Monday, January 31, 2011

Maddie on Humility

Now that Wee 4 has matured enough to recline in a high chair during snack time I have two hands free again to teach Wee 3 the advantages of eating like a biped. Maddie is fairly ambivalent to all forms of persuasion when it comes to table etiquette. She seems little bothered by the fact that most of her food ends up on her chair or the floor and is resolute in her determination that eating utensils are for the less adventurous.

Yesterday, I attempted to get her to eat yogurt with a spoon instead of licking it out of the cup like a hopped up chihuahua, and Maddie said "Oh, mommy you are so silly. No need spoon for yogurt I am doing just fine."

While demonstrating that much more of the yogurt made it into my mouth when I used my spoon, I replied "Maddie, you are the one being the silly goose - look at all the yogurt on your chair. Mommy's yogurt is in mommy's tummy."

Taking in the scene like someone circling the 10 differences between two almost identical pictures, Maddie pointed to herself and said "I no silly goose, I perfect! My chair no perfect, very naughty chair."

At least I can say the child is blessed to have confidence in good measure!

A wee bit messy,


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Perspectives on Laundry

Like most domestic goddesses who rule a Wee fiefdom, washing, folding, and ironing all the laundry in the house is a quest that I earnestly seek to accomplish. But much like rearing Wee's this is a task which is never truly "done." Because just as soon as the last sock is matched or the last collar pressed it is inevitable that all of the Wees have just finished a mud wrestling match or ice cream cone dribbling contest. As laundry can be just as much a battleground as the ancient jousting tourneys of yore, I thought reflecting on laundry from both the Wee and the "Me" perspectives would be thought provoking.


Wearing Clothes

How can one woman come up with so many "rules" about clothing. We aren't supposed to chew on our sleeves, wipe our noses on the cuffs, step on the hem, wear the knees out on the playground, spill food on our shirts, or wear things which don't match. I think it is especially irritating about the matching - that's entirely subjective. Who says a gray Hello Kitty shirt doesn't match my yellow pants with the turtles on them. They are all animals after all.

Why can't I pick at the picks in my tights? If anything was ever asking to be picked certainly something named picked would be it right? Oh, crud I made a hole in my tights - better pull my skirt down even further.

And what's the deal with not wearing socks with holes in them. These are my favorite socks and most of the sock doesn't have holes in it - just where the big toe is. Since mom won't let me wear my favorite shoes with the holes in them, no one is going to see the holes in my socks anyway. I think I will just quickly put them on and run out the door. When she asks me if these are the socks with the holes in them I will mutter under my breath something that sounds like "muffinrollercoaster" or "ninjatire" - that kinda thing always throws her for a loop.

Why do my clothes have to fall into categories "church," "school," and "play." It is just ridiculous that I can't where what I want when I want. I think these categories are prejudicial. Since when did a wardrobe have to suffer profiling or apartheid? I am staging a protest! I will walk the house naked as a sign of my displeasure - even better, I will stage this expression of my civil liberties when my mom is stressed out because company is on its way.

Putting Clothes in the Hamper

Hey, this is just like basketball practice in gym class. Who is up for a few free throws? And just like school there is a ball boy - or should I say "sock mama." Mom will grab all the ones that don't make it in. Also I really don't feel like putting these smelly dirty yard work clothes in the hamper so I will dump them in my closet and forget about them for a few weeks. Mom loves to be challenged and to accomplish difficult feats so removing mold will really be inspiring and fun for her.

When she said "sort" the clothes, what I heard was "raise the clothes over my head and let chance and gravity do the work." Hasn't she seen all the commercials that come on the Disney channel - with the new laundry detergents clothing colors never bleed - mom is positively ancient with her traditions and outdated theories on housework.

Putting Away Clothes

Why would I put my clothes in their assigned drawer or hang them up in my closet? I can't see them all at the same time if I do that. Instead I will artistically splay them in a random Andy Warholesque fashion. If mom nags me about this I am just going to throw them back in the dirty laundry basket. That way she'll never even know they didn't get put away.


Wearing Clothes

How is it possible for such small beings to ruin their clothes so quickly? This sleeve looks like a squirrel went on a gnawing rampage and these jeans - was she trying out for an Olympic curling team in gym class today. Why do I even tell them to be careful - they never listen.

Oh, my goodness that outfit is a doosey. What are you trying to channel - the flying nun meets the incredible hulk? No you can't wear that to school because the skirt is two sizes too short and the top does not even come close to matching. No, just because both prints are from animals in the same genus, it does not mean that they match.

