Sunday, November 30, 2008

Did Santa Come?

We unpacked our Christmas decorations yesterday. We put up our Christmas tree while the kids were napping. When they woke up, they hung window-gels. We set out the nativity set and pulled out Casey's fisher-price nativity set. I laid out the stockings on the front table.

I showed Casey on the calendar when Christmas is coming. We counted the days together.

Then Casey went to bed.

This morning, he excitedly shook me awake: Mommy, did Santa come last night?

Me: No, Casey. Santa only comes on Christmas. Remember?

Casey: But Mommy, we have the Christmas tree, there are socks to fill-- remember how he did it last year?

Me: Yes, Casey, but we have to prepare. Remember Santa comes on Jesus' birthday. And it's not Jesus' birthday yet. And we didn't leave Santa cookies. And we didn't put out a carrot for his reindeer. I'm pretty sure Santa didn't come.

Casey: We have to go look, Mommy. Come wiiiiiiith me.

So we head down the hallway toward the front hall. Where Casey pulls out one of the stockings and digs his little arm in, all the way down to the bottom of the stocking. No "stuff." And he starts crying. With real tears.

We walked back over to the calendar and counted the days again.

I know, I should get him an advent calendar. And we will. But really, who could see this coming?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Wedding Bliss

The kids' aunt (and one of Marcie's Godmothers) was married the November 22.

I did not want the children to attend. I was not shy about this wish. I was unabashedly verbal. I do not like having my kids at weddings. Yes, I like being together as a family. But I have a strong sense of what should be grown-up events. And to me, weddings are grown-up events. I will probably feel differently when my kids are both full-swing elementary-aged, but for now, I stand by my view that weddings and kids just don't go.

When my sister was married over the summer, everyone gave her flack for having a child-free wedding. With 6 nephews and a niece, Megan could have had a whole gaggle of cuteness. It took one hour of having all 8 kids (aged 7 and under) at the wedding site to recognize what a terrible idea it would have been. There was so much wrangling and calming and shh-ing-- even just at the rehearsal dinner-- that it was clear the wedding was no place for the kids.

Alas, my pleadings fell on deaf ears and my kids were enlisted to participate in the wedding. To their credit, they were thrilled and excited. Marcie told everyone who would listen about it for weeks. Grandma S and Aunt Tiffy took Marcie dress-shopping for the perfect flower girl dress. Casey tried on "handsome clothes" (a tuxedo). On the day of the wedding, Marcie had her nails done, her hair done-- she was a beauty. And there was no tortured screaming or inappropriate applause (during the rehearsal Casey and Marcie cheered for me and Jason when we read the Prayers of the Faithful). They were . . . well, down-right adorable.

Sadly I have no pictures to share because I left my camera at home, so you will just have to take my word for it.

But getting the kids to the church, well, that was another story entirely.

Despite the fact that Marcie had been so excited about attending the wedding, she did not want to put on white tights. Or the flower girl dress. Thank goodness they pretty much glued her hair to her head because the tantrum she threw would have pulled out any other hair style! In the end, I got her in the dress while someone else (my mom? Jason? I'm not even sure anymore) held her down. And I compromised and let her take off the tights and wear white socks (which worked just fine because the dress was so long).

At the reception, both kids almost immediately stained their fancy clothes with cranberry juice, but Grandma and Grandpa S had pizza served almost immediately for them, so they were quiet and mostly well-behaved during the reception. They only lasted about an hour before Marcie crawled on my mom's lap and began asking Grandma H to pleeeeeease take her home. And home they went.

Yeah, I feel a little bad that my parents had to leave early so Jason and I can stay. But not that bad. They were out here just for the weekend anyway, and on east-coast time. Plus, this way Jason and I could stay and help clean up after the fact.

All in all, a beautiful wedding. Tiffany was gorgeous in her wedding dress. The kids didn't have any public melt-downs. What more could a mom ask for of her 3 and 5 year olds?

Oh and the best was that my mom brought out some photos to share. Of me, at age 3, and my brother, at age 6 (just 2 months older than Casey when the wedding occurred) in our aunt's wedding in the 70s. My brother was in this sweet 70s tuxedo (brown and tan, with a ruffled shirt), and I wore a peach dress that my mom actually sewed. I wish I'd kept it so I could share it here. . . but you'll have to take my word for it. We were groovy!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Forget about the terrible twos . . .

After Marcie and I dropped off Casey, she decided she wanted oranges (which Casey had for breakfast and was carrying to school in a ziplock bag) and started to cry. I told her she didn't ask for oranges, and she could have oranges tomorrow if she wants. She started screaming, "I WANT ORANGES!" So I told her that she could stay there on the playground and cry because I didn' t have any oranges, or she could come with me. I walked all the way up the stairs to leave, and then she started to follow me, all the while crying "I want oranges!"

When we got to the parking lot, I took her hand and cross in front of several idling cars. As we neared ours, she broke away and started to scream again about the oranges. So I picked her up to carry her to the car. She began hitting me on the head repeatedly, and in the process she dropped the last bite of her PB&J sandwich. While I held her down in the car seat and buckled her in, she yelled, "I WANT MY SANDWICH!" I told her she was so busy hitting me that she dropped the last bite, and it was dirty, so she couldn't have it.

