(Almost) Wordless Wednesday – Legacy

Right now, at the FSU Museum of Fine Arts, there are numerous pieces of artwork created by children from area schools as part of their “Generations” exhibit.  My son was asked to be a part of one of the exhibits based on the theme of “my legacy”.  The children from his school were to create a picture and a poem based on one word that they chose to be their legacy to the world.  I’m proud to say that he chose the word, HELPFULNESS.  I like that legacy.

His legacy: helping the world.

His legacy: helping the world.

Always Remember (My 200th Post)

butterflyWell, I have actually made it to 200 blog posts.  I wasn’t really counting but the other day I noticed that I was getting close thanks to the features on WordPress.  Since I have been told that reaching 200 is somewhat of a milestone, I wanted to make sure that this post was about something important.  As such, I want to share with you the recent events that my children were a part of for Holocaust Remembrance Day/Week (Yom HaShoah).

At school, my older son has been studying the artwork of the students of Friedl Dicker-Brandeis, a Jewish art teacher at the concentration camp Terezin.  One of Ms. Dicker-Brandeis’ students was Ela Weissberger.  Ela is now 83 and is the subject of the famous book “The Cat With The Yellow Star”.  cat

Here is an short biography of Ela:

In 1942, at the age of 11, Ela Weissberger was sent with her grandmother, mother and sister to Terezin, a concentration camp in what is today known as the Czech Republic.  Amidst hardship and duress, she received schooling organized/taught by talented adults who were also imprisoned.  The arts were integral to her education.  She sang in the opera, Brundibar, while at Terezin and studied visual arts with Friedl Dicker-Brandeis.  Most of her classmates were eventually sent to death camps.  Dicker-Brandeis saved her students’ work by hiding it in suitcases before she went to her own death at Auschwitz.  Today Ela Weissberger travels across the United States to speak about her experience.

This week, we were fortunate enough to have Ms. Weissberger spend some time in our city and we were able to hear her speak.  But, more importantly, my kids were able to be involved in special performances for and with Ela.  My son was part of a condensed performance of Brundibar in honor of a speech Ms. Weissberger was giving to the community and was able to spend some time speaking to her before the program began.

meeting Ela

meeting Ela

performing Brundibar

performing Brundibar

The next day, both my daughter and my son were able to perform “the Victory Song” from Brundibar with the children’s choir (AND ELA HERSELF!) at a special remembrance service at the temple.

singing with Ela

singing with Ela

As my kids are the only brother/sister duo in the choir (and the play was about a brother and sister facing a tyrant), they were chosen to sing a special part together, present Ela with a special butterfly made out of the children’s handprints (butterflies became the symbol of freedom to those imprisoned so they have a special meaning to her), and they were even invited by Ela to sit by her during parts of the service.  They were very excited about this honor, to say the least.

presenting Ela with a butterfly made of handprints

presenting Ela with the butterfly

getting a special hug

getting a special hug

up close and personal

up close and personal

After meeting Ms. Weissberger and hearing her speak, there was no doubt that we were in the presence of a very special person.  She was so charismatic and loving to everyone she spoke to and a gentle reminder of how much we all lost during that tragic time in history.

Whether you are Jewish or not (we are an interfaith family), the Holocaust and the lasting effects are something that should never be forgotten.  I’m so glad my kids were able to meet such a special lady and learn more about their heritage and history on such a personal level.

I would like to dedicate my 200th post to Ela and all of the other survivors who dare to share their stories with us.  May we never forget.never forget

Why I Still Like The Woman Who Called My Son A Brat

As I have mentioned before, I have started trying to treat my two-year-old like an older kid and give him a little more running room when it comes to outings.  I have extended this attempt (slightly) to the times when we are running errands and I can sense that he has no intention of staying quietly seated in the cart.  This often makes these outings more difficult, but I can see with each new trip that he is slowly getting better at behaving and acting like a nice little boy rather than a tornado in a human body.

Case in point: the other day I needed to go pick up a coffee mug and a box of tea cookies for my kids to “donate” to their Sunday School’s basket of coffee goodies which will be raffled off for charity.  I headed to a store right up the street because I knew it had both of these items at very reasonable prices.  The goal was to go in, head straight to the appropriate departments, make a quick selection, pay and get out of there before Big Trouble could do any real damage.  I had a plan! (famous last words)

Naturally, Big Trouble started making a fuss after approximately 45 seconds in the cart.  “I get out….I stuck, Mom….OUT!”  Oh, are you not happy sitting in the cart where you can’t reach anything on the shelves?  Poor baby is what I was thinking sarcastically.  But, I knew I had a very short window of time before he figured out how to wiggle his way out of the seat belt (as he always does) and hurl himself onto the ground a la Superman.  So, instead of getting worked up, I calmly turned to him and asked if he would like to walk.  “Ok.  I walk.”  Great.

