Friday, August 26, 2011

Bouncy-Bounce, Backwards Dresses, Febreze and Robert Goulet: It Could Only Be My Sorted Life

I don’t really have a “theme” for this entry…just three days strung together not too different from any others, but definitely worthy of writing down.

Day One:

It was a typical Saturday in the Stien house. I woke up early with the kids, fed them breakfast and then headed to the gym for an early morning Spin class. Since Colin isn’t allowed in the childcare center at the gym for a week since his third write-up for biting, I am taking full advantage of Tom being home to go to the gym instead of finding creative ways to get my workouts in. I came home and as soon as I did, Tom left to get his oil changed. I took the kids to do some back-to-school shopping and to capitalize on Borders going-out-of-business sale. After chasing Colin around Children’s Place, I wasn’t real sure what I actually purchased, but I had a 30% off coupon and managed to get a bag full of clothes for $100. One thing I knew for sure, it was nap time. We had a birthday party that started at 3 pm and I wanted to make sure I got Colin down at a reasonable time so we weren’t too late for the party.

I got the kids home, fed them a quick lunch and tried to put Colin down. I realized at about 2:15 pm that he still wasn’t asleep and was calling out my name. I went to check on him and he asked me to sleep with him. I tried tough love and told him to go to sleep and shut his door. After about 10 minutes I was pretty sure he was going to kick the door down. I went in and tried to get him to settle down and sleep, but Maddie kept coming in to check out the situation causing further distraction for Colin. It was almost 3 pm and Colin didn’t look like he was going to take a nap anytime soon. I finally just gave up and we got the kids ready to go to the party. I told Tom I’d rather get going since I was pretty sure Colin would end up having a meltdown at about 5 pm since he hadn’t had a nap.

We got to the party and there was a face painter. Maddie got pretty pink swans around her eyes and Colin of course asked to be a monster. (go figure!) He was doing a pretty good job playing with other kids without beating someone up until he entered the bouncy-bounce. That’s when I heard, “Hey! That boy just pushed me!” I knew there was only one “boy” she could be referring to and I was right. I climbed in there and grabbed him out and he had to sit out for awhile. (F.Y.I., if you want to see something America’s Funniest Home Video worthy, just record me sticking my head in the bouncy-bounce yelling at Colin to get out, him laughing at me and running away, me trying to climb in after him, all while 10 kids are jumping and making me look like a human jumping bean.) He wasn’t real happy about it and was like a bucking bronco on my lap until Tom grabbed him and got an upper body workout from holding Colin down. We finally let him go and he played at the water/sand table with some other kids. We watched him carefully as he pushed a boy older than him. The boy promptly smacked Colin with a shovel and we secretly cheered.

We realized that Colin was starting to hit his limit and decided it was time to gather the kids together and make an exit. Colin wasn’t happy with that idea tried bolting towards the bouncy-bounce. Tom was able to wrestle him up and got bit in the process. He promptly dragged him to the car before I could even turn around to get Maddie to leave. I felt bad because she had made a “swiend” and was playing nicely and having fun when her brother ruined it for her. I told her there were goody bags and she was out the door. We hugged everyone goodbye as fast as possible, grabbed the goody bags and did a bee line for the door. I saw Tom struggling with a kicking, screaming, crying Colin with the tracks of his tears in his monster face paint. He looked a lot less cute and truly scary at that point. I handed Maddie her goody bad and she began to unearth her treasures. When I looked down at Colin’s bag it said, “Carson Steen.” I told Tom I wondered if we go back in and get “Carson,” he was probably more well behaved than the psycho path in the backseat of our minivan spitting, kicking and spewing.

We got home and since we had to leave so quickly, we missed dinner at the party and I had to whip up a quick meal. Of course, Colin fell asleep on the couch while I was doing that and we managed to wake him up enough to eat. I wasn’t sure how bedtime was going to go, but luckily bedtime went much smoother than naptime. Just as I got the kids in bed and poured myself a glass of wine, my mom called to say that her iPod wasn’t working despite the eight hours I had previously spent transferring her music from her old computer to her new one. Unfortunately this was the first time she was syncing her iPod to her computer and only 100 of her 800+ songs came over. She was having a conniption fit because she wouldn’t have any music to listen to going to bed. I talked her off the technology edge and explained there was nothing I could do to fix the situation that night and she would have to wait until I talked to my friend Tony who offers assistance to people with issues with electronics (Shameless Plug for Everything Electronic (847) 350-9091--ask for Tony). Ok, I could finally relax and enjoy my Saturday night and prepare for the next day.

