Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Will it ever end?

For a while there it was Thing 1 who was having trouble in the mornings. Lately it’s been Thing 2.
This morning I was asking Thing 1 if she wanted toasted waffles for breakfast. I swear she said she didn’t, and when I clarified by saying “You do NOT want a waffle?” she got all mad at me and said “I told you I did!” I was trying to explain to her that “wonnawunnawaffle” sounds an awful lot like I don’t want a waffle, when Thing 2 wandered off and started playing with her DS. She was having trouble plugging it in and started calling from the next room for some help. I called back that I don’t have time in the morning for stuff like that, especially mornings l like this when we’re running late. Please come and get a plate. She got more upset. I decided I was going to talk sweetly, even if it got syrupy sweet, but I wasn’t going to raise my voice.
Before long I’d called out five or six times that no, I’m not going to come work on her DS, Thing 1 has already started eating, would she come now and eat too. Thing 1 said “I’ll help her,” and started up from the table. I told her no, we’re late, you don’t have time to help her either. She sat back down and ate.
When Thing 2 finally came to the table she was grumpy as a bear, yelling at me, and came over and started taking swats at me. Of course she’s not hitting very hard, but she’s making sure I know she’s angry and trying to hit me.
I told her that trying to get a good breakfast down her is not reason to start HITTING me. She continued to sulk and whine and humph, and a few moments later still hadn’t sat down to eat. I sat her down (gently), and put her fork in her hand. She cowered like she thought I was going to slam her around, but then started up arguing and grumping at me. Whining that her fork was sticky. Finding anything she could to grump about. I got her a new fork. She got up and angrily marched one back to me. Grump grump whine and grump.
After a few minutes of this, I finally snapped. I was gathering their homework to put in their respective backpacks and slammed a book on the counter. This did shut Thing 2 up. Then I said as nicely as I could that breakfast was hers to eat or not, but to stop whining about it.
Of course she burst into tears, sob sob sob. Thing 1 starts whining that she can’t eat with Thing 2 being so whiney. I shushed Thing 1 and told them to both eat. Thing 2 got out of her chair, and started following me around crying and demanding to be hugged. I hugged her, whispered I love her in her ear, and walked slowly back to her chair, hugging and holding her, and sat her gently in her chair and asked her to eat.
She started whining that I’d given her an angry hug… it’s Completely Pissing Me Off just to write about this… she got up again and came over to be hugged. I repeated the process, picked her up, hugged her gently and carried her back to her chair where I sat her down and told her to eat breakfast.
I feel like I deserve a million points for self control.

I don’t know what to do with her. She misbehaves, whines, and carries on. Then when I’m about ready to snap, she either starts crying and demanding a hug, or she “wounds” herself, thus “legitimizing” her crying, and needs a bandaid and a hug. Either way I’m much more ready to tear my hair out than give her a hug. If I do snap, she immediately escalates her sobbing into screaming and thrashing around on the floor, and her demand for a hug goes up too.

This morning, after I sat her down she did start eating. It’s kind of a blur but I think things went smoothly enough. We were late enough that the first bell was already ringing, so rather than make them trot through the ice to school (I can just imagine the slippings and trippings and tears that might result) I drove them to school.

When I came home, I stopped at the curb to get the garbage cans left out from yesterday, only to find that the LOSERS didn’t pick up the trash. I KNOW it was out there because Hubby put it out Sunday night, and looking up the street I could see in the next block a trash can knocked over. I checked my neighbor in the other direction and theirs wasn’t picked up either. They just skipped our block. It just added to my misery and I nearly cried as I wrestled the 400 pound full trash can up the ice and snow at the end of the alley, and dragged it back up to our driveway.

Not my best morning.

- later –

Thing 2 and I had a very nice afternoon, lunch at McDonalds, and running errands. She is a wonderful little companion and I am going to miss the heck out of her when she’s in full day school.

Though it might indicate wild mood swings on someone’s part, mine or Thing 2’s, it is nice that a horrible morning can swing around so nicely to a very pleasant afternoon.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Me and GE

It’s finally happening. After several years of waiting, followed by several months of looking for appliances, followed by several weeks of anticipation, the appliance swap has begun. A couple of weeks ago the contractor (Gary) took out the cabinet above the fridge and removed the big fake doors off the hood above the range. Then yesterday he came and took out the rest of the hood. Today, the stove and microwave came, and the delivery guys took the old stove away. Gary and his son Gavin installed the cabinet above the microwave so the installers can come tomorrow to install it. They also put in the cabinet above the refrigerator, and took out the rest of the cabinet around the stove.

