Thursday, May 23, 2013

Still the best big sister ever, just a clear view on the reality of the situation

Prologue: I would have posted this - either way.  I like to document the things my kids say & do. Sometimes I post something on Facebook that I think is hilarious. I wonder... am I the only one that finds this hilarious? And then something happens. People crawl out the woodwork & like it.

Huzzah - validation! Nailed it.

This is one of those things. Our life, a direct quote.

Hot off the presses:

L, "I wish JJ was good. All the time."
Me, "Ya, I know - but then she wouldn't be the baby sister. She wouldn't be her. We love her - so we like her the way she is."
L, "Yea, I just wish she was good all the time."
Me, "I know you think it isn't ideal..."
L, "What's 'ideal?'"
Me, "Like, the best way it can be..."
L, "Oh, like if we sent JJ to live with someone else."

The big sister who put up with it all has left the building, 2 years later - she's ready to bargain.

Friday, May 17, 2013

No iPad = apocalyptic reality

We have an iPad. Sometimes Most times, the kids use the iPad more than the adults to. The truth is, I have an iPhone & a laptop - so the iPad doesn't really do it for me. I know, tough life. As I type this out I realize how ridiculous all of it sounds. But it's our blessed reality.  When I need to keep JJ awake in the car, as I'd rather her nap in bed verses a quick cat nap in the car, I bring the iPad. She won't fall asleep, she'll play or watch a movie. I did this the other day. Then this happened and I realized I may be relying on technology too much.

L, "But if JJ has the iPad, what am I supposed to do?"
Me, "Sing songs, look out the window, close your eyes... want me to keep going?"
L, {insert stereotypical whiny voice you are imagining} "But I don't have anything to do! It's not fair!!"
Me, "Are you serious? You are whining about not playing with an iPad? {insert stereotypical 'when I was your age tone' you are imagining} When I was your age, we didn't have iPads. We didn't have cell phones. We didn't have iPods."
L, "Wait. What? No phones?"
Me, "Well, we had phones, but they had cords and they were only in your home."
L," Wait. What? Did you have music???"
Me, "Yes, we had music! But it was on the radio or tape cassettes. Not CDs, not until I was older. No DVDs, no list of movies on the TV to pull from. Just VHS tapes, like the ones Nana Lu has?"
L, "Wait. What? {Mind is blown each time I explain what we didn't have}

I went through and told her how we didn't have computers, like we do now. She started to think about all the things she has or knows now and trying to figure out if I had it. Like toys.

"No, we played with only sticks and dirt."

{horrifying silence}

"I'm kidding, we had toys. They weren't the same as your toys - sometimes they were better, sometimes yours are better. It depends."

"Did you have ..." and she proceeds to ask at different times the following because without iPads or cell phones we must not have the following:
  • Banks
  • Stores
  • Police men
  • Playgrounds
  • Lights (as in electricity, people)
  • Cars
Man, this game is fun. And yes, as my child started to wonder the reality I lived through I wished we had two iPads.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

"I know the D word."

L, "I know the D word, but don't worry. I won't say it."
Me, "Ok, that sounds like a good plan."
L, "But I know it. I just won't say it. It's a very bad word."
Me, "Ok."
L, "I won't ever say it, the D word."
Me, "Do you want to say it? Do you want to tell me what it is?"
L, "No no I won't say it, it's the worst word, the D word."
Me, "How do you know the D word?"
L, "Brian told me. At school, the very bad D word."
Me, "Ok. Well, I feel like you want to tell me this word. Say it, just this once to tell me what it is."
L, "Ok, if you want me to. But it's a very bad word. The D word."
Me, "No, I get it. Say it once, if you want, whisper into my ear - but never say it again. Deal?"
L, "Ok. The very bad, the worst D word? It's dang."

Meanwhile? I say dang on the regular.

Mom of the Year - 2013.

Monday, May 13, 2013

The day I ruined my kid's love for rollercoasters

In preparation for Disney World, we watched a slew of documentaries. They showed us what to expect, the parks, the rides - it's on Netflix. It was perfect. Since she was tall enough to go on most rides we got to hear all about them, and this kid loves details. She decided which rides she would want to go on and others she would skip out on. Space Mountain was one she wanted to go on.