What are you doing - put your clothes on right now! Our dinner guests will be here any minute - so help me if you don't get dressed in appropriate clothing by the time I count to 10 a straight jacket with leggings will be your uniform for the next month.

Stop picking at your tights, they are going to unravel. Money doesn't grow on trees and tights don't either. Why is she pulling her skirt down past her knees? The waist band is barely over her bottom - is that at hole behind her knee - forget it, I am not looking any closer.

No sweetie, you can not wear that to the park because that is a church outfit. Your clothes rotate through a cycle. Your best clothes for church, these are demoted to school clothes when they become damaged and then they become play clothes when your art teacher forgets that paint and permanent marker don't always wash out. Yes, I do know when you purposefully ruin your clothes to demote them quicker and yes, I get royally steamed when their is nothing to pass down to your sisters.

Putting Clothes in the Hamper

Wait a minute, you can get to level 1.65 million on your Nintendo DS, climb a rock climbing wall at school and read at the 4th grade level in the 2nd grade, but you can't get a pair of socks in your hamper? Who do you think is going to pick this tornado of dirty laundry up the "lint bunny" or maybe you believe in the "load sorting fairy."

The baskets are for light, dark and white - not "maybe," "I don't know" and "she'll figure it out."

I don't remember having a shirt this color pink. Wait a minute, this was my favorite white shirt. They did not throw in their cheap, screen printed bright red school spirit shirts in with my nice clothes. 500,000 loads of laundry later, you think they would believe me over some ridiculous claim by a stranger wanting to make a quick buck on TV. It is experience - unappreciated experience! I hope Oxy Clean gets this out.

Putting Away Clothes

Are there clean - still folded clothes in this hamper? I know that can't be the case - I just know it because my children love me and don't want me to self-commit to a mental institution. Perhaps them piling those clothes up on the floor wasn't such a bad idea - maybe I'll just close the door to their room next time and pretend the laundry is actually "done."

A wee bit over-loaded,


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Maddie on Song Writing

As do many families, in Weeland we have a night time routine. Showers, teeth brushing, scripture reading, a fictional story and then each Wee is allowed one song request. Wee 1 and Wee 2 always choose the same song and get express serious disdain if I modify a single word. Wee 4 prefers classic nursery rhymes put to the tune of Army cadences. For those of you who know what Army cadences are, it is really quite amusing.

Wee 4 loves for me to sing the same song each night, but not the same words. Maddie's favorite bedtime song is "Old MacDonald" and it has been her platinum album favorite for about 3 months. Sometimes her singing of it acts like sonar in the house, and I can determine where she is or what type of mischief she is up to by the tone, tempo and volume of her singing. Last night Maddie requested two alternate versions.

In the first rendition, "Old MacDonald had a plant." I thought this to be quite the astute observation, because if he had no plants he really would have been a zero as a farmer. The challenge comes when one must sing what the plant "says". I thought Maddie herself would be a great source for how to fill in the following blanks and here is what she came up with.

Old MacDonald had a farm, EE-I-EE-I-O.
And on that farm he had a plant EE-I-EE-I-O,
With a grow, grow here and a grow, grow there
Here a grow, there it grows right into a French Fry and then into my belly.
Old MacDonald had a farm, EE-I-EE-I-O.
Perhaps we have a blossoming vegetarian in our midst?

After singing her avant-garde personification of domesticated crops, Maddie begged for one more verse and more out of curiosity than anything else I said OK. This time Old MacDonald had a "rock star." Not just any rock star, but one that came complete with air guitar and her version of an Air Supply solo. With an approved TV channel list that includes PBS, Noggin, and only morning Disney shows I have no idea where she got in touch with her classic rock roots, but her serious rock star face included furrowed brow and pouting lips was almost too much for me to handle. When she started the around the world guitar waving, I felt it was time to call it a night.

A wee bit excited about tomorrow night's concert,


The Wees on Coupons

Now if you read the title of this blog post and rolled your eyes at the word "coupons," you clearly aren't trying to raise four Wees in the midst of a recession. Wees eat. In fact they eat a lot and therefore we coupon. Now we aren't extreme couponers - no need to send a TLC camera crew to our house or for us to build an annex out of cereal boxes for our supply of dental floss. But we do coupon and the Wees have mixed emotions about it.

