New Years Resolutions

I’ve never been much for New Years resolutions, but as we’ve been stuck in the house since before Christmas with snuffly, snotty, coughing children, I don’t have much else to write about right now. It’ll be fun to see how quickly I break each one.

I will not eat my children’s leftovers.

I will not listen to children’s music while alone in the car.

I will not start every conversation with “Did I tell you what (insert C or A here) did today?”

I will at least skim the headlines of the New York Times on a regular basis.

I will read at least one book a month that does not feature pictures and small woodland animals who talk.

I will not serve takeout more than once a week.

I will limit my diet soda intake to no more than two a day.

I will be better about emailing pictures to the relatives.

I will teach A to sleep through the night in her own bed.

I will teach C to sleep through the night in his own bed.

I will not lose my wallet.

I will keep my cell phone charged.

I will hang up my coat before M comes home in an attempt to keep the family peace.

I will not use the dining room table as a storage device for all things without homes.

I will not harbor ill will towards the little old ladies who comment on my parenting abilities in the grocery store.

I will not go to the grocery store with two children in tow except in the most dire of circumstances.

And last, but not least…

I will try to get a shower in at least every other day. Even if it means bringing my kids in with me.

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I feel like a rock star

A’s newest bedtime routine consists of a book (or two or seven) a lullaby, and then kisses on both her hands. Once I kiss her hands she stares at them and gets the “I’m not going to wash my hand/cheek/body ever again” look that pre-teen girls tend to get when confronted with their adored boy-band hero. I can’t hold a tune to save my life, but I guess I’ve got myself a fan club of one. Now if kisses on the hands could only get her to fall asleep…

The Great Indoors

Today we had an unexpected visitor in our kitchen, a bird. Yep, a real live bird flying around my kitchen. At first I thought it was a bat and I freaked. Bats are not high on my list of favorite creatures. In fact they might be close to rock bottom. Right down there with rats and cockroaches. Once I figured out that it was one of those little winter birds (A chickadee? A sparrow? I’m not a bird watcher. Sorry Dad.) I calmed down a bit and stopped my hysterical “eeekkk” ing and started worrying that it was going to poop on my newly washed floor.

I grabbed a mop and started opening every window and door in the kitchen hoping that with some gentle prodding the poor lost BIRD IN MY HOUSE would find its way into the great outdoors again. Apparently my bird-herding skills are lacking, however, as instead of shooing the bird out of the kitchen door I sent it flying through the rest of the house. Which alerted the cats and children to the crisis at hand as I ran willy nilly through the house screaming “Here birdy birdy, out the door. NO! NOT the closed window, the open door! THE DOOR!!!”

The two cats were useless, not that I wanted them to kill the bird, just scare it outside. One slept through the whole thing, the other was so excited by this turn of events that she just ran circles around herself meowing at the top of her lungs. A followed suit, except instead of meowing she screeched “Mama! Bird! Bird Mama!” C sat on the couch and cried. “I’m scared Mommy! I’m scared! Oooh ohhh! He went that way!”

After much screeching, meowing, crying and shooing, the bird finally found one of a few dozen openings to the outside. C sat back and proceeded to tell me how brave HE had been. A sobbed hysterically that there was “No more bird mama, no more bird.” And the cat went in search of her food dish.

While I am all for nature and wildlife, I’m not so keen on such things in my house. I’m still very unclear on how the bird made it in in the first place, and will be spending many hours searching for large, gaping holes in my kitchen. And perhaps investing in some skill-building lessons for my cats.

Bedtime Musings

C: “Mommy, even when I yell at you I still love you. And even when I yell at A I still love her too. Except when she rips my books.”

The music of my life

While burning all of my CDs to the computer so I can then transfer them to my iPod I’ve had a chance to revisit my life, or at least my life since the CD came on the scene. And a little bit further back than that since I rebought many of my favorite tapes in CD form.

For whatever reason, there are certain songs that can instantly transport me to a different place and time. Enya’s Caribbean Blue, for example, puts me back in a beat up Mazda truck at the one traffic light between my high school and home as I was racing to make curfew. The windows were down and it was a bit chilly, and I was amazed at how much traffic there was at 10:58 in the tiny little town center.

Hey Jealousy (Gin Blossoms) reminds me of what I believe is a now defunct bar from college. It wasn’t a bar I chose to frequent, but one of my roommates loved it there so I spent portions of many Friday or Saturday nights sitting at a table near the windows watching the snow fall and listening to this song, wondering why I was there instead of at home in bed.

I’m highly embarrassed to admit this, but Rhythm is a Dancer (Snap!) was my top pick the year I lived in London. I think I probably liked it because I was broke, homesick, and the peppy dance beat gave me a brief jolt of something resembling energy. As I would run through the neighborhoods surrounding my apartment, I would just play that song over and over again. There was one particular street that had meticulous gardens which always found its way into my path. I could still tell you to this day what each garden on that pristine little road looked like. That was one of the few years that I was a hard core runner, I think because of the endorphin factor.

