trying to find myself and humor in life

Archive for the tag “children”

I am THE MEANEST mommy ever

This has been a crazy week at Casa Chaos with me going back to work and the kids settling into another new routine. I thought we were all adapting and told myself by next week it should be good – well as good as it can ever be with 4 young boys.

I will admit that I may not always be the most patient mother, especially in the mornings before (and during) coffee, but my children (2 in particular) could really test the patience of a saint at times.

Whenever I tell someone  I have 4 boys, within seconds this response follows

“4 boys really?? You going to try for the girl?? oh….well… you are lucky boys are SO much easier than girls.”

I laugh and change the subject thinking about how nuts my house is 24/7.

Lately my “older” twin M has been a little moody. Not sure if it is the terrible 6s, a mid-life crisis or maybe his room isn’t zen enough. Ever since the womb, M has been either hot or cold.  There is no in between with him.

One minute he will tell me he loves me SOOO much and the next he’ll tell us he wants to live alone.

I remember the first time M yelled I hate you!!! It was like a kick to the stomach.

How could my M, my little Bugman, say such a thing to me HIS OWN MOTHER???!!!! I carried him AND his brother for 37 1/2 weeks and gained 80 pounds! I have done everything for him and he has the nerve to hate me?????

I remember telling Mrs. Jeter and she laughed and said her son tells her that all the time. Other friends told me the same thing and after a while I got over the hurt.

Now M says it to me almost daily so the words don’t sting or even phase me – mostly. Once in a while it gets to me and instead of ignoring it,  I  tell him to go find a new mommy. I have even offered to help him pick one out from the
“New Mommy Catalog.”

A week or so ago, M and I were arguing over something “important” (probably chicken nuggets or juice) when he got really upset and yelled YOU ARE THE MEANEST MOMMY EVER!!!!

Gasp – say what????!!

I can’t remember what set M off that day but I gave him some time to cool off. I didn’t bother him or try to talk to him until he had calmed down. A little while later he came over, sniffling and wiping tears, and told me he was sorry and he loved me and I was the best mommy.

So sweet right??

Well since then M has told me at least 5 or so more times that I am a “mean mommy” so I thought I would make a list of all the mean things I do and share it with my friends in blogosphere.

In no particular order, here are M’s reasons why I am THE meanest Mommy ever:

1) I always make him take a shower/bath when he is playing Legos

2) All I ever make is chicken and chicken is dumb

3) He is never allowed to have soda and Mommy and Daddy drink it and it’s just NOT FAIR

4) I refused to buy him the $400 Death Star Lego and some other random $50 Star Wars ship at a recent trip to Target

5) How dare I pick him up from after care and not bring snacks with me

6) When M is in time out, I don’t  allow him to have a cookie or watch tv

7) I always make him get dressed for school when he is watching tvf

8) We never have any good snacks, he is sick and tired of Cheez Its, Goldfish, cookies and crackers they are SO BORING

9) M wants to live alone because our house is too loud and messy

10) OMG how could I not have jean shorts for him to wear to school today???!

This list is just from the past week or so, and as you can see, I am THE meanest mom alive! Poor M, he has no idea what he is in for in the years to come (lol).

Enjoy your Thursday!!

ps – This list is just from the past 2 weeks, I am sure I will update it soon 🙂


Somewhere on the spectrum….

On January 10, 2011 my son J was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). I can remember everything about that day. It was a Monday and I had taken the day off work. The temperature outside was in the teens and so J and I were both bundled in our puffy coats patiently waiting for J’s name to be called.

The waiting room was not child friendly, surprising since it was a children’s hospital. There were some torn books scattered on a table and some weird mirror shaped like a fish that reflected everything upside down.

J tried amusing himself as I filled out what seemed like a million forms.  There were insurance forms, privacy forms, health history and family background questionnaires. I answered questions like:

How much did your child weigh at birth? Has your child ever had surgery? Does your child look at you when you call his or her name? Can your child point his finger in the direction of an object? How many words can your child say and at what age did he/she say their first word(s)? Was your pregnancy “normal” ? and What age did your child crawl?

After what seemed like forever, J’s name was called and off we went to get weighed and measured before being ushered into a tiny room with a huge table and a bunch of toys. I was introduced to the Advance Practice Nurse (Sally) who asked me pretty much every question I had just answered on the forms in the waiting room.

