…Rocco woke me up at 10:30 last night to go to the bathroom; Leo woke me up at 11:30 to nurse; Vincenzo woke me up at 1 because he thought his alarm clock was on fire; Leo woke me up at 3:30 to nurse; Rocco woke me up at 5 and had a temper tantrum because the alarm clock wasn’t green yet; then everyone woke up at 6:30 and started asking me to play trains with them, to make them waffles, and in Leo’s case, to nurse him again.
Kevin and I had gone to bed early last night, exhausted, promising to wake up early to clean up the dinner mess and the general state of disaster of our house. Instead I found myself throwing a pretend birthday party for James on the train set at 6:45AM while also trying to do Patty Cake with Leo and feeling guilty as I watched Vincenzo give up on waffles and grab himself some chips for breakfast instead.
So forgive me if I’m cranky.
But I got yelled at when I had to go to the bathroom right in the middle of James’ birthday party. The Poo Police came in to the bathroom and stood right next to me asking, “Are you done yet? Are you done yet? Are you done now?”
Then I got yelled at when I told the kids we were going to a concert at the beach.
On the walk from the car to the beach we were a picture perfect family, though, with the two big brothers pushing their little brother in the stroller…unless you got within earshot and could hear the two big brothers spitefully yelling at each other, “GIVE ME MORE SPACE! YOU’RE HOGGING THE STROLLER!” all the way way there.
Rocco spent the entire concert asking if we could go home now and making a break for it. When we finally did leave we had to listen to Rocco yelling, “I’M HUNGRY. GIVE ME SOMETHING TO EAT. I WANT IT NOW!!”
Once home I went inside to swaddle Leo and put him in the crib, and I don’t know what happened in that sixty seconds but V and R both came inside violently crying and yelling at each other. I swear, I should have named them Cain and Abel.
So forgive me if I’m cranky but I’m tired of being patient and calm when I really just want to slap one of the kids. I’m tired of eating breakfast with one hand while wiping poop off of one of my kids’ bottoms with the other. I’m tired of watching everything I say and everything I do because I know the kids are learning from everything I say and do. I’m tired of making healthy eating choices to model for the kids when I really just want to have cake and ice cream for breakfast and drink soda all day.
I know someday I’ll miss all this but today…today I just want to be an adult surrounded by reasonable, calm, loving people who do not place terrorist-like demands on me, who don’t lapse into baby talk periodically, who can wipe their own butts, who do not fall on the floor and begin screaming if I flush my own poop, who can be left in a room for more than a minute without me having to arbitrate a fight, who don’t tell you they’re hungry and demand something to eat in the middle of lunch, and who don’t eat all the chocolate out of the chocolate Special K.
It’s just one of those days…I hope.
So if you saw yesterday’s train party post, I thought I’d let you know that it is not a sane mother who puts on a party like that.
Unreasonable things I did for this birthday party include:
1. Ordering a $15 wooden box that cost $30 to ship here so I could set up a photo op on the train tracks
2. Signing up for an Amazon Prime card so I could get free two-day shipping on train sandwich cutters the week of the party
3. Finishing and addressing the invitations two months ahead of time
4. Labeling water bottles with “Chugga Chugga” signs when there is perfectly good tap water two feet to the left of them
5. Hand-making and decorating popcorn cones instead of just putting popcorn into a bowl
6. Weeding the train tracks in the midst of having the flu (the train stopped running a couple years ago so the tracks have fallen into disrepair). As you can see, I only had time to weed a small section of the tracks—I weeded the section in the left picture; got headachy and dizzy and feverish; couldn’t weed the right side.
Then there was the flurry of work for more reasonable but still unnecessary tasks: hand-making invitations, creating tags for the engineer hat favors, creating tags for the candy favors, making toothpick tags for the adult food, making stickers for the kids’ lunches, painting a bunch of train signs to hang around the house, printing pictures of Rocco of various ages to put on the mantel, fashioning a bunch of boxes to look like a train and hold snacks for the adult buffet, and making/decorating the train cake. To name a few.
For the first time in my planning of parties, it didn’t feel fun to me—at least the last couple days before the party. I’ve always known I throw these for myself, really; the kids could care less about eating their popcorn out of thematically decorated paper cones versus a big metal bowl. It’s not so much the time I spend creating and making decorations that annoyed me this time. That part I truly love. It’s the time I spend poring over the Interwebs for ideas, running errands to the various party stores because each one carries slightly different merchandise, and thinking, thinking, thinking about the party ahead of time. It felt rather ridiculous to me this time around.
So. If I’m not having fun, it’s time for my birthday parties to involve ordering a Safeway cake and have pizza delivered. I want to go to a party store, buy a bunch of things, put them in little paper bags, and call it good. Maybe even buy invitations. The question is: will I be able to?
Stay tuned…Vincenzo’s party is just two months away. It’s hard not to feel behind at this point, but I am really going to try to be normal just this once.
Postscript: I decided this, then spent that night lying awake in bed for a few hours thinking about all the ways I could keep the next party simple. Maybe the problem isn’t with the parties…maybe the problem is ME!