The entirety of Sophie B. Hawkins album Whaler, but Did We Not Choose Each Other in particular, reminds me of the long drive to graduate school the summer I lived at home to save money. It was an awful highway drive until the last 15 minutes or so when I started winding through the hills. It was at that point in the drive that Did We Not Choose Each Other always came on, and as I made the final turns into school, I would marvel at her voice.

I would be remiss if I didn’t include our wedding song in the list, although the song doesn’t actually transport me back to our wedding day. Instead it takes me back to the dingy house I lived in during my final year in grad school. M and I were watching Conspiracy Theory on the tiny TV during one of his few visits north. We had just spent the last week arguing over “our song.” I wanted Marc Cohn’s True Companion, he refused to play a song that talked about making love at a wedding (see my eyes roll???). I can’t even remember what his song of choice was (sorry honey). As the credits rolled Frankie Valli’s Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You played and we looked at each other and shrugged. It worked. It got our mothers and the DJ off of our backs. And that folks, is how our song came to be.

There are many other songs that didn’t make the list, but those are the ones that stick out as I flip through my collection. Note that there is no mention of Laurie Berkner or Music Together. While I love my children, their music tastes leave something to be desired these days. Although A did start bopping to Jonathan Richman this afternoon, so there is hope yet.

Six hours

Six hours of sleep last night. That’s all. There is no way this child is possibly functioning. I am not functioning. At 9 pm I thought it was an ear infection. At 12 pm, when I turned on Blues Clues, I was convinced. At 6:30 am, when she woke me up after sleeping happily in my bed for 6 hours, I realized she had won the battle of wills last night and I’m going to be undoing this for weeks to come.

Arghhhh.

Save me from the chaos

I cannot bring order back to my home. The new influx of toys have many little parts, and defy organizational logic. I have tossed, moved, tupperwared, stacked, and squished. There are still toys without homes.

Have I mentioned yet that I hate a disruption to my organizational scheme? I go through this after every Christmas and birthday. I think I am instituting a “you bring it into my home you find a home for it” policy. Buyer beware….

The aftermath

Some quick holiday updates while I work on a longer entry.

Santa came, saw, and conquered. Both kids had a blast. And were very well behaved given the chaos. The toy hits were the plethora of Thomas add ons for C (yes, I caved) and the Wags the Dog slippers for A (No noise! Keep her feet warm!). She also liked singing Wags, but hasn’t complained about his location next to Elmo just out of reach…

Yet again, we managed to screw up the turkey making process, forcing us to put the turkey BACK into the oven for another HOUR while the restless house guests foraged through our bare fridge. I pointed them to the stash of emergency rations in the basement, but no one seemed to find them as appealing as the string cheese sticks. Next year we’re doing a Honey Baked Ham.

Nana and Grandpa S were very good doobies and entertained the kids for hours on end as I tried to sleep and decompress. Unfortunately, they did not take over the middle of the night hallway sitting. I tried to rope Santa into the task too, and he swore he would return right after the holidays. Really, he would.

My hit of the holiday season was an iPod. And I just have to say that my iPod ROCKS. I didn’t realize what I had been missing or I would have asked for one the instant they came out. It makes picking up the mess at the end of the day so much more enjoyable. I just need to figure out how to separate the kid music from my music in the shuffle. I don’t need to listen to the Wiggles once everyone is tucked in bed, as tempting as it might sound…

Anyway, it’s back to normal today as Nana and Grandpa S have headed back home to recover from reading Blueberries for Sal over and over again. A is still drippy and coughy (although fever free, thank God) so we have no immediate playdates scheduled during the most boring week of the year. Happy, happy, joy, joy. At least there are new toys to entertain us all.

Happy Merry Holidays

Everyone over here at Chez J-E wish you and yours a happy merry holiday, however you chose to celebrate (or not celebrate). I’ll probably be offline for a few days, although it sounds like I’m the only blogger around still blogging at this point anyway. But as M returns to work Tuesday, I’ll be here next week. So if you see me trolling your archives, take it as a compliment that I miss you all. Enjoy your vacations, family togetherness and all that fun stuff. Can’t wait to read all about it…

Do you think they make middle of the night house calls?

Scene: 5am Chez J-E. Mommy and Daddy are tucked snug in their bed. The pitter patter of little feet are heard. C arrives (on mommy’s side of course) for a snuggle. Mommy is too tired to escort him back to bed, so in he crawls.

A few minutes later, another noise is heard. This time emanating from A’s room.

“Wee wee? Wee wee?”

M: “Did she just call out for the Wiggles?”

Mommy: “Yep.”

C: “I think A is up and she wants the Wiggles.”

Mommy: “Yes, it sounds like she does.”

C: “Can we get up and watch the Wiggles?”

Mommy and M: “No.”

I find it highly unfair that she is calling out for the Wiggles at 5am, yet we are the folks who have to get out of bed. If their appeal is that strong, they should really take responsibility for their actions.