Tuesday, September 2, 2014

First Day of School

I think this says it all.

Friday, August 29, 2014

On Orientation

Today was kindergarten orientation for the Little Lady.

And all of a sudden I have two kids in elementary school.

I think it is safe to say that I operate on a daily basis with a fair share of anxiety. I think it is also fair to say that all the unlike two years ago when I took the same bus route to the same school with the Lady, that some of the anxiety was lessened today.

Yes, the Little Lady is my second, is a different personality than her big sister, and this isn't her first time in "school" or away from home. She started in a 2s program, made her way through pre-school, summer camp, drop off playdates and parties. She warms up a bit sooner to new experiences and people, but she has also been exposed to more situations than her sister ever was at her age.

I know that the amount of concern/anxiety/typical mom craziness I feel about sending my kids out the door is the same as it was for her sister. I am still anxious for her, for those mornings on the bus trying to find a seat, for a classroom full of faces and names she doesn't yet know, for all those hours where she will be part of something much bigger than she ever has. Will they know that even though she is quick to anger that it is fleeting? Will they know that behind a sometimes stubborn stance is a very sweet, incredibly funny, little girl who brings me such joy?

Her teacher seems super nice. She is experienced, she has a guitar, there are yoga poses hanging on a poster on the wall, she screams kindergarten, but will she cherish my little girl? I still have all those questions and we will see how this year plays out, but the thing that is different this time around is me.

I am no longer new mom. I am seasoned mom. I am (dare I say it?) confident mom. When the Lady started school, it was like I started too, I had to find some mom friends, I had to figure out how the school and the bus and the schedules worked. I fretted over packing the right snacks and how many things I should volunteer for. I wanted to do everything I could to make her transition smoother, but at the same time I was having a hard time orienting myself.

It was all so unknown.

And now its not. And that makes a huge difference.

Today, I gave a mom sitting next to me my phone number when she asked if she could call me with any questions. I have no idea what her name is, but her daughter sits at the Little Lady's table. Will she call? Probably not, but I am sure it makes her feel better knowing that there is someone she can if she needs too. I am happy to make things easier, to ease another mom's anxiety, to describe what my experience has been so that they don't have to start off feeling so untethered.

"It is hard giving up your children," the Little Lady's teacher said this morning. Indeed it is.

I will still cry in the car as I follow the bus to school on the first day because it is a new beginning and my babies! My babies! But I know I can handle it. I know they are in an environment where they can thrive, and I know that I have given them what they need in order to do so.

I like being this kind of mom.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The One With QT at the Movies

I left a grey and raining beach mid-day on Sunday only to drive into 90 degrees and sunny as we made our way home.

We had made plans to see How to Train your Dragon 2 with my sister and her kids but the only showing was at 1:30 and there was no way that I was making it out of the beach house and back home by then, but there was a 5:00 showing of the new Planes Fire and Rescue movie in 3D and it seemed like it was something we could get to if people just learned how to drive on 95 and if QT didn't have to stop to go to the bathroom.

Well QT did have to go to the bathroom but by the time I pulled off the exit he had stopped screaming about it. I went to get him out of the car and he asked me why we were stopped. I said so that he could go to the bathroom, he said he already had. Great. Luckily, we were only 20 minutes from home.

After stripping the car seat and taking a quick shower we headed out to the movies. $88 later (and this didn't include paying for QT because he is 3 and under) we headed in.

I just want to say that I didn't really enjoy the first Planes movie and was trying to figure out if it would be possible for me to take a nap during this film, because I had zero interest in actually watching it. No worries though, I think I saw a full five minutes total.

After sitting down, putting on 3D glasses and eating way too much sugar, QT got out of his seat. He climbed over the row of seats in front of us and walked towards the aisle still wearing his glasses. He then made his way back to his empty seat after some not so hushed directions from his mother.

Then he had to pee.

I ushered him out of the theater and towards the bathroom. It was set up where you are supposed to enter on one side and exit on the other. I went towards the entrance, he went towards the exit. When I went back to get him, I realized he had run out of the bathroom. I found him sneaking into Theater 10 with what I can only describe as a devilish grin on his face.

I finally drag him back to the bathroom. Now, he is still not tall enough to pee standing up in a woman's bathroom. I think when he is tall enough, he probably won't have to be in the woman's bathroom with me but until then he has to sit. What he didn't have to do was use his 3D glasses to direct the flow. (Insert your own penis joke here.)

