Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Gift of Giving

With Christmas closing in and my kids lists and demands growing at an exponential rate, I started to children were turning into unappreciative spoiled brats. They actually started to catalogue their gifts that they expected to get and from whom they excepted to get them.

Before they reached the point of no return, and turned into a pack if "give me" savages, I decided I should intervene and teach my impudent brigade how to politely receive gifts, especially if it is not the giant $100 Devastator, which I think is appropriately named, because what parent wouldn't be devastated when they found out that their child's number one toy on their Santa list costs a hundred bucks! And more importantly I want my boys to experience the merriment of giving to others.

So, I devised a game to help teach some proper gift giving and receiving etiquette. I gave each boy a shopping bag, and told them that they would be shopping in the playroom for gifts to give each other. Before I set them off to do their shopping, I set up some ground rules. 1. Everyone would take turns being the shopper/gift giver and everyone would get a turn to be the recipient 2. You must pick only one gift, so be thoughtful in your selection 3. Upon receipt of your gift you must clearly thank the gift giver 4. Once you open the gift you must say something constructive and positive about it, whether or not you like the gift. 5. Never say "I hate it" or "this isn't what I wanted."

Once I was certain that each boy understood the rules, they set off to do some shopping. Two boys would feverishly shop for the perfect gift, while the other would patiently await to receive his present. The first couple of rounds went surprisingly well, I was beginning to think that maybe I didn't have anything to worry about after all, "my kids are such thoughtful little Santa's," I thought to myself.

THEN, it was time for the Tank to shop for the Destroyer. I feel like I must preface this story with the fact that the Tank and the Destroyer's relationship is more like Tom and Jerry's than Wallie and the Beaver.

The Tank was in playroom on the hunt for the perfect present for the Destroyer, when all of a sudden he broke out in to a fit of uncontrollable laughter. When I went to see what was so funny, he was laughing so hard that he was crying, tears were literally streaming down his face.

"What's so funny?," I asked, starting to laugh myself.

Still laughing the Tank was unable to compose an answer.

"Are you ready?" I asked.

The Tank shook his head and off he went to allege the Destroyer with a token of his brotherly appreciate. By the time we reached the Destroyer, the Tank's laughter had ceased and had been replaced with a grin that could rival the Chester Cat's.

The Tank presented his masterpiece. It was a beautiful exchange of hugs and thank yous. I couldn't have been prouder.

Then, bursting with excitement the Destroyer opened his present. He pulled out an old crusted up Lighten McQueen sneaker, that went missing about six months ago. The Destroyer squealed with delight, "Oh, THANK YOU! I was missed this!"

I like to think that the Destroyer wasn't really oblivious to the Tank's intentions of sticking it to him; but rather, he just really understood the point of the game and was truly appreciative.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Next Stop, Pea Pod!

Yes, that was me with Will Turner, Captain Jack Sparrow and the Knight in Shining Armor at Stop and Shop today.

Sounds like something out of a dream, right?

If only I was dreaming. Every outing is literally an adventure for my little band of trouble. They look forward to dressing up and heading out on the town. Everyday is a new Halloween here at the Putnam patch.

Sounds cute and even at first glance, they look cute. But if you look close enough you'll see that they are really just wolverines in sheep's clothing.

It's usually just a matter of minutes before the claws come out and I'm in total disarray. Today was actually different.

It only took about 15 seconds into our shopping trip, when the Destroyer spotted some contraband... balloons. I purposely try to avoid any stores that carry balloons and now Stop and Shop has moved them from their small corner in the flower shop to the front and center of every aisle of the store.

"Balloon!" squealed the Destroyer! "I want a balloon!"

"Shoot me now," I quietly thought to myself.

"We'll see. Let's get all our shopping done and maybe we can stop and look at the balloons on the way out." I said as I quickly rolled past the balloons.

I quickly developed a game plan in my head, mapping out my shopping list to get out of the store as quickly as possible. But before I was able to finish my planing, the Destroyer started his tenacious attack.

