Friday, December 30, 2005

Coffee, Coffee, Buzz, Buzz

Sleepy. Very sleepy.

Oldest daughter up at 3am. Cramps, can't sleep. 2 Advils, 1 hot water bottle, the remote and the couch.

Baby Girl heard the commotion in the hall. She's up. 3 hours of twirling my hair (it's what she does when she's sleepy) and calling the cat to sleep with us. Finally put her back in her own bed at 6-ish.

Cat can't settle. On the bed, on the floor, on the bed, on my head, out the door.

Babe is back up at 7:30am. Her Dad puts her back in bed with me. "Where the 'mote? Where the 'mote? Caillou!"

8:30am- Middle baby girl brings me a present and hand made card. "Open it!" It's one of my christmas hand towels wrapped in a fleece blanket. "Isn't it soft and pretty?!"

Half a pot of coffee later. My fingers are twitching, but I'm coming around. I love you, Juan Valdez.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The Christmas Review

With Christmas over and all the toys out of the boxes, I thought I'd give my quick review of the kids favorite pressies this year and the ones that didn't quite live up to their expectations.

Older kid first:

The IPod Shuffle - Jazz is really enjoying this pressie from us. She has put all her new CD's on it and is loving the slip covers that change the color. A bonus feature is that she is learning to multi-task! She IPods and watches TV, empties the dishwasher, gives the her sisters a bath (Dad put the kabosh on this activity), and even IPods while she's sleeping! My only fear is that she'll need perpetual noise in her ear to be productive at anything.

The Gift Card - Probably your best bet when shopping for a tweenager. She got cards to clothing stores, music stores, Wal-Mart, even one to get her hair done! Sweet!

Middle Kiddo:

Stuffed Things of Various Creed - Lila is very hot on sleeping with stuffed animals and dolls. It's a big decision each night about who makes the cut, and who ends up in the closet. Her new favs from Christmas are a huge horse she named Stella, a small pink poodle named Rose, and a Strawberry Shortcake Pillow Buddy that even smells like strawberry! I can tell you from experience that artificial strawberry scented dolls thrown in my face first thing in the morning are enough to make me puke. But she doesn't sleep with me, so she can stay. Lila did have one gift that didn't live up to her expectations. The Barbie and Me doll. This is the toy she asked Santa to bring her. It looked soft enough to sleep with and has pretty clothes. Santa came through and even brought one for her baby sister so there wouldn't be any fighting. But after removing the doll from the box, it was discovered that her fingers were sewn together and she was a little "weird" looking. Baby sister could not care less about hers, either. Barbie did make the cut and is sleeping on the bed, but I fear a life in the closet is in her near future.

Little One -

Babe received lots of pressies that she adores. Baby dolls, Teletubbies, noisy Wiggles stuff, and a couple of Elmos. However, my favorite is something that I bought for her. In the end, it means less scrubbing for me which is always a good thing. The winner is the Aquadoodle Coloring mat. A water filled pen that only works on the special mat. As you may know from previous posts, Violet is quite an artist around the house. This thing draws with water! Can it get any better? I submit that it cannot! I'll leave you with a picture of my budding Picasso. I hope everyone had a nice holiday and you have my best wishes for a great New Year!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

So that's where all the Cruditè went!

Another priceless conversation with our eleven year old.

J: The weird boys sit on one side of the cafeteria, the cool boys sit on the other.

Me: Whose weird?

J: Well, there's this kid named Nick. He's from Italy.

Me: Oooh, can he speak Italian?

J: Yeah, and english.

Me: That's so cool. You know, maybe he seems weird because he's from Italy. Things are different there. Maybe he's not used to our customs.

J: He stuffs carrots up his nose.

Me: Yeah, ok, that's weird.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Fun at dinner time

Tonight at the Long Horn Steak House. Jasmine and Lila head for the bathroom. They came back to the table two minutes later.

Me: What's up Jazz?

J: Nothing, I just have to think for a second.

Me: About what? What's the matter?

J: Bull or Lamb?

Me: Huh?

Hubby: You're a lamb.

J: Ok. I thought so but I wasn't sure.

Me: Lamb? What? Oh, the bathroom door. Right.

Wanted: One Collection Agent, must be relentless.

I was recently laid off from my part time job, so I am home full time with the kids now. I miss the money, but this was pretty much the plan all along anyway. So since I've been home, I've taken on some babysitting gigs. The first couple were freebies to help out some friends when they got stuck. The last few are paying gigs. Well, they are supposed to be paying gigs.

A neighbor asked me to watch her daughter a few days a week. She just got a night shift position and didn't want to leave her 13 yr old home unattended. The deal was I would pick her up from the afterschool program, feed her snacks, dinner, and dessert. Check to see if she needs homework help, and pretty much just make sure she's somewhere safe for those few hours before bedtime. We would then walk her home at 8:30pm. If her mom works on the weekends she sometimes sleeps over. So this has been going on for a couple of weeks now and her mom has yet to pay me. I keep hearing "I will pay you tomorrow" or "Thursday for sure!" I haven't seen one thin dime yet. It's absolutely degrading to have to beg for the money. I hate asking for it, but I finally called to find out when I would see some cash. The mother wasn't home, but her daughter told me that they needed to get through the holidays before they were going to pay me. I told her that didn't work for me and I couldn't sit for her anymore until I got paid.

