanity.)

Mornings, on the other hand? Ugh. Paige is sort of a train wreck. She has to be threatened to the brink of losing her blankie (and only because I can’t figure out how to take her thumb away), and even then it’s a huge pain in the ass to even get her dressed. She’s always fine on the way to school, but getting to that point is torture. And this is my little morning person! This does NOT bode well for Blair.

All-in-all, though, I’ll take the 1.5 hours of Hell in the morning in order to have a pleasant Paige in the evening.

And, her feelings on school?

She doesn’t really like it, because learning is hard work (true that).

However, I’ve gently assured her that staying home from school forever is not an option. Mostly because it’s against the law (don’t you judge me – Paige will do anything if she thinks she might end up in jail. Ironic, no?). She did however, have one question for me: how many more days will she have to go the whole time (i.e. a full day). Yikes.

I answered honestly, looking her in the eyes and saying, “Um, all of them.”

Clearly NOT the answer she was hoping to get, based on the tears and screams of “it’s NOT FAIR!” that followed. So, I guess college and grad school are out of the question.

Back-to-School

Whew – so…what was I saying?

Oh, wait. That was actually almost 3 months ago. Also known as Paige’s last day of preschool.

Aaaaaaaand yesterday was her first day of Kindergarten. Whoops.

We’ve been a little busy. We’ve (mostly) settled into a new house. We spent lots of time outside (mostly easing the girls’ fear of all the bugs in our new backyard. Because, you know. They now play outside a lot. And there tend to be bugs. Good lord, children.).

Both girls did gymnastics camp (STOP. IT. with the final “show” after that. Blair may or may not have pushed some little girl off the uneven bars so she could have her turn. Not to worry – I may or may not have gotten video of it.). Paige did tennis camp (actually, surprisingly uneventful).

We went to the center of the Sun … er, I mean Florida in July, for family vacation.

All in all, it was a good summer. Lots of fun. Lots of fighting. Lots of sunshine. Lots of rain and time inside. You know? A typical kids summer.

And all of a sudden (except the exact opposite of that), it was time for Paige to start Kindergarten.

I have had such a love/hate relationship with the start of Kindergarten. On one had, Paige desperately needs the routine of school. She needs the constant interaction of other kiddos. And, let’s be honest. She needs someone to teach her things. I am not that person. We can’t even get through one Kiwi Crate project without the two of us yelling at each other.

On the other hand, she and I have spent almost 24 hours a day together, 7 days a week. For the past FIVE AND A HALF YEARS. Folks – literally. She is truly like an additional appendage. I’ve been so worried about handing her over to someone else during the day. I embrace the term “Helicopter Parent.” Yep, that’s me. Blackhawk Mom.

The closer the day got, the more my heart felt like it was breaking. Yes, she was a sassy, grouchy, tired mess. But, I was feeling so sad about letting her go. Let’s be honest. As sad as this may sound? Paige (a 5 year old) is one of my very best friends. And I couldn’t wrap my head around going from having her constantly by my side needing me for every little thing, to being gone for the majority of the day and me having no idea what was going on with her.

But, we did it. We had to. I sobbed like a little baby the night before, but the morning of? She was SO excited, I couldn’t help but share in her excitement. I mean, I LOVED school. LOVED it. My Heaven looks a lot like The Container Store and Target school supply section combined.

We all filed out the door. And the obligatory pictures were taken.

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Blair said she was going to miss her sister. And Daddy. So….there may be some confusion to clear up here.

SOB!!!! If it weren't for the cuteness of that uniform, I might never recover!

SOB!!!! If it weren’t for the cuteness of that uniform, I might never recover!

Silly pose! A necessity in this house. Duh.

Silly pose! A necessity in this house. Duh.

Blair and I spent the day sort of just waiting around until it was time to pick up Paige. We had high hopes of getting lots done, going to the gym, cleaning, hanging out. Instead, we visited with Nani, Botsie, EJ and Nate, and had bagels. (Either way, a good time was had by all).

We picked Paige up at 1:00 (it’s early dismissal this week for kindergarteners). She looked so little walking out, and she had a HUGE smile on her face. She LOVED it, she said. There was quite a bit of misinformation that I was able to clear up with other moms (they actually DID have recess and she actually DID see two of her cousins.).

I wondered if she would be ready and willing to go back today.

I received my answer at 6:27 am, when Paige arrived at my bedside in her uniform, with teeth and hair brushed, glasses cleaned, and backpack packed. I assured her we had a TAD bit of time, and convinced her to come in for a quick snuggle.

Once it was finally time to go, the three Feldmann ladies piled into the car and headed off. According to my memories from Meet the Teacher Night, I was to walk Paige into school the first day and then start dropping her off in the carpool lane after that. There would be teachers waiting to help her in to find her classroom.

So, I pulled into the carpool lane (having never done anything like this before. Drop her off? WITHOUT ME???). And, um…there was only one person standing there. And I really had no idea what I was doing. And before I knew what was happening, Paige was jumping out of the car and walking into the school.

Alone.

I immediately felt sick to my stomach. I called my older brother to see if he had dropped my nieces off, and he had (I was going to have one of them walk past her classroom). I explained the situation, and he said he was sure she was fine. But, if I was worried I should go back to walk past her classroom and make sure she was there.

So, I turned around and was driving back, when my sister-in-law called back (I tried her first. Three times.). She said she was SURE she was fine, and that there were probably teachers waiting inside. And that, yes, I was a crazy person if I went back in to see her. (She did point out that no one would judge, but that it would still be crazy.)

I didn’t go back in. I was VERY out of sorts all morning, but e-mailed her teacher to make sure she didn’t get lost and freak out and cry and end up in some random corner of the school and…. Well, it’s safe to say my imagination was running wild at that point.

She e-mailed me back, and assured me that Paige arrived perfectly safe, sound and happy.

And? At pick-up this afternoon Paige let me know that she didn’t need me to walk her in anymore. She was fine to get to her classroom all by herself.

And, just like that. Baby Paige is gone. And quickly growing up Paige is here.

I’ll say it again: SOB.