Tuesday, February 14, 2012

V-Day - White House Style

After my family recovered from Ground Hog’s Day, we moved on to Valentine’s Day.
I had wanted to find a cute little Valentine craft for my kids to make to take to school, instead of the traditional store-bought ones that we normally do.  So, I scoured Pinterest for a few days and thought I had found the perfect, most-easy, Valentine craft to do.  Unfortunately, I think everyone else had the same idea too – because I could not locate the items needed to make these crafts ANYWHERE.

So – off to Target we went for store-bought Valentines.

As usual, I took all 3 of the older kids with me to pick out their own Valentines and as usual, I regretted it immediately as we walked in the store.  I always have these scenarios in my head of all these beautiful memories I am making with my kids for them to cherish as they get older and instead, I’m pretty sure their memories will go something like this… “Remember when mom use to take us to pick out our Valentines at the store and then she would shout at us and whoop ‘D’ with the spatulas that were on sale….and then she’d start crying and all the way home would yell: I don’t know why I even do these things for you guys; you don’t appreciate anything!!!!!  That’s it – no more Valentine’s Day!!!!!

Now getting out of the car with these 3 people is even a challenge.  ‘M’, my daughter, hates going to run errands, period.  And she really hates going anywhere with her brothers – so she’s already in a bad mood.  And I’m already in a bad mood at her because apparently when you turn 11, you are no longer affected by changes in the climate and therefore find it comfortable to wear shorts and a hoodie in 30 degree weather.  When I tell her there is no way I’m taking her to Target dressed the way she is, she says:  But mom – it’s the weekend, I’m not going to school, so why can’t I wear this?!  My argument that it’s February and snowing has no bearing on her whatsoever.  She finally gives in and changes, but my punishment is that I get the silent treatment the whole time we are at the store.

‘D’ loves going places – well he doesn’t really love going places, he loves getting in and out of our minivan.  I have not figured that one out yet.  The ride from our house to Target is about 5 minutes, but when that sliding door comes open, he will fly out with the appropriate side effect – usually a WOO HOO – after having stepped on his sister who hasn’t even unbuckled her seatbelt yet – and takes off in a dead run for the store.  I always have to scream: ‘D’!  Get back here!!!  You almost got hit by that car!!!  Don’t you ever look where you going?!!!

Now, we are at the front of the store, walking through the double automatic doors……. and ‘A’ is still in the van.  He is that kid that cannot get out of a car in less than 10 minutes period.  I haven’t figured this one out either.  I mean, he knows where we’re going and why – I know this because he’s already asked me this like 10 times – and he can see out the window, so he knows when we’ve pulled into the parking lot, but for some reason – without fail – he will fly out, with the appropriate side effect – usually a WAIT FOR ME – after tripping over himself as he’s crying – and take off in a dead run for the rest of us.  I always have to scream: ‘A’!  Get over here!!!  You almost got hit by that car!!!  Don’t you ever look where you’re going?!!!

So, we finally all make it into the store.  In our Target, they keep the holiday items at the back of the store.  From the second that we passed through the automatic doors, all the way back to this aisle, this what I hear:

A: What kinds of Valentines are there?  I didn’t bring my school list, so I don’t know how many to get.  I’m going to write all the kids names by myself.  Did you know I could do that – did you Sarah?  I’m also going to make one for Ms. Hollingsworth.  Did you know I could spell her name too – did you Sarah?  Do you know that I’m pretty smart Sarah?  I mean, I think I might be the smartest 2nd grader  there ever was.  Oh, but how am I going to get something for you and my dad if you’re here?  Huh Sarah?

Now – multiply that times 3 because that’s how many times he would repeat everything, if I didn’t comment on every remark he made.

‘D’ has clearly forgotten why we’re even here and even though I have never been that parent that buys their kids a toy every time we go to a store, he thinks that maybe after the 1000th time, I might cave.  And maybe if he was asking to get a tiny matchbox car or something, that might happen, but ‘D’ – who has no concept of the difference between $1.00 and $100.00 is asking for stuff like this:

D:  Mom, can I have this Playstation game system, huh?  Can I mom?  I promise I’ll be good the whole rest of the day!!!  Oh, well then can I have this guitar?  Oh- come on, I really need one!!!  Come on, I promise if you get it for me, I will not ask for anything for the rest of the day.  Puhleeeeseee!!!

Then as my ‘nos’ start getting more forceful, so does his tactics.

