Saturday, August 28, 2010

Notes to Self

We had another busy week, making homemade ice cream and eating grape popsicles with my best friend and her cuties.

I am blessed to have a 10 year old nephew who adores his younger Salad and a spontaneous sister who is crazy enough to invite us on all of their summer adventures. So this week, we hiked Newlin Grist Mill with them, traipsing over fallen trees, peeing in the woods, running in meadows, skipping rocks and feeding fish. Note to self - buy more fish food.

I was wound a little too tight that day though and instead of letting the Salad wade with reckless abandon in the water, I was a bit wiggy, warning M far too often that he shouldn't get his Toy Story light up sneakers wet. Of course, here I am 3 days later, feeling Mommy guilt for not letting my 3 year old be a 3 year old. Note to self - those sneakers only cost $12.00 at Target. Lighten up, geez. In true boy fashion though, he managed to get sufficiently wet (shoes and all) while gathering the "good skipping" stones. We tried hard to skip them like Ian, but all efforts ended with loud plunks, rocks flying here and there. Note to self - maybe not a good idea to let 3 year olds throw rocks. Too many heads around.

Lately, A insists on wearing a skirt everyday. She insists everything be pink, right down to her underwear. She sports pink patent leather shoes that she call her "princess shoes" instead of Converse sneakers, like her sister wears. We went through a period this winter in which she wore a pink and purple tutu over her clothes each day. She's a delicate girl, whose feelings get hurt easily. She sobs if she gets a tiny scrape. So I find it ironic, that she never hesitates to get filthy dirty. Soaking-wet-digging-in-the-dirt dirty. She's an enigma, that one.
Note to self - buy Oxiclean.

Friday, August 27, 2010


This post was originally written on June 28, 2010:

I'm writing this as a reminder to myself. I had a hard day. I needed more help than I had. I have a lot to get done, in the house, around the house, for the house. But I forgot today that the Salad should be my first priority. Above all else. Anyway, here goes my reminder . . .

I was trying to talk to R about finding him the phone number for the guy to fix our leaky refrigerator. I had 2 VERY WHINY 3 year olds, begging for my attention. I couldn't even hear over A's screaming to be picked up. And M and I had been butting heads all morning long, mostly over his disobedience in the bowling alley's parking lot earlier. But I digress. He was crying to talk to his daddy. I.needed.quiet. So I stepped into the office and shut the door. Immediately, the crying kicked up about 40thousand decibels with A and M pounding on the door. I finished up my call, sat on the office chair and started crying. I told the Salad I was putting myself in timeout, I needed time to myself, without anyone crying in my face. And suddenly I heard a third voice join in the crying. Loud and clear and heartbroken, my sweet little S sobbed "But mommy, you my bestest friend." Ouch. That shot me straight in the heart.

So once again, I am ending my day feeling less than stellar about my parenting skills. Hoping against hope, that even though I have a bad day, even if I have 5 bad days in a row, you 3 know that I love my Salad. You guys are my bestest friends.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Fire, fire!

We had our most fun week in "preschool" yet. We had lesson after lesson about fire! The Salad loved it. First, we talked about firefighters, how they must be strong and brave. We talked about the tools they use to fight fires, then strapped on some boots and I had them climb a ladder.
During quiet time, I used yellow and red sidewalk chalk to draw flames on the cement and set the Salad to squirt them out with the hose.
Day 2, we talked about fire safety and then set some stuff on fire. Just matches and sparklers, but boy, was it a hit.

Day 4, the Salad was left in the hands of Ian and Aunt Jen, who followed along with our theme and helped them fashion flashlights out of paper and cupcake wrappers.

Day 5, we read book after book about fire safety. No Dragons for Tea comes highly recommended from my little pyromaniacs.

We spent a lot of time thrashing about on the floor, practicing "Stop, Drop and Roll." We learned about "Stay Low and Go." We set up our family meeting spot, in case there was a fire in our house. And as our grand finale to Fire Week, we had a fire drill. A took her roll as "Little Mama" seriously and stopped playing doctor as soon as she heard the alarm, dropped to her knees, and lead the crawl up the steps to the front door, where she felt the door to be sure it wasn't hot. I've never been so proud.

Over the weekend, we took a trip with R to the Fireman's Hall Museum in the city. Many of the exhibits required reading, so it was a bit over the Salad's heads. But, I had prepared a picture scavenger hunt of fire fighting tools. That, along with a small section of books, puzzles, 911 phones, and fire fighting boots and jackets kept us occupied for well over an hour.
Best of all- it was free!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Out of the mouths of babies . . .

