Something Salinas This Way Comes...

Monday, February 8, 2010

Unpublished Parenting Advice of the Week

*If you resist the idea of your kids using boxes of Band-Aids as body art, skip the fancy Dora/Disney Princess/Transformers/Bob the Builder types.  Go with the plain ugly, brown, cheap Band-Aids that do not inevitably lead to your discovery of your child hiding, naked, in the closet and covered in colorful pieces of sticky tape with cloth pads sewn into them.

*On that note:  Ladies, if you have a toddler-aged kid and you have not figured this out yet--you must keep all padded feminie wear out of reach of your younguns.  Because if you do not, you will find him/her (again, naked) padded from head to toe.  Two of my children-who-shall-remain-nameless have discovered how utterly painful the removal of these items, once attached to your skin, can be. 

*Also, that gooey, nasty sticky residue left behind from Band-Aids?  It does not leave.  Ever.  Yes, it can be removed with baby oil but you will find the remnants stuck to the side of the bathtub or sink; and trust me when I say that short of a brillo pad, it is impossible to remove from fixtures and bathroom surfaces. 

*The more I read this, the more I think I'm liking Maurice's idea of replacing Band-Aids with duct tape.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

A Tad More of the Random

*I really can't wait to get the new wood stove.  The current stove is old and makes a lot of crackling noises when in use.  Thanks to the Fiery Year of Hell (2008--two stack fires AND a freaking forest fire in our back yard), I now have a bonafide phobia of dying a fiery death.  Since this wood stove is old and creaky, I must come down the stairs several times each night to check for signs of impending doom, only to discover that the crackling sound I am hearing is actually a creaking sound of expanding metal and not the sound of creosote catching fire and threatening to burn my family alive. This new wood stove promises not to be creaky in any way, thus I will be inclined to actually sleep at night.

*Maurice-ism: He bought decorative kerosine lanterns and mounted them on the wall in our living room today. This, he says, will provide me with enough light to sustain my evening ambiance.  I know that at almost fifty cents a kilowatt, he thinks this is a good solution to my fancy electric lamp. I know he thinks this means I won't turn on the electric lamp.  I know that as soon as I hear him coming down the stairs, I'm going to turn off that electric lamp and pretend like I enjoy sitting here in the dark, like a Puritan.

*We keep finding chicken eggs in the deli drawer. Until today, the perpetrator of this weirdness has been a mystery. Turns out, Chloe and Hannah take it upon themselves to remove the eggs from their carton and put them in the deli drawer. If you want to know what justificiation lies in this act, ask them. I'm pretty sure that you will only be able to decifer enough of their reply to lead you either to the living room to obtain a DVD of The Wiggles, or to the top of the fridge to retrieve some candy. If you want to witness just how many eggs can fit into a deli drawer before they completely explode in domino-fashion once the drawer is closed, come on over. Bring a roll of paper towels.

*Maurice is now switching through the channels and just passed a soft-porn version of Tarzan that is airing on Showtime. Which brings me to the question: Why does porn even have plot??

*This blog is on an RSS feed, thus the timing of its appearance in your Facebook feed is delayed. So just put down your remote control.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Creative Excuses

Joshua has begun to show signs of stellar excuse-making skillz.  Yesterday afternoon, he swore the reason he'd shoved his entire Lego/Hot Wheels mess under his bed instead of putting them away, was that his eyes were bad and that he "possibly could not have seen where he was putting the stuff". 

This is an excerpt from our conversation early this morning:

Me:  Is everybody ready to go?

Josh, Kody, and Kyleigh (mumbling all at once):  Ready!  ....find my gloves....juice and share?....sign my reading slip?...

Me:  Josh, are you wearing clean clothes under that snowsuit?



Josh:  Yes.

Me:  Are you wearing your shirt from yesterday?



Josh:  Well it's clean.

Me:  You can't wear the same shirt two days in a row.

Josh:  But it's not diiirrrrrty.  I don't want to take off all my snow gear now.

Me:   Your shirt is dirty if you wore it once, especially if it has dried rice on it.  Does your shirt have dried sticky rice on it from last night?


Me:  You need to wear a clean shirt or your teacher will think we're gross.

Josh:  But I have hair on my chest, and lice bugs don't like dirt, so I neeeeeed to wear this shiiiiirrrrrrt.

