Selling the Crazy Crowded House

So we have the big For Sale sign out front and to tell you the truth I am not so sure how I feel about this. It’s daunting, exhilating and terrifying all at once. From here on in the children will have to sleep on top of their perfectly made beds and look at their toys and imagine playing with them. I will not let them touch or unravel anything! It is forbidden! The older two can sit still… Frankly, it’s Alexander I worry about. He can do more damage in one minute than the tornado that sent Dorothy and Toto over the rainbow!

Say the Magic Word!

Alexander is normally very good with his pleases and thank yous. Better than his older brother and sister. That’s for sure. Today he was asking his father to carry him out to the car (because I still can’t). “Daddy, carry me to the car?” he would ask over and over again. I had to gently remind him to use the magic word. I expected an immediate “Please!” to come from his lips. Instead he shook his head vehemently and said “No!” quite firmly, freshly and loudly. We kept telling him that Daddy was not going to carry him to the car unless he said his magic word. After a few minutes of this tedious game I was starting to get irritated. Well, we all know how great toddlers are at sensing how we feel, when I asked him that one final time to “Please, say the magic word,” he looked me in the eye with a devilish little grin and said “Magic Word!”

Elvis and the Princess of the World

My kids, the older two, are fascinated by life and death. They constantly ask questions, to which I have no answers, like what does it feel like to die and what really happens to us. We had one such conversation in the car yesterday. Rebecca brought it up again while we were running errands, getting those last minute things we still need for school. “Wouldn’t it be great if we could keep coming back over and over again. We could keep getting reborn and it would be like we would never have to die. And we could do all the things we like over and over again,” she said. Of course I need to interject and point out the obvious. “You’ll get to do all the things you don’t like to do over and over.” I feel the need to say this because in my old age and with all my accumulated mothering experiences I am getting more and more cynical by the hour. Despite my negative comment, she does not seem put off. More questions asked and I try to answer as well as I can. I explain to her that different cultures and different religions do believe in life after death and I go on to explain a little about reincarnation. I tell her some cultures believe that you come back in different life forms, say an ant in one life and a cow several later. This evokes some silly animal sounds, to be expected, of course, from the six year old in the back of the minivan. Rebecca doesn’t much care for that answer, though. She would prefer to come back as Rebecca for all of her lives. I then go on to explain that “some people believe that when you die your soul stays around and eventually you do come back as someone else. Some believe that people you are close to in one life remain close to you in all your loves. I could be your Mom in this life, but maybe in your next life I am your brother or your best friend. You may come back as a boy next time, or another girl. You could be a girl in India or a boy in Africa.” I look in to the rearview mirror to see Rebecca contemplating all this information. She is silent for a second, then looks at me and says with all seriousness, “so Christopher could have been Elvis!”

Yep, and in my next life I am going to be Princess of the World and my feet will be massaged and my grapes will be peeled for me and I won’t have a worry or a care! Boy am I way overdue …

Daily Necessity — Friday, August 24th

Most people associate Champagne with celebrations and joyous occasions. We’ll toast on New Year’s Eve, or to the lovely bride and groom. But why must it be saved and savored only for special times. This concept was first introduced to me about 10 years ago when my room-mate’s love interest of the month would always bring over a bottle of champagne. For no reason at all. Imagine that! He didn’t leave much of an impression on me. I can not remember his name, nor can I remember what he really looked like. I vaguely remember him being a jerk, but the one thing that stuck with me was the fact that Champagne could be enjoyed whenever I damn well pleased. hey, I remember his name… so Thomas, I thank you for introducing this concept to me!

