Archive for the 'Hallmark Moments From Hell' Category

Sisterly affection.

Immediately after RegularDad throws a balled up tissue at my 11-year-old and then innocently hides his hands in his hoodie pockets:

11-year-old, to her sister: “Hey!!! Stop!!!”

13-year-old: “It wasn’t me!”

11-year-old: “Yes it was!”

13-year-old: “No it wasn’t! If it had been me, I would have thrown something heavier.”

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RegularMom’s ultimate gift picks.

Worried about breaking the bank this year, getting your kids those essential gifts? Tired of the endless commercialism and consumerism that practically forces you to buy those essential electronic gadgets that break all too soon? Dreading spending more than you can afford on a slew of toys for your kids only to have them complaining of boredom six weeks later? Well, look no further. Here are some fabulous gift ideas that won’t break your budget and that are guaranteed to keep your kids entertained for more than 45 minutes.

10. Car Keys.
Not the plastic play ones…the real deal. Have an extra set of your car keys made this year for your little ones. If you’re really lucky, you’ll have one of those digital car keys, the kind with the buttons that you push once or twice to open doors automatically. Your little angels will spend several delightful hours pushing these buttons and opening your car doors all while you’re busy making doctor appointments or helping someone go potty. There’s no greater joy than knowing that when you look out your window, you’ll find that your car doors have been gaping wide open all afternoon for the neighbors to see, and for anyone to perhaps dig through your CD’s or leftover happy meal toys. On the bright side, at least your car will be cleaned out, and not by you.

9. Toothpaste.
Who needs finger paints when you can just stock up on various flavors of Buzz Lightyear and My Little Pony Toothpaste? Your children will love a couple of tubes of toothpaste in their stockings this year. They come in all flavors, colors and Disney character brands. Kick back and relax with a cup of coffee while your kids go wild in the bathroom, knowing deep in your heart that at some point they will eat some of it (thus accidentally protecting their teeth against cavities), that the bathtub is only a foot and a half away from where the action is happening, and that those toothpasty handprints will dry to a fine pasty piece of memorabilia on your bathroom cabinets and mirrors.

8. Floss.
To continue stressing the importance of good dental hygiene, how about a roll of dental floss or two? They make excellent stocking stuffers and if you can’t get your kids to actually floss the candy out of their teeth, they’ll at least enjoy unspooling the entire roll of floss into a dish to make spagetti. Old cassette tapes are also good for this kind of play.

7. Trash.
If your kids are like mine, they love trash. All the little bits of fuzz and paper, cheese stick wrappers and broken plastic pieces of… well, stuff that used to be important…it’s all more valuable than gold.  Just skip the vaccuuming this year and sweep all that crap into an old battered shoebox, wrap it up, and give it to your kids as TREASURE. Because to them, THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT IT IS.

6. Your heirloom jewelry.
They learned it at Grandma’s house, how much fun it is to play with real jewelry. Now you too can give your kids this simple joy of losing all your diamonds down the heating ducts.

5. Dad’s heavy-metal-band black boots.
Your kids will LOVE trying these clunkers on, and you’ll love the fact that once they’re actually laced up in them, they simply can’t move anywhere. Perfect for those moments when you just need to use the bathroom.

4. Remote controls.
If you’re like me, you’ve got dozens of these things all over the house, and you’ve never really figured out how to use them anyway. Half of them go to old broken down televisions hidden away in your basement or attic. Give them to your kids and witness the miracle of built-in DNA as they show you how all those little buttons work.

3. Styrofoam.
There’s nothing more exciting than a pile of styrofoam packing material just-pulled from the box of something your husband just bought off E-bay. Rather than throwing that packing material away, give it to your kids. Watch as they crumble it up into roughly two million tiny pieces of “snow” and spread it all over your livingroom. Delight in their endless giggles as they watch you try to pick up all those static-electricity-charged snow drifts. This is a gift that keeps on giving, as you spend days picking it off your sweaters and their underwear.

2. Scissors.
Surely you’ve got an extra pair somewhere? Just hand them over and watch your preschooler amuse herself for hours on end as she cuts through your un-read copy of Time, your clothing and hers, your expensive duvet, her Barbies and stuffed animals, and of course, her own hair.

