My Duties

2 Jun

It’s interesting to find out how different families divide responsibilities. For instance, you may assume that because I “don’t work”, I am responsible for all things domestic. Cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, laundry, etc. For the most part, I take care of these tasks, but there are certain things that I am not in charge of. Two of those things are paper products and soap.

We never sat down and distributed chores. How ridiculous would it have been for me to have said, “I think I can manage literally everything other than making money, but there is no possible way I can squeeze Softsoap and Bounty purchasing onto my to-do list.”

It’s just one of those strange things that has evolved over time. Mr. Incredible has some fascination with soaps, bar soaps, handsoaps, dishsoaps, and also all things paper. Paper bags, paper towels, napkins, and toilet paper. Arguably, he purchases the items we absolutely cannot live without. I take for granted that he will buy these items and that he will choose wisely. In fact, until recently, I didn’t know that making these purchases required any thought and special skill set.

A few months ago, I took it upon myself to procure toilet paper for the home. I wasn’t sure that we actually needed it, but I was just in that general area of the store and thought I would surprise Mr. I by getting some. I knew he would be so impressed by my ability to juggle my own responsibilities AND manage to get toilet paper into the home, so I bought what I thought was a standard amount of tp.

One thing you should know about me before I continue on with this, is that when I shop, my cart never stops moving. I don’t mull over purchases. I loathe the grocery store and only manage this dreadful task by getting in and out as quickly as humanly possible. This usually works out, but there are times I’ve purchased heavy whipping cream instead of half and half or grabbed denture glue instead of toothpaste. No big deal.

Because of the speed at which I shop and the fact that I have never purchased toilet paper, I made one of the biggest mistakes of my life. I somehow purchased 1/6th ply toilet paper in a quantity that can never run out. I bet you didn’t even know toilet paper came in 1/6th ply. I didn’t either. Even in a gas station potty emergency, I’ve always used at least 1/2ply.

If you wonder what the consistency of this toilet paper is like, imagine wiping with your bare hand, but with the added annoyance of little pieces of wet paper stuck to your hand whenever you are finished. I don’t even understand how this product is on the market. I do know, however, that a roll of this stuff lasts approximately 3 months. With any luck, we should run out of the case within 72 months.

There are mistakes that you can learn from and there are mistakes you pay for the rest of your life. Trying to overstep my domestic duties has proven to be one I will be paying for for a very long time. In the meantime, I have gotten over my public toilet phobia and am happy to use the full-ply toilet paper any establishment, other than my own home, provides.

A post for Jamie, because she asked

20 May

I hate being left out. I don’t necessarily ever really want to be part of anything, but I do want to know I could be included if I wanted to be. Lately, I’ve felt very excluded. Everyone I know is posting adorable videos of their little girls singing and dancing “Let It Go” or sharing photos of their daughter dressed up like Elsa or Anna. I have a little girl. Why doesn’t she do these cute little princess things? Why can’t we be part of this moment in pop culture?

I thought about this and realized that she dislikes princesses and loathes animation, which makes it difficult for her to get on the Frozen bandwagon. Additionally, there is no Anna to her Elsa or Elsa to her Anna. She has brothers. They are certainly not interested in belting out Frozen tunes and spinning around in blue dresses, and so, we are seemingly the only house with a little girl not incessantly crooning, “Do you want to build a snowman?”. I have been left out.

I can’t blame Disney. They must have done something right in order to reach nearly everyone. I swear I hear moms humming the tunes while meandering through Target. While mocking the fact that their brain is probably liquefying at that very moment, I still have a twinge of jealousy. I want to be part of this!

This morning, my wish came true. While #2 was busy accessorizing a sensible dress, I heard sweet music coming from the bathroom. I glided toward the tune, anxious to join in.

“Let it go, let it go. Can’t hold it back anymore!”

As I was about to join in the chorus, I realized the sweet sound wasn’t coming from her. It was #3, singing from his own little porcelain throne. I turned and left him to his business, but “Let It Go” is now stuck in my head too, which is all I ever really wanted. Hopefully the little diddy helps me remember to stock up on some cereal with added fiber while I’m humming through the aisles of Target.

