Managing Molly

What Would You Do If:

...your daughter picks a daily fight with you over her shoes? Her old pair of tennis shoes are PINK. Her new pair of tennis shoes are WHITE. (With a pink stripe.) I think they are cute, but they are not PINK, which is the Princess' favorite color, the fact of which we are reminded multiple times a day. "This one is PINK so it's my FAVORITE." Fine then. But the old pair are TOO SMALL. So I force her into the white ones, but it takes her a looong time to get over it. I mean, she can still be pouting in the car when we've arrived at wherever we were going. So would you 1) continue to force her to wear the white shoes until they grow out or 2) go buy her some pink shoes and skip the fights? Relevant information: these shoes are from Payless, not Nordstrom. I like buying shoes. I like the pink shoes better too. I am also constantly berating myself for being Too Indulgent. 

 

...you have gained something like five or six pounds since your last OB appointment, and that's WITH two separate bouts of Upset Stomach? This morning I resolved to Eat Better. This morning I resolved to kick my newfound PopTart habit. This morning I recalled my sucessful encounters with low carb eating. Then I took Molly out during preschool and split a container of doughnut holes. Would you 1) keep trying? Even though "trying" at this point looks like "thinking about it"? Or would you say, "Screw it, Society! Am pregnant! Where is my damn ice cream!" Relevant Information: I only gained ONE pound at my previous appointment, so perhaps I am just Catching Up.

 

...you had a carpet hole in the middle of your living room? We are probably going to cover it up with an area rug, once we make the effort to FIND an area rug (right now there's scrap carpet filling it in - very attractive!) But Phillip would like to recarpet the entire floor, except for the dining room where he would put hardwoods. I am wondering if we should put hardwoods in everywhere. SOME DAY. We can't afford either option right now. I am inclined towards carpet, because it's soft on my feet and vacuuming hasn't felt as dreadful as dustmopping/sweeping/washing the [much smaller area of] floor I used to have in my townhouse. It IS prettier. So if money were no object... Relevant Information: the living room is Large, with super high ceilings and a wall of windows. It might be sort of... echoey? Maybe?

 

...your living room had pale yellow walls and brown carpet (though you can tell we are not attached to the carpet) and white trim and had plans for installing a dark gray sofa, a shiny black piano, and some sort of colorful area rug AAAAND, your kitchen was all white/aqua/cherry red? Is it me, or do these color schemes not really go together? In between the kitchen and the living room is a dining room, currently a shade of beigey pink (THAT HAS TO GO) with cherry furniture. I have no idea how to make sure not EVERY room in my house is its own World of Color. Thoughts on colors? I should probably post pictures, I know. Relevant Information: we will probably move one of the red couches into the room directly off the kitchen, so I'd like to keep the red. Also because I bought this clock today and I love it. 

 

...you kept your daughter up all day, as an EXPERIMENT, and now she is crabby and whiny and won't eat her dinner or any other dinner you can think of and it's only FIVE THIRTY? Relevant Information: Experiment Fail.


Now accepting nanny applications. Don't all jump at once!

So, TODAY. Ugh. Not one of my better days, you guys. Jack is... dude, I don't know. Doing the kind of stuff where you tell him to stop and he TRIES to look contrite but is just BARELY hiding his triumphant grin. You know? Or ignores you. Or continues doing whatever you just told him not to do, but with one minor adjustment. OR putting his hands on his hips and HUFFING when you tell him to knock it off. Stuff like THAT. And my standard response today was to just sort of look at him with vague confusion, because seriously, WHAT IS UP WITH THIS KID and WHY WON'T HE JUST LET ME TAKE A NAP ALREADY. I happened to do this in front of both sets of grandparents, therefore earning myself a big fat parenting FAIL, and I just keep running over the [many, various] FAILURE scenarios in my head, wondering what the heck my problem is. Because bad behavior from almost four-year-olds is to be expected, but what is also expected is that the mother DOES SOMETHING ABOUT IT FTLOG.

Molly isn't much of a peach either, if I may say so. There was the giant screaming incident over a zipped up coat, for example. The steadfast refusal to use the potty before we left the house, resulting in 1) getting manhandled into the bathroom and 2) using the potty before she actually GOT to the potty. Molly ignores me too - she will even TURN HER BACK ON ME - but Molly eventually caves to the Mean Mommy Voice, which doesn't even register with Jack. 

Also, my husband is Way Far Away and parental lectures via Skype have even less effect than parental lectures in person. If you were wondering. 

