september 20, 2019

Preschool, the good the bad and the snotty.

The twins started preschool last week. 

I’ll just come out with it.

There were tears. Lots of tears.

We talked about school all summer. We talked about book bags and lunch boxes. We waved at the school every time we drove by. The teacher even came to our house to meet them! The twins were excited. By all intents and purposes, we were ready….or so I thought.

They had a week of short visits to the school prior to starting.

These visits started off great, then slowly declined. 

Day one: Visit was for one hour. Drop off was great. I sat in the school parking lot and read, then walked in to find two happy kids. 

Day two: Went down hill a touch. This time they stayed for three hours. Happy at drop off, happy at pick up. On the way home, twin A had an accident. Apparently she is refusing to use the bathroom at her school. Not bad, we can work on that. 

Day three: Drop off was good. At pick up, twin A comes out wearing an entire new outfit, and twin B greets me with puffy eyes and dried snot on his cheek (also in his hair as I discovered later in the day). He had been crying. Hard. 

My gut told me that we might have some trouble the following Tuesday when they started full time, but I held on to hope.

On Tuesday, we pulled up to the school. Despite listening to ‘I am a Gummy Bear’ (on repeat) with the windows down all the way there, twin B immediately started telling me he wants to go home. Twin A remained quiet. I parked the car, unbuckled twin A, got her out, and helped her put on her new unicorn book bag. She was still being stoic, but agreeable. We walked around to get her brother. He was already starting to get teary despite my efforts to get him excited about wearing his new book bag. As soon as I unbuckled him, he made an immediate dash to the rear of the car in an effort to get out of my reach. I know this strategy well, and having expected it, I reached in with ninja speed and accuracy and managed to grab his arm just in time to thwart his efforts. This did nothing to abate his tears, but at least I didn’t have to crawl into the car to retrieve him. I got him out of the car, and tried once again to talk up his new book bag. It didn’t work and he refused to put it on or move.  

I picked him up and put him on my left hip, grabbed his book bag, placed it in my left hand, took twin A with my right hand, had a brief moment of gratitude that she was being compliant, put a smile of determination on my face and headed into the building like the veteran mom I am.

The three of us made it to the bathroom where they were to try to potty and wash hands prior to entering the classroom. Both of the twins refused to sit on the potty.

Ok, potty is out. Next was hand washing.

There was a slight pause in the tears from twin B when he got to dispense the foamy soap into his hands. However, as soon as the water washed the bubbles down the drain, his tears were back. 

He was still refusing to walk, so I put him back on my left hip, grabbed his book bag, placed it back in my left hand, took twin A by her hand, attempted to put a smile of determination back on my face, and readied myself to walk into the classroom. 

Nope. I’d left my car keys on the bathroom bench.

I dropped the smile, gritted my teeth and went back to retrieve the car keys.

Left hip, book bag, twin A, keys and back to the classroom.

Twin B’s cries had gotten stronger and more pleading, with each step toward his class, and my heart slowly started to break.

Mommy, I go car wit you…(cries..tears..snot)

Mommy, you stay…(cries..tears..snot)

Mommy, I go home wit you…(cries…tears..snot)

I let him stand next to me while I knelt down to eye level and explained to his sister where her cubby was and how to hang her book bag on the hook. She nodded quietly. So stoic.

I then turned to her brother, and attempted to do the same thing. He continued to plead and cry for me to take him home.

Their teacher had been by the house the week before, and I made sure to ask how she wanted me to handle such a scenario. She was clear and said that she wanted me to hug the child, and let them know that I was going, but would be back soon. She said that usually they were fine within minutes. 

So, I gave an encouraging smile, a big hug and a kiss to twin A and told her that I would see her in a little bit.

I then began the difficult task of prying myself from her brother’s death grip. I had to place him on the teacher’s lap so as to deter a flight risk, then hugged and kissed him, and told him that I would be back soon.

I walked out of the door, his screams echoing in my ears.

I breathed in deeply and exhaled as I walked down the hall and away from the classroom. I was grateful for my sunglasses as I walked past other parents and their children. I got into my empty and quiet car and started to drive away, tears welling in my eyes. I took another big breath and let some of the tears flow out. 

There is something incredibly unnatural about leaving your child as they plead for your comfort.

I know that it’s for the best. I know that he will eventually look forward to school, (for a few years at least).

Wednesday and Thursday weren’t much easier than Tuesday. On Friday twin A woke up with a cold. On Saturday twin B woke up with a cold. Unfortunately, the cold kept them out of school this week.

Preschool, the good the bad and the snotty.


september 6, 2019

My children are allergic to putting their dirty clothes in the dirty clothes hamper.

