Thursday, December 28, 2006

Backstage with the Star!

Here is a pic of Kate, Nick and I after her aforementioned "Christmas Show". I only wish we had brought her roses to award her standing-ovation-worthy performance! :)

Holiday Pics

Here are some pics from actual Christmas! Kate got a Parasol from her Aunt Madelyn and Joe and it, along with the dollhouse, was the hit of the day. She has used it daily! The rest are pics of Kate, Liam and cousin Jack as well! I have to get some of Mia up here, too!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Simple Things

Liam got quite a few very amazing and wonderful toys and amusements for Christmas, any number of which should provide endless hours of entertainment for a little tyke. For the past 45 MINUTES (an amazing attention span for any 10 month old) he has been playing with.......a used up wrapping paper roll. The large wand of cardboard is apparently the MOST amazing thing he has ever encountered. It has been causing me to laugh loudly and fully for many minutes. He has managed to even maneuver it while he is crawling and will bring it with him from room to room so he can pound the cardboard on different surfaces. "Let's see what carpet sounds like! How about tile? What about the wall?". He is positively delighted and delightful. Also, if I take it away from him and place it across the room, he achieves new record speeds of lightning crawling to get to it. So cute. I could watch this all day! It makes me recall Kate when she was a wee one and the BEST toy ever that you could give her to keep her interest was a plastic water bottle. So much for Santa and his deliveries! :)

Hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas! Next stop - 2007! Whoa!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Kate had her School Christmas Program yesterday. It was one of the funniest things I have ever seen from her and I laugh just thinking about it! There are 20 children in Kate's class and they all filed in, basically wearing individualized versions of the same outfit just by chance. All the little girls wore red dresses with tights and Mary Jane shoes and all the little boys were in dark pants with button-downs and sweaters. Basically the tiniest Prep-fest in the land!

The children obviously had been practicing for this. All the parents, looking like a press corps with multiple lenses and video cameras (and yes, we are of course, guilty!) aimed at the kids, waited while the kiddos lined up in two rows. One row seated, one row standing on a small stage behind, holding on to the back of the chair in front of them.

It should be made known that the "stage" was actually a small rise where there is an altar. The show was held in the church basement where there is a more informal church service held.

Well, Kate decided she wanted to be on the stage after initially sitting on a chair. Then she decided to have the best of both worlds and sat herself on what she calls the "priest throne" which is a much more elaborate seat than the banquet chairs the other children were on. After the "throne" was removed from view so as not to distract her, instead of standing in line next to the other kids, Kate took one giant step sideways, so as not to be obscured or hindered by other children. She stood in her own space on the stage.

And the show began.

The "show" - consisting of 4 or 5 Christmas songs, complete with hand motions - was a riot. While all the other children looked ahead, singing - or not singing as was the case for some - and were very cute, obedient and proper, Kate REALLY went to town. She twirled. She jumped. She shook her hips and waved her arms. She sung and did all kinds of motions. And, after each song, while the other kids politely smiled and listened to the applause, Kate would smile proudly, slowly close her eyes, and very dramatically bow to the audience. And sometimes she curtsied. We were all just rolling in the aisles, I'll tell you.

At one point in the show, they were singing a song that involved jingling some strings with bells on them that the children had made. Kate earlier had decided she wanted nothing to do with her strand and had given it to me pre-performance. Well, she then felt the need to have it and, mid-song - started calling out in a directors voice "Stop! Stop!" and she ran around to the front of all the children and held up her hand and yelled "STOOOOP". She did not have her bells, you see! The show went on and I pulled Kate aside and gave her her bells and she finished the number with a big bow. SO SO FUNNY.

I have to upload the pics yet.

Following the show, Santa came and our outgoing superstar suddenly became a terrified clingy sweetie. She wanted NOTHING to do with him. But gladly settled down with a gingerbread cookie and some milk with all the families afterwards. It was such a fun time.

