Saturday, December 26, 2009

THAT MOM Strikes Again

The boys had their Holiday Concert at nursery school the other day. I was determined not to have a repeat of "The Gingerbread Incident." So, I set my alarm for 6 am to ensure that I would have plenty of time to have myself and all 3 kids out the door by 8:30 am. I must say it started off very well. I fed and dressed the Princess, then showered and dressed myself, then got the boys up, fed and dressed them, and packed bags. At 8:45 (only 15 minutes off schedule) we loaded the Mom Mobile and prepared for take-off. I quickly went through the list before I pulled out of the driveway:
The boys -check
The baby -check
Fruit tray - check
Marshmallows on a stick-check
Camera and video-check

Not too shabby!!! The boys and I high five each other and off we went.

AND THEN we arrived at school and it fell apart fast...

I drove into the lot and as if in slow motion I noticed parents walking into the building holding packages. Small. Gift wrapped. GRAB BAG GIFTS...NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!
You have to be kidding me!!

Flashback... one night it was time for the Princess to have hr 3 am feeding and I was craving M&Ms so I go to the Emergency Food Cabinet and odd boxes caught my eye. Gee, that looks like matchbox cars and a doll. Hmmm... and then that thought went away never to be recalled again until..yeah Grab Bag Day.

And then it all comes back to me...The boys had picked the names of other students to buy gifts for, one boy and one girl and a $5 limit. I had bought the gifts way back at the beginning of December. All set, no chance of being "That Mom" who doesn't buy a gift for the grab bag.
But, my helpful Hubby moved them from the pile of presents to the EMERGENCY FOOD CABINET. Yeah, cause that is where I would look for gifts for nursery school kids, in the cabinet with my secret chocolate stash.

SO-I went into panic mode. Literally. I set off the alarm on my car. Way to make an entrance. Then I unloaded all 3 kiddies and trek over the icy parking lot into the school. I left the boys in their classroom and went to the Hall to help set up for the show. My mind was racing. I had 20 minutes until the show starts and knowledge that 2 children will not be getting gifts unless I risk missing the show. I decided to leave the Princess with another mom that I am friends with and race to a store. Luckily in the parking lot I met up with my parents. Stregga and Papa are always good in a pinch because they are quick on their feet. They don't require much of an explanation or direction. Basically they see that I am on the verge tears and, boy, girl. $5 and they head off to save the day!!

In the meantime I headed back inside to save seats for my parents and in-laws and hope it all works out. Each minute ticked by with a cruel twist. It went by super fast and it was almost Show Time, yet passed sloooowly because Stregga and Papa were still out and it was almost Show Time. Gotta love irony.

I thought to myself no big deal, my parents will sneak in the side door and put the gifts on the table with the others and no one will know the difference.


The teacher came up to me and asked if I had my grab bag gifts. Ummm...
When I mention that my parents on their way with them she says no problem

AND THEN she holds up the ENTIRE show for us!!!! She got up in front of the waiting parents and grandparents and starts small talking, she is a quick thinker!

Thankfully it was for only 5 minutes, the looooooongest 5 minutes of my life, but still. Finally, in walk Stregga and Papa with 2 bags chuck full of goodies- THANK YOU!!!!!

AND THEN the Cutest Show On Earth began. I videoed every adorable moment for Hubby who could not be with us. Stregga took pictures for us, broken hand and all, gotta love her!!!!

It was a fantastic show and my little guys were too funny. Cenzo sang his heart out and Luccio stood there like he had never heard these songs before in his life! LOL!! We enjoyed the show and the kids didn't know what had gone on behind the scenes.

But, I did. It was another moment that proved I am now That Mom. The one who forgets grab bag gifts for her preschool children to share with their friends at Christmas.

But, hey at least I didn't forget any of my kids. least not that day!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Time Out For Santa

I have spent the past month preparing the boys for Christmas. We talked about how Santa brings special gifts to each child to help Baby Jesus celebrate his birthday. We have been listening to Christmas music and singing songs, shopping for gifts to give loved ones, reading book after book about Christmas. We have talked about Santa and his elves preparing toys and reindeer that can fly. I have tried to help them experience the holiday magic and sacredness of Christmas. But, somehow I think the boys have missed the point...

I overheard them playing "pretend." And they have decided to incorporate rules and consequences into their imaginary world. SO...

The elves were sent to Time Out for not making enough toys, the Reindeer were given a Time Out for not eating, and Mrs. Claus gave Santa a Time Out.

The other night, even Grandma was threatened with a Time Out if she woke up the baby!!!

I knew it was getting serious when I heard them telling one of their dolls, "You better be nice or you will go to Time Out and Santa won't bring you any presents."

Ah, all of my hard work for nothing. They missed the whole point. The magic, the marvel, the holiness. All out the window. The only thing they took to heart is THE SANTA THREAT.

