Before the Alarm rings… (by a very TIRED mama)

My alarm rings for the first time at 6:15 in the morning- 6:15…and I hate it- therefore I have a second alarm set for 6:45 (which I totally snooze until 7). I have been doing this since I was old enough to set my own alarm clock and in the midst of hating (I mean really hating) mornings, it kind of works. I mean it DID work…
Enters: kids!
I know it’s the same for everyone (which doesn’t seem entirely true by the way) and isn’t that the price to pay for parenthood (so worth it…right!?) but I really freaking value my sleep- OKAY!???
Then you shouldn’t have been a mom you say! Okay, first of all: who are you? And how dare you? Second of all; I know, I know- you have a point (huge sigh) but I am (barely) functioning here and I’m doing (pretty) fine!!! So there!
Go to bed earlier they say, well; ever heard of toddler sleep regression? No? Then stop talking (judging) right now! Besides I have this little thing called a part time job- I might only be a professor online but they do actually expect me to deliver university worthy courses and that people, means actual work and putting in the hours in between poppy diapers, grocery runs and preschool pick-ups! This is by the way my very round about way to tell you all that “I AM TIRED” really, really tired! So even if I signed up for this gig, I still really hate mornings!! Got it!

So this is what happens now BEFORE the alarm rings- yes you read right- before!!!
There are two kids in our bed. Husband has left (fled) already- and before you feel sorry for his early mornings consider this A. He actually likes mornings- yup! I married a freak! And B. He doesn’t get to be part of our lovely morning routine AKA hell (slight exaggeration here I know but still pretty much true) so yes he escapes and no; no need to feel sorry for him.
So there I am TRYING to sleep, trying to get those extra precious moments of zzz time while I usually have random fingers in my ears (no not mine), up my nose (again, I swear not mine), a butt in my face as well as a sliver of bed left to “sleep” on because at least one open mouthed snoring kid has decided to sleep diagonally on the bed (like it’s perfectly normal).

Even before the kicking starts (picking up in speed as well as frequency and intensity) aiming at stomach and face mostly (and other vulnerable parts), the slow twitching of eye lashes start (oh yes, I can hear them) and then the slow excruciating whining (worse than any chalk on any blackboard…truly). The older one awakens first with the words “MAMA ITS NOT NIGHTTIME”, the volume alone… and the words…the dreaded, dreaded words! My LEAST favorite moment of any day! Then we have the eyes, the bright, wide open eyes (kill me now) and the bouncing body (shuddering), next sentence is a toss up between “look, the sun is up” or the yelling of “what happens next mama?” “what happens NEEEXXXT?” Straight into my ear!

I am a pretty good mom, I promise and I love being a mom, adore my kids etc. etc. but the mornings…

Okay, said kid is being so extremely loud that of course he wakes his sister up (the bouncing alone) and she always wakes up crying! (Let’s face it, I would too if it was appropriate!) I console her as tear turns to hysterical laughter at her oh so hilarious brother (oh how I don’t agree- but she is his biggest fan after all).

Then the jumping starts…

I usually try to grab another couple minutes of shut eye- insert more hysterical laughter here…for anyone who thought I was being serious…or successful…

Well, I “try”, that part is true…

So before the alarm rings, I have a 4 year old screaming his head off that it is in fact “not nighttime”, a crying/laughing/jumping toddler, am sore from all the kicks and oh so so tired. I still refuse to get out of bed (obviously) so while holding a hand around my squirmy girl’s ankle and trying to ignore my screaming boy, at least I try to still rest my head on my pillow (until said pillow get snatched away and suddenly involved in an impromptu pillow fight).

And then the alarm rings (loudly).

This is what happens between the first alarm and the second (because being the most stubborn person stuck in her ways, and did I mention “morning hater” I still refuse to get out of bed); I rescue someone from falling off the bed, I dry tears, I send someone to the restroom, I turn on cartoons, I find iPad, water, missing sock, teddies, dinosaurs (all from bed), I defend myself from kicks, slaps, hits, bites, licks…even sloppy kisses and violent hugs!
I yell at someone, tell someone that I am sorry for yelling, rescue one from the other and the the other one from the first one…yeah! I think you get the idea. All the while, I’m trying to snooze like I always have since being able to set my own alarm…well, those were the days…before kids!

And then the second alarm rings (loudly)

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Nauseaus insurance apt and fun movie night at the park!!

It’s not that I’m nervous, because I’m not anymore (no, really!). I’m feeling physically nauseous, the room is actually spinning. I had a mommy-son date day with my 4 year old this morning (eh noo I wasn’t drinking). It was great fun as we watched a movie and then grabbed lunch and did some book shopping, but maybe that was the problem 9not the books). I didn’t really have breakfast and all those popcorn before lunch. Anyways there are about five minutes before the stern (rude) insurance lady is due (no doubt she will be right on time if not early) and my stomach is doing backflips. I look so pale (with a weird shade of green) as I look in the mirror trying to decide if I have to throw up. So typical, either I’m coming down with something or it was those darn popcorn and then lunch on top of it- way to plan when I knew I had this important meeting. Now I’m not even nervous about answering the stupid questions (do you hang glide, skydive, parachute out of jet planes on a regular basis?) but about not getting good lab results because of how I’m feeling lightheaded and faint.

Baby girl refuses to go with nanny (and when I say refuse…I mean refuse) so I have to get blood drawn, answer questions and pee, all with her on my arm. She (not baby) also checks my heart rate, elliptical is extra fun the way I’m feeling!, and of course blood pressure. She is at least not telling me to go check myself in to a hospital right away and I do make it until the end. Only 7-10 days until we get the results back. No biggie!

So that weekend, the one before school starts we go to the very last “movies at the park” before summer ends. What a great initiative for our community to get people together for some (free!!) fun for kids and adults! There is face painting, balloon animals, popcorn and hotdogs. We have packed our own picnic and brought blankets and pillows. This was going to be a great family night! We are catching a “penguin movie” and our big boy sure is excited! Baby girl is not sure what is going on, she is just happy to be hanging out with her whole family…and then there are the bouncy houses! Why oh why did we ever decide that it was okay for her to try jumping in one?. We probably thought she would bounce with her brother for a while and then move on to the next activity without any fuss. Gosh were we wrong about this strong willed little one. She can be kind of feisty at times and as she looooved to bounce, there was no stopping her!

When we first let her jump, we had the whole bouncer to ourselves. She was alone in there with her brother (and we stupidly thought he would be the bigger problem). Once other kids started to climb in we immediately decided to take her out… Except she clearly had other plans. She refused to come even close to us as we awkwardly reached for her in the slim opening of the bouncer, she just giggled and kept bouncing. She is way to young, I kept thinking, she will get hurt. As her big brother and two other older kids were jumping she would just fly around in there, laughing but seconds- according to paranoid mommy- from getting seriously hurt. I begged the other kids to stop bouncing just for a moment so we could get in there and grab her. What a buzz kill! I let daddy do the honer and he did catch her but her disappointment was huge. She was livid, screaming and kicking us, waving her little arms, throwing her head back in protest “whyyyy?? Would you do that to me” she seemed to be yelling (and let me tell you she was yelling) “that was sooo much fun!!!”

Well, the night, although fun overall kind of went downhill from there. Princess is crazy focused on those bouncy houses and won’t let it go (she actually escapes us both once almost making it all the way in!). Our son has a major meltdown because first he wants his face painted like a dinosaur (T-Rex duh!) and then well…he doesn’t. Daddy gets his boy a balloon animal but not his girl – that didn’t go over well…lets just say he had to stand in line all over again…for almost an hour…missing the start of the movie…oh and also his food got cold!

