I am a Superhero

No, not from Halloween (though if there is a way to become a hero by eating fun-size Snickers bars and Kit Kats, that might be a contributing factor). I am for real: my mad parenting skills are not just impressive–they are superhuman. For example:

  1. I can shift time. We’re one week into end-of-daylight-savings-time. Or, as many parents-of-toddlers know it, “[redacted] kids wake up crazy early day.” But I now have seven years’ experience getting children–and now a baby animal–who have no concept of time to adjust their entire lives by an hour, simply by yelling and locking people in their sleeping areas. In just one month’s time, I can get my children entirely recovered from Daylight Savings, waking again at a reasonable hour. Probably. By Christmas, for sure.
  2. I can do things while asleep. While we’re waiting for the full effect of #1 power, I use this: my ability to parent and run a household half asleep. I can ask people to get dressed, authorize extra early morning cartoon screen time, and like photos on Instagram all while mostly still asleep. For example, D2 was a 5:30am riser for a long time. I don’t remember many details, because I think I have PTSD-repressed them, but I do remember the lingering emotion between MI and I about “who’s turn?” and “who’s idea to have another kid…” that added drama to that year. I also remember one morning when she was about 18 months old and loved fruit snacks. She found a new box in the pantry, right across from where I was laying on the couch. She loved them, but she couldn’t open them. She brought them to me, her sleeping guardian, and I gave them to her as a pre-breakfast snack. 7 times, apparently. I woke up in a pile of wrappers. See–I can even feed them while asleep.
  3. I can both clean all the time and have the house be a total disaster. I straighten the house for hours a day. Days a day, even. The kids make so much mess that the only way I’ve found to keep the house neat is to minimize the amount of time we are awake there. Before we had kids, it took me a while to put away the clean dishes because, well, I didn’t feel like doing it. Now putting away dishes is the best because it is easy, I could do it peacefully in the kitchen while listening to a podcast on my headphones, and it is one of those chores that immediately shows results. But, no, it still takes forever in our house to put away the dishes because that is supposed to be a kids’ chore. So even though I’d happily just do it, my chore is to make them do it; SO. MUCH. HARDER. I mean, asking them to pause making messes in the living room so they can come bicker while slowly putting spoons in the fork slot–that is TOUGH. Sometimes it takes two days. Sigh.
  4. Poop does not phase me. I love to tell a good poop story. Kids provide so very many. Even puppies have nothing on toddlers, I’ve found so far. Single friends listen, horrified, and tell me “I just can’t do that.” But when you’re alone for bedtime and your kid poops in the tub, well, you can’t just leave it there. And there is no service call for that. Even if you wanted to just move, you have to clean to show the house. So you deal with it. You wash your hands and get it over with. Now, after 7 years, I am immune to shit and can keep my cool when others lose theirs. For example, a few years ago at a race, one of my friends had a very unfortunate port-a-potty visit. She responded by screaming and texting people about the woeful state of humanity. I was the one who dealt with it–someone else’s poop, someone else’s shorts, public restroom, no big deal. Superhero.
  5. I can make two kinds of dinner in 12 minutes. I am like a short order cook. I really like to cook; I like to play with recipes and cook with vegetables and make things that are healthy and creative. But when we get home from work and school, everyone is starving and I have 15 minutes to get an adult meal and a kid meal on the table. I know that they say not to do that–it should be one meal for the whole family. But I won’t eat quesadillas every day and I cannot figure out how to get the girls to eat food with vegetables or anything red or anything with sauce or anything where multiple ingredients are mixed together. So there are two versions. If you think about it, I cook 14 dinners a week. Unless we order pizza. And go out to eat on Saturday. And eat cereal on Tuesday…

Continue reading “I am a Superhero”

I Know Cabin Fever

How long until we were buried up to our necks in My Little Ponies and pieces of discarded popcorn and semi-functional markers without lids? Not long, I assert, not long at all.

