Accomplishment of the Year

Early Tuesday morning, I was awoken by splashing coming from the girls’ bathroom. I stumbled into the hall to discover Rose throwing up in the toilet.

I was shocked.

Not so much about the throw up, though that was a surprise since she JUST had stomach flu a week before, but about the throwing up in the toilet. In the middle of the night. Without assistance from a grown up.

She recognized that she didn’t feel well and made it to the toilet in time all on her own.

I’ve been dreaming of this day ever since my first kid got her first case of stomach flu. I’ve been hoping and hoping for the day my kids would throw up in the toilet.

And Rose did it. At age 4! Her 6 year old sister hasn’t reached this milestone yet (though she has graduated to using a basin instead of the floor)!

There are a great many things this child probably deserves more praise for, but there is nothing I’ve been more enthusiastic about than her being completely miserable over that toilet.

Perhaps I need to rechannel that enthusiasm into some of my other praise of the child (and there is no shortage of praise), but anyone who has ever cleaned up after a kid who has stomach flu can understand my enthusiasm. Right now, this amazing life skill of throwing up in the toilet (without even telling me she didn’t feel well!) is the preschool version of getting into Harvard.

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Hello out there!

Where have I been?

*1 week with the in-laws in another state.

*Recuperating from 1 week with the in-laws in another state and the 11 hours it took to get home. Plus unpacking, cleaning and all that fun stuff.

*Dealing with three bouts of children puking and wondering if I too would puke (not yet).

*Watching my always ill-equipped and poorly-trained-in-snow-management town get buried by an amount of snow they can’t handle. I’m beginning to think it will never be legal to leave our house in a car again. It’s a good thing I went grocery shopping on Friday… but if we can’t get to the store again by Friday there could be issues (the temp will be much higher than. I assume life will resume? It has to resume and be legal to travel at some point, right? Right?!)

*Dealing with my kids being out of school for 3 weeks, two of which we’ve been unable to go anywhere due to puke or snow and one of which where the older one was SUPPOSED to be in school but snow had other plans.

*Watching “Frozen” as many times in the theater as I possibly can. Listening to the “Frozen” soundtrack over and over and over again. Watching youtube clips of “Frozen” over and over and over again. We’re in love.

*Contemplating the validity of “Saving Mr. Banks.”

*Throwing out toys in the basement without anyone noticing.

*Meaning to blog every single day, but spacing out and watching “Star Trek: The Next Generation” or “Frasier” instead. Hopefully I’ll be breaking that pattern soon!

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No One Needs That Stall Anyway

Today we were at a public restroom that had five stalls and a changing station, but the changing station was positioned so that when it was in use no one could access one of the bathroom stalls. Either the person using that stall would become trapped or no one could enter the stall.

I was changing Violet on the station while all the stalls were in use except for the one blocked by the changing station. A woman came in to use the restroom and was looking under all the door. I finished Violet and put the table up and told her the stall was open, sorry to block it but it was someone had poor foresight when designing that bathroom.

I truly am baffled by how seldom the changing table is in a place that makes sense. Maybe when I go back to work, I should become a professional changing table consultant and help stores and restaurants realize where they went wrong– or prevent stupid mistakes like this one from happening.

I mean, really, if someone had been in that stall when I started changing Violet, they would have been trapped! Who are these bathroom design idiots? Whoever they are, they clearly have never changed a diaper.

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New Way to Princess

We had two full years of nothing but blue dresses in Rose’s world. I thought we’d finally moved past the wardrobe crisis when on her fourth birthday she agreed with my assessment that 4 year olds wear all the colors. Since then, blue has definitely still been a prominent color but other colors are tolerated. In fact, on a recent shopping trip she actually CHOSE a pink shirt and JEANS. JEANS! Pants used to be strictly protested! My mind was blown.

I was happy Rose’s blue period was over, and then we went to see “Frozen,” which is perhaps the best Disney movie of all time. Rose was really into it and started acting like the ice queen everywhere and saying she needed to wear a crown. Quickly the crown became an all-the-time thing. It took a few painful tangles for me to convince her not to wear the crown to bed.
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(Oddly, this is the only recent picture I have of her in this crown.)

She started wearing crowns to school everyday and insisting on wearing them in public.

“I’m pretending to be a princess all the time! I’m Cinderella AND Elsa the Snow Queen AND a kitty princess right now.”

Ok.

The crowns were in such heavy use that we were plowing through our latest dollar store supply of plastic crowns. Every year only at Halloween, the dollar store has plastic crowns for, of course $1. These crowns usually run at $3-5 at other stores, so I stock up on at least 10 $1 crowns at Halloween and we slowly go through them. Well, this year, thanks to “Frozen,” we’re already down to our last plastic dollar store crown. Those things break if you look at them funny. Since dollar store crowns are out of stock, our crown budget was going to put us in the poorhouse if I didn’t take some serious action.