Wee 1
Victoria thinks coupons are pretty cool for two main reasons. Cutting them out of the newspaper is the only time she gets to use really big adult scissors and because they are forbidden most of the time, she feels extra powerful with them in her hands. The kid also loves brand name snacks. Shopping with Wee 1 is like having a living infomercial chatting it up besides you. Often, I hand her the coupon and let her pick the flavor she prefers for an item. What ensues is a battle of the brands via a commercial reciting monologue. For example a few weeks ago it was time for us to buy cereal and Victoria had to choose from Rice Krispies or Frosted Flakes. Her verbalized introspection went something like this:

"Frosted flakes are "GRRRREEEAT" so clearly that would be a good choice, but Rice Krispies go "Snap, Crackle and Pop" and that is entertaining. I don't think the Frosted Flakes have every actually said anything so I am going to go with Rice Krispies -the taste and the added sound track make them better."

Wee 2
Bella is clearly flummoxed by coupons. First of all the name continually throws her for a loop and she calls them "poopons". She says this in a manner in which the "poop" part is heavily accented. She then pauses and says "ons." We don't know why she does this and what makes it even more interesting is that she clearly does not think she is being funny and in no way associates her pronunciation with a bodily function of any kind. She reacts with strong feelings of anger when teased by her pronunciation and has resisted all efforts at correcting it.

Wee 2 knows these "poopons" are imbued with magical powers, that allow us to "save" money for fun things like going to Disney World and that make cash register shelf candy free. What she doesn't get is how they do wonderful magic tricks and why everyone else doesn't use them. On more than one occasion she has asked the person checking out in front of us "You aren't going to use a "poopon" for that? Are you rich or do you just not like candy?"

Because most people - especially those without wees - don't know what a "poopon" is, we have gotten a mixture of responses from her questioning. These ranged from sheer horror of the word "poop" being mentioned and their being in close proximity to a child who may have had something to do with that recently and a kind old man who once gave her a quarter for being so concerned about his financial well being.

Wee 3
Maddie and the coupons have a very adversarial relationship. What she understands about coupons is that they take up a lot of my Tuesday morning while the girls are at school. Time she very possessively feels she should be taking up. She also feels that they must somehow be her mortal foe as when she rips, scatters, or otherwise molests them I become quite irate and send her to time out.

What Wee 3 loves about coupons are the machines which spit them out in the grocery store. She is like a heat seeking missile when she sees that little red flashing light. And whether it is something we will never use like adult diapers or something we use way to much of like baby diapers she has a compulsive need to pull one coupon from each machine. What is nice is that she only wants one, as "sharing" with strangers is far easier for her than sharing with her siblings.

Wee 4
Reid's stance on coupons is fairly ambivalent. For a 3 month old he is shockingly impervious to all forms of marketing. He cares very little about what brand of diaper he is wearing or whether or not he is getting a free candy bar at the end of the shopping trip. Though I think he finds the blinking light on instore displays entertaining, more research needs to be done on this. His primary area of interest is whether or not cutting or using coupons interferes with his eating schedule. So long as I can clip and he can sip he remains supportive of the entire enterprise.

A wee bit thrifty,


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Maddie on Cannibalism

I am not sure if it is because of the rise in popularity of Twilight and other vampire inspired pop culture media, but Wee 3 has developed a distinctive taste for human flesh in the last few months. It is okay to be horrified, I too judged the parents of BITERS, before I had one. Relish in your superiority - it does not offend me at all.

Now Maddie, doesn't carve a hunk off a human every day, but on occasion when she feels the need to demonstrate her power (or lack their of) in the ranking of the Wees she seeks out a victim. Her meal of choice tonight was Bella (aka Wee 2).

Following the crime, I sat Wee 3 down and tried to explain the evils of biting to her. I also wanted to get to the bottom of her motivation for this heinous toddler behavior. The conversation went like this.

"Maddie, why would you bite your sisters. You love them and biting hurts. We don't bite people. We bite food. Were you hungry or were you trying to express that you were mad?"

Afraid I was about to force another serving of vegetables on her Maddie quickly replied "I not hungry. Sisters are not for dinner!"

Seeing my magic opening I replied: "That's right sisters are not for dinner. We don't bite sisters. Why don't we bite them?"

Maddie's reply "They don't taste good."

Obviously I would like some higher moral code to be the reason for her biting to stop, but I will take what I can get.

Hungering for a wee less biting,


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Bella on Animal Activity

Primarily due to the insane bags under my eyes and the groggy manner in which I trudge through daily activities, the three older Wees have begun to notice something is up with my normal sleep pattern. It probably doesn't help that I may have on occasion (perhaps only in passing) become irritable and very grumpy because of sleep deprivation. It turns out that all those boasts in college really were boasts - you do need sleep to survive and not burn the house down.