Sally then asked J (who was pretty non-verbal at the time) questions before she “observed” him in several different controlled settings. J was asked to “play” with things like baby dolls (I mentioned J is one of 4 BOYS right?), goldfish crackers and a magic wand

Nurse Sally explained that there was no definitive “test” to diagnosis autism. Rather, children must meet a number of criteria in a developmental screening or standardized assessment, to determine if they are on the  autism spectrum.

Well, J is fine, I know he does NOT have autism, I thought to myself as Sally babbled away.

Finally after a half hour or so the nurse turned to me and very matter-of-factly said …your son has Autism Spectrum Disorder….

My world was shattered. All the hopes and dreams I had for my blond-haired, blue-eyed baby were gone.

The weeks and months that followed J’s diagnosis are a blur. Suddenly the only things I talked about concerned OT, PT, sensory-seeking, redirection, speech therapy, story boards, PECs, ABA, IEPs, support groups, dietary concerns and whether I would allow my almost 3yo to ride the “little” school bus to his new, ABA, autism, inclusive preschool.

WTF happened to our lives? Why my J??????

Slowly, VERY slowly, things started changing with J. He started to become more and more verbal, using words for things like “cookie” and “tv. ” He stopped pointing to get our attention and started to write his name and do “normal” preschool activities.

In the 2 years since J’s diagnosis we have had many highs and even more lows. For every new milestone it seems like there is a set back hanging out on the horizon.

I often tell people having a child on “the spectrum” is like riding a roller coaster. Just when you start to get used to something and think everything is going to be ok, you plunge into another unknown and feel like you are back at square 1.

J’s teachers and therapists have alwayst told me it’s all about the “baby steps.”  I need to focus on how far J’s progress has come and NOT dwell on  how far he still needs to go. While I know this advice is true, it is ALWAYS easier said than done.

Last week was President’s Day and J’s school had a small assembly. J’s teacher sent a note home that J gave a small speech about our 4th president James Madison. Miss Heidi said J worked on his speech for weeks and was VERY proud when he was finished.

I saw the laminated “speech” in his backpack and decided to ask him to read it to me and my mom. The little video that follows is nothing short of a miracle. Here is a little boy who, 2 years ago, could say only a couple of words and now he was reading about James Madison!

The look on J’s face at the end of the video says it all and the pride I feel and love I feel for J is overwhelming. He has worked SO hard and it pays off everyday.

Having a child with autism is not easy and there are days I wish J was “normal.” However, then J will do something really, really great, like this video, and I think to myself everything IS going to be alright.

I quit

Yes friends out there in the great blogosphere, I am quitting. What you may ask? Have you finally found a new career, one that will take me away from the tidias daily grind of being a paralegal extraordinaire??

Sadly no – though I am open to suggestions (keep it clean though, this is a family friendly blog lol).

I think it’s time that I quit my other full-time job. The job that has me working 24/7, no overtime or holiday pay and did I mention NO SALARY!

Give up?

Why it’s mommyhood of course.

Wait, before you go getting all über judgmental about how great being a mom is and how it is THE most important job in the universe, please let me defend myself.

First, I love my kids all four boys ages 6, 6, 4 and 3. I would do anything for them and would probably stand in front of a moving vehicle for them (unless maybe it was a huge tractor-trailer – JUST KIDDING).

My boys are my pride and joy and it amazes me each day that they are all mine and that I didn’t break them in infanthood.

I was able to withstand, colicky babies, reflux as the doctors like to call it, 2 bouts of pyloric stenosis (which require surgery and a hospital stay), jaundice, anemia, RSV and 4 ear infections at the SAME time and let’s not forget J with his Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Through it all I have tried to maintain a positive outlook (well as positive as I could be) and was always able to find humor (no matter how small) in any given situation.

Each time we survive one crisis I think to myself ok, we got through this, I did it! We can do it again…God doesn’t give you anything you can’t handle right??

After this morning though, I feel like I am done. I have done all there is to do and now it is up the husband, or the boys or my mom (JK), to take over.

There wasn’t one little thing that set me off really, rather, a compilation of all the things I met this weekend that has sent me seeking new employment.

Blame it on the weather, PMS or my back being out (yes, I have hurt my back AGAIN) but the kids really did me in this past weekend.

I don’t think it was one thing in particular, it was pretty much the same old Saturday and Sunday.

The little kids fought all weekend, L made J cry more times than I could count. The twins complained when they had to get dressed and leave for baseball practice and pictures.

