Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Great Tessini

Tonight Tessa came into my room and announced,

"I have a magic show for you! Prepare to be amazed!"

I could see her rubbing a quarter around her left ear lobe and I thought I knew where her show was headed.

I was wrong.

She then told us all to close our eyes.

That alone scared me, but I did it because curiosity beat out experience.
Then we heard her say,

"Abbra Caddabrah! You can all open your eyes!"

When we did,
she was just standing there with her arms out to her sides, her head tilted towards the ceiling, her eyes closed, and a grin on her face, as if she had triumphed.

The four year old King of the World.

I questioned if I had missed something.
Wasn't there supposed to be a quarter somewhere?

Then Chloe yelled out,
"It's in her underwear! EWWWWWWWWWWW! It is! It really is! I saw her put it in!"

"CHLOE! I SAID no peeking!"

"Tessa," I asked,
"Did you put a quarter in your underwear?"

"No." She said.
"It's definitely not there. It's.......somewhere else. I didn't....."

"Yes she did."
Chloe said.
"Hahaha. Tessa's got money in her undies!"

Tessa shot Chloe a look.

I noticed her nightgown was a little bunchy and her legs were knock-kneed.

"Tessa?" I asked,
"Then why are you standing that weird way? What's going on with your bottom? Do you need cream?"

"There is nothing going on with my bottom, My Lady. Goodnight."

Then she backed out of the room as quickly as she had entered, though slightly more awkward.

Moments later, she re-entered, I thought to show the retrieved quarter in question in order to wow and astonish.

Wrong again.

"I'm sorry."
She said.

"I believe I forgot to introduce myself...."

Friday, May 10, 2013

Diapers, Dressing, and Desperation - A Shopping List

Tonight I took all four kids on 3 hours worth of errands.
Errands that I had to run so that I didn't end up having to run them on Mother's Day.
(A day that I think should always be written in quotes, anyway.)

"Mother's" Day.

More like "Mother's Six Minutes Before You Need To Get Off Your Butt and Make Me a Snack."

We went to Target and Costco and Trader Joes.

Basically every store you don't want to have to take even ONE kid to.

First up was Target.

The girls wanted what they call a "car cart."
This is the Green Family term for any cart that can hold them all at once to keep Tessa from opening Dixie cup packages and filling them with Scope and Chloe from whining that she feels weak from all the walking and needs to be carried.
So I grabbed one and strapped them in, smiling,
forgetting that it's not necessarily easier just because they're all in one spot.
Now you actually have to MOVE them all,
which, when your kids are so heavy they won't even register on the growth chart,
takes the strength of Sampson.

I was struggling so hard to even get the cart started and push them up that blasted bump strip before the main entrance that my body was at a 45 degree angle to the cart.
I won't even get STARTED on asking what the purpose of that bump strip even IS.
In my mind, it's there to begin my inevitable Target panic attack.

At the exact moment where several blood vessels burst and sweat began to bead on my upper lip,
Kim Kardashian walked out of the store and passed me, giving me a smirk as she tip-toed in her stilettos across the strip.
So maybe it wasn't the ACTUAL Kim Kardashian, but close enough.
No doubt smiling because THAT poor woman had to push a load nearing 110 pounds BEFORE the shopping had begun, and all she had to hold was this precious little sparkly clutch, which, added to HER weight was merely HALF of that number.

I thought several Non-Christian thoughts by the time I walked through the automatic doors into the store.
Thoughts that involved accelerants and seam rippers.
But, there's no need to go into detail on THAT.

I pushed on.

"Don't touch that."
"Put that back."
"Don't poke her eyelid."
"Don't even THINK about it."

Determined to let nothing come between me and The Paper Plates.

Like the Holy Grail to a mother of multiple children.

Actual dishes are for Christmas.
Everyone knows THAT.

By the time I'd walked five feet, EACH kid had already asked for someting.
"Can we have goldfish crackers?"
"Can I get out? My legs are cramping."
"Can I pretend I'm not with you guys?"

You get to guess who said what.

We went through Target in our usual way.
One of the kids ripping something and me stuffing it in the back of a shelf and praying we weren't caught on camera,
forgetting something (Even though it was on the list) and having to go back all the way across the store,
leaving a trail of crackers we hadn't even paid for yet, but I'd ripped into to shut someone up,
me wondering if I was having a stroke, etc.

Once we left there, we were on our way to Costco, where we always saunter in without ever having to show our Costco card.
Everyone knows us there.
"Wow. You're like a celebrity here!" Alena mused.