The next seven or eight minutes seemed like the most daunting of my life as the Destroyer relentlessly pressured me for his balloon. "Mommy, I be good. I get a balloon? Mommy is it time to see the balloons?"

My constant promises that we'd check out the balloons on the way out of the store did little to calm the Destroyer's offense.

The Destroyer's cute and coy pleas for a balloon, quickly turned into ferocious demands. "I want a balloon," he screamed.

Looking over my shoulder to be sure the no one could report me for child abuse, I grabbed the Destroyer's arm and threatened to sell him on e-bay if he wasn't quiet.

To which my sassy three year old stood up in the cart and pointed his little finger at me, stomping and screaming, "YOU MEAN MOMMY! I WANT A BALLOON!"

Embarrassed, I grabbed all three of my troopers without saying a word and dashed toward the door leaving my cart in the middle of the aisle.

The General concerned brought up a very important fact, "But Mommy, what about our food?"

To which another shopper, who I sensed was pleased at our exit, suggested, "Honey go home and order from Pea Pod, they deliver!"

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Blonde Gene vs The Boy Gene

So is the blonde gene recessive? And I'm not talking hair color.

I'm not sure if this is an old wives tale, but someone once told me that you can only be as intelligent as your smartest parent. Which, I guess sounds logical, speaking in DNA terms. So, if this happens to be true, then does this theory work in reverse?

I am not in any way admitting that either myself or the Bear are simpleminded, but I do seem to have my doltish ways, AKA "blond moments." My most recent moment came when my husband and I were at the local Thai Hut restaurant and I asked, "where does Thai food come from?"

I'm sure there is no need for details as to the Bears response.

Well, it appears that my middleton, the Tank, has not only inherited my hair color, but has acquired my air headedness. The other day we were at the kids football game and the Tank seemed to have disappeared off the field and out of sight, so the Coach began to yell for him. When there was no sign of him, parents started to join in shouting, "Tank! Tank where are you?" When all of a sudden I spotted my little green rookie, swarmed by a group of Purple players.

"Tank! Wrong team!" I shouted over to him.

He looked at me completely clueless, "What?"

"You're in the wrong team's huddle!" I couldn't help but giggle.

Later that day I was recounting the incident to a friend, feeling sorry that Tank has acquired my "blonde ways," when she started to laugh. "It's not a blonde thing," she assured me. "It's a Boy thing."

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Weight Watcher

After a recent comment from the General, "Mommy, you look like you've got a baby in your belly!" I've once again have ventured off and on to yet another health kick. After packing on several pounds, over the last year, I've decided an intervention was needed. I thought I'd seek professional guidance.

I decided to share my new epiphany with the Bear. "I think I'm going to call Weight Watchers," I told him, all proud of myself.

He just shook his head.

"What's that suppose to mean?" I asked.

"You don't have a weight problem. They probably wouldn't even let you join" answered the Bear.

"Why would you say that?"

Before the Bear could answer I continued my whining, "I can't button my jeans, and the General told me I look like I have a baby in my belly!."

"So buy new jeans. And the General just wants another brother, wishful thinking on his part," answered the Bear, annoyed at the fact that we were even having such a conversation.

Annoyed, I came up with all that I could think of at the moment, "Even my bras don't fit!"

"And that's a bad thing?"

Guys just don't get it.

I decided that I was going to have to go at it alone. So, I looked into several weight management programs to see which one I could possibly stomach.

Motivated about my new commitment to a healthier lifestyle, I decided to research the program on line, to find out more information. As I read the webpage, my insides were bubbling with excitement, I could envision the new fitter and healthier me!

I decided to fill out the on line questionnaire to determine which group would suit me best.

1. Are you over 17?


2. Are you pregnant?

I sure as hell hope not.

3. Breastfeeding?

Only when my husband's really hungry.

4. Are you or have you ever been bulimic?

God no! If I was getting rid of the food before it had time to settle on my a** then I wouldn't need your program.

5. What are your goals?

To be able to button my jeans.

6. How tall are you?

5 feet 3 and 1/4 inches

7. How much do you weigh?


8. List health goals.

I don't really care how much weight I loose, I just want to button my jeans, fit into my bras and not look like I have a baby in my belly!.