In a recent discussion on why Wee 4 does not sleep the other Wees offered several observations and suggestions. Wee 3 who has just entered what we refer to as the "spanking zone" (an age in which the occasional spanking is safe and perhaps even healthy - if it prevents them from endangering themselves or others in the future) suggested you guessed it - we spank him and see if he learns from it. Obviously we aren't spanking our infant and I of course did go over the reasons why we spank again - it is not recreational, or a method for mommy to work out, etc.

Wee 1 thought we should run a study to evaluate what environmental factors might be contributing to his refusal to sleep. She suggested it could be too much talking on the part of older Wees, perhaps he had an upset stomach or maybe it was global warming. We tried out those factors we could control (nothing helped!) and then sent her bigger concerns on environmental issues to the UN. We are still waiting for a response.

Wee 2 was quiet for most of this conversation. I could tell her wheels were really churning overtime. Then when everyone else was silent she offered up her pearl of wisdom, "Mom, Reid is a turtle."

My response - "No, honey, though it seems he has a hard emotional shell - it is only because he is a baby and can't talk to you yet, he really loves you - look he is drooling in agreement."

Feeling proud that I extinguished the early flames of a potential sibling rivalry, I began to rise from the table. Bella interrupted my movements and said, "No, mom Reid is a turtle - it is not his fault he can't sleep at night - that's what turtles do. The rest of us are diurnal. We are awake during the day and sleep at night. He is just a different kind of animal. We shouldn't try to change him - lets just love him at night."

After assuring Bella that what she meant was "nocturnal" (heaven knows how she pronounced diurnal right, when nocturnal through her for a loop) I decided she was right. Eventually our turtle will flip over to a normal schedule, so for now I am relying on lots of Coco-Cola and trying to be a little less crabby in the mornings.

Enjoying the wee hours,


Monday, January 10, 2011

Perspectives on Snow Days

As I looked out my window in Northern Georgia today I could hardly believe it. We had experienced record snows over night and a sharp drop in the temperature. The governor had closed major roads, large corporations were telling employees not to come in and yes you guessed it.... school was closed. How you feel about school closings really depends on who you are in Weeland so I thought I would share the Mom versus the Wee perspective on the topic.

The Wee Perspective

What's that - did mom just say no school tomorrow? Victory is ours!!! There is a divine power and he loves us, he really loves us. Lets get crazy with excitement and be impossible to put to bed. Yes, I am wearing underwear on my head and I don't know why. All I have to say is NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO SCHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!

Sometime the following morning.

Aaahhh - its light outside I missed the bus, no wait a minute - look at all that snow - that's right there is no school today. It is really quiet in the house right now. I can't have that - let me go wake up all my other siblings who are taking this opportunity to sleep in. My mom will sure appreciate that and while she's up she can make my breakfast too. She has all this extra time this morning, so I will be expecting a super fancy breakfast - no pawning cereal and milk on me today.

After breakfast.

Now that was a great breakfast of omelets, bacon, and quiche. What to do next - Cartoons!!! Lots and lots of cartoons. What was mom mumbling about helping around the house? Silly mom, snow days are days off for us! Cartoons are finished lets head out in the snow. What we have to wear gloves and hats and boots - all that stuff is for sissies! Look at all that snow, snow is awesome. I want to roll around in it, throw it, stack it and build a fort in it. How do we live on a daily basis without snow.

After Snow Play is Over

I'll just drop my wet, snow filled clothes here and go in and demand hot chocolate. And now for my favorite activity. I like to call it "Get mom to entertain me." "Mom, I am bored, I am bored, I am bored, I am bored" (repeat this mantra until mom comes up with something ultra fun or kicks me out of the kitchen).

Lying in Bed that Night

This was the best day ever!!! Snow days are amazing. They should legalize snow days and require schools to have them once a week. I can't believe I have to go to school tomorrow that stinks.

Mom's Perspective

Did the news anchor just say no school tomorrow? That can't be possible, there is not a flake on the ground yet. Change the channel - channel 2 is never reliable they reported a crocodile eating squirrel as news last week. Oh, crud Fox News just reported the same thing. OK, I need to gird my loins up for the unplanned extended weekend. Perhaps this is some kind of divine trial - to test whether or not I really am a good mom. Time to tell the kids - why are they running around doing a celebratory dance with underwear on their heads. I am never going to get them to sleep tonight. Heaven help me all I can do is cry on my knees with my hands stretched towards heaven - Why is there NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO SCHOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!

