Wednesday, August 28, 2013

End of Summer and Start of School

We packed up and headed out to the beach on Friday night. I just wanted one more day to spend on the beach. It was a gorgeous beach day and also a magical one.

Behold. . .

QT stepped foot in the sand! Granted, it took him a while to ease into it, but after playing with trucks on his sand-covered towel, he ventured down to the water's edge with bare feet.

The Ladies got one last day to run and play and we ended the night with some ice cream and a full-on meltdown by the Lady, but really isn't that what the end of summer is about? Ice cream and sheer exhaustion.

End of summer fun

The Little Lady's new pose. Gone is the cheese face. It has been replaced with the ballerina pose.

The next morning we got up and out early and headed over to Mystic to meet up with some friends. It was another beautiful day and I was charmed by the New Englandness of it all, and I live in New England.
Drawbridge in Mystic
Everyone got a new book from the local bookstore and some more ice cream. We watched the bridge go up a few times then got back in the van and headed home to prepare for the Lady's first day of first grade. On the trip home she lost her second tooth, which is great because when I have to drag her back to the dentist next week they won't have to pull it. 

The Lady outside the bookstore

One good thing about the start of this school year was that it was a delayed start. There was no mad dash to get out the door. I made homemade pancakes. I tried to do something Pintrest-y and make the pancake into a shape of a 1. It looked more like a penis than a 1, so I scrapped that idea and had the Lady make her own sign to mark the day.

Best first day of school sign ever!

We were all up, dressed and ready to go. However, there was confusion about what time the bus would be coming and what time school really started. The letter from the elementary school said that they would start at 10:45. The letter from the city said that they would start at 11. We took a guess and headed out. The Lady was 30 yards ahead of me walking out of the driveway, QT and the nanny were behind her in his little red car and I was trying to catch up while at the same time encouraging the Little Lady to maybe hurry up as she tried to maneuver on her Barbie scooter.

The Lady before boarding the bus.

After the Lady got on the bus I obviously ran back to the house so I could jump in the van and meet her at school with a giant bag of school supplies, which included four boxes of Kleenex (each with a box top on it and four additional box tops on the outer plastic, which I debated taking for myself, but figured the teacher would put them toward the class total), two rolls of paper towels and an assortment of crayons, markers, pencils and glue sticks.

I rushed the Little Lady into the van and headed out. I knew that the bus was ahead of me, so I was worried that I might miss the Lady getting off the bus. I was super psyched when I pulled through an intersection and saw the bus sitting at a red light while I went through on the green. After it turned the bus ended up being two cars behind us.

As we approached the school, you could see that things were not in order. Buses were lined up at the top of the entrance and cars and buses were backed up onto the main road. I like to think I channeled my husband here as I made a quick move into the church next door, parked totally illegally and got out. The Lady's bus was stopped at the flashing yellow at the entrance to the school waiting to make the turn.

The Lady's school is down off the main road about 100 yards or so. There is one entrance/exit road with two lanes total. The Little Lady and I started walking. People were stopped all over the place, cars were beeping, buses were idling, it was like we were on our way to Max Yasgur's farm. The Little Lady didn't like that the grass was wet, so I lifted her, the giant bag of school supplies, my camera and my purse, and weaved our way down to the front entrance.

The Little Lady could have walked backwards and through molasses and we would have gotten there before the Lady's bus. To say that there was some first day confusion would be an understatement. This year kindergarten orientation was in the morning, so all the parents who had gone with their kindergartners were now trying to make there way out of the school. Chaos ensued.

Ten minutes after the Little Lady and I got to the front entrance, the Lady's and three other buses pulled up. Good thing I met her because at that point they were technically late and all the aides that usually help with directing the students in the morning had already made their way into classrooms.

Gone was that comfortable bubble of kindergarten. I didn't know where the Lady's classroom was and neither did she. But we grabbed hands, made our best guess as to the direction to go and ended up in front of her classroom. I was incredibly relieved that as soon as she walked in I heard another student call her name. I kissed her goodbye, grabbed the Little Lady, stopped and signed up for a few less volunteer spots than I did last year and hoped that the Lady would have a great first day in first grade.

Friday, August 23, 2013

A Day at the Dentist x3

We survived three kids at the dentist this morning. We had an 8:45 a.m. appointment and even though there were two pre-dentist breakdowns (one about bringing watercolors and another one about trying to erase permanent marker off a case of watercolors in order for me to put the Lady's name back on it in "fancier" handwriting) by both the Little Lady and the Lady, we made it there with time to spare.