It's been about two weeks, and I still haven't heard anything back. I'm starting to think that no one takes me seriously!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Tank's new Achilles heel

Is there such thing as having slight OCD? Or is it like being a little bit either are or you aren't?

My four year old, the Tank has recently become extremely germ conscious. At first, I thought it was really cute when the Tank insisted on washing his hands to "kill the germs." In fact, I praised his pre-school teachers for stressing that good hygiene keeps everyone healthy. I was really excited that they were reinforcing habits that I was already teaching my troops at home.

The Tank's teachers were militant about the children washing their hands upon entering the classroom, "we don't want to pass around our germs" they would reason with the students. The teachers were also adamant about the children not sharing food or drinks, "no sharing germs" they would emphasize at snack time.

I was even excited when the Tank started to share his passion for being clean with his brothers at home. Again, his little anxieties were cute at first. He became the "hand inspector," as his brothers would exit the toilet he'd be standing right outside the door, "Let me see them!" he'd command, referring to their hands. Once the Destroyer waved his wet mitts in front of the Tank and the Tank instructed him to return for another washing, "I don't smell soap," he insisted.

One time we were at Disney and the Tank needed to use the potty, so I brought him to the restroom, where the line was just as long as the line to meet and greet Mickey Mouse. When it was our turn, we went into the stall, only to find that it was out of seat covers, which is a necessity for the Tank to use the facilities in public. I assured him that a little bit of toilet paper would serve the same purpose and not to worry, that his tushy would be safe. My reasoning seemed to appease the Tank, until the toilet paper slipped while he was in the middle of doing his business.

"Quick! Lift me up!" screamed the Tank.


"My butt's going to catch germs!" practically hyperventilating the Tank commanded, "Lift me up!"

"You'll be fine, we're in Disney, it's one of the cleanest places on Earth! You can probably eat off this floor and not catch anything. Just finish up ," I responded calmly.

At this point, I could hear the lady in the stall next to us begin to giggle.

When we finally exited the restroom, the Bear asked, "what took so long?"

"The Tank found a new kryotonite."

Monday, July 13, 2009

Next gift...I'll Take Some Sense Please!

We all have those not so lucid moments when we say or do totally off the wall things that just don't make much sense. I guess I just seem to have those moments more often than other people. My brother use to say to me, quite frequently, "if common sense is so common, how come you don't have any?"

Apparently I wasn't around the day God was handing it out, but I was in line when he was handing out the blond gene. I guess that's the Polish in me.

My most recent blond/Polish moment, as my family refers to these totally ridiculous junctures in my life, came last week. The Bear called me all excited at work and told me that he got me an early birthday present, "it's something that you've been wanting for a long time."

"Yes, finally diamond earrings!" I quietly thought to myself.

"Are you going to tell me or do I have to wait in suspense?" I asked.

"Well it's something that you can use when you get home if you want," the Bear replied trying to clue me in.

"Hmm, what am I going to cut glass?" I started to reason, I was grasping for straws.

"It's a beater bar for the central vac!" said the Bear almost squealing with excitement.

"Seriously?" I asked, you can imagine how hard it was for me to try and contain my excitement.

Later that night when I arrived home the Bear asked me if I wanted to try my new gift out.

Again, working hard to control my emotion, "that's ok. I'll wait until tomorrow, I don't want to wake the boys."

The next day the restless Bear called from work, "so did you try it yet?"

"Just getting ready to fire this baby up, I'll let you know how it works at lunch."

After we hung up the phone I took my new beater bar up the stairs and hooked the hose into the wall and went to town vacuuming my troops' barracks. As I'm swaying the beater bar back and forth, I noticed it's not really sucking much up. I thought to myself, "what a piece of junk...he should have went with the earrings."

At lunch time the hungry Bear bustled through the door all chipper, "so how did it work?"

"It's a peace of junk, return it. I was just up in the kids room and it barley sucked anything up," I retorted.

Deflated the Bear said he go check to see what was wrong with it.