Speaking of food, as we dig out our picnic from the cooler someone forgot the potatoes (mama is not happy) and someone forgot his favorite pillow (ahhh). As the movie starts, little girl thinks it’s okay walking around socializing. Surprisingly it’s NOT okay with most people trying to watch the movie in quiet with their families. She screams however when I try to haul her back to our blanket- we didn’t bring lawn chairs because the website clearly states “no lawn chairs”…of course everyone brought lawn chairs. And here I was under the delusion that she would cuddle up and sleep in my arms since hello! It’s way past her bedtime. I was even ready to offer up some nursing, I brought the cover (which she hates) and everything. She just keeps biting me with an evil laugh and off she goes. Nobody is enjoying her antics so I leave dad and son to watch the movie in peace while I take her for a walk. Except it’s pitch black anywhere that’s not lit up by the giant screen and I can’t even see where I’m walking.

The walking does not put this little independent diva to sleep, she wants to WALK! So we walk around and around and then we nurse in the park bathroom, at least the lights are on in here. Until they are NOT. It is darker than outside if possible and I hear people leaving, hoping that we are not locked in here for good and that in that case people will start looking for us…eventually…

I find my way out following the walls while holding the now sleepy little madam AND we find our way back to the correct blanket and the rest of our family. Puh! That was not easy let me tell you!

As soon as I settle in with baby girl, my husband’s arm around us and our boy in between us, something happens and the huge blow up screen falls apart, slumping like a sad popped balloon. Maybe it’s time to leave now (we gave it our best effort after all) we suggest this to our son. He gets so upset it’s not even worth getting up, so we sink back down again only to quiet him down. Problem is…

Little lady is yet again wide awake because all of the drama…

Another walk around, shorter this time because frankly the park in the dark away from all the people is not that tempting. Luckily little man announces after about ten more minutes that his little sister is now scared of the movie!

And that is that folks! Summer movie fun at the park!

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Huge Christmas Trees, Potato Tacos and a little bit of life insurance…

We’ve had a busy week after coming home from my sister’s (the heat alone makes everything harder). I asked my son if he missed her and to my surprise he continue to answer no repeatedly (even if he cried when we left). So I ask again and he yells “NO mama, stop asking, it’s too hard to talk about”!!
He also keeps talking abut her house, horse and dog and now he even has a pretend horse and a pretend dog named the same names!

We had to get our dog back, we had to stock up the fridge and pantry, we had play dates and soccer and swimming. On Monday, I had to go to school to hand in grades and return final exams and had to bring both kiddos along, which was interesting with all the questions my son asked EVERYONE and how little my baby girl wanted to hang out in the baby carrier.
I had to go all the way back to get the stroller- turns out she liked that even less!

I manage to get all the paperwork in and books returned with the school still standing (two years ago my son tugged a giant Christmas tree down in the main office while I was still a student hoping to graduate- fortunately no one was hurt- unfortunately the giant tree WITH lots of ornaments took down a desk, a couple of chairs and some paintings off of the walls as it went down- I wonder why they declined our offer to stay and help clean up…!??) and everyone in one piece!

Since everything went so well and since we were starving I decided to make the (very bad) decision that we would have lunch right there in Old Town at an actual restaurant. I don’t know about your kids but mine are certainly not what you would call well behaved at restaurants (or any place where sitting down quietly for an extended period of time is required) so I’m not sure what I was thinking? Wait, yes I do!
You will think I’m crazy…but knowing how much I like potatoes…and Mexican food maybe you would understand! They have these potato tacos that are seriously to die for. I went to this little place several times when I was pregnant with my daughter- it was always like “dinner for two…” Or “two or more sets of plastic ware to go…?) nop! Just for ONE, at least I could indicate my stomach then and blame my pregnancy. Now – not so much but I was really craving them and we were right there…so…

Of course it ended up a disaster, the rice, the salsa…the guacamole… in the water fountain (ehm, yes!) and two kids wilder than ever. It was “check please!” pretty much as soon as we had gotten the food- despite my preparation of “chips right away”, apple juice (any measures) and a brand new dinosaur coloring book…
At least I managed to scarf down one potato taco (hey, they are just not the same heated up).