July 2012: when her spirits were free & full of love.
Background: when she was 3 we went to Disney. She rode the Barnstormer kid coaster and loved it. Since then at every carnival or fair she rides all the rides. Fast and nauseating - she's into it.

Back to Space Mountain: we got a Fastpass, and when it was time to go - the ball&chain let me go on with her. He'd been before, but I haven't. And when it came to rides JJ couldn't go on we took turns. As we walked through the endless twists and turns of what should be the line it got darker and darker. That's her kryptonite. Darkness. Outside & fast? She's in. Dark? She isn't a fan. I started to get nervous, but she saw the video clip about it? And she was still into it? I tried to play it cool. Then we saw the loading dock.

It's here I realized that I wouldn't be able to sit next to her. It's here I remembered a story a friend told me, about bringing her nephew on this very ride and how she and his mom spent the entire ride trying to reach him across the car. How they had to stretch out to reach him as he screamed, "I am not having fun. This is the worst idea ever!!!!!!" She still seemed into it, so I went with it.
Notice how far above t
he seat back her head was.
I put her in front of me - so I could reach her easily. If anything, I could keep my hands on her shoulders at least she'll know I'm there.

We sit down. She's still excited, though slightly nervous. But there is no out now - we are going.

The first few minutes, we are talking to one another.

Her, "I don't really like this. It's dark."
Me, "It's cool, kid - just enjoy it! It'll be over soon."
Her, "When. It's really dark."
Me, "Love you kid - isn't this fun!!! WEEEEEE!"
Her, "No."
Me, "Are you having fun??? Do you love it?" (I knew the answer to that - was trying my hand at reverse psychology.)
Her, {silence}
Me, "Babe, I'm right here. Don't be scared!"
Her, {silence}
Me, "Hello. L. You there?"

The answer was yes & no. Perhaps in body she was there, but her spirit? Was far far away.

By the time we got off the three minute ride, she shut down and scooted so far down so far that the T bar
The scoot down begins.
Notice her face? Dead inside.
Not seen: the worst picture possibly ever taken of me -
trying to get to her & failing.
that should be in her lap was up to her shoulders. She went to a far away place. She wasn't crying. She wasn't upset. She was shut down. 

It took a few minutes for her to come back, knowing that she was now safe - not in a darkness spiral. She came back to us, but was forever changed.
That's how my once roller coaster loving child lost her love for roller coasters. I jacked her up so hard, she wouldn't even go on the kid coaster she loved so dearly 2 years previously. In related news, I'm still awaiting my "Mom of the Year" award, surely this puts me in a strong lead {sarcastic font}.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Surviving the Mayhem & Enjoying the Magic

We've been gone on a magical adventure to the Disney World. It's a trip, I remember more fondly than I think the reality was - and that's what Disney is all about: a magical facade of wonderment. I am not hating on it, but it's a lot of work. Here's how we made the trip more magic, less mayhem.
  1. Plan, but don't over plan. This time around I was prepared, far more than I have been in the past. Holy Pinterest, it's helpful. The most important thing, I think that helped this trip? We decided we wouldn't freak out on seeing or doing everything.  We were going to miss stuff - and that was ok. Having a collective okay on that decreased the stress, 100%.  We know we'll be back (in a few years, the FDA approved wait time), so there was no reason to make sure we saw everything. We'll see it all, at some point. Or maybe we won't - it's still magical.

    We made reservations for meals, where we could. The thing about Disney is you can make reservations 180 days in advance, which in my last minute procrastinator head is Amanda Bynes level of crazy. I conformed and it was absolutely worth it. 100%. Makes sense. I'm a believer. We made no more than one reservation a day, to allow for the whole "take us where the day takes us" mentality, but provided the ability to actually sit down & eat.

    Personal favorites:
    Tutto Italia Dinner
    In Epcot: great food, pitchers of beer. What more can you ask for?

    Akershus Royal Banquet Hall
    In Epcot: Good food, Princesses who come table to table chat, are adorable and it's not crazy town - at all. Like Chef Mickey which I find cra cra. And to quote my husband, "They should serve antacid pills with your breakfast. This is insane."