Now, he knows very well that if he is walking somewhere, then he is holding my hand the whole time, I don’t care where we are.  This may seem a bit extreme, but he is FAST and I am only semi-fast these days.  It’s just safer for all parties involved if I never let go.  He happily obliged my demand for hand holding and we started our march toward the housewares department.  I knew this was risky seeing as though I was going to look at mugs (breakable) which were located right by plates (breakable) and vases (breakable) and weird sculptures that I don’t understand (again, breakable).  You get the picture.  It was very daring of me.  I like to live life on the edge.

We made it to the department without incident.  I started to check out the silly mugs because I prefer things that make me laugh.  My little guy told me he would sit while I looked so I said ok…until I watched him go over to the neighboring shelf and try to sit on a mini chest of drawers because it looked like stairs to him.  Not great.  Luckily, I caught him before any damage occurred and I brought him back to a little alcove one foot away from where I was browsing.  He sat down and then looked at me suspiciously.  Out of the corner of my eye, I could see him scooting forward on his butt in an attempt to sneak over to the weird ceramic sculptures.  I pulled him back.  Two seconds later, he started scooting again.  I pulled him back.  He scooted again.  We went through this groundhog’s day of tug of war for about 5 minutes.  I listened to him tell me, “I gentle, mommy” repeatedly as if saying that phrase over and over again would save the weird frog planter from being destroyed at his tiny, but powerful hands.  No one believes you, kid.  Sorry.  Back to the corner.

Why didn’t I just give up after the first few attempts, one might ask? Because I am not a quitter!  And because I am stupid.  I finally decided that I had found the perfect cup (aka, the one closest to my hands the final time he tried to pet the 3 foot glass giraffe) and I led him away from the breakables to the coffee aisle where the tea biscuits could be found.  “COOKIES!” he shouted excitedly as he tried to convince me to buy every box available.  I spied a small box that looked exciting and appropriate on the top shelf, grabbed it and handed it to him to hold as we quickly made our way off of that aisle before he reduced the products to crumbs.

We skipped to the front of the store (I pulled a muscle in my leg because I am old but it was worth it) so that we could finally make our purchases and get out of there.  Unfortunately, there was a line.  This is the fear of all mothers just trying to make it through a “quick” shopping adventure.  And, I had no cart!  “Open it, open it” could be heard by everyone in line as my little guy kept trying to get into our to-be-donated box of cookies.  I was too busy praying that the people in front of us would spontaneously combust so that we could move to the front of the line to answer him right away.  He didn’t understand why we had to wait when he was ready to go so I also got a few “Come on, mom.  You ready?  I ready!  Let’s go!”

Got it, kid.  Believe me, nobody wants to get out of here faster than I do (except maybe the people in line with us who were tired of hearing him too).  At this point, he threw himself on the floor in protest of the situation and the fact that the cookies we were getting were not for his enjoyment.  I kept my feet wrapped around him so he couldn’t get away and I would have just stood there but I noticed people were looking so I decided to pretend that I was nervous about how dirty the floor was in there.  That’s what good moms do, right?  Ooh, honey, don’t lay on the floor!  It’s dirty! (No one needs to know that he had already spent a good 10 minutes rolling around in the housewares department so the dirt part is moot).  Come on now, get up and hold my hand.

As I attempted to hold his hand and keep him with me as the line progressed, he threw himself on the floor again.  Not my favorite action, but at least he wasn’t screaming very loudly.  The woman behind us started chuckling and said, “if it was me, I would just leave him there and step over the body.”  This was my kind of woman.  She wasn’t judging or giving useless tips, she was making light of the crazy situation in a very blase’ tone.  She was supporting me with an attitude very similar to my own, something I had never experienced from a stranger before!  I laughed back and said that I would totally do that if not for the fact that he was a runner and my adroitness is not on par with his.

She started laughing again at the now huge ball of dust known as my son still rolling around on the ground and muttered, “little brat”.  She then stopped laughing immediately, realizing that she had just called a stranger’s kid “a brat” straight to the mother’s face.  She then started the long road to ejecting one’s foot from one’s mouth by trying to switch it to “beast” as though that’s what she said the first time (and as if beast is much better than brat); then she started giggling nervously and changed beast to “beastoid” because apparently she just couldn’t think of any words to make her faux pas any less offensive so she made one up and then she just stopped talking.  This entire onslaught of unintentional insults happened in about 5 seconds and I have to tell you that I found it to be the FUNNIEST thing I have ever witnessed in my life.  I may have actually snorted while trying not to laugh at the mess that kept coming out of her mouth.

approximate visualization of a beastoid

approximate visualization of a beastoid

Obviously, I, too, was thinking what a little brat my son was being and I often refer to him as a beast (although he will now be referred to as a beastoid because I really like that word better) but she was a stranger and she didn’t know that.  Under any other circumstance, my mama bear instinct might not have taken so kindly to someone  outing my son as a beastoid, but I could tell that she didn’t mean any harm.  She was just speaking out loud as a mother who has probably called all of her kids beastoids at some point in their lives.  And, she had the good grace to realize the mistake and be embarrassed about it, even while just burying herself deeper and deeper into the “I can’t believe I said that so I better fix it but it’s just getting worse the longer I keep talking” hole.

