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This week has been particularly trying with my boys.  Summer is here.  School is out.  We have more time on our hands.  Which means….

I’m saying even more crazy stuff.

For example:

I like to listen to a radio station that plays “oldies.”  I really like their “Disco Lunch Hour.”  The other day, we listened to “You Dropped the Bomb On Me” and my boys loved the bomb sound effects, etc.  Later in the lunch hour, we  heard K.C. and the Sunshine Band sing, “Shake Your Booty.”  I thought it was fun to sing while I reminisced about weekends spent at the roller skating rink as a child.  What I didn’t think about was that my boys would latch on to the whole “Shake Your Booty” thing.  The boys loved the lyrics, mostly because K.C. said the word, “Booty.”  For the rest of the day, my boys ran around saying the word “Booty” and laughing like wild hyenas.

Ah, to have three little boys….

Herein starts a new list of crazy stuff I’ve said to my kids this past week.  Enjoy the insanity that is my life:

#1 – “Stop saying the word, “Booty”!  It isn’t funny.  And, No, you may not sing “Shake Your Booty” at church!  I mean it!”

#2 – “Do not try to go down the slip n’ slide naked…..especially before it gets wet.”  (He didn’t listen to me and had to “recover” inside for an hour after the incident)

#3 – “Just because Daddy lets you pee outside in the backyard does not mean that you can just pee outside at the park.”

#4 – “I don’t care that the Hulk runs around without shoes and no shirt.  You must be fully clothed when we go to the grocery store.”  (said to the child who went down the slip n’ slide naked)

#5 – “Farting in the bathtub does not make the tub into a bubble bath.”

#6 – “A rattlesnake would not make a good pet.  I don’t care if they have them at the zoo.  In fact, no snake would be a good pet for us.  Think of something else…please.”

#7 –  “Why do I make up the bed every morning when we just mess the bed up again at night? hmmmm.  Good question.”

#8 – “You may not have a popcicle for breakfast.  I don’t care if it is made with “real fruit juice” like it says on the box.”

#9 – “Please go to sleep.  One day when you are an adult, you will wish you had a nap time.  Seriously.”

#10 – “Why do Mommies wear makeup?  Well….your Mommy wears  it so I don’t scare anyone when I go out in public.”

Thanks, K.C. for the lyrics Shake Your Booty (not really)

Thanks, K.C. for the lyrics "Shake Your Booty" (not really)

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Nap time is golden, kid!

Nap time is golden, kid!

I don’t get it.  I just don’t understand why my kids fight nap time.  Don’t they understand that by the time they are teenagers that they’ll be begging me NOT to wake them up?

The truth is that I love nap time as much or more than they do…when they stop fighting sleep and finally drift off to La La Land.  I cherish nap time because this is “Me Time.”

O.K., don’t think that I finally put my feet up and eat bon bons.  I actually get things done while they are asleep.  As soon as they are in their beds, I began my frantic attempt to get everything done as quickly as possible.  By everything, I mean all the things that are impossible to do with little ones underfoot.  You know…phone calls, emails, shopping lists, ironing, laundry, mopping, and general cleaning up.  When my kids are awake, I am spending most of my time breaking up fights over crayons, changing diapers, or finding something to entertain them so I CAN get something done.

Occasionally, (and I really mean once in a blue moon) I will nap when my kids nap.  This is usually when I am sick or have not slept due to one of my kids getting sick (see earlier post on Haz Mat suit and projectile vomit).

Anyway, I noticed today that my youngest, George, fell asleep in the van.  I had to run a few errands, which interfered with nap time.  When we arrived back at our house, I gingerly picked up a sleeping baby and placed him in his crib.

He slept.

For ten measly minutes.

Then he wailed like a banshee.