My choices:
A) Be super tough. Once the crowns are broken, no more crowns until next October! You need to learn some more responsibility with your highly breakable crowns, 4 year old.
B) Set a crown limit. “You can only have ONE crown a month and if you break it, TOO BAD!”
C) Switch to metal tiaras and see if they hold up better.

I chose C.

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I was willing to spend up to $15 on a metal tiara, which seemed to be what they were going for online. I figured I’d come out ahead at that price if the tiara could manage to last even 3 months. To my delight, I discovered the child-sized ones at Claires are only about $6! Assuming it makes it 6 weeks, I’m definitely coming out ahead here. We should have switched to metal tiaras ages ago! Plus, it fits her better and actually holds her hair back.

Now she can wear a tiara everyday and live out her princess fantasies even more obnoxiously than ever before.

And why not? She’s 4.

At least she’s wearing all the colors now?

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MONSTER!

Tonight I read the girls “Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed.” Almost every time Junie B. mentioned the possibility of a monster being under the bed, I reassured the girls there was no such thing as monsters. Every single time her parents or teachers reassured Junie B. that there was no such thing as monsters, I told the girls that the parents and teachers were correct. Every single time Junie B. doubted them, I told them Junie B. was wrong and had a big imagination.

I repeatedly asked the girls if they understood about how there were no monsters. They repeatedly told me they knew monsters were pretend and they weren’t scared of them or the book.

So, even though I was a little worried about it, I thought we were safe to keep reading.

I should have known better!

Within 10 minutes of putting the girls to bed, Rose came downstairs.

“I’m scared of the monster under my bed!”

In other news, Violet is on Reasons My Son is Crying right now. I was an idiot and did not ask for a link because I admire that blog so much that I was just happy to get a picture up on it! So, there is my 15 minutes of fame: Violet was once on the extremely popular Reasons My Son is Crying.

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Too Tall

At a recent trip to the mall, we were shocked to discover our kindergartner is apparently too ungainly and mature of a kid to use the mall play area.
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That’s right, she’s above the height limit for the mall play area.

She’s 6 years old!

Apparently being 6 means you are too big and dangerous to play at the mall. Admittedly, that area is usually full of toddlers, but a small kindergartner is too big for it? Really?

What exactly am I supposed to tell her when she accompanies me to the mall with her two appropriately-sized-for-the-mall-play-area sisters?
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Is the 6 year old supposed to sit on the sidelines instead of climb and play? Are we just not supposed to use the mall play area when she’s with us?

I’m usually a stickler for the rules, but here’s one thing I’m not listening to. What are they going to do if she does play on it? Kick us out of the play area? Are the security guards at the mall going to come yell at me for allowing a child to play in a child’s play area?

Somehow I doubt that.

But seriously? A kindergartner is too tall for the mall play area? Really? She may be an older kindergartner thanks to her fall birthday, but she’s still one of the shorter ones!

Next they’ll put a sign on the playground at the city park that says 6 year olds shouldn’t be playing on THAT.

Insane.

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Operation Decapitation

Before Hanukkah started, I showed Rose a big pile of wrapped presents in my room to get her excited for the coming week. Her reaction?

“Where’s my bunk bed?”

For months, Rose has been complaining about her toddler bed. Every night when she went to bed, she’d say “I’m just going to go POP! And Boing! And I’ll fly out of the bed and break it! I don’t fit!”

She was right. She didn’t fit in that bed anymore. I mean, she had a couple inches before the bed would actually explode, but it was definitely time for her to upgrade to a twin bed. We kept putting it off because even when you get the cheapest set of bunk beds ever, it’s an expensive investment. The beds require two special 6 inch thick mattresses in addition to the cost of the frame (and extra sheets and matching comforters).

We finally ordered the bunk beds without a discount on Black Friday and assembled them late into the night while the girls slept in OUR bed. We didn’t finish assembly until the next day and it wasn’t until everything was set up and perfect when we realized we had a problem.

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Do you see the fan blades? I never got a proper picture of it, but the way the bed was set up the blades lined up perfectly to decapitate a kid if the kid was on the ladder on a hot day.

Brilliant set up, really.

Needless to say, we had to move the bed to the other side of the room in an attempt to prevent our children from dying.
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There. Now you can climb the ladder without being decapitated. It’s the little things, really.

But since children are children, even the new arrangement wasn’t working great. I could just imagine someone clowning around at a weird angle on the top bunk and getting the top of their head lopped off by the fan.
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The fan’s cord broke at the end of summer and we hadn’t replaced it yet. You couldn’t turn on the fan without standing on a chair and reaching inside the light cover, so despite the somewhat awkward placement, we briefly thought we were ok.