If we hadn’t been called up to the next register right after that (THANK GOD), this woman and I might have become life long friends, all because she called my son a brat!  She will hold a special place in my heart from this moment on as I will forever remember the day my son was christened “beastoid” by a total stranger.  It suits him and I never would have been so imaginative.

Moral of the story, if you approach a bratty kid and engage the struggling mother, have a good attitude and a sense of humor and you may actually get away with calling her kid names (or at least give her a laugh)!  And, if some well-intentioned stranger accidentally calls your kid a beastoid, give her a break; she’s probably just having flashbacks from rearing her own children.

Now I must run because my brat beast beastoid is trying to climb into the tub fully clothed.

Potty Training Progress….NOT

Well, it has been a few months since I have written about the joys of potty training a little boy.  I’m back with an update on our progress – THERE HASN’T BEEN ANY.  I personally think it is his mission to postpone this milestone as long as possible just to see how long I will be willing to wipe his smeared poo-butt (the result of breakdancing on the floor after hiding in the corner to do his business in his diaper) or pick up the pieces of poo that fall out of his diaper/clean the floor (also the result of breakdancing and then running away from me when finished with his corner business).

I even broke down and went to the library specifically for books about the potty since the dvds have done squat (I even checked out a few books directing me how to coach him, even though I have been through this 2 times before and I’m fairly certain I have already read everything there is to know, none of which is helpful).

We found 3 picture books with different stories: one about a defiant princess (whose attitude seemed vaguely familiar to my little guy) that didn’t like her potty; one about a pirate who crossed the sea to get to his potty, pirate underwear and all; and a Little Critter book about getting a new potty.  Here’s how those books went over:

Book #1:

*Me – The princess didn’t want to use her potty.  That’s probably because she didn’t have a cool Cars potty like you do (I make the books say what I want them to say when my big kids aren’t around to correct me).  Don’t you think she would like to use your Cars party? Vroom, vroom!

*Big Trouble – Ooh toys!  (Of all of the pictures on the page, he bypasses the potty and notices that the princess is playing with toys).

*Me – Yes, she has toys, but she would rather have a Cars potty.  Let’s see if she gets one on the next page when all of the townspeople bring her new potties!  Ooh, she got a potty with polka dots! And one that glows in the dark!  That would be fun to use!

*Big Trouble –  Ooh stairs! (someone was climbing stairs to hand over a potty).

*Me – Yep, there’s the stairs, but look at how she got new underwear so that she could use the big girl potty!  You have some new underwear that you can wear when you use the big boy potty!

*Big Trouble – Princess went pee-pee and poo-poo. (WAIT, WHAT?!)

*Me – THAT’S RIGHT! (yes, I screamed it because I was so shocked that he finally tuned in)  Don’t you want to go pee-pee and poo-poo in the potty?

*Big Trouble – ooh, cookies.

And, that’s how that book went.

Book #2:

*Me – Look, here’s a big boy pirate who wants to find the potty.  Do you see the potty?

*Big Trouble – ooh, pirate! yeah!

*Me – There’s his potty!  See how the pirate uses the potty?  He doesn’t like diapers.

*Big Trouble – ooh, bird. (FOCUS KID!)

*Me – yep, pirates who use the potty get a bird.  (wait, did I just kind of try to bribe him with a bird? oops)  And here’s his cool hat that he wears on the potty.  We have a pirate hat you can wear on the potty if you want to.

*Big Trouble – ooh, mouse. (oh well, at least he didn’t catch my accidental bird bribery).

*Me – yep, that’s a mouse.  But look here at this fun pirate potty!  The pirate uses his potty like a big boy!  You can be a big boy like the pirate if you go to the potty and not in your diaper.

*Big Trouble – oh no, he cry. baby cry.

*Me – no, he’s laughing, not crying.  He’s happy he is a big boy using the potty.

*Big Trouble – oh no, he cry.

*Me – no, honey, he’s not sad, he’s happy!  Potties are fun!

*Big Trouble – Buzz! Rex-y! Woody! Bullseye! (He was no longer concerned with the crying pirate as he had already moved on to a Toy Story book that was on the floor next to us)

Book #3:

Me – Hold on sweetie, Little Critter is going to get a new potty in this book! That’s more fun than Toy Story!

Big Trouble – I say NO! (he got off my lap and ran off to find his farm animals).

So, as you can see, great strides in the art of potty training are being made here at our house.   Sigh.

5 Things I Learned About My 2-Year-Old

Last week I chronicled a few crazy things from my older kids and this week I will tell you about the quirkiness of my little one.

1. If he picks his nose and a booger actually comes out, he will scream and then yell, “OW, OW, OW” as though his hand is on fire until I wipe it off.  I must say I like this reaction better than the “ooh, look what I have/let’s see what I can wipe this on” reaction that my other two had.