ANYHOW. Both beasties are now in bed, all of us promising to have a better day tomorrow. Eh. I keep vascillating between thinking that Jack is secretly attending How To Mortify, Exhaust, and Drive Your Parents To Drink Camp (in this fantasy I envision my younger brother as his camp counselor, giving him special "how to push YOUR crazy mother's buttons" tricks) OR I think that he is emotionally if not intellectually clued in to the giant mess that is life right now and is Acting Out. 

Gah. I'm sorry. I will stop talking about my beasties children. NOW I'm going to talk about carpet. 

(YOU: YIPPY SKIPPY!)

So! We are probably going to bludgeon away the weird fireplace in our house, leaving a big hole in the wall to wall carpet. Wall to wall carpet that is not necessarily the most beautiful to look at, but which is NICE and not at ALL in need of replacing. And! They do not make this carpet anymore. Which means we can't buy a fireplace-sized chunk and stick it in the hole. The Carpet Dilemma has been the cause of much marital strife lately, mostly because my husband thinks we can 1) demo the fireplace 2) paint over the green and 3) replace the carpet (which is almost the entire upstairs due to the circular floor plan) in, oh, FOUR DAYS. Me, I am skeptical. (Do you see how our usual roles are reversed! HOW NOVEL!) 

He wants to do this because we pretty much have one weekend to move. THIS IS HOW NUTTY EVERYTHING IS RIGHT NOW. And he wants to get all this big stuff done before we move. But... that is just crazy talk. (Says me.) Even if four days were technically enough (also to CHOOSE carpet and PICK paint and all that, because I'm not doing either of those things without first BEING IN THE HOUSE) everyone knows that remodeling projects ALWAYS last longer than the people in charge say they will. This is pretty much the ONLY thing I know about remodeling! 

At this point I think I have Phillip agreeing to 1) paint and 2) fireplace demo, and putting off carpet selection, if we need it, until later. Because aren't carpet installation dudes USED to moving furniture? But I am also thinking about area rugs (or LOTS of area rugs, or REALLY BIG area rugs, because the hole is in a weird unfriendly-to-1-single-area-rug spot) to cover up this hole. Because as much as a hole would be annoying, paying to replace carpet that does not need to be replaced is also annoying. Right? Right. 

LA LA LA!

You know what I think about when beasts and carpet get me down? The long narrow pantry cupboard in my new kitchen, with SLIDING DRAWERS hidden inside. This lifts my spirits. I'm sure you understand. 

P.S. If I owe you an email, I KNOW. I am SORRY. Even though right now I'm going to shut the laptop and SLEEP. 

 


If you can figure out what this is about you get a pony

In one and a half weeks of 75% Throttle Potty Training, Molly has informed me that she needs to go potty BEFORE she actually GOES potty exactly, oh, NONE TIMES. If I am taking her to sit on the potty, by which I mean bribing her to sit on the potty, every fifteen to twenty minutes, all is well. She goes. No one has to do any laundry or Resolve a carpet. Everyone is happy. And she'll go anywhere, even if you don't have a sticker or a cookie in your purse. But if I have to make dinner? Or I forget? Or it just doesn't cross my mind in time? Yeah. Laundry. Moaning and groaning. A cheery little girl with wet pants chirping, "I go POTTY Mommy!" 

So my question to you is: do I keep going? Or do I go back to diapers and try again later? If you suggest I go 100% Full Speed Potty Training Ahead, then I will suggest that you haven't been reading that long and have yet to understand the true depths of my laziness. In other words: 100% for longer than, say, an afternoon, is unlikely to happen. I'M JUST BEING HONEST. We have to leave the house on occasion! And I often get sucked into the internet and forget where I AM!

Okay. Whatever. That's out of my system. Now I will tell you about how we drove to The Suburbs tonight to check out a Ginormous House that costs the same as a two bedroom hovel in my current neighborhood AND IT WASN'T THERE. Either the address is wrong or it hasn't been built yet or SOMETHING. But it was annoying. If I'm going to Hem and Haw over Ginormous Brand New House vs. Living In The City And Being My Most Authentic Self, I need tangible evidence for both realities. BAH. 

And you are saying to yourselves: wait, her lease isn't up till APRIL! And they were going to wait until Phillip was done with school! And decide on a neighborhood THEN! But I say to you: YOU try not refreshing Redfin every hour when you are in the position of Picking Anywhere You Want For Your New Place To Live. 

