Let her cry

A couple of people have suggested that I try to write a “positive, uplifting” post. This one isn’t going to be it. I will, however, try to incorporate a little more positivity into my posts I guess. Even though that’s not really my thing.

The Girl is quickly becoming my most difficult child, a title Boy Two has proudly held since birth. Yesterday, we went shopping for school supplies and I was that parent with the screaming baby in Walmart. If you’ve been that parent before, you know how stressful it can be. I used to be one of those people that would think, “Geez, can’t you quiet that kid down?”  As punishment for all the times I had that thought, I have now been the Screaming-Baby-at-Walmart parent more times than I care to admit. I’m to the point now where I just tune it out and continue my shopping. Sometimes it’s best not to try to fix it, to just power through and get out as quickly as possible. I don’t care if it annoys the other shoppers. At least they get to go home. I have to take this thing home with me and listen to this all evening.

So anyway, we started off on the wrong foot because she had brought along a doll that she wanted to take inside. I stopped allowing kids to take toys into stores when Boy One was a toddler because he took it to the extreme by carrying 2-3 grocery bags of tractors with him wherever he went. He ruined it for everyone and I had to enact a blanket policy prohibiting toys in stores. I’ve fought this battle many times with more worthy adversaries than The Girl so she wasn’t going to win, particularly since the doll she brought had no clothes and was covered in some kind of brown substance which I pray was just dirt. So she was mad about the dirty doll and was already screaming when we entered Walmart.

Once we got started, she quieted down and started playing with one of the art boxes. This lasted about two minutes until she snapped it in half. Really, Walmart? You only had one art box option and it was so flimsy that a one-year-old broke it as soon as she laid her hands on it. Now, I’m not proud of this, but I put it back on the shelf and grabbed a different one. Is this stealing? Yes. Does Walmart make enough money off our family to come off of one $.97 piece of crap art box? Also, yes.

So anyway, the flimsy art box had been the only thing keeping The Girl sane and I, of course, couldn’t give her the new one because I didn’t want her to break another one so she went back to screaming. This time, I offered her a box of colored pencils. I thought she would just take them out of the box, look at them, hold them, whatever. We gathered the rest of our supplies and were just finishing when I looked down and realized she had completely shredded the box. I hate for my kid to be the one that doesn’t have his colored pencils in a nice, fresh box, but I had already put back a broken art box and I couldn’t, in good conscience, do the same thing with the colored pencils. At this point, I decided she could no longer be trusted in the cart so I removed her and tried holding her while haphazardly steering the cart with one hand. This wouldn’t have been so hard if she weren’t screaming, thrashing, and slapping my face.

We finally made it to the check-out and I sat her down to unload the cart. I placed the pile of shredded colored pencil box on the conveyor and began putting it together like a puzzle so the cashier could find the bar code. While I worked on that activity, The Girl went straight for the bottom shelf that contains all kinds of little toys and trinkets enticing to children. I know I’ve written about this before, but I’m going to touch on it one more time: I hate Walmart for screwing over all parents by putting those toys on that bottom shelf. I have never bought anything from that shelf, yet my children still beg for things from it every. single. time. At least 70% of the time, that shelf causes a meltdown from at least one of my children when I refuse to purchase anything from it. I understand it’s a marketing strategy, but I can’t imagine it’s making the store any money. How many kids have stealthily stashed a small item in their pocket and made it out of the store with it? More than the number of kids that are lucky enough to have a parent willing to buy something from it, I’m sure. Anyway, I hate that shelf, and I try to prevent my kids from even looking at it, let alone touching anything on it, but I was already stressed and I had to finish the box puzzle, so I let The Girl go to work on the shelf. Have at it, dear. Annihilate that stupid shelf.

So anyway, The Girl was distracted with rearranging the forbidden shelf as I finished up our purchase. Then I pried a bunch of tiny toys (that I had no intention of buying) out of her hands, kicked the rest of the tiny toys on the floor out of the way so no one would trip, and drug her out of the store the same way she came in: kicking and screaming.

