Sunday, July 31, 2011

Eight Years and Torture

For the last two birthdays, The Big One has begged me to have a sleep over for her birthday party.  This time, when she begged, I gave in.  I'm not sure why, but I think most of it was guilt because her Dad was going to be gone at the time, and I wanted to make sure she still had a wonderful birthday.  That, and there must have been some sort of temporary insanity that allowed me to to agree to do this a)by myself, b) with an infant to care for as well, and c) with 6 other little girls.  Actually, we invited 9, knowing that not all of them would come.
I ended up with 6 guests, plus my three children, all by myself, for a very girly, Hello Kitty themed birthday party sleep over.
As I am actually blogging about this, you may assume that I survived.  You would of course, be correct, but don't assume I survived unscathed.  I'm pretty sure that the amount of stress that I incurred cost me years of my life.   I would guess one year for each guest.  Six years are gone that I can never get back.

I planned the best I could for this party.  I bought a new Wii game that they all could play, Smurf Dance Party, and it was also physical.  My idea was to get them dancing for hours so that they would be exhausted before bed.  We picked out a movie to watch once they got settled in bed.
Though, some of my planning caused more stress than it should have.  I should have had pizza delivered, but instead I opted to let them make their own.  I should have just had cake and ice cream, but instead I made the cake and decorated it myself, then we did make your own ice cream sundaes to go with it.  Those two things probably cost me a good 2 months of the year I lost, but by no means was it the worst part.  That falls squarely on the shoulders of the girls themselves, in particular, three of the girls who did the greatest amount of damage.  Three little girls that I will very generously just call "high maintenance".  Let me assure you none of them were maliciously bad, but they each have their own personality twists that I should have taken into account when planning, and didn't.  In all fairness, I didn't know one of them at all until after the sleepover.  One of them would not participate with the group.  She was constantly somewhere else, no matter what I tried to get them to do.  If the other girls were smurf dancing, she was in the back playroom, trying to go through every bin of toys, toys for younger children mind you, that she could.  If the other girls were playing "Don't Say Hello Kitty", a game devised by my own child and not unlike the baby shower game where you can't say "baby", she was in the back room (again) playing with the play kitchen.  If the other girls went to the back room, she was pacing back and forth between my stair well and me, repeatedly asking me why she couldn't go upstairs and play.  When it was time to lay down at night, the other girls all gathered together to sleep in their sleeping bags, and she would inch worm around the room in her bag, until she hit the guinea pig cage.
And oh the poor guinea pigs.  This event probably cost them time off or their short lives as well.  I swear that I must have said "don't touch the baby" and "don't touch the guinea pigs" at least 40 times each in about a 18 hour period, that did include some sleep.
And by some, I mean a very few hours.  When it was time for bed, I couldn't get them to sleep.  It wasn't so much that they weren't tired.  I just couldn't get them to stop talking.  Again, one in particular, ad different one, wanted desperately to talk ALL NIGHT LONG.  Finally, about midnight, I told her to actually zip her lips, and that she wasn't allowed to speak again.  I lay on the couch, and "shhh"ed her every time she started talking.  After about 40 minutes or so of that, they all fell asleep.
Since most of the girls stayed up very late, I expected them to sleep at lease a little in the morning.  I was wrong.  Very wrong.  They were all up by about 7am.  The Big One was mainly the cause because she was up, and ready to go instantly.  She ran to her room, threw on a dress, because she needed to look snazzy at 7am on a Sunday, and was ready to go.
I was prepared for the morning.  I had cereal, muffins, fruit, and croissants all lined up so that they could get what ever they wanted.  I'm may be crazy, but I wasn't crazy enough to think I was going to cook.
By the time i got them fed, dressed, and then put everything away, we only had a little time left.  Score one more for thinking ahead, I had a craft project.  I had them decorate frames with hello kitty pieces I cut out with my cricut.  Then, when I get back the pics from the party, I'll give each one a framed pic along with their thank you note.  Anyway, that project was a huge success, and was the quietest my house had been for since the whole thing started.  Lesson learned, keep them busy!

