I Love Irish

My 3rd favorite holiday is coming up! Yes, St. Patrick’s Day is almost here! I love this holiday because there is nothing to do for it except cook up a delicious corned beef and cabbage and have Reuben sandwiches the next day with the leftovers.

This is actually my 7 year old daughter’s favorite holiday! She thinks it’s all about her. You see, her name is Iris. When she was 5 years old, she found out that St. Patrick’s Day was an “Irish” holiday. She found that remarkably close to her own name. She does have a point.

Humphrey Bogart

Humphrey Bogart

I think if Humphrey Bogart were to meet my daughter he would say, “Well, Hi there Irish! Here’s looking at you kid.”

Fire Marshall Bill

Fire Marshall Bill

Or if she stumbled upon Fire Marshall Bill he would say, “Let me tell you something, Irish.”

(I wish you could see me doing my impersonations of Humphrey and Fire Marshall Bill!)

So, since my daughter is such a fan of this holiday and I too have great enthusiasm for this day I dress her up every year and send her off wearing her “special” pin:

Kiss Me, I'm Iris

Kiss Me, I’m Iris

I don’t have a drop of Irish blood (actually I think I have a pinky full) in me but none the less we will be celebrating this fabulous holiday with as much festive spirit that we can muster because I sure do love corned beef and even more I really love “Irish!”

I hope your St. Patrick’s Day is full of gold, rainbows and leprechauns!

My son, Cesar's baby feet on St. Patrick's Day 2011

My son, Cesar’s baby feet on St. Patrick’s Day 2011

Science 101

My 5 year old son, Bency, changes his mind about his future professional career as often as I change my shirt (that’s not always a daily occurrence).

Since I want to encourage his passions I try to find and do things that will keep him enthusiastic.

When he was 3 years old he wanted to be a pirate when he grew up so I bought him a pirate costume.

When he was 4 he wanted to be a paleontologist so we studied dinosaurs.

Right now he is fluctuating between an artist and a scientist. No problem with the art. I can handle the art. The science is a bit trickier for me. So instead of winging it, I bought Bency a science kit for Christmas.

Let me tell you; we have had so much fun doing science experiments the last few months. We completed the last of the science experiments this past weekend that came with the kit. Bency is normally very serious and it takes a lot to make him smile but as I went through my pictures from the last few months I found so many “smile” photos of him doing his experiments.

If anyone has any “kid-friendly” science experiments please let me know so I can keep this kid busy! (And as you can see from the photos…the messier the better!)

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She Might Be a Grandma…

The other day I was asked if I had a “child” or a “grandchild” attending school. This was asked to my face by a man in his 50’s.

I am a 37 year old mom with three small children so now I am extremely self-conscious that I perhaps really do look like a grandma. I understand that logistically you can actually be a grandma at the age of 37 if you had your children at a young age and then your children also had their children at a young age. But I’m assuming that even if you truly are a grandma at the age of 37 you are probably hoping people wouldn’t guess it by just looking at you.

Okay, so I do look a little tired!

Okay, so I do look a little tired!

So I am creating a list of items to help people distinguish between a grandma and a mom so more people do not make the same mistake that the man I encountered the other day did.

She might be a Grandma if:

  • She has used, crumpled tissues stuck in both arm sleeves and her bra and is willing to whip one out and use it on anyone with a  runny nose she comes across.
  • Her pockets are full with warm butterscotch candies that she doles out to anyone with a sad look on their face
  • She utters, “Just give that baby another cookie. It doesn’t matter if he has already had 5.”
  • She is wearing White Shoulders perfume
  • If she doesn’t wear perfume she will smell like a mix of Ben-Gay and fresh baked cookies.
  • She is carrying a bottle of Pepto Bismol in her purse and takes it out every so often and has a swig.
  • She is a walking pharmacy. If you have any sort of ailment she can probably dig through her purse and produce something that will cure it. Never mind the expiration date.
  • She shakes her head at the prices of things and mutters “I remember when milk was only a nickel a gallon.
  • She talks about Pat and Vanna from Wheel of Fortune like they are her best friends.
  • When she tells you your bloomers are showing you don’t feel embarrassed at all…you feel looked after and loved.

