Sometimes I can be creative!

Between the rain and gloom, DST, Phillip working late, Emma taking marathon sick baby naps, and the two big kids slowly going berserk on each other, SOMETHING HAD TO BE DONE. 

May I recommend repurposing an enormous box your husband has opted not to deal with, on the "grounds" that there might be something wrong with his Third Baby Life Crisis retail therapy purchase and he'll have to return it? Even though he purchased it three months ago and has since attached it to the living room wall? 

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You could fit about ten Jack and Mollys in there.

Clean out its innards.

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Garbage is our very favorite thing.

Open it up, have your children pose weirdly inside their new house.

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Are you thinking DEAR GOD, SOMEONE GIVE THAT CHILD A HAIRCUT??? (Foreshadowing!)

Fashion a roof for your new house out of plastic sheeting, then furnish it with modern white seating and a tasteful white rug.

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The rug was his idea.

Then spend a looooooooong time decorating. A really long time. Long enough for Mommy to watch the newest episode of The Good Wife. 

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Maybe I won't divorce their father over this stupid box after all. 

And then, if you come upstairs in the middle of Mommy's show and she gets REALLY AGITATED...

let's take a bubble bath! 

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That's half a bottle of bubble bath, right there. I needed at least 20 minutes, folks.

Not you, though. You get to moon over Will Gardner with me. 

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Oh Emma. I fear there are no photos of you taken with an ACTUAL CAMERA.

Also, this is AFTER I had Jack sit in his underpants on a wooden chair in the bathtub so I could CUT HIS HAIR. Which I have never done before. I cut my brother's hair once or twice when I was in high school. But, uh, otherwise totally unqualified. But it's HARD to get to the barber with 3 kids, one of whom is constantly needing a nap or a bottle. And I HATE paying however much it is that we pay (not THAT much) when I never ever like how they cut his hair. I think this is because he has coarse-ish hair that sticks up all over no matter WHAT. And I figure if it's going to stick up no matter what, MIGHT AS WELL TRY IT MYSELF. 

I think I did okay? It still sticks up a little and you can see all the lines... you know, where I sliced with my terrible scissors. But honestly, you can see that after a PROFESSIONAL haircut. So. I don't know. I did have to trim it up a little after his bath - luckily my brother-in-law had stopped by right then and gave me some pointers. (Apparently he used to cut his OWN hair? With scissors? HOW?) He showed me another way to hold my hands, because I am a moron, and I got the back a lot shorter, but... I don't know. I suppose it works for now. Not sure I'll do it again, though, simply because it took forever and Jack was patient, but probably only because I was wielding a very sharp instrument near his little pink ears.

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I don't think the in crowd at preschool will be able to tell, do you? 

In the car tonight, before I forget

JACK: "Daddy, I know an animal and it starts with T!"


JACK: "Guess! Guess!"

PHILLIP: "A... tarantula!"

JACK: "No!"

PHILLIP: "A... tyrannosaurus rex!"

JACK: "No! It's GREEN and it has a SHELL ON ITS BACK!"



JACK: "No, it's a TURTLE."

PHILLIP: "Okay, I'm thinking of an animal too. It's black and white and walks around on the snow!"


MAGGIE: "Perhaps we shouldn't have taken her out of preschool."


Hot oil treatments

So I got, like, six or seven emails from You People, all confessing your Yelling As Of Late. Don't worry, I won't tell. But I am thinking maybe we should form a support group? Or something? 

I have hopped on my treadmill every day this week. I know that's not a LOT, but it actually feels like a pretty huge accomplishment right now. I even used the treadmill yesterday, in the afternoon because I had a church meeting last night and I knew I wouldn't have time when Phillip got home. Of course, I was only on there 16 minutes before Jack reported a baby crying upstairs, but I figure that is still 16 minutes when I was not parked on my butt in front of the television. 

(People I am obsessed with a show called Homeland, starring Angela Chase and some vaguely creepy dude who gives me the heebie jeebies. Phillip has already seen the entire season which irks me to NO END and also makes it IMPERATIVE that I see every episode STAT.)

Also! A lot of you suggested a babysitter or a mother's helper type person. At first I was all, "Harrumph." But then I thought about it a little more. I have actually thought about it off and on for a WHILE now, but I was never sure how I might actually make such a thing happen. I mean, most of the time that feels wrong! I am a SAHM! What else am I doing?! But then I get over myself and worry about other things, more legitimate things, like can I PAY a babysitter once a week and who would this babysitter even BE?

