Monday, June 30, 2008

A New Game

It's almost 11 a.m. My thoughts are turning towards lunch. All the urchins have clean diapers. Small Fry required a wardrobe change, and so I chased her down in the playroom, sat on a small, yellow plastic chair that's nowhere near my size, and wrestled her (seriously!) into clean clothes.

Large Fry announces she wants a hug, and comes over to me. So, I effusively hug her, shrieking, "Hug a Large Fry!" I let her go, and she tears away...but only as far as the doorway.

"Again!" she shouts, and comes running towards me.

And the game is on.

For the next twenty minutes, she comes screaming and running pell-mell into my arms, so I can hug her and shriek, "Hug a Large Fry!" in various intonations, and start all over again.

Okay, so this is why this craziness is worth it.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Observations of a Mother Pro-Tem

~It's terribly cute to watch your middle niece "mew" at the cats every time she sees one. It's not so cute when she won't eat breakfast because she's too busy looking for kitties and mewing.

~Teething is the bane of any sane adult's existence (any unsane adult, for that matter). Infant motrin becomes one's best friend.

~My twin nieces alternately love or are terrified of the cats. The "terrified" part usually comes when they're still kinda waking up at breakfast or are really tired and the kitty who was still suddenly moves, and it freaks them out.

~Mika, poor thing, should always be evacuated from any room prior to small children being introduced to the area.

~What works once to get a stubborn child to swallow a mouthful of food will not work a second time. There is no such thing as a consistent trick for dealing with a goober who will not swallow, not even an animal-cracker chaser. No matter what her uncle says.

~The one thing that Large Fry Niece will eat, and beg for more of, is pizza, which will make me go broke.

~At least half a dozen times a day, I am sure I never want children, am not cut out for motherhood in any way, shape or form, and I'm immensely glad that my four-footed children willingly eat what's in front of them, bathe themselves, are toilet-trained, and sleep when they feel the need.

~Perhaps someday I will once again eat three meals a day. Regularly. I don't think that's happened more than twice this week. On the plus side, I think I've lost weight.

~If I wasn't nuts before, I am now.


*     *     *

Tonight's Award-Winning Conversation

Dinner has finished. Large Fry niece ate more grapes than she did radiatore pasta with meat sauce, Medium Fry (oldest of the twins) threw more on the floor than she ate, and Small Fry dropped so many radiatore pasta pieces in her bib that it looked like she had a choo-choo in the fold of the bib.

I informed Uncle Hubby that I cooked. He just sorta looked at me and said, "Soooo...what does that mean?"

"You clean up," I told him. Okay, he figured he could handle that. He wipes the urchins' hands and faces and sends them into the corral (living room and playroom). I am quickly beset upon by Medium and Small, who both want to be in my lap so they can play with my laptop too. I recall with a sigh the two full cups of juice they both drank when they got up from their naps, and strip them down and change diapers.

Then Large Fry walks into the living room, pushing her toy stroller with her dolly in it. Medium Fry immediately decides she MUST have Large's toy. (Medium Fry is the highly independent, strong-willed child.) The rule in my house is that you cannot steal your sister's toy when she had it first. Obviously, applying this rule is easier when it comes to Large Fry, who has a greater understanding of the English language and will actually respond in LF-English. Medium Fry, of course, has no respect for this rule. Her hand gets spanked twice. She still insists on grabbing it from her sister. I try distracting her with another toy. No soap. I am ready to go into the kitchen and trade places with Hubby. I take the wet clothes and diapers out to Hubby so he can pitch the nasty things and throw the clothes on the laundry room floor. I get back into the living room, and...

...Small Fry is grabbing the stroller from Large Fry!

I pull her little hands away and collapse on the couch, only to have her look at me as she reaches for the stroller again. I sharply tell Small Fry that she cannot have Large Fry's toy.

Meanwhile, Medium Fry is standing on the end table (it's pretty sturdy 2x4 construction). She jabbers a fairly recognizable repetition of what I just said to her sister.

"Small Fry," I say again, "you can't have that toy!"

Medium Fry offers a garbled repetition.

I look at her. "And you!" She grins at me. "Hush!"

"No!" she shouts, with impish glee.

"Yes! I'm the adult!"

"No!" Again, the impish glee.

"You're not an adult!" I can't help but grin, which is probably my undoing. "You're not even two!"

"No!" Ornery thing.

From the kitchen, Hubby calls, "Are you trying to argue with a 19-month-old?"

I look at Medium Fry, and shout back in my most petulant voice, "No!"

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Things You Learn About Your Cats When You Have Toddlers in the House

~They will quickly learn when mealtimes for the toddlers are, and will prowl under the table for dropped offerings. Only the bravest come out during mealtime.

~They will just as quickly learn when naptime and bedtime are. And at those points, the cats miraculously reappear out of the woodwork.

~Mika will eat corn.

~Mika will also eat alphabet-noodle mac and cheese.

~Popoki will not eat hot dogs. (Apparently she's a food snob.)

~Keiki WILL eat hot dogs. And meat balls.

~Keiki will also eat tater tots, as we discovered during dinner tonight.

~Popoki is the only one brave enough (stupid enough?) to venture into the bathroom for a sink drink when all three girls are in the tub.

