Friday, April 13, 2012

Hold on.

Just a second.  Give me a minute.  Hold on one sec.  Hang on.  Let me get right back to you.  I'll be there in a one minute.

I repeat these phrases constantly.  At home, at work, in my sleep.  But as any mother knows, there are no minutes to be given, no seconds to be held.  Everyone needs everything RIGHT NOW. 

This has been one of the biggest adjustments of motherhood.  The urgency with which all things are required of you at any given moment. 

Baby bottles, and boo-boo kisses, basketballs inflated and bowls of cereal.  Diaper changes and dirty hands washed, can you submit my resume and don't forget today is snack day!

Nothing can wait.  And it's not just the kids.  Every need, of every person, is immediate. 

From the moment that I am ripped from sleep by a screaming baby or thronging alarm, I am being demanded of.  Pecked at, pulled at, like vultures on a carcass. 

Which is why yesterday when traffic ground to complete halt I looked around and laughed. 

After 15 minutes of sitting completely motionless in three lanes of traffic the commuters began to get punchy.  I looked around to see truckers outside of their cabins, searching high and low for the cause of this standstill.  I saw men in business suits craning their necks to see what could be keeping them captive. 

But me, I was content.  Cool as a cucumber.  Because I was alone with my smart phone.  Free to text and type, read and write, free as a bird.  I multi-tasked and made appointments, it was the most productive 30 minutes I'd had in weeks. It was amazing what I could accomplish without demands and distractions. 

When traffic finally started moving, I can't say I wasn't ever so slightly disappointed.  Does that make me a bad mom? 

Don't know. 

But if you hold on for one second, I'll get back to you. 

**Inspired by Ponytailz Stoner and the Wilson Phillips Tribute**

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Dot, Dot, Done

While searching the best that Google has to offer in the way of organizational tips I stumbled upon this

I love to fold laundry.  There is something so satisfying about stacks of clean clothing.  It is such a tangible, concrete display of the hard work and effort that was put in to doing the laundry. 

One of my favorite ways to spend a Sunday is to cover the bed in multiple loads of clean, warm laundry fresh out of the dryer and fold mindlessly while watching a weeks worth of DVR'ed TV. 

The part I hate, nay loathe, is putting the clothes away. 

This is where the mindless ends and the deep thinking must begin, especially in a house like mine. 

Sure, sounds easy enough.  Just make a pile for every person.  Sure. 

Except that the Monster and Middle Monkey are no longer separated by huge gaps in size.  In fact, Middle has taken to swiping the T-shirts of Monster.  It is getting tougher and tougher to tell their clothes apart. 

I hear you saying, "who cares? Just let them wear each others clothes, no biggie." 

EXCEPT that Monster Monkey, when dressed in Middle's pants and T's looks like he is going to be headlining at  an all male burlesque, belly shirts & skin-tight sweats, oh my!

And Mini-Monkey, throw her in the mix and I'm putting onsies away in her drawers and dressing miracle in some tiny T-shirt that was meant for the Mini...I'm all jumbled.  It's a mess. 

I was desperately seeking a solution and BAM.  There is was.  Dot, dot, dot.

Now, after I spent an entire afternoon trolling through this bloggers entries I have learned quite a bit more than I bargained for.  Her politics and much of her "mommy methods" are not my style, but, kudos on this tip.

She suggests that you  assign a dot system to your children, and then make the corresponding dot(s) on the labels of their clothing with permanent marker. 

Goes something like this.

Monster Monkey = 1 dot  (  * )
Middle Monkey = 2 dots ( *  *  )
Mini Monkey = 3 dots  (  *  *  *  )
Miracle Monkey = 4 dots  (  *  *  *  *)

The idea is that when the Monster is done with his 1 dot  (  *  ) items I can add another dot (  *  *  ) and hand them down to Middle Monkey, and so on...

Maybe not so crucial after the Monster & Middle but I still think it's a great idea for things like socks, underwear, pants, t-shirts, and hats, gloves, shoes....Okay --- It's a great idea for everything!!!

I have already implemented it in the Big Boys room and it has already made the job of putting clothes away SOOO much easier. 

Took about 10 minutes and 2 permanent markers one black, one silver and BAM...

Dot, Dot, Done!!!!!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Making a Tea Time

Recently Mini Monkey has taken to speaking "whinese."  Every utterance that leaves her mouth is drawn out into one long, nasal sound.  This new twist makes spending any length of time with her almost painful.

Gone is my lovely, lighthearted little girl and in her place is a writhing, whining, wild child whom I barely recognize. 

The Monkey Maker and myself have been racking our brains to think of creative parenting solutions that will help guide her back to the sweet yet sassy peanut that we once knew.  We've sought council from friends, colleagues, and finally the interwebs to remedy the situation. 

After reading this article, it turns out the answer has been right there all along.  Wailing, whining, flailing, fighting for us to see her. 