2. He knows how to chew gum better than my older two.  I discovered this by accident when he was playing with some candy that my kids got at a recent carnival.  He wasn’t trying to eat it, he was just laying it out in a line on our table and then stacking it like blocks.  It was keeping him busy, so I let him keep doing it while I walked the 10 steps to our laundry room to throw a load in the washer.  I came back approx. 30 seconds later to the sound of, “mommy I finished” and the sight of him handing over a large wad of hubba bubba.  WOW.  My other two are just now getting to the point where I will trust them with gum because they always seem to “accidentally” swallow it so I was impressed that he had the foresight to hand it over without a problem.  (I have no idea how he got it unwrapped and chewed in such a short amount of time, but I am convinced that he was just waiting for the moment I walked away to test the gum out – sneaky, sneaky).

3. Trying to take a picture of him right now is virtually impossible, unless he has to poo.  He turned two in October and I have yet to get his 2-year-old pictures.  This actually has nothing to do with the fact that he is the 3rd child.  It really is because HE WON’T SIT STILL to save his life. I don’t want to waste the money or effort trying to get him to smile in the studio when I know he will just try to escape.  I was thinking about having a photographer try to capture a few moments outside because I thought he might be more cooperative that way so I decided to take him to a park/lake area near our house for a test run.  The word to focus on here is RUN.  From the moment we got out of the car, the kid was “Runnin’ ” a la Forrest Gump.  I tried to keep up with him and take a few shots with my own camera (which is not a great one) but he was so fast that I spent most of my time just holding the camera out in front of me and getting shots of the back of his head.  Meanwhile he was doing his best to run into the street, then jump off the bridge into the lake, then climb onto the highest part of the playground and play Superman.  This literally went on for 30 minutes before I thought I was going to have a heart attack from the “exercise”.  Then, he suddenly stopped and turned around to look at me with half a smile.  I got excited because I thought I was wearing him down and I grabbed the camera out to catch him while he was still.  Then I realized that it wasn’t a smile, it was a grunt and a strain face.  Lovely.  *Note to family members still waiting on pictures, unless you want one of him soiling himself on a slide, you’ll probably be waiting a while longer.*

the only time he is still....(are you pooping? emphatically shakes head no while turning bright red)

the only time he is still….(are you pooping? emphatically shakes head no while turning bright red)

4.  If he doesn’t know your name, he classify you as either “old” or “young” and likewise, you will be known as either “grandma” or “baby”.  Seriously; every kid is “baby” and every adult, man or woman, is “grandma”.  This has brought about some interesting conversations in public venues.

5. If you show him the hair on the floor after he gets a haircut, he will grab his head in horror and say, “oh no, my hair” as though it was shaved completely off.  To be fair, this week was the first time he has ever sat still long enough to actually get a complete haircut so he really didn’t know what to expect.  I had taken him twice before and both attempts were disasters so we had just let it grow out as long as possible before I tried again.  I finally found a place with a cool seat and toys to distract him so she was able to cut off his extra Justin Bieber hair (AND IT WAS A LOT) without getting rid of the baby softness.  But that also meant that there was enough hair on the floor to make a small wig so he FREAKED OUT until I showed him the mirror, proving that he still had hair.  I had no idea that he would even put two and two together so apparently I need to start giving him more credit for his higher thinking skills.

My kids never cease to amaze me with the way they think, their new skills and the crazy shenanigans they can get into.  I’m sure next week will bring even more “excitement” from all 3!

Beautiful Mama Blog Award

beautiful mama

Valerie over at Atlantamomofthree recently nominated me for this award and I am quite honored.   So, as requested in acceptance of this award, here are three things that I love about motherhood:

1. Even in the hardest of times, my kids can make me laugh and smile.  Sure it’s gross when they poop on me, but it gives me great stories to tell later.  And, they always seem to know my breaking point and will swoop in with the sweetest statements ever right at that moment.  **I also have unlimited hugs and kisses at my disposal, at least for now**

2. Motherhood has given me a purpose for my life.  Even though I had to postpone my legal career, I can’t imagine doing anything more worthwhile than being with my kids.  I NEVER thought I would be a stay-at-home mom, but I know making that decision was the best thing I ever did, even if it was also one of the most difficult!

3. Motherhood has made me appreciative of the little things in life.  Kids have a completely different outlook on life than adults and it’s so nice to be able to see through their little eyes.  (For example, my kids recently pointed out that an upside down heart looks like a butt – AWESOME!)

There are many more things that I love, but it would take all day to list them.  So now, I am going to nominate three of my favorite mom blogs, Motherhood Is An Art, When The Kids Go To Bed, and Magnolia Blossom.

Ladies, to accept the award, please do the following things:

  • Click the above award image, save it and use it in your acceptance post.
  • List 3 things you love about motherhood.
  • Nominate other deserving mamas; you may choose as many as you like. (And let them know of the nomination)

Thanks again, Valerie, for my nomination!  You rock!

No, Honey, Those Are Not Fruit Snacks

I don't see why he isn't interested in this!