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On Tuesday I had my appointment with the insurance lady that I have been trying to avoid for quit some time. It just didn’t feel like a very fun thing to do despite the needed end result of life insurance (besides she sounded super rude on the phone- maybe because it was slightly difficult to get me scheduled). There was talk of blood draws and running on the treadmill, urine samples and  blood pressure readings. I guess that is all fine- pretty much what we women do on a regular basis during pregnancy, am I right!? (Well maybe not the treadmill- which in my case was the elliptical we have at home). But this “check-up” seems so nerve-racking like a test you have to pass and it is for something so depressing and unthinkable as life insurance. Who wants to even think of that? Especially when you have young children. But I guess it’s a necessary evil.

So I did schedule with the rude nurse even if I did “white-lie” (also called “flat out lying”…but I did feel bad…at least a little bit, I never lie) telling her we wouldn’t be back from my sisters until today- trying to postpone the inevitable. For a while before, I was convinced they would run all the tests on me and find some incurable disease, I actually could physically feel the fear of having to leave my children. I know I’m being ridiculous and ungrateful and a worry wart but everything is just so good right now (and I am actually extremely grateful) which is always scary… (Am I the only one feeling this way?)

Days before the date I had come to terms with it- I swear I really had (it was something that wasn’t to be avoided and it’s good to get the reassurance that you are healthy and getting life-insurance is the mature, responsible thing to do). So at the time of the appointment I was feeling fine until…I wasn’t

Sisterly Love and Adulthood

Last week we made (the long overdue) trip to see my little sister (in my eyes she is still 15…or more like 5…but she is not anymore..). So much has happened in her life lately and is seems like I’m missing so much. Actually we are missing so much in each other’s lives and I can’t help feeling sad about it. I mean I know that is what happens and that its natural and even a normal, healthy progression of life but it doesn’t mean it’s easy.

We were once so close and I now treasure those years that we both took for granted, looking back we seemed to have it all but of course we were then too young and dumb to realize that. We grew up close but with 4 and a half years between us, she was always so much younger. In our twenties however the gap wasn’t so big and we started enjoying the same things.

The moment my sister decided to extend her summer trip in the sun visiting me to actually starting school here and moving in with me was one of my luckiest! We had years of fun, bonding time that neither one of us will ever forget. Sure it was the heartaches and the lack of money and the exams and some hardcore studying (partying) and numerous disappointments but overall it was our years in paradise. Basically no responsibilities, we were in our prime, pretty, blonde, smart, tanned, carefree and overall happy. Our biggest problems included “when will that cute guy call?” “where should we go out tonight?” “how to ace the next test”, “what movie should we watch?” “this dress or that one?” and “what to eat for dinner?”

It’s not like we just fluttered around supported and without ambition and goals, we were both in school full time and we both worked having rent and bills and “hobbies” to pay for (with tremendous help from our parents of course). How lucky were we to have each other? Sisters who didn’t only love each other because we were family, but honestly best friends! We seriously were almost always on the same page and got along better than anyone could or would have expected. We made new friends, bought and sold cars, saved up for special shopping trips, spent holidays in a foreign country away from the rest of our family, lived on little, cooked for each other and helped each other out with everything from school work to nannying to being the “designated driver”.

I went from completing my Masters program to starting my journey towards becoming a doctor of psychology while my sister worked on completing her bachelor degree in business by both working at the school and nannying. I went from nannying to internships to actually small but legit psychology jobs. We shared everything from food to jobs to laughs and most importantly friendship (and in some cases boys… kidding…sort of…).

Now we have been a part for well over five years first surviving her moving back to Sweden for a while and then to a completely different state- very far away while I met my man (had to stay for this one…) here and put down roots-becoming an American myself and everything!

My sister has been here of course but when you work and is a horse and dog mommy (read that right: my sister is not a horse…) you have REAL responsibilities you all of a sudden can’t ignore, it gets more difficult to leave your life for constant trips back and forth. When you get married, get a house, a dog and kid(s) – forget about it. We haven’t missed the huge stuff like her moving into a new house, my firstborn’s homecoming, my bed rest as well as random celebrations of Christmas and birthdays but it’s not the same as seeing each other and being there for each other every single day!