Our family just finished a six-ish day weekend. D2’s school was closed on Thursday and Friday for teacher development, then regular weekend’s “stay-at-home” days, then President’s Day holiday, then snow day. And this morning was a school delayed start. So you’d think I would have had plenty of time to write a blog post during all of those crazy days, right? You’re right. But I didn’t. Here’s why:

1. I pretty much cleaned the whole time. When there is a snow day, I have a tradition of deep cleaning (tradition=two, or maybe three, times before this). Something about being trapped in my small home surrounded by piles of things makes me want to get rid of it all. This weekend I tackled my bedroom closet. And it is so much neater and I got rid of lots of things I don’t need anymore. The untrained observer might wonder how seven pairs of sneakers survived the purge, but that observer should stop being so judge-y and admire my t-shirts progress and the several pairs of donate-able heels I identified. (I find heels so much easier to give away than sneakers, don’t you? I like to imagine they are going to someone who would actually wear them–love them even. I think there are people who love heels, right? Win for me, win for the new owner, win for the shoes, who can finally feel good about themselves. Masochists.)

2. I pretty much cleaned THE WHOLE TIME. When I wasn’t deep cleaning, I was straightening. We have been working hard as a family to keep our house neater. I have found the best way to accomplish this goal is to minimize the time we spend at home. But this long, snowy weekend was all of us–and sometimes neighbors–always at home. So I had to put my best self toward the effort. I alternated between feeling:

a. Like Mr. Incredible (not the husband nickname, but the Pixar super hero):

b. and, A morbid curiosity about what would happen if I stopped straightening all together: How long until we were buried up to our necks in My Little Ponies and pieces of discarded popcorn and semi-functional markers without lids? Not long, I assert, not long at all.

3. MI hogged the good computer. It *is* his computer, admittedly, but I started using it too a while ago and now find that I can’t possibly work on a computer with only one monitor. Writing a blog is an evil genius job, and I don’t feel like an evil genius unless there are two screens. He was using the two-screen computer all weekend. “Taxes and summer camp registration and critical file backup,” he claimed. But I know he was just staying in the room farthest from the toy and art disaster areas, blocking out the “Frozen” soundtrack repeat loop, and hoping against all hope that small children feed themselves over the weekend. Well played, MI, well played.

4. D2 is 3 years old. In my anecdotal field study, based on a very small sample, this is the age at which children go completely crazy. (How did terrible two’s get the bad rap? Two is adorable. Three, dear readers: fear three.) She was so cute, playing around all weekend. Until something UNBELIEVABLY TERRIBLE happened. Like the clip-clop pony princess could not fight gravity and go up the ramp of its own accord. Or when she tried to color over glitter glue with markers, the markers got glitter glue on them. Or hand washing went awry and a drop of water landed on her dress, requiring an entire outfit change. Crusts on bread. Snow on shoes. Sauce on pizza. Syrup on fork. Milk instead of … not milk. Yesterday’s dress still in the laundry. The list of awful things that happened this weekend was long, and we all paid the emotional price.

So now, on a youwouldthink busier day in which I was back to work and had an appointment and am leaving soon for yoga I sat down to write. Because I have energy, and perspective, and no time yet to make popcorn. Booyah cabin fever, take that.

Clean is the new rich.

(My youngest daughter, D2, is at the wonderful age where she almost completely grasps conversational language but does not completely grasp the world. I find this a magical, hilarious time in all of our lives and try to capture her fantastic dialogue for all to enjoy.)

D2, in the car, planning her future happiness.

D2: Mom, when I grow up we can’t get married because you are already married to Daddy, right?
Me: Right.
D2: So I can’t marry Daddy either.
Me: Right. He is already married to me.
D2: And I can’t marry Ella…
Me: Right. Because she is your sister.
D2: No, because she is not good at clean up.

She may not quite get “marriage” yet, but she has good taste and clearly has picked up on some of the key things to look for.

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