Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Tooth Fairy Lives....I Swear!

Last night the Tooth Fairy visited our house. 

I've had several ups and downs with the Tooth Fairy.  And that's only with one of my three kids!  The other two haven't even started to lose their teeth yet.

The first time my son lost his tooth, he was SO excited about the Tooth Fairy coming for the first time.  He was the last person in his class to lose a tooth, and he had been quite despondent about it, and became firmly convinced that his baby teeth were going to stay in FOREVER.

Anyway, the big day arrived!

It was the first time I had to perform 'Tooth Fairy' duty, and I was ready.  I had some money all prepared.  I was happy; I love to do these things.  It would be so much fun! 

My son has a double bed with two pillows on it, side by side.  That night his brother Ryan was going to try to sleep in the same bed.  We will occasionally let them do this if it's not a school night.  It never works out, though, and one eventually has to go back to his own bed.  That's what happened; Colin ended up sleeping alone.

I had to wait up late to ensure my son would be fast asleep, and then I tiptoed in and put the money under the other pillow, not wanting to wake him.

Well, in the morning I expected my son to be ecstatic that the Tooth Fairy had visited and left money, and I was excited to see his reaction.

He was in tears.

"The Tooth Fairy left the money for my brother instead of me!"  he wailed.  "And he didn't even lose his tooth!"

The sheer injustice of it all was mind-boggling. 

I was nonplussed.  I began sputtering, "'s YOUR bed!  In your room!"

He shook his head sadly.  "But it was under the pillow RYAN was sleeping on."

"Yes," I agreed wearily, "for about FIVE SECONDS!  And it's still your bed and your pillow!"

What a fun, happy memory this was turning out to be.

The next time I was determined to do better.  I placed the money directly under the pillow my son was actually sleeping on.  (Who knew?)

Anyway, the next morning, again hoping for all smiles and joy, my son once more greeted me with despair.

"The Tooth Fairy didn't come!"  he announced sadly, and then, without any melodrama at all, threw himself headlong on the couch face-down.

(I think he had looked forward to this moment for so long that it couldn't possibly live up to the reality.  Isn't that the way it goes?)

Anyway, I went to go 'help' him look.  Smugly, I put my hand under the pillow.  Nothing.  I searched around under both pillows.  I couldn't find the money either.  I began tearing at the bedsheets with a crazed look on my face.

I couldn't exactly yell, "I KNOW the money is here because I PUT IT THERE MYSELF!"   Instead, tight-lipped, I just began throwing pillows and blankets off the bed in a desperate frenzy.

Finally after several tense moments I found the money; it had slipped off the mattress and wedged itself between the mattress and the bed frame.

I held it up triumphantly, panting slightly but hugely relieved: "Here it IS!"

My son looked at me with a puzzled expression.  "Why did the Tooth Fairy HIDE it in my bed frame?"

I needed my coffee, I really did.  I tried to put a cheerful tone in my voice.  "That Tooth Fairy, she's pretty tricky!"

Was it all worth it, really?

Next, our neighbours' daughter, whose family has lots of money, told my son that the Tooth Fairy gave her $20.00 a tooth.  Then my son was really depressed.  "Why does the Tooth Fairy give her more money than me?"  he demanded to know.

I opened and shut my mouth a few times but nothing emerged.  "Hmmmm......."  I stalled for time.  "I guess the Tooth Fairy knows you don't need that much money!"  I answered finally, exhausted.

My son frowned and looked as if he really wanted to argue with the Tooth Fairy's logic, so I quickly slipped away.

Back to last night.  Right before we were putting the kids to bed, I whispered to my husband, "I don't have any change, do you?"

"No!" he whispered back.  I only had a $5.00 bill; Jerry only had a $20.00.  And neither of those amounts was going to happen.  We have a cheap Tooth Fairy, and besides, I wasn't willing to set that kind of precedent.  I have three kids who each have 16 baby teeth.  You do the math!

Anyway, then we both forgot about the issue in the tumult of putting three kids to bed.  My husband went to play hockey.

At 2:00 a.m. I woke up, gasping.  "Oh no!  The Tooth Fairy!"

I ran downstairs.  My husband had fallen asleep on the couch.  I woke him up and hissed at him, "The TOOTH FAIRY!"  

He looked at me sleepily, grunted, "Oh, right,"  got up and stumbled upstairs to bed.  Thanks, honey!  (In the morning he'd have no recollection of our little chat.)  I was hoping he'd gotten some change when he was out for the night.  So much for that.

Anyway, after reviewing my options, I did what any good mother would do.  I stole money from my other son.

Then, in the morning, when my oldest son retrieved the Tooth Fairy's gift, he sighed.  "I only got a dollar!"

