Thursday, January 31, 2008

The morning news.

This morning was another hair-raising, voice-raising event.

We were under siege from early on by B, who stayed up well past his bedtime chatting and playing with Z. While we love to hear them being brothers and playing nicely together... doing so at 10 pm always means that we will pay for it.

He was perky when he joined me in the shower. When I left and Z took my place, he got contentious. So, I made him get out... tantrum number one.

B is a big guy, and has issues about "things" on his skin. Lately, this has been related to shirts feeling tight when he pulls them over his head. Apparently, there is no polo shirt or hoodie that isn't "TOO SMALL, I CAN'T WEAR THIS".

So, I have made a point to buy a bunch of shirts with roomy necks.

Lately, though, particularly when he is tired, this has taken on epic proportions in tantrum power struggle.

Some psychological wisdom enables you to determine the root of misbehaviour based on how it makes you feel.

You feel --> The Goal:
Angry -->Power
Annoyed -->Attention
Sympathetic --> Enabling helplessness

B hit on all cylinders this morning.

Geez, that pisses me off. He rejects shirts he wore two days ago, picks ones he has rejected, then rejects them.

Um, yes, you do. Get something else if you don't like my choices.

Like nails on a chalkboard, that is... oooooh and loud.

Being overtired makes B a tyrant. Couple this with my relative slothful feelings in the morning and we sometimes have a veritable powder keg.

I put B in the car half naked. He howled for 15 minutes in the car. He decided to put on the shirt I had chosen for him before entering daycare, and his shoes too.

The shirt went on effortlessly.

Then, when we got to his room, they asked us to smile for a mommy and me picture (surely for a Valentine surprise).

I think I was still gritting my teeth.

Early bedtime tonight?


* By the way, I don't make a habit of running round all morning finding different shirts. I sometimes allow him one veto, but I usually don't anymore as I am careful to select shirts that will fit over his head. I have offered him the opportunity to select his clothing the night before, he will reject his own choices as well. Besides, it is clear that this isn't really about shirts anyway.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

sleeping in socks

You probably came to this post imagining some unromantic moment between husband and wife. You aren't too far off in some respects (we have three small kids, so there are a lot of those).

But, really, it is about T.

I was called to his bed by a despondent two-year-old at two a.m.


"What's wrong, dear?"




"I'm sorry, what?"


"It's two in the morning... what about socks?"

"I NEEEEEED them".

"Honey, people don't sleep in socks. See? I don't sleep in socks."

(the following in the sweetest, most forlorn voice)
"but I dooooo."

Well, I was tired, but it's hard to argue with this kind of logic. So, I dug around in the dark in his bed, found the socks, pulled them over his feet and the two of us fell back to sleep snuggled in his bed.

Two-year-olds are wonderful for that.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

A moment's peace.

I can take most of the day-to-day pulling and being followed about the house. I like the incessant questions "what's that?", "what are you doing?", "what are you doing?", who's that for?" and so on. But, there is one time in my day that I really and truly wish to be alone.

That is why I lock the bathroom door.

When I don't lock the bathroom door, either T or B are in with me immediately. When I say "really, dear, mommy needs some privacy", they pull the door closed, look up and say "privacy, that better?". (um, not really).

With the door locked, suddenly a house full of boys that were busy wrecking playing with things elsewhere in the house, descend on the door with immediate needs: I need a snack, read this to me, where is my shirt, why is the dog in the kitchen, B is playing with water, where are my underwear.

Truly, can't this wait for a moment?

On the flip side, some day, I'll be up wandering the house at night (as I often do) and they won't be all cuddled in their bed to kiss in their sleep. I won't always have a two-year-old to snuggle from about 2 am until we get up.

Life is all about trade-offs, isn't it?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Could you tell?

A new semester started. Bright faces, every morning, expecting me to help them learn about stuff. Requires some time, that does. Now, last semester I was teaching introductory stuff (I actually send in a monkey to do that). This semester, all upper-level stuff that requires some real thought before I walk through the door.

On the home front... a snow day for all three children and at my college today. No gym for me, no progress on my work, and no adult interactions. I had three kids at home today: an overtired two-year-old, a constipated four-year-old, and a bored seven-year-old.

It was an inauspicious start anyway... I rolled over in bed at 5:30 and (apparently) caused a stinkbug to cut loose on my side of the bed and all over our sheets. I ripped my shirt off and fled to J's side of the bed (he was already up... morning guy). I never quite either got back to sleep or woke up after that horrendous experience.

When I imagine time with my kids, I always imagine moments like our first 20 seconds out in the new snow today... before T started moaning that "not like that snow", before B started saying "I'm cold, I need to go in, I still NEED to sled", before Z needed to pee. After 20 minutes of suiting up, we sledded and made snowballs for 25 minutes before we needed to go inside. AARGH.

I understand that when the kids fledge, I will remember only the best. That is adaptive, right?

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Cool song.

B, T and I were on the way home from daycare yesterday. T was in a snit because I actually forced the child (against his will, mind you) to sit down in his car seat. Then, I had the audacity to take it one step further, the child was (can you believe it?) strapped into his car seat with the whole five-point harness. Then, B was in a snit because I handed the football back to T after I had promised to do so, and in doing so, stole a football directly from B's hands. It was immaterial that B had stolen said football from me while I was strapping in his brother.

We needed an attitude change.

So, I relied on my iPod. "What song do you guys want to listen to?"

The little guy calls out from the back, "the chicka song".