We were the first people in the place and as pediatric dentist places go, this one was pretty pimped out with all types of trademark violations. We had Elmo dressed as a knight, a Rapunzel mural, faces of teen stars as well as Dora and Diego plastered on a photo-covered wall of Yankee Stadium, with Mets or Yankee's caps painted on them.

The Lady was disappointed to see that Selena Gomez is a Mets fan.

While we sat in the "stadium style" benches watching the exact same episode of the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse that I had to turn off before we left the house, about six other kids came in after us.

All six of these children went behind the faux-stone castle door and disappeared into the back before we did.

Did I mention I came prepared with backup? Not only did my husband come but I dragged our nanny as well. I am sure she wanted nothing more than to spend over two hours in a pediatric dentist's office, but as usual I am glad I trusted my instincts to bring her.

I have never brought all three kids to the dentist at once. When they said we can take all three kids at 8:45, I assumed that meant that all three kids would be worked on individually at the same time.

Instead all seven of us were escorted to the dog-themed room that had only one chair. QT obviously loved the dogs and I was super psyched to see that they were playing "Wreck It Ralph" on the two TVs in the room, but it still took about 10 minutes before anything happened. I had to answer the required questions about recent surgeries, allergies, etc. Then I did the requisite lying about how many times they actually brush their teeth. I did cop to the fact that they don't floss, but I didn't list any sugary snacks or recent Kit-Kats that they may have eaten.

It was at this point that I realized that all three of them would be going one after another and not simultaneously. Ugh.

Both Ladies needed X-rays so my husband was able to manage the two of them while I tended to QT. He showed the dental hygienist how he brushed his teeth and didn't seem fazed by anything going on in the room. I was then told that I had to get in the chair and hold him. Holding QT is tough, he is a squirmer and he has a hard head. I still have to tread lightly in the boob area and even though the right side is almost as big as the left, it is still a little delicate. I was hoping for no sudden movements.

QT did great. It literally took the guy two minutes to clean his teeth. The fluoride vitamins they painted on his teeth didn't go over too well, but he took it like a champ. I thought it would be best if I sent him back out into the waiting room with the nanny and the iPad.

Sometimes my children amaze me. I have endured so many tantrums, restaurant meltdowns, doctor's office freak outs that I never know what to expect. Both the Ladies thought the X-rays were cool. They listened, stayed still and did whatever the hygienist and dentist told them to do. They were super happy with the cache of Hello Kitty stickers they got, but the amount of time we were there seemed excessive.

The one sticking point was the vitamins. The Lady walked around with her tongue out practically drooling and I had to clean her tongue off with a paper towel. The Little Lady, who was last in the chair, knew what was coming and did clamp her mouth shut for a time or two until the dentist told her they were princess vitamins and she relented.

QT and the Little Lady have no dental issues. The Lady, not so much. The guy basically said braces by 9 or 10 and we have to go back for some fillings. They had an open 2:30 p.m. appointment today, but I know when not to push my luck. I am not sure if the Lady will be so amiable about going to the dentist after our follow-up but I am hoping that she will continue to surprise me.

All in all we left with about 10 stickers, three toothbrushes, two balloons (much to the chagrin of QT who headed out a bit early with the nanny to check out the play place at the mall and didn't get one) and one super pissed hubby who couldn't find the parking ticket for the garage and ended up having to pay the lost ticket fee.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Some Updates on the Three Beans

I've had a tough summer. Here are a few things you might have missed.

The Lady

The Lady lost her first tooth a couple of weeks ago. It happened during a blanket war with her little brother where they act like dogs and each hold a side of a blanket in their mouth. She came up to me with a bit of blood on her fingers but no tooth and at first I thought it was lost for good. We did finally find it on the carpet underneath the blanket and we avoided having to craft a letter to the Tooth Fairy. I had no idea her tooth was even loose, probably because there was a full-grown tooth behind it and it was just wedged in place. And you read that right the new tooth is behind it, like a full row behind the rest of her teeth. I think we are all headed for orthodontia in the future. Wish me luck this Friday when all three of the kids visit the dentist simultaneously.