I just lay on the couch with my eyes closed.  "Someone get me an Advil and make it snappy!"  I yelled.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I've Become THAT Mom

I used to live beside a woman who had three kids. I only had one baby at the time.  I used to hear her yelling at the kids all the time at her doorway.  I really liked this woman; she was very nice.  But I was kind of  hoping I wouldn't be yelling that much at my kids.

Well.  Too late.  I have become THAT mom.  And I don't really see any chance of that stopping, either.  At least until the kids are older and more independent.  It's not that I WANT to yell at them; I don't.  I am constantly telling myself that I need to stop yelling so much.  But I have realized that in several situations it is necessary.  I want my children to behave.  And when you have three children running around, no one would be able to hear me if I didn't yell. 

Sometimes I do just count; you know the 1-2-3 Magic routine.  This does work for me and I use it all the time.  But when we're trying to get out the door on time, it doesn't work to time someone out.  We need to move quickly!  It's really about trying to make sure they're all ready simultaneously.  It's like timing a complicated Thanksgiving dinner, but food is much more co-operative than small human beings.

I read an article in which someone suggested to whisper to your kids instead of yelling because your kids would be intrigued by the novelty and would listen better than if you yelled.  Let me say this politely: ha.  That novelty would wear off in about one nanosecond.  If I used this strategy, I would have become a heap in the corner, sobbing, a long time ago. 

And it's the doorway thing too.  I yell the most at the front door, probably just like my old neighbour.  It's because that is where I have so much trouble - getting them all out the door, on time, dressed appropriately, with teeth brushed, with all the backpacks full of the right lunchboxes, agendas, and clothing.

It happens when my boys are wrestling instead of putting on their coats. It's where you'll hear me yelling, "I've told you four times to put on your boots, which is one time more than I had to ask you to brush your teeth!" while my child looks at me blankly and says, "Boots?  What boots?"

This is where you'll hear a child say, "I just remembered I left my mitten at Nora's house!"  when we have exactly two minutes to get to school so we won't be late.

And then the other child will say, "I forgot to eat my breakfast, and boy, am I hungry.  Oh...and I can't find my Epi-Pen." 

That is when I take a big gulp of coffee and count to ten very slowly while trying to remember to breathe.

I have taken to using military language: "Move 'em out!  Move 'em out!  Look sharp!  March, march, march!"  It doesn't help much.

Sometimes I get heartily sick of the sound of my own voice, honestly.  It would be so much easier to just be quiet, and let the kids rip each other to shreds, and make huge messes that you never make them pick up because you are far too tired of standing over them and making them do things.  It is very hard to be a good parent.

But worth it.....right?  Tell me the hard work will pay off!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

That's A Pretty Short Ponytail!

The group of kids were competing about who would have the shortest pony tail. 

It started off when my oldest son commented on how long his sister's pony tail was getting.  Then he pulled at his hair and declared that he would have the shortest pony tail in the world.

My other son, always happy to disagree with his brother, argued that in fact, his hair was shorter, so HE would have the shortest pony tail in the world.

My son's friend got in on the action by saying that he knew another guy who had shorter hair than everyone present, and that consequently this person would have, by far, the shortest ponytail in the world.

My five year old chimed in excitedly, certain that he had definitively won the argument, "Oh yeah?  Well, my Grandpa has ALL OF YOU beat!"

Grandpa's bald.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Elementary School for Parents?

You go to pick up your young child from school, and as you watch him approaching you with a smile on your face, suddenly you notice something different.  Is it that....oh, no, it can't be - your smile begins to fade - but yes, you see that your child has another backpack, and is happily clutching a bear.

I dread that darn bear.  You know the one.  He is YOUR homework.  You, the parent.  Not your child, who loves the bear and is ready to play with it for the next day or so.  When we had just gotten into our van, my son was already holding the bear up in the air, yelling:  "The adventure begins!!" 

For who, is the question?  I'll show you an adventure!  That !@#$%^ bear just adds to my already overwhelming workload.  My young son is supposed to do a journal entry.  But who is going to help him do his letters and spell correctly?  Not the bear!  And who is going to take the pictures for the journal and print them out, suddenly realizing that you're out of computer paper and must run to the store late at night in a snowstorm just to finish your son's homework?  That's right.  You.

I thought that bear was trouble enough.  But now one of my children is learning about pioneers.  He's going on a field trip, and not only do I have to dress him in period clothing (luckily I have some gray flannel trousers and suspenders hanging in my closet...or, no, sorry, that's not me, because I live in the 21rst century!) but I have to bake period food for him to take with him in his lunch pail with no Tupperware or anything.  Oh, yes, and I have to bake the cornmeal biscuits over a fire pit in the woods in a big black antique pot, in the middle of winter, also dressed in a gingham dress and an apron.  I can't wait!  But I'm not bitter or anything.  Do I sound bitter?