In the same way Gary Busse and Joan Rivers are celebrities.
Because they're freaking CRAZY TRAIN WRECKS, and you just can't look away.

Everywhere we go we cause a scene.
Or at least I feel like we do.

The mere fifteen minutes spent feeding Paige some pizza and letting her try a berry smoothie in the Costco food court tonight was enough to almost have our membership revoked.
There was pizza all over the floor and cascading into my purchases, A kind man appeared presenting her left shoe (?), and there was a large gap of un-taken seating mysteriously surrounding us.

There was a brief moment where I wondered if what she was doing was actually Epilepsy,
but nope.
Just passion for blended fruit.

I would not be surprised if Justin comes home telling me that they've created a "Special V.I.P. Exit just for us next time!"

We had the typical meltdown when Paige realizes that Daddy's staying at Costco and not coming with us where she screams as loud as she can and attempts to break free from the cart seat belt and leap into oncoming cart traffic, followed by the typical episode of me reading lips as I see people asking Justin,
"Is that YOUR kid making that sound?"

I left humiliated,
yet with my cart full of cheese and lunch meat, at least three items I never knew I needed, along with delectable frozen pesto Tilapia.

I try to breathe.
We're walking.
We made it.
We're in the home stretch.

on the way to the van,
Tessa opts to dart in a zig-zag pattern while making the face of a loon,
right in the path of an oncoming truck with an approximately 107 year old driver who - surprise, surprise- doesn't see her.
I suddenly got tunnel vision.
Then instinct kicked in and my arm shot out like a .bungee, grabbing her and yanking her back to me, where she gave me a painful flat tire in my already constantly painful leg, ripping my shoe off, and leaving me limping and almost crying.
Then she started shrieking.
"You're HURTING me!"
Then Paige, Whose Spiritual Gift is Sympathy Crying, started wailing, too, as if she was watching a live reel of Elmo being hanged.

Cars were pulling over thinking it was the Fire Department coming up from behind.
People were pausing from loading their 16 gallon mayo jugs into their trunks and staring.

It's just Us.
The Greens.
Back again.
No need to call CPS.
I was merely saving her life.
No need for alarm."

*Wave. Nod. Vow to never return.*


So I didn't say that.

But I wanted to.

Once we reached the van, I just started shoving kids in.
I was giving The Look as I buckled.
THE look.
The look passed down to me from my mother
and my mother's mother.

There I was shoving food into the back of the car on top of piles of beach parephenalia from the trip we started to take last week and never accomplished due to the stomach flu popping up mid-drive.
Precariously balancing the paper plates from Target and the three pack of lunch meat that will be eaten in two days,
all to the continuing sounds of Tessa and Paige HOWLING out into the night.
Just waiting for their wolfish fur to appear.

I saw Alena checking the clock and mournfully and pointedly looking at me as if to say,
"It's already 7:40. I was supposed to be at Gabby's 10 minutes ago."

I can't blame her.
I wouldn't want to spend the weekend with us, either, right now.

You can either have the sounds of screaming and choking on pizza cheese, or, you can have a luxury trip to the country club with a day spent in the pool.

A hundred pleads to PLEASE take your sister, or, Gabby's Esthetician mom offering you a facial.

Me nudging you at 9:00 because the dog just threw up and I need you to hold Paige back out of it while I clean it, or, sleeping in until noon and being hand fed grapes while you swing in a hammock.


Can I come, too?
I won't, like, TALK or anything....

This is when I realized I still had to go to the grocery.
At Gabby drop off time.
At little kid bed time.

I only needed a few things, thankfully, so I left all the girls in the car with Alena and ran in.

I thought I'd be in and out, until I realized I was ALONE and had some sort of strange moment where my lip did a half-smile about nothing in particular and I found myself circling the pears three times.

"Oh. I'm sorry. Am I in your way?" a lady asked.
"No. I actually don't have a clue what I'm doing." I said.

She laughed.

I wasn't kidding.

I got all the usual things and headed to the line.
Sad to see my 10 minutes of silence and peaceful thought coming to an end.

"And how are YOU tonight?!" the chipper check out guy asked.
He couldn't have been more than 22.

I remember 22.......

He was covered in tattoos.
Trendy hair.
No deep set bags under his eyes from nights spent hyperventilating that one of the kids MIGHT wake up and WANT SOMETHING.

Obviously, the only care in his world being if his iTunes purchase downloaded correctly.
"Are you doing anything fun tonight?!" He chimed.