The house looked like a disaster each time I cleaned it up and no matter who I asked to help me straighten the living room, the response was always the same but I didn’t do it…whhhyyyyy do I always have to heeelllpp??!

M told me he wanted to change his name – this happens a lot and I have actually gotten used to it. So far he has been Geo, Michael and now Roger. To think, I spent months agonizing over what to name this kid and he is happy with the name Geo.

Let’s see what else? Oh, 3 kids have colds which is always fun. J (ASD boy) has taken to waking up at 5am on weekends and weekdays. Twin J thinks he is sick but refuses to speak so it’s like playing 20 questions to guess what his ailment is.

M decided he hated his entire family, especially me, because there were no bagels for his breakfast on Sunday and he was bored all day AND he was sick of sharing the Wii Star Wars Lego game!

L thought it was great to play hide and seek in my just made bed and to play with the switch on my heating pad.

After I had taken a muscle relaxer the 2 little kids thought it would be good to sit on my bed and kill each other over the iPad and Mommy’s phone that was charging and M declared that he was NOT going to bed because he was going to play Star Wars. After I threatened to take away his toy laser gun if he wouldn’t go to bed he looked at me and said (completely serious) Here, just take it I am going to play downstairs.

This morning I thought we would start fresh, but the weekend behind me. The back was still hurting but at least I could stand straight and it was a new week.

I was almost done making lunches when M came downstairs. This is what followed.

M –  Mom, what are you doing with that bagel? 

Me –  Oh, I am making it for your lunch today.

M – Umm no thanks. I don’t like it.

Me – Yes, you so, since when? If you don’t take this for lunch what do you want?

M – I don’t know, maybe Goldfish?

Me – Goldfish is not lunch M, pick something? Do you want cereal, a sandwich, the bagel what? what do you want?

M – Nothing , I only want Goldfish why do you always tell me no, I wannnnnnt Goldfish. That’s not fair.

Me – Fine, don’t eat then, I don’t care (as I threw the buttered bagel into his lunch bag and zipped up his back pack.

After this exchange I got to fight with L over getting dressed and going to school (L thought he would stay in “his house” today). I also argued with J that cookies were not a breakfast item and that he had to clean up the crayons that covered my kitchen floor.

The last straw came when I very nicely, told the twins it was super cold out and perhaps it would be better if they wore sweatshirts to school and not the shirts they had picked out last night.

M was NOT happy. He told me (again) how is wasn’t fair and he was NOT wearing a sweatshirt!

I lost it. Instead of taking the high road and walking away, I heard myself say something like

Fine, wear the dirty Angry Birds Star Wars t-shirt and freeze, I don’t care. While you are at it, why don’t you get a new Mommy since I do nothing right for you. You know what, you seem to know so much, why don’t you just go out and get your own apartment while you are at it!

As if that response wasn’t good enough, I ended it with a dramatic slam of my bedroom door (yes, I know I am 40 and the adult but whatever).

After I was dressed and ready to warm up the van, I spotted M sitting all by himself in his room. He was looking out the window wearing the gray sweatshirt I had picked out.

I felt like crap! M looked so innocent sitting there, playing with the nightlight – we have told him a million times NOT to play with.

I went over and hugged him and told him I loved him. We decided he could keep me for a mom since we would both miss each other if he got a new one.

Together we walked downstairs and proceeded to put on coats, hats, gloves and mittens. Everyone was dressed, teeth brushed and ready to go.

You know what, maybe this mom stuff isn’t so bad I thought, as I pulled on my pink gloves and reached for my keys.

Let’s go, everyone to the car I said and at that moment, M spilled his entire cup of orange juice all over the floor.

Oh My F’n God, I must be on candid camera! I yelled to no one (the kids were in the car) as I cleaned up the orange juice. How can this be my life?? I said as I slammed the front door shut and drove to the bus stop.

The spilled oj was it. I am done, I quit.

Don’t worry, I will resume my mom duties today again at 5pm when I get the twins from after care and go home and start dinner. It is not a glamorous life but it’s my life – the good, the bad and the ugly.

Lol, who knows, maybe tomorrow will be a better day.

Rockabye Baby

Can I let you in on a little secret??

I LOVE babies. I know, I know, I have 4 boys, of course I like kids. But no, that’s not it. I REALLY, REALLY love babies.

Not all babies, mind you. No, my love is for the tiny, new infant that sleeps while swaddled in a blanket and completely rocks your world.