Soccer

9 Apr

soccer

You know that commercial they play during the Olympics? The one where they show mothers all across the world helping their little athletes get to and from practice and sitting at their games and icing their sore muscles? It’s so incredibly heart warming and inspiring. It brings a tear to my eye every time I see it. I think of how rewarding it must be for those mothers who spent all that time and money to see their children fulfill their dreams. Music swells. I cry and convince myself I am raising a future Olympian, which makes the time and energy I devote to their athletic endeavors seem worth it.

Soccer is a time suck, particularly in the spring. If you add up all the driving, games, and time I spend purchasing equipment and pregame snacks and post game snacks and Gatorade and coffee so that I can stay awake while driving, it’s a lot. I always swore I would never be one of those parents who over schedules her child, and I’m not.

What I didn’t realize when I “planned” my family was if you have three children, and each child is committed to one sport per season, you will never, ever have free time. I wish there was a math problem somewhere along the way that would have helped me figure this out.

Meghan has no job and 3 children. Each child plays soccer. If #1 has practice 4.5 hours and games 2 hours per week, #2 and #3 both have practice 1 hour per week and a 1 hour game every weekend, and Meghan spends approximately 40 minutes per practice and game sitting in traffic, how much time is Meghan devoting to a sport she doesn’t even understand?

I’ll give you a moment to solve that.

The answer is a lot, but as I looked in the rear view mirror on the way home from practice last week and saw #1′s ruddy cheeks and sweaty hair, I was filled with pride. I thought of that inspiring Olympic commercial and my future Olympian. And then I snapped out of it. Now my only wish is that one day there is a commercial highlighting the sacrifice a mother makes even when her kid turns out to be nothing more than an average athlete. It too will make me cry, but for a different reason.

St. Patrick’s Day

17 Mar

Years ago, when I was sleep deprived, and the kids weren’t terribly observant, I used to buy things and hide them. I would buy a gift for someone, hide it, and promptly forget all about it, sometimes for years. One time this happened with a pop-up tent that I had gotten on clearance at Target. I bought it, shoved it behind the couch, and never thought about it again, until March 17th.

#1′s preschool teacher must have read a story about a leprechaun hiding a treasure, and he was convinced, that because it was St. Patrick’s Day, there must be a treasure somewhere in our house. I was perfectly happy for him to spend the afternoon searching for some sort of treasure. He led #2 and #3 around in search of some nonexistent surprise, which thrilled me, since no one was bothering me. Imagine my shock when I heard them all squealing with delight.

“The leprechaun was here, the leprechaun was here!” they all chanted.

I got up off the sofa, sure they were using their imaginations, and when I entered the living room, I saw them holding the tent I had forgotten about. I couldn’t believe how lucky it was that they had found the treasure they were looking for, especially since I didn’t even know that it was St. Patrick’s Day. (Please refer to my calendar disability.) It was a wonderful coincidence, until I realized I had set a precedent.

So for the past couple of years, I’ve had to throw something together for the children to find on St. Patrick’s Day, since they’ve come to expect it. This year, I was way ahead of schedule. I found huge green shamrock embossed chocolate coins and bought them yesterday, a full 18 hours ahead of schedule. I put them on the top shelf in the laundry room and went about my day, pleased with myself and my ability to plan ahead.

Unfortunately, I forgot to hide the coins last night when the children were nestled all snug in their beds. I awoke this morning to three excited kids tearing the house apart looking for treasure. I knew I had to act quickly. It would require a serious covert operation, and stealth isn’t one of Mr. Incredible’s better qualities. I didn’t know where or when I should attempt to hide the coins, especially since they had seemingly already looked everywhere in the entire house. As I was toying with the idea of hiding it outside, I heard them talking about building a leprechaun trap.

I guess they were disappointed that he hadn’t already stopped by with a treat and set out to lure him in. They made a trap in #3′s room, shut the door, and just for fun, set a timer for twenty minutes to remind them to check on it. That gave me precisely 1,200 seconds to sneak past them, undetected, open a creaky door, take the candy they baited him with, and leave the chocolate coins.

