Life with two

AND no one bothered me about seeing the house today. SCORE.

If the handful of Tums I just downed are anything to go by, I had a delicious evening. I highly recommend teeny tiny BFFs-Only birthday parties, complete with Costco lasagna, a preschooler dance party, and make your own sundaes. I wish Phillip had been there. It's a really awesome thing to see your friends' husbands swinging your kids around in the air, to do the Twist with your friend's two-year-old, to welcome any random kid into your lap. One of my biggest hopes is to see all these kids grow up together, till they're so grown up that they all come to visit their parents on the same floor of the same old folks home. 

Things are moving along with our home-before-we-head-to-the-old-folks-home. Today I got two phone calls. One to schedule our signing (GAK) and another to tell me to bring a cashier's check for $OMG dollars and fifty-six cents. So it appears this house really will be ours, with or without green walls and awkward fireplaces. It doesn't seem real. The more I think about it, the more the unrealness has to do with the fact that this is The House. It's not the starter house or the rental house or the house we hope to be in for five to ten years. Well, some people have recommended that's what we shoot for, the Next Five To Ten Years House, but honestly? Twenty years sounds good to me. Longer even. I don't even live there yet, and already it feels more permanent, more MINE, than that sparkly new townhouse ever did. 

I'm pretty tired. I finally got the kids in bed, and YAY FOR ME, it was cake. I finished up my dorky Easter blurb, held my nose, and sent it in. I threw all the clothes Phillip left on the bed into the hamper and crawled in. Preschool's on Spring Break, but where God has closed the preschool door he has opened a window full of sunny weather. It's SUPPOSED to stick around. At the very least I hope the "occasional sunbreaks" happen during naptime, when Jack is completely content to roam around the backyard making mud, picking dandelions, and digging in the rocks. Plus there's just something about sunshine making everything better. 

Oh I suppose I should tell you I had another dr appointment today. I forgot my phone so I was not only bored in the waiting room, I was convinced it was A Sign. Something bad would happen and I would not have my phone to call Phillip, call a friend, call my inlaws watching the kids, call someone to drive me home, ETC. I know this is ridiculous, but I've already been feeling guilty that I haven't spent much time thinking about Third Baby AND feeling more twingey and crampy and uncomfortable than I was at this point with the other babies. 

Everything was fine - I know how lucky I am to be able to say that. Not only that, my doctor, whom I adore, was extra adorable ("it's my BIRTHday today!") and when I hid my eyes on the scale the nurse chirped, "124! Awesome!", and then it turns out that I've only gained three pounds since my last appointment. Which is some kind of record. And/or magnificent feat given my diet of Hershey's Chocolate Syrup and frozen waffles. 

When I think about everything all together I want to hide under the covers. But each day is so tackle-able. And so many good things show up. Ugh, I am making my own self want to barf. Or maybe it's the lasagna. EITHER WAY. I am now going to [Perk Of Absent Spouse!] fall asleep in the middle of last week's The Good Wife. See you later.

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. 


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. 


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. 


Before I drop them off at the orphanage

Today has not been one to win me any honors in parenting. My in-laws showed up ten minutes ago, their weekly Monday afternoon visit, and I am hiding out in my bedroom. I am "folding laundry". I am actually trying to scrape what's left of a Pleasant Demeanor out of the Pit of Furious that is my current state. I am thinking this will take me at least until we meet Phillip for dinner. 

I understand that it's my fault. I ignored them all morning to pick up my house. Landlord sent his realtor over for picture taking and because I am 1) a decent tenant and 2) exceptionally prideful, I had a lot of work to do. I did most of it over the weekend, but certain things you have to do last minute, like hiding of bathroom essentials and sweeping of kitchen floors. I'd also saved my bedroom, aka The Place Where Everything Place-Less Goes To Die, for last. So as soon as the kids woke up they were parked in front of PBSKids and I was marching up and down the stairs putting things away, wiping down, hiding in closets, all that good stuff. 

I finished 45 minutes before the photographer came, which angered me because that was 45 minutes I had to keep everything clean. The TV was still on. 

