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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

My Stupid Moment

I just had a stupid moment. A stupid Mom moment to be exact. I hate those. You know how we moms (I'm including you all in this group to make myself feel better, please don't disillusion me) all strive to be that mom that has it all together? The one who's always on time, always prepared, looks great, keeps her kitchen spotless at ALL times, baths her children daily, and never yells but speaks soothingly no matter who's beating whom or breaking what? These things do not come easily to me, but I sure do my best. And then I have a stupid Mom moment and reveal the real me to myself and the rest of the world.

When Liam was five years old his dentist showed me his x-rays and prepped me for some serious orthodontia. That was four years ago, and since that moment I have been planning for the appointment he had today.

I watched carefully as his big teeth started growing in, one by one, waiting for the time to be right - that time would be signified by enough permanent teeth and sufficient insurance coverage. This summer I determined that the stars were finally aligned, and made the appointment with the orthodontist I have carefully selected after years of analyzing the teeth of every post-orthodontal patient I could find. I have standards, his grown-up smile is a big deal to me.

Back in June, the appointment was finally secured for July 30th, and like that "has it all together mom" that I try to be, I dutifully wrote it on my calendar. About a week later I got a big blue envelope in the mail with all the pertinent information, and a coupon for one free consultation. Should you miss that appointment without prior notification, you can still get your consultation, but it will cost you $250. Obviously I am not the first to suffer a stupid Mom moment in this situation. This makes me feel marginally better.

I have been talking about, and planning for this appointment since. The problem? In my mind, July 30th was on a Friday. Apparently I am delusional, because on my calendar it clearly shows it to be a Wednesday, and yet I still managed to make this monstrous miscalculation. Why couldn't I have realized this yesterday when I still had time to scramble for a babysitter and get there? Instead I figure it out at 10:30 PM tonight. July 30th. A WEDNESDAY STUPID! (That last remark was directed at myself, so please don't be offended).

Here's the most irritating part. There are several things on that list mentioned above that I'm really not that great at. The 'daily bathing' of my children, for instance. I also do things like set out the vacuum if things don't look great so if someone comes I can say "Oh, I was just about to vacuum," and keep up appearances. Appointments, however, is something I am usually good at. How frustrating is that! Now, when I call in the morning to plead my case and beg for forgiveness and one more shot at a FREE consultation, I will be one more of those mom's who just can't get it together, and DOESN'T EVEN KNOW WHAT DAY OF THE WEEK IT IS!! This is so irritating.

Do these things ever happen to the women who seem to really be that "has it together mom" or do they really have it all together? If there is anyone out there who is, or knows a perfect mother who actually manages to avoid all stupid Mom moments, I would like to meet her and ask her what it's like in her world. Unfortunately, my next remark will be to inform her that we can't be friends. It would be too hard on my self esteem. Sorry. (Kelly, you are absolved - we can still be friends).

So now I'm going to go to bed and spend at least 30 minutes dialoguing out all the possible approaches I can use in the morning when I call the receptionist to beg forgiveness. My phone alarm is set for 9:20 am, so I can remember to make the call (lest my delusional brain tricks me into thinking I'm supposed to call at 9:20 PM), so if anyone happens to read this before then, (9:20 AM on THURSDAY July 31st) please wish me luck - I need that $250.

What I love about Fall

I was just reading my good friend Natalie's blog, and she was reminiscing about Fall, and all the things she loves about Fall. I too love Fall, and it is definitely my favorite season. My reasons for this, however, are totally different and actually quite shallow. I LOVE Fall clothes!

Fall clothes means jackets, and boots, and layers, and never having to show i.e. shave, my bright white legs. I can put up my strappy sandals - which constantly reveal my lack of a pedicure - and get away with wearing ultra sheer, barely there, nude nylons. Fall clothes have structure, and camouflaging abilities. I could make a list of all the benefits of living in a jacket climate, which non-clothes-obsessed people would term 'moderate climate'.

Summer means T-shirts that either show every little bulge/roll/un-toned flesh, or they're so baggy you look two sizes bigger than you actually are. There are the cute little peasant/baby doll tops the teenie-boppers wear, but when you've had four children they tend to make people suspicious of your condition.

It's like the theme for summer clothes is "Reveal, reveal, reveal." Reveal your untoned upper arms, reveal your flip-flop wearing feet that never get as clean as you want them, reveal your white flesh and - heaven forbid - reveal it all in a swimsuit.

The one saving grace about summer is the reinvention of capris, which save me from baring any more of my blinding legs than absolutely necessary, while offering the convenience of shaving only to the knee. They may not be as cool as shorts, but hey, I am happy to make the sacrifice.

And so, year after year I cringe at the onset of the spring catalogue. I dread that inevitable day when I will wake up and say "I can no longer acceptably wear jeans and boots. The reveal has begun." Living in the Northwest means that for at least two thirds of the year I can throw on jacket, boots, and accessories with any dumb shirt and jeans, and make a trip to the grocery store looking cute and stylish. The power of structured fabric and cute jeans really is phenomenal. All that work to fool the world just to be forced into a swimsuit when summer comes around.

I'm sure I sound very silly and vain, but I can't seem to help myself. Of course there are good things about summer too. I love camping, fishing, and hiking, (all activities with with zero looks/fashion requirements) and the chance to take a break and hang out with my kids. But over all, if I'm forced to confess to a least-favorite season it has to be summer. If that makes me shallow and unpopular, so be it - and give me a jacket climate any day!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Pros of Child Slave Labor

One of the purposes of starting this blog (aside from the power of leaving "fun" comments on Annie's) is so I can keep some kind of record regarding the life and dealings of the Baxter household. This being the case, I think I should fill in some details regarding my children.