She certainly is independent. Some parents were looking at me like "control your kid". Um - she was singing the songs, she was doing the motions. The only difference was that she was standing a little farther away and she added some flair to it with some spin moves. Ok - a 5th grader totally acting out is one thing - but these are three year olds, people! It's not like she was at some national debate competition about the relevance of fossil fuels in the future and all of a sudden decided to break into a song and dance aside of the podium! Sheesh! The important thing is that all the kids have fun and are learning. YES she needs to learn to stand in line, but that will certainly come. And we talked about it. But I just cannot believe some of the disdainful looks. Oh well! I got just as many people telling me that she was a riot and adorable and they wished their kid would have even smiled. So everyone has room for improvement. Parents and kids alike. Whether it is working on feeling comfortable in front of a crowd or working on reigning it in a bit, every kid is making progress. The parents could learn a few things too. I have to learn not to let other's judgments bug me. And some people need to learn not to judge.

After all, it was not a competition, it was Jingle Bells and Rudolph for goodness sake!

Anyway, the main point was to tell the hilarity that was Kate. And we were SOOO proud of her! But I also try to write about what I am learning through all these wonderful experiences and the new feelings I encountered.For instance, I never knew I could want to pile drive a mom for suggesting my three year old was less than great in a preschool play!!!!! Mommyhood brings on all kinds of emotions!

Have you seen the movie "Parenthood" with Steve Martin? At the end there is a school play and the little boy TOTALLY ruins it and goes off on his own and chaos ensues. At first the parents are worried and embarrassed and trying to stop it and then they realize - hey, it is not brain surgery - and they start to laugh at it all, despite some of the other parents being all irritated.....and eventually almost the whole auditorium is cracking up. That is what I want to be like. Sure, Nick and I take discipline, manners, education etc very seriously. But we also want our kids to be creative, brave and fun. Most of all, we just want them to be themselves and shine where they want to shine. I hope we manage the balance!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Childhood Rite of Passage or Huge Salmonella Risk?

Today we made cookies. It is a brisk chilly day and it was so nice to smell them baking in the warm toasty house. Kate LOVES to bake and cook with me. She is a great helper. Here is a pic of her helping me out - by licking the batter. I really debated because isn't it basically just allowing her to consume raw eggs? Then I thought of how many times I ate cookie dough as a kid. It is a kid's obligation to do so! So I figured in moderation it would be ok. I hope.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

School-time Samba

I think I finally understand why there are so many home schooled children in the State of Minnesota. It is simply that the parents don't want to do the School-time Samba. This involves bundling all your children into many layers of clothing. Then as soon as you have them all bundled, one will either have to go to the bathroom or will have pooped in their diaper. So you have to undress one of them and then redress. By the time the one is dressed again, the other one is sweating from being bundled in the warm house too long. Then YOU have to get bundled. WAIT!!! Older child forgot to pack something for show and tell! Listen to the decision making process of a three year old on what to bring and then dig through toy bin for the imperative purple pony doll and place in backpack. Then cart diaper bag, school backpack and two puffy marshmallow children to the car. One puffy marshmallow on hip while you wrestle with keys, door locks, garage doors. Place marshmallow kiddies into car seats. Adjust straps so there is enough room to get giant puffy arms and legs buckled in. Go around to other side of car and buckle other puffball in. THEN drive to school. Find a parking spot that is hopefully NOT a block away from the entrance. Exit car into 2 degree weather as your lungs turn to ice. THEN get BOTH puffballs out of car, WAIT - first put the gloves and hats back on that have been ripped off in car seat - extricate children from the many straps. Baby on hip, grab the school bag, help the other kid jump down from the car because she has suddenly decided she is too scared to climb down herself. Switch giant baby to other hip. Race to school entrance with school bag and giant baby bouncing while trying to stuff car keys in pocket and calling for 3 year old to "hurry up please! You can tap dance on the sidewalk LATER". Into classroom - unbundle the older one and kiss goodbye while hanging on to giant puffy baby with one arm. Back to car. Re-secure giant baby. Listen to his screams as he is fed up with the in-and-out of the car and the cold while wearing what could double as a flotation device. Arrive home.
Lock. Unlock.

Do it all again in a few hours upon pick up of the older child. I don't know how some of my friends that have twins and 3+ children do it! Sainthood for them!