B pipes in, "Yeah, the chicka song, we love that".

So, I put in "How Long" by Queen Latifah. The chicka song (yunno - "betcha got a chick on the side, sure you got a chick, I know you got a chick on the side").

Then, more quietly, B says "Mom, what's a chicka?"

I pause, but I am determined to be honest (if not thorough). So, I try to explain the song title, yunno, in terms understandable to a four-year-old. Finally, B decides the description isn't that interesting. The next song comes on...

T shouts "Don't like that song... play chicka song again"! Yes, he is two.

I point out that I don't repeat songs like that, but, I can jump to the next song for him. Which I do.

"Don't like that song!"

I jump a few songs, then B says, "OOOOOh, play the whole song mommy. I've never heard it before, but I think it's my favorite".

Wonderful, explaining Chicka was brilliant - explaining "The Bitch is Back" will be a joy.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Developing that sense.

When I was about twelve, I went on a camping trip with a friend of mine. I knew her and her family well. Her dad worked all the time, so I didn't know him as well as I knew the mom. They were from Philadelphia, so they had that whine (don't deny it, you know what I mean). I learned a lot from them (like, not everyone celebrates Christmas, who knew?).

Anyhoo. On this camping trip (which, to me, wasn't really camping), we got the mobile mansion (trailer) to a site at some hokey little New England campground with an algae-ridden pool, a long walk to the bathroom, very little nature, but organized macrame (what could go wrong?). As her dad took the fifth pass at backing into the camping slot, I piped up, "what's the matter? Can't you just park it?". He slowly turned, ashen-faced, toward me. He said nothing, but the hushed and frightened family members let me know that this was not a time to talk - dad will blow.

When I was little, I never needed the sense often. But, it is a useful tool for any child. You know that sense I mean... the, my mom's head is going to explode little bits of blood and gray matter all over, she'll lose it, much shrieking, unreasonable chattering and so on will follow. A smart child sees the signs, backs-off, stands-down, disappears, makes themselves scarce.

My kids don't need it (too) often.

But, jeez Louise, they need to learn when they see it to back the hell off.

My oldest in a frantic need to poop, always gets in trouble. He got to the dinner table with T, and apparently (though he denies it) gave him my salad tongs to play with. My salad tongs that were a special gift from a friend that bought them for me in Africa. The wooden tongs that makes me think of these special people that moved away four years ago every time I serve salad. He apparently (though he denies it) helped show T that he could pry at the fork with the spoon, and in the process snapped the business end of the fork in two - effectively ruining these. "Oh well, you'll have to get some new salad thing. Look what T did."

This would have been a good time for that sense. That, or any time in the following two hours. But, I haven't seen any sing of remorse, or any sign that he can recognize when I am about to explode.

(think Martha Stewart's voice) That would be a good thing.

Do your kids have that sense?

Saturday, January 5, 2008

iPod Horoscope Meme

I found this at Jonathan's blog - I assumed that I would get random chapters out of some books I have up-loaded. But, some of these were pretty funny.
1. Put your iTunes on Shuffle.
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
3. You must write that song name down no matter what.

Q. What would best describe your personality?
A. Groaning the Blues, Eric Clapton
Good grief, I never claimed to be a perky optimistic gal, but this seems extreme.
Q. If some one says it’s okay you say…
A. Shade of Grey, Bob Weir and Robert Wasserman
No optimism here, either.

Q. What do you like in a boy (girl)?
A. Wrong'Em Boyo, The Clash
Reflects my taste in men before I met my husband, I presume.
Q.How do you feel today?
A. Around and Around, The Grateful Dead
Sounds about right.
Q.What is your life’s purpose?
A. Rockstar, Nickelback
Hmmmm. Other than the drugs, loose women, and all night carousing... it doesn't fit at all.
Q. What is your motto?
A. Let's Do the Numbers Rumba, Raffi
This seems a bit more like it, scientist and all.
Q. What do your friends think of you?
A. (You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman, Aretha Franklin
It is good to be empowering, right?

Q. What do you think of your friends?
A. John Barleycorn, Traffic
No idea...
Q. What do you think of your parents?
A. I'm Free, The Who
Sounds like how I might have felt in college... not so now, Dad is a dear friend.
Q.What do your parents think of you?
A. Concorde Super Jet Airliner, BBC Sound Effect Library
He may think this of my children - geez are they ever loud!
Incidently, I added the sound effects for a game at my kid's birthday party.
Q. What do you think about very often?
A. Snooker, One Shot, BBC Sound Effect Library
Well, I play billiards (badly), but not snooker.
Q. What do you think of your best friend(s)?
A. I am the Walrus, Beatles
Q. What do you think of the person you love?
A. Play with Fire, The Rolling Stones
He sure is hot, my guy.
Q.What is your life story?
A. Wishing Well, Schonherz and Scott
Almost makes me seem optimistic.
Q. What do you want to be when you grow up?
A. Montana Half-Light, Philip Aaberg
Q. What do you think when you see the person you love?
A. Ball, Single Kick, BBC Sound Library
Nothing to add here.
Q. What is your hobby/interest?
A. Rock and Roll Nights, Bachman-Turner Overdrive
Dude, just like a rockstar - right?
Q. What will they play at your funeral?
A. Seven Bridges Road, The Eagles
Could be worse.
Q. What is your biggest secret?
A. Walz of the Snowflakes, Tchaikovsky
No idea... it must really be a secret.