Day Two

Sunday morning does not involve sleeping in for me. It is like every other morning where the kids wake up, I make breakfast, try and do some things around the house, but on Sunday I usually go to church. We determined that the church might go up in flames if Hellboy went, so was just going to take Maddie. I am a lector once a month and this was my Sunday to do a reading. I got myself dressed, which is more challenging when you have to actually look nice rather than wearing a tank top, jean shorts and flip flops (they frown upon their lectors wearing that to church). I managed to pull out one of my old biz-cas ensembles from the inner depths of my closet, threw a dress on Maddie, some Goldfish crackers and we were on our way.

Maddie is now super brave and goes to “Church School” or to the basement for Children’s Liturgy each week. She hopped up to join the other kids at the front of the church and that was the first time I noticed that she had her dress on backwards. How I did not notice that up until that point, I have no idea, but there I was sitting at the front of the church ready to do a reading and there was my doe-eyed little girl with a giant flower on her butt. I am glad I got through my reading without thinking about it and laughing.

We dropped my mother-in-law off after mass and Tom and Colin were there waiting for us. We all decided to go out to lunch and then I headed off to a barbecue at a friend’s house, sans family. I was happy to have some time away without hearing my name being called, which by-the-way I have decided to go from having my kids call me Mom, Ma, Mommy to Nancy. I just can’t stand hearing it called every 5 seconds, especially since every time we put Colin on timeout (which is A LOT lately) he screams “Mommy!” over and over again. I don’t know why he thinks I am going to be the one who saves him when I am the one who put him there most of the time and I am one timeout from sending him to an orphanage. (Surely, I jest) Anyway, I thought Nancy might be a nice alternative.

I got home from the barbecue feeling relaxed and ready to cook dinner. The house was all picked up and that was when I noticed that the area rug in our living room/toy room was missing. That could only mean one thing…Kira peed. Not only is she thirteen-years old, but she gets stressed out when we leave, especially me, and Tom didn’t lock her up while he and Maddie were out front and Colin was napping. There was also a Barbie dress that had an indescribable odor that left all of us a little baffled.

We sat down to our steak dinner, which would have been much nicer if Colin stayed in his seat rather than running to play at his train table and mock us. After three timeouts, he finally came back to eat three more bites of potatoes and two more bites of meat. We survived the remainder of the evening, kids went to bed and we watched Entourage.

Day Three

It is now Monday morning and normally I would go to the gym, but we are currently banned for a week because Colin bit a boy last Thursday. Since it was his third write-up, we got a longer suspension. I took the kids for a run in the jogging stroller and then we got back, cleaned up and went to my mom’s to fix the previously mentioned iPod. I started work to work on it while the kids played. My mom had a lunch date with some friends, so she left shortly after we arrived. I finished re-transferring everything fairly quickly and was about to sync her iPod to her computer when I realized she hadn’t left me the cord to do so. I went in to her room to find it and by the time I had come out 3 minutes later, Colin had found a blue crayon and colored my mom’s stark white walls and the grout in her kitchen tile.

Now, let me explain something about my mom and her condo. My mom and I are nothing alike when it comes to our level of organization and tolerance for mess, clutter or blue crayon on the wall. She never has anything unnecessary on her counters, or kitchen table. There is never a newspaper or magazine left out. Granted, she lives on her own and doesn’t have two tornadoes to put up with, but even still, she is a neat freak. So when I walked in to find Colin’s artwork, I got that warm nervous feeling you get when you get pulled over. I felt like a teenager who had a party while her parents were away and there were cigarette burns in the couch, bong water spilled on the carpet and someone had puked in a potted plant. (Not that I was ever in that situation, but I am sure that I would have felt the same fear).

I grabbed as many cleaning products as possible and started scrubbing. I knew I was taking the finish off the wall, but I also knew my mom was planning on painting at some point, so I figured I had nothing to lose. I was sweating and swearing under my breath trying to keep the kids away from the HAZMAT situation all the cleaning chemicals had created. I found the only worse thing than frantically scrubbing the floor before your mom gets home to bust you is doing it while Robert Goulet is playing (a la mom’s iPod music library that was playing--See YouTube video below).