So these are a few things that will indicate that you are dealing with a grandma. Admittedly, I actually do some of these things. So truly the best rule to follow when you don’t know whether to address someone as a mom or grandma is just to wait until a child approaches them. If the kid starts shouting, “Grandma, Grandma…Mom said I can’t have any candy” and you then witness the lady slip 3 warm butterscotch candies into the child’s hand….then you have my permission to address her as Grandma too. Otherwise, you might just give a very tired mom a complex!

This is the mental image I have of myself now!

This is the mental image I have of myself now!

Getting My Report Card as a Parent

As parents, we don’t get quarterly report cards and annual reviews to analyze our parenting skills. The closest thing we have is when we bring our kids for their doctor checkups and dentist appointments.

During these visits I always hold my breath anticipating the “grade” the doctor is going to give me.

When my kids haven’t shrunk and the doctor asks them what they eat for breakfast and my kids don’t respond with “lollipops;” I consider that a solid “A” in my book.

There was however the time that I brought my middle son in for his 3 year old check- up and I told the doctor about some discipline problems I was having with him. She suggested reading a certain parenting book. A few minutes later, I had to excuse myself from the room briefly while I took my older daughter to the bathroom and left my son alone with the doctor. When I came back she told me that book probably wasn’t going to work for me. She had never seen a child with such a mind of his own. I left there feeling like I was teetering on the edges of a “D.” He had grown a few inches so it wasn’t quite an “F.”

I always leave the dentist office with about a “C.” My kids brush their teeth every morning and I help them floss. However, most nights I forget to have them brush. Every night I cook dinner, wash the dishes, give the kids baths, read bedtime stories and then do bedtime tuck-ins with each of the three kids. Then I get really busy patting myself on the back for making it through another day and everyone has survived. This is always when it hits me that I forgot to have them brush their teeth and there is no way I am hauling them out of bed to complete this task.

Apparently, this oversight shows at the dentist office because the doctor always tells me they have some plaque build-up but no one has completely rotten teeth yet. I’m sure if I got a report card from her, the comments would read, “This area has room for improvement.”

My middle son recently studied “Tooth Care” in his Kindergarten class. He was telling me all about it yesterday in the bathroom while I was flossing his teeth. He was throwing the words “plaque,” “hollows” and “cavities,” out there with great knowledge that led me to believe I needed to start setting money aside to so I could send him through dentistry school.

While I was still under my delusional state that my son was going to be a tooth care extraordinaire he made this statement:

“The teacher showed us pictures of cavities that had fillings in them. They get filled up with silver. They look really awesome and give your teeth a really nice look. Then they aren’t just the boring white anymore. I’ve been doing some thinking and I’ve decided that I’m not going to brush my teeth anymore so I can get some silver teeth.”

Crazy enough, this isn’t my first go around with this kind of thinking. When my older daughter went through the “Tooth Care” segment in Kindergarten she made a similar statement:

“You know, if you don’t brush your teeth, they get rotten and fall out. Since I want the Tooth Fairy to start coming, I’m going to quit brushing my teeth so they all fall out and she can come all of the time.”

Thankfully, I talked my daughter out of doing this and we have managed to preserve her teeth from becoming rotten.

However, remember my son is the one with “a mind of his own” that no parenting book has any suggestions for.

I’m sure my next dentist appointment will be a solid “F.”

Eating Lollipops

Music to My Ears

I’ll never forget this moment 7 years ago. My daughter Iris, was 8 months old sitting on the floor playing blocks when Cyndi Lauper came on the morning show I was watching. Cyndi began performing the song True Colors off her new CD at the time called The Body Acoustic. Iris immediately stopped playing and rolled (she was a roller not a crawler) herself closer to the television. She sat fixated on Cyndi’s performance and then began wiggling her chubby little body and babbling along with the song. Being that I grew up as a huge Cyndi Lauper fan I went out the next day and purchased this CD. Iris and I listened to it all of the time.

