July 22, 2014
July 18, 2014
July 17, 2014
WRITER'S BLOCK. DAMN IT.
I DON'T HAVE ANYTHING INTERESTING TO WRITE ABOUT.
BUT NOT WRITING MEANS I SHOULD FIND SOMETHING TO CLEAN AND/OR TAKE A SHOWER AND I DON'T FEEL LIKE DOING EITHER OF THOSE THINGS.
WHY AM I YELLING.
HEY LET'S LOOK AT SOME RANDOM PHOTOS FROM MY PHONE.
One of the many blurry photos that still fail to fully capture the spirit of the boys' favorite game, "Everybody Jump Off The Arm Of The Couch And Pile Up On Mom." Play it today with your own 140+ pounds' worth of boy-children!
Ike diagnosed me with a bad case of falling down and getting hurt (CHILD GETS ME, RIGHT?) and bandaged me up with a few dozen Ninjago stickers. It was cute at first but then every last one of these stickers ended up sticky-side down on the floor, where they demonstrated remarkable sticking power for a bunch of years' old novelty stickers. There's been a lot of scraping and cursing ever since.
(But at least my leg is all better now, according to Ike.)
This is how I felt about going back to blonde:
This is me now:
I'm ridiculous, I'm aware. But happy enough to actually smile in a damn picture!
Then this one time? They all sat still, next to each other, for almost an entire minute. It was glorious.
Finally, I misplaced my phone for awhile. When I found it, it was full of foreheads and eyeballs. One day someone is going to figure out how to take a picture of their butt and it will all be over, THE END.
July 10, 2014
Jason's away this week, off upstate in the middle of nowhere, doing work-related fly fishing. Which is a thing, I guess. Business fishing. A River Runs Through IT Consulting. I don't know. But it means the kids and I have had an extra heaping dose of togetherness this week.
And it's all been fine! Jason gave the boys a SERIOUS TALK about helping Mom around the house before he left, which I then supplemented with straight-up bribery. I WILL GIVE YOU MONEY FOR DOING THINGS THAT ARE NOT FIGHTING.
Also you can watch a movie every night, as long as Mom Has Not Had It and Does Not Need It To Be Bedtime Right This Second. I taught Noah how to vacuum and make macaroni & cheese, Ezra's watering the garden and putting silverware away, and Ike...
Well, Ike's been here! That's for sure.
Although last night, on the other hand...
I put everybody to bed after their movie — it was late so both Noah and Ezra were practically asleep by the time I closed the door, while Ike didn't even wait for me to leave before attempt Bed Escape #1 of the night.
I scooted him back into bed and went downstairs to find some girly indie love story movie to watch — THE TELEVISION IS MINE! IT'S GONNA BE ATTRACTIVE PEOPLE GIVING EACH OTHER KNOWING LONGING LOOKS THROUGH THEIR PAIN ALL UP IN THIS BITCH — and tried to ignore the repeated sounds of the door opening, the multiple drinks of water at the bathroom sink, the fetching of yet another super important book or Lego figure or God knows what.
"BACK TO BED, IKE," I probably hollered up once or twice, because I am super involved and effective like that.
Finally, all was silent. So I went up to check on everybody — my usual ritual of making sure no one's hanging off the edge of the bed or asleep in the laundry basket, plus collecting covers and pillows from the floor, removing excess books or Lego figures or God knows what from under their bodies.
Noah, check. Ezra, check. Ike...
Well, Ike was not there.
Okay. I guess he didn't return after one of those excursions after all. I peeked in his old room, then my room, then my office. The bathrooms, maybe? I checked my bed again, then their bed again. I went downstairs, then to the basement.
I did another lap around the house, calling for him this time, both irritated and vaguely alarmed. Who loses a kid in a townhouse? Who gets so into feeling sad about the loss of James Gandolfini and baffled by the reverse hotness aging process of Julia Louis-Dreyfus that she doesn't realize her child has wandered off, and apparently wandered off FOR SERIOUS, because I was now on my third frantic search of the house and there was still no sign of him. The front and back doors were still locked, so. Okay.
I was out of ideas, so I figured I'd go back upstairs and start over.
As I neared the top of the stairs, I suddenly noticed something...
Something I could just barely make out in the shadows...
(If life was a J-horror movie, this is when he would've woken up and looked at me with the light reflecting in his eyes, causing me to fall down the stairs and die. My death would be ruled an accident, until some unlucky investigator would come around asking too many questions, awaking the ancient curse of the demonic dustbunnies who live under the crib.)