The newly delivered stove is very pretty as it sits in its protective plastic wrappings, I just worry about keeping those neat front knobs clean. The last stove was covered with that greasy muck along the front knobs. There is more motivation to keep these clean, I suppose.

Tomorrow the new fridge comes and the old fridge goes, the microwave which is sitting in the dining room will be installed, and the oven which is sitting in the breakfast nook should be installed. Dinner tonight was kind of a combination of what can I cook in the toaster oven and the microwave, and what can I clear out of the fridge. Hopefully tomorrow if we’re eating out it will be because it’s easier, not because the major kitchen appliance isn’t connected.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


The work it takes to get out of the house in the morning is amazing. Having Hubby around makes it much easier, because it seems that without an adult standing above each girl gently reminding her or guiding her to her next objective, nothing would get done. I can’t just say “Finish your breakfast and get your clothes on!” I come back and they are sitting at the table playing with each other, empty plates and bowls in front of them, or they often wander off and turn on the TV. Thing 1 is especially plagued by this. I can put her clothes in her arms and instruct her to put them on, go into the next room to comb Thing 2’s hair and brush her teeth, and when I come back Thing 1 has dropped her clothes to the floor, sometimes she has removed the tops or bottoms of her pajamas, but sometimes neither, and is completely absorbed in examining the grain of the wood on the cabinets, or her toenail, or something equally as interesting. We made a no-whining chart for Thing 2, which seems to be helping, and a 1st time chart for Thing 1, which I don’t use enough.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Thing 2 isms

Both girls are funny. Thing 1 is more sincere, and Thing 2 is more spontaneous.

* Thing 1 just asked Thing 2 if she liked cars.
Thing 2 said she liked some cars, just ones that are HOT. Ones that are HOT that have cheetah on the steering wheel.

* I pulled Thing 2 up to her feet after putting lotion on her after the bath. She pointed to the back of her throat and told me she had stuffing in there. Stuffing? I ask. Yes, she said. Like when I told her if I squeeze her too tight it would squeeze the stuffing out of her.

* Thing 2 was telling the neighbor Wytie and Thing 1 that her boyfriend at school is named ******. She loves him because his name starts with ****, like her sister. She told them ***** is so “handsome” that when she sees him she runs-into-the-bathroom-and-faints-and-runs-out. She said it kind of run together, like it was all the same action. “I’m not kidding!” she said again. “I run-into-the-bathroom-and-faint-and-run-out.”

Monday, January 5, 2009

Have yourself a merry little...

Had a marvelous Christmas. The girls were both out of school sick most of the week before Christmas - which is probably a whiny continuation of my previous entry. They both rallied enough to attend school the 19th, the last day before the holiday.

Our Christmas eve was just magical, I can’t even remember everything but know that Hubby promised Thing 1 he would build a snowman with her… I told him it’s too cold, the snow won’t pack and besides, Wytie built 3 snowmen in his yard and a fort on our front right parking strip – which means there isn’t much snow to be had anyway. I suggested I’d heard there’s good sledding at the park up by the cemetery. In his unwillingness to every promise something to the girls and not deliver, we went sledding. Despite my fears that Thing 1 and I were coming down with colds again, and that it was too cold in general. We had two sleds, the kind of plastic toboggan thing and a foamy board slider thing… I bundled the kids up good and away we went.

Thing 2 wanted to go with me at first, but I crashed, and after that she wanted to go alone. She laid down on the toboggan thing and just sailed down the hill giggling all the way. Sometimes she rolled, but most of the time she did fine. Thing 1 wanted to ride the foam board herself, and it took once or twice but Hubby figured out to load her on it by hooking the toes of her boots under the front handles, and she sat on it with her hands in the back handles, and away she went. It would rotate some, but she’d sail on and on… she was wearing this hat I bought from Land’s End – I need another one of those, that looks like it has Rasta braids hanging off of it… with her snow boarder pants and that hat, she looked smashing, zipping along on that sled.

Hubby stationed himself at the top, and I stood at the bottom for the most part. I took lots of video, and I remember worrying that we’d been there too long and the girls or I might aggravate our colds, but when I look at the video it’s much too short, and I wish I would have stayed and filmed more. It was a beautiful crisp late afternoon, with all the blues and pinks of the sky and snow over the valley, and the brown tree tops … Just an amazing trip.

We came back and Hubby had planned to make spaghetti with our Kitchenaid roller. Thing 2 went first and it took her a while to perfect her hold, and of course the dough nearly outlasted their interest, but it was some of the best spaghetti I’ve ever eaten.