1. A Christmas tree they can actually climb.
Bring in some heavy equipment, smash through your living room floor and just plant a damn tree. Leave it up all year and let them go at it. Let the kids decorate it with the little bits of uneaten food they leave behind. Then they can enjoy hours of climbing without even having to stop to get a snack, and you can relax in the eco-friendly knowledge that you planted a tree this year instead of chopping one down.

Well, that should take care of all your I-Don’t-Know-What-To-Get-My-Kids-This-Year woes. Good luck with your last minute shopping! I don’t know about you, but I’m already wrapping up piles of stale Goldfish cracker crumbs and dust bunnies to put under the tree. Nothing says Merry Christmas more than that. My kids are gonna be THRILLED!

Zen and the Art of Being Five Years Old.

20 MINUTES BEFORE BEDTIME:

5-year-old: Mom, can I watch TV?

Me, loading the dishwasher: No.

5-year-old: Well, what am I supposed to do until bedtime, then?

Me, impatiently: I don’t know. Go in the living room and meditate or something until I’m ready to read you a story.

5-year-old: Meditate? What’s that?

Me: You know, like Master Shifu in Kung Fu Panda… “inner peace… inner peace…”

5-year-old, suddenly lifted to penultimate heights of excitement: OKAY!!!

She then runs into the living room and sits down in a lotus position and starts chanting inner peace… inner peace… over and over again, while I congratulate myself on not only handling that conversation so well, but on finding an activity for her that might possibily help soothe her turbulent 5-year-old soul, and not to mention the fact that it might come in handy on those nights when I just need an extra 15 minutes or so before I sit down to read to her.

15 MINUTES LATER:

Me, finished with the dishes: Okay… it’s time to pick out a story book.

5-year-old: WHAT??? NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

Shen then jumps up from her lotus position and begins stamping her feet in the throes of an escalating tantrum and pretty soon she’s practically throwing herself to the floor and screaming the entire time:

I WANT TO KEEP INNER-PEACE-ING!!!!! I WANT TO KEEP INNER-PEACE-ING!!!!!!! I WANT TO KEEP INNER-PEACE-ING!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

And the Buddha wept.

So much for those extra 15 minutes.

If the inventor of the knock-knock joke were still alive today, I’d kill him.

4-year-old: Knock-knock.

Me: Who’s there?

4-year-old: Banana.

Me: Banana who?

4-year-old: Knock-knock.

Me: Who’s there?

4-year-old: Banana.

Me: Banana who?

4-year-old: Knock-knock.

Me: Who’s there?

4-year-old: Banana.

Me: Banana who?

4-year-old: Knock-knock.

Me: Who’s there?

4-year-old: Banana.

Me: Banana who?

4-year-old: Orange ya glad I didn’t say banana?

RegularDad and 7-year-old, laughing: But…you SAID banana. You said it already.

4-year-old: Oh…. Well…. Wait. Let me start over.

Well, the jig is up.

A couple of months ago, my 7-year-old lost another tooth. She went through this thing where she lost about four of them, one right after another, on an almost weekly basis. And of course, that last one, I completely forgot to put the money under her pillow. RegularDad was working nights most of that month, and I don’t sleep well when he’s on nights, and I was pretty ragged by the time I forgot this one last dollar. I woke a little before 6:00 am, with the awful realization that I’d forgotten. I got up and padded downstairs to get it and tried to sneak into her room with it, but of course she was awake already.

What is it? she asked when she saw me approaching her bed.

I have a confession to make, I said to her. I’m the tooth fairy.

She smiled a little and nodded.

I forgot to give you your dollar last night, I said. I’m sorry about that. And I handed her the money.

That’s okay, she said, taking it with another smile.

Don’t tell your sister, okay?

Okay.

She took it pretty well. Probably because she’d already figured it out. And what she hadn’t guessed on her own, her older friends had already explained to her.

I thought we’d gotten through it pretty well. But then, as Easter approached this year, she began to ask repeatedly, Are you the Easter Bunny? and I’d just laugh a little and change the subject. I know she knows. But I’d like to keep the magic going for my 4-year-old for at least another year.