Oh, let's not go there either, that is one enormous post, no, a SERIES of enormous posts that I am disinclined to write at the moment. Most of my energies are currently being tasked with Not Microwaving The Microwave Popcorn because (EYE ROLL) I reverted back to the South Beach Diet at the beginning of the week and mini bag 100 calorie popcorn, which is only one Weight Watcher point, is not allowed if you are low carbing it. LAME. But you know what? I've already lost two pounds this week and Weight Watchers points can suck it. 

No, let's divert my energies to explaining what I think is My Weight Loss Rule of Thumb, which is: Stop Cramming So Much In Your Mouth For The Love of Grilled Cheese. Because DUDE. Just because the brownies were made with whole wheat flour and applesauce does not mean you are allowed to eat the entire pan. (WHICH I DID. THAT ONE TIME. FOR SERIOUS.)

SO ANYWAY. TECHNICALLY I've been doing Weight Watchers in my attempts to Maintain, but whatever, I am just breezing over those point values and paying for features I never use and blah blah blah. So I cancelled my account and dug out my South Beach book and TWO POUNDS, people. But it's not because Weight Watchers = doesn't work and South Beach = works, it's because 1) you gain weight when you eat too much and 2) the only things I really eat too much of are BREAD and COOKIES. I did my best with the cookies, but you may have heard my endeavors with baking bread this summer. YEEEEEEEAH. (Oh, also pasta. Pasta is low fat! Eat a lot! Wait! Not THAT much! Hey! Slow down! Aaaaauuuggghhh!)

I have a feeling this post would be a lot more interesting and coherent if I'd actually seen the house I was interested in tonight. LAME.

No really. Would you still love me if I moved to the suburbs? Mom? Anyone? SIGH.


I AM planning to sing "Preschool Musical" as I escort him to the front door

I have to take Jack to preschool at nine in the morning and LEAVE HIM THERE, BY HIMSELF. But oddly enough the thing that worries me about this whole endeavor is exactly HOW I'm supposed to drop him off. You don't just park and walk in, there's some sort of loading area procedure, but if I WANT I can park and wait for someone to let us in and of course this is the part that makes me nervous. What to do, what to do.

Jack, if last week's behavior is anything to go by, will waltz into his classroom with nary a look back at his poor, emotionally unstable mother. 

I just said good night to Molly and she got all huffy because I am wearing her clippies. HER clippies. To keep my fifth grade-era bangs out of my face. I negotiated the right to keep them in until tomorrow. Sheesh.

Oh, and I also haven't picked out a first day of school outfit. Right now Elizabeth is staring in horror and composing a scolding email full of links to First Day Of School outfits. But everything in Jack's closet is a variation on the Sweat Pants/Elastic Waist Khaki Pants With A T-Shirt That May Or May Not Match theme. I figure I'll pick something out in the morning. Of course, I do this same thing when *I* have something important in the morning - get overwhelmed at night, leave it for the morning, stand in front of closet so long that I leave the house with wet hair and no deodorant. 

He DOES have a rain jacket, despite the fact that only store in Western Washington that CARRIED a size 3T rain jacket (NOT a giant snow-appropriate jacket, NOT a fleece coat, NOT a zippered hoodie) was Costco, and then only in two choices: horrifying yellow or navy blue with the words FIRE CHIEF printed in the butt region. Also it's too big. I don't care. We live in Washington. IT IS GOING TO RAIN. 

Aaaaanyway, it's a slow start meaning only an hour and a half. It just doesn't feel like the hugest deal in the world. Except for if you think about how tomorrow marks the beginning of The Rest Of His Slowly-Drifting-Away-From-Mommy Life. WAAAAHHHH.

Whatever. Where's the wine. Oh! I forgot to tell one of you (which one of you! I forget!) that Yellow Tail is my cheap-ish wine of choice. The shiraz. But I don't buy it at Costco, on account of never going to Costco, except for that one time I was desperate to find a rain coat in size 3T and my mother suggested I look at Costco because they have everything for everyone and THEY DID. 

I'm also potty training Molly this week. Ha! Isn't that hysterical? Like I think *I* am training HER? As if I do not KNOW Mollymoo? I will just say that she is a big fan of 1) Ni Hao Kai Lan underpants and 2) stickers and 3) did not have an accident all day although 4) we didn't really start until lunchtime because we had to go to the grocery store in the morning, we HAD to and 5) we went out to dinner and no way was I taking her out to dinner with my in-laws just wearing Ni Hao Kai Lan. So. We are homebound till Friday evening and we'll see what happens. I've tallied up all the things I did wrong with Jack and I'm so very hopeful that Molly is just ready, the better to combat all the things I will surely do wrong with her. 

