Friday, March 15, 2013

Math Sucks

I knew "Math Night" sponsored by Maddie's school was going to be interesting from the get-go.  Clearly, the teachers talked up this event to the kids to the point where my daughter actually uttered the words, "This is going to be the best night ever!"

I personally have never used the words "best night ever" and "math" in the same sentence.  Just ask anyone who has witnessed me doing math homework.  Throw in my other arch nemesis, grocery shopping, and I knew someone would be in tears by the end of the night. My bet was that it was going to be me.

The day started like most where I had to pick my battles especially where Colin was concerned.  I was calm when he refused to wear his gym shoes and insisted in wearing rain boots. I was calm when I had to coax a truck out of his hand on his way into preschool. I remained calm when he screamed at me when he wanted Skittles and we didn't have any. Then he whined for more juice when he'd already had one Capri Sun. Later in the day, he banged on the keys to Maddie's keyboard and despite me telling him at least ten times to stop, I finally got to the point where I hit my breaking point and had to yell at him.  The only reason I got that far in the day before losing my cool was because I forked over an extra $20 to have him stay at school for Playhouse that bought me an extra 3 hours of sanity.

I had to rattle his cage to get him to go potty, put his shoes and coat on and get out if the house in order to get to Math Night at the local Dominick's. Maddie was anxious to leave for the event and if it were up to her, we would have skipped dinner and just opened a bag of chips from the aisles to snack on instead.

When we walked in the door, Colin seemed into it until he saw the boy next door and began throwing a temper tantrum because he wanted to be with him.  My neighbor agreed to take him with them, but then he cried because he wanted to be with me too.  They calmly walked away from us and were done with Math Night before we even finished our first problem.

I coaxed him with a snack that I would have gladly ripped open from the shelves. I offered Fruit Ninja on my phone. Instead he laid down on the floor in middle of the aisle. Then he started asking for the cart that has a car where you can sit and watch cartoons. I tried to hold him off as long as possible until he bolted towards the coral of carts.  I got Maddie and our current "boring gray cart" (his words) and was willing to succumb to his request just to getthrough the rest of our excursion when I realized they were turned off/out of order. I tried to explain that they didn't work to Colin, but all he saw was red as he tried with all his might to pull out the cartoon cart against the iron clad brake locking it in place.  

Maddie jumped in and tried to get him to "step away from the carts," to no avail. I finally told her to ignore him and walk away.  Her face was about as flushed as mine from the spike in blood pressure.  She and I clenched our jaws simultaneously. Soon Colin begrudgingly followed us back to the aisles to finish our math problems, but continued to scream and cry at the top of his lungs.  Maddie told me this was not how she thought Math Night would turn out and that Colin was completely embarrassing her.  Poor kid.

I promptly texted Tom to find out what his ETA was at math night was because Colin was shattering Maddie's math night dreams and aspirations. Mind you, it was Tom who was adamant about Maddie attending Math Night.  I’m not sure who was more excited, Tom or Maddie.  Not that he is a math wiz by any means, but because he not one and really wants to make sure our kids excel in math since neither of us do.  He uses it every day and wishes he was better at it.  He told me the other night that “Maddie has a long way to go” as far as math is concerned.  My response, “Of course she does…she’s in kindergarten.  She has twelve years to go, actually.”

Tom was disappointed because he had a meeting that ran late and wasn’t able to get there until the tail end of the event.  Of course he walked with a cool head and took over. I don't know what he bribed Colin with, but Colin accepted his phone within 1 minutes and didn’t mentioned the damn cartoon cart until we made it to the car out of earshot of Tom where he yelled at me once again for not getting the cart for him.

After my experience at Math Night, I’ve come up with some grocery stores based math problem for you...

Problem 1:
Annoyed, frustrated and bewildered mommy is moving at a rate of 80 steps a minute. The liquor aisle is 400 feet away. If we know that there are 100 steps between each aisle, how long does it take for said mommy to get to the liquor aisle?

Problem 2:
How many glasses of wine does it take for mommy from problem 1 to decompress after a school organized event surrounding math, grocery shopping, a kindergartner and a crabby 3 year old?

Problem 3:
How many minutes does it take for DCFS to arrive after a child has been beat?

Friday, March 8, 2013

Target-ed For Disaster

This sums it up pretty well.

Sick as it sounds, I sometimes use trips to Target purely to get out of the house…even with the kids.

Since Target is essentially my second home, there is some sense of comfort and entertainment I get from going there.  When I go without the kids it might as well be a beach vacation to Tahiti for the amount of peace and tranquility it gives me.  If I bring the kids, it isn’t quite so Zen, but I can usually bribe them with a treasure from the dollar bins and maybe even some Pizza Hut pizza in order to get through the trip.  My friend and I have even used lunch and a shopping trip at Target as a play date.  We realized quickly how bad our judgment was on that call when our three- year old sons started racing each other up and down the aisles pretending they were dragons.

Yesterday was one of those days where I felt like between waiting for Colin to poop (which he finally did) and sitting around watching cartoons, we needed to get out of the house for a bit.  Besides, I needed ground beef, bananas and waffles.  So, off to Target we went.  Mistake number one: I let the kids hit the dollar bin first.  Normally I purposely park at the opposite door from the treasure trough of crap so I can hang it over their heads’ the whole shopping trip.  Maddie got some Easter egg decorating kit and window clings for her room and Colin got a rubber football and this obnoxious claw-like thing that looked like what my 4’10 grandma used to get things from shelves higher then five feet.