But of course, children are children and our kids couldn’t stop playing with the blades of the fan when they were sitting on the top bunk. We could picture some kid someday thinking it would be fun to grab onto one of those blades and swing around the room on it and kill themselves in the process. We had to resort to more extreme measures. This is what our once pretty white ceiling fan looks like now.
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Gorgeous, right?

Buying an expensive bunk bed apparently means you also should probably invest in a new light fixture.

It’s going to be hot in their room in the summer even after we get clip on fans for their beds, but at least the kids can’t decapitate themselves anymore!

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Two Stories

The girls asked me to tell true stories to them today and I wasn’t feeling very creative, so I told them about the things that were bothering me. Here are the two stories of the day.

Story #1: Once upon a time, a mommy ordered a package from Zulily. For more than a week, Zulily said they were “preparing to ship” the package, which is the final stage in Zulily holding your order hostage. The mommy doesn’t understand why Zulily takes so long to ship, but she tries to be patient. Then Zulily’s status on her order went two steps backwards to just “processing.” The mommy freaked out worrying that the package would not be here in time for Christmas, so she emailed Zulily to find out WHY? WHY?!

Magically, within two hours, she got an email from Zulily that her package had been shipped. When she tracked the package, she discovered that it had actually been shipped several days ago and Zulily sucks at updating order statuses. The package was now only 20 minutes away from her house at a UPS facility in the Toledo area. It was magical! She thought perhaps the package might even appear on her doorstep that very day since the website said the package was on a truck RIGHT THEN. But then, for some bizarre reason, UPS sent the package almost 2 hours away to a facility near Cleveland. Why, UPS, why?

Allegedly the package would be there the next day, but why would UPS send the package so far away when it was so close to her house? The mommy was sure there was some reasonable explanation involving efficiency and main shipping facilities, and yet she sees UPS come to her neighborhood multiple times a day, sometimes more than once to the same house. So UPS just doesn’t make any sense sometimes, now does it? The mommy was very confused and also isn’t sure if she really can wait until Christmas to give the present that is inside the package, especially when you consider the fact that her children are Jewish.

Story #2: Once upon a time there was a mommy who went to the grocery store earlier today to get some syrup so she and her little girls could make pumpkin muffins. When she and the little girls took out the ingredients for baking, they discovered they were out of sugar. Now the mommy remembered running out of sugar, but also remembered seeing another bag of sugar up in the cabinet. This was why she didn’t buy more sugar the last two times she was at the grocery store. But when she and the little girls got what she thought was a bag of sugar out from the cabinet, they discovered it wasn’t a bag of sugar. It was a bag of all-purpose flour.

And that’s why the mommy and the little girls made microwave s’mores instead of pumpkin muffins.

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“The Day You’ve Been Waiting For!”

“Good morning, school district! It’s the day you’ve been waiting for! We finally have a 2-hour delay for winter weather!” said our superintendent said during the robocall that woke me up at 6 am.

The day I’ve been waiting for? Really? Maybe it’s the day my kid has been waiting for, but let me tell you, delays only cause scheduling conflicts for the parents. I would bet that 90% of the parents DON’T want a delay.

Also, “waiting for?” WHAT “waiting for?” We’ve already had seven fog delays! SEVEN! What waiting? I mean, I guess it’s been a couple months since we had a delay, but do you know how many months I went without a 2-hour delay at my school district growing up? Sixty. Easily. That’s probably an underestimate, actually.

To top that off, this is what my street looked like this morning.
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Wow. Treacherous.

There might be some slick spots on the road, but it’s almost nothing. Trust me. Not school delay worthy. JUST DRIVE MORE SLOWLY.

I think my superintendent might be deranged.

EDIT: And now school has been completely cancelled for the day. Since Lily is in half-day kindergarten, I actually prefer this to the insane schedule that is 2-hour delayed half day kindergarten plus another kid in morning preschool.

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A Google Emotional Roller Coaster

Today we were watching a well-known episode of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” in which Mr. Rogers talks to a quadriplegic little boy named Jeffrey Erlanger.

While we were watching it, my husband said he wondered what had happened to Jeffrey, which led me to a quick google search where I found this beautiful clip of Rogers with Erlanger nearly 20 years later.

Rogers was being inducted into the TV Hall of Fame and Erlanger came to surprise him. Watching how excited Mr. Rogers was to see Erlanger made me teary-eyed. And listening to Mr. Rogers speak is inspirational. I wish I had an ounce of the kindness that seems to ooze out of every word Mr. Rogers says.

Both of these clips came up when I googled “Handicapped boy on Mr. Rogers.” With the second clip, I learned Jeffrey Erlanger’s full name, which brought me to the sad discovery that Erlanger died 6 years ago. He was only 36 at the time, but had already taken on some leadership roles in his community, advocating for other handicapped people.

And that’s how Google gave me an emotional roller coaster today. You google some obscure guest star who was on “Mister Rogers” 30+ years ago and you almost end up crying.

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