I have four. Sometimes I look at them and think, "Whoa. No way those little people walking around came from me." It really is amazing. The first three are boys: Liam 9 yrs, Niall 7 yrs, Conan 4yrs. Conan alternates between being "Conan the Barbarian" and "Conan the Destroyer." The fourth child Meara, is a girl, compliments of the amazing power of prayer and Dr. Shettles' book How to Choose the Sex of Your Baby. As noted in my earlier post, she is 2 yrs.

The best thing about my kids right now is that they're finally old enough to contribute, i.e. work, around the house. I know child slave labor was outlawed in 1903 - I used to tell my mother this to no avail - but like mother like daughter, it isn't stopping me. Liam just told someone the other day that all he does this summer is work, work, work. After discussing the chore lists our mother bestowed on us the year we turned 7 and 9, Laura (my older sister) and I decided our kids were definitely ready to take on a little responsibility. Talking about all the stuff we had to do: vacuum, mop, clean bathrooms, get wood, feed cows, etc., was like getting a license to start a daily Team Baxter work party. I think I'm the only one having fun at this party, but it's definitely working for me.

Every day I give the two older boys 2-3 chores each. This pales in comparison to the requirements placed on us, but it's better than nothing. They now unload the dishwasher, straighten and vacuum the living room/front room, clean the toilet, sweep the porch, wash the windows, pick up the yard, make their beds, clean their room, and anything else I can think of that I don't want to do myself. Granted, they're only doing a couple of these things a day each, but the lightening of my load is amazing! Like my mother before me, there is no incentive program, and no punishment - you just don't get lunch till you're done. Anyone familiar with the gastric capacities of my children will have a good idea just how effective this policy is. Niall's usually started before breakfast.

In case anyone is wondering, Conan is not left out of this program. He is the world's greatest 4 yr old bed maker, and he has the running jobs of keeping the pillows on the couch, blankets in their box, and shoes in their cubbies. He is definitely my most enthusiastic slave, and complains if there are no chores for him. I think he may be my favorite child? Well, maybe just between breakfast and lunch. Then the playing field evens out again.

In my spare moments, I like to think of what it will be like five years from now when I have four viable slaves at my beck and call. Think of the things that will get done! And do I feel guilty at these thoughts? Absolutely not. One of the greatest things I gained from my childhood was the sense of responsibility that comes from being a contributing member of a family. I learned early that my life happened after necessary things were taken care of. Yes Mother, I did my best to ignore this aspect of life, but the principle got through despite my best attempts to thwart your plans. I have no doubts that my children will someday reap the benefits of their contributions, and be better people for their hours of unpaid, but very appreciated labor. Thanks boys, you ROCK!!!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Go Team Underwear!

There is something completely desperate about having a half-pottytrained two year old. You explain, they stare back at you blankly - or in Meara's case hear nothing you say because all focus is on the M&Ms and "cheeps" (chips) in your pocket. Still, I am happy to report that overall things went great today. So great that Annie had the gall to call and inform me that my next task will be pottytraining Rex. Fabulous. Can't wait. Love pottytraining. Anyone else have an anti-underwear three year old they'd like to send my way? If so, forget it unless you're my little sister with a "broken back" and an absentee husband.

Back to today's pottytraining. I really was concerned there for awhile. The adorable child drank over ten ounces of fluids in a half hour, and one hour and twenty minutes into the thing she still hadn't peed. I'm following the book to the T, and her ten minute sits on the pottychair are producing nothing. The dam was going any minute. It was like watching a time-bomb about to explode.

After ten-minute-sit number three, she stands up, pulls up the Tinkerbell panties, and pees. But only a little. Just enough to put off the explosion, but not enough to eliminate the threat - pressure's still on. So what do I do? Something I wish I had done on child numbers 1,2, and 3. I got out a shallow bowl, filled it with nice warm water, sat her on the pottychair and told her to play. Hands in the water, pee in the pot. We did this all day (once she even accidentally pooped!) until she finally went on her own while I was filling the bowl. We only had one all-out accident, and she's already learned that if she says "potty" bedtime can be postponed indefinitely.

So, a battle is won, the war is on, but things are looking good for Team Underwear. Yea Meara!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Wow, I'm Actually Blogging!


And here I am, with my own little blog. Now what? I guess I'm supposed to share anything noteworthy, so here goes. Tomorrow I am pottytraining my last child. If that isn't noteworthy, than nothing is. No more diapers - ever - what a glorious thought. If all goes well, that is, and every mother who has pottytrained knows there are no guarantees.

I believe Meara is ready, and I have been putting this off since the beginning of summer, so tomorrow is the big day. Toilet Training In Less Than a Day has served me well with the other three, so that's the plan. I have the treats, and I hope I still have the book, and next time any of you see her, Meara should be wearing big girl panties.

I just want to remind everyone that I only have until September to accomplish this, because once school starts my pottytraining window closes. I will be so depressed if this doesn't work. But there's no sense worrying about it before the attempt has actually been made, so now that I've blogged I'll leave you all biting your nails in suspense - and thanking heaven you aren't pottytraining tomorrow. Wish me luck!