Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Hard Lesson Learned

For the past two days I have worked at home and been victim to hosted several other children for day-long playdate/babysitting extravaganzas. I have served microwave popcorn, freeze-pops, English muffin pizzas, peanut butter sandwiches, cosmic brownies, leftover Easter candy, pitchers upon pitcher of pink lemonade and fruit punch and even whipped up a batch of Toll House cookies.

The kids played barbies, dolls, build-a-bears, Draw Something. They colored, painted and made jewelry. They’ve scootered outside, played whiffle ball, hula hooped and played on the swings. They pulled clothes out of closets and drawers to have fashion shows.

They dropped toilet paper into the toilet and dumped the unpopped popcorn kernels on the futon and down the stairs. Uncapped markers and errant beads littered the floor of the playroom like confetti after a grand celebration.

They screamed and laughed and carried on. And they fought. Oh, how they fought. I referreed, dried tears, yelled, screamed and begged for just one blessed moment of silence. In fact, EN went upstairs today and found one guest sitting inside Sugar’s closet rocking back and forth. Therefore, he deemed her a “weird kid.” I beg to differ. Had I been given the choice between getting involved in the melee, I would have sat in that closet right beside the weird kid. I’m fine with him calling me the Weird Mother so long as he deals with the drama that played out around me.

But one thing they did not do… They did not, over a period of two days, bother to clean up. They moved from one activity to the next leaving behind a trail of toys and clothes. I went upstairs periodically and suggested that they all work together to tame the beast and clean the mess.

They all heard me. Each one of those five little monsters heard every suggestion I made. Yet instead of working together and putting the various rooms back together, they bickered. Each one claimed that they were not responsible for the mess. I felt like I was blasted back in time to a Family Circus comic strip featuring Not Me and Ida Know. How did those little monsters find my house? Who gave them directions?

My final plea finally got a little bit of action. The two guests that were left attempted to help straighten up, but mostly just walked around looking in awe at the aftermath that was their hurricane. Soon enough, the mothers came and collected their kids and left Sugar and Spice in the devastation formerly known as their bedrooms and playroom.

I served them up a helping of tough love Ice Princess style. I told them that for the remainder of their spring break there would be no play dates, visitors, fun trip to malls or movies or restaurants until the mess was cleaned up. My orders were met with gasps of shock and horror and more tears.

I reminded them that I had made multiple trips upstairs and suggested, in the presence of their friends, that they get working on the mess. A team of five who wrecks a joint like that can certainly set it to rights a whole lot faster than two.

Instead of screaming and fighting like I thought they would, they worked together. The girls worked for an hour tonight and now have one immaculate bedroom and a playroom that is a “work in progress.” The second bedroom still resembles a crime scene.

They were united in their quest to continue the fun they had so far this week.

I have two little girls that learned a hard lesson tonight. The lesson wasn’t new to them, it’s been repeated frequently since I found them in the cabbage patch. The lesson is… LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER. When the mama says, “work together to clean up,” it’s probably a pretty good suggestion. At almost-eleven and six, they couldn’t see past the moment. They didn’t want to stop having fun to straighten up the games that had already been discarded. Had they taken a few minutes here and there (like every time I fucking told them to), they would have been left with rooms in slight disarray rather than tornado alley.

My girls have always been taught to clean up messes they make at their friends’ houses. When I pick them up from play dates and sleepovers, I always ask, in the presence of their friends and parents, “Did you clean up your mess?” I wonder if other parents follow this same guideline? I don’t want my kids to be known as some sort of wrecking crew. I want them to be well mannered and respectful of their friends and their things. Given that I felt like I was speaking a foreign language when I asked children that I didn’t spawn to assist in the clean-up effort, I’m of the opinion that not many follow this rule.

We’ll see how future play dates at the Ice Princess Castle go down.

Ice Princess 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

I'd Rather Discuss Frogs

Call me “Blogger of the Year” with the amount of posts I’ve been putting up lately. I’ll admit to being in a really shitty mood. Things have exploded with my parents and sister and I can’t seem to concentrate on much else. I thank God that I live in a house with wacky pets and even crazier people. They give me something else to focus on.