We wash hands, head back to the theater and sit down. This lasted for about three seconds before he was once again climbing over the seats and hanging out in the aisle. That was it for me. I left my sister with the Ladies and headed out with QT in my arms, 3D glasses on my head.

As we leave the theater I tell him he has to recycle the glasses. He feigns putting them into the bin two or three times, each time looking over at me like he is getting away with something, before he finally drops them into the cardboard box and then immediately drops to the floor crying "My glasses, my glasses." And I though the Little Lady was high drama.

We spent the next 10 minutes looking at the life size cardboard cut outs of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles before I realized that we would not be able to wait out the ending of the movie by naming each Ninja Turtle over and over. So I did what any other mother would do and we headed towards the huge escalator. What I probably should have done was insisted that he hold my hand. It clearly says to do so, but QT wanted to do it himself, so that is when I found myself riding backwards down the escalator while my 3-year-old waited at the top. He then decided that instead of taking the escalator he would take the 45 stairs down to meet me all by himself. Ugh.

I did finally get him to hold my hand and we rode the escalator for a time or two before that wore out its usefulness. Now what? I had no idea how much more time we had to kill before Dusty Crophopper finally finished what I can only imagine was rescuing someone during a fire. We took one last ride to the top and exited the theater at the top of the parking garage.

I briefly considered taking him into the shoe store. He needs new sneakers, but then I had a vision of him just running and hiding behind all those stacks of shoes and me just losing my mind. Then I remembered the pet store. Now, you know things must have been dire for me to want to enter a pet store. Granted, there was the possibility that we would see a puppy or two wandering the aisles, but really what types of pets do they have there? None I want in my house.

We got into the elevator that reeked so horribly of piss that I had to cover my mouth with my shirt to breathe, while simultaneously trying to get QT to not touch one thing in there. "Why?" he kept asking. "For the love of God kid--can't you smell the rank, malodorous stank emanating from this metal box of germs?"

Finally the doors opened and we walked towards the pet store.

The pet store has its own type of gross smell. That kind of cage liner/pellet food combination that is immediately nauseating and turns one into a mouth breather.

But QT loved the fish and we watched them for a few minutes before heading over towards the ferrets, the birds (the birds!), the hamsters, gerbils, mice and rats, before making our way over towards the reptiles. I am always on edge in these stores, I can't believe that all the animals are caged. I am just waiting for some sort of lizard to crawl up my back or something. Breath Bean, breath (but only through your mouth), but I am conscious of the fact that my kids might actually not care and that they might be interested in the things they are seeing. I rattled off the names of the geckos and the lizards, we talked about what types of food the reptiles ate. We were happy to run into a dog in the aisle, an actual real pet, we contemplated the best type of cat house/scratching post and when the text came from my sister that Dusty was finally done we headed back up that urine-soaked elevator and met up with everyone else.

Three things I learned from this outing.

1. QT might be in that sweet spot of an age where you should never, ever take him to a theater. Perhaps when he is 4 he will have a better attention span.

2. Instead of trying to find a rest stop on the way home, just stop at the closest elevator. Clearly, the two are interchangable.

3. Sometimes it just isn't in the cards to see a subpar Disney film, sometimes you just have to talk about Geckos and pretend that 5 ferrets sleeping on top of each other is cute, but whatever it is that you are doing try to engage and interact with that incredibly active kid of yours but for the love of all things good and holy do not let him touch anything in that elevator.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Part III: Sunday

The soft bray of the foghorn woke me. I sat up and pulled the shades down hoping that it would allow everyone to sleep a little bit longer. I had no idea what time it was, my cellphone was charging in the outlet across the room, but it felt early.

I got my bearings, QT at the foot of the double bed he and I were sleeping in, his head facing the end of the bed, his feet at my hip; the Little Lady almost completely covered in her green blanket on the single Aero bed on the floor; the Lady, her back to me, on the single bed against the wall. I pulled the top sheet over me, rolled over, tried to ignore the chatter of the early birds, the bark of dogs and fell back to sleep.

When I woke later, after sending all three kids downstairs and trying to ignore what sounded like them dumping every single thing out of every single bucket, container and bin in the sun room onto the floor, I slid on my new bathing suit and beach dress (thank you Old Navy) and headed downstairs.