La la la preschool potty training sunshine rainbows... I need to send a grovel-ish email to my sad neglected writing group and then I need to wash that pan I have soaking in the sink and then I need to sit down with last week's Project Runway. Is it just me or is this season really entertaining? 


Oh goody, another week is starting

Well, it's always uncomfortable when one of your real life besties calls you because she read on the blog that you aren't doing well. I mean, normally I'm the Champion of Blogging and all that, but such a circumstance really does put a socially awkward lonely-girl-in-her-underwear-in-the-dark-with-her-laptop spin on things. Especially when you tell your friend, "Oh, I just write it out and then I feel much better! The end! Or at least until we go out for a restorative cocktail because I haven't seen you in weeks AND I NEED HUMAN INTERACTION." 

ANYWAY. 

How was YOUR weekend? Mine was weird. As I briefly alluded last week I got all bee in my bonnety about a house - new construction in our price range, we must be dreaming. So we drove down there on Saturday, but not before I googled the everloving you know what out of the house, the builder, the area, the amenities. I did my homework, people. And by the time I finished I was convinced that if only the house was the right kind of house, we would be breaking our lease and moving. 

Well, I TOLD myself that that was ridiculous, do not get emotionally invested, you are so bad at these things, YOU KNOW YOU ARE GETTING YOURSELF INTO TROUBLE. So it was probably a good thing that it was not the right kind of house. It was a pretty house, brand new, and prewired for surround sound so that I would never have to argue with Phillip about exposed speaker wire again in my life, but... no. These houses were SO squished together. There was no yard whatsoever. And yes, one of them looked out on a huge park with a huge playground, but even then, NO YARD. Barely enough patio for a tiny table. 

There were other Slightly Wrong things about the house and the neighborhood, so I drove home not so much disappointed as annoyed with myself for wasting so much time. Everyone I've talked to about this says that I'm not wasting time, I'm just doing research so I'll be super informed when we do find The Right House, but whatever. My "research" always comes with a huge helping of "neuroses". ANNOYING. 

Then YESTERDAY we went back to the exact same area and looked at another house, only this one was about three hundred years old. I have to say, if we were the types who liked to flip or work on houses, this one would have been awesome. It was GRAND, you know? But no, we are not those types. AT ALL.

Blah blah blah new house SNORE.

It also just occurred to me that Molly turns two on Wednesday. Her kid party is Tuesday, her family party is on Saturday. That's TWO PARTIES. I am a big fan of party-throwing, but 1) it's going to rain on Kid Party Day and 2) this house has nowhere to eat. We crammed our table into the kitchen and it works for just our family (or two kids visiting for a playdate) but other than that it's a little... tight. I've already warned a few partygoers that I plan to put newspaper down in the playroom, maybe a tarp? I'll put out the pan of mac and cheese, hand out spoons, lock the door and then go upstairs to drink mimosas with the mothers. I THINK this will work. I THINK it could be an excellent way to spend a morning. I THINK.

IN OTHER NEWS. When you start a writing group? You sort of have to WRITE STUFF. And if you are in CHARGE of said writing group and you tell everyone the assignment is due Friday, it looks really bad if you don't turn it in until very late Sunday night. I'm just saying that maybe this wasn't such a great idea. 

Oh, and remember when I bought Molly underpants? It appears that underpants signaled the end of Potty Training Interest. I am trying to care. 

HAPPY MONDAY!


The color of this blog post is Shipwreck Gray

Molly woke us up, right on time, at 4:30 am. I was rudely awakened from a dream about the Blathering. I'd brought two real-life not-blogger friends with me and was SUPER ANNOYED with them the whole time, for being extra clingy and shy and I was all, "THESE ARE MY PEOPLE, I SEE THEM ONCE A YEAR, BUZZ OFF." I think I am much nicer than that in person. (Oh, AND we brought our kids, which, NO.) (AND AB Chao was there. I don't know. I'm a dork.)

And then, when I was really and truly good and awake, I couldn't go back to sleep because I was obsessing over these houses I found last night. Big, beautiful, new construction, affordable. (This is not a dream.) But what would it be like to move pretty far across town? To not randomly get together with friends? To go to a different church? To live in what is pretty much a development (albeit a small one) in an area that is mostly definitely in the process of gentrification? To give up my cutesy stores and trendy cupcake shops and walkability? To have a completely different city experience? It was very stressful and I never went back to sleep. 