What’s up with that?  I know he’s tired.  I know that he needs his usual two hour nap.  For goodness sakes, Mommy needs his two hour nap.  What’s wrong with this kid?  Doesn’t he realize that nap time is golden?  In just five or six years, he’ll be begging me to let him sleep in on Saturday, take a nap on Sunday afternoons and unwilling to wake up before the crack of dawn.  Even my five year old is now a lump in the bed in the early morning hours….unlike last year, when he’d pop up at five o’clock each and every morning.  (No kidding, folks)

I even hear Kindergarten teachers complain about how hard it is to get their class to settle down at nap time.   One friend of mine says it’s the hardest part of her day to get all of her students resting or at least staying still for 30 or 45 minutes on a mat.

What’s wrong with this picture?

Wouldn’t you just love to return to Kindergarten?  I would.  If I could go back, I’d relish nap time.  I’d snuggle down on that mat and cover up with my best flannel blanket.  There’d be no begging me to take a nap.  I’d also gladly wake up to a snack of milk and cookies.  Are you kidding me?  Take me back to the good ol’ days where nap time was mandatory.  I know plenty of adults who’d welcome nap time at work.   I’m all for a little siesta.  Bring it on.

Anyway, I’m letting my youngest whimper a bit in his bed.  I think he needs a good nap.  Napping in the car seat is no nap at all, in my humble opinion.  He’ll thank me for it later.

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The day started like any other.   We all went to church, came home, played, napped, etc.  At 2 a.m., Jack came into our bedroom to announce that he was sick.  The exchange went something like this:

Jack:  Mommy?

Mommy:  hmmm?

Jack:  I feel sick. (burping sound then wetness hits Mommy and Daddy…we turn on the light and discover to much horror that we are splattered with vomit.  Great.  Just great.)

Without much warning, Jack threw up.

All over our bed.

All over Mommy.

All over Daddy.

It was vomit of the projectile kind.  If you are a parent, you know what I’m talking about.  It was the kind of thing that rivaled Linda Blair in the Exorcist.

There we were at 2 a.m., cleaning our carpet, cleaning Jack, and cleaning our bed.  Jack later fell asleep.  Mommy and Daddy did not. I think we were too freaked out.

Later today, Jack took a nap and is now feeling better.  You’d think that was the end of that, right?  NOPE.

I picked Will up from school, made him a turkey sandwich, and unloaded the dishwasher while he ate.  Suddenly (without any warning) Will said, “Mommy, I feel sick!”  Of course, only two seconds elapsed before Will had vomited all over the kitchen table, the cabinets…and me.  That makes twice within 24 hours that I was covered in vomit.

It was official.  The stomach virus that I just knew my kids had escaped had made it’s way to my house.  Seven out of sixteen children had been absent from Will’s prekindergarten class on Friday.  I thought we had missed the bug.  Well, no such luck.  This is when I decided that I desparately need a HazMat suit.

I could not be any more serious.  I really, really, really need a government issued HazMat suit!

As a stay-at-home mom to three little boys, I am solely responsible for “sick days.”  As part of the “deal” that my husband and I worked out when I decided to leave the workplace, I was to take care of my children if they could not go to school.  This arrangement was to free up my husband to keep his career going.  Plus, I wanted to be with my children when they got sick.  I never liked the idea of leaving them with someone else when they needed me.  I actually want to care for them, rub their backs, make soup, etc.  I don’t like to be away from them when they look so puny.  Most Mamas feel like this way.  I’m sure of it.

However, wouldn’t it be nice to just put on one of those big, hulking, HazMat suits…pour bleach on the floor… and clean the illnesses away?  You may think I’m obsessive compulsive, but I’m not.  I just know that when you’ve got a virus running rampant, you’ve got to clean…and you’ve got to do it well.  If not, everyone suffers.

I also want one of those suits, because  I really can’t afford to get sick myself.  Who takes care of Mommy when she gets the stomach bug?  Well, there’s no such thing as doctors who make house calls around here, sister.  I’m on my own.  I’ve got to stay healthy.  Therefore, I’m in search of one of these suits, but where to find one?  What would the neighbors say?  Could I go to the grocery store in one of those things?  Could I wear cute shoes with it or would I need to wear matching HazMat boots?