Still, this was certainly a learning process for me.  Sleepovers of more than two children at a time are hereby prohibited until a girl reaches the age of at least 14 where I will no longer be cool or needed by her.  At that age, I will be able to set food out on the counters, lock the doors to the house, set the house alarm so that no one can get in or out, and then go hide in my own bedroom, with door locked, until everyone is gone.  That I will do anytime.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Off to Camp

Today was a huge day around here.
The Big One went off to camp today.  Not day camp, or just overnight camp, but we wont see her again until Thursday camp.
I am very conflicted about this.  Part of me is both very proud of her and excited for her.  She earned this camp. She got her butt up and sold cookies, walking around pulling her wagon or standing for hours in front of stores, to do it.  She also really wanted to go to camp.  She is excited about all the fun things she will get to do, and that makes me excite for her.
The rest of me, though, wishes I could have kept her home in my cocoon of safety.  I worry about her.  A lot.  She is very sensitive.  She is funny, and quirky.  She is fantastic.  Yet, like so many other kids, she just years to be accepted, and going into a huge group of people, that can be daunting.
She is also a vegetarian, and as a vegetarian, I know how hard it can be sometimes to find food at things like this.  On top of being a vegetarian, she is a picky vegetarian.  That doesn't set her up well for things like going off to camp where you eat what you are given.
Not only is there all of that going on, but she has never been away from home like this before.  In fact, in her 8 years of life, I can list for you every time she has been away from me at night.  There are of course the times I have been in the hospital, but she was home with MimMim and her Dad.  So, that doesn't count.  There is the one time that her father and I were fortunate enough to get a weekend away, but that also doesn't count because she was yet again with my mom.  Any time spent with Mim may as well count as being with me in her eyes.  Probably more fun in fact.  The only other time have been two nights that she got to sleep over at her Girl Scout leader's house for two different sleep overs.  Of course, as a co-leader, I was there right up until lights out both times.  Then, I was back first thing in the morning.  Not a whole lot of time without me.
So, I am worried about having her at a camp ground nearly two hours away.  I'm worried about everything.
I hope she gets to try new things, and make new friends.  I hope she learns something about herself along the way, and pulls some strength from inside to help her out in the times when she is sad or scared or what ever it may be.  Most importantly, I just hope she has a fantastic time, and makes memories that she will cherish for a life time.
To The Big One: I'll miss you!!  Be safe and have fun!!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Only Way to Watch

My Husband, love his heart, loves to see movies.  I, though, am not a movie person.  It took me years to figure out why I dislike going to see movies so much, but I finally got it.
First, I'm cheap and movies aren't.  I thank my mom for that one, because as we grew up, she would always tell us she wouldn't pay the money to go see anything, she would rather wait until it came out on video, and that stuck.  I much prefer the little red envelopes that come in my mail box over going the movies.  For less than what it would cost my husband and I to go to the movies once a month, we get a ton of different things coming in those envelopes constantly.  There is almost always one going out, and one coming in.  Much better value.  However, if I really like something, I am willing to pay for it.  I still dislike actually going to the theatre, though, and that brings me to reason two.
I hate the sound systems in theatres because they always shake me and make me have to pee.  Yes.  It all really comes down to a hatred of needing to pee during the movie.  I have great anxiety about that.  I hate getting up in front of people. I hate public bathrooms, and I really, really hate not being able to enjoy my Coke Zero because I know it will end up making me need to pee.
So, he and I would only rarely go.  Since we have had children that low frequency has managed to decrease even more.  We only go to the movies shown on base, after they are pretty much out of theatres.  They are free, they don't have loud sound systems, and everyone gets up to go pee at some point since they are always movies meant for kids.  While I appreciate that lack of bladder shaking sound, and the fact that no one really cares if I have to get up and take them, it also amounts to a sucky movie experience, if you like the movies.