He didn't wake up. I assume he went under there to retrieve his pencil and then decided he was actually kinda sleepy.
I understand — I had to lie down on the stairs for a few minutes there myself until my heart started up again. I hadn't even noticed it had stopped. DEAR GOD, CHILD.
(Cat-owners. You feel me. It's like when your cat goes missing and you run around looking for him and calling for him and shaking treat containers and trying to remember when you last opened the front door oh God do you think that's possible? Do you think he got outside? And then you find him just chilling on a pile of towels on the top shelf of the linen closet, all, "What?" Yeah. Like that.)
July 07, 2014
Age three. Not exactly my jam, historically speaking. And just over a month in to Age Three, Round Three, I am hereby declaring Ike the undisputed champion of Being Three.
Everywhere, it's destruction. Innocent, well-meaning, utter destruction. An entire spice container of mustard seeds, rolling across the kitchen floor. A roll of plastic wrap, unspooled. An important piece of mail, snipped up with the safety scissors. Crayon scribbles on his bedroom door, an uncapped marker in his bed, eyeliner masterpieces on my good pillow shams.
And every time, an wide-eyed, innocent face. "What?" he asks.
In between the destruction, there are little piles of discarded clothing all around the house and a naked child streaking past. It started because I used to insist on putting his underwear on the right way, with the design on his butt, and he'd get so furious at not being about to see the Hulk or Iron Man or whatever that he'd strip as soon as I got distracted to turn it around. (Dear Toddler Underpants Makers: STOP PUTTING THE PICTURES ON THE BUTTS.) I finally gave up and let him wear his underwear backwards, but the habit stuck, I guess.
"I'm not naked," he says, right before running away. "YOU'RE NAKED."
(I'm totally not, BTW.)
And in between the destruction and the nonsensical nudity, there is no no no no no no no no no no no. Whatever it is, it is NO. It's time to go. Please put that down. Would you like a snack? The default response to any question, request or simple declarative sentence. The sky is blue. Your name is Ike.
"No!" he'll wail, frustration oozing out of every pore, "I'm NOT Ike. I'm IKE!"
("DON'T TAKE MY PICTURE.")
He asks for milk and then changes his mind and sobs for juice, then freaks out if you put the milk back in the fridge. He doesn't want a banana until someone else gets a banana. The cup is the wrong cup, oh God, it's still aways the wrong goddamn cup. He holds out his arms at the top of the stairs and begs "TAKE ME, TAKE MEEEEE" whenever my hands are full, then pouts and refuses to come down on his own. But if I try to hold his hand on the cement steps outside (steps he has tripped and fallen on more than once), he'll yank it away in annoyance.
"I do it myself!" he announces about everything that he technically can't do by himself yet. Buckling the carseat, for example, and yet when I intervene (because, you know, we are most likely in a giant hurry and late to drive somewhere whenever he decides to attempt it), I am trampling his rights and crushing his spirit.
But then, ask him to do something he's able to do independently, like put his underwear back on for God's sake we have company coming, he points his finger at me. "You do it," he says, before collapsing to the floor like a helpless lasagna noodle.
He's heavy (there's only a seven-pound difference between him and Ezra) and solid and wriggly and comes in for cuddles like a swinging bag of bricks. A well-meaning hug and kiss routinely end with a headbutt and me protectively clutching my chest. He wakes me up in the morning by forcing my eyelids open with his fingers before crawling on top of me and begging for a pillow fight.
"STOP IT!" he says a million times a day, usually after someone has done the precise form of roughhousing/tickling he was begging them for, "That's ENOUGH."
("ARE YOU STILL TAKING MY PICTURE?")
And in between the destruction and the nonsensical nudity and the NO NO NO and the contradictions and the chaos, there is calm. He curls up in my lap and snuggles and strokes my face.
"I'm the baby?" he asks, as if looking for reassurance. Being three seems kind of hard, after all.
"Yes, you're still my baby," I tell him, every time. "You'll always be my Baby Ike."
("OKAY TAKE MY PICTURE.")
June 27, 2014
1) Get ready to be wildly impressed, because it's been quite a week.
2) I gave my children over to the cult of Minecraft in exchange for not being bothered for the next 48 solid hours.
Noah played Minecraft for the first time at a friend's house last weekend, and went predictably nuts over it. At least, I assume that's a predictable reaction? Minecraft seems to be one of those things that every kid his age is going nuts over, and another one of those things that pushes me deeper and deeper into Uncool Mom Territory, because Noah goes on and on about it while I nod blankly and glaze over, and my brain is all I DO NOT CARE ABOUT THIS. DISENGAGE.