The Lady is very excited for school to start (one week from today!) and we finally got the letter with her teacher and all the school supply info last week when we got back from Crayola. The one good thing was that the teacher she got was the only first grade teacher she could actually name when I asked her a few weeks ago. I am hoping for a smoother transition this year.

I took all three kids to Target on Friday night to get the supplies on the list. We got everything we needed in addition to a new Hello Kitty lunchbox for the Little Lady (who isn't even signed up for Lunch Bunch), a copy of Kidz Bop 24, which I am mortified to admit to you. The Lady knows all the songs on it, but these are the cleaned up versions sung by children. Some are better than others. The Selena Gomez cover isn't bad, but three 13-year-old girls should not be singing Mumford and Sons. Ever.

There were a few Target mishaps along the way, the Little Lady couldn't make up her mind about being in or out of the cart, the Lady was three steps ahead of me at all times trying to cross everything off her list and QT thought he could take off whenever he wanted when he wasn't trying to push the cart by himself. But in the end everyone earned a Kit-Kat and I think that says something. I think that says something indeed.

The Little Lady

Both girls are taking a four week/twice a week gymnastics class. They love it, which is great because we all know how those classes have sometimes ended up for us. The Little Lady started the first week as the only kid in the class. She was pretty much getting a private lesson and even though a new girl showed up last week, I am glad she is getting some directed attention because she is so into it.

So obviously we had a gymnastics/bouncy house party for her birthday over the weekend. She showed up wearing just the leotard, no clothes to cover up, she was full-on ready to literally roll. I was so glad that two of her friends from her class last year were able to make it and that by the end of the party everyone was exhausted and we didn't have to clean anything up! We ended the day at an impromptu BBQ and pool/dance party and the Little Lady fell asleep on the way home so she didn't get to open any of her presents until yesterday, which she did with the abandonment of a four-year-old girl presented with a bag full of presents tied up with balloons.

School doesn't start for the Little Lady for another couple of weeks. I think getting back to a schedule will be good for her and I am waiting to see who her teacher is. Hopefully, it is who she likes or we may be hearing about it for a while. I am reminded about a blog I wrote a couple of years ago. You may remember it, I think it was called the Ferocious Fours. Here is to hoping we have a great year Little Lady!


What can I say about this kid? He is talking so much now and he is also mimicking pretty much everything his sister's say including the dreaded and punishable "stupid head." It is hard to punish him though because he is so freaking cute and also likes to peek his head around the corner from the "time out stair" with a huge smile on his face. He is a runner and will take off quickly. I know he is small but it is hard to keep up with him! He still hates sand and during every beach outing this summer has refused to step one foot in it. He will however nap on the beach for 1-3 hours at a time, which is amazing. We will see how it goes this weekend as we attempt to make it back to the beach one last time.

I was able to spend a little bit of time with him on Saturday before the Little Lady's party. He was the only one who wanted to run errands with me. I will admit to dawdling at Dunkies because he prefers to sit there and eat three bites of a donut rather than take it in the car. It was nice to just hold onto his little hand and watch him explore his world. It has been so long since we have had any time just the two of us and it amazes me how much he has grown in just the last few months.

The kids have all really started playing well together. Sometimes it is pure chaos but when you hear the three of them laughing hysterically it is a lot easier to ignore the giant mess they just made and think I am doing an OK job by them.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Are You Experienced? And the Great Kit Kat Crayola Meltdown

And boy do they mean an "experience."

I took a vacation day yesterday because I think after the last few weeks I have earned it. It seems like the summer is already over and I am finally getting around to feeling better and feeling like I can actually participate in activities with my kids.

I will admit to being a little out of practice of navigating all three kids at once, which is why I didn't risk taking all three of my kids to meet five other children at the Crayola Experience in Easton, PA (a two hour drive from our house) without bringing our nanny. I know that sounds kind of ridiculous, but QT is totally on the move and I am still not 100% and besides I had to pay her for the day anyway. So after we made a quick Dunkies stop, the five of us headed out to a color wonderland in hopes of having a wonderful day.

We arrived a few minutes before our agreed upon 11 am meet-up time and spent some time in the gift shop. The kids were given firm instructions that they would not be buying anything at that time and that if they were well behaved that we would pick something up on our way out. I think we could have just hung in there for an hour and the kids would have thought it was a pretty decent outing. Kind of far for crayons, but there were just so many of them and in so many colors--who knew what the full experience would bring.