This year, it just so happens that My Husband's favorite comic book character,  and he is a super fan, has a movie coming out.  Captain America is in theatres now.  He couldn't believe they were going to make it a movie.  Then, he thought it was suck.  As more info and some pictures started to come out, and he began to realize that it wouldn't suck, his level of excitement went through the roof.  He needed to see this movie.
We are back to our movie watching hurdles, though, with my hating to go and then dealing with the kids.  I don't think The Littlest One would be very good in a theatre, and we can't leave her with a sitter just yet.
So, we found a fantastic alternative to just about every thing.
The drive in.
Yes, they still have those.
I know because we went to one.
We gathered up a ton of blankets, pillows, and my boppy just for The Littlest One, and threw them all in the trucks.  We went by Sonic and got some dinner to take with us.  Then we drove over to the drive in.
This particular place requires that big trucks like ours park in either the first four or last 4 rows.  We got there very early, and were able to get an incredible place up in the front.  I mean it was a killer spot.  The screen is huge.  We let the tail gate down, rolled the cover off the truck bed, threw all the pillows and blankets back there making a nice bed, and got the girls to climb in.  They loved it.  Unfortunately for me, the first few rows meant for trucks also have these humps built in that put you at an angle so that other people can see over your vehicle.   What this specifically meant for me was the the tail gate was now above my waist when let down, and I had to climb in.  I won't go into great detail on the spectacle I made of myself, trying to get up into the bed, but finally, with a large push in my large rear from my husband, I made it into the truck with the girls.  We got comfy and finished our dinner.  Even The Littlest One didn't mind eating al fresco since I had the boppy for her to lay on like she does at home, and I didn't make her use the nursing cover thanks to better shirt planning and the truck bed walls.
You may think that the sound out there, just coming out of the truck speakers, would sucks, but you would be wrong.  Think about how far sound systems in cars have come since the days of the first drive in theatres.  People even have Bose speakers now. Not only that, but you have every stereo there playing the sound, quite loudly.  It was actually pretty good.  In fact, I love it.  The sound had a great quality, without making me need to pee.  Perfect.
When it was time for the movie to start, he was so excited.  The Girls were, too.  Well, the big ones were.  The Littlest One was only in it for the boobs.  Furthermore, it was only The Littlest One whose excitement lasted.  The Little Big One was out with in 20 minutes, and The Big One only made it half way.  The Littlest One stayed up through most of the movie, just snacking off and on. and hanging with us.  The best thing about being in the back of the truck was that we could just let them sleep.  We got to watch the rest of the movie pretty much in peace.  I think it was by far the best movie experience we have had with them.  IF we weren't so old, and exhausted form having a newborn, we could have even stayed for the double feature while the girls slept, and been able to actually watch two movies.  Maybe next time, because there will be a next time.  I don't mind this movie outing at all.  In fact, I think it was kind of great.

Friday, July 22, 2011

More Like Me

This morning, as I sit here groggily drinking my coffee, I have to wonder why my children couldn't be a little more like me in at least one way; sleeping.  I am a sleeper.  According to my mom, always have been.  She swears she could just lay me down in my crib when it was time to sleep, while I was awake, and I would do as requested and fall asleep on my own.
None of my children are like that.  None.
I could still sleep about any time.
My children, not so much.
Today is the first day of summer break for The Big One, and really all of us, as she goes to a year round school. This means that it is the first day I didn't have to turn on my alarm set for 6:02am, and we didn't have to be out the door by 7:05am.  We could all sleep.  However, we didn't.
My husband still had to go to work, and that meant getting me up to take The Littlest One, who was sleeping on his chest.  We transitioned her, and she went back to sleep.  I got woken up again, though, in his quest to find his blue PT shorts.  At that point, about 6:30am, The Littlest One decided it was time for milk.  So, we got up.  We came down stairs so I could assume the couch and Boppy position, and in minutes, in came The Big One.  I was shocked.  If anyone could would have slept, it should have been her.  She will almost always sleep in if I let her.  Not today, though, when I had hopes of getting The Littlest One fed, back to sleep, and curling back up on the couch to sleep myself.  Before we are even done feeding, The Little/Middle One comes walking downstairs as well.  This wasn't so surprising.  She is an early riser, taking very clearly after her father.
So, there we were, all four of us on the couch, before 7am.  No one was sleeping, no matter how much I wanted to.  Even though not one of my alarms rang out this morning, which I have to admit was nice, none of us got to enjoy that silence and sleep.  I'm quite disgruntled this morning.  As payback, I think I'll go into their rooms to feed The Littlest One when she wakes up at 2am to eat, wake them also, and make them stay up for the feeding.  Then, maybe, tomorrow morning, they will both sleep a little later, or at least leave me alone to sleep so that I don't do that to them again.  I'll take it however I can get it.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Justice for Children