Sometime the following morning.

What is all that noise. They don't have to go to school today. It is actually 10 minutes before they normally wake up. The only redeeming quality of this snow day was the chance to sleep in. You want me to make what for breakfast? "No, you see honey they showed that recipe on Top Chef for a reason - they are Top Chefs." - Me I am a classically trained historian who is pretending to love cooking for a family of 6 every day.

After breakfast

Wow, I got to cook a fancy breakfast and do all the dishes by myself. These Wees really know how to treat a girl. Oh, well this is a great opportunity to get them to tidy up their rooms and finish de-Christmassing the house with me. Where did they go? How do they vanish like that at the slightest mention of work?

What's that, the cartoons are calling your name - of course they are. No, me - I'm good I can bounce this baby on my hip, take down a Christmas tree and write a grocery list with a pen held between my teeth. Me, I'm good - please don't let Scooby Doo wait another minute for your attention. Wouldn't want his ratings to go down.

You want to go play outside in your bathing suit and bath robe - nope not going to happen. Yes, you have to wear the snow suit, the boots, the gloves, the hat and the bullet proof bubble. Okay, no bullet proof bubble, but the gloves ARE NOT optional. You are kidding me, you have to pee? You didn't have to pee 5 minutes ago during the bullet proof bubble negotiations - unbelievable.

Look at those kids going crazy in the snow. They are nuts! It is freezing out there and they are like rabid wolves on the hunt of some poor lonely caribou. Oh no, she just head dived into that snow bank - wait she came up happy and smiling - that must be some kind of snow fort? I am too old for snow play. Better get the hot chocolate ready - a polar bear couldn't hang out there for too long.

After Snow Play is Over

You did not just drop that wet, muddy snow filled snow suit on my carpet. You did not just do that. You are pruny and your wrinkled skin is actually frozen solid in this shape. Didn't you hear me say "Come in when your hands get cold?"

"I am sorry that you are bored, I am sorry that you are bored, I am sorry that you are bored ... GO somewhere, anywhere and play/read/enjoy one of the 999 million Christmas presents your Grandparents just gave you - Just GO!!!"

Lying in Bed that Night

I can not believe there are even snow days in the South - isn't this why I left Michigan to begin with. I am calling my Congressman, these things should be illegal. How do they not qualify this as cruel and unusual punishment. I am so relieved there is school tomorrow - tomorrow is another day.

And that is pretty much exactly how today went.

What's that the DJ just announced ... no school tomorrow either. Wees are triumphantly whopping and my mind is internally doing a whole lot of hollering.

A wee bit snowed in,


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Mom on Getting Ready for Church

Now no religion that I am aware of professes this, but I personally have to believe that in heaven there are angel accountants. The main responsibility of these angelic tallyists is to keep track of the "heaven points" earned by us mothers here on Earth. This begs the questions - "What is a heaven point and how do you earn it?"

A heaven point is a little kudos (kinda like a celestial attaboy) that we mothers earn for doing crazy things that we know are the right thing to do or that we do because we want our Wees to be happy. Examples of heaven point worthy tasks might include:

1. Cutting off all the crusts on a Wee's sandwich and I am not talking about a hatchet job here, I am talking the surgical removal of anything even remotely brown or crunchy on that pb&j.

2. Driving a Wee to 3 different birthday parties on the same Saturday, so they don't have to choose between their BFFs.

2. Attending 9am church with 4 pew wiggling, snack wanting, boredom claiming Wees every Sunday without (too much) complaining on my part.

As it is Sunday I would like to hone in on this last example. If there ever is a time when heaven points should be doled out like the coins Mario scooped up in the Nintendo games of old - it is Sunday morning.

Why you ask? Well, let me relate to you what it takes for the Wees, dad and I to get to 9 am church.

The Night Before

All church clothes must be laid out and vetted by the Wees. Much like the Golden Globes or the red carpet at the Academy Awards it is very important to Wee 1 and Wee 2 that they feel confident and focused in their Sunday best. This consultation is complete with shoe selection and hair accessory matching. Following the consultation all Wee clothes must be starched, ironed and placed in a Wee free zone to avoid rumpling, crumpling or staining. It is almost a scientifically provable law of nature that at least one wardrobe change will be requested after the last flounce is fluffed or pleat is pressed.