There is nothing like the first day at the beach, packing the sandwiches and snacks, spraying the suntan lotion and grabbing the toys. There is nothing like having your kids throw on some bathing suits (Oh, you aren't going to wear a cover up at all and I won't notice until we actually get to the beach? No worries.) and head out full of excitement. There is nothing like setting your flip-flopped feet into the warm sand and not hearing anyone complain. There is nothing like watching the Ladies in the water, QT building in the sand.

It was Sunday. It was gorgeous. It was good.

Part II: Saturday


8:30 a.m.: The phone rings. It is my husband. The van is ready to be picked up. QT is still sleeping and one of the Ladies has at some point crept into my bedroom and taken one of the iPads.

8:45 a.m.: Pancakes for everyone. I prep the kids that we are going to have to leave soon to go get the van. I tell them I am not sure exactly how we are going to get there. The Lady suggests the Trolley. (Our city has a free Trolley that loops around and connects the area where we saw Frozen on Friday night with the downtown, near where the van is.) I have been talking about taking this Trolley for weeks. We have a plan.

9:10 a.m.: I Google the Trolley. I find out the closest stop to our house and see that they have a mobile app where you can follow the Trolley in real time. I throw on some yoga pants, promise donuts and start barking out commands to the kids, "get dressed, brush your hair, put on shoes we will be walking. . ." The Lady insists on wearing a nightgown with shorts. The Little Lady puts on a peasant skirt with a pair of leggings underneath, a t-shirt and a headband that she keeps at the very front of her head. They both wear flip-flops, nobody brushes their hair, however they do brush teeth.

9:21 a.m.: I check the app, the Trolley will be at the stop in 23 minutes. We can totally make it.

9:25 a.m.: We are in the garage, I grab the umbrella stroller because QT has a tendency to run. The Little Lady insists on riding her scooter. She grabs her helmet and we are off. We make it about a half a block before the Little Lady gives up on the scooter. I am visibly annoyed. I throw the Barbie scooter over the handles of the stroller and loop the helmet around them too. The Little Lady tries to keep up but is insisting that we are leaving her too far behind, the Lady and her long legs are about 10 feet in front of me.

We finally round the corner towards the Dunkies. I have already explained to them that we will be stopping on the way back because we have to catch the Trolley, although I am in serious need of some caffeine.

QT jumps out of the stroller, throws a mini basketball that he was carrying into the road. I stop everyone at the corner, get the ball and check the time. It is 9:50, we are not making it. Dunkies is in sight and I tell the kids that we will go there first. QT starts to squirm, he starts itching his whole body. He is covered in ants.

I am now standing on a street corner with three kids, a stroller covered in ants because it had been lying on the floor in the garage and there was some leftover granola bar in the seat from the kids' trip to the zoo earlier in the week. QT rode for a full 10-15 minutes sitting in that ant-infested stroller. I start picking ants off his feet, the back of his neck. I give him a full body check. I am grossed out. It is hot, I need coffee. We limp into the Dunkies parking lot. I pull the stroller up along side of the building and send the Ladies in for napkins.

(The problem with being a regular at places is that you just can't anonymously wipe scores of ants off a stroller on the side of a building in private. No, the owner of the establishment has to come over and offer to watch the stroller for you so that you can go inside, and you have to tell him that "something spilled" on it and you are just going to leave it outside, but thanks so much!)

10:05 a.m.: Stroller de-antified. Everyone is sitting down enjoying a donut and I have some coffee.

10:15 a.m.: I check the mobile app. We have 13 minutes to cross four streets. We head out.

We cross one street, we cross the next. We cross the third street. The Trolley stop is on the next block. All we have to do is cross over and make a left. We arrive at the corner. The Trolley arrives at the light directly across from us. I make some gesticulations with my hands trying to get the conductors attention. Did I mention this is the longest light in Stamford? We wait for the walk sign in the crossroad. The Trolley turns, we book it across the street. I yell for the Ladies to run ahead, the Trolley stops, the Lady is running in her flip flops and nightgown, her long unbrushed hair flapping in the wind. The Little Lady is close behind her, her ankle-length skirt billowing in the breeze. I am following behind with QT in the (hopefully) ant-free stroller, the Barbie scooter on top with the Dora the Explorer helmet banging against my fingers, the Trolley doors open then close and he drives away without us. I make a half-assed attempt at following him on foot. We will never catch up.