…and I just wonder…would a HazMat suit make me look fat?  hmmmmm.

Mommy prepares to clean up projectile vomit...

Mommy prepares to clean up projectile vomit...

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If the word “Maw Maw” was in the dictionary, the definition would look something like this:

Maw Maw (pronounced maw maw), Origin:  Southern U.S.

1.  noun:  slang terminology for grandmother; from the slang term “Grandmaw”

2. adjective:  to describe a grandmotherly appearance – ex: short curly perm, wearing of polyester pants and floral blouse;  to describe “grandmotherly” ways or to describe someone who acts too old for their age – ex: driving a Cadillac,  Crown Victoria, Lincoln sedan (any land yacht) before the age of 40.

Being a “Maw Maw” in my home was always right up there with wearing white shoes after Labor Day.  It just wasn’t done.  My mother prided herself on being totally different from her mother.  My mother was a baby boomer and proud of it.  She was hip and cool and she drank wine…good wine…not like her Southern Baptist teetotalling Mama, who was content to watch Lawrence Welk on Saturday night while she crocheted afghans for the church craft fair.  No, my mother, a divorced professional woman, wouldn’t be caught dead doing anything so…well…”maw maw.”

Alas, I have to say that I miss the days of “maw maw.”  Maw Maw is what I called both of my grandmothers.  They were frugal, God-fearing, collard green stewing, crafty, tight curly perm wearin’ women.   Did I happen to mention that I spent most of my time with them?

If my mother had a date, business meeting, unexpected girls’ night out, vacation, etc….Maw Maw was there to keep me.  I can’t tell you how many days and nights that I spent over at Maw Maw’s house.   I helped Maw Maw plant tomatoes, snap beans, grocery shop, and she taught me to sew.  Maw Maw told me that cigarettes were “cancer sticks”  and that beer was “horse piss.”  (My mother smoked and yes, she drank)  Maw Maw made my Easter dress every year.  If I happened to spend the night on a Saturday, it was expected that I’d go to church on Sunday.  Everyone at both Maw Maws’ churches knew me.  It was commonplace at Redeemer Baptist Church for the organist to cue up “When the Roll is Called Up Yonder” when I’d appear on a Sunday morning.  The organist knew it was my favorite hymn.  The only time Maw Maw freaked me out was when she told me about how Jesus would come back in the Rapture and take me alive…if I believed in him, got Saved, and made him my Lord and Savior.  I didn’t tell Maw Maw, but I would secretly pray that God would let me go to college first…then He could come get me in the Rapture.

Why this trip down memory lane?  Well, several of my girlfriends and I were lamenting about not having a sitter for one event after another.  Many of us just don’t do dates with our husbands or bookclub as much as we’d like because we can’t find a sitter.  Plus, with the economy in shambles, many of us have opted to forgo sitters all together.  While discussing this issue, one of my friends commented that her mother lived in town…as did mine.  Why had it not occurred to ask Grandma to babysit?  It seems as though it’s far too complicated to hash out.  When my friend and I looked at each other, I knew that we had the same problem.  We didn’t have a “Maw Maw.”

Many of us “X” generation moms just don’t have a “Maw Maw” kind of mom. They don’t want or desire to be anything like their mothers….and this includes babysitting.  Where the baby boomer mom could just drop off little Sally or Johnny for a day, the same baby boomer mom is just not interested in babysitting now that they are the grandparent.  At least, this is what I’m hearing out there.

(OK, if you are the babysitting kind of grandmother…don’t comment or feel compelled to email, etc.  I’ll cover you in a minute.  Bare with me. Thanks!)

I do know of several moms, who are my age, whose mothers are more than content to babysit their grandchildren.  I have one friend in particular, Patti, who does such a phenomenal job as a Grandma that I bet she’d be thrilled to call herself a “Maw Maw.”  I know Patti would wear this title as a badge of honor.

Sadly, I know too many older women who just never felt like they were “old enough” to be a grandmother…not at 55, not at 60, not at 65.  It’s almost like some women think that the moment they become a grandmother it will suck the lifeblood out of them.  Like grandchildren will become some drain on their fleeting youth.