We all have One of Those Days from time to time… well, today was certainly one of them. I’ve been dealing with my bad back for nearly two weeks now and while I was given some strong and very good stuff that effectively takes away the pain, the same medicines also take away my ability to function and therefore my inability to look after the kids. So after a particularly hectic day that was preceded by a particularly hectic couple of weeks I chose unwind with a nice glass (or two) of bubbly. Of course there is no wine in the house at the moment so I go opt for the next logical choice; Bubbly. I love a nice Champagne. I do enjoy other drinks as well, but Champagne has a festive, joyous air to it, and when things seem anything but festive or joyous a nice glass feels damn good. I have chosen to open a nice bottle that I got for my Birthday a couple of months ago. I have several of its kind and several other kinds as well. I am a champagne kind of a girl. So what if I did not drink it on my Birthday. I chose to drink it today instead and let me tell you that I enjoyed it. Every last bubbly drop of it. I may even pour myself another. I won’t attempt to drink more than that though. That would ruin the pleasure and the indulgence of it. Two glasses in a lovely crystal flute when my day has been anything but lovely. How perfect! Fret not, the rest will not go to waste. I have a method of keeping the bubbles perfectly in tact. This method costs nothing and will work for you too. Everything you need is in your kitchen. Place a piece of cling wrap (any brand you like) tightly over the bottle’s opening, next wrap the rubber band around the top of the bottle as tightly as it will go. You can see the air immediately being trapped inside. The bottle will remain as effervescent the following morning for Mimosas or by itself following evening. Now that the kids are quiet I am off to enjoy another glass.

My life (lately) in a nutshell…

I keep waiting for it to get easier. I think I have a long way to go still. Had Alexander not shown up on our doorstep two years ago I think we would have been home free. But add a third to the mix and the results are almost always messy. Poor kid. It often seems as though no one wants him. The older two, understandably, want to play without his interference, and I would be lying to you if I said I wanted him in my face 24/7. I keep pushing him off onto them and they keep bringing him back to me! He is a handful. He is actually several handfuls and in to everything and all the time. If I had a third eye it would be plastered on him. He’s going to be the kid who gets injured if we let him out of our sight. And yet we do. We have to. I can not be on top of him 24-7.

The other night Don and I were downstairs while the three children were up playing ever so nicely. All of a sudden Alexander starts to scream then Rebecca starts to scream. “Mommy! Daddy! Come up here quick!” We have become accustomed to the screams and antics of the Dramatic, but this was different. My ailing back still slowing me down, Don was the first one up the stairs. I heard a few words which did not sound too good so I hobbled up the stairs to see that Alexander had gotten some of Rebecca’s nail polish in his eye. (And on his face and in his ear and on his foot and on the white rug and on the white sheets…) Poor kid was screaming. Don took him and ran the faucet to flush out the eye. I was ever so grateful that he was home because with my bad back there was no way I would have gotten Alexander to the sink. There was no way I could have lifted him to even for a consoling hug. We were lucky and everything turned out OK. Rebecca felt horribly because she thought it was her fault. It was no one’s fault actually. The nail polish, from some party favor of years past, was put away and forgotten about. This probably happened before Alexander arrived on our doorstep. I can not be at all places at all times. Accidents will most likely continue to happen despite our best efforts.

We have everything baby proofed in this house. But baby can get to it all. We’ll just have to wait until he grows up a little and loses interest. Until then we’ll not rest. I wish I was directly affected by Mattel’s recalls. I wish my needs were that simple. I worry not about a few plastic toys. I worry about plugs and outlets and covers that my 2 year old can manipulate. I worry about the doors he can open and the locks he can unlock. I worry about the medicine tops that I can not take off but he can. I worry about faucets with scorching hot water he can turn off and on. I worry about everything any mother worries about and more. Yet I can not hover over him. I have to give him some space. I have to be there for the other two. And I need to take some breaks for myself from time to time. I could turn off the power and the water. I sure would save a lot of money that way. But then I would have to get up and run down to the basement every time a kid wanted a drink of water or to flush the toilet. Maybe I would lose some weight that way! Maybe if the power was off the kids would not whine about not being allowed to watch this or that. If the power was off I would have no freeze and therefore I would have no ice cream. Boy, I can already feel the pounds melting away. If I had no power I would have no ability to blog or talk to my So Called Imaginary Friends. No thanks. They are my sanity… and on certain days my raison d’etre!