~Keiki will still "talk" loudly to herself late at night, no matter how much shushing you do or begging her to come into the bedroom and talk to herself there, in order to not wake the blissfully sleeping munchkins.

~Popoki will lay defiantly in the middle of the playroom (formerly the dining room) floor during lunch, as if to say I'm NOT letting them take over MY house.

~Surprisingly, Minou (whom my father refers to as the "Apparition," because she's so rarely seen) will come out to eat her breakfast if the girls are eating theirs at the same time.

~And oddly enough, Pa'ani, who knows no strangers (for they are merely friends he hasn't met yet), will not come downstairs if the girls are on the loose.

~None of them, when confronted by squealing little girls who are alternately wanting to pet the nice kitty and being giggly-afraid of the nice kitty or wanting to grab the nice kitty's twitching tail (all attempts there have thus far been successfully thwarted), will do more than offer a scary hiss or a deep-chested growl. (Small Fry niece has taken to trying to hiss, which is a riot.)

Friday, June 13, 2008

How to drive yourself crazy in three easy steps

1) Have your nieces come for an extended visit.

2) Buy crayons and a coloring book.

3) Be relegated to sitting in a too-small-for-you yellow plastic chair, supervising the coloring, because the 18-month-old twins believe that crayons are teething toys.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Our First Time Out

So the girls are now up from their naps. I offer them something to drink, because I'm sure they're thirsty.

Large Fry wants chocolate milk.

I give the twin Fries juice.

Large Fry throws her sippy cup down to the floor in full view of Unca D. He tells her to pick it up.

I come back into the playroom (formerly the dining room) and ask Large Fry to do what her uncle just told her to, and please go pick up her chocolate milk.

She just looks at me, a rather pitiful expression on her face. You can't possibly mean that, can you?

I tell her again to please pick up her cup, using her full first name, rather than her nickname.

Stoic silence.

I go into the living room to rescue my laptop before the twinnies notice it's in there and they can play with all the buttons, and look at Hubby. He gets up and goes out to the playroom. "Large Fry," he says sternly, "do what I said. Go pick up your cup."

One lower lip, out a city block.

He takes her by the hands and leads her from the playroom into the living room, has her bend over, and tells her again to pick up her cup. She's now in full crying mode, and not in any kind of mood to be cooperative. "Pick up your chocolate milk," Hubby says in his I Will Be Obeyed voice.

She won't.

She gets spanked. One swat, hard enough to make an impression but not hard enough to hurt through her diaper. Just enough to shock, and make it clear that refusal is not an option. (I'd apologize to those of you who disagree with corporal punishment, but I think it does have its place.)

More tears and screams.

Hubby goes out to get the little plastic table and chairs my parents brought with them when they visited earlier in the day. He puts the little yellow chair in the playroom, and has Large Fry, still screaming, sit in it. He heads back out for the table, and I watch to make sure she's staying put while trying to maintain nerves of steel.

Ignoring her is surely the worst form of punishment when she cries like that. How mean are YOU, Auntie, for not saving me from mean Unca D?

By the time Hubby comes back into the house, she's down to a whimper. He lets her get up when she says she's done crying.

It's now about an hour since that time out, and another one has begun. Large Fry decided that she wanted to take the other little yellow plastic chair that her sister was playing with. Unca D objected, especially when Large Fry decided to try to push and shove Medium Fry out of the way so she could take the chair back where SHE thought it should be. Rather than doing what Unca D said, she proceeded to throw a small fit and try to manhandle (toddlerhandle?) her sister even more. She screamed when he wouldn't let her take it, and continued to cry. Another time out! She was probably there for another five minutes before she was ready to stop crying.

Hubby looked over at me as I was typing, dispassionately trying to ignore the Time Out drama. "Am I doing the right thing?" he asked.

"Oh, yeah. She has to learn that she needs to share; she can't dominate who uses what toy all the time."

"Okay," he said, still looking a little unsure. He then turned to Large Fry. "Are you ready to stop crying?"

I guess she nodded, for he continued. "You need to share with your sisters, and let them play with things. You can't take things that they are playing with. You need to wait your turn."

Bedtime is in three hours. I wonder how many time outs we'll have between now and then....

Sunday, June 8, 2008

How to fix crankiness....

Realize that, despite the air conditioners running upstairs, it's still very stuffy in the girls' room, and they just got up from their naps.

Put Andre Rieu: In Wonderland, burned especially for them by their beloved Boppa, in the DVD player.

Give them juice.

See happy smiles.

Feel your heart break anyway when the oldest one, still not quite up to snuff (because it's been a long day and we woke her up from her nap so she didn't sleep too late), starts crying for Mama.

Realize you want to boink their mama in the eyes, for she does not deserve their loyalty--they've been here a week, she knows they're here, and she hasn't bothered to call. For someone who supposedly wants custody of her children, it boggles my mind that she hasn't even tried contact them once.

But love those happy smiles all the more, and treasure every memory.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Random Thought

Is it bad when you buy Disney Princesses bandaids for your nieces, "just in case," and they are the only bandaids you have in the house, and YOU are the one who needs them first?

I'm just wondering.