"I just ran errands for three hours with four kids,"
I said.
"The most fun I'm having tonight will come at about 9:03 after they're in bed."

He laughed like I wasn't serious.

The next stop was Gabby's, where Alena got out, tried 6 times to record a video of Tessa, rolled her eyes because it wasn't working out how she wanted, and then sighed and said she'd get it tomorrow.

When she opened the trunk to get her stuff, 10 yogurts, a coconut water and all our bananas came flying out onto the driveway.
A yogurt broke open.
The white, curdly proof that we,
The FABULOUS Greens, had been there, too.

Our Calling Card, of sorts.

"DON'T LEAVE ME WITH THEM," I begged as we cleaned it all up.
She, too, laughed like I wasn't serious, and shouted that she loved me over her shoulder.

I actually believed it until she practically banged the door in with obvious desire to be ANYWHERE but where she'd been for the last three hours.


Kerri Green -
Kicking Mother's Day weekend off with a bang -

With some gagged up cheese on my iPad case, yogurt covered groceries, and a most likely permanent look of desperation.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Crazy Cakes

This link appeared on my Facebook page twice today.
Kids snack ideas on steroids.

Cutest little idea I

Look at those perfectly chopped bits of celery made into grassy knolls!
Look at that shredded carrot leprechaun beard!

But, people,
in all seriousness -


do this.

I get that there are parents that do this stuff.
They probably live in D.C. And have precise little blunt-cut bobs with bangs.
They have prized geraniums and
they button their shirts up all the way to the tip-top button.
They have a mail box in the shape of a Corgie.
They wear heels even in sand.
They actually polish their silver utensils and those utensils didn't come from Big Lots.

And they probably never come screeching into the bus circle three minutes late every day still wearing pajama pants with paper plates covered in syrup remnant littering their floorboard.

I know they're out there.

They're the parents of the kids with monogrammed Pottery Barn backpacks.
The parents of boys named Kelsey.
They don't have to Google what a "Spice Kitchen" is.

And I admire it.

I really do.
I WISH I had the free time to volunteer in reading group.
I wish I always drove for a field trip and could yammer off the school schedule with the accuracy of Rainman.
I wish I cared about going to the state level of ANYTHING.
But I don't.
I just CAN'T.

I admire the idea,
But something ALSO rises in me to yell "I'm gonna wreck it!" And to pound each perfectly shaped mini crust-less sandwich with giant Wreck-It-Ralph fists.

But I admire it.

Right before I hate it.

Upon first seeing this picture today, the very first thought I had
(besides telling myself to stop making my "Crazy Face")
was that my kids could never ever know food like this existed.

I ask you,
after eating a miniature cheese chicken nestled under a snap pea palm,
would they ever be happy with just regular FOOD shaped food ever again?

I already feel pushed to the upper limits of my sanity just having to butter four pieces of bread with dinner while they ask for ketchup and tell me their sippie cup "tastes funny," and while they raise the corner of their tiny food critic lips at me when they see what I'm presenting.

Why would someone even DO this to me?!
Why does this photo even EXIST?!


All I can think is that this is some sort of terrorist attack.

Is it not enough to have to pack a regular school lunch when all you can dig from your pantry is the crumbs of some herbed popcorn, a Greek yogurt, and a very questionable zucchini?

I'd like to see what they would make of THAT.
If that was a food picture, I'm pretty sure it would be a tiny edible street in Harlem,
or a person shopping while riding a Lark.

I know I've harped on this before, but America,


I can't even pick CAT FOOD easily anymore.
Should I get chicken, or beef, or salmon, or tuna, or tuna flaked chicken with beef sauce?
Does he like shreds or pâté?
Soufflé, or chunks?
There's GRAVY?!
Is he a regular adult, or a senior adult,or a "mature" adult?
Good grief!
Can I get assistance on isle 13?!
I mean, this is an animal whose tongue and butt regularly collide.
He's not exactly a connoisseur.

Then there are 103 types of squeezie fruits and two full isles of baby wipes?
Why are we coddling them in this way?

I once wondered what that was coming out of Alena's mouth, only to realize it was fly legs.
There's no way she needed eight types of purple beet purée.
She didn't need a PB and J flower.
What she NEEDED was to not ever kiss me with that mouth again,
that's what.

So just STOP.

You're making moms crazy.
You're making Dads afraid of their own wives because "she's making that weird sound again."
You're making kids into over-indulged brats.