As soon as he got to the top of the stairs the Bear growled for me to come up and show him how I was using the vacuum.

So, to oblige him, I attached the hose to the central vac, flipped the switch and started to vacuum. "Look it's barley sucking anything up," I whined.

"That's because you didn't plug the beater bar into the wall," roared the Bear. "Didn't you noticed it wasn't making any noise?"

"Oh," I said feeling a little silly. "I thought that it was suppose to be quiet...I thought it was a special feature! That was the only thing I liked about it!"

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Mom's Time for R&R...Do I Really NEED a Reason?

Why is it that moms so rarely get pampered or pamper ourselves?

Recently, after a very long and stressful week, a friend of mine gave me a calming candle and some sound advice. "Go home, light the candle and take a bubble bath," she said.

Ahh, sounds like dream! Or more like something that would only happen in my dreams.

That night when I came home from work, I showed my husband, the Bear, my new candle and I told him about my friend's advice.

"Sounds great, you should go take a bath and call it a night. The kids are already in bed" spoke the Bear in a melodic voice.

He can be so soft and cuddly sometimes! I was so excited I even asked if he wanted to join me!

"That's ok, why don't you just go up and relax, I'll clean up the kitchen from dinner," said Bear.

At this point I had to pinch myself to see if I was dreaming.

Nope! So without a second offer I flew up the stairs and drew a nice warm bubble bath. I turned down the lights, lit my candle and turned on some Enya. Total bliss!

As I was just drifting off into tranquility, I had this odd feeling in the pit of my stomach. Something just wasn't right.

I sat up and peered over towards my door and there stood the Tank, perched idly against the door jam.

"What are you doing?" asked the Tank.

"I'm taking a bath."

Baffled the Tank just stared at me then said, "but it's not Mother's Day."

"No, it's not," and I just put a hot cloth over my eyes and slipped away back into my sedation.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

My Dirty Little Secret

I have a little secret....

Ok, I'm just going to say it out loud...

I LIKE daytime TV!

Not that I actually have time to watch it during the day, but I have my DVR ready to record all my favorites. Particulary, which I am some what embarrassed to admit, Days of Our Lives.

I am a Days junkie. Once all the kiddos are all snug in their bed, I sneak off down stairs, like a little kid trying to evade their folks so they can watch forbidden TV shows.

I can't reason why I am so committed to sub par acting and shoddy story lines. My husband is constantly trying to help me kick my daily dose of daytime, but I litteraly feel like I am going to explode with curiousity if I miss an episode.

You know what they say the first step in recovery is admitting that you have a problem.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Do Not Flush! TP only Please!

The Destroyer has been out creeping around in full destruction mode. His latest shenanigan had my hubby, the Bear, dismantling the kids' toilet to retrieve the Destroyer's toothbrush.

I was rounding up the troops getting them ready for school. Doing the whole routine, combing hair, brushing teeth etc, when I noticed the Destroyer loitering around the potty, toothbrush in hand, daunting around in nothing but a diaper and a deleterious grin.

I could sense trouble on the horizon so I told the Destroyer to get away from the potty. But before I could even finish my statement, the little warmonger had dropped his toothbrush in the toilet and flushed!

I peered in the toilet, no toothbrush in sight. "Holy Crap! The thing actually flushed!," I thought in disbelief. I did a follow flush just to check to make sure it wasn't caught in the drain pipe. All systems looked a go.

I reprimanded the Destroyer and off my troops went to carry on with their day.

It seemed like both the Destroyer and I were free from facing the wrath of the Bear. I had actually forgotten about the incident until a few days later screams of dismay emerged from the crime scene. "Mommy! The Destroyer flushed the toilet while I was going poopie and now it's exploding! Quick, there is water squirting all over the floor!" screamed the General.

"Shit!" (pun intended)

I rushed up the stairs and was greeted the by Destroyer, "Uh-Oh, I naughty." I head straight into the kids latrine. Sure enough there was water just pouring out of the toilet.

I called the Bear, who told me that there was nothing he could do while he was at work and that he would take care of it when he got home. Surrendering to the fact that there was nothing I could do, I threw towels on the floor and shut the door, not giving it another thought.