Some people think I am nuts. Newborns are fragile, crying creatures who can’t figure out their days from nights. They leave you exhausted and on the brink of a meltdown while peeing and pooping every hour.

On the flip side, a newborn is SO tiny and cute and just a living miracle. They can’t talk back or say “NO!” and more importantly they are immobile. I can not tell you how many times I have placed a swaddled (well…maybe not swaddled the husband and I never really grasped that concept) infant in the middle of my bed as I folded laundry or took a shower and he stayed there!!

My mother thinks I am totally insane. The size of a newborn alone scares her. Not me, the smaller the better. Actually, I have no preference since my kids’ birth size ranged from 6lbs 3 oz (a twin) all the way to 8lb 13 oz. I love them all.

When I was pregnant with my twins, people assumed that this was it for me and that the husband and we were “done” so to speak. Two babies at once, what more could you want right? Well, sort of. The husband was DONE but I just couldn’t shake that “baby fever” feeling.

As the twins got older, I would pass pregnant moms in the park or at Target and feel a strong pang, a longing deep in my gut. I knew I needed another baby.

Oh, you just want to try for the girl, I was told maybe a gazillion times. Yes, a girl would have been AWESOME but it was a baby I wanted. I didn’t care what its gender, I just wanted to hold, rock and breathe in that baby scent.

Be careful what you wish for. Baby 3 came 2 years after the twins and 18 months later we were “surprised” with baby 4.

Four boys under the age of 3 living in a 2 bedroom townhouse in the winter of 2010 was NOT  fun! It was anything but fun and more like madness. My baby fever washed away forever.

Now when I saw pregnant women or a baby I felt NOTHING but exhaustion. For years, people said you would just “know” when you’re done having kids and by golly they were 100% right. There would be no more kids for me, no, never!

The shop was closed and the “pang” I once felt was gone for good.

The other moms and I would laugh at all the new mommies and pregnant women had waiting for them in the coming weeks and months. I would try to be sympathetic to concerns over binky rejection, diaper rash and the occasional OMG Johnny only took 2.9oz two hours and 45 minutes ago and now he’s crying and he is not due to eat for another 15 minutes!!

I was elated that all the “baby” stuff was behind me.

Whats not to love????!

Whats not to love????!

Then last night I was mindlessly browsing Facebook when I noticed my blogging mentor CC posted a new picture of her and her new baby niece.  Oh no.

O-M-G was that baby CUTE!! CC looked so happy holding the baby with her semi-bald head that for a minute I swear, I felt the “pang” return. For the briefest of seconds, I could feel myself being brought back in time to when I was holding my own little, semi bald baby. Ahhhhhh was all I could think.

This morning I woke up and thoughts of CC’s niece kept popping in my head. I love babies! And then…….

J threw 10 uber ASD-tantrums over everything from his broken blue crayon to the “hook” (i.e. hood) on his shirt. L was screaming at me because I dared to snap the last snap on his fireman raincoat and M was VERY angry at me for asking him not to yell at his brother J its six o’clock!!! when his other brothers were sleeping.

I was in the middle of drying my hair, trying to get ready for work, when J bust into the bathroom crying (fake tears btw) because his dvd player was not fully charged and L was not far behind telling me he wanted fruit. The twins were yelling because they had to pick out their own clothes for school and M let me know he was NEVER taking cereal for snack.

Needless to say, the “pang” left soon after and I wouldn’t be lying if I told you I hope to NEVER feel it again.

I think I will always love babies but from now on I will simply love them from afar.

There was an “old” woman who lived in a townhouse

There was an old lady...

There was an old lady… (Photo credit: plind)

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe. She had so many children, she didn’t know what to do… Mother Goose