They have to be.

It must cause them great pain and agony to place a dirty sock or shirt into the appropriate basket.

Even if the appropriate basket is close enough for them to touch, even if the basket is closer than the floor, they will still, the majority of the time, drop their clothes on the floor beside the laundry basket. 

The clothes then sit there, nuzzling the basket, leaning against the basket, getting cozy with the basket, mere inches from the basket, but not in the basket.

Not in the basket until yours truly picks them up and puts them there.

I don’t understand. I suppose I should be grateful that the clothes have actually made it to the laundry room. Most of the time their clothes sit in apparent designated spots in their rooms:

-12-year-old: Little pile behind the bathroom door
-9-year-old: Little pile at the foot of the bunk bed

-Twins: Everywhere. Just everywhere. They must be in motion when they discard clothes because they leave a trail versus a pile. If Hansel and Gretel had left a trail of socks and shoes, they would have certainly found their way back home.

So, perhaps I should rejoice when the dirty clothes have made it down stairs and into the laundry room.

Granted, I feel I must say that this isn’t a magical moment. I have to ask and remind and ask and sometimes threaten to get them there. 

“Please bring your clothes down, I’m washing dark dirties”

“Did you bring your dirties down?”

“I want to start the laundry, bring your dirty clothes down” 

I might see a child walk by and ask specifically, while making eye contact, “Do I have your dirty clothes?”

“Seriously, you will not get to (go to a friends house, watch a show, have dessert, etc) if you don’t bring your dirty clothes down!”

This could span over an hour’s time. My children have the gift of distraction on their side.

As I am asking for their laundry, I am also dealing with:

Twins. Spills. Breakfast. Spills. Dishes. Spills. Twins. Potty training. Spills. Is that water? (you get the picture).

Finally, after my reserves are empty and I am walking back to the laundry room after cleaning up the third milk spill of the day, I just start the load. I know that I will be doing this all over again in a day or two.

And do not even get me started on my husband’s laundry habits.

august 27, 2019

Have you ever been at the beach and decided to leave your cushy spot under an umbrella and venture out into the ocean? 

Your first contact is the heavenly relief of the cool water as it hits your sand burned feet, followed by the strange sensation of the sand being stripped from around your heels as the water is pulled back into the ocean.

It’s usually a bit of a challenge to get beyond the breakers, but at about waist deep you find your sweet spot. You gently glide over wave after wave and then watch as they crash, one after the other, against the sandy beach behind you.

As you float and idol about, you inhale deeply the salty ocean air and perhaps reflect on life for a moment. Despite some hardships and setbacks, you feel good; you got this life thing. You can do it, even with four kids and a parental partner, you can do it.

Perhaps then you look out to the horizon and admire the vastness and beauty of this world, and while you do, you spot a wave headed in.

You know it’s there and that it’s a larger wave, but you aren’t too concerned. You close your eyes for a minute and then open them, suddenly realizing that you have drastically underestimated the size of the wave. It’s far too late to do anything about it at this point, and so the wave hits, hard, and crashes over you.

You topple about like a sock in the washing machine, unsure of which way is up and which way is down, choking on the salt water, waving your arms about trying to right yourself. You stand up, shakily, automatically braced for another hit. Your wet hair clings to your face and seals off your mouth and nose, and your attempt to catch your breath.

Finally, after what feels like eternity and a near death experience, you find your bearings, and your breath, and stand there, depleted, wondering what in the world just happened. 

Well, this about sums up how the new school year has hit me. Like a large and underestimated ocean wave crashing over me.

Someone throw me a towel, please.  

august 19, 2019

I just sat down to write, my initial idea was to focus on apples.

More specifically, how my toddlers have mastered the annoying habit of taking an apple out of the fruit basket, biting into it a few times, and then abandoning it, haphazardly about the house.

It’s like a weird toddler version of an Easter egg hunt, except that none of us know we are participants, and the prize is always a half eaten apple.

Where the apple is placed is where the apple sits until it is discovered in an varying degree of decomposition by some unfortunate soul (me…always me).

To be clear, not all apples are found months later in a mummified state. Sometimes, I am simply handed the apple after two or three bites, still edible, still delicious. Sometimes I reach my hand into a bag and find myself playing a solo game of ‘what’s in the box’ (bag) only to discover the softest, brownest, most unrecognizable apple ever. Was that even an apple?   

Anyways, I was going to write about apples, and as I sat poised to start, my thoughts were interrupted by my twelve-year-old and my nine-year-old bickering about cupcakes.