Like every other basically good person in this nation who has seen or heard anything about the Casey Anthony trial, I am deeply disturbed that she got off on the murder charges.  I can't say that I think being found not guilty on the murder charges was the wrong verdict as far as the jury goes.  I believe the jurors when they say there wasn't enough evidence, and that isn't their fault.  I do think they could have found her guilty on child neglect for not even reporting her child missing for 30 days, but at least they found her guilty of something considering how little there really was to go on.  The fact that the jury acted properly, though, doesn't in any way negate the fact that I feel Caylee was robbed of justice.

Justice means many things, but one of the definitions is the quality of being just; righteousness, equitableness, or moral rightness.  Equitableness.  There should be equality in the outcome of this case.  Caylee lost her life, and somehow, Casey should be forced to do the same for it to be equitable, be that the death penalty or life in prison.  That would be justice.  
People are truly outraged that a mother would do this to her own child and get away with it.  So, I have to wonder, will someone, somewhere, try to bring justice for Caylee?  

I was just watching the news, and one of the many people outside the courtroom, holding signs and showing their anger at the verdicts, said that any one of the people there that day would be glad to kill Casey.  I'm sure he meant it.  I'm sure there are a lot of people right now that should the position open up, would gladly volunteer to be the one throwing the switch if Caylee had gotten the death penalty.  In fact, I would say that when it comes down to anyone convicted of murdering a child, there would be no shortage of people who would gladly volunteer to fulfill the duties of an executioner on a murder's judgement day.  

Crimes against children are the worst.  They can't fight for themselves.  We are supposed to protect and nurture our children.  We are supposed to love and care for them.  When life gets hard, or we realize that parenting isn't what we thought it would be, murder or in any way harming the child is not an option.  There are other options.  

A mother I know is going through a lot right now because her husband couldn't take their babies constant screaming and while she was at work open day, he shook the baby.  That is not an option.  There are other ways.  
You put the child down.  You walk away.  You call someone, anyone.  No matter what it is, you find another way.  No child deserves to be harmed.  No child deserves to have their life taken away because you, the parent or caregiver, couldn't handle it.  I can guarantee you that in Caylee's case someone would have taken that baby and loved her, even if her mother didn't.  Instead, a life full of potential was taken.  That should never happen.  

I hope there is justice somehow, someway, not just for this child, but for every child out there who deserves it.  

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

No Go Granny

Something I just had to share.
While sitting in the Dr's office yesterday, I couldn't help but listen to two people having a conversation about dialysis and the location of the shunts they use for it.  A man in his late 30s to early 40s was just got a new one that goes around his waist, and he was explaining the whole process to a 70ish year old grandma.  They talk about it for a while before she suddenly has what you could tell was a very important question.  She looked at him with all sincerity, and ask if you could see it were she to wear a bikini.
He told her it would show.
You could see her face drop.  She told him that just wouldn't work, then.
I tried my best not to smile or giggle, but I'm not sure how well I did.  My head was a little confused, too.  I wasn't sure if this was a "You Go, Granny" or a "No Go, Granny" moment.  Either way, I kinda hope I have that kind of spunk when I am her age, and hope it made you smile, too.