Monday, September 27, 2010

The Proper Care and Raising of Children

I'm getting ready to go out of town on Wednesday.

My BFF, Lisa, is coming in from Toronto and we're planning some much needed girl time in the city.
We've been planning it for months.
Talking about it.
Trying to take deep breaths as we discuss all that joy that will be ours.
Hotel, shopping, spa, swimming, bearing our souls to eachother over some Bordeaux while our polish dries.
Feather beds, ETC. -- You get the picture.

But I'm starting to get nervous.

It's going to be the first time I've left Justin for any length of time alone with the girls, and the first time I've left Tessa this long at all.
It's not that I don't think he can do it. He can. I just worry about the LEVEL he'll do it at.

He shrugs it off as if it's going to be just fine, but I know him.

I know that this trip is happening at a dreadful time in history called
"Crutial Giants Games Coinciding with Little Girl Bed Times."

I'm invisioning him forgetting completely about their care because he's too busy having outbursts at Barry Zito through the television screen or rolling around on the floor in anguish over closing pitcher choice.

He tells me not to worry about all that because they are going to win - Something he says with silent pleading aimed towards God in his eyes.

I've contemplated leaving him a note, in outline form, about the proper steps towards child rearing, but I'm sure it's all just my own neurosis.
He'll be just fine, right?

He knows what they like,

I think.

He at least knows the TUNE to Baby Mine and can SORT of sing it to them before bed.
Or at least hum. Anyone who knows him would never expect him to ACTUALLY get the words right, so a general version is alright.
(Anyone who thinks the song is "Rock the Cat's Paw" needs some grace.)

He will surely be alright with the fact that Tessa asks to have socks put on every night right before bed just so that as soon as the lights are out she can work on taking them off. A bed time puzzle of sorts.

He can probably remember to close the curtains all the way so that no SHRED of light gets into their room, because Chloe is quite positive that seeing light must mean the window is open, and if the window is open, an owl will most definitely come screeching through the opening into the room, circle her head and will then land on her.

Will he remember to feed them at least ONE vegetable in two days?
(Is ketchup a vegetable?)

I'm almost positive he'll remember to pack Alena a lunch that is both balanced and yummy and that he'll remember to write a note on her napkin telling her she's loved and to have a good day.

He'll make sure she brushes the tops of her braces brackets, as to keep them from looking like little silver moss planters, right?

Should I remind him that sometimes, if Tessa is hitting Chloe, it's because Chloe is doing things to Tessa when we're not looking and sometimes Chloe deserves it.

Should I leave notes saying it's CRUTIAL that he stand at the door after kissing them goodnight and say to them, in this EXACT order,
"Goodnight. Sleep tight. Don't let the bed bugs bite. Goodnight."
or else Chloe will cry and sob that it was done wrong and he will most likely be in for a half hour long battle complete with snot and drool.

Shall I remind him that it's always best to TELL Chloe that the water in her sippie is fresh because if you elude to it being over 4 hours old she will insist it tastes funny and that it demands your attention.
That you will then have to go downstairs to the sink to refill it because bathroom sink water tastes different than kitchen water.
(A weird concept that I actually agree with.)

I might need to tell him that Tessa cannot have her stuffed animals in her bed because if she does, she will use them to pelt at Chloe one by one.

Or that if Chloe cries that she sees a spider, it is actually best to just pretend to get it down than to argue with her that there actually IS no spider at all.

I will tell him that Tessa likes a huge protein breakfast, not unlike a trucker, but don't make her say "trucker" unless you also want her to SOUND like one.

And that reminds me - Maybe he needs a sort of translation dictionary.
Like that "I'llhabbitbatfwease" means that Chloe has something Tessa wants and "she'll have it back, please." or that
"Poop go bye bye." is Tessa's way of telling you she just farted.

I'm scared of the hairstyles that will happen.
I'm scared of the outfits that will happen.
(If they are even changed out of their pajamas at all.....)

I'm scared he will sporatically change bed time to 6:00 and just watch baseball and lay on the couch and eat half a pie.

I'm making it sound like he's a neglectful father. He really isn't. He's a great dad and they probably even love him more than they love me, so all will be fine.



He said he might take them to do something fun. At first he was mentioning things like the zoo or the city and I just stood there bug eyed. The CITY? Alone? YOU?!
There is no more frenzied, crazy, hair-brained idea than Justin alone in the city with all three girls. The thought almost gave me an aneurysm.
He can hardly handle taking them to Target.

This is where I gently suggested something closer to home. Something shorter. Something that would not most likely end with some sort of emergency team being called.
He came up with the pet store as an alternative.

Yes. Yes, Young Grasshopper. You are starting to think with your heart.

And FYI - **Taking Chloe to get her Tarantula fix first allows for an easier trip. For her, it's all about the spiders.**

I'm realizing all this fretting means I am a hopeless control freak.

It's only two days, afterall.

Two days that I desparately need and should enjoy while I can.

