Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Things Mommy's Nightmares Are Made Of

Last night as we were going to bed, I decided Dennis needed to feel bad for his pregnant wife who earlier that day had foolishly taken all three kids to run errands at 4 different stores. After I was convinced he felt thoroughly sorry for me, I decided I needed to journal this so my kids can see what they put me through when they were little and maybe when they're grown up they'll take extra care of their aging, senile mother who they drove off the cliff of insanity.

Camden is on Spring Break this week so he's had to tag along in the crazy wagon caravan. I really do love having him around. I started with a plan to be quickly in and out of each store and home in about an hour and a half but then 3 1/2 hours later.....

We started at the grocery store. As I was loading produce and grapes in the cart, Lauren decided the grapes looked awfully tasty and started helping herself to the bag I had selected. I took them out of her hands and tucked them in the corner of the cart since the grapes hadn't been washed yet and because we were paying by the pound and I felt it dishonest to let her eat away at the purchasing price. With no advanced warning, she let out an ear-splitting scream, the kind that made everyone in the produce section stop and see who had just broken their leg or gotten hit by a truck, and continued screaming like this across the store, flailing her arms, with a flood of tears and snot completely covering her face. That made the already over-priced produce all the less worthwhile to me.

We then went to Michael's, the craft store. I really think there should be a sign outside that says "CAUTION: Children under the age of 12 are to be brought in at the risk of their pinhead parents." I hadn't put Lauren in a cart because I figured we would be in an out of the store in 3 minutes flat and the aisle I had planned to be going down didn't have any breakables. While Camden and I were discussing which item he wanted, she had successfully stacked multiple piles of puzzles and buckets of kid's beads in the middle of the aisle in about 20 seconds. As I was quickly trying to put these away, she ran down the aisle and disappeared out of sight. The next thing I saw were 3 or 4 hard rubber balls bouncing down the end of the aisle towards whatever unknowns lay in the neighboring aisles. I hollered at Camden to finish putting the buckets away as I got up to chase her down, bracing for the sound of a crash that I was sure would be caused by the flying balls. By now she was about 3 aisles over, oohing and aahing over the pretties that she had pulled off those shelves. When I picked her up, she did the limp noodle and with an arching back starting screaming and flailing her arms again. I'm sure a picture of a 7 month pregnant woman struggling like this could have gone on the front of the Planned Parenthood brochure. As I tried to hurry the boys along, Luke was looking at me with hooded moody eyes because I had told him no on something he wanted to buy and was dragging his feet, walking absurdly slow, muttering things like, "I'm never ever going to take a nap with you ever again. I HATE this store." Ofcourse at the checkout line they have every breakable and candy right on shelves that are 2 1/2 feet tall. I really think they plan on part of their yearly revenue coming from opened candy packages and broken items coming from the long waits in the checkout lines. And then of course, the lady in front of me took her dear sweet time as my kids continued their rampage.

I decided to put my brain on as I went into Kohl's and buckled her into her stroller. She was so ticked off at her restraint that as we passed every rack with clothing, she reached out and yanked two or three items off each rack onto the floor as she practiced her best soprano screech. After successfully leaving a path of death and destruction in the kid's clothing department, we headed to the shoe department. For some unknown reason, the kids immediately all took off their shoes and socks and started running around the shoe department like barefooted little savages. While I browsed the aisles for church shoes for my kids, Lauren then emptied the contents of my entire purse on the floor and had pulled a number of shoe boxes off the shelf that she thought she needed to try on. Camden was trying so hard to be a help trying to bring her back but she thought they had started a super awesome game of chase and darted under and between the racks with clothing, shrieking and hiding, also pulling clothes off the hangers. We couldn't get out of there fast enough.

Finally Costco got the pleasure of our presence. After I beelined it through the store, we sat down to eat lunch and Lauren promptly lay face-down on the floor, swimming the imaginary breast stroke, as she munched on her churro. I got quite a few puzzled and disgusted looks from my neighboring lunchers but by now I didn't care what kind of dangerous unseens she was probably picking up with her food. I figured as long as she wasn't destroying anything or screaming bloody murder, that was going to be just fine.

After my heart rate came down to a level safe for pregnancy, I was able to laugh about it as I was telling Dennis all of this.

Then I thought of the time when Luke was doing the potty dance at Costco and Camden took him by the hand and offered to take him to the restroom for me. He gently led him to the men's bathroom and as I stood outside, I could hear him patiently giving him instructions and helping him pull his pants up and wash his hands. I couldn't be more proud or grateful to my little man.

Then I thought of Luke that evening with beaming eyes giving me the multi-colored heart he had made for me out of beads, followed by an unsolicited bear hug and an "I love you, Mom."

Finally I thought of Lauren doing the Hokie Pokie during Family Home Evening and how cute she looked shaking her little booty while she poked her index fingers in the air and went in circles with a smile and giggle that melted my heart.