But I have an idea in mind. Specifically I have a Person and a Rate of Pay in mind and it might be a few weeks before I can advance my idea and tell you about it, but there is at least a POSSIBILITY and also THANK YOU because I needed someone else to say, "Yeah, you should totally do that, and also it is TOTALLY OKAY TO DO THAT."

As for the JOB aspect... I think I have mentioned a time or two that I am not at ALL inclined towards Work or Career or Earning My Own Living or any of those grown up responsible things. I mean, I did before I had kids, but not because I WANTED TO or because I was GOOD AT ANYTHING. And I happen to feel the same way now. There are a small number of things I like to do that someone ALSO might pay me to do. But I would need more schooling or more experience blah blah blah. So a career type thing is definitely on hold. If I even want one. But a JOB... I HAVE thought about this. Like at one point my church was looking for a part timer and I thought HEY THAT WOULD BE PERFECT. Except, seriously, every time I start to think about a part time job or browse Craigslist or something like that, I have this overwhelming sense of not now. And I don't THINK that's just my inherent laziness speaking. 


Here. I will tell you a funny story about today. 

So my friend comes over this morning and our kids are playing so nicely together and her baby is only two weeks older than MY baby and we were having SUCH a nice time. Then the kids got hungry and I started making the obligatory mac n' cheese (and not the organic kind either, only the best stuff when you visit the Cheungs!) and I decided I would go All Out and make lunch for the grown ups too. I was SUPER PROUD of myself for even having food to offer. Anyway, I had to make honey mustard dressing, which SOUNDS like a lot of work for someone who hates to cook, but is actually NOT a lot of work and tastes SO MUCH BETTER. 

So I'm making the dressing and maybe I spilled a teaspoon or so of olive oil. And I resolved to clean it up later. And of course forgot, because I like to clean as much as I like to cook. 

Anyway, later I am helping clean up before our friends go home and catch sight of my daughter and gee, she's looking particularly urchin-ish. Like, filthy. Like, I didn't just give her a bath this morning. WTH?

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So I say, "Molly? Did you put something in your hair?"



"No, I didn't."




"...I put that stuff you were making."

"The stuff I was making?"

"The stuff you were making."

"Can you show me the stuff?"


"In the kitchen? We're going in the kitchen? OHHHH."

So yeah, my kid wiped up the olive oil and put it IN HER HAIR. This is either totally digusting or she's into super-advanced-for-her-age beauty treatments. 

SOTC (state of the children)

I was going to do this big post where I took a photo of every outfit I am bringing to Palm Springs, but then I decided that 1) no one cares and 2) that was excessive navel-gazing even for me. 

SO ANYWAY. Phillip's been gone since Sunday morning and HOO BOY am I loving both sets of grandparents right now. We stayed with my parents until Tuesday lunchtime, and Phillip's parents just spent the entire afternoon and evening entertaining my kids while I packed and ran on the treadmill and generally stayed away from the noise. 

Sometimes Phillip is slightly interested in jobs that would take us out of state. Sometimes I REALLY HATE January (and November and December and February and March and sometimes April too) and I entertain notions of southern California or shoot, even northern California, but this will never happen. We could never move away from the only people who want to take our kids for overnight! 

In honor of the speech I did not watch last night, the State of the Children goes something like this:

JACK. This kid, you guys. THIS KID. He is KILLING ME. Senator Smartass is perhaps not a name we use in his company, but it sure fits. He's something four and three quarters, average height, needs his pants cinched tight, big dark eyes and thick dark lashes and the stuff that comes out of his mouth drives me BATTY. I mean, half of it is awesome. I do not deny the awesome. He's a thoughtful little kid who remembers a lot of random details and soaks up Facts like nobody's business. He often interrupts me (often when I'm yelling at him) to ask me what a word means. Like today I was getting onto him for being a brat to his grandfather and he's all, "what does Polite mean, Mommy" and I'm like, "JUST GET OUT OF MY HAIR." 