The husband and I bought our “cozy” townhouse way back in 2002. We were “young”, naïve and totally excited to actually own our own “house”. It was perfect! 2 bedrooms, 1.5 baths with a cute yard that backed up to a grassy common area.  When we toured the house we giggled and talked about living there with a little dachshund and being SO happy.
In 5 years we’ll move to a bigger house and start a family! Fast forward 10 years, 2 dogs and 4 kids later and we are STILL here – WTF?!
When the twins arrived we were ok. The living room was a little tight with all the baby  crap (times 2) but we survived. When J arrived (2 years later) we figured we would put the house up for sale and look for something a little bigger. Luckily, J was a boy so he could share a room with twins.
Eighteen months later SURPRISE we had L (another boy) and the husband and I were screwed. The housing market had tanked and in 2 years we had gotten ZERO offers on the townhouse. All we could do was “make do”.
And that we did. I rearranged and organized more than a professional organizer. I was (and am) an expert in finding creative ideas for toys, clothes and other random things. To say we have outgrown our house is probably the understatement of the year but we’re stuck.Last summer the husband and I (more me) realized we needed to make some serious changes with our living arrangements. After surveying the upstairs (all 2 bedrooms) I decided that we would switch bedrooms with the boys. The master bedroom was much bigger and if we got the twins bunk beds it could maybe even look “cute”.
We took the family to the store we had gotten the twins baby furniture in assuming we could get bunk beds to match the Italian, pecan finish of the dressers I HAD to have 5 years earlier. NOT!

The salesman (who is borderline weirdo) told us the pecan finish was discontinued and suggested we try the “natural” finish. Just switch the knobs on your current dressers. It will look fine, besides they are boys who cares, he tried to assure me.

I stood frozen in the showroom, almost in tears. If only I had been more careful when choosing the twins furniture? If only we moved AFTER the twins were born? WTF was I thinking having 4 kids in a townhouse?!

After my mini breakdown, I ordered the bunks in the natural color and focused my energy into decorating their room. I went to Potty Barn Kids and surfed the internet for accessories they I would love.

Before long the room was complete and it didn’t look too bad – for a youth hostel. After awhile I got used to it and didn’t think too much about how cramped we all were living in this house. If I let myself think too much about 4 teenage boys and 2 adults living in this tiny house I could cry and never stop.

It will be fine. The market will change. Why don’t you rent the townhouse and just buy another house? we the types of things friends and family would say to make me feel better.
My favorite would be when someone with say 4 bedrooms and 3 baths would tell me how cramped her family was and how their playroom was just overflowing and they needed more space.

I would go to book club meetings at friends’ houses and just stare in awe at their homes and the space. WOW, what would it be like to have a basement? OMG what would I even do with another bathroom or family room? Holy crap, they can fit more than 3 people in their yard!I would think.
Not too long ago I took the twins on a playdate. As we walked up the path to the front door the twins froze and said C lives here? His house is SO big, look at all the windows he has. Is our house this big? It was then that I realized i would NEVER invite anyone to my pathetic house.Just when I thought things couldn’t get anymore crowded, J outgrew his toddler bed. Super!!Soon the husband and I found ourselves back at the furniture store chatting with our weird “friend” about another set of bunk beds.
We would like to just get the natural finish this time I said herding all the kids into one spot. Oh, that line has been discontinued, all we have now is the pine. he said.
Shut the front door! Are you kidding me???!! Now I will have 3 different colors of furniture in a room made for 1 person? O-M-G! was my response.
Our “friend” tried to tell me again that it would be fine that the kids would never know and back when he was a kid, people in the “burg” used to have 5, 6, 7 even 8 kids in 1 bedroom.

This was supposed to make me feel better? It was at the minute that I felt myself give up. What choice did I have? NEVER did I ever think I would be the mom of 4 boys living in a 2 bedroom townhouse. Never did I think I would have 4 boys share 1 bedroom and never did I think I would dread someone asking meSo, where do you live?

I ordered the bunks in pine and I accepted my fate. I told myself it would be fine and someday we would move into a “real” house. I am not really sure I believe myself but what else can I do?
The new bunk beds arrived today. As soon as the twins saw them they said hey mom, look they are a different color! (so much for the kids not noticing). Ugh!!
The room, or as I have taken to calling it, the orphanage, looks better than I thought it would. The kids are excited to have new beds and J is thrilled to be able to sleep on the top bunk.I guess all I can do is hope I am not scarring them too much and that someday they appreciate sharing a bedroom with their brothers.
In the meantime, I will try not to show my embarrassment of our home in front of them.  It is, after all, the only home they have ever known. A home is supposed to be a place that makes them feel safe and know they are loved right?
ps – Fairy Godmother if you are reading this, could you pretty, pretty please wave that wand of yours and get me a 4 bedroom, 3.5 bath colonial with a family room and finished basement?

Yes I am TOO sexy for my minivan

Plymouth Grand Voyager minivan.

Plymouth Grand Voyager minivan. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My first car was a 1995 white Plymouth Neon.  Neons had just come out and it was SUPER exciting to FINALLY have a car at the age of 22. No more begging friends/family to drive me places or let me borrow their car. Never again would I have to sit in my friend R’s basement and hear OK, who wants to drive her home tonight?