Two days spent slathered in mud masks or shopping and DEFINITELY laughing so much that I cannot breathe.
Why should I be worried?

Because I'm Mom.
Because I will always think that no one takes as good of care of my children as I do - Even their own father.
Because I know every molecular working of this house and also know that this Green Family Empire would all come crashing down without me.

I run this joint.
That's probably reason enough.
This family is my job and
It's the job description to be neurotic.

I'm really good at my job.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

First Day Tea of Terror

We just dropped Alena off for her last first day at Pleasant Hill Christian School.
It was bittersweet.
A mixture of happiness to have her back in school, and sadness that it's her last year at that wonderful school.

She's attended PHCS since kindergarten, and almost all of her class has, too.

She forgot to kiss me goodbye. I guess I should be used to it.
She was too busy showing off her new lunch bag and making the face she makes when she's excited and is trying not to smile.

She looked cute.
An amazing feat when you're in middle school.

I think it's basically a generally accepted thing that your middle school years should be your most awkward.
This is a concept I refuse to accept, and one day I'm sure Alena will thank me that lastnight I pinned her down on my bed and plucked her eyebrows for her.
She thinks I'm torturous. I think I'm saving her life.

I stood around with the other parents snapping pictures and trying to keep Tessa from freeing the class chinchillas until the teacher actually told us we had to go. Like, NOW.

PHCS always holds a First Day Tea at the firehouse down the road, so off we went in a parade fashion down the hill and in the doors.

While Justin swan dove into the mound of sweetened carbs on the table, my eyes immediately went to the poster on the wall that said:

Wednesday Janitorial/Bathroom Clean Up Volunteers
and I had a mini panic attack.

It was like a movie where everything fades to a cloudy white and I was taken back to a time when we used to clean the school for extra money.
We went there two times a week, a half hour drive each way, and cleaned as a family.
It was sheer torture.
There wasn't a week without a game of
"guess what substance is stuck to the boys bathroom stall walls"
and the vacuuming ALONE could be part of the plot line for Saw VI.

We did that job for four years. Four that felt like ten.

I thought about the moms at the school who do everything. EVERY THING.
They sign up on every sheet. They drive to every field trip. They make crafts and poster boards and cheer at every relay race. They probably have pictures of the school building tattooed across their lower backs.
I thought about how I would like to be that type of mom, but then I thought that if it required Wednesday janitorial/bathroom clean up volunteering, I was going to just have to settle into my title as
Slacker Mom who's kid frees the chinchillas.

But, good ol' Justin.
He signed up for something.

After school pick up for the little kids.

The little kids who get out an hour earlier than Alena, who is our only child attending the school.
He signed up when his schedule is likely to change every week and there are many days he'll probably be working.
He signed up not realizing that signing your name for Thursday afternoons meant THIS Thursday afternoon, as in TODAY.

He's upstairs asleep after working all night.
He's supposed to be there in an hour.

He signed up, but in reality - He signed ME up.

I can just picture it now - Me out there in the afternoons with both girls who will be missing their nap because of the time slot, trying to keep them from meltdowns and from running into oncoming school pick up circle traffic while simultaneously shoving kids into their cars and chit chatting with their parents.

Oh yeah - and they want me to paint a mural.
I'll get right on that.

After I snapped back into reality, I saw that after Tessa had removed half the table cloth and shown her belly to the entire room, she had helped herself to about half of a watermelon with the same fingers she'd just been sticking in her nose and Chloe's.
She climbed, she jumped, she rifled through the baked goods, she shrieked as the Parent Club tried to explain e-scrip.
(An explanation that for the LIFE of me I cannot stay concious for.)

It was like I was in the primate enclosure trying to teach sign language to monkeys that, frankly, would rather be eating their own mites.

Meanwhile, Chloe sat next to me with a scowl on her face and the only words coming from her mouth being,
"Mommy, will you wipe my noooooooooossssseeee?" 4000 times.

I picked her up to cuddle her and she layed her face flat into my chest and blew out the biggest, snottiest sneeze there ever was all over my skin.
She was so pressed up against me that besides all the snot, the sneeze made a raspberry sound (Why do they call it that, anyway? Raspberry?....)
and then she sat up, looked me in the eyes and said, "Mommy. You look pretty."

Gee. Thanks. Snot does that to a person.
As does making the room think someone over here farted by the noise you just made.
As if all eyes weren't on us already.

What can I say? It's a glamor job.

By this time, Justin was almost in a diabetic coma from all the sweet rolls he ate, and after waking up after only one hour of sleep to come to this, he wasn't looking so hot himself.
He almost looked in need of oxygen.

I realized we'd better leave before they posted a
"Do not allow this family to register for school again" poster next to the bathroom cleaning sign up sheet.

I'm pretty sure we terrorized everyone sufficiently.
We Greens aim to please.

"Mama, Where are we going next?"
"We're going home, Honey. Home where four walls hide our insanity from the world, at least most of the time."


"Can I have a snack when we get there?"