I’m thrilled to announce that Sugar’s 5th grade science discussions currently revolve around sexual and asexual reproduction. Teachers: can y’all send a note home before such topics are brought up? Us pansy, embarrassed mamas need time to prepare for the onslaught of questions.

Last night at dinner, Sugar waited until EN left the table and then we had the following conversation:

Sugar: Humans are mammals and have to have a mate. How does that work?
Me: What do you mean? {Admit it, my stalling techniques are brilliant!}
Sugar: We are talking about sexual and asexual reproduction in Science.
Me: Then it sounds like humans are in the sexual reproduction category.
Sugar: yes, but how does that work exactly?

Thankfully, I don’t have to reply here because Spice felt the need to pipe up…

Spice: That’s easy. A boy and a girl see each other and they think each other is cute and they get married and have kids. DUH.

At this point, I think Sugar was taken aback by her sister having an answer, whether it was the answer she was looking for or not, but she needed to “one up” her on the DUH scale.

Sugar: Did you know that frogs can change themselves if there are too many of one sex? Like if there are too many girls, they can change into being boys.

This is a fact that I am unaware of, folks. For all I know, her description of the process may not even be accurate, but I definitely am NOT smarter than a fifth grader. However, I used the change in topic to my advantage.

Me: so. We have too many girls in this house. Which one of you wants to turn into a boy frog?

Crisis diverted.

Interesting conversations ahead. Can’t I just buy her a freakin’ book?

Ice Princess

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Cooking with Spice

Since I’m still loving the new kitchen, cooking hasn’t yet gotten old. We’ve been baking and making and cooking up a storm. The girls are so excited about the kitchen being all shiny and new that they’re anxious to help me cook. I’d say I’m sure it will wear off soon, but both of them really seem to like being in the kitchen helping me.  I will say that Sugar’s dash to load the dishwasher will probably end before I choose a paint color, but I digress.

Last week I dusted off one of our favorite chicken recipes (chicken breaded in Ritz crackers and baked… no way could that go wrong!) and set about cooking dinner. Sugar was parked at the breakfast bar doing homework and Spice tripped over herself to help me.

Spice joyfully filled the baggie with crackers and crushed them with all her might. I let her whip the eggs while I rinsed the chicken (always rinse your meat. If those asswipes in the meat department drop that on the floor, they put dirty meat in the package without washing. Don’t ask how I know. I just do). I’m sure I was making a face as I trimmed the nasty shit off the meat before dipping in egg and breading.

I should have realized I was in trouble when the whipping frenzy on the eggs slowed down.

Spice: Hey Mama?
Me: What up?
Spice: Does that feel like a wiener?
Me: Does what feel like a what??
Spice: That chicken. Does it feel like a wiener, you know like a wiener on a boy?

Any good mother would have been indignant at this point, yes? “HOW WOULD I KNOW WHAT A WIENER FEELS LIKE?? I’M A GIRL!” Behind me, I could hear Sugar jump down from the stool and scramble to find a utensil that she could use to hack of her innocent ears. And I answered, “Well, they’re made of skin, so I guess they probably feel like skin.”

And Spice rubbed her arm and said, “So it probably feels like this?” and I said, “I guess so.”

Dear God.

In my house, we talk about stuff as it comes up. I try to give them the answers they’re looking for without getting hideously embarrassed, but HOLY HELL does it suck sometimes. However, I don’t believe the questions they are asking at their ages are inappropriate. They go to school, they play on playgrounds. I’m SURE other kids tell them crazy stuff, just as when I was a kid we all compared what we knew and let our more knowledgeable friends fill in the blanks.

I shared the raw-chicken-wiener story with EN and he wanted to chop off his own innocent ears.

I shared the story with friends with kids and they found it to be hysterical, not at all out of the ordinary.

I shared the story with an unmarried coworker that has no kids and she thinks there’s something wrong with my kids. “Kids just don’t talk that way. They shouldn’t be that curious already.”

So yesterday when I was playing Draw Something with Spice supervising and had to draw Aquaman for the above-mentioned coworker, Spice suggested adding a wiener to be sure my coworker would know the stick figure was a boy.

I let her add the wiener. She was happy. It looked like a line squiggle in the general wiener vicinity. 

Is there really anything wrong with curious kids? 

Ice Princess