D:  Ughhh, I can’t believe you won’t buy me this Power wheels electric car!!!  That’s it, I’m mad mom.  I’m mad and I’m just not going to get any Valentines.  And I’m going to be mad at you ALL DAY!!!

So – we arrive at the Valentine aisle. 
‘A’ wants to look at each and every Valentine before he decides on one.
‘M’ is finally speaking to me because she knows if she doesn’t, she will be going home with ‘My Little Pony’ valentines.  The problem is that she’s very specific in what she wants from a Valentine.

M:  I want black ones with a giant red heart on them that is outlined in sequences and I want them to come with a tiny piece of chocolate; like miniature Skor bars.

‘D’ is out to pick out a different Valentine for each and every kid at his school.  And not just a little card – he wants to get each of them a mug filled with candy – or a Valentine’s Pez dispenser; something like that.  ‘D’s valentines will end up costing me about $500.00.  Although, I’m pretty sure ‘D’ will be poor when he grows up, I’m sure he will have one satisfied wife.

D:  Mom, can I buy each of the kids a card with candy and a toy, huh?  Can I mom?  I promise I’ll be good the whole rest of the day!!! Oh, well then can I just buy them each a toy?  Oh – come on, that’s what Ms. Lowe said we had to do for everyone!!!  Come on, I promise if you let me get each of them a toy, I will not ask for anything for the rest of the day.  Puhleeeeseee!!!

So, this goes on and on, until ‘M’ finally has to ‘settle’ on some Valentines and she’ll do it by saying, “Well, since the ones I want aren’t here – I guess I’ll just get these.”  And then she’s back to the silent treatment.  Even though ‘A’ has thoroughly looked at every Valentine in the store – all while educating everyone on the history of Valentine’s Day – he will end up just waiting to see what ‘D’ picks and then pick the exact same ones.  ‘D’ will barely pick any out at all because he’s still mad and then when he sees that ‘A’ is picking the exact same ones, he gets even madder and then starts yelling at ‘A’ for copying him.  So, in an effort to make peace, ‘A’ will pick out some others but will say something like, “Well, I really didn’t want those other ones any ways.  I just didn’t see these ones here.  I mean, these are the ones I had been trying to find the whole time”.

So – to checkout and back to the car we go – but not without ‘D’ trying one last-ditch effort to get me to buy him something and it’s always something random at the check-out line – like – travel-sized hand sanitizer. 

And of course ‘D’ is the first one to reach the car – after I yelled at him for almost getting hit by another car – and he does the WOO HOO as he flies into the back seat.  We have to just pull around to the front of the store to pick ‘A’ up – because he still hasn’t made it out of the store.  And I have to yell at him for almost getting left behind.

My hubby is hiding from me when we get home because he knew exactly how this was going to go down – the coward.

I kept asking myself where I go wrong…..until my friend told me that her mother came over to watch her kids so her and her husband could go out and celebrate Valentine’s Day and while she was watching them – during a particularly physical game of ‘Duck-Duck-Goose’ – her mother slipped on the tile and fell – breaking her ankle in the process.  They spent the rest of the evening at the Emergency Room and her mother is staying with her because she has to have surgery on the ankle and needs help getting around.

Ahhh –that’s amore!

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Griswalds do Ground Hog Day

Punxsutawney Rango

Today is Ground Hog Day.  I have always been fond of this particular holiday.  I think it’s because it’s the Underdog of the Holidays.  Aside from Pennsylvania celebrating it and the morning news giving it its 15 seconds of fame, no one really does anything for Ground Hog Day.  I decided my family would lead the way.

So, I guess we could set our alarms on February 2nd and get up as a family and gather around the TV to watch the prediction live…..or we could have our very own prediction!!

Of course, you know which way we went. 

All you really need is a Ground Hog, right?  Well, it just so happens that my daughter has a pet Guinea Pig – close enough!  (His name in real life is Sheriff Rango of the White House ‘aka’ Rango.)

Now, this is what I envisioned the event being like:

The night before, I tuck my boys into their beds and read them a story about Ground Hog Day and Punxsutawney Phil – the famous Ground Hog.  I would outline what would take place the next morning, kiss them on their heads and they would drift off to dreamland, thinking about how awesome I am and that when they have children of their own, they will do this kind of stuff with them all the time and say things like, “Grandma use to do this with me when I was little……”

Then the next morning, I would quietly walk into their rooms and whisper in their little ears, “Boys – it’s time to get up and do our prediction.”  They would bound out of bed, with a smile on their faces and throw on their clothes and actually skip out the door, holding hands.  My hubby would bring out our guinea pig and as he lifted him in the air, a ray of sunshine would peak through the clouds.  Everyone would be giddy with happiness and it would carry my boys all through school today and their teachers would just sit back amazed as my boys stood in front of their class mates and educated everyone on why their childhoods are AWESOME!

