Monday, September 27, 2010

PFPP Project

Jack is impossible. I love that kid so much - but really - he's impossible.

I can remember it like it was yesterday (even though it was 3 1/2 years ago), standing in the handicap stall of the Fred Meyer bathroom crying on my cell phone to my best friend as I was holding the positive pregnancy test, "This CAN NOT be right!?! I don't want to be pregnant!" And then slowly recovering from the shock over the next few months (especially when Jeff got tears in his eyes because he was so excited about the whole thing).

Then seeing Jack's beautiful little face when he was born and me crying over the thought that I ever cried over being pregnant with this perfect little boy.

And for the first two years, that's what he was. Perfect.

He slept through the night rather quickly, ate consistently (I finally had my first successful experience with nursing - YAY!) and he was just generally a happy, easy baby.

Then he grew an opinion. And it's vastly different from mine. For instance, I think that since he can communicate beyond the level he should be at for his age, he should be able to tell me when he has to go to the bathroom. And he does... when it fits into his schedule. When he doesn't feel like it he just doesn't do it - even if I take him and make him sit there for an hour - he still. won't. GO. He would pee outside on the grass all day long, but take him to a bathroom and he'll only go if he feels like putting forth the effort.

And the poop. Oh, the poop. He REALLY won't do that. We've started a new "project" with the kids (all of them). We set goals with each child (Natalie's is going to bed without whining, and making good choices at school that will keep her from talking during quiet times, getting off task, etc. at school - and Carter's is staying dry all night, and not arguing or throwing fits) and if/when they accomplish these goals they get to put a penny in their jar. When they get 14 pennies, we will take them to the movies, which to them is a huge treat (they get a penny - or not - at the end of each day).

Jack's goal is to go poop in the potty. He will get a penny every time he does it. He needs 14 pennies to go to the movies, and he really wants to go to the movies but apparently not bad enough. It's literally a no-go.

It's been 4 days since we started the Pennies for Poop in the Potty Project and he's the only one with an empty jar. He stands there every day while Natalie and Carter pick out their pennies for their jars and watches them sadly, but he just won't do what he needs to!

Seriously, you guys, what do I do!?! I could really use some input here. If you have any other suggestions for us, please dish. I'm at my wits end with this kid.

Oh, other things we've tried is a sticker chart, M&M rewards, taking him shopping for "big boy undies," setting the timer and having him try every 20 minutes, and he has a "little potty" and a seat that can go on the "big potty" so he has options. I've even tried putting him on the little potty in front of the TV with cartoons on and having him sit there practically all morning waiting for him to go, but he just held it in until I finally had to have him get up (because we had to leave the house). UGH!

Please give me some much needed advice all of you experienced Moms (and Dads!). If your suggestion works, I'll... send you a jar full of pennies.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Just Keeping It Real

"Soccer Mom"

The title holds different meaning to me now than it used to. Probably because I officially am one now. Before I had kids, I always wanted to be one. You know, the mom who brings all the healthy snacks to the games, gives other kids rides home, takes pictures of every event, is always on the go heading to one activity or another - always with a big I've-got-it-all-together smile on her face as her perfectly groomed kids run smiling into her arms right after making the winning goal for the game.

I'm not that Mom. Not even close.

You know the Mom who runs in late with 4 bags over her shoulder, a kid falling off her hip, and two more trailing behind still trying to get their shoes on? That's me. The one who's literally sweaty after rushing around just trying to get her kids to practice only to find that her son brought one soccer cleat and no shin guards. I'm the Mom who forgot the water bottles and her kids had to run in the school to use the drinking fountains for their water break (which apparently isn't cool). I'm the Mom who forgets the snack altogether and has to quickly drive to the market during the game to pick up some Nutter Butters and juice boxes. I sometimes forget sweatshirts for the kids when it's raining at practice and when we get home, instead of pulling a casserole out of the freezer for dinner (because there aren't any in there), I rely on scrambled eggs and peanut butter toast so we can do homework and hurry to bed.