He is constantly singing. Like, CONSTANTLY. He is loud. He is energetic. He is SO MUCH MORE energetic than he ever was, more than I ever thought he'd be. He does not stop! Ever! And when you tell him to be quiet he won't even look at you or acknowledge you because it's like he ALREADY KNOWS, he doesn't have to WASTE ENERGY turning his head in your direction, he ALREADY HEARD ME he KNOWS. Argh! It burns me up! His smartassery drives me around the bend on a daily basis. His know-it-all-ness, his bossiness, his refusal to accept your corrections, his "okay, okay, stop lecturing me so I can go right back to doing exactly what I want" business is INFURIATING! 

Of course, I also find it utterly charming as this kid is EXACTLY LIKE ME. Even my mother says so. (Obvs she says this gleefully, in a SO SHALL YOU RECEIVE YOUR COMEUPPANCE! tone of voice.)

MOLLY. Miss Mollymoo is the girliest girl of all the girls. I've spent a considerable amount of time wondering how she got this way. She does not have a particularly girly mother (several sequinned dresses notwithstanding.) I never played with dolls the way Molly plays with her babies. I don't remember demanding to wear my dress up dresses all the livelong day. Did I even HAVE dress up dresses? She wants to be a princess, but she hasn't been super exposed to the princess phenomenon. She's pink and purple and sparkly and glittery and where is her wand and not that clippy, Mommy, and I want to wear THAT dwess and Mommy you should wear THAT dwess and not those shoes, Mommy. 

I also spend a lot of time wondering if I'm doing right by Molly. Her brother is so Over The Top in his personality sometimes that Molly is just an element of that. She does everything he does, a split second after he does it. She is always content to let him go first. When he's not around she often seems a bit lost. And I hate that when I try to figure out where she is developmentally or whatever, it's always in comparison to Jack. 

But this morning we dropped Jack at preschool and ran an errand at Target and stopped in the Target Starbucks for a treat and it was like my heart was just FULL of Molly. She sort of ignores you now when you talk to her, like she's either pretending not to hear you or she really can't be bothered to answer, she insists on having a helper every time she uses the potty, her hair makes me crazy, and ENOUGH ALREADY with the "but I don't like those pants, Mommy" every single morning, but I have loved every single stupid minute of taking that girl out shopping and for coffee and for treats and just Her and Me time. It's the best. It is so much fun. It is so sweet. I just love her. I was telling her this morning when I was buckling her back into her car seat, that I just love my girl, and she goes, "Just girls! No Daddy! No Jackson!" Yes, kid. You are my mall buddy for life.

OH EMMA. I think she has skipped 6 month outfits entirely. I put one on her this morning and her FOOT was busting out of the FOOT POCKET, so I dragged the storage box out from under the bed and started rummaging around for the 9 month clothes and HOLY CATS MY 4-MONTH-OLD IS WEARING 9 MONTH JAMMIES. This is probably no big deal to a lot of you, but I am used to SCRAWNY children. Although Emma's not particularly WIDE, just LONG.

The last two-ish months were so stinking hard with sleep. I mean, I was having existential crises left and right. The lack of sleep and the constant re-napping was permeating every minute of my day and every thought in my brain. But for some reason she kicked it into gear on Sunday night and now she, like, GOES TO SLEEP. I mean, it hasn't even been a week, but she's now taking Actual Naps and going to bed and Actually Sleeping. I will never assume good sleep is a trend, but I will take it when I can get it. I hope she keeps it up this weekend for Phillip!

And dudes, she is the HAPPIEST BABY. I mean, even when she's fussy and not sleeping and all that, this baby is a smile machine. It's so awesome. She just started laughing and she has this deep gurgly belly laugh. It's not this cute little baby laugh, it's growly and phlegmy and AGAIN: utterly charming. She does this other thing where she thrashes around in JOY - usually in the morning when I'm changing her out of her heavy nighttime diaper. You'd think she was going to kick a hole through the changing pad and thwack herself off the changing table. I LOVE IT. It is SO CUTE!

And all three of them together is SO trippy. I mean, these are my KIDS. With MY genetic material! HOW CRAZY IS THAT!!! Oh wow I'm going to miss them this weekend. Well, after I've slept through the night and had a poolside cocktail or four. Then I'll miss them. 



The "I'm A Loser Who Updates Her Blawg On Saturday Nights" Picturefest


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This is me, EJ, and 30 extra pounds, which are apparently all located in my chin[s]. LE SIGH. Also, SOMEONE is all, "I can't believe I have to be in this photo with that thing on my head."

Photo 3

"Okay, FINE."

Also, I can't BELIEVE someone was letting her kid climb ALL OVER the altar - oh wait.