So at first I figured, okay, I'll get him the game. It is...a game, right? Like an app? I actually was not entirely sure. I really missed out on even the most basic of information about what we were talking about, and I am now officially basing my parenting/media choices on whether or not 1) other kids' parents seem cool with it, and 2) Target sells kid-sized t-shirts of it. That's the bar now: IT CANNOT BE WILDLY INAPPROPRIATE IF IT'S BEING LICENSED FOR KID-SIZED T-SHIRTS.
But then I looked it up in the app store and it was like, $6.99 and I was like, I am too damn cheap for that. I am all about the crappy free apps that then stymie my children at every turn because I've disabled in-app purchases.
Noah and Ezra were really determined, however. They spent a considerable amount of time shaking coins out of their piggy banks and between the two of them, were able to come up with $7 in quarters and dimes.
I took that $7 (I owe them a penny, I guess) and bought them Minecraft. We have barely spoken to each other since as they have been beyond singularly obsessed with it, like Noah wakes up even earlier now to play it and I have to remind him to eat meals and I STILL DON'T UNDERSTAND WHAT IT IS. Something with blocks and Noah keeps accidentally setting houses on fire.
But hey, they did some math one time. Achievement unlocked. A champion is me.
3) We left the house! We left the motherflipping house! Hell yeah!
We met a friend at a splash playground.
It takes about a half hour to drive there.
Plus the time to get everyone in their suits and sunscreen.
And packing up snacks, drinks, towels and changes of clothes always seems to take longer than it should.
The kids played hard and had fun...
...for like an hour. And then they all started complaining about being hungry/tired/bored.
So we all got back in the car and went home. But hey! At least I had $7 in Minecraft money to treat myself to an overpriced Coke from the vending machines. I am truly living the dream.
4) I got a lot of work done.
No lie, I did! I landed a new long-term writing/research gig and heard back about two other jobs that look like they're close to being a done deal and also had a very productive conference call that got interrupted by a small child walking into the office to loudly announce I WENT POOP ON THE POTTY! COME WIPE MY BUTT.
Did I mention I was on speakerphone? Of course I was on speakerphone.
(Ezra and Ike are going to camp next week, oh yes yes yessssshhhmyprecious. Noah will stay home with me, surely getting hours of excellent enrichment via whatever the fuck is the point of Minecraft.)
5) Ike spent his first full week completely out of the crib.
Oh, man. I was pretending this was just a summertime sleepover treat, but it's a done deal now. No crib, no diapers, no training pants, no containment, no going back.
He and Ezra are sharing opposite ends of the bottom bunk (it's a double, so there's still room for 500 pounds of essential stuffed animal) and Noah is still on the top, and no one seems to have any enthusiasm about changing this arrangement and turning the nursery into a single Big Kid room.
It's sweet that they can fight and wale on each other all day but still want to be together and pile up like puppies at night. So three kids in one room it is, for now. Zero babies in the other.
(Really smells like feet in there, tho.)
June 19, 2014
Back in May, we had another lovely family photo session with the lovely Wendy of Blue Lily Photography. Our shoot was in Rock Creek Park in the early evening, so we decided to head into the city a little early and get dinner at our favorite pizza spot. We all got dressed up, spruced up, and made it to the restaurant just in time to beat the dinner rush and snag a big table in the back.
As soon as we sat down, I surveyed my dapperly dressed offspring and was like, oh, shit.
I'd had them all wear their nice collared shirts to dinner, and I'd brought zero back-up outfits in case of a spill or other disaster. And by "disaster," I mean "thing that basically happens every single meal of our lives, and is as predictable as the moon and the stars and U R AN IDIOT, AMY."
My children — Ezra and Ike in particular — rarely leave the dinner table looking like they need anything short of a good hosing off, or a go through the nearest carwash. They are messy, klutzy, dribbly eaters.
Sure, the shirts were all just random things I'd grabbed at Old Navy that day so we could be somewhat coordinated without being too matchy, but they were clean shirts. Collared shirts. Which means they were fancy shirts.
And they were now in mortal tomato-sauce-related peril. What in the world had I been thinking?
(I'd probably been thinking about what the hell happened to all my lipsticks, since I could only find one to wear that day and it wasn't even close to my best shade and the whole thing was irritating me to no end, because who is stealing all my lipsticks [IKE] and where are they ending up [NO IDEA]?)