But then, in the days right before Easter, her question changed to Gee, I hope the Easter Bunny doesn’t FORGET. Mom, do you think the Easter Bunny will FORGET us this year?

And I realized she was worried that I would forget to do Easter baskets.

It went on for days. She asked repeatedly what we thought about the Easter Bunny. Was he real? Would he forget? Should we leave a carrot? Or a picture? Gee, I hope he doesn’t FORGET. Do you think he’s gonna FORGET? It could happen you know. After all, the Tooth Fairy was getting a bit forgetful, as we all can attest to. Hey Mom (with conspiratorial double winks) remember that time the Tooth Fairy almost FORGOT to leave me money???? Remember that???? Wasn’t that SOMETHING????

We were all pretty tired of it by Saturday. RegularDad finally said to her that he would discuss it with her on Monday evening, but that she really needed to DROP THE SUBJECT until then.

So my plan was to do Easter Baskets, and also leave out little gifts for them that were just from ME. So they’d get something from the Bunny, and something from me, and it would be different items, and that would settle the question once and for all. At least until my 4-year-old gets older.

I also stayed up extra late to DO the baskets. RegularDad fell asleep early. I stayed up and didn’t even go get the stuff from the car until it was almost 11:00 pm. By the time I was done with everything, it was after midnight. I’d put the baskets together and hidden them. And I’d put out little flower-planting gifts for the girls on the table at their places. One was a sunflower kit, complete with seeds, potting soil, and a pot. The other was a set for sweet peas. Also self-contained. I also put out a card and a box of gourmet jelly beans in RegularDad’s place.

Finally, as 1:00 am approached, I staggered upstairs and fell into bed, hoping for at least 5 hours of sleep before the girls got up to find their baskets. And when I awoke to hear them whispering and giggling as they searched, I was just exhausted. Great, I thought as I heaved myself out of bed, this is gonna be one of those days when I feel like I only got 2 hours of sleep. I glanced over at RegularDad. He was still sleeping. I left him there to get a few more winks and went downstairs to the living room. It was still dark, but for us that’s normal waking time. The girls always get up early to make sure they see RegularDad in the mornings before he leaves for work.

My 4-year-old had already found her basket. And she’d already started in on the jelly beans. I helped her pick up the grass that was starting to spread all over the carpet and put it back in her basket. My 7-year-old was still looking for hers. But in her mind, the basket should have been left out someplace easy to find, because she simply refused to open any closet or cabinet doors to see if it was there. Where could it be, she said repeatedly, as she wandered through the rooms of the house, obviously not looking for it.

I was tempted to tell her to look in some closets, but I held back. This had to be the final test, I figured. The final, agonizing, irritating test to see if I was the Easter Bunny or not. So, I held my tongue and watched her wander around. And just as I was about to give in and mention the closets, I happened to glance at the clock in the dining room.

It was a little after 3:00. As in AM. As in — Not Morning. NOT MORNING AT ALL. As in: it’s the middle of the night. As in: no wonder I feel like I only got 2 hours of sleep. I ONLY GOT 2 HOURS OF SLEEP.

I immediately confiscated my 4-year-old’s basket and sent them back to bed. I had to yell at them a little bit, and there were a few tearful moments. And RegularDad woke up and asked what the hell was going on, and when I told him, he got out of bed and admonished the two of them Quite Sternly to STAY IN BED until it was light outside.

And after that, I lay in bed, eyes wide open, watching the hallway. Because it was only a matter of MINUTES before one of them would get up and try to go back downstairs. I remember telling them each at least once to GET BACK IN BED RIGHT NOW, and then I simply passed out from sheer exhaustion.

Sometime later, I awoke and saw that dawn was breaking and my 7-year-old was standing in our doorway. Is it time, she asked. Not yet, I said. And then I fell asleep again.

At 7:15 am, I woke again, and my 7-year-old was standing in the doorway again. I turned to RegularDad and asked him to get up with them and let me sleep in a bit. He did, and a few minutes later I heard him in our 4-year-old’s room asking: Where did you get all these jelly beans? Where?