With the help of Mr. Incredible, I successfully accomplished my mission. I said I was going to find my book and seeing me lounging in bed reading would never rouse suspicion. The timer buzzed, and three ecstatic kids came roaring up the stairs to check their trap. They couldn’t believe he had come, and I can’t believe how na├»ve three seemingly intelligent children are.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

patrick

Log

12 Mar

car ride

The only day at school that I hate more than themed spirit day is picture day. Not only is the bar set high, but it will be archived for all time whether or not I failed or succeeded. It is for this reason that I get slightly stressed. Today was picture day. You would think if it’s so important to me that I would plan outfits the night before and get everyone up early in order to make sure things run smoothly and that everyone heads to school coiffed, pressed, and with a clean face. I didn’t lay out outfits last night, and I overslept.

Mr. Incredible headed into work exceptionally early, and I went back to sleep. Throw in the time change, and we were rolling out of bed around 8:10. This gave me less than fifty minutes to make breakfast, pack lunches and snacks, and get three outfits together and convince three kids to put said outfits on. I also have to tell the children to brush their teeth and put on their shoes approximately 670 times before they actually do it. My morning was packed, but I’m a professional procrastinator and was making great time trying to cram two days worth of activities into fifty minutes.

Everything was going exceptionally well until I realized that #3 grew two inches over night and didn’t have a single pair of pants that fit. Any other day, I would have just sent him to school in pants that were too short, but a class picture lasts forever, and I didn’t want to start his academic career as “the kid in high waters”. So I began yanking every pair of pants out of his drawer and throwing them about the room, convinced I would find something that fit. I did not. However, I called Superfriend, and with three sons, she had just what I needed. . . a pair of skinny jeans in a size six. Crisis averted, or was it?

About the time the pants situation was remedied, I realized that I had not filled out the picture forms, nor did I have any idea where they were. I started rifling through the paper pile and found two picture forms, which is great, but I have three kids. I could not imagine what could have possibly happened to the third form, but I didn’t have time to find out.

I screamed at the kids to get in the car and took off to get #3′s pants from Superfriend, and now, I also needed her to make a copy of the form so that I could fill it out while I drove them to school. (kidding, sort of) She saved the day, and I was able to drop the kids off clothed, with forms, and on time. It was nothing short of a miracle.

Mr. Incredible called moments after all was well, but my cortisol levels were still up. He was his usual chipper self and inquired about how the morning had gone. Bad move. I asked him if he even knew it was picture day. Of course he did. I then asked him if he had any idea where the third picture form was. Sure enough, he did. He had filled it out for #3 and sent it in to school days ago. He was so proud to tell me of his accomplishment and didn’t realize that being helpful days ago would send me into a full tailspin.

How was sending one form in for one kid days before he was supposed to, not to mention not telling me about it, remotely helpful? Never, in a million years, would I have guessed what happened to that piece of paper. He set me up for failure this morning, and worse yet, I’m sure he selected the wrong pose, which means that for the rest of our lives, I will look at the photo of #3, standing on a stupid fake log, and remember how my procrastination, and Mr. Incredible’s lack thereof, collided one morning on picture day.

Little Einsteins

10 Mar

hudson

Seven and a half years ago I made a very important phone call, one I was sure was going to change the course of #1′s life. You see, after giving birth and raising #1 to the ripe old age of 20 months or so, I knew, just knew, that he was profoundly gifted. Looking back, I don’t know exactly what led me to that conclusion. It probably had a lot to do with the fact that I was spending all my time with a toddler, and my brain was slowly shriveling up and dying, making him seem absolutely brilliant. Whatever the reason, I was raising the next Einstein, and I needed to parent him accordingly, which led me to a ridiculously embarrassing phone call.

There is a gifted school in our area, and no offense to anyone who sends his/her child there, but I’m pretty sure it’s for children who are of average intelligence and who have parents who are willing to spend exorbitant amounts of money to have the word “gifted” embroidered on the child’s backpack. I digress. Anyway, I called the school. Why? I don’t know. I believe they accept students beginning in kindergarten, which was light years away, but I didn’t know where else to turn. I was in uncharted territory, and I couldn’t find a book written by Einstein’s mother, so I called.

God bless the lady who talked to me that day because she was so kind and sincere with her advice. We had a great chat about how proficiently #1 stacked blocks and the intricate use of detail and color in his finger paintings. She knew I was a nut-job, but was kind and encouraging, nonetheless. I hung up the phone feeling the weight of my cross to bear. Parenting a precocious child would be an excruciatingly difficult task, no doubt about it.