I loved your stories. I wish you would write more. The best thing is that my story is rural - or, at least, much more rural than I ever have personally experienced. I am making it up as I go, but it helps to hear the real life stuff. Fortunately I have the drinking in the back of pickup trucks totally down. 

Also, I am super glad to hear I am not the only one who missed out on the party scene. It was a little different in my high school, but I've sort of stopped feeling like missing out was a bad thing. More an "oh thank GOD" thing. 

Last week I randomly applied for a freelance writing job which, judging from several factors I won't explain here, I'm 99.9% sure I didn't get. This is totally bumming me out. Kind of a lot. Ugh. 

It's just been a weird week you guys. Hard and sort of dark around the edges. I can tell I haven't been doing that great, because I want to stay home and crawl into myself the same way the kids want to stay home and inside and smear Play Doh into the carpet. Usually I'm all gung ho to see friends and get out and attack this and do that! But last night I had an opportunity to go play volleyball and I went, even though I didn't really feel like it. And then, when it turned out the gym was closed for some reason and everyone decided to relocate to a park, because THEY are all friends and THEY all want to spend time together, I ditched. I guess so I could go home and obsess about houses I won't buy on the internet. 

I need my routine back, I really do. Sometimes I think I need that schedule more than the kids. I want to get all jazzed up for my weekend and get back on track and ready for next week which includes TWO BIRTHDAY PARTIES. But I kind of feel like next week will be just like this week and before I know it Phillip will be back in school and that will just be... it. 

I tried to catch up on Mad Men last night. Maybe that's why I'm all doom and gloom. 

In other news, I bought Molly some underpants. I thought this would be a fun thing, you know. Letting her pick out her own? But OH THE DRAMA. Because she wanted MICKEY Mouse not MINNIE. And then she wanted Thomas. Get these Disney princesses away from her! And I was standing in the middle of Target trying to talk myself into buying my little girl BOY underwear (THERE IS A DIFFERENCE) but then (THANK GOD) we saw Ni Hao Kai Lan underpants on the opposite side of the aisle and peace was found. She's still verrrry interested in the Potty Process, but it finally dawned on me that I can't just ask her if she needs to go. I have to stick her on every twenty minutes, regardless of what she says. I know this is common sense for most of you, but see: six months to train Jack. Sigh. I'm getting bummed out again.

Anyway. Go find something cheerier to read. Off you go!


Lazy lazy LAZY days of summer

So, today is a bust. I am not loving today. I am sitting in the bathroom banging out a Post of Dissatisfaction while my kids take their second bath of the day, not because they're dirty but because it's something to DO.

I don't know if Jack is just getting bored with summer or what, but he never wants to DO anything anymore. Well, I suppose that's not exactly true, since all morning he wanted to go to the playground and when we went to the playground I was informed that this was not the RIGHT playground, the RIGHT playground is the one with the SANDBOX so I totally up and turned the car around because heaven forbid I thwart the boy, right? But every time I suggest going outside he is... unwilling, to say the least. No talk of sprinklers and baby pools and watering the plants can change his mind. No going for walks. No physical exertion, just his computer and/or TV please. Molly goes down for a nap at one and from one to nearly three he and I are engaged in a battle of wills. Today I gave in and held him (2:45) just to shut him up and we both fell asleep and at 3pm I woke up, realized he was still asleep and just put him in his bed. Right when Molly started bawling from her room. 

Which is how it goes lately. Jack either doesn't nap at all, or falls asleep at the most inopportune times. I go from battling Jack to entertaining Molly and ugh, it makes for a long boring day. I always think we'll go out for a walk when the kids wake up, or play outside or just DO SOMETHING. But the day just drags on and on until I get so stir crazy I decide that yes I AM going to cut Molly's hair like I've been talking myself out of for weeks. It's cute. Not too crooked. The bangs have a sort of Spock-ish quality that I can't quite figure out, but the good thing about hair is that it grows back. 

Phillip is meeting an old professor tonight, hence the poor attitude. He's also going out Thursday night. Who is going to send me cookies? No, wait, my major coping mechanism for boredom involves standing in front of the refrigerator. I certainly do not need gratuitous snacks. 

I can't believe I'm going to say this, but: I think I'm ready for summer to be over. Today was eighty something, which is not at all unbearably hot and ordinarily I am thrilled with high temperatures, but today it just felt like overkill. Like, enough already, SUMMER. I'm done with you. I'm over it. Get moving. Let's start something new. Let's DO THIS THING. 