Now because I am still in that post-baby, pre-real clothes phase I personally have a mini fashion show of what does not fit. By some miracle each Sunday I find two pieces of clothing that don't make me look too much like the next contestant on "What Not to Wear" and I protect that outfit from Wee touching like the Holy Grail in the Crusades - because if it gets ruined going to church naked becomes a very real possibility.

Sunday Morning

On any other morning, the Wees are up tearing through the house like superheros hot on the tracks of some diabolical villain. But on Sundays, when we need it the most they are sluggish. Instead of fired up heroes they are more like Superman showering in Kryptonite. Wee 2 inevitably decides that she wants something "special" for breakfast. And I don't mean special like Cocal Krispies instead of the Vanilla white ones. She wants crepes served with homemade cream and a believable French accent. Wee 1 is mad that there is no time for cartoons. Wee 3 doesn't want to brush her teeth because the fuzzy feeling of plaque build up is "neat" and our Baby Wee has selected Sunday morning as the perfect time to actually sleep.

Once every Wee is actually fed the dressing process begins. Though all the shoes and tights were set out the night before, this preparation can not account for feet which magcially grow two sizes over night and no longer fit in their assigned shoes. Tights have runs that turn into large gullies do to little Wees forcing their fingers through them and saying "Look Mom - COOL!" . Inevitably Wee 3 who is potty training decides she has to potty after she is completely dressed and someone will certainly start crying for no reason at all.

This moment, when the tide of the battle has yet to turn and you feel as though you should capitulate - after all what is religion but a life altering ideology which will most likely help your children through all the rough patches in their mortal existence. They don't really need it right?

At this moment - heaven points become a motivating force in actually getting out the door. As I move through each crisis like a stealthy heel wearing ninja, I can hear Mario rooting me on and that ching, ching of point accumulation adding up.

Not losing my temper at Wee 2 messing up Wee 1's hair and throwing her pony tail holder into the toy box- 5 points.

Patiently flipping through the coloring books to find just "the right one" with only minutes to spare - 8 points.

Actually remembering to put the baby in the car seat and bring him with you - 11 points.

Finally, getting everyone in the car in one piece without having committed a class A felony - 25 points.

Showing up to church only 15 minutes late with a smile on your face and semi-perfect looking Wees - infinite points.

I must confess that when I walk in the door I imagine a very large crowd giving me a standing ovation and my offering a little victory speech ("No really, it was nothing - please no more applause")

Here's hoping there really are those angelic accountants up there - and if there aren't please don't ruin it for me - Sunday is only 6 days away!

A wee bit pointed,


Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Wees on Dancing

Music plays an integral part in taming the Wees in our family. My husband knows that if he walks in the door to church hymns that I am on my last ounce of fortitude and hoping for divine intervention.

Aside from using it to calm the kids we also use it to have a pretty much daily dance party after school. I think that after a hard day of ciphering, reading, and making paper mache robots - kids need a bit of free form crazy before doing homework. Never having been interested in the Studio 54 type of club scene, I'm not sure what happens out there in the real world, but here in Weeland we have a number of dance styles I'm fairly sure you won't find anywhere else. For example the following moves were in play after school today.

Wee 1: Favorite Dances - Anything to do with Yard Tools. Think literally here - Victoria has taught us the sprinkler, the lawnmower, and the rake. These are all great impersonations of real work - what I can't figure out is why when the lawn actually needs to be sprinkled, mowed, or raked she claims a total lack of knowledge on how these tasks are to be performed. I am also a bit fuzzy on Black and Decker as her muse? Any feedback on that would be welcome.

Wee 2: A strong believer in the merits of the classically trained, Bella likes to keep it as en pointe as possible. That is until the beat gets to her and then its arabesque into an electric slide or pirouette into a bit of hammer time. It only takes a song or two until she has completely deconstructed Swan Lake into a routine any 1980's roller rink skater would be proud of.

Wee 3: I imagine Maddie's dancing is not to different than that at an actual Rave (can't say though for sure since 30 something soccer moms aren't welcome at those events as investigative reporters). Because just being around the other kids gets her hyped up she crazily runs around the room and then does her best impersonation of the twist with a Heimlich Maneuver and kung fu chop thrown in for style points. Bright lights and day glo necklaces only increase her fervor and she often only stops due to complete organ failure brought about by exhaustion and juice box withdrawal.