I videotaped this when Iris was 4 years old:

It’s amazing what can happen in 3 years. Cyndi Lauper’s been dumped and is currently being replaced by songs like this. Oh well, at least Iris and I are having fun singing karaoke together even though she makes fun of me because I don’t know any of the songs!

Just Buy Them the Cotton Candy

I’ve never been to the circus. My Mom swears I was. She thinks I was about 1 years old when we went as a family. My brother told me he hasn’t been to the circus since he was 5 years old and my sister was 9. Since they are 8 and 12 years older than me that confirms the fact that I have never been there. There’s been a lot of things that I said I never did and my Mom assures me that I did do them because I was in her belly or I was a baby. Good try Mom!

So when I heard the circus was coming to town this past weekend my husband and I gathered up the kids and announced we were headed to the “Greatest Show on Earth.” I was equally as excited as the kids to see what all the hype was about that I have only ever read in story books.

Before we left, I gave the kids strict rules not to ask for anything because would not be purchasing any of the overpriced food at the circus, but not to fear because I had stocked my purse full of Raisinets, Goobers and applesauce packets. Besides, I had a little surprise up my sleeve.

When we arrived they had all kinds of things set up for the kids to do. I knew about this ahead of time and had heard there would be elephant rides. I excitedly told the kids that the surprise I had in store was that we were going to pay for them to ride the elephants! They looked at me like I had completely lost my mind. They had no interest in riding an elephant. What?? Who wouldn’t want to ride an elephant?

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Seeing as my kids were party poopers and saved us $30 and I kept seeing them staring longingly at the cotton candy carts, I had my husband sneak over and buy them some of the fluffy pink and blue clouds of sugar. Now that was a surprise for them!

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Iris eating her cotton candy

Iris eating her cotton candy

Bency eating his cotton candy

Bency eating his cotton candy

 

The circus was pretty great and it was nice to see the look of excitement on the kid’s faces.

When it was all over and done with I asked the kids what their favorite parts were.

Iris (7 years old): When they played the song “Who Let the Dogs Out.” I asked if she meant when all the dogs came out and performed their cute little tricks. No, she just really likes that song.

Bency (5 years old): Cotton Candy

Cesar (2 years old): Elephants. He may have said elephants but clearly watching him rock his chair and try to get himself collapsed in the fold up chair looked like that was his most enjoyment during the show.

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My favorite part was when Cesar started puking later that night from clearly eating too much candy.

All in all it was a fun time. I don’t know if we’ll ever go back. I’ve experienced it now. My kids have experienced it. And if my 2 year old grows up and says he doesn’t remember ever going to the circus well…..I have pictures to prove it!

See Cesar...You were at the circus!!!

See Cesar…You were at the circus!!!

Good Families Don’t Fart…Or Do They?

I grew up in a family where laughter was a must. Much of our humor consisted of playing practical jokes, making fun of each others  imperfections and the always inappropriate game of “pull my finger.”

Unless someone was profusely bleeding or screaming in agony you always laughed at them if they fell down or ran into a wall.

Considering we are all klutzy, full of imperfections and gassy this made for a lot of laughing at our house.

As a mother now, I have tried to instill this warped sense of humor into my own children.

Take for instance when my oldest child, Iris, started Kindergarten. She was all ready to head off for her first day of school. I got down on my knees and looked her in the eye. My heart was breaking that she was heading off for the first time by herself. I knew if I would have said something heartfelt I would have started crying so instead I said, “Now honey, I have to tell you something very important. If you should accidentally fart during class; I want you to immediately start laughing and point to the boy closest to you.” We both giggled uncontrollably and I gave her a kiss and sent her on her way.