I feel like Jack is supposed to go back to school, even though he's never BEEN to school. Phillip is definitely supposed to go back to school. I am supposed to start the volleyball league. I'm ready to start making butternut squash soup and wearing sweaters and if it weren't the season where anxiety traditionally reared its unwelcome mug, I'd go so far to say fall is my favorite. 

I think I may just be ready for a SCHEDULE. 

This is Phillip's second year of grad school and after that this whole Waiting Room thing I feel like I'm in will be over and we can figure stuff out. It's always, "Well, when you're done with school..." or "In June we'll know if we can do this or that..." 

I suppose there is SOMETHING new happening: Molly is potty training herself. Yes, herself. Today she insisted on going around butt nekkid and running to the potty (the BIG potty) every twenty minutes to pee. And you guys, I was not encouraging this at all. She's sort of been doing this the last few days, insisting on sitting on the big potty and doing her thing and I am just too lazy for this. I'm all, "Seriously? I'm still recovering from the first child. I am not ready to do the second. STOP ASKING ME TO GO PEE." I know that if this is the real thing (which, so far, looks likely) then it's all to my benefit, but I could honestly wait. I've heard of people actually Potty Training, you know, where you stay home for a week and you make the kid drink a ton of water and you're all Sergeant Pottypants 24/7. I probably should have done something of the sort with Jack. I think I probably did everything wrong with Jack. But MAN does that sound exhausting. And between a week of Sergeant Pottypants and months more of diapers, I choose diapers. I'm bored, but not THAT bored.


Is there a medicine for the whining?

Most of my friends are parents of rather precocious girls. Most of them are a little bit older than Jack. They are all whip smart, beautiful and mini future student council presidents. As I am not a teacher, a daycare provider, an aunt to kids within frequent visiting distance or a preschool aide, these are the only little kids I know. They are my sample. And my sample is freaking SKEWED, man. 

I mean, poor Jack. Since day one he's been getting bossed around by these pretty little girls, just a few months older than he is, but you know that in Toddler Years a few months is a big deal. I'm proud to say that he's an eensy weensy bit less of a pushover than he used to be, and I think he's improving. Yay! But whenever he is doing something weird or confusing or annoying or flat out pushing me to my utmost limits, one of the ways I try to keep myself in check is to say, "Self? Is this just something kids his age DO? Is it just a THING?"

See, because if it IS, then I am totally off the hook parenting failure-wise. It's in my best interests to turn whatever phase he's going through into an actual factual Phase. That all kids do. That all mothers hate. It's not me! It's him! 

But you guys, when your sample is made up of disgustingly cute, impossibly well behaved little GIRLS*, it never works out in my favor. EVER. 

The Thing right now is the whining. And the whining is especially... whiny, lately. I mean, you have your average list of demands, what I call the Litany of Wants. Want a drink, want stickers, want to sit in this chair not that one, want to play computer, want to buckle by himself, want to open the gate, want a snack, want to stay up, want to open the mail, want to help, want to watch CAAAAAARE BEAAAAARS. Okay, so I've seen even those darling little girls I know start in on their own litanies. Yes, it makes me want to die and causes me to shriek, "STAY IN YOUR ROOM AND PLAY BY YOURSELF!" during "quiet time" but whatever. Not that unusual. Well and good. 

But Jack, I feel, takes it to this incredibly dramatic level. Like he is a teenage girl. Like he might be writing angsty poetry in his room at night. Like his world is ending. Like I am the meanest mommy who has ever lived. He whines, he protests, he sputters - but then he WAILS. All out someone-killed-my-dog BAWLING. And I'm all, "Seriously? You're doing that? Really?"

I've noticed that we can get him to STOP crying a little bit faster these days. He's a bit more responsive to bribes and dire threats. It doesn't always work, but when he let it all out in the restaurant tonight, we had him contained in under 30 seconds. Major Improvement. 

But still. What the heck? Molly snatches his ball away and from the sound he makes you think she has him in a head lock. (Okay, ONCE I came downstairs to find a nice set of teeth marks in Jack's arm. The wailing was completely justified in that instance.) BUT STILL. It seems excessive. It's embarrassing. It's unnecessary.

When I compare my kids, it seems like they have two decidedly different ways of combating Life Is Not Fair. Jack pushes and pushes and pushes until he bursts into magnificent tears. Today we had several important conversations about Talking Back and Looking At Mommy When She's Speaking To You and Doing What Mommy Says The FIRST Time, Not The Seventeenth Time. If he doesn't grow up Goth he'll be a politician, what with all the sidling around my instructions. "Clean up your room, Jack!" "But Mommy, I just doing this first." He is an ACE at these "I just doing..." excuses/stalling strategies.