If Alexander was my first I really do wonder if he would have been my last. I love him dearly, more than words can explain. He is such an affectionate child with the best of intentions. But he is cuious… and as long as he continues to be curious I will need to stay on my toes. But that’s OK because I really do know how quickly this precious time does fly. Next year he’ll be in preschool and two years from then he’ll be in Kindergarten. I can already picture him getting on the school bus waving to me telling me that he is going to love school and there I will be on the corner a wailing, blubbering fool because my baby is off gorwing up and living and getting along just fine without me. It astounds me just how quickly time does pass… It seems like just yesterday I was watching Party of Five and feeling the earliest twinges of what would soon be labor, leading to the birth of my first baby. My first baby Rebecca is already almost halfway to college. But how can that be? She was born just yesterday? So forgive me if I continue to whine and pity myself… forgive me if I mope around some. Please know it is temporary because as much as I want a little Me Time, as much as I wish things could be a little bit easier now, I want to savor every single solitary second of what’s left of my baby because he is my last and because in so many ways he’s less of a baby and becoming a boy, so I want to complain now before I have to mourn this loss. But I have to end my ramblings now because my baby is waking and he is a smart one and he knows where the car keys are kept!

Over or Under?

You are either an over or an under kind of a person. If you place your toilet paper on in a certain way, it’s pretty hard to switch. Well, I have been an Over kind of person for as long as I can remember. It’s second nature. I do not think of that I am doing. Well, now I am going to have to. I need to start being an Under kind of a girl. You see the kids use toilet paper for everything (even though I tell them not to) from cleaning the sink — they always leave it sopping wet, to blowing their noses to washing their faces, and Alexander even eats the stuff. Well I am sick of the messy, uneven, ragged way they leave it. I am fed up with having to go around and rip off the half squares that are remaining. If I change my TP hanging I will only have to push the roll slightly and the jagged, torn edge will be hidden from view. Sloppy TP ain’t pretty to look at and we are getting ready to list the house. September 4th is the day it will officially go on the market. Everything about the house must be spotless and perfect. And this includes the toilet paper. My Charmin will now have to be pulled from under instead of over.

The Dumb Things People Do…

When you walk into a grocery store or a drugstore products are placed on certain areas and in a certain way on purpose. It all comes down to marketing, marketing, marketing… or someone shelling out some big bucks to have Prime Shelf Space.

I hurt my back a few days ago and exacerbated it on Friday while chasingliftingcarrying Alexander practically nonstop. Well wasn’t I the bright one. I woke up on Saturday practically unable to walk. The most mundane thing took hours or proved to be excruciating. Motrin (3 caplets) didn’t begin to touch the pain nor did the Aleve which I later learned expired a couple of years ago… Oh well. I was glad to have those self adhesive heat patches and was gladder to have an understanding husband willing to get the kids off my hands for a few hours.

This morning, no better after a no good night’s sleep I took some more Motrin which managed to take a little bit of the edge off. I somehow managed to shower and be dressed by 7:00 am. Except for Don, no one else was awake and I decided that I would head off to the grocery store before the baby woke up in search of some effective pain relief.

I walked with my shoulders back and my back slightly arched. Imagine a very pregnant person. Well that’s how I felt but with the weight at the base of my spine. I dragged myself around the store with the speed of a snail on a garden wall. After I got all the necessities I went over to the Pain Aisle. There was Motrin, Advil, Tylenol, Excedrin, more Motrin, More Advil, More Tylenol and More Excedrin. I was looking for backache medicine. Nothing remotely like that to be seen. I saw Tylenol Back Pain which consisted of aspirin and acetominophen but put the red box back on the shelf. Tylenol doesn’t do much for me for minor pain so I was not about to chance it with this.