By the time our food arrived the tables around us had filled up, and were absolutely, 100% convinced that I was a horrible, raving OCD lunatic who had no business raising children, because every other word out of my mouth was some snappish reminder to EAT OVER YOUR PLATE. EAT OVER YOUR PLATE! EZRA WATCH OUT FOR THE MILK DUDE YOUR ELBOW. EZRA WATCH OUT THAT MEATBALL IS GOING TO DRIP SAUCE OH MY GOD. EZRA USE A NAPKIN. NO NOT YOUR SHIRT NOT YOUR SHIRT NOTYOURSHIRT!
Also, my toddler was half-naked.
But at least once I took his shirt off, I mostly let him eat his pizza in peace.
The mighty sideeye I was getting from the neighboring tables got so noticeable that I finally leaned over and tried to explain. "We're getting nice pictures taken after this? And they're wearing...I forgot...I didn't think...yeah, I'm an idiot."
Luckily, everybody's clothing survived, and my obnoxious nagging didn't ruin anybody's mood.
June 16, 2014
It wouldn't be an All-American Olde Fashioned Tymes Storch Family Vacation without a little drama or injury of some kind, now would it?
The only Jamaica-related injuries sustained last week were 1) me bashing up my shin pretty nicely, during the packing process at home, after getting my foot tangled up in a Big Wheel in our basement storage area while attempting to gracefully step over it in order to get my underwear off the drying rack, and 2) I dunno, Jason got a weird rash from one of our sunscreens?
Pretty good, as these things go for us. Which left us in dire need for a little excitement and/or threat of mortal peril.
HELLO! HAPPY TO BE OF SERVICE!
We had just sat down to our next-to-last lunch on our next-to-last day when we realized Ike had gotten up from the table already. Being the fiercely protective mama bear that I am, I shrugged and mumbled something (through a mouthful of fried chicken) about seeing him right over there a few seconds before, he probably went up to our bedroom or something.
I was right. But! One small extra thing.
And here's one of the quirks of staying in an old, traditional-style home, versus a hotel — there is no keyhole on this particular door. It locks from the inside with a turn of a knob. The bedroom doors in the children's area/suite/wing all have those knobs placed up near the ceiling to prevent kids from locking themselves in, plus those rooms are all accessible via keyed doors to the outside. But our master bedroom — being in another area of the house, on the top floor, where one would assume a Good Parent would mayyyyybe not let their small child wander unsupervised in the first place, you negligent monster — was different, the ONE door in the house with a lower lock.
So, yep. Ike locked himself in. Took all of 14 seconds out of our sight, by my guess.
We all stood outside the door for awhile and tried to jimmy open the lock, and then to coax Ike into turning the knob again so we could open the door. That worked about as well as you'd expect, so at that point 1) a ladder was called for, and 2) I finally put down my chicken and picked up the camera, because I needed to document this nonsense for his wedding.
Staff surveying the second-floor balconies from the patio below. (No sign of him, so Jason went off to do one last sweep of the rest of the house to make sure we weren't all trying to rescue Ike from a completely empty room.)
The ladder arrives.
The ladder goes up...
...as does Sascha, our nanny.
I should note that by the time she climbed up, Ike had probably been alone in our room for less than 10 minutes — and there was nothing remotely dangerous for him to get into, save for squirting out all the sunscreen bottles onto my laptop. Climbing over the balcony railings would've required him to push a 50-pound antique chair across the room, and there were now a good half-dozen staff members spaced out underneath. Point is, I wasn't worried, and mostly found this all to be hilarious, because OF COURSE it would be MY KID, and of all my kids, OF COURSE it would be IKE.
After climbing up and over, Sascha returned to the balcony laughing hysterically, and demanded that someone pass her up my camera.
IKE. HEY. IKE.
WHATCHA DOING THERE, BABY IKE?
Huh? Oh. Hey.
Yeah, he was just chillin' on the floor, doin' Baby Ike Stuffs, watching Ratatouille on the iPad, less than three damn feet from the damn door lock, completely oblivious to the excitement he'd caused.
Brothers, reunited. (With their precious iPad, that is.)
After all the rescue, we sat back down for lunch, take two.
We ate all the fried chicken, and Noah and Ike requested some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for dessert. (Ezra asked for fruit. Always with the fruit.)
I guess causing all that chaos works up quite an appetite.
BONUS EPILOGUE OF IRONY:
While I wrote this entry, Ike was busy doing this, with my lip glosses and eyeliners:
BONUS BONUS EPILOGUE OF IRONY:
I totally thought he was playing with the iPad.
