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Friday, September 23, 2011

Flying Solo

I'm fortunate (I think), that my husband doesn't travel much. Maybe 3 times a year, if that. But alas, the time came this year that he had to go out of town for a week and I was left to fend for myself with the boys. No break, just 24/7 hands-on parenting.

My immediate thoughts were:

1. I hope I don't go crazy
2. I don't have to make "real" dinners
3. I hope I don't go crazy

Surprisingly enough, it was a great week.The boys were pretty well-behaved and actually slept later than usual. I don't know why this is, but I'll take it!

We had dance parties, ate pancakes for dinner, took 4 o'clock baths and made Target runs because we were bored. All-in-all a good week. Oliver and I had our first music class together. I was so happy to have something to do with him one-on-one while Evan is in school. Oliver had a blast and enjoyed it so much. It made me so happy to see him dancing and having time to himself.

Evan only went to school one day this week because, well, we decided that Montessori wasn't the right fit for him. It was a hard decision, and now we're looking for a new school for him. Sometimes the decisions you make as a parent are so difficult, and I'm sure they will just continue to get difficult as they get older.

Even though I flew solo this week and missed Ryan, I have to admit I'm enjoying this relaxing time sprawled out in bed all by myself in my pjs enjoying this quiet "me" time. I have absolutely nothing I have to do. No work. The kids are sleeping.

Sometimes I have so many muddles going on that I don't even realize that I need to just stop once in awhile and relax. Even though I could currently put laundry away, clean the bathrooms, clean the playroom or vacuum. I told myself, "Forget it. Enjoy the peace." So I am. I'm writing this pointless entry because I have no muddlesome story to share.

I caught Evan with the toilet brush in the bathroom, doing who knows what with it, but that's about the extent of the excitement this week. And he sprayed cooking spray all over the front of the oven to "clean" it. So, yeah, not a whole lot to blog about.


Saturday, September 17, 2011

First Day of School

My oldest child had his first day of school this past week. Evan. Oh yes, Evan.

I couldn't believe that this day had come; but let me note that I really don't consider this school yet. I tell myself that real school doesn't start until kindergarten. It gets me through and I have yet to cry about him starting school.

So back to the first day. I thought I'd be more organized and prepared. I find myself too often thinking I'm going to be better organized and prepared, but the truth is, I won't be. I sure like to pretend though. I thought I'd have his clothes laid out the night before and his backpack packed with his extra change of clothes etc. Nope, I was the mom the next morning running around trying to feed both boys, remember his vaccination records, throw his new slippers into the backpack that he has to wear in the classroom, get myself dressed and presentable looking (I didn't even bother with make-up) and make sure that Evan was feeling comfortable emotionally with what we were about to go do. Never mind the fact that I had to get "first day of school" pictures. One with Evan and daddy; one with Evan and Oliver; one with Evan and myself; one with Evan by himself etc. I tried to cover all basis.

Finally, I had all the pictures taken and Evan ready to go. The thing was, I didn't want to be too early and be like the over-anxious mom, but I didn't want to be on the latter end of arrival time giving the perception that I'm an absent-minded mother...who am I kidding, they'll find the truth out eventually.

We love Evan's school and his teachers are as sweet as can be, My only worry was the big field (yes, another field) that awaited us as we exited the vehicle to go into the building. The school is on somewhat of a farm. Lots of outside activity, which is another reason we picked it. Evan loves the outside.

Anyway, Evan was too excited about school to even notice the field. Thankfully. He ran ahead of me with his little Percy the train backpack, stopped for a moment to acknowledge another child entering the building to say, "Hello, my name is Evan. I'm going to school. See ya later." Then ran ahead.

I, meanwhile, am frantically trying to follow him, holding Oliver, my camera, the papers and the tuition check. I ran through the door, having to corral Evan from running down the opposite hallway. I finally decided to put Oliver down to fend for himself so that I could get Evan situated. Oliver waddled away to check out everyone around him.

I got Evan to focus hanging up his backpack, then had to get him into wash his hands and attempted to try and get him to go potty. I knew if I didn't, there was a chance for a first day of school accident and we couldn't have that happening. First impression you know.

I couldn't get him to go and I didn't want to make a scene forcing him to go, so I left it at that. Big mistake, but we'll get to that later.

I ran after Evan as he ran out of the bathroom and attempted to get into his classroom.

"Slippers!" I called after him. He ran back to me.

I grabbed his slippers out of his backpack only to realize I never cut the tags off of them. So amidst the chaos that ensues on the first day, I'm asking the director for a pair of scissors surrounded by a bunch of excited 3-5 year-olds, while my one-year-old is amongst the crowd somewhere.

I quickly did what I had to do and got Evan's feet in the slippers, gave him a big hug (I had to ask him to come back and give it to me) and found Oliver making his way out of the girls bathroom...who knows? I collected Oliver and we left for a fun-filled morning at home together.