Kids don't need food pictures.
I'll give them a picture.
It's of me telling them to
be still and stop wiggling, wnd gagging, and poking their sister's eye, and to eat their dinner and to
just let me sit for



It's weird to eat something that's smiling at you.

Friday, May 3, 2013

The Poo-cussion Section

You know when you're a kid and you're playing a game -

You know that feeling when you get to base and your heart is racing and you're filled with glee that you made it!
You're safe!

You exhale.

That's the feeling I had tonight when we got home from Alena's band concert.

I mean,
I'll admit -
I was a little leery when we left home.

Justin was working late,
I'd had to wake Tessa up from her mere 20 minute nap, which led to her crying about her shoes, and her dress, and her nose, and her toe,
and had her bouncing up and down while she wailed that she "Didn't WANT me to do her haaaaaaaaair like THAT!"

I had settled on feeding the kids McDonald's, and I had already wrestled internally over the mental pictures I have of the "pink goop" of chicken nuggets.
I've read about it online.

But, hey, pink goop was all that was between me and the concert, so pink goop it was.

Toxin Schmoxin.
This place has toys.

I stressed over every wayward crumb as the girls mowed through their meals because Justin had just vacuumed the van and Lord knew
that was all I needed was to listen to him harp on THAT again.

We pulled up to the school, and when I opened the van door it was like a 10 foot neon sign blinked "The Greens are Here!"
as fast food litter literally billowed out into the parking lot from an untimely gust of wind.

I almost wouldn't have even chased it because of the state I was in, but we were in Sebastopol - The Earth Lover's Mecca -
so I chased.
I don't need the scorn of hippies.
Not that I'm scared of them.
My icy stare could crumble their aura in moments, but I just don't NEED IT.

Thankfully I had found a parking space right up front.
At the time, I thought it a cheery twist of fate.

I would later know it would be the one bright spot to my evening.
My easy exit.

I took the girls inside and we settled in for what was sure to be a good show.

Jr. High band and Jr. High choir.
Like the Milk and Honey of Canaan.

The concert started off pretty well.
Paige was a little animated.
And by little, I mean NOT a little.
Yelling "HI!" to everyone.
Shouting "AMO! AMO! AMO! LA LA LA!" as loud as she could to the choir.
(Something that made Alena laugh from the band section because she knew that that was her putting in her "request" for them to sing the theme song from Elmo.)
She's like the Elmo Nazi.

All in all, it was pretty normal fare.
I bribed her silence with leftover cold fries, which I inconspicuously snuck from my diaper bag as to not alert the Sebastopolians of my trans fat purchase.
I handed her my phone.
I pointed out Alena.
She jabbered loudly.

Then she was silent.

Oh good.

Now I can enjoy the music.
Well....At least enjoy that my beautiful daughter is performing....

The seventh grade band ended and the crowd clapped, and for the first time in the evening, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed Paige didn't join in.
I wonder why......

Then I looked.
Oh no.
She's making The Face.
The "Hey......Something's going on in my Nether Region" face.

Then, as if she had planned the timing,
the crowd went silent in anticipation of the next concert segment and in that precise moment,
she grunted so loud that three rows behind me heard.


But that wasn't all.

In the silence of that room full of parents recording their children, and now, most likely, the sounds of my one year old -
She let out a sound that mothers the world over recognize.
The sound of really REALLY filling one's pants.

Not half heartedly.

Full boar.

I'm pretty sure I heard a gasp.

Another song had started.
The people next to us had picked up their little girl and moved up four rows.

Chloe leaned over to me with that typical Chloe face of distress and said,
"Mama. Somebody farted."

No, Honey.
That's your sister.

I waited as long as I could wait as the smell wafted around the gym.
I wouldn't have been surprised if someone pulled the fire alarm at that moment.
People were already looking. Probably wondering when I was going to DO something about it.

I caught Alena's eye and mouthed, "I have to go change her diaper. She pooped."
To which she mouthed back, "HURRY."

Her group was up next.
I had as long as it was going to take for the choir to sing some inappropriate pop song or another with exactly zero emotion.

And of course we made a scene getting up.
I had to gather things and buckle things and whisper to Chloe and Tessa about the plan.
In order to get out of the gym, we had to walk in our hillbilly, fast food crumbed, smelling like the dump on a hot day caravan right in front of all the bleachers.

Excuse us.

People we knew were loudly whispering, "Bye, Guys!" "Bye!" "See you guys later! Thanks for coming!" to get our attention,
and I was like,
"We're not leav.......Oh NEVERMIND."