After dinner we let them open their new Christmas pajamas, and Hubby showed them where Santa was on the Internet Norad Santa watch. Then we read from the Bible while Thing 1 and 2 acted everything out with the Fisher Price nativity people and animals on the coffee table. We can't act it out ourselves as easily since there's only four of us, so we let Fisher Price and the girls take care of it. In between the shepherds and the wise men, I heard a distinct jingling and turned behind me to see - you guessed it – Santa Claus standing between the rose bushes at our front window. Thing 1 leaped up on the couch and saw him, but Thing 2 wasn’t fast enough so I grabbed her and sprinted to the front door in time to see him turning the corner at our front sidewalk and heading up the street. He stopped long enough to warn the girls to go to sleep so he could come back.

Thing 1 immediately lost all interest in the nativity and couldn’t get to bed fast enough. It took quite a bit of convincing to get her to stay up at all – she wanted to take Santa's advice and go to bed RIGHT NOW! We raced through the wise men part of the nativity with her hanging in the hall begging to go upstairs, we brushed their teeth and put them to bed.

Christmas day gave me some worries, I feared that what they asked for might not have turned out to be what they really wanted… but so far we’re okay. I think they had a good Christmas. I know I did. Hubby bought me a beautiful ring, since I seem to need more than one for whatever weight gain or loss I’m going through at the moment, and a Scooba, which is like a mopping roomba, and a Wii Fit board and a bunch of other things. I have learned that despite the fact that I think he has no time to Christmas shop, he always remembers me and makes sure my Christmas is special. I scored big time. We went over to Hubby's sister’s for Christmas dinner, and met her 2nd dog, a Sheltie named Jack. Now if we get a dog, I’d like a sheltie.

Christmas at Grandma and Papa’s on the 26th was also a huge haul for us… we went up with one small shopping bag full of gifts – mostly small boxes of jewelry from Italy for my brother's girls, whose names we drew this year - and returned with half a trunk full of new goods. The dark moment was one brief period when Thing 2 realized the gift ratio of adult presents to child presents wasn’t exactly even. Grandma gives three presents to each grandchild; one of clothes, one of toys, and one of books. Then they receive usually one present from the aunt or uncle who drew their name. Four gifts. For the adults Grandma goes a little nuts, I don’t know how many gifts she gave me, but I know it was probably more than four. Then one from whoever drew my name. When it was my turn to be passing out gifts to my brother's family, I asked “Whose turn is it?” There is Thing 2, sitting at the far side of the couch next to her aunt. She has her doll on her lap, her legs sticking nearly straight out because she’s too little for them to dangle, and this big happy smile of anticipation on her face. BIG happy smile. She's the cutest thing I've ever seen. Her little five year old hand shoots straight up in the air and she says “ME! It’s my turn!” This image absolutely charms me. She is so small, so excited… so very very cute. I didn’t know what to do. She’d already opened the clothes and the toy from Grandma (I hadn’t realized Grandma had one more gift for her) and the gift from her aunt, and I didn’t want her expecting something else…
So I told her as softly as I could “Thing 2, I think you’ve opened your presents.” She went dark. She clouded over. She gripped her doll and sat there stiff.
As soon as I was done passing out our gifts to my brother and his family, I went over to Thing 2, who was beginning to whine in a pre-cry mode, and picked her up and took her upstairs and as gently as I could tried to talk her down. She resolved herself pretty well, and we went back downstairs just as Grandma started passing out her last gifts, including a stack of books for each granddaughter. Thing 2 turned out happy, as she often does. I don’t blame her too much – her Christmas at grandma’s paled in comparison to her Christmas here – especially when her “toy” from Grandma was really clothes for her doll, and, well usually my sister does really well on gifts for the girls, but we had realized earlier that we had miscommunicated that I was supposed to be bringing the gift for Thing 2 for my sister to give her, so my sister quickly wrapped up and re-gifted something else, which was fine but wasn’t anything that would interest Thing 2 in the least… but you want your kid to be appreciative and not greedy, and it was a bit of a bind.

The rest of the holiday the girls did great, mostly playing with Wytie. There were a couple of days when I intended to have a playdate, but either the parent I called never called back, or Wytie came over so I didn’t call anyone. And then I got sick again and wasn’t really up to entertaining anyone anyway.

Christmas is still up, I’ve been putting off taking it down as I’ve been sick and uninterested in it, but started yesterday and the mess is already driving me crazy. I want it out and down… time to get to work.