The photography itself was relatively painless. And I didn't have to use my Grown Up Voice with the realtor, since he immediately and cheerfully acquiesced to my when-he-gets-to-show-the-house demands. (No one gets to visit while Molly (and, preferably myself) are napping. The end.) 

But Phillip took the car this morning - it is becoming more and more and MORE apparent that we are not long for the one car family world - and the weather was icky and OH GOD WE HAVE TO ENTERTAIN OURSELVES. AND IT'S NOT TIME FOR LUNCH YET. 

I kept Jack happy with computer games, graham crackers, more television and puzzles until Molly woke up, but by then I was Beyond Exhausted and just wanted them to play with each other, away from me. But no, there had to be giggling/whining (Jack is gleefully taunting his sister) or tattling (both of them accusing the other of some egregious invasion of personal space) or out of control roughhousing (that will end in tears) or SPITTING and SO YEAH I LOST IT. 

Hence the hiding in my bedroom. I am so tired. I thought I was supposed to be getting over The Tired by now, but I still want to take a three-hour nap every afternoon. And even though I have grandparents here to keep the kids away from me, I'm STILL furious with them! AAAARRRRRGGGGHHHHH.

Tomorrow morning we have the house inspection, which is half exciting and half a giant pain in the rear since the preschool and one car situations are making the logistics pretty tricky. On the other hand, my brother-in-law (MY BROTHER-IN-LAW!) is going to watch the kids for an hour tomorrow afternoon so I can do something about the shaggy animal currently atop my head. 

GAH. I just feel so bad because everything is going WELL but it's still a lot of WORK and I am totally putting the mom stuff on the back burner (hello PBSKids!) and WOW I SUCK AT THIS RIGHT NOW. 

Aaaand right now the kids are ordering their Ye Ye to go sit in the corner. OMG. I'm going to shut the door and dive under the covers. 

Bunk beds, potty training, gadgets, blah blah blah

All I did this weekend was nap and buy heaps and heaps of stretchy comfy clothes for the kids and me. For the kids, because if someone happens to pee her pants every day at Disneyland I want to make sure we have enough layers, and for me because, well, I'd rather not show up at the airport wearing plaid flannel pajama pants. I mean, I know OTHER people do, but I'm not sixteen and flying with my basketball team to regionals, you know? (Perhaps I wore my pajama pants THEN. Perhaps I felt COOL.)

Also, how young is too young to sleep in the top bunk? It turns out that Phillip could really really use some office space with a door, and while I've considered moving Jack and Molly into our room (the biggest) and moving us up to Jack's room and turning Molly's room into the office/new baby's room, I now have a new-ish idea: what if we just move Molly into Jack's existing room and keep the bunk beds bunked? It'd be a squeeze, but come on, they're two and three. And I no longer worry about sharing a room since they're beyond a lot of the sleeping schedule/keeping each other up stuff. But it means Jack would be on the top bunk and the conventional wisdom seems to be that that's not a good idea. It has a railing and all and he's not a very rowdy kid. I mean, he's fallen out of bed exactly once since he got his big boy bed and he was never one to climb in and out of cribs. We're going to have bunk beds in Disneyland and while we're intending to get a rollaway, I might try Jack in the bunk bed one night, just to see how it goes. Unless, of course, I am villified in the comments section. You know I do whatever you people think is right. 

Anyway, some super good friends randomly texted us tonight and we ended up having them over for dinner (uh, Thai take out, we are not much for cooking these days) and GOSH IT WAS FUN. Everyone always talks about losing friends after you have kids. Well, first you get married and potentially lose your single friends, then you have kids and potentially lose the childless friends. Except these friends HAVE a kid and what's keeping us from seeing them is plain old laziness. They live a little farther from us than other friends and it's just SAD, because we used to see these guys all the time. They used to make frequent appearances on this blog as founding members of the Thursday Night Television Gang. (Oh 'Friends'. How we miss you.) But there's traffic after work and nap schedules and classes on weekends and things just don't work out. I am a HUGE fan of the Random Text. You just never know! 

