Thursday, January 29, 2009

Parenting math

Curt walks into the kitchen in the wake of a conversation I'd had with the 15-year-old, and I am literally beating my head off of the cabinet. It started when Michael had asked why he was grounded and in turn I listed in great detail why he wasn't going to be getting his iPod or DS back anytime soon. And I really should have just saved my breath, because all this garnered me was a blank stare and an "Okay. But why I am grounded?"

I collapse into Curt. "They're all so exhausting, they just drain you."

"I know, and what worries me is that one day they'll be a drain on the economy. And they're not living here forever.", he says.

"That actually doesn't worry me so much, they all know how to do dishes." I offer feebly.

Just then Brett saunters into the room, wearing full body fleece pajamas, complete with dinosaur print and footies. Only he's got them unzipped and hanging down by his waist, chest naked and pale, bouncing to whatever noise is playing in his head.

"And that one?" Curt looks skeptical.

"Christ, he'll be fine. If anyone of them is going to make millions, it's that one.", I say.

Curt rolls his eyes. "Only if he can find a job making excuses."

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Return to normacly

This past week Curt's grandfather died. And although it wasn't altogether unexpected, it was still hard on everyone, and especially hard to watch his family go through it. Thankfully, everyone seems to be coping well and getting back to a somewhat even keel.

And the insanity that is our life came crashing back in the day after the funeral. Michael had wrestling practice, and after he'd gotten home we were standing in the kitchen, talking, as I cooked dinner.

"And today at practice the power went out for about 30 minutes."

"Oh yeah", I said absentmindedly, "Were you able to still practice?"

"Um mom, the lights were out.", Mike gives me the parents-are-so-dense eye roll.

Brett continues the thought. "Yeah. I don't know about you, but rolling around on the floor, in the dark with sweaty teenage boys wearing singlets doesn't sound like how I'd like to spend my time mom."

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Booking him on tour after his first single drops

Thanks to the double digits of snow we got and the temperature wallowing in the single digits, we've all been largely trapped indoors. And I have a whole new definition for the cute little term 'cabin fever', insidious and nasty little virus that it is.

And despite that the older four had school the last two days, there is no recovery in sight. Worse yet, is that Evan and Ellie are so bad off, I've taken to peeking at them at night, just to remember why they're worth the facial tic and the jaw sore from clenching my teeth.

This all culminated in what was one of the worst evenings we've had in a long time. If you've ever wondered what a six way match would look like in the WWE, I can assure you it wasn't pretty. Ellie was by far the most beastly, demanding to be held for two hours straight while she squirmed and cried. And I only wish I were exaggerating.

Finally, inspiration struck and I decided to play some music, hoping that if the kids would dance, she'd at the very least be amused enough to stop whining. Evan popped over and requested "Lightning McQueen" which means that I'll spend the next two days trying to get Sheryl Crow out of my head.

But it worked, she did start to calm down and soon all of the kids were joining in. And when I realized what Evan was doing, I couldn't get to the camera fast enough. Mommy blackmail is never to be underestimated.

And because I'm a giver, I present to you Evan's air guitar solo...
(Please pardon the wiggly camera, sometime during filming Ellie decided she'd like to experience gravity and get down after all)

Thursday, January 15, 2009


This week I had surgery scheduled, hopefully to fix the female plumbing issues I've been having since Elle was born. The procedure itself was actually pretty painless, even after I regained consciousness. I was home the same day and by the day after was back to herding kidlets. Honestly, the hardest thing about the whole ordeal was the adjustment to the fact that it essentially rendered me sterile. Not by any stretch of the imagination do I ever want to wear pants with an elastic middle, have to step on a scale in full judgement of a nurse assistant the size of Gweneth Paltrow, or have to send Curt out for Preparation H while I hold a screaming newborn. But it's still strange to have that ability taken away, rather like man-o-pause in my early (ish) 30s.