June 05, 2014
In honor of today, Ezra and Ike's first official day of summer vacation, and Noah's second-to-last day of second grade (an occasion we already marked by accidentally oversleeping until 15 minutes before it was time to catch the bus), let's review how we did this year, logistically speaking:
(All results are estimates, except for the ones that are not.)
Number of times we missed the bus: One
Number of times we almost-but-not-quite missed the bus: Way more than that
Boxes of cereal consumed by children: Epic
Gallons of milk consumed by children: Mind-boggling
Bananas consumed by children: There's probably an entire species of monkeys that went extinct from starvation thanks to us.
Average number of pancakes consumed every morning: Eight, because I am mean and won't let them eat any more pancakes than that.
Number of fights over who gets the dark blue plate: 180
Number of breakfast table stomp-offs, Ezra: 90
Number of breakfast table stomp-offs, Ike: 90
Number of children who do not give a crap about the dark blue plate: One
Number of dark blue plates in stock, September: Four
Number of dark blue plates in stock, June: One
Number of dark blue plates in stock, once I'm reasonably sure no one is looking: Zero
Number of children who didn't want milk but wanted juice even though they said they wanted milk but I should have known they actually wanted juice: GUESS WHAT MOMMY DOESN'T CARE
Number of times I forgot to make coffee: Zero
Number of times we forgot to pack lunches the night before: 25
Number of times we frantically packed a lunch after a child already had one foot out the door: Three
Number of times a child grabbed an empty, unpacked lunch box instead of the one we totally did seriously remember to pack, I swear: One
Number of times we packed a lunch on a day when lunch was provided by school, dammit: Four
Number of days Noah requested a lunch of a milk box, PB&J and a granola bar: ALL OF THE DAYS
Number of times I convinced him to deviate with crazy items like, I don't know, lunch meat or canned pasta or Goldfish crackers: Six, maybe seven
Number of dinner leftovers Ezra happily accepted in his lunch, up to and including grilled asparagus and salmon with lentils: All of them, anything other than yet another boring sandwich, Mom
Most successful homemade lunch snack to bake in bulk and freeze: mini banana chocolate chip muffins (minus nuts, cinnamon chips & sugar topping)
Number of times Noah forgot his backpack: Two
Number of times Ezra was the only one who realized Noah forgot his backpack and rushed it out to him: Both times, awww
Number of times we dropped one child off at preschool and forgot to drop off the other one: Four
Record distance driven with forgotten second child still in backseat: Nine miles
Number of times we were late picking someone up from school: Depends on what your definition of "late" is, your honor, but my client maintains they arrived within a reasonable-ish window of "late."
Number of times I was going to be on time to pick up a child, but my car battery died, so I had to ask a friend to smush Ike into her infant's car seat and bring him home while I waited for AAA: One
Number of new car batteries purchased: One
Number of times we just plain forgot to pick up an entire child from school: One
Number of times I went to crazy lengths to secure last-minute childcare for a work-related reason, calling every sitter I knew and then cashing in favors with neighbors because I didn't want to be That Mom who bails on work meetings because of her keeeeeeeeds: Three
Number of times the meeting totally ended up canceled anyway: Two
Number of children who still want a goodbye hug and kiss from me, even in front of other children: Three
Number of children who still scream, MOM!!!!! at the end of the day and run into my arms: Three
Number of mornings and days we mostly did okay: More than the ones when we didn't
June 02, 2014
Well, it happened. He's three now.
I don't think he can quite believe it either.
It is kind of a lot to handle.
We never figured out what "pirate treasure" was, but in between the day in the backyard with family and friends, the bubble machine, water table, endless watermelon slices, barbecue chicken and corn on the cob and rolls (ROLLS!) and a ton of superhero and dinosaur-related gifts, he never asked about it.
He did ask for his birthday A LOT, however, from the moment he woke up until this moment right here. Where's my birthday? I want my birthday.
"My birthday" = a cupcake. Naturally.
He skipped his nap. He spent all day outside, running, jumping, shooting water guns, chasing bubbles, hitting whiffle balls, and trying to climb his first tree.
I'm just surprised he managed to stay awake and not faceplant right into his birthday.
But no, he powered through pretty admirably. He liked his birthday a lot, he said.
I did too. I liked this whole year a lot, actually. Still-and-Always Baby Ike, you're a wonderfully awesome, great big kid.
Music: When Can I See You Again, by Owl City (from Ike's all-time favorite movie and soundtrack: Wreck-It Ralph)