Well…..here is how it actually went down.

I forgot to even tell my boys what we were doing this morning as I yelled at them for the 100th time to go to bed last night.  I forgot myself, until 7:00 this morning as I flew out of bed – late for work.  The idea was for me to get up early and be ready for work by the time my hubby came home from his graveyard shift at 7:20am.  We would do the prediction and then I would leave for work.

So, here I am throwing on clothes – screaming at my boys to wake up and get outside – and even though I was trying to explain what we were doing, I think they thought we were having some kind of air raid.  Of course, ‘D’ says, “Give me 5 more minutes” (Good thing it was not in fact an air raid) and ‘A’ is starting to cry because he is sure that we are having to abandon our house and even though we are taking our Guinea Pig with us – we will be tossing him into the air as we are running down the sidewalk.

When my hubby gets home, the 3 of us are standing out in the front yard.  I’m pretty much ready and ‘D’ is wearing jeans, his coat hanging wide open with no shirt underneath, and house shoes.  ‘A’ is not only completely ready, but trying to pack his belongings in his backpack and sniffling.  (I guess when one of your kids has OCD and suffers from anxiety, you shouldn’t really spring anything like this on him.)

So, the scene is set and my hubby goes and gets Punxsutawney Rango.  I’m still trying to explain to my kids what the hell we are doing.  ‘D’ is ruining the moment by saying, “What!  Oh, no, no, no – I’m tired…and cold.  I don’t think you should throw Rango into the sun and what does his shadow have to do with anything?  So, is the news coming here?  If it’s on TV right now – than when did they come out here and get Rango on TV?  Why didn’t you wake me up for that?  What is P-U-S-S-Y-T-O-N-G-U-E anyway?  (No joke – that is how he was saying ‘Punxsutawney.)  ‘D’ is not a morning person and you can tell that this wonderful experience of his child hood is for the birds.  ‘A’ is clearly disturbed by this wonderful experience of his childhood and is having an anxiety attack as he keeps asking me questions.  “But…we don’t have an actual ground hog.  Can guinea pigs predict weather like the ground hogs do?  Is this the right spot in the yard we are supposed to be at?  The sun is not out yet.  How will we know if he thinks he sees his shadow or not?  I know we can tell if there is a shadow, but how do you we know if he can see it or not?  Is this going to make me late for school?” 

Punxsutawney Rango is traumatized.  He is shaking, staring all crazy-eyed, and whistling – while probably shouting in guinea pig language, “THEY ARE SACRIFICING ME!!! I KNOW IT!!!  THEY ARE GOING TO HOLD ME UP TO THE GODS AND THEN LET THESE TOO BOYS DECIDE WHO GETS THE HEAD AND WHO GETS THE TAIL!!!!!!!!!!!!!” – Well, not really the tail; guinea pigs don’t have tails, but you get the idea.

So, we hold up Rango and all of us look down at the sidewalk.  I had printed up these signs for the boys to hold up that would show their prediction.  On one sign said, “Hello Spring!”  The other said, “Six more weeks of winter.”  I get out my camera to snap some pictures and all I get are pictures of my kids having a ‘Ground Hog Day meltdown’.  ‘D’ is embarrassed because he can’t read the signs (I had forgotten that this might happen and should have just put a giant sun on one picture and snow on the other.)  But rather than say, “Mom – I can’t read these signs”, he is taking it out on ‘A’ – who can read them – by calling ‘A’ names and saying how stupid this whole thing is and he can’t believe I woke him up for this!  ‘A’ is really having a dilemma because he still stuck back at the whole, “the suns not even out so how can there be a shadow” thought he had earlier.  He is clearly trying to come up with a right prediction, but is upset because he thinks the whole experiment was flawed from the start.  Hubby is laughing because this is how these events always go. 

So, I decided that the best prediction of the future weather is not done by a Ground Hog or by a Guinea Pig, but by two little boys’ reaction to the whole process in general.  And judging by that – I would say we are definitely in for a SHIT STORM!!!!!!