Molly, on the other hand, just gives you an unequivocal "no" and waits to see what happens. Time out, usually, which induces tears, but only for a moment. Then she's on to something else. With Jack, the tears last until he feels sufficiently coddled. And as you might guess, that takes quite a while since I am rarely in the mood to coddle. Like, EVER.

GAH. The whole point of this post being: EXPAND MY SAMPLE! Am I dealing with a future eyeliner-wearing drama major? Or is this pretty par for the course? Just a sensitive little boy? 

***I am not one of those people who thinks girl = sweet, well-behaved and boy = rambunctious heathen, no no no. I do not subscribe to that. HOWEVER. Jack's little pals are all very sweet and darling to their mommies when I am around! I am open to conspiracy theories. 


I've submitted my resignation

OH today was wretched. The WRETCHEDEST. It was a Triple Volume Whinefest today (myself included). All day I was thinking about Super Nanny. WHAT WOULD SUPER NANNY DO? We tried her Time Out method a few times (I'm still looking for the Discipline Method that both Phillip and I can be consistent practicing, as Shrieking, Stomping and Yelling doesn't really work for him and Reasoning For Hours On End doesn't really work for me) and it seemed to go okay. Except for the parts where I lost MY temper and the kids were so worn out and crabby they couldn't even function and IS IT BEDTIME YET?

After months of Not Napping, Jack picked it up again. Until today, when he decided he would not bother falling asleep until the moment his sister decided to wake up and I was all NO. That is NOT HAPPENING. So of course he's been a beast all afternoon and I have only myself to blame. 

And Molly - I don't even know what to say about her. Remember when all this blog consisted of was, "Midnight is not an acceptable baby bedtime!" Well, we're sort of back to that. We put Molly down and five minutes later she is up. She hurls everything out of her crib, including the books we keep on the window sill for early morning perusal. She wants a doll. She can't find her pacifier. She wants MOOOOZIK. She wants MAAAAWMEE or sometimes she wants DAHHHHHDEE. And, my favorite, she just stands there looking fifteen and surly until you go pick her up. 

What do we do with THAT? Jack had to learn how to fall asleep on his own and CIO was our answer. I know it's not everyone's, but one night people. ONE NIGHT. We had to do it all over again at certain points throughout Babyhood, but something clicked in that kid and it worked. Molly, on the other hand, has known how to fall asleep on her own since she was born. If she was howling there was something wrong. ALWAYS something wrong. You had hunt high and low for The Answer, but there was always an answer, even something like, "I just LIKE going to bed at midnight, suckas, and there's nothing you can do about it! Pbbbtt!" 

Even now, I'll go in and hold her for five minutes at a time. Sometimes I'll say, "Molly? It's time to go night night now" and she'll lean towards her bed and dive in. Other times it's a "NOOOOO!" and I have to do it all over again. Like, fifteen times again. The good thing is that I have an almost unlimited number of things to give her to play with in bed, which is usually how I get her to go back down. A ball? A book? The alarm clock? SURE! So there's always a point where she agrees to go to sleep. Always on her own. No rocking, no falling asleep ON you, no no, she wants the bed. She just wants it on very specific and mysterious terms.

(Sometimes I think about how anxious I was to give Jack toys in bed. What if he just PLAYED? What if he never fell ASLEEP? And I think: SILLY WOMAN. The point is not to sleep! The point is to keep them quiet so they leave you alone!) 

Sometimes we do let her cry, but only for a few minutes. It seems to tire her out, and then makes it a little easier to coax her back to horizontal. I don't know. Phillip keeps suggesting we do the full on CIO, but I don't like it. It's not the right answer here. (My evidence for this is: My Gut. Phillip is unimpressed.)

ANYWAY. We are all a bit cranky, is what I'm saying. By 3pm we are all careening towards our inner prima donnas and fixing for a giant screamy explosion. Usually the explosion is ignited by dinner, which is then punted into the refrigerator to be offered up again for the next day's lunch. Where it will be turned down, once again, until 2:30, when a certain someone starts whimpering from his bedroom, where he has been banished for Quiet Time, that he's HONGREE, MAWWWMEEE! HONGREE!

So eat your freaking lunch! GAH!

Oh, and also I was comfort eating all the live long day and you guys, the amounts of Bad I am feeling about my size and my weight and how my pants fit and all that stuff feels insurmountable right now. Even though I worked out every single stinking day last week AND ate like a freaking supermodel getting ready for her TV special. How can I let the guilt of one day of cookie-stuffing cancel out an entire week of awesome? I am so DOWN about all of this, I don't even want to write about it. BAH. I'm going to go put on my (XXXXL) tutu and sulk. GOOD NIGHT.


