Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Naked Truth

My children are nudists. Dressing them is another one of the many battles that occurs at our house on a daily basis. I used to see children running around in their diapers and I assumed their parents were lazy. Now, I know that their parents were simply exhausted.

My children have luckily learned that clothes are mandatory outside the house, but behind closed doors, they are transformed into tiny strippers. Unfortunately, Audrey learned how to open doors before she learned this lesson, which led to me chasing a naked child down the sidewalk on more than one occasion. I knew that there would be clothing battles with two girls in the house, but I had no idea that the clothing battles would begin at such young ages and that the battle would be “Me” against “Them”.

Yesterday, I wanted to leave the house and I was prepared for battle. I tackled Abby first because she is smaller and easier to force into submission. I managed to put all of her clothes on her writhing body and the only casualty was one of my fingernails. Her eyes immediately filled with tears once she was dressed and she repeatedly cried “Stuck” as she tugged at the offensive clothing.

I then chased Audrey (naked) around the house for thirty minutes while she cackled and literally bounced off of the walls. I ran after her waving her pants over my head like a white flag, while simultaneously screaming “This is NOT funny. It is time to put on your clothes.”

I tried other tactics as well:

Superficial:  “Look at how cute these skinny jeans are!”

Peer-pressure: “All the other big girls wear clothes. You want to be a big girl, don’t you?”

Bribery: “You can have 2 lollipops. One, if you put on this pair of pants and another if you put on the pair of pants to replace these after you get lollipop all over them.”

Desperation: Finally, I just sat down and cried. Amazingly enough, without plotting at all, I had found the one thing that would cause Audrey to dress herself.

As Audrey finished pulling on her pants, I glanced over at Abby who was now miraculously wearing nothing but a diaper. I pulled a shirt over her head, put on both of their shoes and went into the backyard. I reflected on the fact that in a strange way, I had won the battle. Other parents may have seen a kid in diapers and thought I was lazy, but I saw 2 kids that were wearing enough clothes to form one complete outfit AND an extra pair of shoes.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Age is just a number

Audrey is already getting excited about her birthday, which is two months away, and she talks about it relentlessly: “I will be three and Abby will be two and Mommy will be five and Daddy will be six”.  It’s bad enough that I have to age on my own birthday, but apparently, we all age on Audrey’s birthday, as well. People always say that children keep you young, but those people are wrong.

The rate at which I age has increased exponentially since I had children. Parent years are like dog years, because we age seven times faster than the general population. Sadly, with this conversion and Audrey’s generous estimation, I am 35 years old (which is older than I actually am, thus proving my hypothesis about rapid aging).  The whole scenario is made slightly more acceptable only by the fact that by following the same mathematical rules, my husband’s age is 42.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

It’s all in the timing

Today, Audrey had her first accident since being 100% potty trained. I’m not sure what this means as far as percentages go, but I guess now she’s 98% potty trained. She was playing outside and realized too late that she had to go to the bathroom. She tried to make it inside, but she just wasn’t fast enough.

She was extremely upset and Adam tried his best to console her “It is okay. Everyone has accidents once in awhile. Mommy pees her pants all the time”. I was busy formulating a witty retort like “Well, Daddy poops his pants all the time” when I suddenly sneezed uncontrollably…and peed my pants, just a little. One of the latent effects of childbirth strikes again, as always, at the perfect moment.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Love is fickle

Audrey’s favorite stuffed animal has changed several times. As a parent, it is always a shock when the adorable stuffed animal that I grew to love is suddenly tossed aside in favor of a new friend. Audrey first loved a baby monkey named “Momo” (by Audrey, obviously, because I would never come up with such an idiotic name) complete with a bib, diaper and pacifier. She eventually outgrew her bib, diaper, pacifier and stuffed monkey.

Her second love was an ugly brown bear that she picked from one of the central kiosks in the mall. I tried my very best to dissuade her love because she has so many other special stuffed animals that were gifts from family, but she was smitten with the ugly bear. The bear wore a bright pink bow around its neck, which was as helpful as putting lipstick on a pig…it was still an ugly brown bear.