Photo 2

Cousins! This particular cousin refers to J as "Jacks" and M as "Jackenmolly". Which of course I find utterly adorable. 

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On the wall at preschool. 

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It worked! (E is wearing, by the way a GIANT BIB because of the Incessant Barfing. It is embroidered with a Giant E in an attempt to make it cute. It does nothing, however, for the barfing.)

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And you should have seen the way she was Gazing Adoringly at her big siblings today. She's just starting to smile and respond to Phillip and me, but I SWEAR this kid has been responding to Jack (especially Jack) for weeks. Weeks! He was jostling her around, yanking her this way and that, readjusting her every two seconds and she just Gazed Adoringly the entire time. HAPPY PARENT SIGH. 

Three kiddos

Things are moderately better in the Transitioning To Big Brother- and Sisterhood. I think. At least I am not noticing it so much anymore. Jack is still climbing the walls and Molly is still weepy when she goes to bed and I am still beyond irritated when they hover around me while I'm feeding the baby BUT. It seems better. 

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Dear Mom. We've discussed it and we've decided to throw you a bone. 

Jack is saying this thing now that cracks me up every single time, even though I should probably put him in the corner. I believe I've told you before how choices were sort of pointless with this kid because he would always - ALWAYS - come up with a third unlisted choice. So now it's just funny the way he frames it. I'll say, "What sounds good for a snack? A cheese stick? Some apple?" And he will say, "Ummm, I will have fruit snacks."

Like, no thank you First Footman! I shall turn down your offer of crumpets and I will have the cucumber sandwiches instead!

And he sort of cocks his head and raises his eyebrows and THINKS before he responds, and then he says it JUST LIKE I am his housemaid. "Not the gold frock this evening, Cheung! I will have the red silk!" 

"What should we eat for breakfast, kiddos?"


JACK: "I will have waffle."

"We're going to have meatloaf for dinner!"


JACK: "I don't like meatloaf. I will have macaroni and cheese."

See? Should totally sit in the corner. Instead I am writing about it on my website. 

Molly is adorable. She just IS. And again, I should probably be DOING something about the fact that she distinguishes her preschool classmates by what they are wearing (notably shoes, dresses, or backpacks) and that she still has way too many opinions on not only her wardrobe but mine. But I am not. Because I think it's ADORABLE. She had preschool pictures yesterday and the preschool director was telling me how cute she was. Because, OBVS, she is. But then the preschool director was telling me that she POSED. When no one ASKED HER TO POSE. And when Molly finally came out of the classroom I asked her how pictures went and if she smiled and she said, "Yes Mommy. I did like this:" AND SHE POSED. 

I die. I just... She still has the chompiest little cheeks and I love her uneven bangs and her little doll face and even how she follows me around wanting to do everything I do. I keep telling myself that one day she will be thirteen and hate my guts, so it's totally okay to totally love how much she totally loves me. 

As for Emma, she's another little doll baby. One that spits up nonstop and coughs like a ninety-five-year-old smoker, but pretty cute nonetheless. She's even getting a double chin. Go milk! 

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I'm half Chinese? Really? Are you SURE?

This kid so easy and I feel SO BAD because it seems like half the internet is dealing with NOT SO EASY BABIES right now. I'm just dealing with the average number of night wakings and I can almost always put her down. And if the big kids are around when I do? I'm GOLDEN. I know she's only four weeks old (wait, FIVE WEEKS, GAK) but she seems to already be enthralled by her big brother and sister. I approve.

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One link, two costumes

I've got One Million things I need to write about, probably none of which you are explicitly interested in, but 1) I have to feed the baby and 2) I am reading a good book and 3) I haven't yet watched this week's episode of The Good Wife (deep breath) THEREFORE all you get is this link to my piece at Parenting for tomorrow. The iPad Generation. Yes, I used the passing of Steve Jobs to help me out with a post topic. I was also Overly Sensitive about how much we let the kids USE the iPad. OH WELL. 

Oh wait! Question! So Jack decided he wanted to be THE HULK for Halloween and would not be talked out of it. Then he wanted to be Captain America and would not be talked out of it. What is wrong with a hobo! Or a clown! Or even a NON-SUPERHERO character! But then when we went to Target to buy the costumes he seemed enthralled with Batman, which I am chalking up to the fact that his older cousin is going to be Batman and that piece of information somehow lodged itself in Jack's brain. Like this: BIG COUSIN = BATMAN = OBVS SHOULD BE BATMAN TOO. 