A: "Mommy?"
Me: "Hmm?" clearly distracted by the grapes and raspberries I was cleaning for breakfast.
A: "Mommy?" thinking to herself, "She WILL NOT ignore me!"
Me: "Yes, A? What do you need?"
A: "When are you going to have more babies, so that we can fill up all the seats in our car?"
Me: "Never, sweetie. Now run along and feed your brother and sister these grapes."

Certainly, our car will be full of more crumbs, dirty clothes, tricycles, balls, picnic blankets, sunscreen and miscellaneous crap over the coming years. But babies? The car* has had her fill.

*Please substitute Mommy for car.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Dance, dance, baby.

In an effort to make playgroup more aware of ethnic diversity, we headed down to the Mann music center for a youth program of Cambodian, Mexican, Irish, and African Dance & Drums.

Geez. I'm just kidding. They're only 3, for crying out loud. We went because it was free.

Anyway, I'm pleasantly surprised by how well the Salad responded to the 75 minute concert. A studied each group that came onto stage with rapt attention. S danced in the aisle and begged me to let her take lessons to learn how to "dance like the little girls in the princess dresses with Goldilocks curls." M watched the first 30 minutes and then played with Ian, fidgeted around his seat, and snacked for the remained of the time. Occasionally, he would cover his ears, say it was too loud and ask when it would be over. Then, an acrobat would leap over 4 children on stage or a stilt walker would appear and he'd pay attention again.

Now, off to find Irish Dance lessons!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


We studied the letter E a few weeks back. This was a hard letter to link to a lesson – we had covered the Earth during Earth Week in April. Electricity is a no go since they’ve been taught since birth that it’s dangerous. And how much can you talk about Exits/Entrances? So, we learned about different forms of Energy. We bought pinwheels at the dollar store and talked about how Wind Energy moved them. We melted ice cubes and crayons outside to demonstrate the power of Solar Energy. We talked about our favorite healthy foods and how they gave us Energy. We drove to a gas station and they watched as our minivan guzzled up gas for Fuel Energy. We did touch upon the topic of Electrical Energy, simply by walking around the house and pointing out the many things that use Electricity to run. We talked about Energy conservation, much of which we had spoken about during Earth Week.

For a field trip, we headed to the brand spanking new Delaware Children's Museum with our friends Peter and Lucy. They have a ECOnnect Exhibit, about clean Energy that I was Eager to show the Salad. As an added bonus, the museum was a comfy 75 degrees, compared to the 102 degree weather outside. Truth be told, it was not a smooth visit. I will now list the reasons why:

1. The Salad got stuck in this Exhibit. They got scared and scattered inside of this giant ball. Then they all cried out for me to save them from their respective areas of the sphere. I was a mess, shirt covered in tears and sweat and we had been in the museum for 7 minutes.
as evidenced by this picture, they did try the sphere a 2nd time and were successful!
2. Someone would not share the canoe with Peter. I gave said someone many opportunities to do so, before forcibly removing someone from the boat into timeout, as someone wailed that there would be no apology to Peter.
3. True to someone’s word, there was no apology.
4. Someone wanted the pink bowl at lunch, which tore another someone to pieces. Nobody got the pink bowl.
5. Someone asked a 18 month old stranger to remove herself from the Engine of “someone’s” train.
6. A got her thumb pinched in the ECOnnect Exhibit generator.
7. My arm was bruised and scraped by a piece of falling playhouse roof.
8. Someone would not dance with Lucy.
9. Someone would not give Peter a high-5 when we left.

The “someone” in the above list is the same someone Each and Every time. I am keeping their identity hidden, though, because this list certainly paints this someone in a bad light, when really someone was just having an off day.

Someone Else had a breakdown later in the day. I really melted down and cried. Er, I mean, someone melted down and cried . . . yeah, that’s right . . . someone.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

An update, of sorts.

So, how's that list of way to "be a better Me" going? Glad you asked . . .