Thankfully, Audrey’s love for “Brown Bear” faded when a new star emerged as her sidekick. Barnaby, the tiny horse, galloped into her heart and mine without hesitation. He ate, slept, played and vacationed with our family until the day that he fell out of Audrey’s favor.  One night, I walked into Audrey’s room and saw her arms wrapped around an enormous tan bear, while Barnaby had been shoved under the bed. I picked him up and gently placed him beside Audrey and the huge bear in the bed, but I could see the writing on the wall.

The next day, Audrey was referring to her tan bear as “Barnaby” and the tiny horse was nowhere to be found. Audrey’s blatant lack of loyalty is made much worse by her practice of casually replacing the supporting cast in her life, while keeping the same names, like a soap opera writer.  I know that finding the perfect relationship often takes evaluation of many options. I just hope that Audrey doesn’t always bring all of the “options” into her bed.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Showered with love

Bathing the girls is typically my duty, but Adam took the reins to give me a break tonight. Since I usually bathe them, they are used to my routine. I wasn’t surprised when I heard Audrey screaming for me “Mommy! You do it! You do it!” I ignored her pleas initially, simply assuming that Adam was doing something differently and that she would eventually adjust. Her continued screaming finally convinced me to ascend the stairs and peek in the bathroom.

I saw Adam standing a few feet away from them, hosing the shampoo out of their hair and directly into their eyes. The scene actually reminded me of the carnival game where players race to pop a balloon by spraying a stream of water into a clown’s mouth. I stepped into view and gave Adam the look that all husbands are privy to on a daily basis. The simplest interpretation of the look is “Seriously?” He smiled sheepishly and said “What? I was watering them like flowers.” I have no doubt that my girls will grow and flourish with their father’s love, but they might not need so much watering.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Drastic times call for drastic measures

Even the most mundane activities are designed to be exciting for children. I took Audrey to get her hair cut earlier this week at the adorable kids' salon that we frequent. She had her choice of a chair that resembled a fire truck or a chair that resembled an airplane. She chose the chair that resembled an airplane, which she has also chosen on all of her previous visits. She boarded her plane and loved every minute of her haircut.

I chatted with her about the propeller and asked her where she was going as she turned the steering wheel and honked the horn. I’m not sure if planes typically have horns, but this plane was expertly designed to keep a child still while scissors are placed near their head. I absolutely despise flying and felt a bit like a fraud as I discussed how much fun flying is with Audrey.

Since riding in a plane made a haircut more enjoyable for Audrey, I wonder if the reverse might be true for me. The minute a plane starts to taxi on the runway, I fret about the fact that the majority of plane crashes occur during takeoff and landing. I focus on breathing normally so that neighboring passengers don’t offer the barf bag to control my hyperventilation. Once, I was on an extremely turbulent flight and I actually clawed the man’s head in the seat in front of me. I reached out to grab the seat-back and his scalp just happened to be within my panicky grasp.

The best part of any haircut is getting shampooed. As long as my shampoo fits in a 3.4 ounce bottle, security will not be a problem. It might be difficult to convince the airline staff to allow a shampooing to occur during takeoff, but the fact that stylists wield scissors might persuade them. At the very least, when our flight tumbles out of the sky in a ball of flames, I will have the Grandma-approved “clean underwear in case you get in an accident” AND clean hair.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Things are seldom what they seem

Recently, we were at a gathering with old friends who were able to see us as parents for the first time. It is always amusing to see friends that we haven’t seen since we had children. These friends knew us in our younger years when we behaved like children ourselves. We rarely talked about our futures because we were too busy living for the moment, but we always knew that time would catch up with us regardless of how fast we ran.

Our children are the ages that allow little time for adult socialization because we spend the majority of the time chasing them and ensuring their happiness, so that they don’t have an embarrassing public meltdown. They are at the ages where I wish I could bring myself to place a leash on them and call it a backpack.

When the gathering was over, my husband and I compared notes about which old acquaintances we were actually able to talk to between trips to the sandbox and trips to the potty. We shared a really good laugh about the fact that someone had commented that we made parenting look easy. Watching someone with their children is like watching a duck in a pond. Everything is calm on the surface, but beneath the water the duck is paddling desperately just to stay afloat.