I am realizing that my pre-kid vision of what being a "Soccer Mom" meant was a vision not yet covered by the veil of reality. I don't do it all. I can't. In fact most of the things I do I don't necessarily do a great job with. But I'm figuring it out, finding my balance, and trying, failing, and then trying again.

I don't have to be perfect. Trying to be perfect is not only impossible, it makes me not much fun to be around - at all. What is important is laughing, having meaningful conversation with my kids, knowing that I have a God who is the perfect parent - who is never late, scatter brained, or forgetful and who will help me simply do my best for my kids... because my kids are pretty forgiving even if I'm late, sweaty, and forgot the snacks.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Laugh It Off.

Boy, parenting is not easy. Ever. But, if nothing else, it's comical. Most of the time. In a lot of parenting situations I've found myself in I really could cry, but eventually (emphasis on the eventually) I just laugh instead. Take yesterday, for instance, when we learned that our 6 year old son told his whole class (plus his teacher and the aide in the room) that Jeff and I are "splitting up" because we "fight all the time" and that Carter (and everyone but Jeff) is moving in with Grandpa and Grandma. I know, right - wow.

Lucky for us (for some reason that just doesn't seem like the right wording for this story) they now go to the small school we went to as children (so most of the faculty and staff know Jeff and me) and his teacher went immediately to the school secretary to confirm or exterminate the "news." The secretary had no idea (but doubted it was true). Still, they prayed all morning - just in case. We do have actual family members who work at the school who could exterminate the rumors -but not before word had already spread across the campus.

What a headache. Oh, well. I'm finding out (especially as a parent) that life is one big learning curve. I'll probably perfect parenting right when my last child moves out, and all I will be able to do then (with my parenting expertise) is aid my kids with fantastic advice when they start having their own kids - whether they ask for it or not. After all, it's stories like this one today that the kids inflicted on me that eventually will make me a better parent and it gives me the right to hand out my opinion to them as often as I feel like it, so - children of mine - whether you take it or leave it, the parenting advice will be doled out. You can count on it.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Well, would you look at that? The cup is half FULL!

Whew - what a week! First day of school for the kids, first day of "freedom" (with Jack attached to my hip) for Mommy, and then, two days later, first day of staying home from school sick.

We are all under the weather, so today we are "resting." I guess resting is a relative term when you've got three kids and a huge puppy in the house. No one slept last night and we are all on the grouchy side - but I'm determined to make the most of it. We're going to watch Sesame Street and have hot oatmeal for breakfast. We'll take naps and eat homemade chicken noodle soup and snuggle on the couch with warm fuzzy blankets. Doesn't this sound wonderful? Do you actually think it will happen euphorically? I know, right? I just laughed, too.

So maybe it won't be the perfect day. Maybe we'll all suffer from sleep deprivation and be on each other's nerves. Maybe we'll have a hard time getting anything productive done today - but I'm fine with it. You want to know why? Do you want to know the real reason I'm not in self-pity mode? It's because I had a dream last night (nightmare) that all of my kids had head lice. I woke up sweating! So, today will be a great day, colds and all included, because if nothing else - at least we don't have head lice.

Don't you feel just a little bit itchy now?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Unofficially Fall

Today was also our last "official" get together for the summer in the backyard. After everyone left we took down the tent over the makeshift picnic table, we put the bikes in the garage (school starts tomorrow plus it's supposed to rain), and picked up all of the "outdoor toys" and our backyard is now a sad, sad sight. I folded (squashed) the camp chairs and got out the stored bags they go in for the winter. Let me tell ya, putting those bad-boys into those bags is like trying to put a baby back in right after it was born. I almost had to give my chair's bag an episiotomy it was so difficult. Good thing it's a job that only gets done once a year - yeesh!

So, the kids go back to school tomorrow, which means I consider tomorrow the first unofficial day of fall. Fall is my f.a.v.o.r.i.t.e. FAVORITE! Yes, I'm that slayed by it. Really, really. I told Jeff that I could almost see the leaves turning colors and he instantly burst my bubble by telling me to take off my sunglasses and it would be summer again. Such a downer.