Some grandparents require two weeks notice before babysitting or refuse to do it at all.  I even know someone who has had her mother cancel on so many occasions at the last minute, that it’s just not worth it to ask anymore.  Another friend of mine, almost lost her job because her mother backed out of their agreed paid childcare arrangement when she was a mere two weeks into a new job and no other childcare could be found.  She finally found an opening at a Mother’s Day Out program at the last minute.

I have one friend in particular who told me that her mother came to visit her and chose not to spend any time with her grandchildren.  Instead, she wanted to shop with her daughter and go out to dinner – all sans grandchildren.  My friend was upset because she felt like her children missed out on being with their grandmother.  I told her that it was the other way around.  Her mother was the one who missed out.

Am I saying that grandparents should babysit?  Absolutely not.  I’m just saying that there are benefits…on both ends…of having a relationship with extended family members.  It helps everyone out.  I know that plenty of us, “X gen’s” listened to our parents advice as they told us:

“Have fun in your 20’s, don’t get married ’till you’re 30, and you can take as long as you want to have kids!”

Not so great advice, Mom & Dad!  Thanks to all of your party lovin’ groovy advice, we’ll be spread thin by the time we’re 50!  We’ll have college to pay for when we should be worrying about retirement…and we’ll have to care for aging parents.  Sandwich generation?  No, call us the pressure cooker generation.  I’m just saying that it would be nice to feel more gracious about what we have to face down the road if the extended family was more deeply rooted.

I also believe that  “do overs” don’t come very often.  We can get the chance, as parents, to parent well with our own children.  If we are fortunate, we can learn from our mistakes and do things better (patience, love, understanding, fun) when we welcome grandchildren into our lives.

Ameriprise Financial Services has a t.v. ad spot featuring Dennis Hopper.  Mr. Hopper and all of the baby boomers are dressed in black leather jackets throwing pottery on a wheel and listening to acid rock.   The ad discusses the “alternative” retirement options for their intended audience.  It can’t be mistaken that the ad doesn’t picture any of the elderly audience surrounded by family and grandchildren.  Instead, the actors are portrayed as living out in Arizona…alone….being creative and hip.  Definitely not “maw maw.”  No, way, man!

Sophistication has its place, but you can seriously miss a lot in life when you are so “grown up” that you can’t relish children.  It’s not botox that keeps you young.  Wearing a Nicole Miller ensemble won’t do that for you, either.  Listening to the latest music doesn’t make you cool.   Throwing pottery on a wheel or listening to the Grateful Dead won’t do the trick.  Youth is fleeting.

I have three sons.  I love them.  I like them as people.  I love being a mother.  I definitely look forward to having grandchildren…but, hey, I really like kids.  Kids keep you young.  Kids know how to really have fun.  I think being a “Maw Maw” will be great.

So I have to ask:  When did becoming a “Maw Maw” become passe?  I’m not sure I’ll ever know the answer to that.

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Simply hilarious

Simply hilarious

When I graduated from law school several years ago, I can honestly say that I never pictured myself driving a minivan.  I thought that after becoming a lawyer, I’d drive a Volvo or maybe an Audi.  Never a minivan.  Not ever.  However, when my husband and I started our family, I didn’t care much about style.  I needed room…and lots of it.  First, I had a station wagon.  That wasn’t so bad.  When the third baby came along, I knew that I needed the dreaded minivan.  It was a surprise that I, like so many people before me, came to love the van.  It was great.  I had enough seating for three car seats, two strollers and room for all of the other stuff that comes along with having three preschoolers.

My minivan is an American breed that gets me where I need to go.

However, I have a confession….

My van is a total pigsty.  I’m serious.  When I pick up my son from school after lunch, his teachers insist upon opening the van door for him and chatting with me until he is safely buckled in.  I’m usually embarrassed because during the course of my day, I have thrown the other two boys in the van with drinks, pretzels, animal crackers, etc.  The remnants of the snacks are scattered about the floorboard.