Oh, this POST is totally random, huh? Sorry. Here's another out of place paragraph: After an entire (ENTIRE) day of "my bottom hurrrrrts" and whimpering and painful expressions and useless parental empathy, Molly finally used the potty. She's doing SO WELL and I'm not sure why she holds it, you know? I'm trying everything I can think of to make it easier on her, but I just feel SO BAD! I had to let her hold the BAG of animal cookies just to get her to SIT on the potty and TRY, and then I coached her through the whole thing (SORRY FUTURE MOLLY) which we'd already been doing all day but what else can you do, right? But then there was Success and there was much rejoicing in the land. Much "I get to go to DISNEYLAND!" and "I A BIG GIRL!" And the pride you feel at the Success is akin to, say, writing the letters of their name. At least for me. I'm all SHE'S HEADED TO HARVARD!

Also! My husband came home with an Apple TV this afternoon. An Apple TV is a tiny black box, and from what I gather, it does things our TiFaux was already doing. But who am I to question O Sainted Apple? Or my husband's dedication to shiny new gadgets? But right now he has picked up my Disneyland guidebook (I've received several snide comments about my Disneyland guidebook which, yes, is the UPDATED version of the guidebook I used ONE YEAR AGO, SHUT UP) and that means he might actually want to talk about trip planning! Be still my heart! Catch you later, internet!

Weekend mishmash

Operation Only Big Girls Who Use The Potty Get To Go To Disneyland is working all right-ish. As in, there have been no accidents in three days (A FEAT) but two thirds of the time there is major chocolate chip bribery going on, plus she prefers to, ah, "wait" until she's napping, ie: has a diaper on. So. There's no big success to report, but for Future Blog Reference, things are going better than they were LAST time we tried potty training. (And the time before that, and the time before that.) 

Also, Operation Escape To Disneyland And Somehow Lose Phillip's Phone In The Process So He Cannot Take Work Phone Calls is progressing nicely. I have finally decided on a hotel (The Anabella) unless a room at the Howard Johnson opens up, in which case I will spend several weeks weighing the increase in cost vs. the awesome pool/kid room set up. Then I have Phillip all, "It's going to be too COLD to go SWIMMING. Who CARES about the POOL." Except, come on, it's southern California, it is entirely possible it will be warm enough to go swimming. At least for us Pacific Northwesterners who break out the shorts when it hits sixty. (Not ME. But I SEE them.) 

(Note: I HAVE a room at the Howard Johnson. It's just not the RIGHT room. And yes, I am totally the person who makes nine different hotel reservations and waits until the last minute to cancel them.) 

We had a good weekend here at Camp Cheung. I don't know if I told you this, but when I picked Jack up from preschool on Thursday, his teacher mentioned that Jack's been talking about his dad a lot, is his dad out of town? It's like she half expected me to confess we were getting divorced. But I explained the work/school thing, and then I told Phillip at dinner, though there was no good way to tell him without making him feel terrible. Especially when we wouldn't see him at all on Friday and Saturday morning. 

So he skipped school on Saturday! He woke up with Jack, who's sick and getting up annoyingly early, and I listened to them roughhouse in the living room all morning. It was so happy. We spent the rest of the day at my parents' house hanging out with Assorted Family, and when Jack seemed extra sick again this morning, Phillip stayed home with him while I took Molly to church. (Which I could not accomplish without much "we'll go get DOUGHNUTS!" after church bribery. HEY, IT WORKS.)

It's another week of work and school and meetings and phone calls, but it was nice to have some down time. A friend of mine was talking about how she took her daughter to the ballet one afternoon while her husband took their son to a park for running around and kicking a soccer ball. So now we've been talking about doing special "dates" with each kid, on our own, and it sounds fun, but it's also kind of weird. It's hard for me to think about splitting the kids up. Like having just one stay at Grandma and Grandpa's house - WEIRD! I know that's wrong, I mean, they ARE two separate people. We don't have to do EVERYTHING together.

In other news, I have actual Valentine's Day Plans. GASP. I honestly can't remember the last time we did anything for Valentine's Day. I mean, my valentine always knows enough to get me some chocolate, but other than that it's not a big deal. But some friends invited us along on a triple date, complete with Nice Restaurant and Dressing Up and you KNOW I am all over that.  And Valentine's Day just happens to fall on the night Phillip's parents are here anyway, so hello free babysitting! Unfortunately, my friend showed me what she's wearing (HOT BLACK DRESS) and I do not own anything comparable. I mean, since the Peacemaking With The Christmas Cookie Pounds. ALAS. 