At the beginning of the season I swore I would not be a parent who used Santa to manipulate my children into good behavior. But, somewhere along the way I feel off that soapbox. It was just too darn easy!! It started simple enough...Hubby and I wanted the living room cleaned and Hubby said, "Santa is listening." Well, that room was cleaned in a flash!! It was as if Santa himself had sprinkled magic dust on our children and set them in motion.

Next, it was "You wouldn't want Santa to see you hitting your brother, would you??"
And eventually it got to the ever popular Naughty List. No one wants be on that list!!!

Once I heard Santa being put in time out, I decided to take it literally. I thought we needed to step back from that jolly old elf and start focusing on the real reason for the season. So I set up a day for the boys to give back. I told them we were going to help Jesus celebrate his birthday by helping someone who needed it. We decided to donate jackets to a local ministry that participates in the Midnight Run in NYC. So the boys and I loaded up a bag of outgrown coats and drove them over to the community center. They had a great time dragging the bag around. They told the woman in charge that they were there to give their jackets to people with no jackets. Plain and simple.

I have no idea if they "got it." But, for a few minutes we stopped in the middle of the holiday madness to take in the importance of it all. And although they fought me on giving away Daddy's jacket because "he might get cold," they were excited to drop off that bag.

And so we will wait for Santa to arrive, we will be overjoyed to open gifts and play with all the new treasures. But, I hope what they will remember is the holiday "feast" with their family, the time shared with loved ones, the simple moments that make it all magical.

And I hope that no one will have to get sent to Time Out! At least for the day!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Meals on Wheels

Most Moms I know are excellent multi-taskers. They can juggle house chores, bill paying, play dates and doctor appointments while feeding, changing, and caring for their children. On most occasions this means wiping noses and behinds, cooking meals, opening juices boxes, gluing toys together, finding lost socks and shoes, and basically saving the world all while talking on the phone and checking emails. I even know some Moms that are able to update their Facebook status during Labor!!

There are some tasks however that require more attention than others. These tasks are far and few between, but there are exceptions to the rule, driving is one of them. Yes, you can talk on your cellphone, eat and drink your coffee at the same time as you sing songs and tell stories and break up fights. You can even pass out snacks and retrieve fallen toys with your bionic arms. But, one thing you CANNOT do is feed a baby. Well, maybe you could, probably you really shouldn't for a multitude of reasons.

Well, my children have a hard time understanding that theory. They think I should be able to do everything, instantly. I remind them that I AM NOT MAGICAL, even though it often seems like I am, LOL!!

So, the other day I picked up the boys from school and loaded them into the Mom Mobile. Just as we pulled out of the parking lot, Princess Bean woke up. She had been sleeping for 3 hours and was starving!!! She let us know it too, loudly!!

The boys immediately started yelling, "She awake!! She hungry!! Feed her!!"
I explained that I would feed her when I got home. But, Luccio thought that was unacceptable, so he kept saying "Feed her! Feed her now!" I calmly said, over baby's screams, that I would have to feed her at home.

Luccio said, "Oh, you forgot your boobies??"

Uh, no- I am DRIVING!!!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Gingerbread Meltdown

The exhaustion finally caught up with me yesterday and it wasn't pretty. I felt like I was running a leg of the Amazing Race. The task was to get myself and 3 kids out of the house by 8:30 am and deliver the boys to their field trip at Gingerbread Village on time. Well...I woke up at 6 am and fed The Princess. But, I was so tired from having been up on and off all night that I fell back to sleep. I was woken up again at 7:15 by the boys. The race was on...

I fed and dressed the kids and took a quick shower. Ahead of schedule the Princess was up and demanding food. I still needed to get dressed, "pump" and pack bags. So I enlisted Luccio's help in giving his sister a bottle. He did great! Of course more milk was on her clothes than in her belly, but she went back to sleep and that was good!

At 8:35 I loaded everyone into the Mom Mobile, only 5 minutes behind schedule. Not bad!

I had the directions to the Gingerbread Village that the teacher had given us. It was located in the hall of a local church in an area of town that I have driven through A MILLION times.

With that said...

We drove in circles for 30 minutes. The street that the directions said I was to turn onto did not exist, I drove up and down the main road and could not find that road!! I kept getting to the area where I thought it was and there was a ROAD CLOSED sign so I kept turning around and starting over. My cell phone was not charged so I couldn't call the teacher whose number is on the directions. UGHHHHH!!

I was supposed to have them at the field trip by 9 am, they were only going to stay there until 9:30, finally at 9:05 I pulled over and asked a guy sitting in car for directions. He said I could follow him and he would drive me there. Thank you!!!