We take refuge on a bench at a bus stop.

10:28 a.m.: I call my mom.

10:31 a.m.: QT has to go to the bathroom. Luckily the mall is not far, in fact we are pretty much at the exact spot one of my early blog posts took place and I know the Barnes and Noble bathroom pretty well at this point. We soldier on. Both Ladies are complaining about their feet hurting from the flip flops. We make it to B&N. On a positive, there is one of the benches from the Art Around Town exhibit right outside of the mall. It is painted with birds though, so obviously it isn't my favorite. We sit on that for a few minutes because the Trolley isn't coming back for another 15 minutes and then make our way to the Trolley stop.

11:00 a.m.: The Trolley arrives. The doors open, we stumble in. It it cool and clean and wonderful. Everyone takes their own seat.

We start off in the opposite direction of where the car is. After about 13 minutes aboard the Trolley, we finally get to our stop downtown. We unload. QT insists on riding the scooter, the Little Lady would like to be in the stroller, the Lady runs into one of her classmates on the street. We only have to cross two more streets. I can see the awning of VW up ahead. I convince QT to give up on the scooter.

11:22 a.m.: I park the stroller outside the entrance, I send the kids in through the front door and point them to the waiting area. They each take a seat in a large, black leather chair. I give some guy my name, he tells me everything is ready and he will bring the van around. At that point, I like to imagine what it looked like from the inside of VW as the four of us arrived, as we crossed over the parking lot and into that front door, a little sweaty, an empty stroller with a scooter on top, three kids dragging their flip-flopped feet. I wonder did they have any idea of what it took for us to get there?

I will say they had some pretty good customer service though. The kids all got some water and another guy came by with a candy bowl. Of course they can have double bubble gum and gummy worms, it just took us two hours to get here. The guy who went to get the van came back and said that there was a car blocking it and it would just be another minute. Take your time guy, wherever we are going next, we are driving there and it can't possibly take as long as this excursion did.

Then, there she was in all her glory, Minnie-Ru.

11:37 a.m.: The kids scrambled in the van, I threw the scooter and the stroller in the trunk, took the last sip from the dregs of my coffee, blasted the ac, got in and drove home.

In retrospect, I realize that I probably could have just put QT and the Little Lady in the double stroller and power-walked the 1.2 miles to the dealership with the Lady in sneakers, perhaps switching out with her sister or brother for a spell, but the double stroller was in the top of the garage and on Saturday, it just wasn't our journey to take.

Part I: Friday

Did you know dusk in the summer is 8:45 p.m.?

Me either. That is why I was at the park with my three kids, two pizzas, four blankets, sweatshirts, and a cooler at 7 p.m.

Summer is wonderful. Frozen gets shown on blowup screens in parks and you meet your friends and your neighbors and it is great. Except that QT likes to wrestle his sister on the grass and everyone has to go to the bathroom at a different time, and there is only one bathroom for a park full of kids and the line is long and there is a possibility that your 3-year-old pees on you while you are holding him, and there is a possibility that one or more of your children pull a Britney Spears and walk into a bathroom with no shoes on.

There is ice cream at 10:00 and trying to pack up by the flashlight app on your phone. There are three very tired kids crammed into the green car because the van is in the shop and you aren't quite sure how you are going to be able to pick it up the next day because of said three kids and your husband is away, but for now you are grateful that you decided to meet up with friends and neighbors because without them, there would have been no way that you would have been able to navigate the bathroom situation, chasing QT around in the dark, the ice cream, the park, the pizza.

And once again, you got to hear the majority of the movie, without actually seeing it, and it was pretty amazing when all the songs came on and everyone was singing, little kids, big kids, dads. And this is what summer should be about, big outdoor movies, late night ice cream and pizza. And sure, you will pay for it the next morning, but for now, between the bathroom breaks, under the summer sky, the music playing, the crowd singing, QT still for a moment in your lap, you are grateful for the experience and for the fact that you have friends in the crowd willing to keep an eye on every combination of kid you leave behind and you think this is good. This is good.

Monday, June 16, 2014

QT turns 3!

Happy, Happy Day to my QT!

He is getting a little bit naughty, becoming very much a big boy and is still my biggest snuggler.

Love you. Love you. Love you QT.