Well, today was the day I decided to clean out the van.  Here is a list of the things I found:

1.  An umbrella stroller:  located at the bottom of the back compartment, it would’ve been nice to know that was in there instead of hauling George on my hip and carrying three bags like a pack mule.

2.  Dried up french fries:  if anyone with kids says that they don’t have these in some crack in the seat of their car, they’re lying.

3.  Baby nail clippers

4.  Package of unopened wipes:  Woo Hoo!  That’s like finding gold.

5.   Burt’s Bees Lip Balm:  I knew it’d turn up…see recent post on my favorite things

6.  Power Ranger action figure:  I think it’s supposed to be the one that turns into a wolf or a tiger…I don’t know about Power Ranger Jungle Fury versus Power Ranger Ninja Storm…whatever.

7.  Slimy frog toy that is supposed to stick against the wall when thrown (now covered in lint):  Will “won” this at school for a week’s worth of  good behavior.  Why, oh, why must teachers send this crap home as a “prize”?  Like throwing a slimy frog against the walls at home won’t get Will in timeout?

8.  Individual Goldfish package wrappers:  if I had a dime for every empty wrapper found in the van…

9.  Empty Clinique lipstick tube:  Very strange that it’s empty…no lipstick to be found.  Where did it go?  Weird.

10.  Empty Diet Coke can

11.  Broken yellow umbrella

12.  One navy blue Sea Wees baby sandal:  thought we’d lost this on our last trip to the beach.  It makes me sad to look at it.  George’s foot was so tiny!

13.  Brown Bear, Brown Bear..What do you see? book

14.  Shinguard from soccer this past fall

15.  Map of South Carolina:  No, we don’t have GPS.

16.  Artwork from Vacation Bible Schol:  This explains why my sons all have glitter on their face from time to time

17.  Jack’s raincoat:  He never wears it…Jack would prefer to run out in the rain, face up, with his mouth open.

18.  Orange swim goggles

19.  $2.34 in loose change

20.  Small bottle of hand sanitizer:  I gave up using this stuff a long time ago.

21.  Extension cord:  Makes absolutely no sense why this is in the van.

22.  Batman mask

23.  Invitation to a “Benefit Gala” …black tie:  As if I can find a sitter in time to attend this.  In fact, I think that all of my sitters are not returning my calls.  Just a hunch.

24.  Lynyrd Skynrd CD:  Note to self – hide this from the boys unless I want to hear “Freebird” over and over and over and over…

25.  Box of old, hard raisins:  so much for eatin’ healthy while on the run

26.  Soccer ball

27.  Bike pump

28.  Pair of 2T khaki pants:  these were the “emergency pants” for the van.  I need a bigger size to replace them now…like a size 4T…how time flies.

29.  “Things to do list” from Christmas:  So, that’s where that went….

30.  Church bulletin

31.  Card for free chicken biscuit from Chick-fil-A

32.  Unopened bottle of orange Gatorade

That’s it, folks.  The van is clean.  By the time I load up the kids in the van next week, I am sure that it will need to be cleaned out again.  That’s just the way it is with three little ones.  We’re always bringing home artwork, crafts, food…you name it.  I’m not going to beat myself up about how clean my van is.  I’ll try to clean it out when I can.

As to the empty tube of lipstick….

I found it.  When I was cleaning out the van, I didn’t notice that the lipstick had hardened and slid out of the metal tube and onto the floorboard.  Well, when I sat on the edge of the van to vacuum underneath the driver’s seat…I sat smack on top of the gooey lipstick.  Great.  Just great.