We met up with our Pennsylvania and Brooklyn friends, avoided the ticket line with our pre-bought discounted online tickets, got a bag each with a map and some tokens and set off to explore. 

First stop was something called "Meltdown," which was basically painting with melted wax and was also a term that took on quite a different meaning as our day drew to a close. The big kids loved it. We had a group ranging in age from almost 7 to 1. QT had about a four minute attention span for that attraction and it was then I was super grateful that our nanny could take him down to "Toddler Town" for some play more on his level. 

The Ladies in front of a wall of pink crayons

QT on what I think is some sort of crayon dog, but am unclear. This was in the gift shop. I am pretty sure we could have just gone there picked up some crayons and the kids would have had considered it a good day!
Missing one kid. This time it wasn't the Lady (more on that in a later post).

Once all the kids finished up their artwork, we moved on to the "Crayon Clinic" where you took a crayon and put it into a machine that melted it and reformed it into a new shape. Most of the girls wanted the ring. It took about four minutes for the process to take place, there were maybe two stations with the ring. I will admit that there were two very helpful members of the "color crew" on hand to help out, but that maybe instead of just one guy walking around with a plastic twist tie that you use to bind computer cords or as an alternative to handcuffs from what I have seen on COPS, that maybe one should have been left at each station. There were a couple of little wax burns here and there. 

Did I mention that I went on this excursion with two of my favorite women in the world? No? That is because I think we talked to each other for a grand total of two minutes each. We mostly communicated in head nods and hand gestures to let the others know how many kids we had in our sight line.

Next stop, the indoor play space. This was much needed. The bigger kids got lost in a maze of crayon-themed climbing equipment and the 3 and under set met up in "Toddler Town" that is until we had to have a bathroom break and QT needed a diaper change. 

When we finally regrouped everyone was ready for lunch. They discourage bringing in your own food, but it didn't look like they policed it, so if you are going to go there at any point, I would recommend packing lunch. We waited on line for a pizza, some salads, and of course anyplace that is selling hot pretzels gets extra votes in my book. I think we ordered six for the table. QT and I "shared" one. 

Because this is the most exciting place we have gone this summer, we brought the school mandated print out to be photographed with. What you are not seeing (or hearing) in this photo is the Little Lady screaming behind me that she wants a Kit Kat "or else I won't be your daughter anymore."

After lunch every one was re energized and ready for some creating. The tokens they give you in the bag at the door enable you to create your own label for a crayon. You can pick an image and name it anything you want. You can also mix your own marker, all the kids loved this. It is kind of cool to see how they inject the ink and it is all done pretty quickly. QT loved pressing the buttons when he wasn't running in the opposite direction of where I was standing.

I have to admit he did pretty well for no nap. All the kids were really well behaved and they were good listeners. I think the hardest part of navigating something like that was that there were just a lot of us and it was hard to keep track of everyone. Also, I find that all of those indoor places have that background noise that makes you feel like you are standing next to rushing water. It is white noise, but at a high volume and it was only when we got outside that I realized I had probably been shouting all afternoon to be heard.

There were a lot of neat exhibits and attractions. All the kids gravitated toward the iPads, but the best part was that the artwork you created on the iPad showed up animated on a huge wall. The Little Lady colored in a glitter fish and then wrote her name on top. She was so thrilled to see it up there.

When we planned this trip, I didn't think we would spend more than 2-3 hours there. All of a sudden it was almost 4 o'clock and time to get moving. One of my girlfriends was going to stay for a few extra minutes and the other was heading down to the gift shop. I sent the Ladies on with her so that I could navigate QT in the stroller on the elevator and pick up a little bit of popcorn for the Little Lady, who had asked for it earlier in the day and I didn't want her to be at all disappointed.

I showed up in the gift shop. It was much more crowded than when we were there first thing in the morning. The Little Lady walked right up to me and said "remember you said I could get popcorn?" Oh, what a great mom I was, I whipped out of the hood of the stroller a cup of popcorn for her. Mom of the Year. Mom of the Year.

My girlfriend had the four kids in her sight line and I told my kids they could each pick out one thing under $10. My nanny had QT strapped in the stroller and he was perfectly content with a Cars-themed coloring book that came with markers. The Lady wanted to fill the authentic looking crayola tin with crayons and markers. It cost $15 but I said OK.