You see why home schooling is so pervasive here, now? It saves so much time! :) Not that I could ever do that. The more peaceful hours between the unbundling processes are worth every button and snap. But ask me again if it is all worth it when we add the delight of a foot of snow to this scenario!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Pics of Liam

Seriously. I cannot even handle the cuteness! Is it immodest of me to say that about my own child?! :) He was so darn cute tonight - just playing so hard! He is very into standing up and holding on to furniture as he cruises around while holding on. He does little circuits around the ottoman. Anyway - he was hamming it up all night and then I put him in what we call his "office" for some downtime and I walked in the room and found him crashed out. SO SWEET!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Pics of Kate

Here are some pics of Kate getting ready to go to the Holiday Party at the sorority house that I am an advisor for. The members throw a lovely party for the alums and their kids, too! It was so nice to go and have the kids occupied by some of the college women in games of candyland etc. while the alums got to have some great food, drinks and conversation. Kate looooves to go the "Fayta" house as she calls the "Theta" house! :) It was a great party and the gals were terrific hostesses!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The Longest Blog Entry Ever in the History of Blog Entries (title spoken in a Charlton Heston-type voice)

Can I just say “TGIF”? Or even “TGID” (Thank God it’s December!)?! As loyal blog-friends know, the MONTH of November has been full of both wonderful and WHOA. Parent pixies, boogars, ear infections, car sick, blah blah blah. Well, November would not go quietly and the last day of the month was one for the Mommy Record Books.

Even the weather was in on the joke. After wonderfully mild days of 50+ degrees, the Minnesota chill settled in and we woke to 8 degrees of warmth outside – without the wind chill! After a night of a screaming Liam (he is still off his sleeping schedule after the whole ear infection), I struggled to bundle the kids into their winter coats so I could get Kate to school on time. We scurried outside (because I forgot to put the car in the garage) where we were temporarily delayed by Kate’s amazing discovery of being able to SEE people’s BREATH. She just could not get over it and demanded a full scientific explanation of it while we stood on the porch. We just could not do anything until I explained “why my breathing is white like a cloud”. Ok, quick science lesson while Liam – looking like a giant puffy blueberry in his enormously cozy blue bunting, with only his eyes and nose exposed to the chill – kept gasping and grunting due to the cold. We RAN to the car and I pressed my auto-door-opener.


Pressed it again.


Here is a description of what followed as all doors to the car were frozen shut.
Maggie attempts to open each of the doors. Pulling with all her might. Bracing one foot against the car and throwing full – and not insignificant – body weight into the task. Nada. Maggie pounds around the perimeter of the doors like knocking a secret code on a hidden panel in an attempt to break lose any ice inside. Nada. Maggie ends up crawling into the car through the trunk while the children look on from the frozen yard. She gets the front door open, but the back doors still are not budging – not even from inside the car. She loads the kids in through the front seat.

Hey – at least I did not have to load them in through the trunk. Needless to say, we were late for school.

The next fun event came as I picked Kate up from school. She had a great day– after all, they made tambourines and played marching band! She did NOT want to leave school. She refused to put her coat on. I wrestled it on. She threw her mittens across the floor. She hid behind her teacher, clutching her legs wailing “iiiiiii waaaannnt to staaaaay and plaaaaaaay” (all the children are now gone except for her!). After about 10 minutes of what was like wrestling a greased pig, I got her coat and mittens and hat on and literally dragged her out of school as she kicked and screamed. Her protests became – well, guttural. She sounded like the exorcist child, sans swearing. She writhed and twisted and did that limp as a noodle, stiff as a board thing. She would become dead weight so she was immovable. Let me remind you, dear reader, that I have a giantly huge heavy baby in an even MORE giant snowsuit in my arms while all this is going on. And the car is parked almost a block away. All the kindergarten moms are in their warm minivans parked on the street waiting for their kids – and watching me wrangle an insane three year old while holding a record setting mass of a 9 month old. I ended up carrying both kids - each under one arm - like one might carry an armful of grocery sacks – except one of the sacks has a very red face and is kicking violently. This was very hard. Every time I put Kate down to readjust my grip, she would run back toward school and I would have to run after her, so we would lose some ground. And it was 8 degrees outside. The whole time. About 20 minutes worth of frozen freak out.