Later that night, I was at work when the Bear called me, (I feel I have to premise this next bit with the fact that my husband except for this case in point is more like a teddy bear than a grizzly) growling into the phone that if I ever bought another Clorox wipe again that he would shoot me.

Apparently Clorox wipes and toothbrushes don't flush well. We left it at that agreeing to discuss the matter when I got home from work.

When I walked into the house a few hours later, all was quite and the three boys were sitting on the hearth as still as statues. "Where Daddy?" I asked.

The General was quick to answer in excitement, "Oh, Daddy found the Destroyer's toothbrush when he was taking apart the toilet."

"Yea, and it was covered in our poopies!" giggled the Tank.

"So where's Daddy?" I asked again.

"He's in the shower, cleaning the poopies off his hands," answered the General.

I instructed the boys not to leave the hearth while I went up to check on the Bear. I tip-toed up the stairs where I was greeted by a fierce growl, "I don't know what you were thinking flushing those things down the toilet."

"What? I didn't flush the toothbrush!" I responded, trying to play innocent.

"The wipes! What were you thinking? They got all wrapped around the toothbrush and plugged everything up.!"

"Again, I didn't flush the toothbrush," I said rather coyly.

Finding no humor in my statement, the Bear roared, "What are you three? Toilet paper only!"

Monday, March 2, 2009

More Power!

I feel as if my life is turning into daily episodes straight out of Home Improvement. For those of you not familiar with the show, it's a comedy from the early 90's, that deals with the daily trials and tribulations of an over zealous handyman and his wife raising three mischievous boys. Sounds like my life right?

I get that it is in man's nature to feel the need for "more power," but seriously, how much "power" do four and five year old little boys need?

My husband's latest Tim Allen moment involved a foot of snow, a hose, sleds, and two eager boys who felt the need for speed.

I opened my front door and asked the Bear, "what are you doing?" I could clearly see that he had dug out a tunnel in the snow which he was icing up with water from our hose.

Now a deer caught in the head lights, the Bear turned and replied, "The boys wanted to go faster."

"So you decided to create a luge in the front yard? How fast does a five year old need to go?" I was completely dumbfounded.

Visons of our children rocketing into our neighbor's yard down the hill danced in my head. Have our children not had enough stitches and staples for one year?

Monday, February 9, 2009

Deceptively Delicious?

Like most mothers, I endure a daily battle to get my children to eat healthy. It is no easy feat to get three toddlers to eat their greens and usually I am the one who surrenders, cowering off in frustration.

But, I have decided, I WILL NOT BE DEFEATED!

My first, and only, real plan of attack was to disguise the "good stuff", (i.e. the veges and such) in a way that would be virtually undetectable to my troops. To pull of such a coup I would need some foolproof recipes. So, I borrowed the book Deceptively Delicious from a friend. This book guaranteed I'd be able to hide all sorts of vegetables in my kids' food without them ever knowing.

I decided to try something safe, Mac & Cheese. KRAFT, which I am embarrassed to say, is a staple in our home. The picture in the book even looked like the stuff out of a box. I could feel a victory brewing!

I set out a box of KRAFT on the counter to throw off any suspicion and began to blend puree butternut squash and cheese on the stove top, when the General came in the kitchen to check on lunch.

"Cool! Mac&Cheese, my favorite! Can I stir in the cheese?" asked the General.

"Sure." I said as a peered at my bubbling concoction next to us on the stove.

Then I proceeded to pour the cheesy blend over the noodles.

I could see suspicion in the General's eyes, "Where's the cheese packet?"

Thinking on my toes, "Oh, this is it. I just heated it up so it would keep the noodles nice and warm."

The General started to mix the medley of squash and cheese into the noodles. So far so good, it really did look like the stuff out of the box! The General and his comrades sat down at the table ready to chow. Just as I was getting ready to declare victory, the General started to gag. I mean, he literally started to retch over his bowl.

"Mom, I think the cheese got bad when you heated it up!" The General's eyes were watering at this point from trying to choke down his food. "Next time let me make the Mac&cheese!"