....The basis of his argument was so genius that I actually allowed him to wear the Halloween shirt from three years ago to school again today.  Props to Josh for creative excuses, and this is duly noted for when he's between the ages of 13-19.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Random Statements and Crudeness

*"Sautee" is just fancy for "fried in butter".  Get with it, menu makers of America.

*Since discovering the sinus-clearing miracle of tea tree oil, I've been inspired to initiate the process of switching all our toiletry items to natural/vegan products.  I really like my new organic rosemary shampoo.  Thanks to the afore-mentioned tea tree oil, I am keenly aware that my hair smells like the bottom of a bong, but I don't care because it is shiny, soft, and naturally volumized.

*I'm tired of the bigoted Obama jokes.  I get it.  His politics are unconventional, he's made serious mistakes, and he's a black Muslim Nazi Socialist.  Get over it, please.  Bush was a redneck who referred to the World Wide Web as "the Internets" and sent us to Iraq instead of Afghanistan, thus proving he has absolutely no sense of direction.  If we can tolerate eight years of that, we can face anything.  So there. We're all evened up now.

*Did I really just talk about hippie pot shampoo and then bag on Bush/support Obama in the same blog??  Gasp.

*I did think Bush was kind of handsome, before his eight years in office turned him into an old man.  And to be fair, I think Obama is aging faster than Bush did.  It must be karma--payback for all that evil socialist/muslim/nazi/NAACP agenda-- rearing its head and cursing him in ugly ways. 

*My friend N and my dad had a (very public) Facebook conversation yesterday about the use of FDS (that's Feminie Deoderant Spray, for you sufferers feminine-issues ingorance) to cover the stench of self-tanner.  I still laugh about it when I think of it.  Let me know how that works out for you, N.

*I seriously just advised my daughter, after she explained to me her Big Brother Woe of the Day, to get herself a bag of Sweet Hearts from the top of the fridge, and relax.  I'm really unsure as to the future damage this may cause her.  I envision lots of candy consumption during her heartbroken teen years, though...

*My husband and my best friend are in a debate over the correct title for the famous Sesame Street duo whose relationship status is debatable.  The results are in and the winner is my friend.  The answer is unanimously, "Bert and Ernie", not "Ernie and Bert".  Though their sexual preference is still open to interpretation.

*It occured to me yesterday: my life involves a lot, lot, lot of cleaning up bodily excrement.  We invest in about four different types of anti-bacterial grocery items, I disinfect our bathroom in its entirety at least once daily, and my hands are constantly chapped from washing them in some variation of abrasive yet anti-bacterial solution.  I can promise you, when I look back on these days, this is one series of memories I will not hold in high regard.

*The conclusion to this entire list of randoms is: In order to escape a long day of rank disasters, I should fry sautee something in butter and after that, enjoy a bag of Sweet Hearts.  I should always choose Sesame Street over Fox News, and continue to sniff the tea tree oil like it's an illicit drug in order to determine when a stinky disaster is created, and who the offendor is.  And in order to avoid the smell of my own bong-water hair, I should spray it with FDS.  I just hope my husband doesn't confuse my head for my...

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Existing In Abundance

People always say things to me along the lines of, "How do you do it?" (usually accompanied with a wide-eyed expression of total disbelief) and honestly, most days I can't answer because I just don't know.  Sometimes, though, something happens and I am brought face-to-face with the sort of revelations that put meaning to my life and my actions.  I used to ask myself all the time, "WHY would anyone have more than three kids?" and for the first year of Chloe and Hannah's lives, when I looked at myself in the mirror, I sat in disbelief at the reflection. It was always the same dialogue running through my head:  A mother of FIVE.  A mother of FIVE??  What the Hell??  How do I raise five kids?  The questions that friends and strangers were seeking answers to were linear to those that were cropping into my own brain; only I was so busy going through the motions, surviving, that I simply had no time to seek answers--except, of course, when I saw my own reflection and felt strange; foreign to myself.

Today was one of those self-revelation experiences--I got the kind of answer that, thankfully, I did not have to strive for or seek out.  It was an ordinary day.  We went to church for the first time in a month and my girls were busy, but so was I.  I must have gained just enough grace while at that busy mass that I was inspired to write this, in response to and in reflection of the quesiton, "Why do I do what I do, and for the love of all things Holy, HOW???" 


If you have a lof of kids (this term varying in definition depending on your perception of "a lot"), you know that as parenthood goes, there are a slew of other life situations that arrive in abundance once you welcome the addition of a child.  As the number of kids in your home grows, so do the number of catastrophes, mishaps, obstacles, emotions, and events of an expanding nature.