Anyway, Jack is now taking flying leaps off the couch and Phillip is playing Starcraft with Molly in his lap and I think this means I need to go be a parent. 

What are YOU doing with your valentine? 


Your standard photo cop out post Volume Two

I'm not having a good SAHM/Wife Of Grad Student night tonight. I tried pretty hard to eat well today, but right now I feel like sticking my entire face in a vat of chocolate fudge brownie ice cream. Also I keep seeing all these tweets about some event in Seattle that all these bloggers get to go to and I'm all WHY AM I NOT INVITED (because I am something like Four Trillionth in the Blogger Importance Rankings, alas). But then Jennie and Amy emailed about hanging out because THEY get to go (WAH) but you know, I've decided this is better than a free trip to a place I already live - I still get to see the people I know, without having to be Nintendo! Enthused! about something that may or may not be truly enthusing. Or maybe I'm just bitter. 

Anyway. These are a bunch of iPhone outtakes. You're welcome.

Photo (16)

I wrote about Jerry, the fifth and fuzziest member of our family, at Parenting for Thursday.

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Candyland may be my very least favorite thing about Two and Three.

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LUCY has a PIANO at HER house.

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Two of my favorites, plus an appetizer I may have eaten all by myself.

Photo (21)

Bad things happen when you're trying to meet a drink minimum.

Photo (22)


Photo (23)

"Molly, let's play SUPERMARKET!"

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I referenced Big Baby in my Parenting piece, and here she is, in all her full Big and Slightly Creepy glory.

And now to find a vat of ice cream.

When the noise was finally good for something

I am so tired today. There was just a lot of NOISE. Their regular speaking voices seem to be turned up, but of course they rarely use their regular speaking voices. Why use your fairly pleasant, slightly nasal, barely coherent two-year-old voice when you can YELL ACROSS THE KITCHEN THAT YOU NEED A DRINKA MILK MOMMY!

I am right here. Right! Here! I can hear you. 

They bark at you if the music isn't turned up enough in the car, then they sing at the top of their lungs. The giggles and shrieks and general happy noises become exhausting after ten minutes. Even when they're having fun I'm trying to get them to be quiet, just a little quiet. The only time it's quiet is when they play The Babies Are Napping. Then they whisper. They hunt me down and tell ME to whisper. They shut the door to whatever room the babies happen to be sleeping in, they walk around on tiptoe, they constantly shush each other. I love when The Babies Are Napping. They only nap about five minutes, though. 

Molly and I went to Target this morning to stock up on Valentine supplies. I thought we could zoom through an afternoon making cards and treats for our cousins, and it's a good thing I thought of this since Molly didn't bother napping this afternoon. I would do well to remember that every.single.time. Molly hasn't napped, the times when she's still singing and talking to herself an hour and a half after I put her down, it's because she went poo. EVERY TIME. Here I am thinking, "Oh, maybe a few more minutes and she'll quiet down" and then I finally go into her room and BAM: I am confronted by The Stench. 

(My new potty training tactic sounds like this: "Only BIG GIRLS who use the POTTY get to go to DISNEYLAND.")

I also dumped them in the grocery store playroom for an hour so I could do all the shopping I didn't get done on the weekend, but other than that it was a killer day. I've been feeling pretty proud of myself on the Yelling Front. Maybe it's the happy pills! But either Jack is becoming more pleasant or I am getting control of The Rage (both of these are equally improbable, I think). Then today I was screechy. I was shouty. The whole time I knew I was being short and unfair and not at all doing my job. Of COURSE they're going wild on hour two of Nothing Constructive To Do! Bust out the puzzles, woman! 

But I'd sort of immersed myself in redesigning the Blathering 2011 website and I didn't want to deal. Isn't that awful? Especially after I told you that I had a DAY OFF yesterday? 