But the Batman costumes were either the all black NEW Batman, of which I disapprove for a four-year-old, or the old school Batman in sizes Way Too Small. So I told him I would order him a Batman costume online. But Internet, where do I buy a cool Batman costume? Should I just order the Target one? Can I MAKE one? I believe his cousin's mother is buying his costume from Etsy, but let's just say I'm a lot cheaper than she is. 

MOLLY was going to be Minnie Mouse (my sister bought her the outfit and ears on a trip to Disneyland) but then I dug out the costume box yesterday and she found last year's costume (the pink butterfly suit from Old Navy) and now she is going to be a butterfly. Again. As much as this seems WRONG (wear the same costume AGAIN?!) it also seems EASY and I am planning not to argue/influence. So smart of me! 

BOTH of my babies went to school today

My internet was down yesterday and I was FUMING because I had SO MUCH TO WRITE ABOUT, but now I can't really think of what it WAS that I was dying to say. Boo! Or, from your perspective: relief!

We left the kids with Phillip's parents Saturday night and stayed at a swanky lakefront hotel, just because we found a good deal and we are absolute suckers for swanky hotels. I felt slightly scruffy and common around all these Rich Eastsiders, who probably had their own yachts and Microsoft millions. And then we hung out for a bit in downtown Kirkland, which further confirmed my suspicions that I am too poor and too fat for the East side. 

It's funny, you know, because I also read a handful of articles this weekend about how Seattle and certain other cities have basically survived the recession and it's true, I don't have any personal connections to any particularly downtrodden stories. And we, Team Cheung, have managed quite well, but still, you hang out in some neighborhoods in the Seattle area and realize you are sorely lacking in Jaguars and waterfront property. 

Just some thoughts. 

I tried to stay away from the 9/11 remembrances. No personal connection to that either, just my own "where was I" story and the fact that my brain does not forget horrifying images. I played a rather shoddy rendition of 'New York State Of Mind' on the piano, said a few prayers and tried to leave it at that.

And then there was preschool today, for BOTH kids. I was a wreck. Okay, not really. I just felt a TINY bit overwhelmed by getting them both ready on time (even though I do this Every Day, so I have no idea why this was any different) and fixing snacks and lunches and rereading the parent letter for the forty-third time to make sure I was following all the directions. 

Dropping off Jack is routine now, even though I am consistently lectured by teachers in the parking lot for driving or walking the wrong way, or not using the proper cross walk, whatever. The Molly drop off would be new. I learned my lesson last year: no hanging around, no giving the kid a chance to realize I'm leaving, etc. But it was chaotic. A combination of seventeen children plus anxious sets of parents and a small stairwell and hallway. We hung up her backpack and sweatshirt on the hook next to her name in the hallway, then I led her into the classroom and we both stood there, staring at the Big Four Year Olds who immediately dove into all the toys. (There weren't enough 3 year olds for a class, so we got to decide whether she would join the 2s class or the Pre-K. I picked Pre-K, then wrung my hands about it all summer. SIGH.)

She held my hand and we stood next to another mom of a 3 year old girl holding hands and suddenly this ANGEL, this SAINTED WOMAN in a yellow t-shirt came up to both girls and said, "Let's go play with Play Dough!" That's music to Molly's ears, people, and she skipped off, not even looking back. Which meant I had to disappear. Which I did. RELUCTANTLY. THAT WAS MY BABY IN THERE. 

Pick up (two hours early) was easy, and then all the parents were invited to stay for lunch. I thought the teachers would talk to us, but they only introduced themselves and then implied that all the parents should get to know each other. And this... this is what I think is giving me the preschool stomachaches. For one thing, there are TWO preschools and therefore TWO sets of parents and procedures and teachers and cultures to get to know. It's definitely not that I don't WANT to do those things. I really do want to get to know other parents and hopefully one day make some local playdate friends, but I just feel so swamped by it. I'm not naturally chatty or friendly, even though I think I'm MUCH better at this and not HALF as fearful and insecure as I used to be. (YAY FOR MY THIRTIES!) I CAN be chatty and friendly, but it's a big effort and I truly want to MAKE the effort, but: two places to do this! When I am 4 weeks away from my due date! And just trying to figure out where I'm supposed to PARK! 