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“Hey!  Don’t you know that juice boxes are for drinking…not for hurling at your brother?!”  This is what came flying out of my mouth as I treated Will’s black eye with an ice pack last Sunday.  Jack and Will were “play fighting” and things quickly got out of hand.  With boys, it’s like they start out playing nice, then the testosterone kicks in and suddenly they’re in a frenzy.   Anyway, I realized after the incident that I have said the most ridiculous things within the past week to my sons.  Here is a sample of some of the things that have flown out of my mouth:

1.  Juice boxes are for drinking..not for hurling at your brother.

2.  Yes, I did know that Jesus loves Spiderman.

3.  No, you cannot eat things that fall on the floor of Chick-fil-A…and no, I don’t care if it’s only been on the floor for five seconds.

4.  You may not stand in the window naked. (I pronounce this word “nekkid”)

5.  Maybe Daddy will take you on his next business trip. (This is said while child is having a temper tantrum)

6.  Yes, Daddy is a lawyer.  Mommy is a lawyer, too…I’m just at home with you guys right now.  (This is said to unbelieving children)

7.  Stop making farting noises in the van.

8.  Eating green beans will not turn you green.

9.  No, I will not drive “real fast” down this hill so that your stomach will do a “flip flop.”  Plus, there’s a policeman at the bottom of the hill…we’ll try it later.

10.  Your teachers do not live at school…they are people, too.  Yes, they live in houses just like we do.

11.  It won’t kill you to drink a glass of milk.

12.  Fruit roll-ups don’t count as a fruit serving.

13.  Big boys always brush their hair before going to school.

14.  Stop making faces at the people in the cars behind us.

15.  Yea!!!!!  Good job on wearing big boy underwear!

There’s more to come…..

Juice boxes are for drinking...not for hurling

"Juice boxes are for drinking...not for hurling"

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Santa gave me an Ipod for Christmas.  I was thrilled.  My husband got one, too.  We spent the better part of Christmas day loading them with songs off iTunes.  It was a blast.  What I wasn’t prepared for was how choosing songs for my playlist would make me feel.  I loved it!!!  I discovered some new bands that I would never have known about since I spend the better part of my day in a minivan with the same five CD’s on heavy rotation (Jimmy Buffett, Charlie Brown Christmas, Dan Zanes, Raffi, music from Curious George).

I discovered that I still love alternative rock, although I haven’t allowed myself to really listen to the genre in years.  The Kings of Leon are a new discovery.  They are incredible and I’ve loved listening to Use Somebody, Closer and Sex On Fire over and over.  Its explicit and I know it, but I adore Saving Abel’s “Addicted.”  I totally get into Linkin Park, Muse and Paramore.

Some music revives memories from high school and gets me dancing all over the house (much to the chagrin of my five year old).  As I go through my playlist, I  remember how much I used to love the Cure, Violent Femmes, Squeeze and the Police.  I remember a group of us at 17, dancing around and singing “Tempted by the fruit of another….tempted but the truth is discovered…what’s been going on since you’ve been gone.”  We sang the lyrics by Squeeze like we had some understanding of the song, even though we had no real idea of it’s meaning.  Our clique was just too cool to actually like Bon Jovi or Whitney Houston, so we embraced bands like Alphaville and the Dead Milkmen.  It makes me laugh and I adore remembering it all.

Because no one can hear what I am listening to, I can listen in privacy to certain “guilty pleasures.”  What are those “guilty pleasures” you may ask?  Try Amy Winehouse’s song “You know that I’m no good”, “Standing outside a broken phone booth with money in my hand” by the Primitive Radio Gods,  and “Miss You” by the Rolling Stones.   I’ll go ahead and admit it…I also loaded “Hot in Herre” by Nelly (it’s great for the gym….O.K., O.K…I actually happen to dance by myself to this one, if I am being totally honest…so, shoot me).

In retrospect, I think I love my Ipod and my playlist because it reminds me that I’m still a pretty cool girl.   I’ve always been a little bit of a rebel…it’s my nature.   Listening to my playlist reminds me that I need to bring out the red stilletos in the back of my closet and put those bad boys on from time to time.  In fact, I think I’ll abandon the usual red toe nail polish and dig out my Urban Decay…and I’ll do it all while I listen to Sting sing “Roxxxxannne…you don’t have to put on the red light….Roxanne!”

Thanks, Santa!

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