Wee 4: Due to the whole lack of spinal strength and having only just mastered holding up his head, we have a pretty low standard for what we count as dancing for Wee 4. He currently fancies the blink, the crazy drool with super cute smile and the occasional arm jerk. Now some of you might be skeptical that these are in fact real dance moves - but what are the odds that every jerk would be in time with Beyonce's "If You Like Then You Should Have Put a Ring On It." I am telling you the boy is a natural.

The dancing normal ends in a fit of breathless giggles and then its on to more serious things like sight words and multiplication - but its super fun while it lasts.

A wee bit of a toe tapper,


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Maddie on Vegetables

When it comes to the dinner table and what is served on it, we have a "no negotiating with terrorists" policy. You eat what I cook and that is the end of that. For the most part this has worked out fantastic in Weeland as Wee 1 and Wee 2 will eat anything you put in front of them (even spinach and Wee 1 often actually requests brussels sprouts).

Wee 3 is another story. In the past few days especially she has put up noticeable resistance to eating anything which sprouted from the ground, off a vine, fell from a tree, or was harvested by anyone who even remotely could call themselves a farmer. Sticking to our guns, dad and I have firmly reasserted our stance on not leaving the table until Wee 3 was a member of the Clean Plate Club. This has resulted in the kind of sobbing and clothes rending reserved for major events like the fall of communism or the US someday winning a World Cup.

So this evening Wee 3 was put back in her chair multiple times and with my last ounce of patience fleeing me I raised (read here yelled) my voice and said "Maddie, just eat your ever lovin' vegetables".

Maddie's response "I don't want to play this game anymore."

It was difficult for me to keep a straight face, and even more difficult for her to finish her plate, but we both did it and have lived to fight the battle of the side dishes another day.

A wee bit more nutritious,


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Bella on Spelling

Because Wee 2 does not prescribe to the normal laws which govern science, society, or culture of any kind spelling can be a bit of a tricky subject for her. A Wee that believes the sun is shiny because it is made of pixy dust and sparklers can't be expected to understand silent letters after all.

To counteract the affect of her belief system and make it easier on her kindergarten teacher we practice a list of 100 sight words each day on flash cards. We do it in about 30 minutes and are pretty excited when her "I know it" pile is bigger than her "where did that word come from" pile.

Many of the words (especially the shorter articles and pronouns, numbers, and things which have to do with princesses) Wee 2 knows immediately. Others she works out through a complicated system of "Bella Logic".

Here are a few examples of when it worked:

1. "There"

Wee 2's Thought process: If you take away the "r" you get "The" with an extra "e" so mom it's "There" (I have no idea how she got the right answer from that)

2. "Yellow"

Wee 2's Thought process: I know that it is a color word, because those are the longest words we have on our list, I don't like green, and purple is my favorite color, but if it was purple that would be too easy so mom it is "yellow".

3. "Look"

Wee 2's Thought process: I hate this word I ALWAYS get it wrong. Wait a minute, what's that word I can never remember - oh yeah - I can never remember "onto" or "look" - this word has 4 letters in it, it must be "look" (I did not have the heart to tell her that "onto" also has 4 letters in it)

Here are a few examples of when Bella logic failed to meet muster:

1. "Down"

Wee 2 stares blankly at the card so I suggest she should sound it out. She comes up with "ddddoooowwwwweeee" and asks "Mom, is it "owe" after you say "duh"?

2. "Here"

Wee 2's thought process: "I see the word "he" in this bigger word, but there are no boys in the house right now - so mom is it the word "she?"

3. "Make"

Wee 2's thought process: "ake" that's the same sound as in rake, cake, and make. Cake is my favorite food to eat - is it "cake" mom?

We are still hoping she can cure cancer or reach the moon without knowing how to read most of the words in the English language.

Hooked on phonics doesn't work for Wees,


Monday, January 3, 2011

Mom on Long Car Trips

So, with the holidays now behind us it is highly likely that moms and dads everywhere have a few more long distant trips under their belts. In order to better empathize with other beleaguered owners of little people, Dad and I decided to participate in the tradition of the torturous trek ourselves to see those we hold most dear.

Dad's family holds an annual reunion in Florida, and for those of you who did the map math that's about an 8 hour car drive from here in Wee land. We drove the 8 hours this past Friday, stayed for the reunion on Saturday and drove the 8 hours back on Sunday. No we don't drink or partake in recreational pharmaceuticals, yes we do love our family VERY much.

I thought I would give you a brief recap of the phases of a typical such journey with our Wees for the following reasons:

1. If you are even mildly considering a similar journey you can learn from our failings and equip yourselves properly - we failed to bring ear plugs, a whip or enough dosages of an effective sleep aid. Don't allow yourselves to become a victim to the same folly.