And there. There it was. Way, way, way down on the bottom shelf. Doan’s for back pain relief. And how on earth was I supposed to reach that far down for my relief. I am not Mrs. Stretch Armstrong. What idiot puts back pain medicine and all the back pain heat packs and rubs on the lowest shelf possible — so low in fact that it is practically in the basement! Luckily my feet have become quite handy over the past few days and I was able to extricate the box from its most inconvenient location.

Another Word For Leftovers…

When I have a lot of food I need to use up I never tell the kids we are having leftovers. Instead I tell them we are having appetizers for dinner. It’s their favorite thing to eat. I have a bunch of tomatoes, some cauliflower, broccoli and a rotiserrie chicken that must be consumed. I am so tired of tossing food because dinner plans change or we’re not hungry, or whatever. Leftover chicken becomes chicken salad seasoned with mayo, a dollop of light sour cream, salt, pepper and Italian seasonings. You have no idea it is a leftover! Tomatoes get diced and added to garlic, olive oil, salt and basil and magically become a topping for brushette. I will steam the asparagus and let the kids dip the spears in salad dressing. I will carmelize some finely sliced garlic and in some butter and olive oil and toss it onto some cooked cauliflower. Day old French bread gets sliced and grilled. The chicken and veggies get all gobbled up. The Frech Bread toasts seem so fancy for the kids and they spread the tomato mixture and chicken salad on top of it. No one complains about these leftovers. Instead I receive praises all around for a great meal! I am sure the food was that much better because we all ate outside as the sun was setting. We all know that everything tastes better outdoors!

Daily Necessity — Saturday, August 11th

The most versatile children’s shoe — EVER!
These shoes can be worn indoors and out… on the playground, at the beach, pretty much wherever you go. They come in a rainbow of flavors and look cute with pants, shorts, skirts and dresses. The best thing about these shoes (on children that is — I think they look kinda like clown shoes on big people unless they are in the garden) is that they are 100% washable. At the end of the day they can be hosed right down to look like new! I hate dirty, worn looking shoes and these never look dirty or worn looking. Can’t wash sneakers or any other shoe so easily! After a few tough days out on the soccer field or on the playground the sensible sneaker looks and smells gross. These never do! Another plus, even a 2 yo can put them on and take them off all by himself!

Daily Necessity — Sunday, August 5th

I want to be hokey and say “Baby Powder. It’s not just for baby’s butts anymore!”

Actually, I think you aren’t supposed to use baby powder on babies anymore… But I have found three amazing uses for this product. Simply put, every household should have this. If not just one bottle, then three.

The first bottle should be kept in your car or beach bag. Baby powder is amazing for, and the most efficient way of removing sand from feet — little, big, medium… feet of all sizes and ages! Next time you want your kids to wipe the sand off their feet, pour a little baby powder on to their feet and rub gently. The sand practically melts away. Imagine how much money you can save at the car wash by just applying a little baby powder to sandy feet!

The second bottle should be kept under your kitchen sink or by your washing machine or wherever you keep your stain removers, eg. Shout. I have recently learned that baby powder is great for removing oil and grease stains from clothing. With a sloppy hubby and 3 messy kids this new information was a godsend!

The third bottle should be kept in your bathroom by your beauty supplies. My favorite all-time use for this product should be passed on to busy mothers of young children around the world. While I have a friend who boasts that she can wash her hair and shave every day, frankly I know of no one else with very young children who can. So this tip is for you… wear it well!

If you haven’t the time to wash your hair, or anyone to keep an eye on your Curious George of a toddler, if you are experiencing a sever drought, you’ll love this. In lieu of a shower and shampoo add small amounts of baby powder to the roots of your hair. (I like to pour a little into my palm first so as not to look like a baking experiment gone wrong.) Not only will it absorb all the excess oil, but the volume it adds can not be replicated by the most expensive volumizing beauty product out there! I am hoping to get a shower in today, but if not, I know I will not have to hide under a baseball cap any more!