I get sad when I know I’m about to miss some crucial milestones in her life (me being older I know I pretty much have the big ones out of the way!) I was devastated that it took us a year to introduce my sister to my baby daughter… but I know that is life. As an adult you have to work and be responsible and you can’t just drop everything at the drop of a hat. I appreciate my adult life, I really do(wouldn’t change it for the world) and as a big sister, I’m immensely proud of hers!

I’ve always felt some responsibility in being the older sister and before I had kids (and even now I must admit) I worry about my little sister a lot, and I think about her and I naturally only want what is best for her! I can’t believe she made herself into the strong, ambitious and beautiful woman that she is today. Quite the careers lady with a horse and a dog to take care of, a house and a huge white truck!

She had planned an amazing stay for us in one of  the coziest and most charming little village part of her big city, where she now lives. With boat and bus tours for the kids downtown, amazing restaurants, yummy ice cream and treats and endless entertainment. We really, truly had a wonderful time (even the kids “semi” behaved. Me and my husband joked that a couple of days are plenty and very much enough with our kids- maybe you will even still like them at the end of the stay!).
The constant diaper changes (and blow-outs), car seats and strollers, wants and needs, potty breaks (and potty humor), picky eating, toys and tantrums wear you down after a while (but it’s good practice guys!)

Asking my little sister if she was ready for babies (and don’t you just love mine!!? – as they were running like crazy at a rather fancy restaurant) she looked at me with a (very) hesitant look, taking her time to answer…
– well maybe, I think….it’s different when you have your own!

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I just hope I can be there for her now as she embarks on the journey of “real” adulthood and all the huge and great milestones that lay ahead!

Love you Sis!

A pretty medium, slightly stinky, criminal mom!

I actually have to wait a while with this Target guy watching me (apparently I was planning on stealing several items…and told him about it…despite my cart overflowing of stuff and the clever cover of my two whiny kids).

I just want to get out of there-after I pay of course (I promise) and so do my kids. I get increasingly annoyed but I also kind of feel for the guy. I know that in his head, he is just trying to do what is right.

By now though, I totally feel like abandoning my cart (well I would take my kids out first) and just leaving. But ever the polite one, I stand there for what seems like forever until an older women with big brown hair jogs over (she actually is jogging, not walking, not running, jogging!). Ah, so what now? Do I explain myself? I sigh as one of my kids screams for ice cream and the other one is trying to (repeatedly) manage a suicide bungee jump from the red shopping cart.

I actually don’t have to explain myself since first the guy does it for me (emphasizing the word “STEAL” several times) and then the bouncy (I assume it is the) manager apologizes…to me.

I mean of course I’m not surprised but I still get relieved, maybe I can take my kids and leave now, AFTER paying for all our other items of course!

The manager lady explains that (insert name here) he always takes things too literally but that he doesn’t mean anything by it, he is just trying to follow the rules…he is really very sweet (and to quote Seinfeld) yada, yada, yada…

We make it out of there (without being arrested), and all I’m thinking is …

That we could all use some ice cream!

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It all goes well and the ice cream does taste quite delicious until baby girl gets chocolate ice cream on her cute pink little jump suit…

A lot of chocolate ice cream…brown…stinky? Ice cream…

Except, of course it’s NOT ice cream, and of course we still have the cart with all the stuff (that we stole from Target…too soon? Ok, just kidding…) and of course this brilliant mama used the spare pants in the diaper bag at the last freaking poop explosion (sorry baby, not your fault…after all your criminal mommy is stuffing you with ice cream…should be illegal, okay, okay, I’m done!).

I decide that we first have to find our white rental car (whole other story trust me…I’ll give you a hint; brakes gave out…and up!) and then a restroom, in that order. Great plan because what would we do with all the stuff? Except baby is seriously leaky…and even strangers are starting to notice the smell (sorry strangers…and again, sorry baby girl) and of course I can’t find the dang car!