I don’t see why he isn’t interested in this!

As I have mentioned in the past, I am in the process of potty training my youngest.  He wants nothing to do with it other than to just sit randomly on his little toilet and tell me what a big boy he is.

Yesterday, I noticed him hiding in his spot and I knew exactly what he was up to.  I went over to him, checked the diaper and noticed that he had started to soil himself, but was clearly not finished.  So, I decided that maybe if I got him on his potty mid-poo, he would get a few, um, “pieces” in there and I would be able to praise him and show him how this whole business is supposed to go.

I asked him if he could sit on his potty and he said yes so I brought over the toilet and carefully took off his gross diaper while he straddled the seat.  He sat down for 3.5 seconds and that was the extent of his interest.  But, with my good timing, he managed to put a little something in the toilet during those few seconds of down time.

As he stood up, I cheered and told him he was a big boy for using the potty and I pointed into the little container so that he could admire his handiwork.  **Only at this point in childhood are we so excited about feces.**  He looked at me and then into the potty and then back at me and said, “oooh, fruit snacks!” and then started to reach into the toilet to grab out his deposit, apparently to eat it.  Yeah.

Fortunately, I have the reflexes of a jungle cat when it comes to all things kid-related and I was able to prevent this disgusting occurrence.  But, seriously, who poops in the potty and mistakes it for a fruit snack?! Only my kid.

Once again he has proven that we are making absolutely no progress and he has more potential at being a Depends model than becoming a regular toilet user.  He has also made me look at fruit snacks in an entirely different light.

Warning: Pinterest Can Be Hazardous To Your Mental Health

pinterestI’m not an artistic person.  I like to do arts and crafts but my skill level is comparable to my 3 kids (ages 7, 5 and 2).  When Pinterest first came out, I was in awe of all of the cool craft ideas for gifts and holidays and basically just everyday life.  Many of the crafts that had been pinned were done by normal people, not Martha Stewart, so this made me feel quite confident that I could also accomplish everything that I repinned to my boards.  Confidence was mine and everyone I knew was on a list to become a recipient of my great creations.

A few months in and many attempts later, I quickly realized that these projects really were not meant for me.  I managed to get a few things done and blamed the technique on my kids so people forgave the catastrophes.  But the more things I tried, the more frustrated I became because I finally became privy to the knowledge that the I am NOT Martha Stewart; I am not a member of her staff; I am not even on the same level as her beloved dogs – this was a tough thing to admit, but it had to happen eventually.  As such, I can’t even accomplish what the normal people on Pinterest can. Great.

As Valentine’s Day was approaching, I found myself being tugged back in the direction of Pinterest in search of the perfect homemade Valentine project to do with my kids.  I just knew that no other mother would buy Valentines this year, solely because Pinterest exists.  I found so many cute ideas and even made a board for them.  Then I had a PTSD flashback to last Valentine’s Day when “we” made little inchworm Valentines from a “simple” printable that I found where?  You guessed it, Pinterest.

It was a much bigger pain than I thought and I almost broke my hand (not joking, ripped a tendon in my wrist) punching a billion holes in cardstock.  What was I thinking when I even considered homemade valentines this year?!  Oh, I know; I saw all of the posts from all of my friends and their friends about the cute things they were making with their kids and of course I felt the pressure to “be a good mom” and keep up with the fantastic gifts that everyone else was making.  It’s so easy to feel that pressure, isn’t it?! Especially with wretched Pinterest making me feel so inferior.  Curse you, Pinterest!

Well, about the time that I would have started the process of making Valentines, everyone got sick and after that week-long germ fest, I just didn’t have it in me to do homemade.  So, I cautiously asked my kids if they would be ok with just buying cards this year (meanwhile I was praying fervently for the answer that I wanted).  They both quickly agreed to just give me ideas and let me find the closest thing while they were at school.  SERIOUSLY?!  I hit the jackpot!  That meant that I could just run in and run out (albeit with my 2-year-old in tow) and not have to wait 3 hours while they carefully examined every possible option 30 times.  My son wanted sports – DONE; my daughter wanted Barbie – DONE; and my baby immediately picked out the Muppets as soon as he laid eyes on the box.  Perfect.  I bought a bag of valentine-colored sixlets to add to their cards and we were set.

money well spent!

money well spent!

Naturally, the morning of Valentine’s Day, my son woke up sick – even more stress!!  So, his sister took his cards to his class and picked up his bag at the end of the day so he wouldn’t miss out completely.  As they sat down at our table that night to show me all of their cards, I held my breath.  I was positive that there would be so many cute homemade cards that other kids had made with their moms and I would feel that horrible wave of guilt, even though I knew the choice was right this year.  To my great surprise, the only people who made their Valentines were the teachers!  Sigh of relief!  I guess all of the other moms came to the same realization this year!