I took my job of fostering the growth and development of a brilliant child very seriously, for about three months, until #2 was born, and I was completely exhausted, overwhelmed, and unconcerned with phonics or skip-counting with a two-year-old. However, I knew, in my heart of hearts, that he was special and amazing and soon the world would see it too.

Imagine my disappointment when we received his first standardized test scores and he fell well within the range of “average”. I cried. There was a mistake. He was nervous, hungry, tired, and he doesn’t test well, obviously. There was no other explanation. I considered taking him to a testing center for a second opinion, but decided to just wait it out. Another test would reveal his brilliance, I just knew it.

Fast forward another couple of years to today. He’s in third grade and brought home a homework assignment to address a letter. It was proving difficult, and I was getting irritated, but convinced myself that it was like asking me to figure out how to send a telegram. The kid has no dealings with mail. How dare the school try to trip-up my gifted child with these archaic homework assignments!

And then, we came to the portion of the envelope called the return address. I pointed at the line and said, “Write your name and address.”

Blank stare.

“Your name, and then on the next line, write our street address, and then the next line will be the city, state, and zip code,” I prompted.

I may as well have been speaking a foreign language because he had no idea what I was saying. I started to break it down, and then realized, he doesn’t know his own address. At nine and a half, he couldn’t get himself home in an emergency.

“Come on buddy, what city do we live in?” I asked, trying to start with something simple.

“North America?” he hesitantly replied.

And then I knew for sure. He is not gifted. He does not need additional testing or a more challenging curriculum at a fancy school. He needs to learn his address and probably his phone number. What a relief! Parenting a gifted child was so exhausting and isolating. Luckily, I know just who to turn to with any questions about raising an average child. Mom, I’m ready for your advice.

A Classic Read

6 Mar

I like to consider my kids “sheltered”. They have no access to the internet, they watch movies that are rated G, and the Disney channel is about as racy as it gets over here. I have always wanted to preserve their innocence as long as I could, and I thought I was doing a pretty good job. A couple of months ago, I became concerned that I wasn’t.

The boys started using the word “dick”, which I ignored the first hundred or so times I heard it. I figured they had stumbled upon it rapping/rhyming and would tire of saying it within the day. They did not. I don’t like to draw attention to this sort of situation because I firmly believed they had no idea what they were saying. They weren’t using it in a context that I would deem an appropriate use of the word, and for all I knew, one of them had a friend at school named Dick. I knew that discouraging them from using the word would only intensify their interest.

Two weeks or so passed and it became apparent that the word was now a staple in their vocabularies. I casually asked them not to use it, to which #1 replied, “Why? There is a store called Dick’s”!

I tried explaining that some words have two meanings and unless you are talking about someone with the shortened form of the name Richard, they should probably just not say it.

“How is it a name and a bad word?” they wanted to know.

I didn’t have an answer, but once again, begged them never to say it. My pleas only fueled their fire to know exactly what the word meant. I can only avoid answering things for so long before I feel like it’s better to just get something out in the open, so that’s what I did.

“Dick is another word for penis,” I said louder than I thought I would.

They were hysterical. It was the funniest thing they had ever heard, and neither of them had anticipated the alternate definition of the word. I felt sad that I had to tell them, but relieved that the discussion of a word I prefer not to hear had ended. The boys lost interest in using it, even when rhyming, at least around me. I was happy.

Meanwhile, #3 has been working on learning to read and has made great strides in the last two months. He has successfully mastered many of the “Bob books” and yesterday, I decided to pull something a little more challenging off the shelf.

Nestled on the back of the bookshelf was Dick and Jane: Fun Wherever We Are. I pulled it down and called #3 to the couch to sit down and read with me. I had completely forgotten about the previous week’s discussion and couldn’t wait to share this 1950′s classic with the little guy.

I opened the book, and he began fluently reading.

“Go, go, go,” he read.

I turned the page.

“Go, Dick, go. Go, go, go,” he continued, pausing on the word Dick and giving me a strange look.

I was hoping he wasn’t thinking what I thought he was thinking. I didn’t want this sweet moment with a classic reader and my precious kindergartner ruined. Luckily, we moved on to “Jane”. Crisis averted, until I turned he page, and the first thing Jane says is “Dick! Dick! Look, Dick.”