  2. Magic can be made, not bought.  My kid likes details, she's into them. I don't know where she gets it {sarcastic font}.  To quell the constant questions I created a personalized itinerary for the girls. Each day, it was laid out where we would go, there were words easy enough for her to sound out and images to match. I won't lie, I took it slightly too far - as I do.  It was a perfect way to make sure the kid knew what was up and we will be able to look back on as a memory. After a week in the magically land of Disney, it all starts to blur together.
    *Names changed to protect the innocent - and those who will
    be embarrassed by Mom's crazy when they are older.

    The itinerary is created through Word, I downloaded a few free fonts to jazz it up and swiped images off the Internet which I'm fairly sure isn't Kosher but to be fair, I'm not 100 %. My best discovery was searching for images with a "transparent" background. This allowed for an overlay where I didn't need to baulk the system. Another option is clicking on the image and choosing the option to place the image in the background for easy layering. This might not make any sense, but if you are into it - it will.  There were surprises layered through out the week - laid out created fun anticipation.

  3. Magic that is bought, can be done on a budget. In the weeks leading up to the trip, I would scour Dollar Stores or sale racks for treats & surprises. Glow sticks, Princess or Disney themed jewelery, arts & crafts and Princess costumes.  Did you know that some Princess dresses are 80 bucks? Like what the hell, it's dress up - not prom. Every morning the girls would wake to a few small trinkets left by Tinker Bell & her fairy friends. I used some of the fonts I already downloaded and wrote a quick note. Each note was encouraging, thanking them for their good behavior (self-fulfilling prophecy hopes). Each note came with a small trinket that I probably would have bought anyway (sandals, Mickey band aids) or help to defray the whole "TOYS TOYS TOYS I NEED A TOY!" madness (jewelry, princess costume, arts & crafts). I sprinkled each delivery with a little glitter and magic ensued. Though, at a certain point the kid could be heard saying, "Why does Tinker Bell keep bringing me all this stuff? I don't need all of this!" Oh my practical girl, how do I tell her the Dollar Store knows no bounds & mommy wanted to make sure we had enough?

  4. Characters, man. Beyond waiting on lines for character autograph books (which for the right wait time - is totally worth it). See exhibit A. There are other opportunities that can't be missed, see exhibit B. It is taken in the midst of a dance party.
    Exhibit A
    Characters are actually everywhere. First, there are parades. Pro tip: you don't actually have to set up an hour earlier. We would get there moments before any parade, get a great seat and enjoy with minimal crazy town.This doesn't mean a crazy woman won't bum rush your child to wave to the princesses... but that could happen after waiting an hour in the same seat in anticipation. Second, there are dance parties. They are our favorite. I didn't see them - at all - last time around. But this time? In most of the parks we stumbled across dance parties. DJ, kid friendly music, an MC that was all "let's do the electric slide" and then characters would come out to dance with the kids. Honestly? It was my favorite part - for real. There could be these really, truly, magical moments of love with the characters without the rush of an autograph
    Exhibit B

  5. If you got 'em, dress up like 'em. Encourage dress up, if the kids are into it. I mean, first - it's hilarious, adorable & magic. But the cast members of Disney? Freaking, slow clap to a standing O. They are amazing. Of course all the staff at Disney are pretty much magical, but throw a princess dress on your kid? They are curtsying, calling the kids princess. Asking if they've seen Aurora, Arial... telling story of Tinker Bell flying past them. Amaze. Pro tip: Kohl's sells Princess costumes, and for the right deal you can get them under 20, which is lovely. That said, what UP Disney? How ya gonna stop (easy to access) sizing at 6? Mama's got a tall glass of water - and throwing me a 7 or 8 would have done us wonders. We also did low key, inexpensive dress up options that wasn't the princess garb 100%.

    Example: Princess t-shirts with coordinating skirts or color themed outfits. Like yellow, blue & red = Snow White or blue = Merida or green = Arial. We made it work. We also did different hair themes. Best day ever, for the kid, was revitalizing some Rapunzel throw backs. We did her hair in braids and included some flowers. I am hair challenged, but easy enough: 3 braids, made into 1 braid. I stuck in some fake flowers and she got more compliments that day, than any. Even with her Bippity Boppity Boutique day (AKA Honey Boo Boo school of rejects). And she beamed. And I wilted.  Their happiness, made this "vacation." Dare I say made us so tired had us yearning for the end, it was still pure magic.

    These kids, man. The magic moments, made the mayhem worth it. 100%.  If you listen to nothing else, don't stress- too hard. Enjoy it.
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