She never did calm down as we headed home and that was when I realized that we had lost her pacifier. Yes, she is too old to still take a pacifier and I wish I had a better excuse than “I’m just to lazy to get serious about taking it yet” but I don’t. And it definitely isn’t going to happen today so, even though the last thing I want to do is go to another store, we have to stop at Dollar General. By the time we pulled in, she was in full-on tantrum mode: purple-faced, back-arching, sweating, shrieks. There’s no point in even trying to quiet her. I just scoop her up, hold on as tight as I can, and carry her in. Dollar General is a small store and there are rarely more than a couple people there at a time, but of course today is different. As soon as I walked in, I was met by a ridiculously long line of people waiting to check out and they all immediately looked my way to see what the problem was with this loud baby. I hurried by, clutching my psychotic baby, trying not to make eye contact. I basically sprinted back to the baby section, grabbed the first package of pacifiers I saw, savagely ripped it open, shoved it in her mouth, and she was instantly fixed. Who am I kidding? I don’t care if this kid takes a pacifier until kindergarten. That thing is magical.

So yeah, pretty much every part of this shopping trip was an absolute nightmare, but as per request, I will let you know that there was one positive part:

As I was standing in line to check-out (at a store that doesn’t have the forbidden shelf – thank you, Dollar General, that’s why you’re my favorite), a decent-looking guy in an American flag tank top (yeah, I didn’t know that was a thing either, but he was making it work) struck up a game of peek-a-boo with The Girl. He had witnessed our grand entrance and was impressed with her ability to recover so quickly and we had a brief conversation, comparing notes about our kids’ pacifier usage. When we went up to pay, he ended up buying her pacifiers. As he drove off in his truck which was, of course, outfitted with an American flag decal covering the entire back window, I thought, “What a nice guy…Wait – was he hitting on me?” As soon as I had the thought, I realized how far out of touch I am with the flirting game if I think that having a discussion about pacifiers then buying said pacifiers for a frazzled mom at Dollar General is some form of a come-on. Whatever happened to buying a girl a drink? Anyway, if I were a single mom, it might have worked, if the American flag tank top hadn’t already sealed the deal, but I’m pretty sure he was just a friendly stranger.

So thanks for the pacifiers, Captain America, and thanks for providing me the required positive element for this post.

 

I’m too fed up to come up with a catchy title

You know how people say, “Have a nice day”? I never have a “nice” day. When I wake up, I know I’m either going to have a fantastic day – a got a raise, found a surprise $20 in my coat pocket, made a new friend on a sunny day type of day – or I’m going to have this kind of a day:

My problems started when I left work (as they typically do). I had my heart set on going to the county fair. Fair week was always the highlight of my summer as a kid. That legacy has stuck with me into my adult years and I still look forward to the fair every year. And every year when I go, I can’t figure out why. The fair is pure misery and here are a few reasons why:

  1. It’s 1,457,535 degrees at the fair. I only sweat once per year and it’s at the fair.
  2. It’s dusty. And the dust gets in your eyes and sticks to your annual sweat.
  3. It’s expensive. The food is expensive, but that’s to be expected. The expense that really ticks me off is the parking. If you are on our fair board (or whatever entity sets the Wabash County Fair parking prices), shame on you.  It’s your fault my kids didn’t get an elephant ear because I was too cheap to buy one of those AND park my damn car.
  4. You have to take your kids to it so they can make great fair memories so that they too will continue to subject themselves to this torture long into their adult years. And at the fair kids get things like suckers and balloons which turn them into slobbering, sticky sweat monsters with an added appendage that relentlessly bops you on your sweaty, dusty face.

So the fair sucked, but if that had been the only bad part of my day, it would have been fine. I might have even classified it as the elusive “nice day.” But the fair was only the very beginning.

 

On the way home, my low tire light came on.  I figured it was just a slow leak, but when I started seeing smoke and smelling burnt rubber, I determined that was not the case so I pulled over 1.5 miles from home.  Now I don’t know what’s going on, but we’ve had an endless barrage of flat tires over the past year.  The Husband claims it’s my fault. It has something to do with the way I drive or the places I go or the fact that I’m a female or just simply the fact that I’m not him.  Anyway, every time I have to call him for a flat, I get the same lecture, so I don’t even want to call him. So I send him this text: :

I have a flat tire. No, it’s not a slow leak. Yes, the rim is ruined. No, I didn’t drive on it. No, I didn’t hit anything. I don’t even want to hear it. 

He comes to the rescue, but rather than picking me and the kids up and driving us the 1.5 miles home and coming back solo to fix it, he makes me (us) stay with him while he works on it. He does this to punish me for my propensity toward flat tires and I refuse to give him the satisfaction of acting like it bothers me. So I sit in the car and start writing this post. After a while, his conscience gets the best of him.