Here are the facts:

  1. There are two cupcakes left (the answer seems obvious, but)
  2. I promised the twins they could share a cupcake, and they are already in bed.
  3. I suggested that the twelve-year-old share the cupcake with nine-year-old, but
  4. Twelve-year-old threw out the ‘it was my birthday party so it should be my cupcake’ line, which,
  5. Despite my internal urge to make her share, I kind of agree with, so

I waited to see where the cupcake debate would go, but then something magical happened. The twelve-year-old got the cupcake and sat down. The nine-year-old sat there watching ‘Puss in Boots’ for a bit, and then asked for some melted chocolate. Which freed me up to write about apples!

august 18, 2019

My daughter celebrated her twelfth birthday this weekend with four of her best friends. Her life and circumstances have varied greatly from my own childhood, and her personality is vastly different than my own, but despite this, there is a sweet familiarity of witnessing this age again. I’m aware that my recollection of that time is probably far different from the reality of it. Childhood generally seems magical compared to the trials and tribulations of being an adult, so it’s not surprising that I look back at my preteen years with mostly fond memories. At twelve, there is still an innocence of being a child but there is also an excitement and eagerness that occurs with being on the brink of adolescence. I knew things were about to change. It was tangible, like the prickly feeling before an electric shock. I wanted to be a teenager in the same way an eight-year-old wants to stay up until midnight. It seems utterly amazing, but the reality of it is far from. 
By twelve, most of my friends had matured physically, I had not. I felt left behind. I desperately wanted breasts. I desperately wanted a bra. I desperately wanted to get my period. I desperately wanted to shave my legs. Hell, I even desperately wanted braces!  I wanted these things, and I was not shy at all when it came to asking my mom pointed questions about them, (probably to her dismay). She gracefully answered my more innocent questions (breast development and menstruation) and not so gracefully ignored my more personal questions (sex and, well, sex).

august 16, 2019

What to write? What to write? What to write? 
My current goal is to write daily. Length is not important. Subject is not important. Grammar isn’t even important. I have been so long removed from any creative outlet that I am just wanting to do something, anything, daily. So even though I’m tired, and it’s nearly 9 pm, and my 9-year-old is sitting next to me (leaning into me) eating leftover Panera mac-n-cheese (probably why I’m suddenly feeling hungry), and Puss in Boots in streaming on Netflix, and my husband in snoring, and my daughter is stealing my bubble water (black cherry is her favorite), and I cannot see the keyboard, I will sit and write, something, anything. 

august 15, 2019

The energy requirement necessary to get four kids from point A to point B is astounding. In fact, I dare say that the energy requirement necessary to get four kids from point A to the car parked in front of point A, probably keeps me home more often that I’d like to admit.
I know that I make it harder on myself. I am not a planner. I admire those who can come up with an idea days in advance, gather all of the materials needed, and see their vision seamlessly executed from beginning to end. I don’t work that way. I do things based on how I feel, and, more importantly, whether or not I have the energy or desire to pack for, plan for, and herd a small group of humans to and from a place for their entertainment, only to have to listen to steady hum of their complaints, bickering, and dissatisfaction throughout the day. 
Today, however, was one of the days that I felt up to the task. At 8 am, I sat sipping my lukewarm coffee, searching google for any inspiration for kid friendly activities. I typed in ‘small trains near me’ and found that there was a park an hour away which had a small train, a splash ground, and a carousel (score)!! All three kids (the fourth is at the beach) were excited and eager to go. My enthusiasm wavered slightly as I realized that everyone was still in their pajamas and I still hadn’t had breakfast, but I straightened my shoulders, took a deep breath, and got to it. 

Toddlers dressed – check

Change of clothes for toddlers – check

Bathing suits for all three – nope, my 9-year-old has taken a turn, he no longer wants to go. 

Bathing suits for twins – check

I realize that I should bring something to eat. Sandwiches would be perfect, sandwiches with chips and some fruit. Why don’t I have bread? No bread, no sandwiches, (I really need to plan better). No matter, I have crackers and cheese! Crackers, cheese, grapes, raisins, waters, not too bad, this is going to happen! Bags packed and ready to go. Time to head from point A to car parked in front of point A. I ask my 9-year-old to help guide the twins to the car. They are less impulsive than they used to be, and I generally can go out without the fear that they will both bolt, in opposite directions, leaving me panicked and having to choose which toddler to chase, but it is still nice to have an extra set of hands and eyes on them. We load up the car, get our seat belts on, my 9-year-old still complaining about having to go, (two out of three is good), and start off. Nope, I can’t find my car charger. I turn off the car, run back inside and quickly look for it. Found it! Yes! Back to car, and off!