I know I am making a huge deal out of this. It will take time, other people have the same intentions. And neither place appears to have cliquey moms (so far) and everyone's been really friendly to ME. Today I chatted with a dad whose family is in the exact same should-we-switch-churches situation, and I talked to a mom who invited me, several times, to the MOPS group at Molly's preschool's church. It's not like I am completely on my own or anything. And I REALLY DO want to be involved. But I also feel like I can only do so much right now and I'm not sure where to PUT my effort and what if I miss out on something or I get labeled Aloof like I always do... BAH!

You know, I don't think anyone would call me Aloof anymore. I just gonna say it. I don't think I am. I think I am beyond that. For one thing, I'm NOT, and for another, the reason I come off that way - being relatively certain that I am not that awesome - is no longer a reason, for I have learned the truth: I AM AWESOME. Although if you once met me at the Blathering and thought I was Aloof and therefore Snobby, I AM SORRY I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH MYSELF. 


So I did my chatty bit with the parents, though not with the parents I really wanted to chat with, and finally I had to drag Molly away from the toys and tell her it was time to go. 

AND SHE BACKED AWAY FROM ME. Like, my hands were outstretched and she walked BACKWARDS. 

I said, "Come ON Molly," in my I MEAN IT voice. AND SHE BACKED FARTHER AWAY. 

Now. If we were home I would have done, um, something about that. But we were in front of all these new grown ups and oh God my child was defying me in front of everyone and I felt that I sort of had to laugh it off while also MAKING IT STOP. So when grabbing her hand and dragging her didn't work (BECAUSE SHE SNATCHED HER HAND AWAY, OMG) I picked her up and marched out. And the girl bawled. SOB SOB SOB all the way out of the building. I wanted to die. DIIIIIIIIIIIE. I was all, "MOLLY. We will come BACK!" But this was not helpful. I just strapped her into the car and left. SOB SOB SOB. 

So! That was different! 

I mean, I'm glad she liked it, right?! It's going to be really interesting seeing how she interacts with people when Jack isn't around. I have no predictions. She totally stunned me today. 

Now Molly wants to know "what you writing, Mommy" and, uh, what do I tell her? SORRY FUTURE MOLLY.

All my babies

I was an attentive, cheerful, doting mother today, as evidenced by the four - FOUR - puzzles still in their put-together glory crowding up my living room floor. I thank God for puzzles, people, as my kids love them and they are pretty much the one kind of kid activity that I can do without wanting to stab myself in the eyes. 

Speaking of, what do your kids like to do? Out of curiosity? Jack right now is super into glue sticks and scissors and markers and entire forests' worth of paper. He writes random letters and asks me what they say (and gets mad when, nine times out of ten, they don't say anything. Sorry kid.) He draws rainbows and planets and family and he LOVES cutting all of his little creations into small pieces. Occasionally he glues them onto another sheet of paper, but usually he leaves them on the floor for me to grumble over later. He's still into his Trio blocks and whines at me to help him build the marble run. Other than that he is making up games with his willing assistant, Mollymoo, and running around the house in costume or building houses or setting up picnics or putting the stuffed animals and babies to bed. He will also sit and read his human body books (SNORE) or play Plants vs. Zombies on the iPad. And THANK THE LORD ALMIGHTY we have moved on from Busytown Mysteries. The preferred shows are now Fishtronaut (?) and Blue's Clues, both of which were found through unfettered iPad Netflix access. Sue me. 

Molly does whatever Jack does. Mostly. She also plays with the iPad but she's more likely to play one of the gazillion kid apps we downloaded. She's more into puzzles than her brother, but she prefers an adoring audience while she does them. She colors and cuts too, but mostly she's either doing whatever Jack is doing (therefore making it hard to tell what SHE especially likes to do) or hanging out with me. She likes to help unload the dishwasher and fold wash cloths and help me make the beds. She picks out clothes and watches me do my hair and loves getting the mail. I'm looking forward to seeing what a few hours of preschool separation does for Molly. Not that I think it's bad all this copycatting of her brother, but it will be fun to see what kinds of things she latches onto. It's super fun watching them play "airplane" or "haircut" or "mommy and daddy" but these are almost always Jack's ideas and Molly is second in command. Her one talent at these games seems to be starting a fight, alas. 