Obviously, I’m not the only one of the offspring to pass this twisted characteristic onto our brood. My brother’s kids are getting older now. They passed down their children’s books to my kids. When we were going through our new treasures we came across this gem:

Good Families Don't

Good Families Don’t is by the author Robert Munsch. It’s about a Canadian family who finds a fart in their home. They try to deny that it was caused by any of them because you know, “good families don’t fart.” In the end they found out the daughter was the culprit and the last line reads, “good children do have farts after all.”

My brother bought this book for his kids because he thought it was hilarious. His kids thought it was hilarious. Now my kids and I think it is hilarious!

Last year for St. Patrick’s Day I made homemade caramel corn and put green food coloring in the caramel mixture so the popcorn would be green. I told Iris she could bring it for a treat for her 1st grade class and tell them it was Leprechaun Poop. She started to laugh and said, “Moooommm, that isn’t appropriate to tell young children.”

This made me pause and wonder if she was actually MY child.

That one moment made me wonder but she is definitely mine. Anytime she or I get a little “gassy” she is quick on the draw to laugh and point to her Dad! I think I have taught her well. Laughing is a must in our family!

Bring It On, I Will Defeat You

I’ve never had to use my mind and creativity so much until I became a mother.

As a kid, the biggest creativity hurdles I had to overcome were ways to get my kittens to sit still so I could dress them up in my doll clothes.

As a teenager it was constantly trying to come up with new excuses for getting out of Advanced Biology.

As a career woman it was all about finding ways to perfect my selling skills so I could sell 30 cars a month at the dealership I worked for.

But nothing tops this Mom thing.

This past week my mind has been stretched and stretched and stretched. Admittedly, some of it is partly my fault but mainly it’s all due to the fact that there are kids in my life now.

My daughter is in Girl Scouts and with that comes a sash that you apply iron-on badges to. Simple right? No, not for me. I’m notorious for overlooking small details. In the beginning of the school year, when she received her sash and a few badges I simply laid that sash on the ironing board and began ironing on those little patches. Unbeknownst to me, the sash has a top and bottom to it. Of course, I had to go and make it so her sash is upside down. It doesn’t fit right this way, looks really weird and falls off her shoulder.

I’ve been putting off the task of rectifying this because I really wasn’t sure how I was going to go about it. This week, it finally hit me that if I applied the patches with an iron, maybe I could get the patches off by reapplying heat to them. This worked! So the patches were off but there were gluey patches left all over the sash. I googled this dilemma and it said to apply lighter fluid to the glue. The problem is, I don’t own lighter fluid and I’m sure it’s not cheap. At this point I should have just thrown in the towel and went and bought a new sash but that is just not my style.

I got the patches all off but it left a big gluey mess

I got the patches all off but it left a big gluey mess

Instead, I lost sleep over this particular conundrum. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I became obsessed with how I could once again fix another one of my mistakes! Then in a moment of clarity, it hit me! I could lay the sash facing down on a brown paper bag and iron out the glue! This worked fairly well and now we are back in business!

Now I can just use my fabric glue to reapply them all

Now I can just use my fabric glue to reapply them all

Now comes into play my second mind boggling dilemma of the week. While cleaning my stove last week I came upon a huge charred cylindrical object adhered to the stove top. I sprayed the bejesus out of that blob with my super strength cleaner. Amazingly, it didn’t touch it. After flicking at it with my fingernail I discovered it was a melted blue crayon that had obviously been put through the cooking process several times. How in the heavens did a crayon come to be resting on my stove top? I didn’t even bother questioning the kids as I’m quite positive the 2 year old is behind this heinous act. So after a week of trying to chisel it off with a knife and not getting anywhere, the simple solution of turning on the burners finally occurred to me. After a few minutes, the wax had melted enough that a quick swipe of a paper towel cleaned it all up lickety split!

So I sit here today with a clear head. All of our problems have been solved! Go ahead Motherhood… Bring It On! I am ready to defeat you and all the twist and turns you bring my way!