You can run the air if you want to….

No, thank you. I’m fine.

So he works for a while, then decides it’s going to be a more extensive repair than expected so he tells us to get in the truck and he’ll take us home. I start to get in his disgusting truck that is jammed to the hilt with trash and whatnot when Boy Two spills his can of pop all over the passenger seat. I’m hot, I’m tired, and I’m already covered in sticky sweat so does it really matter? No. It does not. I just want to get home so I plop down on the soggy passenger seat and my cheerful chauffeur gets ready to drive me home. Aaaaaand his truck won’t start. He drives an old beater farm truck with 250,000 miles on it (hence the reason he doesn’t care if it’s full of trash), but it’s usually pretty reliable. Not today. So we are now sitting along the side of the road with two kids and two disabled vehicles. I cant even make this crap up.

From high school gym class, I recall that I can walk a mile comfortably in about 12 minutes so that means I’m an 18-minute walk from home, add five minutes since I’ll be carrying a baby and my purse, which is, thankfully, loaded with a big bottle of cheap wine.  That’s still quicker than calling a family member to come out and get me. At this point, the objective is to get to my bathtub in the quickest way possible and walking seems to be it, so eyes on the prize, I get ready to go.  The only thing about walking that really makes me mad is the fact that I sat on the pop puddle for no reason. At just that moment, God threw us one crusty, old bone and the truck started. The Husband and I rode home in silence.

All of that would have been enough to consider this an awful day, but there had to be one last punch to the gut. Now that I had finally made it home, I only had two more hurdles to clear before putting an end to this day of horror: get the baby in bed and open my wine. I laid the baby down and reached for a diaper. The box is empty.  Are you freaking kidding me right now? I had picked up a box, but it’s in the back of my car 1.5 miles away. I remembered the bottle of wine, but forgot the diapers. I don’t actually feel bad about that. More specifically, it is in the ditch where The Husband threw it to open the compartment that holds the spare tire. As he drove me away toward home, I remember thinking, “Man, I hope no one steals that box of diapers. That’s $20.” Of course, The Girl had pooped because, why not? Again, God threw me one last bone and I managed to scare up a swimming diaper three sizes too small. Good enough.

If you were wondering, I did make it to the bathtub, which is where I’m finishing this post right now. I believe The Husband is still sweating along the side the road changing my tire. I’m sure we’re not speaking so, Dear, if you’re reading this, please don’t forget my box of diapers in the ditch.

Oh, and if any of you see me around, please don’t tell me to have a nice day because it isn’t going to happen. Tell me to have a fantastic day because anything short of that is destined to be…well…a day like this one.

 

The Girl that’s driving me mad

In 2015, between both sides of my family, we welcomed a whole crop of new babies. I was lucky enough to be one of the moms welcoming a new baby that year.

One baby turned out to be a sweet, quiet boy who rarely makes a peep unless he actually needs something.

Another baby is some kind of savant child that has been reciting her ABCs basically since birth.

Another says “shut up.” As in, that’s her response to everything.

IMG_1424

Do you want to get in your chair for dinner?

Shut up.

What does a dog say?

Shut up.

Mommy loves you!

Shut up.

I’ll let you guess which one is mine.

I’m a loser, baby

The Girl no longer wants to sit in her high chair for meals, but I still want her to sit in it. If I’ve learned one thing from the boys, it’s that I have to stick to my guns, so I put her bowl of leftover macaroni on her tray and sit her in the chair. She politely declines and initiates an escape attempt. I sit her back down a few times then move to Phase II: placing her on the floor and saying, in a firm voice, If you won’t eat in the chair, you won’t eat. You’re not carrying your dinner around the house. Just like I learned on Super Nanny.

She looks at me in disgust and then does the only thing that would have bothered me, the exact opposite of the response I was trying to illicit: She turns around and walks away. She goes on with her evening on an empty stomach as if to say I don’t need you or your crappy day-old macaroni.

I’m not going to give in because if I do, she will think that she never has to listen to me and she will become a defiant child that turns into an even more defiant teenager, with the end result being a depressed and unproductive adult that lives in my basement. I know this because I’ve already made it to step 2 of this progression with two other children, so she has to sit in the chair because I really don’t want three adult children living in my basement. My max is two.

