Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Diaper Run

A couple months ago I experienced a motherhood moment I'm sure
I'll never forget. For obvious reasons, I avoid stores when all three
children are with me like the plague. One day, I couldn't ignore the 
fact that my potty-training resistant 3 year old only had a couple
pull-ups left. I strategized which store would be the best to run into
to pick up a pack. I ran out of time before I had to pick my 5 year
old up from preschool, so I would be forced to that which I dreaded.
But which store would be the best for minimal fiascoes? 

After much contemplation, I decided that the local CVS would be it.
It was on the correct side of the road so as to not have to cross 
traffic upon leaving, it was a smaller store (which would be a 
benefit if a child decided to bolt), and it had an easy-to-find things

I decided against putting the baby in the stroller, after all, I would 
only be in the store for a couple minutes. With baby on hip, the
3 year old holding my hand, and the 5 year old holding onto my
purse, we entered the store. Immediately, I could see the baby 
section was in the right rear section of the store. We ventured 
down the center aisle, but each row end contained some trinket
desirable to the little ones. Oohs, and ahs continued until
we finally arrived at the last row which contained the diapers.

I realized the 3 year old had continued to the back of the store
which had a rack of toy dye-cast cars. No problem, I can divert
them away to the destination. With a reminder  that we were 
not there for toys but for pull-ups, I managed to steer them 
towards the goal, which quickly turned into pulling multiple 
packs of diapers of various sizes and designs off the racks.
I directed the ambitious one toward the correct size and style
of pull-up, and he was quite pleased with himself for choosing
the correct diaper. 

I thought I was in the clear until we headed back down the center
aisle and both older kids started asking for rubber duckies, new 
hair ties, and various small toys. I was barely able to keep them
with me, but we finally made it up to the checkout area. Yeah! Then it

This was a couple weeks after Easter, so there were multiple barrels
of discount Easter candy. The children's eyed bulged. Before I had
a chance to intervene, the elder one dipped her had into a barrel
of cadbury eggs. Could she have one? At least she asked, but
the answer was still no. My little lovelies + sugar = disaster. The 
younger had his eye on the prize, threw the pull-ups over his shoulder,
and didn't hesitate to plunge his little hand down into the treasure 
trove of sugary delight and proceeded to unwrap the candy as quickly 
as his fumbling fingers would allow. 

"James, no!" I warned. His eyes met mine, his tiny jaw clenched, 
and he was off! Top speed, his little legs carried him as fast and 
they could go, which was pretty fast. 

Before I had a moment to respond, my 5 year old yelled, "I'll head
him off!" Great, now both my children were on the run! Baby still
on hip I trotted down the aisles searching for the escapee. A couple 
of times he would see me as he started down an aisle and then 
doubled back the other way. Finally, I met him mid way down an
aisle. He stopped short of my reach and moved the candy egg behind
his back. 

In the distance, his big sister inched closer up behind him. Unaware
of her presence, he continued to back up slowly. I made sure my 
eyes did not give her away. Then triumph, "I've got it!" she shouted
proudly as she held up the prize.

Defeated, the 3 year old reluctantly held my hand as we returned
to the front of the store to check out. We had attracted quite a few
stares, something I'm immune to now. I picked up the abandoned
pack of pull-ups and rejoined the check out line as my lovelies 
decided a game of tag around the barrels of candy would be 
acceptable. I sighed in exhaustion. Then I heard a voice behind me,
"It's only a season." I nodded and smiled. 

Only a season. A season of crazy chaos, wild adventures in 
parenting, delightful dreams of princesses and pirates, little
arms giving huge hugs, little lips bestowing sweet kisses. A
season that will be over all too quickly. A season that must be
enjoyed and lived to the fullest, despite disastrous diaper runs.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

When Life Gives You Broken Eggs...