He lost it. He was laughing so hard that he couldn’t breathe, and try as I might, I could not hold it together either. It was difficult enough when #1 used to read it, completely oblivious, but #3 was right. The book is hilarious. Farewell, sweet, innocent child.

book

Mr. and Mrs.

4 Mar

bed

If you have been following my blog the past few weeks, you will know that I recently woke up under a pile of dog poop. We all got a good laugh, and I got a new duvet, and life went on. My sweet puppy had been banned from the bedroom, permanently, until, in a moment of weakness, I brought him upstairs with me to watch television one evening last week. I felt like maybe he was feeling neglected and wanted to show him that I still cared about him despite my lack of patience with him during daytime hours. I crawled under the covers and he nestled in next to me.

The plan was to let him hang out with us while we watched a thirty-minute show and then Mr. Incredible would let him out and then lock him up in his kennel for the night when he got up to turn of the lights, set the alarm, and start the dishwasher. Mr. I is a night owl and happily takes care of the night-time routine downstairs. I have been known to doze off during the first ten minutes of a show, so it is understood that none of this is my responsibility.

The problem is, every 67th night or so, Mr. Incredible also dozes off. Unfortunately, this was one of those nights. About 3 hours and 47 minutes after we had both fallen asleep, I awoke to a scream.

“SHIT!!!!!!”

I thought he was dreaming. I was facing the opposite direction and began to roll over.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“NO! SHIT! IT’S EVERYWHERE.”

I had completed my roll and suddenly was facing an incredible amount of fecal material of all varieties. There were not only piles on the end of the bed on top of the covers, but also several between Mr. Incredible and myself. The blankets were slightly folded back and the dog had strategically aimed in that section of the bed and managed to soil a top sheet, two blankets, a quilt, and my new comforter, not to mention the fitted sheet that was indescribable.

While I am not usually easily roused in the middle of the night, I was on my feet instantly, and Mr. Incredible and I went to work without speaking wiping our bed and removing the bedding. We had not yet made eye contact. I know we were both silently blaming each other. About the time we thought things couldn’t get any worse, we locked eyes. His hands moved up towards his neck and my eyes followed. The left side of his neck was covered in shit. In our overwhelmed and sleepy state, it had gone undetected.

I grabbed the Clorox wipes, despite the fact that they are not meant for skin, and began wiping his neck. I didn’t know what else to do. We then glanced back to the bed and realized the dog had taken one of his many dumps directly on the pillow and at some point, Mr. Incredible had rolled onto it, which explained why the smell had awoken him first.

We continued cleaning for an hour. Despite the below freezing temperatures outside, we had five windows open in our bedroom and the fan at full speed. I was satisfied with the odor removal until Mr. Incredible stepped into the shower and the entire room was once again filled with the fragrance of hot poop.

“Where is that smell coming from?!” we both yelled at the same time. He poked his head out of the shower and as he turned, I saw it. Another smattering of dog poop was dried to the back of his neck and hair and was now hot and wet and unbelievably smelly. He had been walking around for over an hour with dog shit caked in his hair, and neither of us had noticed.

After he scrubbed away the last remnants of the night, and we crawled into bed feeling exhausted and violated, we both remarked that we were having the worst dreams before we woke up. He, of being in a dirty, smelly, river, and me of a vacation house with filthy beds. We happily drifted to back to sleep knowing that no nightmare could now compare to the reality we had just experienced.

Teacher’s pet

20 Feb

I sometimes wonder how other people describe me. I’m not going to lie, I may be a bit narcissistic thinking that everyone I know has had the opportunity to describe me, at least once, to another person. After all, if they aren’t talking about me, what could they possible have to talk about?! Anyway, I assume a little of the best and a little of the worst:

“You know her. She’s that blonde lady with dark roots that wears big sunglasses and always has a coffee cup in her hand. She shows up late to everything, typically wearing leggings and a denim jacket. She tries really hard, but she just doesn’t seem like she has it together.”

After this description, the other person will typically ask a follow-up question such as, “Are you talking about the gal that screams loudly at children’s sporting events?” and then they know they are both talking about the same person. My point is, I do try really hard, but I struggle with early mornings and using calendars and I have so many kids that are so close in age that it is difficult for me to remember who is supposed to be where and have what and when.

