Thursday, June 20, 2013

Stubborn Work

There are really great perks to working from home part-time. I am home every other day, and it is a fantastic time to not shower, sit in a recliner with a laptop on my lap, and throw some laundry in the washer. I also get to see my kids a heck of a lot more than I would if I were in the office full time. Which is awesome. And sometimes, it is not so awesome.

The not-so-awesome times are the same things that all working moms deal with, just on a more frequent basis than they typically hear them. Like...hearing "mom" 18 times in the span of 10 seconds. Or "push me!" every 30 seconds as the child swings on a swing for 10 minutes. Or there is always the "watch me!" as the not-so-talented child attempts to do a cartwheel. All. Day. Long. The only time that Sam is quiet is when we let her watch TV or the iPad, so...yeah...we don't have really strict rules on screen time.

As difficult as Sam can be to deal with, Charlie can be even more frustrating. She is stubborn. Like, really really super duper stubborn. She is so stubborn she can come across as not so bright. Colors, for example. If you ask her to pick out the red M&M from a bowl, she does it. If you ask her to pick out the yellow M&M from a bowl, she does it. And green. and blue. And orange. But if you ask her what color a strawberry is, she'll scream YELLOW! at you. We have an iPad with a pink case and one with a black case, and she'll often say that she wants the green iPad. Even though we call it the pink iPad. If you hand her the pink one, she'll start screaming that she wants the black one. We are constantly asking her what color things are, and each time, with the same amount of enthusiam, she will yell GREEN! No matter what it is. Today though, her color changed to yellow. So when asked what color her bedroom is, she answered YELLOW!! (It is green.)  

When she was an infant, I asked the pediatrician about doing a hearing test. The child never ever ever responded to her name. Even as a 6 month old. At that point, the kid should definitely at least acknowledge that a noise came from my mouth. Do you know how hard it is to talk to a child who is completely oblivious to you?  As she got older and could move around, it was apparent that she did not have a hearing problem, she was just ignoring us. I got super excited a couple of months ago because she was running away from me at Target and I called her name and she stopped, turned around, and came back! I was as proud as if she had just learned how to wake surf at two years old.

Charlie will turn three in August, and just in the past couple of months has her talking really taken off. Before that, she would grunt and point and whine and screech, with a few key words thrown in so we could just understand what the hell it was she wanted. When she was ready, she decided to start talking. So she did. In almost complete sentences. When she wanted to. Trying to get her to say "Can I please have a strawberry?" is like pulling teeth. It more often is "MOMMY! I. WANT. STRAWBERRY!" Then after a look from me she'll throw in "PLEASE" with a cute little head tilt and smile. The thing is, I could use the excuse that she is only two and she doesn't need to be speaking in complete sentences. Except I've heard her. Every day. Playing with her toys, speaking in completely clear, coherent sentences. Having the Little Pet Shop puppy and bee talk about going to bed. Five minutes later I can't get her to ask nicely for a strawberry. (Can you tell it is strawberry season around here? Both girls may or may not be turning a light shade of red.)

The other thing that is really frustrating with Charlie is the potty training situation. I don't really remember potty-training Sam, we just showed her what to do, she decided when she wanted to wear panties, and we helped remind her that she should go every so often. She was definitely potty trained by this point. I think. But with Charlie, if you mention going on the potty, all you get is a NNNOOOOO. If you ask why, she simply states "I don't want to."

OK, how about candy? Nah. Cookies. Unh-huh. Seeing as how she practically lives for sugar, this is saying a lot. "OK, how about this new toy? The one right in front of you?" Meh. "All right, is the iPad, you will sit on that potty chair until you pee. I know you have to go, you just got up from nap and your diaper is dry." All I get is a lot of screaming and crying until I hand her the iPad, and then she sits contentedly until her butt is red. Even then, if you are watching her, she will keep sniffling until you look away, just to make you feel bad.

So I don't even think about potty-training anymore. When she wants to do it, she'll tell me, and we will help her.

The latest thing, the thing that has broken me, is bedtime. We have our routine. And we follow it. And when we are on the last step of me snuggling them in their bed, she is still bouncing off the walls and demanding things. This is true even on days when she has had no nap, or less than normal sleep the night before. It happens when she should be tired. Days where we went non-stop and there were no naps and Sam is asleep before her head hits the pillow. It also happens on every. other. day. And it isn't like bedtime around here is early. We are talking 10 or 11 o'clock in the evening. And she'll be up, bright and happy, at 8am. Which I know that some parents would kill for their kids waking up at 8am, but I am quite sure that they don't want to listen to "mommommommommommommom" for 14 hours straight.

Even the nights I can get the girls to go to sleep at a somewhat reasonable hour with only a moderate amount of fighting between them and yelling from me, they get up in the middle of the night and find their way into my bed. Which then wakes me up. So basically no one in this house gets a full night sleep. I just want 8 straight hours. I honestly can't remember the last time I got 8 straight hours of sleep. Hopefully too, this stage will pass and Charlie will decide that sleeping isn't such a bad thing. And Sam will stay on the same page with her.

I mean, I knew I was marrying into a stubborn family, but holy cow, some days I can't wait to go to work!


Monday, June 17, 2013

Talking and moving

I always want to write down things that Sam says but in reality I never actually do. Most of her best lines are forgotten by the next day. I wish we could just mike her and record everything. Then edit out all the boring parts. But since that isn't ever going to happen (Let's hope that she never ever ever is on a reality show) I try to jot down some things here, but I always forget the best ones. I used to think that all kids talk the way that she does, and maybe they do, but man...that girl is hilarious.