I will most likely try to make something next year (probably something “easy” from horrid Pinterest – ugh), but for now, I am very happy that this year, both my tendons and my sanity are still in tact!  Success!  Happy Valentine’s Day to ME!!!  (And to you too – hope yours was a little less stressful than mine!) 🙂pinterest 2

Humiliation At Its Finest

tired momA few days ago, we got a notice in the mail from Costco explaining that they had recalled this nasty seafood spread which they had been sampling last month and which my husband had fallen in love with and purchased 2 tubs of.  The letter was dated 2/4 and the expiration date of the said recalled item was 1/31.  Anyone else see the problem with these dates?

Well, as he is still alive and kicking, I am guessing that listeria or swine flu or herpes or whatever the problem with the seafood spread was didn’t affect my husband.  However, the fact that he had spent $16 on these infectious spreads did!  So, naturally, as a stay-at-home mom with nothing else to do, it fell to me to take Costco up on their offer to refund the full purchase price.

No big deal, Big Trouble (my 2-year-old) and I love the hotdogs at Costco so we could just get our refund and then have an early lunch date over the $1.50 hotdog special.  Great plan.  Here’s my train of thought at that point:

Wait, Costco doesn’t open until 10 and I have a dentist appointment shortly after that. We better get there as soon as it opens so we can get in and out quickly.  I know, we’ll go to the Walmart right next to Costco beforehand so we can pick up a few grocery items and a frame for the poster we had made for daddy’s Valentine’s present.  Good Lord, I am the mother of all fantastic game plans regarding maximizing time and effort on outings! (Pat on the back to myself)

We arrive at Walmart at 9:40, ready to make a mad dash through the store, grab the 3 things we need and get out of there before any mishaps occur.  I decided to grab the frame first because that was the only thing not in the grocery section and because that was the one item that might take a minute to pick out.  Again, I had a plan!

I throw gently place my son in the cart and we head off in search of the cheapest perfect frame.  We quickly reach the aisle and I start to frantically search for the size that we need.  It is a bigger size so the selection is quite limited, which actually works in my favor because I only have 2 to choose from instead of 35.  As I stop for 15 seconds to decide which of the two would work better for the photo poster, my son starts screaming, “let’s go, Mommy;  I’m ready, Mommy; let’s go; let’s go; I’m ready, MOOOOOMMMMMY”.

Seriously, kid?  We just stopped for 2 seconds!  Where do you need to go?  People are staring.  Here; take your cup and shut your precious little pie hole while I make a decision.

He didn’t like how I tried to handle the situation.  He looked at me with a nasty glare, took his cup and hurled it over one aisle into the next.  OH MY LORD!  Luckily, the aisle was empty so no one got bashed in the head with a flying sippy cup.  However, much to my surprise (and dismay), the shelves at Walmart do not go all the way to the ground.  I had never noticed this before, probably because I equate being on the floor at Walmart to touching someone with leprosy.  This meant that the cup had ample opportunity to choose a location underneath the shelf and it chose the very middle of the middle (aka, the hardest place in the world to reach, naturally).

Now, the sane person part of me (yes, there is a little bit of her left) wanted to just leave the cup and run, but the frugal mom part of me was screaming, “get under there and get that cup – they aren’t that cheap and you know your kid goes through them too quickly to let this one go”.   As I am still semi-young enough to get down on my hands and knees, I decided to listen to the mom side.  Big mistake.  It was so gross under there and I had to almost crawl completely under the shelf to reach it, resulting in my clothes, which had just come out of the dryer that morning, being covered in the nastiness that is the floor of Walmart.  You don’t even want to know what I saw under there.  MUST LEARN TO LISTEN TO THE SANE PERSON PART OF THE BRAIN FROM NOW ON!!!!

But, that wasn’t the worst part.  As I’m on the floor in a most unflattering position like a complete idiot,  I hear my screaming kid stop screaming for a minute.  Then I hear him start laughing as he shouts out, “MOMMY’S BOOTY! HAHA! “MOMMY’S BOOTY!”  (I guess I should be grateful that he didn’t add a “big” in there).  Then from afar I hear grownup laughing.  I’m talking more than one person’s giggles.  I am tempted to just move into the undergrowth of Walmart germs permanently to avoid having to look those people in the eye.  I climb back out to the tune of more giggles and “Mommy’s booty” shouts and see that several employees have been watching this whole encounter and not even trying to pretend to look away.  Nice.

I attempt to dust myself off, while trying to decide whether or not to just burn my clothes and sanitize myself in a big vat of alcohol when I get home.  At that point, the frame no longer mattered so I just grabbed the first one I saw and hit the road to the grocery section.  (It turned out that my embarrassment and distraction caused me to buy the wrong size, resulting in me having to return it later that day, which was so much fun, but that’s a whole other annoying story).

We grabbed the groceries, bypassed the toddler section where he grabbed my face and emphatically told me he needed diapers, and went through self checkout where I wouldn’t have to explain my appearance or my son’s use of the word booty, nor would I have to worry about him committing battery via cup.

Shoot!  I still have to go to Costco!  Ugh.