My stomach was in knots all morning wondering how Evan was doing. Oliver and I made banana bread and he enjoyed the luxury of having the Thomas train table all to himself. Finally, it was time to make our way back.

I joined the other parents who had already arrived and we waited outside since the kids were playing in the field, although we couldn't see them yet.

Then, there he was. On that cool, misty, grey morning, the class came trudging up the hill holding onto the rope that keeps them all together. I noticed Evan was in the front of the line next to the teacher. Oh, boy.

As they got closer, I noticed he was wearing different clothes. Oh, boy.

Then they got closer and he spotted me. He made a break for it. Oh, boy.

This caused a domino effect and the other kids also ran toward their awaiting parents while the teachers tried to call them back.

"Mommy!" Evan screamed. He was covered in freshly mowed, wet grass from head to toe. Yes, that included his brand new awesome looking dinosaur sneakers that his nana and papa had bought him.

"Did you have fun?" I asked.

He burst into tears and threw himself on the ground in the most dramatic fashion I had witnessed from him. I looked around quickly at the other kids. No other crying or drama.

"What's wrong, Evan?"

"Oh, mommy! Mumble, mumble, mumble. I don't want to go home!"

I quickly was relieved by this answer I managed to get out of him and decipher. He had a good time. Then I remembered he was in new clothes.

"Did you have an accident?"

"Yes, I got all wet."

"Well, we all have accidents. That's OK." I made a mental note that we would avoid this the next time. I just had to figure out how to get him to go potty before class.

We collected his belongings, including his wet clothes in the plastic bag, and as I went to talk to his teacher to see how he did, Evan burst through the door back out into the field. I took myself and Oliver and all of our stuff and ran after him. The director came out and offered to help, but quickly saw that he was distracting Evan even more. It was really nice of him, though.

No one else's child decided to run away. Just mine. Something about the big open spaces of green.

Eventually we made our way back inside to say good-bye and thank you and into the car.

"I had a fun day, Mommy," Evan told me as he got into his car seat. Then he started singing a song they sang in circle time. I smiled.

I think once the excitement settles down, Evan is going to do great in school.

The next morning, I made a little "song" up (really just a chant of words to a beat) that went like this: "Go into school (clap, clap), hang up our backpack (clap, clap), go potty (clap, clap), wash our hands (clap, clap), put on our slippers (clap, clap)."

We "sang" it the whole way to school until he finally said, "Mom, I dont' want to sing that anymore."

It worked though. We got into school the second day and he did everything in order, much to my relief. And when I picked him up later, he was still in the same clothes. No accidents, but he still gave an Oscar-worthy performance when I picked him up again because he didn't want to leave.

This time to get him out of the field back inside (yes, he ran away again), we had a "race" to see who could get there the fastest. I don't know if it will work this week. I'm running out of ideas and that field isn't going anywhere anytime soon.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Runaways

Today's adventure had me completely out of control. A position I find myself in quite a bit.

Sometimes, after an unfortunate experience, I ask myself why I set myself up for these muddled situations. I should know better. After all. I've been doing this mom thing for 3 years and 4 months.

My "situation" today resulted in my need to go to a consignment shop to drop off some things I was trying to sell. I thought that it couldn't be that bad taking the boys. I'd go in, they'd check out the stuff and we'd leave.

It all began as we pulled up into the parking lot. I had to get a laundry basket, a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old out of the car and into the store. All while keeping them from wandering onto the busy road it was on.

Evan had been so helpful lately that I decided to change things up a bit. I got him out of his car seat first, and then got Oliver and the laundry basket. At first, it seemed to be working just fine. But as I rounded the back of the car to grab the other one, he ran.

That's right, he ran into the glorious, green field speckled with purple flowers that the store bordered.

One, I freaked because we were on a busy road.

Two, I freaked because my husband is paranoid about ticks and Lyme disease, and Evan, at that moment, decided to throw himself in the green meadow and roll around - giggling the whole time in his splendor of freedom.

So, I did what I find myself doing a lot of. I began yelling. "EVAN! Get over here right now! You DON'T run away from Mommy like that. We are on a busy road. Get OUT OF THERE! NOW!"

This went on for a few minutes. No exaggeration. Besides that, I was late to my appointment with the consignment shop people. I needed as much money for my load as possible. I didn't want to make them mad.

Well, Evan finally came around and we made it into the store.

Oh. No. The store was amazing. It had anything and everything children, which meant toys, books, games etc. It was sensory overload for my sensory sensitive boy. I held my breath as the door closed behind me. This was not going to be enjoyable.

And just like that, he was off. Running up and down the aisles; and then his brother managed to squirm out of my one arm holding him while I desperately shuffled my way to the lady standing at the counter waiting to see what I had brought.