And maybe I'm a big puss, but I did kind of feel like my head was a giant snow globe that had fallen into the clutches of Ellie. It's taking a little while for all of my thoughts and feelings about it to settle. I'm getting there, and since both Evan and Ellie will be in preschool this September, I'm starting to look forward to phase 2 of my life - the selfish years. I've started pulling up college catalogs and filling out FAFSA forms, and I'm getting pretty geeked up about having a conversation that doesn't revolve around Yo Gabba Gabba.

I didn't tell the kids what was going on, only just that I had to go in to the hospital, but I'd be home before they got back from school. As it turned out Brett beat us home that day and was a little concerned. He asked specifically what I'd been there for and when I told him I had minor surgery, he naturally wanted more details.

"It was on my girly bits, Brett."

"Oh man! I do not need to hear about this."

"Well, luckily I wasn't planning on giving you any more details."

"Good." He reached over to hug me, gingerly patting me as if I'd break. "And I'm sorry you had to have surgery on your, um whatever, I'm sure it didn't feel good."

"Thanks Brett, but I can't imagine a surgery that does feel good."

"Sure, I can. One on Emma's head."

And Evan, who seemed largely oblivious to all of it, crawled up into my lap this morning, hugged me, and then lifted his head up to look at me.

"Mom, is you feel better now?"

"Yes sweetie, mommy feels better now."

"Good. Can I have a cookie?"

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

How soon is now?

I'm still a little bit, okay, a lot fried from all that's happened in the past several weeks. And 2009 already seems to be shaping up to be the year Mommy started mumbling to herself and living in her bathrobe.

I know that this is just one of those times in life when all the shit seems to hit the fan at once. And I also know that in six months life will likely be it's nice, usual, manic self. But right now, it does seem to feel as if I'm standing in the ocean, trying to reach the shore, only to be knocked on my ass by wave after wave. So, Life if you are listening? Uncle, already.

Anyway, until the tide recedes, and I feel certain that I'll be able to post about daily life without sounding like a 17 year-old-black-clad-EMO-pussy, I'm going to stick with some pictures.

And won't mention that I'm sitting here listening to The Smiths and wearing entirely too much eyeliner.

Just before Christmas, my mother-in-law had the kids down to her house to bake and decorate cookies. Evan was showing off his floury hands and his 'Guess what? Chicken Butt' shirt. If it's wrong that I chuckle every time my three-year-old tells this joke, than I don't want to be right.

Lucas gave the experience two thumbs up. Also please note Geisha Emma in the background. Mother-in-law has a small bag of throw down cosmetics for Emma to play with at her house, complete with powder compact and gray hairs for Mommy.

Yeah, he's trying to play it cool, but I think Michael had more fun than any of them. As I was posting this he came home from his wrestling match and requested that I let the internet-at-large know that he got another pin and the phone number of a really cute girl named Ashley. I'd like the internet-at-large to know that I got some wrinkle cream and the phone number of a therapist named Monica.

Turning three means never having to say you're sorry, or having to wait for your icing fix. Also, please note that the poor child had three matches on his cake to blow out. The entire family gathered around the table, antsy, and ready to sing while Curt and I rummage through drawers in vain for candles. Klassy.

The older four spent the next week with bio-dad. The same week Curt had off. And apparently those two occurances created the perfect storm for Curt to decide that we should go through every closet in the house to purge anything not deemed vital. Me thinks he was a gypsy in a previous life. Thankfully, we did take a small break to meet up with Linda from Travels With Children and her (adorable!) crew at the Children's Museum in Pittsburgh. I'd be remiss if I didn't point out Evan going nuclear because he was told to stand still and smile. The nerve of some parents, honestly.

In the garage room Ellie was endlessly fascinated by the rubber balls rolling along a maze of wires suspended from the ceiling. She may look like her mother, but her brain is all Daddy. Which means, I get to blame him when she rigs up a pulley system to get to the M&Ms in the cabinet.

Evan insisted that Curt accompany him down the slide the first time. Thankfully, no photographic evidence exists of Mommy and Ellie's voyage down the spiral of embarrassment.

This morning as Michael was working himself into a foamy sweat playing the air-drums, Ellie pulled herself up and snuggled in. I look at this picture of my oldest and youngest children and think that despite everything else going on, I'm going to make it ashore after all.