A couple weeks ago, I was making my three year old lunch. His favorite
is peanut butter and jelly, which is easy enough. It was the time of week
when the pantry tends to be more empty than usual, as I needed to make 
a  trip to the grocery store. I now avoid taking all three children to the store 
at any cost for good reason (as you will see in my next post). 

I was spreading the peanut butter to perfection when I heard a small 
gruff voice behind me, "Mommy, I hungry." SPLAT, SPLAT, SPLAT,
SPLAT! I turned and saw the last four eggs broken on the kitchen floor.
I wasn't that upset with my little man, the look of horror on his face
must have mirrored mine as he held a partially opened carton of eggs. 
He knew it wasn't good. I reassured him all was well, but next time to
ask mommy for help. 

Instantly my brain raced with ideas of how I could utilize what was left
of the eggs. I dislike wasting food. Pancakes! It hit me like a lightning 
bolt (without the pain of electrocution). I swung open the pantry door to 
find no pancake mix. Of course there wasn't any! I wondered if I could 
make my own. Yes, after a quick Internet search, I found a basic recipe 
that involved flour, baking soda, baking powder and sugar. Was that all 
that pancake mix is? Why do I buy it in a box? I added some cinnamon 
to the mix and some organic blueberries and strawberries I had in the 
freezer (I cut the strawberries into small pieces). I spent the rest of the 
afternoon frying up pancakes. It took a little while since I made a double 
recipe. We enjoyed berry pancakes the next three mornings. My children
loved it (pancakes are usually reserved for Saturday mornings).

There are many times in life when things happen beyond our control,
from broken eggs to more serious matters. Instead of dwelling on
what's broken (which is what we all tend towards), let's figure out how to 
use what we have to make something good. In this wild ride called life, 
it's to our benefit to roll with the punches, and when life gives us broken 
eggs... make pancakes! 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Good Bye, Nap Time

Recently I've experienced the loss of a dear friend, nap time. Through
the years we've had our differences, such as leaving me for a week 
long vacation without any notice, but it would always return, usually 
penitent for the chaos its absence caused. A few weeks ago, both of my 
older children decided, whether independently or collaboratively I don't 
know, that nap time was a thing of the past. I had managed for quite a 
few months to get all three to nap in the afternoon at the same time, 
ensuring a couple hours of serenity, time to work on writing, sneak a 
scoop or two of chocolate ice cream, catch up on a TV show that my 
husband wouldn't watch, attempt workout, or make a valiant effort 
with the mountains of laundry waiting for me in the basement

I feel unbalanced in adjusting to this new world of constant play. The 
children have responded to bleary eyed afternoons in different ways. 
My eldest (5) turns into a 17 year old with the attitude to match, and 
my 3 year old, despite being as tough as a mini linebacker, emotionally 
wilts like any unfortunate plant condemned to my house. And so late 
afternoons have been quite a challenge.  

The balancing act called motherhood is a constant learning process.
Nap time used to be instrumental in aiding that balance, and now
my equilibrium is recalibrating itself. I find myself searching for 
strategies that will bring order to afternoon chaos. The TV has
been on much more than I'd like lately. 

Yesterday I ordered the sleep deprived sweeties to their room with 
the instructions that they are to either look at books or play with 
puzzles. 30 seconds later I heard banging, pounding and screaming. 
I marched up and found them wrestling each other down to the 
ground. In itself not bad, but my 3 year old has gotten in trouble at pre-
school for not being gentle enough with his classmates, so rough 
housing is not allowed for right now. I had to put on a tough demeanor, 
put them to the tasks I had instructed, and amazingly they were quiet 
until dinner was ready. Again I'm reminded that I need to be the mom 
that is best for my children, not the funnest or the coolest, just the best 
for them. 

Although I feel nap time abandoned me without warning (or maybe 
I had ignored the warning signs in denial), I need to stop mourning
its departure and move on. I love the motto of the animated movie
Meet the Robinsons, "Keep moving forward." With God's grace,
that's exactly what I'll do!