Talk about feeling deflated. Needless to say, I have temporarily forfeited my conquest.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Everyone, Man your stations!

We call my youngest "The Destroyer" for a reason. He is like Godzilla and everything around him is Tokyo. He can make grown men whimper with fear in his presence. I swear I saw a tear in my husband's eye when the Destroyer smashed his DVR remote. And after the Destroyer's latest hazardous shenanigan, our local pre-school actually posted a sign with the Destroyer's picture and underneath it read: "BEWARE, do not be fooled by his size and boyish charm. He is extremely dangerous."

Previous to this posting, the Destroyer and I were accompanying the Tank to school. Under normal circumstances we would never take the elevator at school, but on this occasion both the Tank and I had our hands full of goodies to share with his class. So I caved and against better judgment, we took the elevator up one flight. And in less than 10 seconds, the Destroyer had put our ascent to an alarming halt! He had pushed the emergency fire alarm, which stopped the elevator and set off every flashing light and buzzer in the building.

The Destroyer stood motionless for a moment then proclaimed, "Opps! I sorry!"

The Tank literally dropped to the floor in tears, while several women started to shout up the elevator shaft, "Stay calm! We'll get you out of there. Not to worry!"

Stay calm, right. Visions of every fire truck and police car responding to this absurd incident danced in my head. I started to sweat in fear that I would be cited a hefty fine for falsely setting off a fire alarm.

What seemed like an eternity later, the doors opened and I emerged with the Tank and the Destroyer to every spectator in the building glaring sternly at us. Luckily, I saw no officers in sight. I offered my sincerest apologies and assurance that this would never happen again, then I continued to my son's class in a wake of embarrassment, all the while the Destroyer is heralding his mischievous nature to anyone who will listen, "I naughty! I make Mikey cry! I push button! I naughty!"

The next day as I sheepishly entered the building, with the Tank and the Destroyer strapped to my side, the woman behind the desk picked up her walkies-talkie, and I swear I heard her tell everyone to "man your stations."

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Children. Side Effect: may cause severe headaches which may lead to severe eye twitching.

It's been my case now for several years that all children should come with warning labels. Everything else in the world has one, I mean really it doesn't take a genius to figure out that you shouldn't blow dry your hair while bathing. But it would be nice however, if someone would have warned me that a two year old, who can't reach a door knob yet, can some how figure out how to escape his room and exit our home undetected at 6am and walk to his grandparent's house.

Case in Point:

I've never been one to get frequent headaches, until recently. And by recently, I really mean, the headaches actually started about five years ago (around the time of the General's arrival). And as with my children, over time they have become out of control and more aggressive. Sometimes, the pressure is so bad that my eye actually will begin to spasm. So, a friend of mine recommended that I go and get my eyes tested.

This sounded reasonable to me. I actually have been having vision trouble lately.

So I made appointment and off I went to the eye doctor.

"So what brings you hear today?" asked Dr. M

I explain to him that I've been having headaches and that my right eye frequently twitches, which I think, although I am no expert, may be related to my newly developed vision impairment.

I don't see half the crap my kids do until it's too late, like the time I punctured my hand because I didn't see the nail that the Tank was using to prop his ninja turtle's convoy up so he could change its tire.

"Ok, let's take a look at your eyes," says Dr. M. "But I have to tell you, usually eye twitching is a result of stress, lack of sleep or too much caffeine. Could any of these be affecting you?"

DING! DING! DING! How could I not have seen the writing on the wall? "I have three BOYS under five. My life revolves around stress, and I live off of little sleep and a whole lot of coffee. So yes, all of the above."

After the eye examine the kind Dr.M wrote me a prescription for some drops that he assured me will stop any eye spasm. He also recommended getting more sleep. "Can you fax that one to my husband and children?" I asked a little to earnestly.

Seriously, this is just reason #121 why children should come with warning labels. When you exit the hospital, upon discharge, your nurse should hand you a list clearly outlining all side effects and impending hazards; like, may cause severe headaches, which can lead to severe eye twitching."