Someone will always be whining, or crying, or just expressing loud opposition to some relatively small issue, in the most inopportune places and at an already-stressful time.  Some kid will always be lagging behind the rest.  Someone will forever be feeling injusticed by a miniscule crime that is more closely related to the individual child's own schisms than to an actual crime of any sort.  Someone will always be stuck in the back of the SUV at church, banging on the glass and screaming at you in panicked tones, abhored at the notion that he/she is forgotten forever (okay, so maybe that's just me).

Someone always has to pee, or has a poopy diaper.  It never fails, as soon as you commence the road trip or walk into a department store, one of your kids will have to pee.  And on said road trip, at least one kid will get car sick and cover the back seat in regurgitated Goldfish crackers and chocolate milk.  Someone will always have a runny nose and at some point, I guarantee your sleeve will act in place of that travel-size baggie of Kleenex you forgot to shove in your purse.

Some kid is always going to be struggling with something--a social issue, grades, bullies at school, chronic nose bleeds. 

In the dead of winter, someone will inevitably come down with pneumonia, or bronchitis, or hand/foot/mouth disease, or head lice.  Someone always needs a band-aid, Motrin, or a hot bath with Vick's, or just a bath in general.

There are the fillings, braces, and contact lenses.  Someone's fingernails are perpetually filthy.  Someone is always hungry, always thirsty, and always trying to guarantee themselves some junk food--be it on the sly by doing chores or simply begging loudly. 

Someone is always torturing the cat.

Someone is always spilling something.

One kid will assuredly be diagnosed with some sort of disorder, delay, or genetic disease that requires utmost attention and medical guidance (not to mention a lot of frustrated prayer).  Some child will be constantly in need of emergency medical attention, either from swallowing your pills or falling (jumping) off of furniture.  Someone is always yelling; background noise is definitely in abundance.

Someone's clothes are always dirty; someone is always missing a sock, or a shoe, or a coat.  One kid's hair is always a rat's nest and one kid's pants will forever be full of holes.  The bathroom mirror will always have toothpaste on it, and your dryer will never, ever host an even number of perfectly matched socks.

Someone will always be mad and resentful toward one or both parents--I can't say for certain, but I am pretty solid in assuming that for at least one kid, the recollected childhood injustices will last into adulthood.  One kid will inevitably suffer lack of attention or affection, and act out in ways that may not exactly warrant reactions of gratitude from parents, but the end result will certainly equate to attention of some sort.  You can bet your ass that all of them will break your hearts when they grow up and decide that whatever lessons you intended to instill in them don't matter, and, at some point along the way, they are going to disappoint you.

Some kid will always be saying, "Can I?", "Will you....", "I want...", "I need...", and it is likely that, as a parent to many, it will show in the number of grey hairs you have, the number of missed hours at work, and the number of dollars in your bank account. 

At least one kid per week will be crawling into your bed, tears and teddy bears in abundance, kicking you in your shins, drooling on you and snoring in your ear; feeling safe and protected while you attempt to form your sleep around their twisted, thrashing bodies.  If there is no other experience to be officially guaranteed from this list I have provided, you can bet that if you are a parent to many, lack of sleep will be the number one symptom you will experience in abundance throughout the duration of your life.

Worry will exist in abundance, also.  Worry about their futures, their chances of success versus their chances of failure--worry about your own successes and failures as parents, and worry about the retention of the former.  Worry that they won't come home from the bus stop, or that they will lack confidence, or that they will be that awful statistic of kids whose parents must bury them before they've had a chance to put their hands on life.  You will worry that their choice in partner will hurt them, and that they in turn will carry on those scars to hurt others, or vice versa.  You will worry that they will become good and solid individuals who, out of worry themselves, will have humility and compassion and love for life and others.  You'll worry that they will be apathetic, or place too much expectation on themselves, worry that your own adult issues have projected onto them.  In a house with many kids, worry exists in great abundance.  The odds of something bad happening to one is greater when there are more.

...Someone is always laughing, too.  Giggling or chortling, or in a fit of crying laughter on the floor.  Someone is always smiling one of those cute toothless baby smiles or awkward buck-toothed, crooked kid smiles.  Some kid is always waking you up in the morning with a gentle hug, or wishing you good night with a gentle hug.  When you have a lot of kids, one of them is bound to be a spontaneous dancer.  Someone is always there, talking and learning and growing; lighting up the room with conversation and memories.  They will help each other and you; they will come to you when they need you.  Someone is always saying something along the lines of the following:  "Dinner was awesome; you're the best cook".  "I want you to see what I did today", "You rock!", "Thanks, Mom", "You're the best". 