The Neon was great, it got awesome gas mileage and was good to me for years. Around 2000 “she” hit 100,000 miles and started to get “sick” and the husband and I realized it was time to let her go. No worries, I got another Neon except this one was a Dodge Neon and it was silver AND it had power locks and windows (I was living the high life). I loved my Neon and she loved me.

When I became pregnant with the twins in 2005 people immediately asked if I would be trading in the Neon for an SUV. Hell no!! Two car seats will totally fit in the Neon and the trunk is huge. Believe it or not the car seats did fit AND we had packing the trunk down to a science. We could even make a BJ’s run and cram it all in the car. We were happy, life was good.

Then came 2008 and I found myself pregnant again. No way were 3 car seats going to fit in the Neon it was time to upgrade. My first thought was SUV, NO WAY would I let the M-word enter my mind, I would NOT drive a minivan!! The husband and I started to price SUV’s and it became clear I was going to have to look into a minivan – YUCK!

I was in denial for weeks and wouldn’t discuss it. The husband did all the research and would come home with brochures and talk about things like “stow and go seating” and “automatic doors” and “trunk space” like that would make any difference to me.  How could I ever drive a minivan??!! It was huge and boxy and just screamed Mom On Board.

March 2008 the husband drove home our brand new 2009 Town and Country Minivan with the stow and go seats (it was one of the saddest days of my life). The twins were THRILLED and couldn’t get inside fast enough. I was 7 months pregnant and miserable. I refused to drive it and pouted. The husband told me it drove like a dream, bragged about its comfort and showed everyone the trunk space (just what a girl cares about). My friends who had minivans told me I would “love it” and would appreciate the  automatic doors when it rained. NEVER!

In a last-ditch attempt to make me accept the van, the husband upgraded the radio and installed some touch screen radio/cd/dvd player. Yipee, now I could blast my top 40 music in a van with the windows down – that screamed “cool mom”.

Eventually I gave in and drove the van (we had gotten rid of the Neon so I had no choice). Time went on and we added another car seat  to the van and portable dvd players hung from the seats. It was a total kid-friendly minivan and I was its principle driver.  I would make excuses not to have to drive friends or co-workers though because inevitably they would look in the back and say “WOW you have 4 car seats?!”

The van has been good to us (mostly). It gets pretty good gas mileage and I can fit a lot in the trunk. The automatic doors have even helped to wrangle in the kids from time to time. As much as I like the can, however, I will NEVER love it. There is just too much baggage associated with it and a stigma attached to being an owner of one.

People judge you before you exit the vehicle. They assume you are a mom with a ponytale, sporting a jogging outfit, carrying a big diaper bag with screaming kids in tow. Forget ever trying to look “cool” in it. Nothing is more pathetic than blasting music (even if it is cool music) in a van, with the windows down, at a traffic light.

I am told that eventually, when the boys get older, I can trade the van in for a  vehicle with 3 rows. Unfortunately, kids in NJ seem to be in a booster seat until they are teens (or at least that is what it feels like) so for now I will just envy the non-van drivers I see on the road and wonder if they know how lucky they are.

Who’s afraid of the big, bad Easter Bunny?

Spring is finally in the air. The temperatures are rising, the clocks have been sprung ahead and as anyone who has received a Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids or Williams Sonoma catalog knows, Easter is right around the corner.

Displays of pastel eggs and bunnies and everywhere as stores showcase adorable Easter dresses (with matching purses and shoes) for girls and khackis and sweater vests for boys. Let’s not even talk about the candy that has taken over Target and CVS – candy always looks better when it is miniature and in a pastel wrapper.

Before the eggs are dyed and hidden and the baskets are stuffed there is one other tradition parents, especially of little kids, partake in the obligatory Easter Bunny photo. Only in America would you see parents dress their kids up in their “Sunday best” only to be dragged to the local mall where they will wait on a huge line to sit on the lap of a man, dressed in a 7-foot bunny costume, sitting under an arch of spring flowers and decorated eggs.

If you are thinking to yourself, Gee she sounds awefully bitter you would be correct. Let me explain, I do not have anything against the Easter Bunny, I think he (or she) is great. Anyone who leaves candy (chocolate AND jelly beans) is super in my book. However, it is not me with the problem it is my kids. You see, my children fear the Bunny.