I finally got most of the crayon along with the paint finish off the wall, floor, ledge and the grout was merely “tinted” blue at this point. My mom got home and was talking on her cell phone when she entered to find me mouthing “you need to get off the phone.” She quickly ended her conversation with her sister and reluctantly asked what was wrong. I started by asking where her iPod cord was so I could explain what I was doing when Colin redecorated her house. She was actually pretty cool about and said she uses Mr. Clean scrub pads on her walls all the time to keep them white, so apparently she’s ok with taking the finish off her walls. She also said that she had to paint anyway. I told her Colin thought she should chose blue. She found her bleach pen and went to work on the grout. Man, I wish she had been that understanding when I was two and I colored on the family portrait with purple crayon because it was taken before I was born and I was mad I wasn’t in it. Or the time I poured nail polish remover on the linoleum floor in our kitchen leaving a yellow stain. She certainly has chilled over the years.

Rather than have Colin nap there, I was able to successfully sync all 811 of her songs from her computer to her iPod. I got the kids ready and we headed home. Colin fell asleep in the car and luckily I was able to bring him upstairs so he got another hour of nap…and so did I.

Just when I thought all my clean-up duties for the day were done, I made dinner and then began cleaning up the epic mess in our toy room. I picked up a handful of Barbie clothes and shoes and went to grab the princess carriage shaped bin we use to store miscellaneous Barbie and doll clothes. I opened lid and the familiar smell of piss and shit x 1,000 hit my olfactory. What the hell is going on? I realize it wasn't Kira who had peed the day before. I quickly began pulling the items out of the bin and realized they were damp. I knew full well there was only one explanation for this, Tuna. She’s our cat and as I have mentioned requires the least maintenance of anyone or thing in our house. However, since we moved her litter box upstairs, she has gotten confused 2 other times. Luckily both times were strategically on bath mats. This time, while strategic, she happened to use a princess bin full Barbies and clothes as a litter box. Unfortunately, there were two American Girl outfits and two American Girl pairs of shoes, which if you know anything about you know cost more than what most people spend on their own clothes…for a year. Since everything marinated in the make-shift litter box for a whole day I ended up tossing half the stuff, including three Barbies, one of which had a turd in her hair. As for the American Girl stuff, I washed the shoes with three different household cleaners and soaked them in Febreze and the stench still remained so I threw them out.  Luckily the clothes were saved after I washed them two times, sprayed with Febreze and washed again. As bad as this clean up was, at least I didn’t have to do it to Robert Goulet.

Robert Goulet: Checkout YouTube link below to feel my pain...but I have to say he was pretty handsome in his day.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


I really hope Colin isn’t the type of kid where we say, “Wow, they say terrible-twos are bad, but with Colin, he was a terrible-three!” because quite frankly, I’m not sure he is going to make it to his third birthday.

I’ve already discussed that he is a “biter,” which luckily has subsided and he hasn’t drawn blood in several weeks (knock on wood). The problem now is he has resorted to full out pile drives, headlocks and pinning children down by sitting on their face. He doesn’t discriminate either; he will go after his sister, boys and his favorite, baby girls at the daycare at the gym.

I got called down to the daycare yesterday and the first thing I saw was one of the caregivers holding a little girl who was no older than two and she was sobbing so hard there was snot flying out of her nose. I hoped that the reason that child was crying was not the reason I was called down, but I was wrong. I went to grab a tissue for the little girl and out of the corner of my eye spotted a little lump of trouble sitting in the corner. I heard “Mommy” and realized it was Colin on timeout.

I grabbed him and strongly scolded him for hurting the little girl. Clearly my lecture before we left the house, in the car on the way to the gym and right before he entered the childcare center didn’t sink in. I brought him over to the little girl he pummeled and made him apologize. I also made him say what he was sorry for. We are trying to avoid having him just say, “sorry” so maybe at some point he will realize what he is actually doing to get in so much trouble.

The woman at the childcare center assured me that this was just a phase and that he will grow out of it. “After all, it isn’t like he is going to go off to college and still be doing this,” she laughed. Then the thought of my middle brother popped into my head. He actually did go off to college beating the crap out of people. Granted, he left the girls alone at that point, but he was known to throw a few punches at other drunk dudes at the bar who looked at him wrong and he usually just punched trees when girls were involved.