I knew deep down that this wasn’t a good idea because B.T. was already starting to act like a madman and that is never a good way to enter a store, but the supposedly rational part of me knew that we were already right there at Costco and we were early, plus they sent us the letter so we should be expected and the return should just take a second; the hotdogs could wait until another day.

I think you know that the return did not take just a second and I think you know my angel acted like he had been possessed by the devil from the moment he got into the cart.  Unfortunately, they do not offer exorcisms at Costco, though they should because people with multiple children could really use those in bulk.

There were 2 other people in line with returns (really?!) so we had to wait.  The cashier was 112 and clearly hadn’t been trained properly.  Of course.  Why should I expect anything else with the day I was already having?  Did I mention that it was only 10 am at this point?

He starts screaming again about being ready to go and all that nonsense that he started with at Walmart.  People were staring.  I was smiling like the Joker because I was trying to stay calm even though I wanted to choke the cashier/throw my son over the counter to have a little fun with the Costco people.

I tried distraction: “I see letters on the sign!  What letters do you see?”  He read the letters in ‘Membership Services’ and then started screaming again, clearly done with this spelling lesson of the day.

I tried bribery: “Oooh, I think I see a hotdog!  Do you want a hotdog?”  This got more screams and a very loud, “I SAY NO”.

I tried showing him some love:  I hugged him close and whispered something along the lines of “I love you so much and I know you are frustrated that the old lady is taking so long because Mommy is too but I swear to God you need to hush right now or I will leave you with her while I head into the liquor store around the corner”.  (I don’t actually drink, but it’s times like these when I totally understand the need for it and will never judge those who partake!!!)

I was getting nowhere with him and he was climbing out of the cart, trying to make a break for it as we were finally called up to the counter.  I did what any resourceful mom would do and grabbed his little body with my knees while quickly handing over the letter we received and the one tub of the gross salmon or lobster spread we still had.  I told her we had bought two tubs but, as the other one had expired, we no longer had it, but we should still get the money back for it, per the letter we received from Costco.  She said no problem and quickly did the refund and handed me back $8 and some change.

Hang on, granny, I just told you we got two and you said no problem.  Where’s the other $8?  Oh, let me check with my manager on that.  (Cut to B.T. throwing himself on the floor and bouncing up and down on his butt as he screamed fun phrases like, “HELP”, “I SAY NO”, “GET GONE”, etc.)

This went on for another 5 minutes (that’s like the equivalent of 8 days with a screaming kid) while the entire store was glaring at us for the noise infraction.  I would have thought this would have motivated the cashier to move a little faster, but no, it did not.  She finally handed over the extra money and I threw it in my pocket, scooped the devil up by his feet and ran out of the exit.  The lady checking receipts at the door knew better than to stop me, but some other “helpful” 12-year-old employee rushed over to see if B.T. would like some fruit snacks.  Really?  Now you want to give them to him?  Where were you 10 minutes ago when that bribery would have been more effective?  She then proceeds to tell him that normally his kind of behavior isn’t rewarded and looks directly at me.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  You’re the one who just rewarded him, not me.  Would you like to see how I can reward you for this judgment on my parenting skills?  If I wasn’t a kind person, it would be a fist to the face! (yes, this is what is running through my head as I try to remember WWJD – I’m guessing Jesus wouldn’t have punched her in the face so I probably shouldn’t either.  Darn.)

She must have seen the look on my face because even WWJD couldn’t stop the mama bear stare so she backed off a little and asked if he was 3.  I said, no, he just turned 2 but he’s a very big boy.  “Oh, he’s only 2? Well, that explains it.  My 2-year-old nephew acts like that too.”  Yeah, let’s keep our thoughts to ourselves from now on, person with no children.  I hope you have the world’s most rotten 2-year-old whenever you eventually become a woman.  Again, still working on my silent thoughts.  It is big step for me to just think these things and not say them out loud though, because in the past, I definitely would have (and sometimes still do; I’m only human; sorry, Jesus).

Anyhow, we made it out of there in one piece, even though I was still covered in Walmart yuck and B.T. was now covered in Costco yuck and some dusty tears from not being allowed to run amuck.  It was 10:15.  Blerg.

Despite this whole debacle, I love my little guy, even when he is the devil reincarnated.  Must remind myself of this as I go Lysol my hair!

Cheerleading On a Cold Fall Night And Other Such Nonsense

In September, my daughter brought home a paper from the school letting parents know about the cheerleading camp that would be taking place in November – the elementary girls would learn some cheers from the varsity cheerleaders (my kids attend a K-12 school) and would perform them at a real football game.  Needless to say, she was thrilled and insisted that she had to do it.  (This is the same girl who brought her own pompoms to a game earlier in the year and stood right in front of the fence and pretended she was already one of the cheerleaders, so, understandably, I did not fight this demand.)