When we opened the doors to the outside, it was dark, and I wheeled Paige over to a bench, knowing that there wouldn't be a changing table in the Jr. High bathroom.
I mean, teen pregnancy isn't THAT scary yet, is it?

I felt around for a diaper and lay her up on the bench.
I was changing her completely by feel.
Then I went to pull down her pants and it took a few seconds of, "Hey....Why are her pants foamy and wet?" to realize what had happened.
She had EXPLOSIVE diarrhea.

I'd like to pause here to ask -
What POSSIBLY could be worse than a Jr. High band concert alone with four kids at bed-time - only to answer myself -


This is when I realized it was everywhere.
On me, on her stroller seat, on her pants, it was down to her ANKLES.

And of COURSE I hadn't brought any extra clothes.

I'm notorious for that.

I'm the mother who took her newborn into the country club wrapped in an old shop towel from the back of her car because I didn't bring a change of clothes.

"I'm a real classy broad!" She said as she picked squirrel fur out of her teeth.

It's like I

So, I tossed her absolutely SOAKED in poo jeggings under the stroller and hoisted her onto my hip since the seat of her stroller was ALSO soaked with poo and went to find a trash and a sink.

I noticed some stray poo.

"Chloe? Can you reach me a wipe?"
"Why?! They're right there in my bag!"
"Because there are mosquitos out here. I saw one. It buzzed. I don't want to stick out my arm in the air. They'll land on me."
"Chloe! GET ME A WIPE!"
"But I don't like the smell. It's making my stomach hurt."

Insert open-mouthed crying.

Oh for the love of God.

I looked around for a trash to throw my bio-hazard in, which I was holding with one hand while I held Paige with the other and pushed the stroller with my abdomen;
But in true Sebastopol form - All there were were recycling cans.
Not ONE trash.
"I'm pretty sure no one wants a coffee cup made from THIS," I thought, so I put it with the pants in the undercarriage and went to find a sink.

The choir was finishing!
I needed to hurry.

Poor Alena.

I found the bathroom and grabbed the handle and

I immediately started thinking of the facebook post I'd seen months ago about the minimal amount of seconds it takes for something that is on your skin to enter your blood stream and started imagining all the poo-borne illnesses I was contracting at that very moment.

The smell from the stroller was unimaginable.

Moments before Alena's group went on, the Green family re-entered the gym with blood-shot eyes, smelling rancid, and with one of us missing our pants.
I mouthed apologies and mimed out grunting and an explosion with my hands.
I could see her friends laughing and pointing at the baby in the back who was wearing only a T-shirt and a diaper.

I'd like to see them laughing if THEY had to hold a 27.7 pound toddler who smelled like death for an hour.

I'd like to see THEM smiling if they remembered, as they were doing that, that they once used to have days at the river with friends just floating by, listening to Peter Tosh, feeling the sun soak into their skin.
No bills. No full-time job. No dependents....

I snapped back into reality as my I noticed my friend Amy's son, Gavin, threading Twizzlers down through the bleachers at us
mouthing that they were for Chloe and Tessa.

"I can't." I said.
"I can't take them."

He looked confused.

I didn't have the energy to explain the virtual poo gloves I was wearing.

It was bad enough to be seen with a baby in just a T-Shirt and a diaper.
The very picture of trailer life.

Now, I was separated by bars,
being fed scraps by The Civilized.

Not until that moment did I realize that that remnant smell was because half of Paige's shirt was covered in poo as well.
The half that my hand had been on for 30 minutes as she yammered and pulled out my earrings and poked my nose ring post from the inside of my nostril.

All the other cute and clean families stared
And smiled
And made eye contact with each other.

No doubt grateful that they had their life and not the life of THAT family.
I mean, did you SEE that she had a McDonald's box?....

When the concert was over, we left so fast that there was smoke.
I almost knelt down and thanked God for that close parking space.
The thought of having to hoist Paige in just her diaper up the hill, past the cemetery and to the other school where I usually have to park
with one hand, while I pushed her raunchy, sour, poo stroller with the other hand and commanded the girls to "Stay behind me" - makes me tremble even now.

On the way home
Paige was naked,
The car REEKED of poop and stale fries,
and Alena cried because her night had been tainted by it all.

I told her I was so sorry.
That I hoped she wasn't disappointed that we were her family, but God knows I wouldn't be surprised if she was.
I told her that I would have loved to hold her hand and stroke her, but, unfortunately,
my arm was covered to the elbow in her sister's poop.

Then we laughed together.

And took pictures of Paige.

And almost threw up from the smell.