My son finds it for us, but unfortunately his mom is too dense to trust him, thinking “this car is too big to be the one we got…and how would a 4- year be able to find the right car anyways? (Only day two of driving it)”

Well, he could and he did…so while mommy wasted valuable time searching for a car her kid found…and found again, she (meaning me) could have avoided some serious leakage (on my own clothes included). Sorry Target, I’m just gonna go change this in your restroom… and then point me in the direction of the baby clothes please…
And oh I might need some of my returned clothes back!

Of course this week I’m right back at Target returning stuff. I tell the lady “no there is nothing wrong with the items but these (work-out pants) are too big, and this one (matching work-out bra) is too small (would have been worse the other way around which has also happened…trust me). As she takes the items back, my four year old turns his big brown eyes up to me and says “one is too large, the other one too small, that means that you are in the middle because you are MEDIUM mama!” (Where does he get everything from…and who taught him that?) Well, there you have it! I’m in the middle…and quite medium!

Big tough mama thug…

Last week returning some stuff at Target (what is it with that store…? You go in for one thing or return a couple items only, and it lures you in with its magical powers and $200 later…) my kids were the least of my problems.

So I’m browsing, realizing that I MUST (urgently need really) some stuff like sparking water (a necessity), baby food pouches (always), little cute, sparkling headbands (well, you know…). My big kid is in the cart trying to hold on to the increasing number of items (I’m really not trying to cover him with household must-haves, baby essentials and crucial clothing items here… but am struggling) and baby in the cart seat.

As I’m strolling along, kids actually behaving (mostly due to the small placating toy and unhealthy snack item-hey I’m human!) my son decides he is dying for some “green stuff”. The green stuff are these dried (and probably fried…?) salted snap peas that he likes to munch on lately. Slightly excited he didn’t ask for candy or cookies (the dreaded “c-words” along with chips and chocolate) I head over to the produce section (because ironically that is where they keep them).

While I’m there I might as well get some apples (naturally) and some veggies for taco night (but of course) and hey, there is the dairy aisle and aren’t we almost out of yoghurt…and milk…? Most certainly milk (can’t be sure because nobody really drinks that stuff but hubby). I grab some stuff (watching my son disappear slowly- only his blond head popping up out of the growing merchandise mountain…it’s not that bad, besides I’m now in the healthy food section…what’s more important than that?) but have to stop my shopping dance in front of the “green stuff”. A Target employee is blocking them and some dried fruit (definitely better than candy) and some interesting looking bagels (so cute and wheat…pretty sure they’re wheat…at least they are sort of brownish looking…better take a closer look…

I’m on a roll here (trying not to impersonate the shopoholic but hey, this is good) so I inch closer to the guy working by the stuff I need and announce in a loud voice “I’m just going to steal some of these and a couple of those”…

As I reach over his arms (he is arranging the “green stuff”) he loudly clears his throat…
You seriously won’t believe what happens next…

The employee asks me why I said that I was going to steal multiple items (wait…what???). I’m so confused, why would he think that?

The target guy stops me as I’m about to back away (this man is clearly not sane…) and announces “that he isn’t comfortable with my statement “to steal” (I can barely remember saying that as it is a saying and I now suddenly wish I would have phrased it differently, very differently) as I unfortunately laugh (wait, is this the same as joking about bombs in airport security…its not, right!?)

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Apparently that was the wrong reaction (but come on!!! Really??) because he looks incredibly serious as he starts talking in his walker talkie thingy (yes this happened!). He tells me to stay put while he calls a manager. I hesitate as I stand with my overflowing cart and my two (now) whiny kids. I take a couple of steps towards him trying to explain that really “can I steal some of these” is really an expression and I never (honestly) meant to steal anything (I know my kid took something from the grocery store so you might be on this nutty guy’s side too… but seriously I didn’t see it AND we took it right back…remember!?). He puts his hands up in front of me (like I’m going to attack him or something…major eye roll…is this happening??) and tells me to please step back and to sit tight (maybe I should sit down too…to take him literally…) but I guess I feel kind of sorry for him at the same time as I’m too polite (and frankly feel a bit uneasy) so I  just stand there with my children at our local Target waiting for a manager because I said that I was going to steal…(only me…)…

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