She (im)patiently waited for the next 6-7 weeks to pass so that it would finally be time for the camp.  The day arrived and she showed up, ready to learn cheers.  I didn’t get to watch anything during the camp because I had to bring my littlest “devil” who was all about living up to that description in the greatest fashion that day and was attempting to scream louder than the girls (as well as try to run in between them to see who he could knock over first).  But, I did know that they learned several cheers and a dance (none of which my daughter could show me when we got home because she had already forgotten everything but the “shake it” part – fantastic).  No worries, I thought; I’ll just watch it in the stands at the game that Friday with the other people who aren’t preoccupied by chasing their toddler around.

Friday came around and the school had a carnival that afternoon.  I stupidlykindly volunteered to chaperone a group from my daughter’s class.

Searching for candy

bouncy house fun

friends with crazy colored hair

Finally caught up with big brother

While it was fun to watch the kids play, by the time I actually left the school that afternoon with all 3 of my own kids, I was spent.  It would have been a great day to just go home and crash for the night and my kids probably would have fallen asleep really early.  This dream was not to be though, because we had some cheering to do that night.

So, I mustered up some false enthusiasm and a few blankets as it was supposed to be unseasonably chilly that night – it had been sweltering at every other game we attended this year but not this time – and got my daughter dressed in the humongous shirt/uniform they had provided her with (seriously, would it have killed them to make an XS instead of making her wear a shirt that was so big it looked like a dress?).

in her dress/cheer shirt, still happy about cheering

I also wisely picked up a giant Starbucks for me and some hot chocolate for the kids on the way there because I knew it was going to be a long, cold night and folks tend to frown on mothers bringing flasks to the high school football game (totally kidding since I’m not a big drinker, but I completely understand why some parents are!).  We arrived there a little before 7 because the girls were supposed to be there half an hour early for the 7:30 game and I (unlike so many others) like to be on time in case it really is actually necessary.

Now, one might ask why these 5-10 year olds needed to be there that early?  I have no idea why since all they did was stand there for 30+ minutes while we waited for the game to start.  Have you ever watched a 5-year-old (or 40 girls under 10) try to wait 30 minutes for something that they have already been waiting nearly 2 months for?  And, in the cold?  It’s not pretty.

seeing her friend and immediately initiating a pompom smackdown

It is freaking hilarious, however, when the first little girl states that she has to go to the bathroom and a mass exodus of little girls follow the lone varsity cheerleader who was sweetly trying to accompany the first little girl to the bathroom.  The look of sheer panic on her face while she violently waves her arms in an attempt to get the attention of the other older cheerleaders so that it’s not just her and 30 girls in the 3 stall bathroom behind the bleachers is PRICELESS.  And, of course, we parents could be counted on to just stand there and laugh at the poor, overwhelmed varsity cheerleaders scrambling to make sure they got everyone there and back before the game finally started. (These cheerleaders will probably choose to remain childless for the remainder of their lives after the craziness of that night.)

(im)patiently waiting in the sea of cheerleaders who had just returned from the group trip to the potty

After my toes had already begun to freeze, the game finally started and seemed to last for days.  Each girl was enthusiastic for the first 10-15 minutes,

on the very left doing the traditional Seminole Chop

and then you could just sit back and watch as, one by one, they started to complain or look sad or come back to grab another jacket, etc.

it was a bit ironic that this cheer was called ‘defrost’ as it was freezing – notice several girls, including mine, are now wearing their coats

The cheers that had been so cute in the beginning were barely being performed by anyone other than the older cheerleaders as the first quarter finally came to a close almost an hour later.  Yes, I said first quarter, not first half.  Seriously, the longest game EVER, naturally.

semi enthusiastic but wondering how much longer the game was going to be

Toward the middle of the 2nd quarter, my daughter was completely miserable and kept asking if we could leave.  I wanted her to stay until they did their dance because I knew she would be disappointed if she missed it as it was to a One Direction Song that she loves.  No one seemed to know when this performance would take place so finally another mom got the attention of the Captain of the squad and asked her when the dance would take place.  She told us that each age group of girls had learned a different dance so they weren’t going to do it at the football game.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  So, now I’m a horrible mom for making my daughter (as well as myself and my poor older son who really just wanted to go sit with his friend on the hill at the edge of the field) continue to suffer literally for the sake of the dance….the dance that will never happen?!

pointing at me in an effort to end her cheerleading career and escape the cold

Mama was not pleased and promptly removed daughter from the field where she ran directly into one of the blankets and refused to emerge.  We then finally made our way over the hill to see their friends, teeth chattering the whole way.

It was not the glorious night that we had envisioned that bright September afternoon when we first received notice of the cheerleading opportunity.  But, I did get a few shots in before things completely went to pot, despite the fact that my digital camera provides the same quality pictures as a disposable camera.

A final attempt to get the crowd fired up (or just trying to stay warm)

She did initially have fun with her friends and seeing all eyes on her (or so she thought) so I guess it was worth it in the end.  Will we be doing this again next year?  I’m thinking NO!  But since I’m a sucker for repeating situations that are ridiculous, who knows?  At least I did get to see her “stop, and shake it” with her fellow Seminoles, which is all I really wanted to see anyway.