Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Conversations between Baby and Big Kids

So, I had a baby two weeks ago (birth story coming soon, for those of you who are interested in that kind of thing).  She is amazing.  I love that the older two girls love her.  Popeye and Juju always want to watch her and talk to her and read to her.  Here are some conversations with the baby that I have overheard:

Baby: (crying)
Juju: Aww...I like your smile!   You love me so much!


Popeye: Hey, what does the fox say?

Baby: ......

Popeye: (louder) What does the fox say?


Popeye: What does a cow say?


Popeye: What does anything say?


Popeye: (leaning in close to the baby) Why do you pretend to not talk?  Baby Winnie can talk.  (Long pause)  I think you're a spy.  But you're so adorable, too.  (Kisses Baby's head)


We took the kids to a health fair several weeks ago and P picked up a 16 page booklet about strokes.  For a while it was her favorite thing to read and she was really fascinated by the pictures of the brain.
 Recently, she decided to read this awesome piece of literature to the baby.

Popeye: Look, Baby Caroline.  This is a picture of your brain.  These are your brain tubes and blood.  If your brain tubes get clogged you will have a stroke and die.  This happens because when you don't eat vegetables and salad.   Umm........Baby Caroline, you only eat milk....

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Lies I've Told My Kids

I know it's wrong but I lie to my kids.  I know better.  My mother taught me better.  Growing up, my mother would always tell us that nothing bothered her more than lying.  We could do something really rotten and the punishment was always surprisingly less severe if we just came clean.  Sometimes we wouldn't even get in trouble because my mom appreciated that we told the truth.  But wo, wo, wo unto those who did not tell the truth and got caught.  Major trouble.  What's worse, we had to live with knowing that our mom was "disappointed" in us and couldn't trust us anymore.  Yowza.  That stung worse than any punishment she could dole out.

Still, I lie to my kids.  A lot.  I didn't realize how much until recently.  What makes it bad is that the belief in my lies kind of makes my kids weirdos.  I lie anyway.  I like to think I do it for their own good but I'm still not sure that my mom approves.  Here are some examples.

Lie #1
There are crocodiles that live in the canal and they will eat you if you get too close to the water.

Justification: We lived dangerously close to a canal and my kids are master escape artists.  I swear to you, I heard my neighbor screaming and ran to the front door to find that 3-year-old Popeye was hanging out a 2-story window, reaching for the landing because she had tried to escape.  Canals are too tempting for my kids and I was terrified that if I took my eyes off of one of them for 10 seconds they would end up in the canal.  That is when I hatched the plan.  It was remarkably effective.  You wouldn't believe it.  They wouldn't step foot outside without an adult and they were afraid to drive along the road that follows the canal.  I didn't want them to live in fear, but better fearful than overly brave when it comes to the canal. After a few months, though, my kids did get more daring.  They would go to the end of the driveway and throw things at the canal.  They would lean over guard rails by the canal when we went on walks.  They didn't believe there were really crocodiles in there.  Well, this wouldn't do.  So I had no choice.  I did what any loving, caring mother would do.  I devised a plan to scare the crap out of keep them safe.

I had to run an errand one evening.  I had my brother-in-law hide behind a car with his computer. As the girls were getting ready to wander too far, my brother-in-law played weird reptilian monster growling noises on his computer.  The girls freaked out, believing it to be the vicious sound of a crocodile, ready to attack.  They nearly climbed over each other to retreat to the safety of the van.  The girls never questioned the existence of the crocs again and they never got anywhere close to the canal/road again.

Am I ashamed? A little. No.  I did what had to be done.

Lie #2
"Of course, Santa is real!"

Lie # 2.5
"I talk to Santa and if you guys don't get along I'll just tell him you only want broccoli for Christmas."

Justification:  There are probably better parenting techniques but this was seems so efficient.  I mean, it works instantly.

Lie #3
"If you sneak out of your bed at night and get into the fridge and eat the food, all of your hair will fall out."

Justification:  No justification for this one, really.  I don't even know how I came up with this.  It just sort of spilled out one morning after I went in their room to discover bags of half eaten pepperoni and blocks of cheese and half empty cups of yogurt after their late night food fest.  This lie, too, has been an effective lie.

Lie #4
"If you watch more than one movie a day your brain will melt.  I can look in your eyeballs and tell if your brain is starting to melt."

Justification:  Pops and Juj wanted to watch movies all of the time.  If I had to argue about it one more time I was going to go insane.  It worked, too.  Popeye will tattle on babysitters who "make" her watch more than one movie.  She has me check her eyes, "just in case" after she watches a movie.  She accepts limited television time, knowing it is for her own good.  It makes her a little weird, but it also makes her more willing to do something besides watch TV.

Lie #5 
"'Never' is a bad word."

Justification: Juj kept saying snotty things and following it up with, "NEVER!" (Examples: "I never want to play with you! NEVER!" and, "I won't eat my lettuce!  NEVER!") I was just so tired of hearing it!  It sounded awful.  Now my kids think it is a bad word.  They don't say it and they are appalled when they hear others say it.

Other Lies

I pretend that my kids' muscles are noticeably larger immediately after they swallow their vegetables.

I told my kids there are secret guards in the grocery store parking lot that watch out for little kids who stray too far from their parents.  They catch these kids and draw mustaches on their faces with ugly markers.  (Really, I don't know how I come up with some of these.  I start a lie and it gets huge and ridiculous before I can stop it.  It's terrible.)

Popeye and Juj believe that there are monkeys in the trees.  All trees.  Including the trees in our neighborhood.  While I didn't technically lie to them about it (Papi did), I don't discourage the belief.  Monkey hunting on walks is fun.  I don't want to ruin that.