Phillip came home for exactly fifteen minutes before heading off to another meeting and perhaps I wasn't terribly nice to him either, but it's just one of those days. I want to be left alone. I want it to be quiet. I want to THINK. 

Then the Jehovah's Witnesses dropped by this afternoon. I always feel so bad for them. They're always so nice and I'm always so not interested. Telling them that you're "heavily involved" in your church, which is true, doesn't quite do the trick. The one time I told them that I was Jewish (a tactic recommended by my father, and which is only barely and technically and ethnically true) did work, but I felt guilty. So I'm standing there with my Stranger Smile and trying to figure out how to make them leave without being offensive, but SRSLY Jehovah's Witnesses. You come up to my door and YES you are very kind and charming, but you bust out with "So what issues do you think are the most challenging to today's marriages?" which, to be honest, is a very interesting question. However! You have randomly popped up at my door. I am one of those people who is incapable, let alone interested, in chatting. And you can see I have two small rambunctious children in my house and I am all alone. GO AWAY. 

Those two small children started running interference. They were loud, shrill, crazy. They dashed to the door, then back to the kitchen, then back to the door, then back to the kitchen, the whole time singing, "HELLO! HELLO! HELLO!" They are usually shy and unassuming, but you caught us at the witching hour, Jehovah's Witnesses. It's your own fault. Soon they were running all around my legs, running around each other, leaping, twirling, still shouting their heads off, and still the Jehovah's Witnesses tried to engage me in Thoughtful Discourse. 

But even Jehovah's Witnesses are no match for my whirling dervishes. They finally handed me a copy of their magazine and fled. I corralled the kids and parked them in front of Dora. At that point we all needed a Moment. 

I've closed all my designy websitey programs - my eyes were beginning to cross. I wasn't going to blog, but then I thought it might put me in a better mood (it did). It's scandalously early and Phillip won't be home for another hour probably, but I think I'm going to put on my pajamas and watch one of my beloved English detective shows. Let's be in better moods tomorrow, shall we?

In which I need to do Pilates just to go grocery shopping

Today's work out consisted of sticking both kids in one of the car carts at Safeway and maneuvering through the narrow aisles and the poorly laid out produce section and trying desperately to avoid the numerous elderly people who were too deaf to hear us approaching. Which is REALLY deaf since my kids were singing at the top of their lungs nearly the entire time. It was embarrassing. And requires more core fitness than I have. I kept crouching down and hissing at them, threatening bodily harm and all that, but they kept it up. Enough people smile and wave at them and they must find it encouraging, but the people who DON'T smile and wave are looking at ME. Like I should find the OFF button and press it, pronto. 

We also ran into a man who goes to our church. He has two teenage daughters who, as far as I can tell, are pleasingly perfect in every way. He's really nice and complimented my haircut of all things (people my DAD didn't even notice I cut my hair, so this guy gets major props) and then made all sorts of vaguely supportive yet also not comments about my immediate predicament: two children, car cart, singing, mile-long shopping list. I just kept responding with the Empty Laugh and Half Smile and kept the rude gestures to my imagination.

I meant to go shopping yesterday, but we went to open houses instead, and then I sat in traffic trying to get to a volleyball game (in which I was CLEARLY the team liability, despite my new magic shoes.) Oh, and then there was the Battery Acid In The Server Room Incident, which meant I couldn't leave to go shopping. Hence the FORCED bringing of children to the grocery store, and the FORCED using of the car cart. WOE.

Also, can I just say, I hate my Safeway. I LOVED my old Safeway. But my new Safeway is old and cramped and full of college students in pajama pants and cranky employees and the produce section is horrendous. I don't even LIKE most produce and I am disappointed in the selection. But every time I shop at the NICE store, with the three-times-as-large produce section and the million varieties of everything and the yogurt I like and the FREE PLAYROOM, I spend so much more money. And if there is one chunk of my budget I'm good at, it's the grocery chunk. So it kills me to go to the nice grocery store if I know there are pricey items on my list. And besides, the kids are snotty-nosed cough machines these days and I knew they wouldn't be allowed within ten feet of the playroom. SAFEWAY IT HAD TO BE.