I was just told this story by Workaholic's aunt, it was from last summer. When she was 3. Sam was telling her about the "roller coaster" we had set up at our house in Michigan, which is on a hill. It is basically a ramp and the kids can sit in a little plastic car and ride down the hill.  We have had quite a problem with geese up there, and Sam was explaining how she was telling her friend who wanted to ride on the roller coaster that they couldn't just yet, because there was goose poop all over the yard.

"B, there was poop everywhere. I mean everywhere. It was all over the yard, just everywhere. B, you don't understand, it was shit, just shit everywhere."

Then one recent morning we were talking about Workaholic, and Sam quips, "Yeah, dad is still sleeping. He didn't even get up to go to work in the middle of the night." (He usually leaves around 5am.)

One day she asked, "You know, we haven't see Tiff in a while. Do you think we could spend the day with her tomorrow?"

Another day she was getting a ride home from a play date and she was telling the mom of her friend that she really wanted to come over again. "I'll have to check my schedule, but I am pretty sure that Tuesday will work."

Both of my girls know another little girl named Khloe who recently moved away. While lamenting about how much she missed the one year old, Sam says "I wonder what Khloe will look like when she grows up. She is just so cute with that hair."

And then one day there was a random Dad, someday can we go on a family bike ride?

The other big news in our lives is that we sold our house!! Amazing! Seven years after we planned to, we have sold it. We closed on June 7th, and Workaholic (and me) packed up the house and either put in a warehouse or brought it to Michigan. That is because we will be living in Michigan the whole summer!!! Until September 9th!! I have been commuting down to work twice a week and working the other days from home. Workaholic has been spending his weeks at his parents' house and coming up on the weekends. So far so good!

The packing and the moving and the stress of it all is just now starting to unwind. I felt pretty good most of the time, and decided that it was all manageable. Especially once my husband got on a roll and emptied out the house. While we were still living there.  I just had to stop and breathe every once in a while and repeat to myself that everything will be alright. And gosh darn if that worked! Everything WAS all right. After Labor Day we will be buying a house in the same town that we lived in before. It is smaller, with a yard that is already fenced in, a pool, and a play set! Everything we need! I am super excited to move into it...after the summer.

You know how some people say that dogs can sense things? Like, if Kale obsessively starts licking my leg, I might want to get it checked out because it might be cancer? I don't know if anyone ever says the same thing about kids, but Charlie might have a gift. After a looong weekend of playing and playing and playing with kids, I forced Sam and Charlie to go to bed last night. (the HORROR!) Around 1am, both kids woke up screaming bloody murder. I thought that perhaps someone was dying, or Sampson had cat scratch fever and gone ape shit on the girls while they were sleeping, or that maybe there was just a bug on the bed. I go in, and Sam told me she had a bad dream about snapping turtles (much thanks to the fellow 4 year old who found one yesterday and felt compelled to show it to my overly sensitive daughter). I asked Charlie what was wrong, and she said, and I quote, "nothing."

It took about 2 seconds for both girls to realize that I was up, and in their bed, and they will have me do their bidding. This included snuggling and fetching of the black iPad. Not the pink one, the black one. (Yes, we have 2. Yay for credit card points!!) And when I declined to bring said iPad (because it is the middle of the night), the screaming crying Iwanttodie-whine temper tantrum started. Meanwhile, Sam is laying next to me squirming around like a worm trying to get away from a bird, making a noise that was not unlike that of the whiniest kid you have ever seen in the mall or grocery store. There is a family history of restless leg syndrome, and so I get all worried that perhaps both kids have that because WHY IN THE HELL WILL THEY NOT SLEEP?!

At some point in the next 5 minutes it dawned on me that I was getting played. They wanted to be in bed with me. And at 1am, I didn't give a shit. Fine, come in bed with me. Sam was perfectly content and rolled over and went to sleep. But not Charlie. OH NO. That kid whined, and cried, and tossed, and turned, and begged and begged and begged for the friggin' black iPad. I was able to doze in and out for the next couple of hours, always waking up to Charlie clearly not sleeping. Finally, around 3am, I caved. Fine, take the damn thing. Just SHUT UP. It was also at that point that I realized I really hadn't slept and I was expected to get up in 3 or 4 hours and drive an hour and a half to work on roads that are less than thrilling. I had stayed up too late one night the week before and scared myself while driving to work because I almost dozed off on numerous occasions. I didn't feel like a repeat trip.

So I did what any sane, sleep-deprived working mom would do...I e-mailed my boss and declared vacation day. I wanted to sleep in. I wanted my kids to sleep in. I wanted to get the chance to catch up. And we did. I got out of bed at 9:30 only to do a smidgen of work and the girls came stumbling out of my room after 10am. And even though I really just wanted to crawl right back into bed, I looked outside and saw something that I had been waiting for since there was no snow this winter. Summer. Summer had arrived overnight.

The sky was that shade of blue, with wispy white clouds lingering near the sun, and the lake was shimmering. A soft breeze blew the green leaves in the trees and when we stepped outside, the sun warmed my cold, defeated-by-a-3yearold soul. We spent the day in and out of the water, fishing (Did you know that when fishing, if you catch a fish, you have to touch it in order to get it off the hook back into the water?! Gross!), and laying out in the sun, generally being useless. It was fantastic. It was exactly what I needed. Maybe that stubborn 3 year old is smarter than I give her credit for. Maybe she knew I just needed a day. A nice, quiet day with my four year old and two year old daughters.