Go ahead, guys.  Judge me.  I deserve it.  But if you do judge me, your eyes will fall out and your fingers will turn into spaghetti.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

I'm trying to catch up on stories.

Me: Popeye, your hair is so beautiful!

P: Thanks.  I brush it almost every day.


Recently, my brother an his wife welcomed their first baby into the world.  We went to the store to pick out an outfit for the new little one.

P: This one!  It has an animal on the butt!  We need this one!

Me: But it says "Grandma loves me."  We're not the baby's grandma.

P: But, Mom!  We need it!

Me: It says, "Grandma loves me" on the shirt, though.

P: I know!  Gramma loves EVERYBODY!


P: Did you marry Dad once or twice?

Me: Just once.

P: But don't you love him enough to marry him twice?

Me: I don't need to marry him twice. We're already married.

P: But I didn't get to see it! And you love him and want to kiss him! And you need to wear your pretty dress! So I can see!


P's prayer last night:

P: Heavenly Father, we're thankful that we were so good today and choosing the right.  Please help Baby Caroline to pop out of Mom's belly.  Umm....maybe Jesus can help us with that.  Please help us to stay in our beds all night.  In the name of Jesus Christ. AMEN!


 P: But I don't WANT a new sister! I want to keep my Juju Bee!

Five minutes later....

P: Can we call the new baby "Other Juju?"


Chris was gone overnight for a scout camp.  Peyton insisted on calling him just before 11 p.m.  I tried to just get her to go to bed but she was adamant that she needed to speak with him.  I called her dad and handed her the phone.  What was so urgent?  She felt she needed to talk to her dad right then about....arranged marriage. 


P: Juj, can you go to the bathroom with me?  I'm scared to go by myself.

Me: P, there isn't anything scary in your bathroom.

P: Yes, Mom!  Remember?  There is water vapor in there!  Don't you think it is gross and weird and disgusting?

(A few minutes later)

P: Are you going to be something scary for Halloween?

Me: Probably not.

P: Are you going to be a big, fat, scary water vapor?


More of P's fears...

P: Juj, I have to go potty really bad but I'm too afraid! Things I'm afraid of are spiders, dolphins, sharks, pencils, and the weirdest man in the world. Will you please go with me and turn on the bathroom light?

Juj: (Confused by why Peyton can't just do this herself) Sure, Popeye.

This is why everybody needs a sister.


P: Mom, can I have dote dote dote ice cream?

Me: What is that?  I don't think I've ever even heard of that.

P: It's ice cream and when you eat it is makes you go "AHHHHH! A doh doh doh!" And then you think you have a pet alligator*.

Me:  .....You know, I think I have heard of that.  I'm pretty sure it is against the law, though.

P: Oh man.  Okay.

*She may have said giraffe but it was a while ago and now I can't remember.  This is what you get for not writing things down as they happen.


You know the "What Does the Fox Say?" song?  I played it for Juj and she loved it.  Popeye had different feelings.  She was confused and really bothered by it. 

P: Umm...Mom, I don't think a fox says that.  No.  And elephants don't say "toot." No.  They say (Insert surprisingly accurate elephant noise).  We can't listen to this song because it doesn't choose the right.


P: Mom, you are so smart and strong and beautiful and lovely and teamwork.  

Me: Thanks!

P: Sure!  May I have some candy?


I got out construction paper and scrapbook paper and cut out feather shapes and shapes of turkey bodies and explained to the girls that we were making turkeys and writing what we were thankful for on the feathers. These were their responses:

Peyton: Umm...can I just make a regular chicken? Because I don't think I like thankful turkeys.

Loralie: Can I just play with scissors?

What Popeye meant to say last night: Trick or treat!

What Popeye kept saying instead: Hi. Can I have some candy for my sister? She's back there. Her hands are absolutely full. Do you have a dog? My name's Peyton!


Our van broke down right after Chris picked up our car from the shop (so grateful the van waited to die until we had the car). We went to the store to get a part to fix the car and I knew that we wouldn't get home for a while and we'd have a late dinner. This is the conversation we had in the car on the way to the store:

Me: Sheesh. We'll be getting home late. What do you guys want for dinner?

Chris: Eh, I don't care. We could probably just eat cereal.

Peyton: No!

Me: How about a PB&J sandwich?

Peyton: No. I had that yesterday for lunch.

Me: Ha! This coming from the kid who thinks it is okay to eat pizza for lunch and dinner everyday.

Peyton: Mmm...we should buy more pizza.

Juj:....we should buy more ice cream....


We recently had the Primary presentation at church. It is where the children have little lines and sing songs in front of the congregation. I was really excited because we worked hard to organize it and it was P's very first program.

It was also probably her last program. Ever. She sat in the front row and played dead for most of the program. Other kids would get up when it was time to sing another song. P would just slump down and pretend to be even more dead. She did get up once and say, "Guys, I need to go to the bathroom or it's going to go 1-2 down my leg." Then she played dead again. When questioned about it afterward she said she was just too nervous to not be dead.


Me: You have to clean your room, kid.

P: (Looks in room and makes a face) Umm..can you handle that? I have to help my dad watch football.

No parent enjoys reading the same book over and over again to their children. We do it, though, because we appreciate their passion for literature, no matter how it comes...

At least, I used to feel that way. It is excruciating to support that passion when your kids' favorite thing to read is an 18 page booklet they got at the health fair called, "Explaining Stroke." Can't they just like "Goodnight, Moon" like normal kids?