ANYWAY. I think my nice mommyness was largely due to the fact that Nai Nai and Ye Ye came over around lunchtime and watched the kids while I went to yet another doctor appointment. (Where I LOST two pounds! Ha! But I think that has more to do with sketchy weights than anything else. I mean, my rule during Hot By Thirty was Naked Morning Weight Is The Only One That Counts. Right?) And I "extended" my appointment hanging out at the library for a good hour. Refreshing! As for the appointment, it was, yet again, a thoroughly boring and pointless and I flat out said, "Do I REALLY have to come back so soon?" And my doctor, because she is awesome, cancelled my next appointment. Because REALLY. NOTHING IS HAPPENING. I don't have to go back until the 12th. I plan to gain lots of weight in the meantime, OBVS. 

I know that must sound so snobby and/or obnoxious to many of you, but there is honestly nothing much to talk about with my doctor. There's no reason to go over any of my complaints because I know they are all NORMAL and there's really nothing you can DO about having baby feet jammed in your ribcage except HAVE THE BABY. Right? I don't have anything serious to mention and all she does is measure me and tell me everything sounds great, so, yeah. That's that. I acknowledge my luckiness! But I am also going to complain about the baby feet. And the fact that I can no longer breathe. 

Actually, I had to sort of sit down and tell myself today, "Self? No more projects. Do not even think about painting your entry way. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH." I mean, perhaps I will get around to organizing the pantry and I really do have to find a place for new baby's stuff, but no more of these grand home improvement projects. (Well, grand for ME, anyway.) When walking up my one rinky dink flight of stairs is enough to wind me (see: baby feet in ribs) it's clear that I need to, you know, stop some stuff. I've been feeling bad about being tired or napping or even things like dreading helping the kids maneuver on the playground and making lunch, because all I want to do is SIT. But I'm trying to remind myself that even though I am a lazy lazy girl, I am not by nature a SITTER, this is not the real ME, I am 7.5 months pregnant and if there is any time when I should do more sitting it's the next several weeks. I think this is okay. 

I got to skype with my college bff today and her brand new baby boy and OH he was SO SWEET. It was making me very moony-eyed. He's beautiful. WANT. 

ANYWAY. We're just sort of stuck in these next couple weeks of Summer and Nothing Much To Do, which I've been disliking more and more lately. But then there will be Labor Day and after that, PRESCHOOL (OMG, must discuss preschool tomorrow, I have the shakes), and then the baby comes and maybe I should just APPRECIATE my days of nothingness right now? You think? I will try. 

Time for this week's edition of Stellar Moments of Weekend Parenting!

Can I just say, first of all, that this is the first night of the entire summer that I have been HOT? Yes, I have a house surrounded by very tall trees and we don't get a lot of afternoon sun and I'm not sure it will EVER be hot on the first floor of my house, but most of the living is done on the second floor and IT IS HOT. Sweat sweat sweat. (Sorry, Texas. I know. We are up to what? 80 degrees?)

So anyway, this weekend I was an excellent mother to BOTH of my precious children. 

First there was Jack, at my parents' house, being kind of a twerp. He's often twerp-like but I think I'm especially sensitive to the twerpiness at Grandma and Grandpa's house because, well, I worry that my twerp tolerance level is a little higher than theirs. ANYWAY. I don't even remember what he was being awful about, but I was getting embarrassed and I followed him upstairs to their play area so I could chew him out in private, and in so doing I grabbed his arm and perhaps yanked? twisted? a little too hard. He looked up at me with his giant puppy eyes and just started to BAWL. And I felt like CRAP. 

All of a sudden it was clear to me that 1) even though he HAD been twerpy downstairs he WAS following directions UPSTAIRS 2) the thing he'd been whining about was actually for real, when both my mom and I thought he was making it up and 3) my embarrassment caused me to act out more than was necessary. I just felt horrrrrrrible. It wasn't that I should have been NICE to him, but I just went too FAR, and not even FAR in the right direction. It was just a pointless gesture that ended up hurting my kid and I sat there holding him and apologizing and feeling like I would never get over it. I don't think I have much longer (or any time at all?) to reassure myself that he won't remember this when he's older. I'm sorry, Future Jack. I really am trying to do right by you, kid. 

And poor Molly. The potty training issues continue to drive us around the bend. Phillip and I will both swear up and down that she knows exactly what to do and when to do it, but there are moments when she Just Doesn't Wanna. Or it doesn't appear to be IMPORTANT to her. Or something. So a week will go by without an accident and then BOOM. We're washing all the sheets. Or mopping up the kitchen floor. Or, in the case of yesterday, finding some pimply faced kid at Target to mop up for us. 

