Wednesday, January 9, 2008

What you never get at the office

Today I had one of those "working at home" moments--the kind you miss if you work outside the house.

After she had what I call a "nope," meaning NO NAP, and also meaning "Mommy didn't get any work done because you weren't sleeping," Bitty Girl and I played outside for about four minutes (it was freezing) and then went inside for her bath. As we're coming out of the hair salon/Mom's bathroom, all dried and brushed, the phone rings.

It's work.

Bitty Girl was in a good mood, so I said yes, I could talk on a speakerphone call with two work colleagues about some technical issue with the Annual Report. I put her down in the living room with her kitchen and tea party while I talked in the kitchen.

All goes well for a few minutes, then she patters into the kitchen with one of her dishes, wanting "ra-ra," or goldfish crackers, in one of her bowls. Still talking, I open the pantry and get her the crackers. In true Bitty Girl sneaky fashion, she slips past me, grabs a different bag of crackers--by the BOTTOM--and dumps the entire bag onto the kitchen floor. Oops. I keep talking as we start the cleanup, but as I bend down, I notice the telltale odor coming from her diaper. The kind that begs to be changed. immediately. I think this is where I started sweating.

It ended fine, we finished the call, she helped me sweep up the cracker pieces (after we put most of them back in the bag, of course, fuzz and all, but don't tell her brother), we changed the offending diaper and went back to our tea party.

I just laugh thinking of how easy this conversation would have been if I had been sitting in my office the whole time. Easy, more freshly-scented, with less sweeping and sweating involved. But not nearly as interesting to read. Definitely part of the crazy I signed up for when I decided to "work from home."

One of my favorite mama writers, Catherine Newman, wrote a (an?) hysterical blog post about that, here. In my dreams, I could rewrite today's episode and make it that funny.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Destroying the Evidence

As I stuff the candy remains into the garbage, I realize that I'm still holding the smoking gun--the boxes. A flash of genius occurs to me when I realize I can rip open the boxes and turn them inside out before putting them into the recycling.

Before you start worrying about my chocolate habit, let me explain. In true form, I overbought the candy to make gingerbread houses this year. The dumb grocery store had some 10 for $10 sale on big boxes of Whoppers and Mike & Ikes and Reese's Pieces, so of course I gave in.

And after one messy session of house building, when we were up to our ears in powdered sugar frosting, and both kids (Bitty Girl must be included in everything now, especially if there are treats involved) had eaten their weight in Whoppers, we ended the project with two small gingerbread houses.

So what to do with the extra candy? It wasn't chocolatey enough for me to eat all of it, and most of it in the open boxes would just get stale. That's how I got to the garbage stuffing. But I realized that if The Boy (or maybe Bitty Girl, for that matter--since Christmas, her treat radar has gotten razor sharp) saw the empty boxes in the recycling, a New Year's Fit of Candy Withdrawal would ensue. And that's how I got to the inside out boxes.

Guess I could have just taken them outside to the big recycling bin. But that wouldn't have made much of a blog post. The point is that while I had hopes that the kids would get their father's sweet tooth, which consists of much willpower, no strong love of chocolate, and a liking for Skittles and licorice and jellybeans (I know, he's not normal), they are both complete chocolate fiends and would eat treats all day if you let them. Bitty Girl was ruined early--how can you watch two people drinking hot chocolate or eating cookies in front of you and NOT want some?

Luckily we have good teeth and an obsessive tooth brushing routine.

Only six weeks until Valentine's Day.....

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Blog and you shall receive..

or feel a little better.

Sometimes I question whether I should really be so honest about the kids' misbehavior or my own mis-parenting. Do people read these entries and think, "She is a) doing everything wrong, b) exaggerating how bad her kids act, or c) completely nuts?" (Did that multiple choice remind you of college exams?)

But often just the writing is cathartic, and the forced reflection helps me put it into perspective, even if no one else ever reads it.

After the "Christmas Eve Tantrum of Ungratefulness" post, however, I am convinced. Moms should write these things down and share them. Because it makes other people feel better. You know what they say, misery loves company. But everyone needs a little "there, there" from time to time.

I have had two friends respond to my post with stories of their own five-year old House of Horrors. One child found an "extra" present that had been hidden because of duplication and present excess, and threw a long tantrum about how he didn't like any of his other presents as much as he would like that car. He is invited to the soup kitchen with The Boy next year.

And another's daughter (yes, girls do it too...) had a meltdown when a family box of presents didn't contain anything for her (her big box was coming separately). She also sorted all the presents to make sure she had the most, and after a marathon Christmas day of stockings and present openings, declared Christmas "boring."

Whew. I responded to both with empathetic belly laughter! Honestly, my first thought was, "Thank goodness it's not just MY ungrateful kid." But I appreciated them sharing with me, and was glad that my blog post made them laugh and feel a little less alone in the crazy holiday parenting roller coaster.

So bring it on, and I'm sure my lovely children will provide enough blog fodder for many holidays to come..