2. If you have already taken such a journey you can be reassured you are no longer the only insane parent on the planet - we plan on starting a support group soon for others suffering from the nutty need to migrate with their Wee flock during celebratory times.

3. If you don't have children you will now learn exactly why you should get the heck out of the way and be gracious in those long bathroom lines at gas stations. Potty training and cross country treks don't mix prettily.


There was a time when my husband and I lovingly looked into each other's eyes and said "Let's get away for the weekend." We then grabbed two pairs of socks, two pairs of underwear, two swimsuits and 1 sleeping bag. We stopped at the first KOA we could find with a vacancy and disappeared off the grid. No GPS, No cell phone - no problem.

Now before we even get on the road I have to spend a week gathering provisions. We have to test the car to ensure it can carry the pay load of no less than: 1 pack n' play, 1 stroller, 3 pillow pets, 4 suitcases, 10 pounds of extra diapers, 10 lbs of extra pull ups, the entire Disney DVD library, 100 pounds of snacks, 10 cases of juice boxes and the emergency gear which will allow us to fire a flare and call in the National Guard should we and all our stuff break down on the side of the road in the wilds off interstate 75.


With the addition of Wee 4 every seat is full - as was true in the days of old - there is NO more room in the inn. This means Wees must be inserted strategically into the car so that those who can operate the uber-high tech 5 point restraint systems (that even astronauts are not required to use) can buckle themselves and help out those who can't buckle themselves. Our motto is "never leave a Wee in the wind" when it comes to safety.

This also means those who are potty trained are in first, and inevitably have to come out immediately after everyone is seated, because their Wee little bladders have been agitated by the bending, huffing and puffing which goes into situating themselves and their stuff properly. This off course also means they have to climb over each other inevitably performing the dreaded act of human contact with other Wees causing screams of "Hey, she touched me!!!" MOM!!!!!".


This may or may not actually happen.

For those of you who have quit at the cusp of your normal domain -don't be ashamed. I have often considered throwing myself under the car as a speed bump (one last check of the breaks for safety reasons) when with our own house still in sight a WEE quipped "How much longer?"

If you do actually leave the driveway have Kleenex handy, it can be incredibly depressing and scary to know that you have left the reservation for the unknown insanity of invading the house of another person.


In order to survive this portion of the trip I have to temporarily suspend my normal set of morals and values. The truth becomes a bit vague when trapped in a reinforced steel cage with wheels which may or may not be moving due to insane holiday traffic. I am not proud of it, but I occasionally resort to bizarre threats like "If you and your sister can't get along I am going to feed myself to a shark" or "You, see that nice family in the SUV up ahead? All their Wees are sleeping so I have decided to join that family. I wonder where they are going?" This second threat is particularly effective if you are in bumper to bumper traffic and you actually open the door and walk to that family's car. The quality of your Wees behavior should determine whether or not you return to your car at the halfway mark.

I personally chose not to answer to the title "mom" on the road. Though the Wees find it frustrating at first, it eventually confuses them and they throw out different titles for you in an effort to gain your attention. If you occasionally throw food and juice back to them a relative calm will set in and you may not have to ever respond verbally to their cries.

When the Wees do begin asking "Are we there yet?"I get existential and answer them back only in question. This can be even more entertaining for you as a parent if you make your questions rhyme. For example try, "where is there?" or "who are we to question thee on how here is so severe?"

If existentialism fails, I make up bizarre things and pretend to see them in the distance. With the greatest of serious faces I claim that volume and sight are linked. Wonders like flying hot dogs in pink tutus and hippopotamuses doing the lambada can only be seen when all Wees are quiet. This should at a minimum result in positive peer pressure from the smaller more trusting Wees.


I leap through the car's window, kneel down to the earth, and doing my best Scarlett O'Hara impression cry out "I will never get in the car again." When my loved ones have stopped starring, I hand over the kids and RUN to the bathroom (or any room with a door that locks). Yelling the words "fast food," "cramps" and "poison" I sprint by any potential roadblocks. On occasion I have gotten a good 20 minutes of quiet time out of this ruse. It allows me to quickly recover and prepare for all the family fun which awaits on the other side of the door.

Moral of the Story: We will do just about anything (so long as it is legal and moral) to give our Wees the Happiest of Holidays while spending it with those we love and we know you do too.

A wee bit car sick,