E: Moooooooommmmmmmmm. Why does Dad have to go to work?
K: It's Monday, Ethan. Monday is a work day.
E: But I thought he told me that he was going to work outside in the yard today.
K: Nope. He had to go to work.
E: But WHY does Dad have to go to work?
Isn't that just the question of every single Monday morning. Believe you me, I'm saying it in my head all the time. Especially after a long holiday weekend, getting back into the work week (even if it's another short one) is really tough. I pulled out all the stops.
K: I know you are sad today. What if I made chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast?
E: Oh, would you, Mom? With smiley faces?
Isn't it amazing what a smiley face pancake can do to lift your spirits? You should try it for yourself sometime.
And Santa did appear at our front door. At 5:35 p.m. Something about making sure that everyone had been good this year, that good behaviors lasted until bedtime, taking baths and that bedtime come soon so Santa could finally come down our chimney.
Sure he had forgotten his hat and The Boy noticed something funny about his beard.
E: Mom. What is up with Santa's hair on his face? Why does it look like that?
Um, because it's polyester? Flammable yet very soft?
There were questions about how Santa arrived, where the presents were, why he came early and why couldn't he just drop the presents off now. Little faces pressed up against the window as Mom tried in vain to explain that Santa's sleigh had disappeared in a flash and little voices asked how Santa's sleigh could be so fast and shouldn't we have heard him fly away. Discussions regarding our wood stove insert blocking the chimney.
I feared that perhaps Santa's 90 seconds had been a few too long but The Baby was rushing up the stairs, his fat little legs moving as fast as he could.
Nathan: Baff, Mommy. Baff.
K: Santa told you to get a bath?
Nathan: NOW, MOMMY. NOW. Ho, ho, ho.
Well, alrighty then. I can see now that I was throwing the Santa card/be-on-your-best-behavior/don't-make-me-call-him-because-I-have-his-cell-number on the wrong kid. There's no doubt this little one believes. I fear he has absolutely no idea what he believes in, but if a large man in a red suit shows up in your living room and tells you to get a bath, I guess you had better do it.
Here's to lots more years of rushed baths and hurried bedtime stories before Santa comes. And to all a good night.
We went to see Santa yesterday. I know. On December 21. Like he isn't busy enough already without having to add some last minute work on his plate that is sure to remove any and all hope of sleep for the elves between now and Thursday.
There were 75 people in line in front of us. HEY!!! Our Santa is the REAL Santa and he is worth the wait. In fact, there were intense negotiations this year and our Santa who has been at this location for supposedly 19 years parked his sled elsewhere due to salary issues. Introduce public outcry, petitions and angry phone calls to the mall and our Santa with carefully placed rosacea was back on his throne for the entire term of his reign, to the tune of 30 g's for 6 weeks work.
Don't knock it. Thanks to this Santa, the 9-year-old girl in front of us was in her 5th year at this mall and still believes. Bless her heart. I mean, I believe too, but I'm not in elementary school anymore. The world is a rough place full of disbelief.
The woman behind me was not so cheery. She lamented about being tortured by the commercialization of Christmas and being forced to do all those things she swore she would never do when she became a mother. They were taking the kids to Machu Picchu for vacations, for heaven's sake. If her kids wanted to go to see the mouse in Orlando, they could do so after they turned 18 and moved out of her house. Her husband had dragged her here and she was furious.
Her daughter was 1 1/2 and the cutest thing you have ever seen. Of course she had the typical experience and was frightened beyond belief. Let's be honest here. This year was the first year Ethan didn't cry and look at Santa like he was an alien. Of course this year he had also figured out the drill and was ready with his list ("atwowheeledscooterabirdhouseandarobot,Santa") and didn't waste his time with actually breathing while seated on Santa's lap.
I get what that mom was saying. I just think sometimes we live in a tough world and it's nice to have hope. Even for a little while. It's no Machu Picchu, but it'll do.
Last year Derek hit the sale rack at the hardware store after Christmas. I would normally freak out but he came home with boxes and boxes of Christmas lights for a dollar a piece. That was definitely thinking ahead. Fast forward to a few days ago when we decided to decorate the outside of our house for the holidays for the first time ever. It was nice to have those $7 worth of decorations.
To say that Ethan is in the Christmas spirit would be an understatement. So excited about the lights outside, he was jumping up and down when the last box was opened and he realized there were blue lights to go on a cypress bush.
Hold the phone. Blue lights?
He was delirious. I was devastated. BLUE LIGHTS???? His father came around the corner of the house.
Kristen: You bought blue lights. Blue lights. Blue lights?
Derek: They were a dollar?
Kristen: I don't care if they were free.
Derek: They aren't THAT bad.
Ethan: Mommommommommom. We are going to put the blue lights up now, right?
Derek started to laugh because he knew what would happen. How could I deny this cute face anyway?
If the colored lights made him happy, you should have seen his smile when the blue lights were fired up. And when I hung the red lights in his bedroom? Even better.
Even though he is a first born, I still love him. Check out my interview with Steve from the National Book Festival.
And you can find his DVD here. I'm not saying we are addicted over here. At all.