They didn’t always have a fear of the Easter Bunny. For the twins’ first Easter I dressed them up and marched them down to the Princeton Marketfair and waited for our turn with the Bunny. They sat on his lap, albeit a bit stunned, and I left smiling with my 5×7 and 4 wallets. I looked pitifully at the parents whose kids were crying and refusing to go near the Bunny never thinking that would be me.

Wasn’t I in for a surprise the following December when the twins threw a HUGE fit would not go near Santa Claus. Thinking they were just having an off day, I tried again in the spring with the Bunny and was met with a similar outcome. Two more kids came and things got no better. I was persistent. Every December and March/April I would drag my brood to the Marketfair, wait on line and then be totally disappointed when they would adamantly refuse to pose with the Bunny and/or Santa. I would pout, throw a mild tantrum, call my mother and go home photo-less.

This really should not surprise me. I was not a fan of the Bunny or Santa. I am pretty sure there are more than a couple pictures of me screaming sitting on someone’s lap not looking happy. I just thought it would be different when it was time to take my own kids. After all, their father never cried.

The first couple times I cried (when I got in the car). When the kids got older, they would think I was a horrible mommy who didn’t care enough to take them to see the Bunny or Santa. Never would they remember the shrieks and tears, they would just see no pictures and think the worst.

Well by the time it was L’s turn to try Santa or the Bunny I had given up. I tried my best but there was no way around the fear my kids had of the gigantic bunny with an oversized plaster head. The kids will just have to take my word for it that they sobbed and refused to go under the floral arch. Instead they will have to make due with the 100s of photos of them, laughing and smiling while looking for Easter eggs or opening up their baskets. I am hoping they will not be too scarred but just in case I always have this as prood that I tried:



That's My Mommy

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It started around 6:30am this morning. I was all cozy in my bed thrilled to realize it was not Monday and that L had slept the entire night in his own bed. It was like winning the lottery until I heard mooooommmeeeee….where are you? Ugh, L was up AND looking for me. Why can’t I have kids who like to sleep or at least sleep until 7am???

I got L all settled with Nick Jr. (Dora was on) when I heard more feet on the steps, the whole crew was up and heading my way. My first response was to run and hide until a decent hour (maybe 7:30?) but I was trapped. There was no way past them. I turned on the Keurig (if there was any hope of surviving coffee was a must) and hit “brew” when it started, slowly at first.  Mommy? Can I have a drink?

Ok, that was an easy one. Not a problem one orange juice coming up. The cup was not even on the counter when the ambush began

Mommy? Mommy?…I’m hungry. Mommy I want a drink. No mommy I want red juice! Where is my cup, mommy? MOOOMEEE I said I was hungry where is breakfast?! Mommy can I have a snack? Mommy I need water with ice. Mommy do we have cereal? Mommy I want syrup on my waffles. MommymommymommymommyMOOOOOMMMMMEEEEE!!!

The words were coming at me at a lighting speed. I tried to dodge them but it was useless. Finally I knew there was no choice WHAT??!!  I screamed calmly stated. To which the twins responded Mom…could you be quiet daddy is sleeping.

The barrage of mommymommymommy went on for the next 12 hours, 10 minutes and 15 seconds. Sure there were breaks when the twins were at swim class or the 2 little ones were outside. Moments when there was 1 kid and not 4 yelling MOMMY!! Overall though, there was ALWAYS 1 kid yelling or whining it the ENTIRE DAY.

The kids didnt even care how I answered them. My responses varied from calm or sarcastic to pretending I didn’t hear them or  pretending I had left (ie: Mommy? She’s not here now, please leave a message). Nothing mattered,  mommy..mommy…mommy still continued.

Even J, who for years was not able to say the word mommy, took part with his own version of mommy, moniJ alone must have said moni?  probably 3000 times today. I know I should have just been grateful that J was finally able to communicate and say my name. After the 2000th time though, hearing moni? was the equivalent of nails on a chalkboard. (I feel terrible for thinking that btw)

Finally the day is over. The kids are all sleeping (yipee!!) and I am enjoying my second a glass of wine. The house is so quiet you could almost hear a pin drop (aside from the gunfire coming from the other room as the husband watches a movie).  What a long day it was. I know, I know, stop whining and be thankful to have 4 healthy (and cute) kids who love me.  I am.  I love those kids with my all my heart. However, I cant stop thinking why the heck didnt they once call  Daddy???

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