I SHOULD have gone yesterday instead of going to open houses. Because, well, disappointment abounds! We went to see a Suburbs House that was almost as beautiful as its listing pictures, but was on a kind of busy-ish street and didn't have a basement or playroom area and I don't know, I just wasn't FEELING it. I have friends up there, the schools are awesome, it's REALLY not that far away, but every time we go to look at a house there it just doesn't FEEL right. It feels like MARS. 

Then we looked at a completely renovated 1915 Craftsman in a fun neighborhood that was laughably out of our price range. It had 1915-style closets (which is to say, closets in name only) and no garage and slanty floors like my rental. And some of the renovations weren't quite my style (I HATE most kitchen remodels, but then again if I were doing my own I'd shoot for white everything with, say, aqua appliances). But it felt more like a house I would like living in. I think. I DON'T KNOW. And the point is moot anyway because seriously, NO WAY we can afford that house. 

I wonder how many readers I've lost due to my incessant house handwringing. SORRY!

Oh, and then this Sunday was the big Yay! Catholic! Schools! Sunday and all the kids wore their uniforms and the church was packed because all the families who never go to church decided to put in an appearance and there was MUCH self-congratulatory Yay! Catholic! Schools! talk and it put me in a Funk. They asked Catholic school students to stand up, then former C.S.S., then parents of, then teachers, then people who've supported a C.S.S. and seriously, by the end Phillip and I were the only people still sitting down. Liz leaned over and whispered, "THIS IS TO SHAME YOU." Bah!


Night night, Molly!

It's Sunday night and my husband is at work. Something about battery acid in the server room? I DON'T KNOW. My job is to stay here and feed the kids their left over dim sum dinner and make sure they don't injure themselves while performing gymnastics on my yoga mat and change them into their pajamas and possibly put them to bed. In fact, I wonder if the battery acid will conveniently remain in the server room until eight o'clock-ish when the kids are supposed to go night night? 

But of course I am not doing any of that. We are waiting around for my Hawaii Friend to get herself on Skype, and I'm also finding plenty of opportunities to practice my "HEY! MOLLY DOESN'T LIKE IT WHEN YOU DO THAT!" lecture. Remember when I was all, "Oh Jackie Jack Jack my wittle SWEETUMS!" Yeah, THAT'S over. 

No wait - now we are putting on pajamas. Just as soon as I tell Jack that he's already eaten ice cream tonight so NO he may not have cookies too. Who does he think he is? ME?!

...all right, an hour later I don't remember anything I was going to say. But I do have this:

Mom, her hair looks like that because we took out her ponies. Internet, I KNOW they are called piggies, but we still call them ponies. SORRY.

Three and a half and two and a quarter

Right now, in this stretch of days, my life is particularly charmed. I'm in my early thirties, in a beautiful city, married to a hardworking guy who never has so much school or work to do that he cannot put his kids to bed every night. And those kids - I'm the center of their world, and we all know how fleeting that will be.

It's easy to feel this way because Jack and Molly are so fun right now. Oh, the snotbrat tendencies are always on full display, but yesterday it was practically noon before I had to break up a fight. I sat at the kitchen table in my bathrobe, trolling the internet, making a grocery list, picking at my breakfast when I realized: hey! No one's screamed in at LEAST half an hour. I padded into Jack's room and eavesdropped on a very intense conversation about how Molly was going to be the mommy and Jack was going to be the daddy and this big baby was going to go night night. 

You've asked me how different it is, now that I have two toddlers instead of two babies. I think back to two babies and I can't remember. I remember having one baby and being pregnant with another, which I am still sure is one of the worst situations in which to find yourself. So bad that every second-time mother surely deserves a live-in nanny, or a personal assistant at the very least. 

Then I remember two babies and thinking it was a breeze - because the universe has seen fit to give me two shockingly easy babies - until about 8 weeks in, I think, when Jack seemed to figure out he was no longer totally in charge. That's when my discipline angst began in earnest. On and on and on and how long did it take me to figure out he might just be Reacting? 

There was the constant Touching - one baby breastfeeding, the other needing to be rocked to sleep. Holding them both. Carrying them both. Constant physical neediness.