"I love you, Mom". 

Those words, those actions, make everything else feel like a beautiful piece of artwork, and you are the tortured soul, the troubled artist who bears fruit to these miraculous, imaginative, wonderful, colorful little paintings that grow up to be masterpieces in their own rights, in their own works, and in their own lives.  And love, abundant and unconditional, perpetuated and reciprocated, acts as justification for all of the work, the struggle, the worry, the chagrin, the bittersweet. 

It comes back to you from your kids--in few words and small actions--and when it does, it makes everything else trivial, laughable, repeatable. 
Thank God for abundant love, because without it, nothing is possible.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Unpublished Parenting Advice of the Week

I'm just going to come right out and say it:  Do not neglect to take your kids out to eat every once in a while.

Prior to the arrival of the twins, we ate out on a somewhat regular basis.  Kody and Kyleigh reaped the benefits of this, in that they acquired decent eating-in-public and manners.  Joshua is an apple of a different color, though, because he was so small in the time before the twins that his lack of manners was excused with the notion that he was young and knew no better.

Last night we went to the local restaurant, Fast Eddy's, with some friends.  It quickly became apparent that Joshua, fueled by some weird phenomenon that only takes place when we are in public, was going to provide us with our Reason for the Evening Drink. In the two hours we were there, I observed Joshua doing the following things:

*pour pepper into his hot chocolate
*eat his spaghetti using his hands as scoops (seriously, like a shovel)
*ball up the bathroom paper towel he was using and shove it up his nose (Really?)
*attempt to cut his garlic bread in half using a spoon and then a butter knife (only to end up tearing the bread in half and use it as his spaghetti shovel; but hey, it's better than the former scooping tactic)
*When walking down the aisle with him in tow (we were on our way to the bathroom to wash the spaghetti sauce from beneath his fingernails), he muttered (at the top of his lungs) the entire way about having to poop, and how good it feels to poop, and how pooping is "healfy" and attempted to converse (just as we passed the salad bar) with me about that one time when Chloe had orange poop because she ate so many carrots.  To the twenty-something people, all who wore horrified expressions we passed them on the way to the bathroom, my sincere apologies.

It was of no comfort that Hannah and Chloe mimicked every motion Joshua was making--shoveling food into their mouths using their hands, and even creating their own home-made antics involving chocolate milk, straws, and what seemed to be a spitting distance contest.  Also, Hannah attempted to drink the pepper-seasoned hot chocolate and our friend continued to giggle incessantly as every new Joshua Antic surfaced--Seriously Will, when your new baby is born, and having poop explosions, and puking in your mouth, I am going to laugh very hard and attempt to obtain video footage.

So is the lesson here that kids should be brought out to eat more often, or brought out to eat never?  I'm beginning to think that in Joshua's case, we'd be better suited for a feeding trough.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Curse

I swear, every time we attend any variety of concert/show/whatever, I get dragged into some sort of debauchery that involves a high level of embarassment. A few years ago, it was the giant pickle that David Copperfield threw at me at the one (and only) show we ever saw of his. When motioned to return said pickle--which, by the way, had a huge bite taken out of it prior to him lobbing it at me--I fell to the role of  unsuspecting victim in the subsequent portion of the show where Copperfield (who resembles a frog in real life, FYI) makes dirty jokes concerning "the girl who bites".

Tonight I took the kids to a dance show; a group of high school kids from another small community called, "The Burchell Dancers". Of course, the lady all but grabbed me by the collar and drug me onto the gymnasium floor for the can-can dance.  I swear to you on the butt-cracks of every single high school girl that I saw tonight, I was in no way volunteering myself as a muse of any sort.  In fact, I am kind of offended that the woman, before approaching me, actually said, "Come on, moms!  I know there are *some* of us who definitely missed our morning arobics routine!".

God bless Meghan Geese, who was as cute as can be and the perfect little companion. God bless Carrie Gerber for also going out and looking (a lot less) foolish with me. Seriously, I think we were the only two adults out there.  I'm sure my already pitiful situation was exacerbated by the fact that, in all the kicking and hopping, my scarf got wound too tightly around my neck and I nearly choked my out-of-shape, can-can dancing ass out, right there on the gym floor.