I laid the loot on the counter and proceeded to spend the next 20 minutes trying to keep my kids in the play area they had so thoughtfully set up for kids; however, that didn't keep them entertained very long. They wanted to play with all of the toys that were on sale that they weren't supposed to touch.

As I ran after one, the other one would go the other way. At one point, I ran after the sound of Oliver's infectious giggles only to hear a CRASH echo behind me. I scooped up Oliver and raced back to the "playroom" to find Evan on the floor with the play kitchen on top of him.

"Sorry, Mom. I was playing."  Yeah. Great.

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity and running 100 laps around the store and its maze of aisles, the lady had a total for me. I quickly accepted the amount and again turned around to grab the boys - they had run off while my attention was elsewhere, yet again.

The lady sympathetically looked at me and said, "Would you like some help out to the car?"

I squared my shoulders back, picked up Oliver's relentlessly squirming body, and replied, "Yes, that would be great. Thank you."

Evan just had to hear the word "out" and he bolted for the door. The laundry basket of the remnants of what she didn't take were put by the trunk of my car and I thanked her, only to turn around to find Evan in the field.

This time, I went after him with Oliver in tow.

As I entered the grassy ocean, Evan just ran further. But finally, yes finally, he stopped, walked over to me and said, "Come on, Mom. Let's go now."

I can now add kids consignment stores to the list of places not to bring my children. The list continues to grow.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Rainy Day Adventure

I'm finally getting out of my funk and getting back to a semi-normal schedule. With that, comes the responsibility of getting back on a regular shopping schedule.

Hence my need to go to Sam's Club today - in the rain.

Before my venture out with the kids, I took in the weather situation outside my window and thought that it seemed to be clearing and the rain was letting up enough that we could get in and out of the store without a problem.

We got our rain boots on and made our way to Sam's.

I had my list and Goldfish and had already given the boys the talk and told them a cinnamon and sugar pretzel awaited them at the end of our Sam's Club adventure...that and the potential of "special treats" i.e. the sample people and their cart of delectable delights.

I couldn't go on the promise of the special treats alone, as it was a Wednesday and I believed they only ventured out around noon on the weekends. I was pleasantly surprised when we entered the bulk food mecca, rounded the corner by the bakery, and found a little old lady giving out samples of ravioli.

The boys were pleased, and I relieved.

After crossing everything off my list and making our way to one more "special treat" cart (this one was cantaloupe), we made our way to the check-out line.

I breathed a sigh of relief - we had made it.

Do you ever do that? Get to the check-out line with the kids after a shopping trip that goes right and just relax. You only have to get the items on the conveyor belt, pay and make it to the parking lot. 

Then there are the times where there isn't even a moment to breathe a sigh of relief because of the terror you have just inflicted on everyone in the store with your screaming kids who won't stay in the cart, are crying or running away from you. You are doing everything in your power to keep them quiet and make it out of the store as quickly as possible. You don't even look at the receipt, you don't care, you just want to get out of there!

That wasn't the case today. A smooth shopping trip, kids only slightly naughty and a cinnamon and sugar soft pretzel waiting for us at the end. Perfection.

We made it through the check-out line, got our cinnamon pretzel and quickly devoured it between the three of us. 

"All right boys! Let's go home. Great job," I told them.

Sometimes I feel like a coach for a pro-sports team as a mom to 2 boys. Giving them pep talks for our outings and such.

As we made our way out of the store after getting our receipt looked over, I stopped in horror as I looked outside to see it DOWN POURING!

Not Good.

I didn't have the option of leaving the boys under the safety of the overhang while I ran and pulled the car to the loading area, as everyone else, who were smart enough to not come out on a rainy day with their children, were doing.

We waited about 5 minutes, hoping that it would let up a bit. I had cold stuff that needed to get home, plus the fact that it was 4:30 and we had to get home to start dinner.

"Alright, time for a rainy adventure!" What  other choice did I have?

Evan squealed in delight. He was excited, to say the least.

I ran the cart through the parking lot, as it continued raining and we all got drenched. I got Oliver out first and snapped into his carseat, and then on to Evan; however,  he had his big, green frog rain boots on and I couldn't get him out. Is it just me, or are Sam's Club's foot holes in the carts super small?

We fought that cart in the rain while, conveniently, a lady  parked next to us, proceeded to pull out and almost hit us. Couldn't she see the predicament I was in and be a little patient?

I finally got Evan out and into his car seat, packed the groceries into the trunk and jumped into the car.

"Mommy, I'm not buckled in!"

I jumped back out, got even wetter, buckled Evan in and jumped back into my seat.

As I took a moment to breathe, I looked into the rear-view mirror and saw Evan and Oliver giggling and talking to each other.

I could have been upset about getting drenched and all of my groceries being soaked, but seeing my boys laughing and "communicating" to each other in the back seat took all of my frustration away.

"That was a super fun adventure, Mommy!" Evan yelled.

"Well, I'm glad Evan."