And then what I remember is sleep. Or the lack of it, to be more precise. Molly had her frat boy schedule, which wouldn't have been so terrible except that Jack was waking up at six. And she was sleeping in our room which meant no lights on, ever, until we moved her into the closet. And at seven months we finally tried moving her into Jack's room and everyone knows how THAT went. Naps were impossible until I set up the pack 'n play in our room and separated them. Bedtime was impossible, until we started putting her down in the pack 'n play at night and moving her when both kids were finally asleep. 

Except for isolated scenarios here and there it didn't seem that hard. You have to realize I'm a Positive Thinker to an annoying degree. I had easy babies. I also happen to be the oldest of five children born in five years. You think two under two is bad - my mom had five under five. How dare I feel sorry for me! 

But now... NOW? Did you see the part where I sat around in my bathrobe reading the internet until NOON?

There is fighting (SO MUCH FIGHTING) and silliness and running around all crazypants and two car seats to buckle and picky eating and fighting and refusing to get dressed and jumping off furniture and talking back and potty training and sitting in the corner. Sometimes I am overwhelmed by my discipline failures, my indecision with preschools and playgroups, or often just getting out of the house. The laundry, the dishes, the fatigue, the Rage, the toys in every stinking corner of my house - those things didn't go away. Those things might even be worse. 

But my kids, for right now, are best friends. They are two peas in a barely coherent pod. Molly seems a bit lost without Jack when he's at preschool; Jack mopes around waiting for Molly to wake up from her nap. My presence is required to have a good time. Jack's got fifteen months and three weeks on his sister, and you can tell when it's time to play a computer game or count or tell a story or do a somersault or fix a puzzle. But Molly soaks it all in, imitates his every move. They do it all together.

Maybe it didn't seem difficult to me while I was in it, but even I can tell everything is easier now. They're just not babies anymore. I don't worry about carting food and diapers around. They go up and down stairs by themselves. They PLAY by themselves, in rooms I am not IN. They have conversations with me, they give me hugs, they shriek in play-fright when I appear in Jack's room and run screaming into the living room all "RUN, MOLLY! IT'S MOMMY ROBOT! AAAAUUGGGHHH!"

They can eat dinner with us. They go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time. Molly still naps and it's clear Quiet Time is a work in progress, but at least the child who is supposed to be napping isn't being kept awake. Oh, and playgrounds - they can PLAY on playgrounds! Without me trying to split myself in two, the better to catch each one when they inevitably fall off the tall slide. We hardly ever use the stroller anymore. I stuff snacks into my purse instead of a diaper bag. They can play in our backyard all on their own. They can take off their own shoes. 

The schedule consists of waking up, a nap for the little one around one, and bedtime at eight. That's it. That's IT! And if they fall asleep in the car? Oh well! Did I ever dream I'd be able to say THAT? I was so SO rigid about schedules when they were little. A missed nap would ruin my entire day. My world revolved around getting them to sleep at the same time every afternoon - it was my personal holy grail. But little by little I'm realizing the kids are more flexible, that Molly doesn't flip out like Jack if she doesn't get enough sleep, that we CAN cut nap time short to fit in a doctor appointment, that we can stay out a little longer or leave a little later, that sometimes we can eat lunch in the car. Sometimes I'll catch myself saying, "Well, we can't do that because Molly has to go down at one" or trying to work some family event around not falling asleep in the car, and then it dawns on me, repeatedly, that fudging the schedule here and there does not produce the stressful drama it used to. We can swing it. 

Some things are harder (babies don't talk back to you) but so much of it is easier. I feel like me. I worked off the baby weight. I sleep through most nights. My body is mine. They can do more. WE can do more. 

I didn't INTEND to sit around in my bathrobe all day, but I was tired and the kids were happy playing with each other and it was a peaceful, uneventful, completely unproductive, fabulous and wonderful day. I watched Jack play pretend preschool with his stuffed animals during nap time, and Molly "read" stories to me tonight while Phillip took a video with his phone. My bedtime hugs and kisses were huge, they call me "the best Mommy" and who cares about school and work drama and preschool tuition and the housing market and the five pounds of Christmas cookie weight I can't lose? It's a charmed life.