The Easier Debate

Yesterday I talked to my mom and it was discovered that SHE called any bunch of hair in an elastic a PONYtail and SHE thought pigtails were also braids and therefore we all get to blame HER. 

(And I have to say, I was sincerely agitated about the whole thing until the explanation popped up that pigtails are SHORT and ponytails are LONG and this made way more sense to me. I am now only a LITTLE bit agitated because see: entire life, saying it wrong.)

I woke up early (thanks, Molly) and I feel funny and I'm remembering that I've felt funny for a month now and my hypochondriac tendencies have activated. I'm sitting here trying to think of something not-lame to blog about, and all I can think is, "I wonder if it's CANCER!"

Don't tell me you don't do that too. 

Oh here she is, the Princess. How did Molly turn into the Difficult One? And I shouldn't say that, you know, since I think I have two of the easiest kids I'VE ever met. They rarely get sick, they mostly sleep, they're cheerful, they're cute, they don't have allergies, blah blah blah. Just so you know to take all mentions of "difficult one" with a grain of salt. 

But did I tell you Jack started napping again? I know. I don't get it. And sometimes I almost wish he'd stop with this whole napping business because he turns into SUCH a prima donna when he wakes up. He's never been good at Transitioning Back To Being Awake - seriously, he could stay in bed a full hour after he wakes up in the morning or after a nap - and now it's worse. The WHINING. The WHIMPERING. The "Hold me! Hold me! Hold me!" Gah. 

Of course, if he doesn't take a nap, we can't go anywhere in the afternoons lest he take a cat nap in the car and wake up to, say, dinner with his cousins or a friend's birthday party in the most wretched of moods. That's not terribly pleasant either. 

ANYWAY. HOWEVER. Jack started napping and since Molly never stopped, I'm back to having hours in the afternoon to myself. Sometimes. Sometimes I put Molly down at 12:30 and Jack doesn't fall asleep until 2 (I let him play his computer for a while, then he drives a city full of cars on his car rug or lines up all his toy bins on his bed or plays hopscotch on his books until I yell at him and THEN he crawls into his bed and falls asleep with his butt in the air). Things aren't very coordinated then, but it's still a bit of quiet time. Which is good, because the Princess is dealing with molars (it HAS to be molars, right?) and requires every ounce of attention and Hold Me! and compassion for whining that I have. Which is not a lot, as you know. 

Sometimes I sort of want to line up my two kids at the same age. Like, take a one-year-old Jack and a one-year-old Molly and decide which one was easier. I don't know why I find it worth thinking about. Like every time I start talking about Molly being the easier one, I remember the frat boy sleeping schedule, the crying (Jack never cried!), the extreme willful stubbornness that makes us all tremble at the thought of The Teenage Years. So then I decide Jack was easier, until I remember how hard it was to feed him (and still is) and how I rocked him to sleep until weeks before Molly was born, his whole attitude problem if he hasn't had enough sleep, so then MOLLY is obviously easier, right? 

Again, why do I find this important? 

Either way, they're both vying for the spot right now, just at different times of day. At least they're not being awful at the same time. At least when Jack is going through his afternoon whiny wittle babyness, Molly has usually taken a nice long nap and won't drive me crazy until it's time to put her to bed and she starts saying, "NOOOOOOO! NOOOOOOO!"

And despite all of that, we're having a lovely time. The days are Unplanned, yet we always find something to do. Today, for example, we are going to walk to the drugstore to buy contact solution and Kleenex! Now, you might think this is a horribly boring thing to do, lonely, dull, short. But no, you are not Three and Almost Two and an Easily Amused Thirty-One-Year-Old. Because the walk to the drugstore is a very nice one, and full of interesting things to shout about, like dandelions and airplanes and bicycles and wooden foot bridges and then there are SO many interesting things IN the drugstore that we must point ALL of them out! And since the walk to the drugstore takes a good 15 to 20 minutes with the double stroller it makes for a nice way to spend a sunny morning. SO THERE. Who says the life of a stay at home mother is not all sunshine and roses! LITERALLY!

Molly has been sitting on my lap this entire time, her hands on my hands feeling them go up and down on the keys. Then she tries to hit her own keys and I swipe her hands away and there are Wounded Noises and Indignant Grunts. WHATEVER, KID. Don't interrupt me while I'm complaining about you. 

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