That's when I thought, no matter how hard this gets, it really is all worthwhile. Not just in the end, but now- today. I thought of President Hinckley who said, "I promise you that what appears today to be a sacrifice will prove to be the greatest investment that you will ever make."

On a more serious note, my sister did have to go through a real thing that mommy's nightmares are made of as her baby went through surgery yesterday to remove an adrenal mass. How frightening. We are all praying for a swift and complete recovery for little Jenna.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Luke's Boyfriend

Today Luke and I went to school to have lunch with Camden. In an effort to be especially health conscious, we picked up a pizza, some twinkies and a slushie and headed to the school.

Each time we've gone, my favorite part is the way he smiles at us when he sees us enter the cafeteria. It's like he's just won the lottery and he excitedly points me out to his friends. What a way to make someone feel like a superhero.

Today as we were eating, a little girl behind us said something to her friend about her boyfriend. Camden and some of the other boys turned around teasing her about having a boyfriend and made sure she knew how gross they thought that was.

Luke, who didn't want to be left out of the excitement, yelled out to the group of kids, "Oh yeah? Well I have a boyfriend! He's right here!" as he proudly put his arm around Camden's shoulder. Camden looked a little horrified as his friends started to snicker and said, "Ewww! No! I'm not your boyfriend!" But Luke just kept grinning with his arm around his brother's shoulder saying, "Yep! He's my boyfriend!" Camden figured there wasn't anything he could say to change Luke's mind so he turned back to his pizza and tried to change the topic.

I thought that was just about the cutest thing I've ever seen.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Kid Compliments

One of the things that cracks me up the most about kids are their ideas of compliments. A few days ago Camden told me in amazement that after eating the cafeteria food at school, my food actually tastes good. Wow, thanks. If it makes my food seem good, then that's the best $1.75 I spend each day.

We've come a long way with Camden and his eating. When he was about 2 years old, he was easily the pickiest eater I had ever heard of or come across. In 2006, my friend took this picture of Camden at her house as he was eating yogurt- that fruity kid yogurt that tastes like candy, nonetheless. Getting him to eat anything other than pretzels, fruit snacks, or warm milk from a bottle was nearly impossible and involved tears (both mine and his), threats, and extreme frustration. Even though this picture was taken 5 years ago, he still often makes this face when he's eating my food.
Then the other day, Luke affectionately rubbed my belly and seeming genuinely impressed said (actually it was more like singing), "Wow mom, you're suuuuuuuure getting fat!"

I told him that sometimes it makes people feel bad when you point out things like that to them. He looked thoughtful and I was hopeful that he had internalized what I had told him when he said, "But your belly looks fat- kinda like Aunt Cristina's and that guy at church!" (Cristina is just about ready to have a baby too). The story about the "guy at church" is one where I wanted to curl up in a ball under the water fountain we were standing next to when he so subtly pointed and yelled out his observation to everyone around him, including the poor guy.

I guess I'll take what I can get, right?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Monster Trucks and more

Yesterday Dennis took the boys to the Monster Truck show that came through town. The boys first discovered an interest (obsession) in them about a year ago when they watched a Discovery Channel documentary on them. Since then, I've been told multiple times by Luke that it would be so super duper awesome if we turned our van into a monster truck. They've been talking about the show non-stop and counting down the days for the past two weeks since Dennis bought the tickets.

Poor Luke was so tired at the end that he zonked. Thank goodness we had these ear muffs that we borrowed from some friends.

On a side note, I feel as though I'm just leaving the "golden stage" in pregnancy- the stage right in the middle, after the morning sickness and fatigue pass and before the sheer size and weight of my belly becomes more than my 5'3" frame can handle. There is definitely something to be said about pregnancy as the years pass. Even though I'm only 29, I can definitely tell that my body just doesn't have the energy at the end of the day that it used to. I'm sure I can factor in chasing three kids around into that. There are days that I swear I'm going to cocoon myself into my bed at the end of the day and not come out for another 6 months. Today was definitely one of those days. Working in the nursery at church when you're 6 months pregnant with your fourth child just doesn't have the spark that it used to, that's for sure. I'm sure it didn't help that I probably heard a half a dozen comments about how I'm really starting to "poke out" and really look pregnant. No matter how many kids I have, and no matter how much I know that that's to be expected, I always feel a little whalish when I hear that.

I thought for sure that by now, especially after days like this, I would be dying to get back to work and combing the classifieds, but surprisingly, the longer I'm out of the work force (more specifically the hospitals) the less appealing it seems. I must say that I am so grateful that Heavenly Father has changed my heart and has eliminated the desire to be working outside the home. I have found that despite the exhaustion and endless testing of my patience, my role as a stay-at-home mom is feeling more and more rewarding.