Anyway, it's my own fault.  Because I take up the challenge of the visiting bear and the pioneer day.  I do the journal entries and the pictures.  I baked the cornbread biscuits and packed milk in a glass jar.  And I dragged out 'pioneer-like' clothes.  I did it....and now I'm going to take a nap!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Nobody Told Me There'd Be Days Like This

There are some mornings when you get up, and your nightie is on inside-out and backwards, and you could care less.  In fact, you will snap at anyone who dares to mention it.  In addition, deep down inside, you kind of want someone to mention it just so you CAN snarl at them.

These are the mornings that usually occur when you've been up several times in the night, and you wake up in a bed with four people and a cat in it because two children snuck in during the night, and you can't turn over because it's crowded, and your legs are asleep because the cat is a dead weight on top of them, and already you're looking forward to the next night before you've even had your day, just in case you actually get some rest.

Then there are mornings when you actually had a good sleep, and you wake up in a bed that only has you and your husband in it, and you woke up on your own without two children telling you they absolutely cannot go downstairs or face the day unless you personally accompany them.  These mornings your nightie is on right side out, and you take the time to stretch and to put on a robe, and you say, "Good Morning!" pleasantly to everyone.

Aaahhhh.  Those are the days.  And if there's coffee, they're just about perfect.

A Bad Mommy Moment

When I went to pick up my daughter at her child care centre today, I was informed by a staff member that my daughter's tights had a hole in the toe.

"So I went to her bag to get an extra pair of socks," the staff person continued, "and the extra pair of socks had a big hole in the heel!"

She fixed me with a look and concluded: "I had to put a pair of daycare socks on her!"

I had a bad mommy moment.

The worst part was that almost this exact same thing had happened a week earlier, except that the staff person couldn't find any extra socks in Ella's bag, so she told me to put some in just in case.  I had done that.  I mean, they were rolled up - I didn't know the extra socks I had put in had a hole in them!

And I didn't mention that her dad had dressed her those mornings.  We have about a pile of six different kinds of tights on the couch to choose from.  I need to have lots on hand, because Ella will only wear dresses at this point in her life (I'm not complaining - you go, girl!).

Immediately upon getting home, I ran up to Ella's closet and picked out two very nice pairs of socks, and I unrolled them to check for holes, and then I threw out the tights with the very small hole in the toe.  Whew!

I did this in between checking on the 5 kids in the house (because two of them were having play dates), putting away lunchboxes and sorting school information from the day, and making dinner.

Then I noticed that my son's pants, which had appeared completely intact that morning, now had two huge holes in each knee.

"What did you do?"  I asked my son in exasperation.  "Go at them with the scissors during your nutrition break to show solidarity with your sister?"

I told my husband the whole story when he arrived home.  He laughed, and then, as he walked away, I noticed that he had two big holes in the heels of his socks, and a hole in the back of his pants.  Who dressed him this morning, anyway?

Guess I need to go shopping!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

When I Grow Up...I Want to Annoy My Mommy

My son in Senior Kindergarten had to wear the costume of his favourite Community Helper to his class.  He chose to be a police officer, so we bought the costume at the dollar store. 

I was thinking, "That's a good choice; someone who works for justice!"

Then I thought about it a little more.  Just in case, I decided to ask my son why he wanted to be a police officer.

He looked at me gleefully, answering, "Because I get to carry a GUN!"

I took a deep breath.

I looked at my son with a frown on my face.  "Wrong answer, Ryan!  Try again!"

He looked up at me, his confidence wavering slightly.  He murmured tentatively, "Ummm....because I get to shoot people?"

I sat down in despair.  "NO!  Not appropriate!  Listen to the words coming out of my mouth.!  You know, Community HELPer.  A person who HELPS, not who shoots everyone to Kingdom Come!"

My son repeated it after me, not looking very convinced.  I could just see him thinking, 'BORRRING'.  He wants to be the superhero type.

The next morning he ran up to me before class and said anxiously, "Mommy, can you write that thing I'm supposed to say down for me?"

I remember the time my other son was asked what he wanted to do when he grew up, and he said, "Live in a trailer park."

That's great, honey.  Aim high.  Aim high. 

He soon switched his choice to an archaeologist.  I won't say whew, but...whew!

We were having a conversation again the other night about what the kids would be when they grew up.

My son said to my daughter, "You can be a princess when you grow up, Ella!"

She looked at him in disbelief, her eyes rolling.  "I'm a princess ALREADY, Colin!"  She didn't say it, but you could easily hear the 'hello?' implicit in her statement.

My five year old son then said, "Yes, and Daddy is a prince right now."

I was about to interrupt and say, "Hold on, there,"  but Ryan continued.

"And you're the queen, Mommy."

Oh - well.  Okay then...