I don’t know how, but I finally got her to the car. More miraculously, I don’t know how we got to the car without (a) me collapsing on the frigid ground crying in frustration and exhaustion, or (b) me becoming one of those mom’s in the supermarket that you see that is so unhinged that you wonder if maybe you should call the Department of Children and Family Services. EVERYONE needed a time out. I honestly had never seen her behave so insanely and felt so overwhelmed! It was invasion of the body snatchers type stuff! Anyone who knows Kate knows this was unusual for her character. But I guess not unusual for any and every kid to experience from time-to-time, right? In other words she is normal. She is normal. She is normal. :) Most days she is exceptional, but THIS aspect of her behaviour was normal. tee hee

I will skip the details of the disciplinary action because it is just not as funny as me wrestling preschoolers. But Kate informed me that she was very tired (not surprising since her brother screamed all night and kept us all awake). She was then robbed of her TV show for the day, her stuffed animals were confiscated, etc. etc. She would go home, have lunch, and go straight to naptime – no toys or anything. I honestly have never been more frustrated with her and more questioning of my sanity and my ability as a parent.

Once home, in my commitment to follow through with disciplinary action, I told Kate to go “tinkles” before naptime while I quickly cleaned up after lunch. She went into the bathroom and after a few minutes of silence I called out “Kate! What’s going on?” She came tearing into the kitchen. Bottomless. With her kiddie toilet seat on her HEAD. Laughing. Maniacally.


Immediate correction. Faster than immediate. I mean – ewwwwww. I instructed Kate to GO TINKLES and then left her on the potty.

Two more minutes go by with no action if you know what I mean, so I went to check on her and she is sitting there. Bottomless. With a BEACH BALL-sized wad of Toilet Paper in her lap. Grinning proudly. And, yes, she is attempting to utilize it in the fashion for which TP was invented. She had unrolled the entire brand new roll of TP. ARRRGGHHHHH.

I am just going to skip over the rest of the day, which consisted of ongoing instances of selective hearing and memory loss on the part of Kate. She did better after her nap, but my nerves were shot.

Cut to 5pm. Kate is instructed to go potty. Wising up, I supervise this time. All goes well. I leave her to wash her hands and it sounds like things are fine. I hear a strange gurgling noise while she is running the water in the sink. Sounds like we have air in the pipes? Maybe from all this cold it was freezing up? But wait – what is THAT sound? It sounds like a loud rush of water, like maybe the tub faucet is on. Darn it! Is Kate playing in the tub now? Just as I launch forward to the bathroom as I hear the sound, I also hear a loud shout from Kate. I tear into the bathroom to see a literal geyser of water erupting from the TOILET.


There was water everywhere. It was, as Kate said, “a fountain”. So I have water pouring over my feet, over every inch of the bathroom. Kate is freaking out. I cannot get the water to stop. Kate is screaming. Kate is laughing. Liam is crawling into the bathroom. Liam is in the toilet water on the ground. The water is rising. I start to think about it seeping into the floor and causing our ceiling to collapse. The TV is right under this bathroom and Grey’s Anatomy is on tonight! OH NO!

Looooong clean up follows. Dozens of towels are used. The entire bathroom is disinfected from floor to ceiling. The children are cleaned. And somewhere in there was a call to Nick where apparently I screeched into the phone “Nooooo woorrkinnggg laaaate toniiiiight. Pleeeassee get hooooommme! Sob sob. Hysterical giggle. Sob.”

Did I also mention the cherry on top of this day? I have pinkeye. In both eyes. I look like a demon in tortoiseshell glasses. And because of our late start I was wearing sweats the whole day. And not cute “juicy couture style” sweats. We are talking giant grey sweatpants that are stretched out because I wore them through pregnancy and a gross grey sweatshirt. Which meant I was monochromatic, which I hate being.

My white night showed up in the maroon ’95 Honda Accord as soon as he could and helped out. I put the kids to bed and when I came downstairs the kitchen was clean and the house was – QUIET. Ahhhh.

Seriously, was this day not like the movie “Mr. Mom”? You know, where the washing machine becomes unbalanced and “walks” across the basement and the vacuum eats the woobie and the kid explodes a can of chili on the stove? I thought those were supposed to be overly exaggerated situations to make it funnier.

Well, this day was reality, not a Michael Keaton flick. And darn it, it WAS FUNNY! Not always in the exact moment. But I am laughing out loud right now at the thought of it. And I hope you know that none of this is complaining – I just want people to laugh along with me.

Ok, FINE – and AT me is ok, too. It is warranted!