Later in the day, the kids actually played nicely together while I got part of the house cleaned. I was hoping Colin got all his aggression out early in the day. However, after his nap he regained some steam and started Hellboy Part 2. It started with the usual pushing and shoving match with Maddie, followed by kicking her and a few scissor moves to pin her down. After I separated them and went back to cooking dinner, I heard Maddie crying again because Colin threw a plastic hockey puck at her head. After timeout number 114, Colin arrived in the kitchen saying, “Look at me mommy!” He had drawn all over his arms with brown, yellow and blue marker. Visions of a tattooed, bar room brawler popped into my head and I am thinking maybe instead of 2-year old preschool, we should be looking at military schools.

When Tom got home from work (earlier than usual, thank God) I had him deal with the situation and took Maddie to get a haircut. Tom said he was going to make him do calisthenics in the garage to teach him some discipline and burn off some of his energy. However, when I arrived home Colin looked like he had been crying the whole time I was gone and was instructed to apologize to me for the way he acted before I left. Apparently Colin spent a good portion of my time away on the bench in our entryway that acts as our timeout place. Tom had a “come to Jesus” talk with him and he was sweet as pie the rest of the night, but woke up the next morning full of piss and vinegar all over again.

He began by spreading a spoonful of peanut butter all over the kitchen table and then sticking Cheerios on it. Then he had the brilliant idea to get his bulldozer to clean up the Cheerio mess. Finally, instead of eating breakfast he went and took one of Maddie’s toys and when she tried to get it back from him, he smacked her. I will admit he got a smack on the ass for that, but it hurt me more than it hurt him. And besides, he just got up and continued with the WWF wrestling match he started the night before. While he was on time out for yet another infraction, he pulled his diaper off. Awhile later I was talking to Tom on the phone who asked how my morning was going. I was recounting the events of the morning to Tom, Colin heard me say “butt” as in “I smacked him in the butt” and he began running around the house saying “I got poo poo in my butt!” Another fun phase…potty talk.

Finally, both of them decided to push me to my limit by playing their new favorite game “Angry Birds” where they run along the sectional couch and then fling themselves either into each other or on the cushions. I finally got them to stop and we vacated the premises to go to the petting zoo and park with a friend of ours. I was hoping to burn some energy so he will spare me a little for the rest of today.

It is funny because he can be so sweet and smart, which is good because I think otherwise I would sell him to the gypsies. The other day I walked in the room to find my Swiffer by his train table because he had stolen my brown eye shadow and crushed it up to make dirt for his bulldozer. Apparently he felt remorse and wanted to try and clean up after his mistake. He always gives big giant hugs and kisses and tells me he loves me. He loves to cuddle and has a phenomenal sense of humor. People keep telling me he will change and this is only a phase, but I can’t help but wonder if his behavior is a sign of things to come. Am I going to be the parent who constantly gets phone calls for “disruptive behavior” at school? What will his report cards say? Will he punch kids at the bus stop because he wants to be first in line? Will he pin kids down in the back of the bus and steal their lunch money? Can I expect bar room brawls? Should I start saving money for bail instead of college? I keep thinking that once he is old enough martial arts classes, football or wrestling will help him channel some of his aggression, but I worry that it will also encourage it.

I know it is my responsibility to guide him in the right direction, but so far no form of discipline is sinking into to his fat, bald head. I bought a book about how to discipline your child without yelling and spanking and he happened to tear it up. I’ve even tried to use my mom’s favorite tactic; good old- fashion Catholic guilt, and tell him God is watching. His response reflected that he thought he wouldn’t get presents on Christmas. No, God and Santa are not the same, Colin, and any efforts to discuss the devil and hell would certainly be lost on him. He can say the “Our Father” prayer when prompted, never mind the fact that his favorite part is “and deliver us from evil,” with an emphasis on EVIL. Is he evil? Am I raising the spawn of Satin? (which would make Tom or I Satan, I guess) So, I can only hope that this truly is just a phase and that he will find an outlet for his aggression that isn’t a person’s face or something breakable…or both and that we won’t be seeing his face on “America’s Most Wanted” 20 years from now.