From there I wanted to head to the children’s clothing section to do one of my most favorite things to do at Target…hunt through sale racks.  I get a warm fuzzy feeling from those bright orange tags on their merchandise and my excitement only grows when I move from the 30% off rack to the 50% off rack all the way to the 70% off rack!!!  My sale-rack-buzz was immediately killed when Colin ran off into the racks of clothes and gave me flashbacks to the kidnapping of Adam Walsh in the early 80s. (son of John Walsh from America’s Most Wanted).  He is the namesake of “Code Adam” and was kidnapped from a Sears store in Florida. He was only a few years older than me as his case left an indelible impression on me for the rest of my life. 

We scored some deals for Maddie and even some Wonder Woman/Super Girl/Bat Girl underwear before moving on to the boy’s section.  Colin desperately needed pants pj’s that didn’t make him look like he belonged to the Hillbilly Pit Crew from Cars since most of his pj’s were Cars themed and two inches too short.  We thought we hit the jackpot with a Power Rangers Samurai shirt on the sale rack until we discovered it was the wrong size.  Colin was soon disengaged from the hunt for deals that also had his favorite characters and ran off into the toy section conveniently located right across from the boy’s section, but just out of my line of site.  I decided to give up my hunt for discounted clothes for him and just grab whatever shirts and pants I could find in his size.  In the midst of my screaming and yelling at Colin and one full-blown temper tantrum, I found a Sonic the Hedgehog shirt for him.  That was a major accomplishment until I had to wrestle a $30 set of Cars from him which ended in temper tantrum number two of our shopping trip.  

He was screaming and crying walking behind me as I made my way to the grocery section of the store.  He then fell into lethargy mode where he claimed he was hungry, thirsty and tired.  I remembered I had a Capri Sun in my purse and despite the fact he had two glasses of orange juice mixed with Miralax earlier to stimulate bowel movement, I gave in and threw him in the cart and shoved the straw in his mouth.  It kept him occupied for a whole 1.5 minutes until he picked up that claw thing and began clicking it incessantly.  Maddie tried to help out by taking it away from him, which sent Colin into a tizzy and then she started clicking it.  I gave it back to Colin just as we entered the frozen food section and he grabbed each handle of the freezer doors as we went by.  I lost my temper and grabbed the damn toy away from him and tossed it below the cart. 

I headed for the yogurt section and could barely focus on the brand I usually get when I heard someone call my name.  Oh crap.  It never fails when I am screaming like a banshee at my kids, I run into someone I know who probably knew I was in the store 20 minutes before she saw me by the antics going on in the kids’ clothing section.  Luckily it was a friend from high school who has three kids of her own.  She told me that they had just gotten off a run of illnesses that wreaked havoc on their entire house and that was the first day they had gotten out.  I’m hoping they were just so happy to be out of the house they didn’t notice how idiotic we looked and sounded. I’m also hoping the fact that they seemed to peaceful and serene compared to the flames shooting out of my kids ears was because they just didn’t have their energy back. Initially I was a little worried about getting too close to them for fear we’d get sick until I remembered I had just used Colin’s stuffed animal to wipe his nose when he sneezed and he had licked the counter at the gym earlier that day.  I think we were well on our way to our own plague.

I grabbed the last few things from the aisles before I went to the produce section.  The kids insisted on looking at the catalog of birthday cakes at the bakery section.  I let Colin out of the cart and they proceeded to rifle through the binders all while managing to unhinge the pages leaving them all mangled.  I tried to put the pages back in their rightful place in the first book and was working on the second when Maddie opened the binder rings back up and the pages I had just put back and then-some came falling out again.  I got her away from the display before any more damage could be done and made sure Colin didn’t jump over the counter and start putting his finger in any cake frosting.

I got the remainder of my produce and headed toward the checkout line.  At that point, Colin had opened the little mesh bag his football came in and ripped the tag off his grabber claw thing leaving the checkout guy instantly annoyed with me.  Meanwhile, Colin was in the empty checkout line next to us launching a car off the conveyor belt.  I warned him three times to knock it off before his car (the kind you pull back and then it goes forward at Mach 3) crashed into the bagging area.  I finally grabbed it from him just as the checkout guy held up the stuffed animal Colin brought with him that he had also put on the conveyor belt.  This twentysomething might have gone to get an emergency vasectomy after he encountered us.

As I left the store an hour-and-a-half after entering it, $187 poorer, set off the security alarm and without the syrup on my list.  I patted Colin down to make sure he didn’t lift a Matchbox car and we were on our way.  At that point, I felt it necessary to vent to my Facebook friends.  “Longest. Trip. To. Target. Ever.”  My mother-in-law saw one of my follow-up comments that this “fun trip” cost me $187, and she immediately called me to see if Colin shoplifted, broke something or we were fined in some way.  Apparently she doesn’t spend that much on her typical trip to Target like we do.

I guess the only thing that could have made this trip worse, besides my three-year old getting arrested for shoplifting, was if Colin’s Miralax hadn’t kicked in earlier that day and he would have had to sit in the bathroom for an extra 45 minutes trying to poop.  It’s all about the silver linings.