I lay there, confused. I had her basket right there next to the bed. Could she have snuck in and gotten her candy without waking me? I seriously doubted it. Then I worried that she had found her sister’s basket and taken all those jelly beans. And then I remembered the box of jelly beans I’d left on the dining table for RegularDad. And I heaved myself out of bed once more and crossed the hall to her room.

She’d gotten the whole box open, found an empty egg carton someplace and was sorting them all by color while she sang a little song to herself.

Those were for Daddy, I told her. Those were my gift to Daddy. And then I turned and walked away. I crawled back into bed where I stayed until a little after 9:00. I had strange dreams. In one of them, I was smoking again. Sitting in the girls bedrooms, just puffing away. Eventually I got out of bed and went downstairs for coffee. The girls greeted me with smiles and hugs and offers of jelly beans. No candy for Mommy, I said. Just coffee.

Much later on in the day, my 4-year-old confessed to me that just before she’d gotten into Daddy’s jelly beans, she’d opened up the sweet pea planting kit I’d left for her on the table.

There was a bag of brown stuff in the pot, she said.

Yes, I said. That’s the potting soil. You plant the seeds in it.

Potting soil? she asked.

That’s dirt. You plant the seeds in the dirt and sweet peas will grow.

Dirt, huh? she said. No wonder it tasted funny.

Clever and vainglorious kings they may be…

destruction-kid.jpg

but they still wouldn’t last five minutes when facing my bored, coming-down-with-a-cold 4-year-old.

The magic marker marks happened during our history reading today, when I (foolishly) left my pink-magic-marker-wielding 4-year-old in visual range of this book so that I could use the bathroom. I was gone only moments, but that’s all it takes.

The scissor-situation is a long-running battle in which I desperately try to keep all scissors hidden and locked away until someone actually has a REASONABLE NEED for such an item, while my 4-year-old (mastermind that she is) continually manages to find those hiding places and consquently reclaim the scissors and then use them to give haircuts to every single Barbie and stuffed animal she can get her hands on while I’m busy on the computer working that freelance project I took on so as to be able to finance her up-and-coming homeschooled education.

The clump of hair you see next to the recently-re-confiscated scissors is from the large stuffed horse she got for Christmas this year. Said horse now has a significantly shorter tail and mane, and I now have to wash all her sheets and blankets because that’s where she was sitting when she took on that enormous styling project and there’s stuffed animal hair clippings everywhere.

She’s coming down with a cold, the weather outside is dreadful and dreary, and it’s just THAT kind of day around here.

How much you wanna bet that even the Gorgons would run screaming in the opposite direction?

Pictures of the new house, part 2: needs a bit of work.

So, I’m trying to upload pictures for you, but, for some reason, Wordpress isn’t cooperating tonight. So, I can’t upload everything I wanted to show you. But, here’s a bit of the living room.

living-room.jpg

The dining room (also used as the school room)  is off to the left. There are 3 bedrooms up the stairs, and a hall bath. The master bedroom is smallish and painted a nice, delicate shade of pink, but it does have it’s own bathroom, which is nice. Here’s a shot of that:

master-bath2.jpg

Yep. That’s a hot pink toilet seat. Even the guy doing the inspection got the giggles when he saw it. RegularDad promised me that the first thing we’re going to do to this house once we close is install a dishwasher. But that was before we saw this toilet seat cover.

How much do you want to bet that installing the dishwasher is the second thing we do?

Anyway. Here’s a shot of the finished attic that makes for a fourth bedroom. office.jpg

Ideally this would be a better size for a master bedroom, but since there’s no adjoining bathroom, it’s going to be my study. Oh, we’ll put the futon up here too, for when Grandma comes to visit, but that’ll only be a couple times a year. For the rest of the time, this will be My Private Space. This is a good thing to have if you’re a homeschoolin’ mama like me. This, along with the large yard, and various other little details I can’t show you because WordPress is having some sort of cyber-PMS moment, makes that kitchen and all the upgrading required worth every penny.

I’ll try uploading some more shots of the outside tomorrow, once WordPress is finished having its little tantrum or whatever it is.


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