Mini Monkey needed some one on one. 

This year has been the wildest of her young life.  With the birth of her brother and his narrow miss with disaster, and being lugged to gymnasiums all across the state to watch the Monster wrestle ad nauseum, it seemed that Mini had begun to feel like something of an afterthought.  And sadly, she might have been as right as rain.

So despite the fact that I too was weary of wrestling and longing for a lounge day with my laptop, I put down the computer and we had ourselves a tea party. 

I spent last Sunday morning in a diamond tiara and leopard print heels.  These complimented the pink wool scarf and name tag that I wore around my neck.  Accessorized from head to toe by Mini Monkey herself. 

She had been waiting for me to wake up.  Sitting patiently outside the bedroom door following instructions from the Monkey Maker to "let Mommy sleep." 

I opened the door and she greeted me with a beaming smile, genuine excitement.  Still wearing my pajamas and having not brushed my teeth yet, I must have been a sight to see but to her, I was perfect. 

"Mommy," She asked excitedly, "Are you ready for our tea party?"

And so we spent much of the morning together.  Setting up tea for twenty of her closest friends and furbabies.  Her Grandma, Grandpa (who is very sick), her Father, and Step-mother, all pretend people, all invited.  Her cousins, Ashley and Catelyn, and Claire were there too.  And the babies.  All the babies.

Her imagination ran wild and free. 

We told stories and drew with chalk, we fashioned ponytails and made lunch.  We swam in the hot tub, and swished in the bath.  She did my hair and we read 600 books.  She danced, I sang, we clapped and cheered and giggled like, well, like little girls. 


Despite her whiny ways in days of late, she really is the coolest little lady.  

Whether playing princess or plotting an ambush with one of her brothers, she is creative and content.  She can hold her own with the roughest and toughest of all little boys but works her high heels like nobody's business.

Surrounded by penises on all sides she is destined to spend her life falling into toilets where the seat has been left up.   Equal parts easy going and obstinate, she is a walking, talking contradiction in terms.  

She is everything good that I hope that I am and so many things that I still wish to be.  Dynamic, dexterous, dogmatic, demure and the best damn decision we EVER made.  

I absolutely adore you, Mini-Monkey.  I could not love you more.    

Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Un-Him

Out and about last Wednesday evening I shopped until I dropped.  Happy and carefree, I bopped along singing softly with the store sound system and smiling warmly at passersby.  I was shopping and I was alone.

My cart was filled to the brim with bounty for the Easter Baskets, thinking how far I have come since last Easter's escapade, when my endless guilt got the best of me.  I was left questioning my value as a mother, as a wife and a human.  I was unsure of my worth and my place in the world. 

So much has changed since last year.  Our family expanded by two feet with the addition of the Miracle Monkey and as a result I learned that the secret to silencing self-doubt is simply to continue having children until you no longer have time to think, much less feel.

So anyway...I was feeling so much better.  And then came Friday.  Good Friday, the Catholics call it.  I have another name for it. 

I had the day off on Friday and I had so many plans for productivity.  I had a list and a sketch, I had pre-purchased supplies to expedite the organizational efficiency that was set to take place in with my unscheduled time at home.

But the one thing I didn't factor in was these damn kids. 

I made waffles, and fetched milk. I made bottles, and changed sheets. I refereed fights and retrieved a lost "puppy."  I fed babies, snuggled Monkeys, and chaperoned a tea party.

But when high noon rolled around my list was un-touched.   

The mountain of clothes on my dresser, still in tact, my blog remained un-posted, my body unexercised, the garage un-organized.

The Monkey Maker returned home to find me sitting in a pile of unfolded laundry on the floor, Miracle on my lap, Mini on my back, Middle wailing from his room about the un-fairness of his punishment and Monster...sprawled across my unmade bed demanding to know why I hadn't yet designed his new wrestling singlet. 

"How do you do this?!?!" I demanded of him, sobbing.  "How do you get everything done all the time? Carpets steamed, bathrooms cleaned, Europe's debt crisis solved....HOW?!?!?!  What is wrong with me?"

The words echoed in my head.  I have been asking the same question for years.

Why can't I be more like him? 

Because I'm not like him.  Never will be. 

And that's why we work.

And even as I sit here tapping away on my keyboard with my un-manicured fingers and Easter-egg dye-stained hands, "wasting time" writing a blog, I know that the answer is to find a way to accept myself as I am. 

Imperfect and un-organized, bored with details like vacuumed carpets and clean dishes.    I am instead stimulated by the promise that each moment brings.  I am committed to capturing each memory in its truest light, to making something tangible to preserve the fleeting whispers of childhood.

Or some shit like that. 

The truth is where I am creative, artistic, inspired; he is practical, productive, and painstakingly purposeful.  We will never be the same but I suppose a little of both is good for the kids.