For anyone looking to throw a train party…
Kevin made a crossing arm that guests lifted up to enter the house (I would have just gone the wrapping-paper tube route, but he stepped it up a notch.)
A few more details…
When kids showed up they got to paint a train (thanks to the in-laws for moving here and providing a ton of boxes). I repurposed the extra lab coats from our Mad Scientist party to be painting smocks.
I wanted the kids’ lunches to be simple and for parents not to be frazzled getting lunch for their own kids, trying to get them to the table, cutting things down, etc. so I bought some take-out boxes, made stickers for them, and filled them with train-shaped sandwiches, boxed raisins, bagged carrots, chips, and juice. The ozone cried a little bit from all the packaging but lunch felt so easy and calm compared to usual—plus the kids were really excited to discover their boxes’ contents.
After lunch I gave all the kids an engineer hat, bandana, and train whistle, as well as a scavenger hunt sheet (forgot to take a picture) and we headed down to the train tracks behind our house. I set up a photo op with an old box I ordered on E-bay and a red suitcase, borrowed from a friend. My BIL took pictures of anyone who wanted them; I’ll post those later.
The cake idea is from Family Fun and super easy!
Cake was eaten, fun was had, and guests left with this:
I’ll give you the real scoop on how the party went when I fully recover from it. Whew!
Me: Rocco, tell Dad what animals you saw at the farm today.
Rocco: I saw sheep…and pigs…and chickens…and hot dogs…
Vincenzo: Hot dogs aren’t animals!
Me: Well, I guess technically sheep and pigs and chickens probably are hot dogs
Vincenzo: Oh yeah. He’s right because pigs are made up of hot dogs.
2. Rocco: I can reach that when I grow up and turn into Vindenzo*”
3. Rocco, after singing the alphabet song: …w, x, y and z. Now I know my QFCs…
*Not a typo; it’s what Rocco calls his brother and has created such nicknames as “Vinny Denz,” “Denzo,” and “The Denz.”
My cold has settled into my throat, as it always does, leaving me with laryngitis and the fear of swallowing my own spit. Rocco keeps trying to have these conversations with me but I can’t respond so he implodes at the end of each one, then asks sadly, “Why are you not answering me?” He has imploded so many times it’s getting harder to put him all back together so I dropped him off at his grandparents’ today.
Then I was off to carpool Vincenzo and two of his friends to camp. The boys started out with a long conversation about Pokemon. V has become a bit of a Pokemon Lord so he was droppin’ some knowledge on them about hit points and damage when this came up:
C: If I made a Pokemon I’d give it one thousand damage.
A: Ha ha, one thousand isn’t a real number, it just means “a lot.”
C: It is too real!
A: No, like [thinking of a really big number]…two and zero!
C: Two, zero, zero is…200!
A: I’d give it 200 damage!
V: I’d give it one million damage!
A: One million isn’t a number either.
C: I’d give it GOOGLE damage!
I tuned the conversation out only for a few seconds, and when I tuned back in the topic had changed:
A: Cavemen aren’t dinosaurs.
C: Yeah. They’re just people who lived with dinosaurs.
Then they returned to Pokemon, discussing the technique of figuring out which Pokemon are evil and how to subtract 20 damage points from 100 (they came up with 90) and how no Pokemon could really have 1,000 hit points because it would make everyone else jealous. Et cetera.
By then we had made it to camp. I hopped out to put some sunblock on V’s face.
C: Ha ha, Vincenzo looks like an Indian!
C: Because of all that sunblock!
A: But Indians didn’t wear sunblock…
I can’t believe I’ve wasted my whole life talking, when listening is so much better!
Kevin made a triumphant return from Idaho on Friday so we celebrated our anniversary on Saturday. I actually got some kind of flu/cold thing the day before, but after having recently been pregnancy-sick for nine months, having the flu/cold felt like having a little furry kitten along with us on our date, by comparison.
We went out to dinner for our first baby-less date and I wore a dress that fit like a glove, especially if you realize at some point it’s your child’s glove you’re trying to fit on your own hand. Here you see me holding it in:
And here I was so enamored with my husband that I forgot an just let it go.
Now would be a great time to remind everyone that the only time it’s okay to ask a woman when her baby’s due is if she’s lying in a hospital bed with her legs up and a baby’s head at least partially protruding from between them.*
In this picture, one of us was making a big deal about the sun being in our eyes.
So the one who was making a big deal about sun in his eyes decided not to be in any more pictures and offered to take my picture instead.
Because nothing makes a woman feel classier than having her husband take her to a nice French restaurant downtown then snap a bunch of pictures of her asss.
The dress, you can see, was not only tight but also would magically shrink as I was walking. I timed it—every sixty steps I had to pull it back down into place. As I walked two miles in it, there was much adjusting.
But adjusting is one thing a couple does lots in nine years of marriage, so I guess the dress was perfect.
Even if it made this piece of garden art feel shameful.
*No, no one asked me if I was pregnant last night. Usually people tell me I look good for someone who just had a baby. I have a feeling that I will spend the rest of my life looking good…for someone who just had a baby.