An intelligent person who realizes they suck at life would just take a step back and let some stuff go. They would say no to volunteer opportunities, and no one would ever know what a disaster they are behind the scenes. I like to put myself out there as an example to the world that disorganized, lazy, and confused people are not useless. We have some redeeming qualities, and with proper direction, and a huge amount of forgiveness, we can, from time to time, do something that is helpful.

Take this for example. Last year when #2 was in kindergarten, her teachers requested old notecards to be sent in for the students to use at writing centers. No problem. I have old notecards and sent them in, this week, with a different kid, to the wrong teacher. I mean come on! It seemed like I had done it in a timely manner. Only a full year had passed.

So I sent in the hated thank you cards that Mr.Incredible had given me. I shoved them in #3′s backpack and sent him off to school, proud of myself for checking something off my to-do list.

He came home from school and asked me why I had sent cards in. I asked what he had done with them, and he said he gave him to his teacher, and she didn’t know what they were for. The mistake I made hit me. You see, #3 has THE NICEST teachers, and it doesn’t matter what I send in, they always send a note home in #3′s folder thanking me for whatever item he brought in. Always. And now? It looks like I sent in the world’s ugliest thank you notes for them to use to thank me for the stuff I send in. I was mortified, so I wrote his teacher an email:

“I sent some notecards in with #3 for the kids to use at writing centers. I realized after I sent them that it was perhaps #2′s kindergarten class that used those. :-). Feel free to throw them away if they aren’t useful! Let me know what time you want to do the Valentines’ party on Friday.”

The emails continued back and forth. She acknowledged that she did think they were for her use, and I admitted that it must seem like I’m the rudest parent ever. I felt particularly horrible when I found one of the hideous notecards in #3′s backpack with my name on it. She had written me a thank you note on the cards I sent in. I’m a failure. Better late than never is not always applicable. I guess it’s time to throw out all those toilet paper rolls I saved for #1′s preschool class.

card

Valentine’s Day

14 Feb

I insist that my children open gifts at their birthday parties. I know this is no longer the norm, but I really feel like it’s my duty to help them grow into adults who can graciously accept gifts. It’s a teaching opportunity, and I always remind them of appropriate responses before the party starts. I insist that the only two acceptable comments are “thank you” or “I love it”. That being said, I tell them that if they already own the gift, hate the gift, or have other issues with it, we can discuss it at length, in private, after all the guests leave. I’m an excellent mother.

The kids, even from a young age, have always done really well with this, and there have been no real embarrassing moments that I can recall. Unfortunately, while I can instill manners in my children, I cannot use them myself. I don’t know what has happened to me, but if you give me a gift, chances are, I’ll blurt out something inappropriate.

Today is Valentine’s Day, and I was thrilled to find a gift with my name on it waiting on the table this morning. It was wrapped and a card was attached. It was obvious that Mr. Incredible had put some thought, time, and effort into this present. (I got him an assortment of Reese’s products and a card that I thought had a bookmark, but doesn’t.) After the children opened their gifts and profusely thanked us, with genuine smiles on their faces, I decided it was time to open mine.

Gather round children for this demonstration of what love is! As I tore off the paper and opened the box, a navy coat was revealed. I don’t know exactly what face I made, but it must not have been good because Mr. Incredible knew instantly that something was wrong.

“Do you like it,” he prodded.

What I should have said was “Yes, it’s lovely. Thank you! I love you so much.” I didn’t say that. I can’t follow my own rules. Instead, I blurted out, “Yeah! I LOVE it!!! I love it so much that I already have it in green. How do you not know what my coat looks like?!”

He looked hurt. He insisted he had never seen me in a coat that looked anything like the coat he bought for me, and I continued my fit.

“I guess you weren’t looking at the coats when you cleaned out the coat closet?! If you paid any attention to anything you would have seen it then, hanging right there!”

At this point, I got up and walked toward the coat closet. He followed me, and as I threw open the closet door and pulled out the green coat, I realized, he was right. I don’t have the coat he gave me in any color, and the coat in the closet resembled the one he gave me only because it was the same size and had buttons.

I felt terrible. Sure, I shouldn’t have been rude, but worse yet was that I was so embarrassingly wrong. I hope the children learned from my little mistake. Even if manners don’t matter, being right does.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

vday

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 358 other followers