I'll admit that I am a slacker mom. At least once every other week I get that nice little note from the preschool teacher reminding me yet again that I should be sending a drink AND a washcloth in Nathan's bag. I don't mean to be all non-green but if you end up going to the dollar store and buying an 18-pack of washcloths that you sometimes remember to throw in the wash, it seems like a wet paper towel might not be such a bad alternative.
My latest parental question mark regarding preschool is the fact that the snack calendar gets filled up before I can even add Ethan's name to it. This would be fine if there wasn't a grand ceremony involving snack and the snack giver as supreme distributor of the snack to all his appreciative friends. I already have a kid that wants to serve his friends but now I seem to be thwarted on the official end of giving to friends.
E: Mom.mom.mom.mom.mom. Can I bring snack to school? CanIcanIcanIcanI?
I've been trying to beat the calendar. I hover. Then I am scheduled for pick up instead of drop off and in one morning the calendar is full. I apologize to my disheartened son another month. This month I got clever. I just asked the teacher to add his name before she even posted the calendar and tomorrow is our big day.
Or as Ethan told his teachers on Tuesday, tomorrow's tomorrow. The next big hurdle was getting authorization for making chocolate chip cookies. You know, that whole ban on wheat, dairy, gluten, sugar, nut, egg thing. We got the okay and I promptly forgot about snack until last night at 7:15.
Is there anything more heart-warming as a mom than having your child be insanely excited about making and taking cookies to his friends at school? I just love this kid. I can't help it.
I was gone this weekend but apparently the weekend was not without the drama. Marmie was in town so I guess Nathan decided that he wasn't going to take a nap on Sunday.
Have you ever noticed that it is really impossible to make your toddler take a nap if he thinks he might be missing something interesting? His father said that he left him in there for about an hour and a half.
K: He didn't want to take a nap but you left him in there for an hour and a half?
D: He was really, really tired.
K: What did he do?
D: He trashed the room.
K: What do you mean he trashed the room?
D: He up-ended all his crates of toys in the room.
K: And you left him in there?
D: He was TIRED.
My mom jumped in to say that he really was tired and that he eventually fell asleep if only for a little while. I laughed because I would never have hung in for the whole hour and a half. Especially if he was in a tornado mood. I mean, sometimes you just have to give up as a parent. No, wait. Maybe that's what you aren't supposed to do.
Don't mind me. I'll be upstairs cleaning up his room. The room in which he never napped.
It only took almost four years, but I think we finally have Ethan sleeping through the night. I know. What is wrong with those people that let their kids get up 700 times a night? He really just wants to sleep in between his mom and his dad. In fact, he says, "I just want to sleep in between my mom and my dad."
The trouble is, there is no room in a queen size bed for a grown man, a large pregnant woman and a boy who sleeps all over the place. Frankly, I would just like to not be awakened one or two times every single night. I don't think I have slept through the night in four years. And since sharing the bed with Ethan means Ethan shares MY half of the bed, I had to shut it down.
But what to do? I know people that lock their kids in their room and let them cry it out but my friend still sounds traumatized when she regales me with stories of being locked in her room. She is nearly 40.
We decided to lock our room instead. Wonder of wonders, it worked. After five minutes of hysteria outside our door, Ethan began negotiating.
E: Mom. Dad. If you promise to keep your door open and leave the light on in the bathroom, I'll stay in my bed.
It sounded too good to be true. I have no idea where the light thing came from but whatever. He was off to his room and is going on three weeks of staying in his bed. He does get up occasionally to check that our door is open and if it is not, he opens it.
I failed to do the math that an open door with a bathroom light on would be a bad combination for me.
Growing up, I shared a room with Jen a fair amount of the time. Jen liked to torment with a variety of things. First and foremost, she liked to set the alarm for two hours before she had to get up and then hit snooze every nine minutes until she got up. I, of course, woke up the first time the alarm went off and stayed awake. It made me a bitter girl.
The next big thing was that for my entire life, I have to have complete darkness when I sleep. So my sister would leave our room, go across the hall, turn on the bathroom light and then come back and crack my door. You know that light shined in my face.
Fastforward a few decades later. Wouldn't you know that light from the bathroom SHINES IN MY FACE. My husband just laughed when he realized what was happening. But a deal is a deal is a deal. Every night now I fall asleep to that light shining in my eyes. But I'm not waking up twice a night with my head in the stinky armpit of a three-year-old.
The things we do for our kids.
I heard them upstairs talking with a door between them. Technically Nathan was screaming but Ethan was talking.
E: Hey, Buddy. It's time to take a nap.
E: Buddy. Even I am going to take a nap today.
E: Nate, do you know what you can do?
There is a pause in the wailing.
E: Do you know that you can do? If you don't want to sleep (dropping his voice), you could just play in your room. Sometimes that's what I do. When Mom tells me to go to sleep but I don't want to, I just play. You could do that too.
Bless his heart, the wailing started up again. I guess Nathan decided that he preferred his freedom to anarchy. But at least now he knows his options for next time. I guess that is why little brothers have big brothers, right?