She cried the entire drive to preschool, mostly wailing, "I want my sandwich!" At one point she told me she was hungry, and I said she should have thought of that before she began hitting me and dropped her sandwich. In between the wails, she repeated spat, screeched and kicked my chair. Eventually she stopped yelling about the sandwich and started yelling, "I WANT DADDY!" I just ignored her all the way to preschool.

When we got to preschool, she refused to get out of the car. I removed her and held her hand as we walked in. Her face was covered in peanut butter and jelly, so after I signed her in, we went to the bathroom, where I washed her face. She'd completely calmed down, but then the minute we went outside toward her classroom, she began crying again: "I want my sandwich!" She refused to walk with me to the classroom. I went ahead without her, and as I entered the room, everyone looked up because we could all hear her yelling outside. I put her lunch away, then told the teacher we were having a rough morning. When Marcie got in the room, she was still screaming and crying. Now she was saying, "I DON'T WANT TO GO TO SCHOOL!" I asked why, and she couldn't tell me. I picked her up and told her I was sorry she was having a hard time, that I loved her, and that she had to stay. The teacher told her she could be a special helper and pick out special stickers, and Marcie just screamed back: "I DON'T WANT TO!"

Before I left, I cradled her in my arms and told her again I knew she was mad and upset but she had to stay- and that I still loved her. I put her down, and walked out to her screams, noting the kids in the room covering their ears as we left.

It was the longest 15 minutes I've had in a very long time.

Forget about the terrible twos. Whoever made up that expression never met our kids at age three.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Marcie's birthday

I will post more in a bit, but I wanted to get these pictures up because I know my mom and sister will check.

At Red Robin:

Despite the fact that Marcie picked the restaurant and asked us to have them sing her happy birthday, the moment they finished, she began wailing. I think all the clapping and shouting frightened her.

My first (and failed) attempt at making Hello Kitty cupcakes:

My second attempt at Hello Kitty cupcakes (much better). I made the faces out of fondant.

At the gymnastics part of the Y party:

The party room:

Marcie's big girls booster seat (a present from Mommy and Daddy):

Look at all the nice gifts Marcie got from her friends:

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Our week-long Halloween

The kids got quite a lot of use out of their Halloween costumes this year. The Friday before Halloween, Casey's elementary school sponsored their Boogie Bash (which is basically your typical elementary school carnival). The kids wore their costumes to the event. After playing a couple games, eating some hot dogs and grabbing some churros to go, we headed back to the car. Just as Casey was buckled in and I was clicking the last part of Marcie's seat belt, Marcie told me she had to go to the bathroom.

"Can you hold it?" I asked. We only live a few blocks away from the school- probably less than two miles.

"No!" she shook her head as she adamantly shouted.

So I dragged the kids out of the car, and fortunately there was a group having an event in the multipurpose room at the middle school, near where we'd parked. They let us use the bathroom there.

After Marcie finished using the restroom, I was teasing her about how she likes to tour public bathrooms. I can't think of a single place we've been that she hasn't asked to use the restroom. I know where the bathrooms are at in our local grocery stores (all three), the Target, the Walmart, the Kohl's, the Costcos (both of them)-- you get the point. While I was teasing Marcie, Casey used the bathroom. And locked himself the toilet stall. Then couldn't get out.

I tried calmly talking Casey out. I told him where the lock was on the door (which of course he knew because he's locked it). I told him to pull hard. But then his whining turned into crying. So there was nothing more to do but crawl under the toilet stall. And, as luck would have it, this wasn't your typical school bathroom stall. These stall walls and doors were tall and low. I had to actually scoot on the floor on my back to get to Casey. (Yes, eww!)

The door was indeed jammed, and I got it unstuck. As I washed my hands, I thought about how quickly I could get home to change my clothes and wash the bathroom floor muck off my hair when Marcie called out from behind me. She had followed me under the bathroom stall wall (yes, eww!) and the door was closed and she said it was stuck!

No worries, though, it wasn't. She just was pushing instead of pulling to get out.

That Sunday, Casey was asked to attend his church faith formation class in costume-- dressed as a saint or angel. This totally irritated me. But then we started looking up saints, and it became kind of fun. Did you know Saint Patrick's shamrock is symbolic of the trinity? Each of the three leaves on the clover represents one of the elements-- father, son, holy spirit.

Anyway, I think we did a pretty good job. Here is Casey dressed as St. Patrick:

Next the kids each wore their costumes to their school Halloween parties. I attended Marcie's this year, and at one point I leaned in and whispered in her ear that I was leaving for work in five minutes. She burst immediately into tears! Apparently she let another mom hold her for a long time after I left because she was so upset. So I won't be visiting Miss Marcie in school for a while again.

On Halloween night, the kids got all dressed to go out again. Here's how I found Casey when it was finally time to go trick or treating:

Marcie and I woke him up, and here the kids are, all ready to head out to trick or treat:

The kids got a ton of candy. We let them each pick 5 pieces, then we told them we'd trade the rest for a toy each, and they agreed. Casey got some legos and Marcie got a Dora costume at the after-Halloween super-sale.

Pumpkin carving

Jason bravely gave the kids each a magic marker to "design" their pumpkin faces. He was pretty true to their designs when he carved out the faces:

Marcie's jack o lantern:

Casey's jack o lantern: