Monday, February 23, 2009

Meanest Mother Ever ™

On Thursday, I asked the children to clean their room.

On Friday, I asked the children to clean their room.

On Saturday, I asked the children to clean their room.

On Sunday, I asked the children to clean their room. Then I informed them that I would be entering their room with a trash bag in thirty short minutes. Everything on the floor would be put into the trash bag and then carted to the dumpster.

A short while later, I walked into the room to find a pile of toys on Claire's bed, a pile of toys on Jake's desk chair, and a pile of toys precariously balanced on top of the wheelie 3-drawer bin thingamajig. The actual drawers in the thingamajig were empty. There were still toys on the floor. I took a deep breath. "JACOBANDCLAIREYOUGETINHERERIGHTTHISVERYMINUTE!" Then I took another deep breath and told them to put the toys away, actually away where they belong, and I would be back in another hour with the trash bag. And I was rudely informed that I was the Meanest Mother Ever.

I should mention, perhaps, that I am frequently accused of being the Meanest Mother Ever. It has happened frequently enough that I have been able to determine that the A#1 best response to being called the Meanest Mother Ever is to say, "Great. I think maybe I'll get that put on a t-shirt and I'll wear that shirt everywhere I go with you. In fact, maybe I'll get several shirts, all in different colors, and a fancy one to wear to church so that everyone knows that I am proud to be the Meanest Mother Ever." The target child(ren) generally choose that moment to scream about how really really mean I am and about how they NOW KNOW that I truly am the Meanest Mother Ever. Then I force a grin because I'm mean like that.

I played some video games and took a shower and generally tried to ignore the wailing and gnashing of teeth that was emanating from the children's bedroom. Eventually, both children exited the room and claimed that it was clean. "Are you sure? Because I have the garbage bag and I'm not afraid to fill it." I made a feint toward the room and both children ran back into the room screaming. "Five minutes! Then I'm coming in!"

Ten minutes later, I went in with my bag. I went behind Claire's bed and started shoveling the pile into the bag. "Mom! Don't! Are you really going to throw that stuff away? Don't! You are the Meanest Mother Ever! I don't think this is going to work! I think that you should just send us to bed early! Doooooooooooooooooooon't!" I put in a teddy bear. "Dooooooooooooon't!" I put in a toy sword. "Doooooooooooooooon't!" I saw a piece of leg armor from the Prince Caspian action doll that Jake picked out as a reward after a particularly good week at school. I put in a frog instead. "Dooooooooooooooooooooooooooooon't! It's not going to work!" Jake spun around and around. I took advantage of the moment to shove the leg armor into my pocket, then shoved a handful of valentine's into the bag. Eventually, I had a bag filled with toys that I was more than happy to discard and a pocket filled with two pieces of leg armor, one prickly brush block thingy, and a mancala marble.

Later that day, I snuck back into the kids room when they were out of the house. I put the block and marble in their respective homes, and then carefully snapped Caspian back into his armor. After all, I have to protect my reputation.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Happy Birthday, Not-My-Claire!

February 19, 2004

I walked up to the front door of daycare with Jake in tow. My period had started that morning. It was the tenth period I'd had since we started trying for a second child. I was heartbroken and trying to talk myself out of it. I knew, in the big scheme of things, that my wait hadn't been that long but that didn't lessen the disappointment of that morning. I was beginning to wonder if perhaps I'd have to be happy with a family of three.

We reached the glass door where someone had posted an announcement.

Congratulations to the Smith Family! We welcome baby Claire!
I stood there blinking while Jake tugged my hand and asked me to read the sign for him. He didn't know that I'd been disappointed again, much less that Claire was the name Nick and I had set aside for any future baby girl in our own family. I managed to choke out the words, then kissed Jacob goodbye. I cried in the bathroom at work for a long while that day.

February 19, 2009

I walked up to the front door of daycare with Claire in tow. She was sneezing and sniffling and talking nonstop. We reached the glass door where someone had posted an announcement.

Happy 5th birthday, Claire!
"It's the other Claire's birthday today, baby!" Claire smiled, sneezed, and skipped through the door.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Ah, humility.

I was on fire this weekend. I had energy to spare and a long to-do list. On Saturday alone, I washed umpteen loads of laundry, sewed ten patches on a boy scout uniform, organized my Home Control Center (aka the fridge), carted in the recycling, did the shopping, spectated a basketball game, supervised bike riding, gawked at new neighbors, dealt with The Tantrum of the Century, and a few other things that I've forgotten. I was large and in charge and feeling alright.

Sunday morning, I woke up refreshed and sprang out of bed ready for another busy day. I dressed and fed both children, one in the freshly bepatched uniform, before Nick even got out of bed. I was teaching children's liturgy, so I dropped Jake off in the cafeteria with the rest of the scouts and greeted half a dozen parents. Then I ran over to the rectory basement, greeting more people along the way, and set up for the liturgy. Then it was into church for Mass. I went up to the front to process out with the kids, and then back up to the front when we processed back in. Once Mass was over, I headed back to the cafeteria to meet Nick and the kids.

I was feeling entirely pleased with myself when my friend Jenny whispered in my ear, "I've been trying to catch your eye all morning long. You've got your pant leg tucked into your sock." I looked down and sure enough, one pant leg was trapped in my sock halfway up my calf. Oh well, at least I wasn't wearing a skirt!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Oh right. Life is supposed to be fun.

I've been a little melodramatic and self-pitying lately. I don't know if it's the winter or hormones or exhaustion or too many snow days or a virus or any combination of those thing, but I just cannot stand to be around myself. Then, of course, I start berating myself for being such a miserable mess. If there is any worse company than a miserable mess, it's a nagging miserable mess. Last week was The Worst Week of My Life, except that it shoudn't have been because it really wasn't all that bad. Just virus and snow days and hormones and exhaustion which really, in the scope of the whole world and the entirety of history is but a bump in the road. I just managed to hit the bump head on, somersault a bit, and plant myself head first in the muddy ditch.

Friday afternoon, I forcibly plucked myself from the ditch and sent myself to Jake's school for cocoa and books. I read three books to the class and made punny jokes. Then on the way home, Jacob pelted me with snow balls. Since I had forgotten my gloves, I responded the only way possible. I threw the child into a snowbank, bottom first. It was the most fun I'd had in days. It was so much fun that Jacob continued to egg me on so that I'd do it again. By Saturday at noon, he'd convinced me. We were walking to the gym for a basketball game. After the tenth snow ball, I pushed him into the snow. I stood over him crowing while he laughed. Then I realized that another parent/child pair was standing on the sidewalk next to us, watching in amazement. I sheepishly lowered my head then I heard the boy say in a sad little voice, "Dad, why don't you ever do that to me?"