Take life less seriously.
This is always a work in progress. Slow, sloooooow progress.
Find gymnastics class Salad will enjoy.
They have been in class since May and are loving it!
Take better care of myself.
I joined a gym and make a more concerted effort to take a vitamin everyday. Baby steps, people, baby steps.
Design ideal laundry room.
Completo finito! And painted bright orange as of this weekend!
Introduce Beatles music to the Salad.
I sing Blackbird to them every time we eat blackberries, subbing fruit for bird, but so far, that's it.
Clean behind bar.
Done. Then junked up. Then done again. Then more junk.
Find inexpensive free standing bar.
Lowest priority on my list. I keep reminding myself that there are 5 more months left in the year. Doesn't really matter until I clean that junk behind the bar anyway.
Organize audio/visual equipment.
Does "kinda" count as an update?
Remind my friends they are important to me.
Friends? You are important to me.
Make Julia Child's Beef Bourguinon.
It was yummy, but took me all day to make.
Curl my eyelashes everyday.
I'm gonna estimate 78% of my days, I'm batting curly lashes. The other 22% it's all I can do to brush my teeth.
Be more dedicated to making Artscape, Inc. a success.
Develop simple preschool home school curriculum for Salad.
Purchased the Learning Box Preschool and am supplementing with tons of field trips and activities.
Serve my family selflessly.
Sigh. I wake up everyday trying. I love you, R and my spirited Salad.

Monday, August 2, 2010

On the way to NJ . . .

We ventured out of state twice in one week, early in July. Thankfully the Salad does well in the car. R and I have chosen not to have a DVD player in the swagger wagon, so I have gotten good at tossing food, books, magna doodles, and cups into the back seats.

On Wednesday, playgroup traveled to the Garden State Discovery Museum. I think we've been spoiled by the Please Touch Museum. This one was 16 years old and the exhibits were well loved. It had the typical exhibits - doctor's office, supermarket, construction site - but it did have a few new sights to see. Namely, a giant light bright and a sporting section. We played basketball, soccer, golf and hockey. S loved every second of it.
We lunched, dressed up like ballerinas and danced on stage for a while, then got under way just as the heavens opened up. It rained so hard, I could barely see out of the windows, but was already on the highway, so we just had to keep on keeping on. We got home safely after 90 minutes on the road. Thankfully the Salad was in a good mood and talked of poop and how they are not allowed to watch Yo Gabba Gabba and that they love yogurt almost the whole way home. I asked each one, what their favorite part of the day had been and without a moment's thought, M said "You, mommy." Be still, my heart.
Thursday, we packed up and headed to the ocean for the day. As a special treat, we met up with the Salad's cousins. We got to the beach just in time for lunch. Once our bellies were full of PB&Js and strawberries, we hit the sand running and didn't stop for hours. We had a great day of discovery, finding shells and tiny crabs. M was so excited when I said we could bring his little crab home that he found. "Oh my goodness!" he shouted.
We showered off at Aunt Nicole's house and then the 5 of us (Gram included) headed to the boardwalk. After a yummy dinner, helicopters, motorcycles, trains and roller coasters were ridden. I have to tussle S's hair to help her reach the height limit to ride alone. She's always been a peanut. Anyway, we picked up funnel cake and Johnson's popcorn for daddy, changed into our jammies and were asleep before we got out of Ocean City. Let me rephrase that - the Salad was asleep - I had to drive, so I stayed awake almost the whole ride home.

I jest, I jest - I stayed awake the whole ride home!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

An imaginary "Take that, lady!"

We stopped in Starbucks yesterday and M asked if he could come in with me. He had asked sweetly and been obliging all morning, so I acquiesced, although it brought protests from the girls.

The line was 5 people deep and as soon as we took our place, M started with "I want to go back to the car." Over and over and over. I stayed calm, told him I knew he wanted to go back, but that wasn't happening until we had gotten our coffee. But he kept going, not screaming, not crying, just being a persistent 3 year old about going back to the car.

And then it happened. The woman in front of us, covered her ears, and kept them covered. An adult woman, plugged her fingers into her ears, so that she couldn't hear my son. I scooped him up, not to stop the whining, but because I suddenly felt protective. She ordered her drinks and went to sit at a table with her friend. I ordered my drinks and while they were being made, walked M out to the car and told R I'd be right back. My hands were shaking as I put sugar in R's iced coffee. I walked calmly up to the woman, bent down, and asked for her attention. And even though I felt like dumping my drinks all over her head, I held my voice steady as I told her that while I expected childish behavior from my 3 year old, I was surprised by childish behavior from an "adult". She sat silently, with a silly look on her face as I turned and left the store.

Consider this a virtual dumping of iced mocha over an immature moron's head.