I also move on with my evening, trying not to think about the fact that she hasn’t eaten which means she probably won’t sleep through the night. I clean up the kitchen which includes throwing away her untouched macaroni. As soon as it hits the trash can, she saunters over, glares at me, and holds up her arms to be returned to her chair for dinner. She’s apparently had a change of heart. I put her in the chair and start looking for another dinner option. Choices are slim. As I said, “A” line was recycled macaroni. I offer her a sandwich or some oatmeal but she just keeps pointing at the empty pink bowl that held her discarded macaroni. Like an idiot, I try to offer her a rational argument:

Well, you didn’t want to sit in your chair during dinner so I threw away your macaroni because I have OCD and I couldn’t stand to leave it sitting on the counter while you roamed the house. Plus it was already semi-rotten, soooo….it’s gone.

Then I remember she’s 1 so I just hand her a cup of chocolate pudding. Surely that will satisfy her. It doesn’t. Eating pudding in the chair was not part of the deal,  only macaroni, so I sit her back on the floor. I try the whole “sticking to my guns” thing again and refuse to give her the pudding once she’s out of the chair – for about 30 seconds while she screams like a crazy fool. Then I give up and just hand her the stupid pudding. I don’t even care anymore. You win. But winning isn’t enough for her. She now thinks that perhaps she would prefer to enjoy this pudding outside on the deck in the fresh evening air so she points at the door.

Side. Let’s go.

Whatever. I’ve already been defeated. Does it really matter how badly I lose? So I follow her outside and sit with her on the deck while she finishes her pudding dinner. She even demands that I feed her some of it even though she’s more than capable of feeding herself. As I sit there, feeding her and furtively trying to swat flies before they touch her because it upsets her when they tickle her skin (which she could have avoided by eating inside, in her chair), I realize that I’ve been played. I’m pretty sure that after I took her out of the chair the first time, she just stood by, watching and waiting for me to throw away the macaroni so she could watch me scramble around to prepare a more delicious dinner served in a more appealing setting as punishment for my ignorance. What started out as me laying down the law ended in me feeding this master manipulator chocolate pudding by moonlight. Well played, Punkie.

Don’t be cruel

I want The Girl to be one of those super nice girls, one of those girls that you can just tell would never say a mean word about anyone. I want her to be that girl that is so nice that she makes you feel bad about yourself because you are, well, less nice. That’s the kind of daughter that I want. I don’t think that’s the kind of daughter I have.

She has started this new thing where every time one of the boys throws a fit and starts crying (yes, my boys still cry at 7 and 8 years old. Does that ever end?) she laughs. It’s not her normal laugh as in, “Oh you just hid your face behind a paper then took it away and it’s hilarious even though I knew where you were all along because I’m not stupid.” It’s more of a shrill Wicked Witch of the West-ish cackle that sounds like she’s truly, from the bottom of her soul, delighting in their plight. So she does that and then follows it up with a new phrase she just learned: He crying! She alternates that laugh and phrase over and over until the boy that is the object of her ridicule gets mad and storms off.

I know that laughing along with her is not helping to create that super nice girl, but I can’t help it. As the third child with two crazy older brothers, I expected her to be laid back and quiet and to just go with the flow. Instead, I got this stubborn, opinionated, bossy girl that showed up and just started running the show. She reminds me of someone I know.

Be careful, Punky. Today you’re stubborn, opinionated, and bossy. Tomorrow you’re domineering and arrogant and you have a god complex, but I’ll still be your best friend.

Take it on the run, baby

Boy One has this specific wooden rocking chair, designed for a child half his size, that he uses to sit directly in front of the TV when he’s watching YouTube videos. He has to do this because the videos are so annoying that I won’t let him turn the volume above 5 because I care more about my sanity than his retinas.

Anyway, on the rare occasions that Boy One ventures out of this special chair, Boy Two swoops in and steals it just to be a jerk. A huge (usually physical) fight ensues which ends in one or both of them injured and/or crying.

Today, The Girl decided to see what all the fuss is about with this chair, especially since it was originally brought here for her. She pestered Boy One until he finally paused his video to get up and get her a pink plastic chair as a substitute. Just like she learned from Boy Two, she seized the opportunity and pounced into the prized rocking chair.

I braced myself for the usual shrieking and prepared to intervene before he took out his wrath on her the same as he would Boy Two. Then this happened:

FullSizeRender

I don’t really want to get her going. I just want to watch my show in peace. 

Very smart, son. You will make a good husband someday. A few minutes later, I look over and see this:

IMG_1246

And you, my girl, will make a typical wife.