The Little Lady was undecided. It takes her a while to make up her mind about things. We looked at a lot of great crayon-themed items from cups to socks to every single Crayola item you can find in the stores. She finally decided on what basically equates to playdoh, and that I will probably throw away in the next week after I find it on the floor.

I went to check out. The Lady asked for a Kit-Kat. The Little Lady already had popcorn as her treat. I said yes to the Lady. Once this bit of information became knowledge to the Little Lady she put her cup of popcorn on the floor and started asking for a Kit-Kat.

Could I have just gotten her a Kit-Kat? Yes, but she had asked for something else and had already been enjoying it. The Little Lady is the type who knows "you get what you get and you don't get upset" but gets upset every single time. I think we have 300 opened ice pops in our freezer because she only wants purple and I can't tell the difference between the red and purple in the paper.

Moving on.

She started to lose it. Everything was paid for and put in the bag. One Kit-Kat. I tried to say my goodbyes to my girlfriend and her kids. The Little Lady started pulling on my shirt. Her voice started to rise. She tried to leave the popcorn behind again. We moved into the lobby for one last bathroom break.

"I want a Kit-Kat."

"You better give me a Kit-Kat or else I won't come with you."

"I waaaaaant a Kit-Kat"

All the while, I am trying not to lose my mind. I am trying not to just go back in the store and buy her a damn Kit-Kat, I mean in the scheme of things how big of a deal is it really? But it is kind of a big deal. She has a habit of asking for something until she sees something else. The grass is always greener type of thing and that won't serve her well in life and you know what else? Sometimes she needs to hear no and sometimes I have to be the parent.

Instead of heading straight to the parking garage, I made the decision to go to the front entrance so that the Lady could take a picture in front of a giant marker with a piece of paper the school had sent home so that kids could record places they went over the summer.

I recognize that sounds a little crazy, especially when the Little Lady was still screaming about the Kit-Kat.



But, I have three kids and the other two were totally fine and the Lady should have her photo in front of a giant yellow marker. I mean we all should really. So, I took like 25 photos of the Lady while the Little Lady pulled on the back of my shirt and screamed about a delicious wafer/chocolate treat.

We finally headed back to the van. Lots of screaming still. The van was stifling and smelled like old egg sandwiches from the morning. Both the nanny and I had to jam the Little Lady into her seat and she continued to scream about the Kit-Kat until that blissful moment we hit RT 78 and she was asleep.

The Lady woke up. She wanted her Kit-Kat. Everyone else was asleep but the Kit-Kat was in a bag in the back of the van. I told her when we stopped for gas we would get it. We stopped. I gave it to her, thirty seconds later the Little Lady woke up. I have to give it to the Lady, she tried to hide the Kit-Kat. I offered other snacks to the kids.

I had held onto that cup of popcorn and gave a few kernels to QT. This didn't make the Little Lady happy. She spent the next 10 minutes screaming about wanting her popcorn. I didn't give in until she said please, which she finally did and then whimpered for the next few exits, even after the Lady shared some Kit-Kat with her.

The nanny said she had never seen her like that and was unsure how she would have handled it if she was alone with them. I assured her as the nanny, she will probably never have to find out. As the mom, I know it all too well.

We sat it traffic by the bridge and decided on McDonalds for dinner. (Hey when did they tear down the Mickey D's in Nyack off exit 11? Had to wait to get back to CT for another wholesome chicken nugget Happy Meal.)

For those of you keeping score at home that is Dunkies egg sandwiches for breakfast, pizza/hot dogs for lunch and McDonalds for dinner as well as popcorn, pretzels, and of course some Kit-Kat.

But we also went home with some cool markers, some crayons in funky shapes, personalized crayons, three left over tokens and more than just an "experience."

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Little Lady Turns 4!

Happy Birthday to the Little Lady!

Here's to a little girl who last week brushed her teeth while still eating a lollipop, a sweet lady who likes to sneak into my bed well after her brother and sister have fallen asleep in hopes of catching whatever we are watching on TV. In doing so she has seen Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, not only more than anybody should, but especially more than any child should.

A little girl who idolizes her big sister and dotes on her baby brother, but is never, ever afraid to tell you how she feels and has no regard for the volume at which she will try to get her message across.

Here is to my Little Lady, who if I happen to be imbibing an adult beverage asks me if I am "drinking a beard." Someone who never fails to make me smile and who at this very moment has walked into my room with a complaint about her sister and has started climbing into my bed. . .

I love you Little Lady, my fantastic four year old.