That was Sunday. I haven't heard from them yet.

Errr ...It's not fair to make me the bad guy in this. I appreciate that it's hard to be a single mom, but we're a family of five here. We have bills too. She already owes me $75, if she charges any more she'll have an even harder time paying me.

I guess I'll just have to wait and see what happens. I'm not going to chase her down for the money, but I'm sticking to my guns and not babysitting her kid until I get paid. That means her 13 year old, who has a boyfriend, will be home alone.

You gotta love guilt.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Abu ghraib's got nothing on these kids.

Good ole George Dubya isn't the only one dealing with the issue of torture lately. We've had our fair share around these parts as well. You see folks, my oldest is a middle schooler. There's nothing nastier than a middle school girl. I'm not trying to betray my gender, but quite simply, it's true. These girls will rip out your guts, feed it to crows, and laugh the whole time. Ok, I might be a little harsh since it's my daughter on the receiving end. Let me try to explain.

My daughter has been friends with "Sally", the girl down the road, since the beginning of elementary school. Everything has been great until this year when they entered Middle School and met Bitchy Betty. Bitchy Betty has been encouraging "Sally" to torture my daughter. They call her up and invite her places then say "Forget it, you can't come!" and hang up. They stood in the middle of a group of people at school and said she was "annoying and can't believe she has friends" They asked her to sing for them and then told her she was terrible. The most recent event was friday night at the dance when she said hi to them. They called her a leach and told her to go away.

Can I tell you what I'd like to do to these dumb little shits? Let your imagination roam, you'll find it. You might wonder why my girl keeps going back for more. God knows if it was me, I'd get as far away as possible. Unfortunately, that's just her style. She wants to be friends with everyone. She gives people way more chances than they deserve. And this is also the way it is in Middle School. Fight, make up, fight, make up. I don't miss it at all.

The kicker is that "Sally's" mom is big in the community. She is on several commitees for women's issues, handicap rights, she's a bigwig at the local college, and holds a position in our city government. Yet both her kids are big bullies. Especially the older one.

It's a tough position because I don't want my daughter to be bullied, but she has got to learn to stick up for herself. Errrrr....She just called to say she's staying after school with Bitchy Betty and Sally (and others) to watch the boys basketball practice. There are so many things wrong with that sentence, that I just don't know where to begin.

Home school looks pretty good on days like this.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The Ramblings of Four Year Olds

Overheard at this morning's play date-

Lila and friend using a paint brush to apply brown eye shadow to a Barbie head.

Lila: "That seems like a lot of make up."

Friend: "It's ok Lila, she a model. That's how they do it."

Lila: "But it's all in her eye."

Friend: "She's a model, Lila. A model."

Lila: "Ok."

From Lila's room-

Friend: " Hold still Violet. This won't hurt at all."

Lila: "Yeah, Violet. It's not gonna hurt."

Violet: "Ahhhhhhhhhh! NO NO NO leggo!"

From Upstairs-

Friend: "Can we go in your sister's room?"

Lila: "Well, I'm not supposed to play in there. We could go in and look at stuff."

Momma: "Lila, what are you doing?"

Lila: "Nothing! See, I told you we can't go in there."

Thursday, December 01, 2005

All I Want for Christmas is a Happy Kid!

The Christmas season has arrived in our house. You can tell by the cries of "I want that!" eminating through every room. Even baby girl has gotten in on the action by shouting "I that!" when she sees a toy advertised on TV. In the spirit of the holiday, Lila's preschool teacher sent home an article for us parents to read. The topic? The most appropriate toys for us to buy our kids this year. I'll spare you the nitty gritty and give you the gist - Don't buy any toy advertised on TV or any toy associated with a TV program. It promotes more TV watching and that's bad for little minds. And you can forget about those kid friendly video and computer games. Too many of them star cartoon characters and that takes us right back to TV show tie ins.

It seems to me that this article is setting parents up for failure. I can see where this plan would work for kids who don't watch any tv. For the other 97% of kids in America, Christmas morning might be a little disapointing. Especially considering just about any toy you find in a store this time of year was advertised on TV at some point. As parents, we all want to do what's best for our children. So do we follow what the experts think is best and buy commercial free toys, or make our kids happy and get that Dancing Dora doll?

Why does everything have to be so complicated? Can't we do both? Why can't I get my daughter glue and glitter, as well as the Dora doll? Isn't moderation the key in any indulgence? I appreciate the teachers efforts to help us traverse this parenting thing, but what she really accomplished was adding more angst about the effort we're putting forth. Parenting is tough.

I guess I'll just have to do the best I can out there. Carefully balancing my children's developing minds and their desire for cool stuff to play with. If I find that toy at Wal-Mart, I'll let you know.