He drove us to the wrong church -there are 4 in the center of that town and none were Gingerbread Village!!! I was panicking. Now it's 9:10 am.

I pulled into a parking lot and see this older woman get out of her car. Mercy, that poor woman!! She wasn't expecting me to say the least. I got out of my Mom Mobile, I thought I was calm (and sane.) And then, all of sudden I am talking to the poor woman and crying like a loon!!! I tell her I haven't slept through the night in almost 2 months and I am exhausted and I can't find the Gingerbread Village and I have two 3 year olds who are now 15 minutes late for a 30 minute field trip. I can't disappoint them and I can't find the church... and on and on...

The woman looks at me and says, "Honey, it's ok. It's right across the street."

OMG!!! How embarrassing!! The driveway of the church is right at the sign where it says "Road Closed." I drove past there numerous times, so focused on the road being closed I never saw the GIANT sign that says the name of the church right there!

So I quickly dry my eyes, reapply lip gloss and race the kids out of their seats and into the building. We made it and it's only 9:20!!

We spend 10 minutes looking at Gingerbread Houses and then its time to load them back into the car to take them to school. Luckily other parents and even the teacher had gotten lost too, so I am not the only one. Although no one else looks like they have been crying on the shoulder of strange old ladies in the parking lot across the street.

On the way to school Luccio says, "You crying Mommy?" I tell him "No, not anymore."
And he keeps asking me, "You crying Mommy?" No, sweetie I have recovered thanks!
Then Cenzo says, "I cry when I wet my bed."

We arrive at school, I open the door and there is a fake fireplace the teachers have hung on the wall. It's covered with handmade paper stockings. Stockings that the kids have decorated. Stockings that the kids were supposed to have made for HOMEWORK!!! Yes, the first homework assignment of their school careers and I completely forgot to do it with them. I unpacked it from their bookbags last week and stuck in on top of the fridge. Real nice!

Luckily I walked in with a Mom Friend and she didn't remember either!! Thank God!!! I am not the only one!! We commiserate with another mom in the parking lot who forgot too!! We decide to hand the projects in the next day and act like that is when it was supposed to be due!!

So, now I am "That Mom." The mom with more kids than hands to hold them. The mom who shows up late to field trips and forgets homework assignments. The mom who is wearing mismatched socks and has puke on her shirt. The mom who so desperately needs a cup of coffee its like being in the desert without water.

In the words of Kate Gosselin, "It might be a crazy life, but it's MY life."

And I love it! I wouldn't change it for all the sleep in the world!! I just hope that if my kids end up in therapy someday recalling a "gingerbread incident," they will agree!!!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Better Than A Towel

The boys seemed to have gone from babies to big kids overnight. They have hit a new milestone too- pillows!!! I wasn't sure when to introduce pillows. I spent the first 2 years petrified of SIDS and keeping everything out of the cribs. Then they turned 2 and they started piling all their stuffed animals in bed with them at night and even have graduated to blankets covering them. Then a couple weeks ago they had colds and I propped their mattresses up with towels so they could breathe better. They thought that was the greatest thing ever!! They were fascinated that towels were under their mattresses and even asked if they could have an extra towel "to fold into a pillow." Poor deprived boys have been sleeping on their towels for weeks now. But, Grandma took pity on them and bought them pillows!!! So the other night they went to bed with their new pillows and Luccio snuggled onto his pillow and sighed, "Ah, that's better." And Cenzo agreed, "Yeah, that's much better than a towel."

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The First Breakfast

As you can imagine, with a new baby in the house there have been lots of questions. Since the boys are only 3, I wasn't quite sure what they would understand about the pregnancy and then arrival of their sister. So we told them simple information like there was a baby growing in my belly that would soon be their baby sister.

Well, they wanted more info than I was prepared to give. So sometimes I had to get creative and think fast and be as honest as possible. They wanted to know, "How did the baby get in your belly?" Well...the Holy Spirit of course. "How is it going to get out of your belly?" Well...The doctor will take it out. "What tool will the Doctor use to get it out?" Well...OMG, I have no idea! A scalpel maybe??

You get the idea, the questions go on and on, especially since taking Isabella home. Lots of questions about her day to day care about feeding, changing, and bathing her, etc.

So last night we are at a local Christmas Festival and on our way out we stopped to pay homage at the Nativity. The boys greeted Baby Jesus and Mary.

And they had some questions...

Luccio wanted to know if he could sit on the ceramic cow? Easy answer-NO!

Cenzo walked up to Mary who was standing over the Baby Jesus. And he wanted to know,
"Does she have milk in her boobies?" Ummmm......

This reminded me of a retreat that I went on that was held at a Franciscan Friary. In the dining room was a huge painting of The Virgin Mary nursing Baby Jesus. One of Friars joked, "You have heard of the Last Supper, well this is the First Breakfast."