Either way, tomorrow - in my mind anyway - is fall. FINALLY!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Football Season! (I think I'm coming down with something...)

It could be an illness. In fact, I'm pretty sure it is. Today is the first day of college football season and I honestly could just sit on the couch all day and watch game after game. Jeff didn't go hunting this weekend (maybe he's the one who is sick) and I'm hoping that he doesn't expect me to do anything productive today - because I'm so not into it. Oregon plays at noon and Oregon State (who's better) plays at 4:45 (ESPN, baby!) so that takes up pretty much my whole afternoon.

Here is a list of things that won't get done today because of my love for college football:

- Laundry (although, that's pretty much most days...)

- Jack going to the bathroom in the "big boy potty." Getting him to do it is like pulling teeth already, and I don't feel like wasting football time getting frustrated trying to get him to do something that I have no doubt he will do on his own... eventually. (And by "eventually" I mean - "hopefully before kindergarten.") Maybe during half time or a pre-game show I'll have him try, but it's doubtful. In fact I stocked up on Huggies just yesterday so that him being in pull-ups wouldn't make me feel guilty. Yes, I'm that kind of crazy.

- Dishes. Doing dishes is a waste of time during football season. I might just break out the paper-ware. In fact, consider it done.

- Showering. If I don't shower before noon (as it goes most days) I will forgo the shower altogether. The family will suffer, the dog will suffer, but hey - it's a sacrifice I'm willing for them to make on game day.

- Cooking. Today, it's pizza, cold cereal, maybe - maybe - quesadillas, or if I'm feeling super sorry for my children I might pull out a frozen lasagna, but again - doubtful. Good thing they like goldfish crackers and granola bars... and even better that they can reach that shelf in the pantry by themselves.

- Lawn care. I think this can go unsaid, because it's pretty obvious, but yeah, I will not be mowing the lawn, watering flowers or cleaning up outside at all today.

Yes, we have a bunch of company coming over on Monday and yes, tomorrow's schedule is packed and we really have no other time than today to get all of this done - but seriously - if our company can't understand that my love of football comes before their comfort in our home then maybe they just don't know us that well. Maybe, they don't need to be coming over at all. Maybe, just maybe, we don't really need to be friends anymore...

(To my whole family who really is coming over on Monday: Just kidding! Well, mostly kidding.... please still come over.)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

It's September - School's Starting!

Six days. I have a lot to do in order to prepare for the first day of school, but I just don't feel like starting. The biggest thing is to have the kids practice getting up at the time they will for school - and waking kids up when they would be perfectly content to sleep another hour and a half (at least) is just plain wrong.

This year, since they will be going to a different school, I will be driving about 2 miles down the road to meet the bus (last year the bus picked them up outside of our house - blissful!) so I have to have all of us at least bundled up with shoes on to meet the bus. Most days I'm hoping Jeff can drop them off on his way to work - but that sort of thinking might just be a coping mechanism to get through right now.

After going school supply shopping I realized that an hour of my life just disappeared and I'll never get it back - what a headache! Mostly because I didn't know there was a difference between a composition notebook and a spiral notebook. I also didn't know what protractors were... or where to find them because they weren't anywhere even close to the "elementary school supplies" isle. I majored in Sociology - yes, that's the best defense I have for not knowing what a protractor was and come on - they're going into the first and second grade, not high school! After I got all of the supplies I called my sister (in law - but saying that makes her sound less like my sister and we're about as "sisterly" as you can get) who laughed at me (like I said - we're sisters) and then said they probably will use the protractor - that took me 35 minutes to find - for maybe one "small section" of the whole year. Nice.

I'm not ready for school to start and I'm realizing that it really has nothing to do with what's left on my "get ready" list and everything to do with not wanting my kids away from me all day. They are so great - really - and I'm going to miss them! I'm so thankful that they will be going to a four-day schedule and I will get 3 full days with them every week - plus, well, they're just super stoked to go back to school so that makes it easier to let them. I just love those little monsters so much and I really don't know what Jack's going to do without them (seriously - what are we going to do!?!) but it will all work out. Somehow (thank you, Lord!) it always does.