I was already upset. I'd taken the kids out so Phillip could have some time to do this wiring project in our house, and the entire time we were out, Jack was demanding a toy. And I would say, "Not if you talk to me like that, you're not getting anything, ever." So he'd be quiet for a while, then he'd ask to go to the toy aisle. Or we'd go to a different store and he'd ask for a toy all over again. It was never QUITE snotty enough for me to, uh, go berserk on his arm again. But I'd HAD it and by that time I'd told him he could forget Christmas and MAN. Do these kids not know that I'm DYING to buy them stuff and I'd love to buy them something EVERY SINGLE TIME and I LOVE to spoil them in the Target dollar section but NOT IF YOU'RE GONNA ACT LIKE THAT I'M NOT. 

So I'm angry. But it'd subsided a bit, because he'd apparently got the point and was being sweet and cooperative again, and we're happening to stand in the way back of Target where there are baby pools on clearance for, like, ten bucks or something. This was going to be a super hot weekend and our baby pool is a little too small and boring and I thought something new (and cheap!) would be fun. The kids were playing with these little outdoor toys across the way while I'm standing there deciding. Then Molly looks up at me, with a toy in her hand, and says, "Mommy, I need to go potty."

I'm ready to drop everything and race to the bathroom, but no, she meant NOW. So WHILE SHE CONTINUES TO PLAY WITH THE TOY, a little puddle forms under her legs and I'm just standing there like WTF DO I DO? 

I'd just switched out my purse that morning, so I had no wipes, no pull up, no extra pants, no Kleenex, NO NOTHING. All I had in the absorbent category was a clearance summer outfit in the cart. WHICH I CONSIDERED USING. I just stood there IN HORROR watching the pee puddle up. I could not think of what to do. Seriously. I just stood there. So did Molly. Like, "No big thing, Mom!"

A Target aisle is not an appropriate place to have a break down or scream at your kid or rail at God or anything like that. Thank goodness she was wearing a dress, so you couldn't TELL that she wet her pants. But I had to go FIND SOMEONE and CONFESS. (I considered just leaving. Oh yes I did.) 

We left, and the whole time I am asking Molly, "What were you thinking? WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?" This kid wears underwear all the time except at night. She has accidents, but usually they're at home or at a friend's house and lately they've been few and far between. We were starting to be hopeful! And she's never wet her pants at a store or a restaurant or anywhere PUBLIC. It was my mistake in forgetting to have her go before we went out, but still. We have used the Target bathrooms before. SHE KNOWS THEY ARE THERE. 

We got to the car and I'm buckling them in and I'm just on the verge of tears. I was so tired, so frustrated. I was furious with Molly for not appearing to be sorry or embarrassed or ASHAMED. I wanted SOME reaction out of her. Anything except, "Whatever." To my credit, I didn't yell or anything like that, but I did start crying while buckling her into her car seat. And I made sure she knew exactly what I was crying about. And then SHE started to cry - and not because I was being mean, I don't think. It was more like she was sorry that she made me cry. Awesome. It's one thing to want your kid to feel ashamed in your head, it's another to SHAME THEM ON PURPOSE. And for what? An accident? WHAT IS MY PROBLEM?

So I bawled all the way home. I was still bawing when I unbuckled them and I was bawling in the entry way as they took their shoes off and Phillip came downstairs all, "Um, is there a problem?"

I had to go sit in my room. I had to, I don't know. GATHER myself. I wasn't just crying about a puddle I couldn't clean up in Target, you know? There are just moments when I feel so out out my league and so out of whatever resources I need to do this parenting thing properly. I feel ashamed for not being able to control MYSELF. Up to this point I've just felt like: people have three kids and they survive. They have MORE than three kids and things are FINE! I will too. People are not perfect. There will be hard spots and we will fail, but we love our kids and we love each other and Things Will Work Out. But now I'm like... HOW AM I GOING TO DO THIS? HOWWWWW?

Then today... today they were happy shrieky and amenable to cleaning things up and not picky about their clothes and didn't mind when we kept changing plans on them and ate their dinners and right before it was time to go to bed, Jack yelled at me to come look at him and "Do I look like an airplane, Mommy?"

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