Rules of Biking

So we snagged the bikes out of their winter home this week. They are like new toys all over again. They fight over them, they race around and top speed and topple over. Kendall tells me that she can ride without her training wheels. She tells me this almost every spring since she has had a bike, like it is just going to happen has sure as she will turn a year older, she will now be magically able to ride without training wheels. I remind her that she has to learn. That she needs to wear a helmet and knee pads and elbow pads because she will surely fall until she gets the hang of it. I tell her that she can do it, and once she does it is so much fun. But that it takes commitment and a lot of practice. She asked me yesterday if they sell training wheels for my size bike because she thinks that she would always like to have them even when she is a grown up like me. I cannot wait to see that.

So there are rules when we ride our bikes outside and all. And they are not permitted to go around the block without me and that they must stay between our two neighbors houses on the sidewalk and no further so that I can see them at all times.

Yesterday Kendall took it upon herself to remind her brother of the rules that she had remembered from last year. I tell you, this is proof that this girl listens and processes. Remind me.

'Uh Ethan, now you remember that there are bike riding rules, right? Mommy needs to be able to see you. You have to stay between Kathy's house and Justin's house no matter who is down the street. Unless it is Jesus, if he tells you to come, it's ok, but you have to go and get Mommy because she wants to go and see him too.'

Oh my little rule follower.

Oh but the best is Ethan's response.

'I know the rules Kendall. You not need to tell me. You not the boss.  I have a Mommy and a Daddy. So what's the big deal, huh?'


The Banning of the Fast Food Playhouses

Let me start out by saying that I have heard the stories.
I am fully aware that there have been instances of children barfing on the landings and children running shoeless or on their hands and knees through it.

I know that there are guardians of children that permit their children to bring their food into the play area and then it is smashed all over, and again children are walking and crawling through this food.

I am aware that there have been said instances of leaking diapers, smearing down the slide.

Bon Appetit.

And I'll admit it. Up to this point I have taken my children to this fast food establishments and have permitted them to enjoy the wondrous playhouse.

Never was there an incident.

Ok, so I have been a bit paranoid about the germs and have them use antibacterial hand gel when coming and going through the playhouse. And yes, even if the table appears clean, I clean it first with a wipe, then with some antibacterial spray, and then with another wipe. And then have them eat off of mats made of napkins. I am a big fan of disposable place mats. But who can remember to a.) purchase them and then b.) bring them?

Alright, maybe you can, come get your Mom of the Year trophy.

Let me preface this story again with what led up to our journey to this what will go unnamed establishment for kids meals and playhouse.

We had lost the remote for the Blue Ray Player once again. Knowing that it was somewhere downstairs being used for a phone, and or put away hastily in the wrong spot, I refused to look for it. This has happened like 15 times in the past 3 months, and instead of getting aggravated and going on a mad search through the downstairs. I simply pronounced, 'whomever finds the black remote gets to go on a trip with Mommy to _________.' ( the unnamed fast food establishment) They shared this with everyone, such excitement. But for some reason this went on for 3 weeks. I still refused to look for it. I get agitated when looking for needles in haystacks. I really do, and I know that there is some mental issues in regards to that, because it is more agitated then necessary, however, I simply refused exacerbate this said mental issue, and said, 'good luck my friends, may the best child win.'

So my  friend Sue watches the darlings for us on Monday afternoons while I go and get my weekly spa treatments. Not really, wouldn't that be something though, to actually say that with no qualms about it? Really she is watching them while I go to work until my love gets home from work. I explained to her that they can watch a movie, but will have to endure all of the previews and then you will have to push stop and then play again to get past the main menu, because the remote is lost. The offspring chimed in, 'and whoever finds the remote gets to go to _________ with just Mommy!!!!!!!!!' I seriously think they thought that one day it would just jump into one of their hands because they did not once go on a mad search for it, but their enthusiasm over the prize was huge. I don't really think they got the whole concept.

Amazingly the next morning they proclaim, 'we found the remote!!!'
'Who found the remote?!?!!'
'We found the remote!!!!'
'You found the remote at the same time!??!'
'Uh....yes, we found at the same time!!'
'That's amazing, so you both get to go with Mommy!!'
Such good story tellers.

Later after egging the situation on with such praise and compliments, you know, 'I just can't believe you both found it, that is just so wonderful, I am just so happy for you, you surely deserve this trip,' and things of that nature, Kendall comes to me all guilt ridden.
'Uh Mommy, you know um, well, Sue actually found the remote, but she said that we could both say that we found it so that we could both go to _______.'
'Hmmm, well since you were so honest Kendall, and you know Mommy is all about being honest and telling the truth, I think it is only fair that we go, since the remote has been found and Sue wanted you both to go for her.'
We will later address the situation surrounding the prompting of my children lying with a write up, Sue.

So we're there.

I want to first point out my initial annoyance which typically occurs in said playhouse.
The age parameters completely being disregarded.
It annoys me to no end that guardians permit their grown children to play in the playhouse. And they aren't just walking around nicely minding their size and the tiny children underfoot. They are storming through there playing tag and wrestling and pushing and shoving and being all loud.
If they are an older sibling helping the younger sibling navigate the house, well then, I will let them and their kind heart slide.
But this rarely occurs and I just want to say that if you are old enough to read playhouse rules, you should not be in the playhouse.
I'm just saying.

So they play, we get the food, we call them to eat, they shovel it down, ask to play again.
At this point a foul stench begins to overcome the playhouse eating and playing area.
To the point where people are coming in with their food making a funny face, scrunching up their nose, and walking out.

And you know when you are in the smell you don't really notice it all that bad. But Andy who is walking in and out and is the roving reporter when anything is going on definitely smells it. And when Andy knows there is something going on that is affecting everyone around him, he always chimes in, always. He seriously should be on CNN or something.

Andy has me checking Jake's diaper, but it isn't a poop smell, and I really can't smell it all that bad, I haven't left the area, but the diaper was all clear anyway. Andy then has me smelling his feet. Picture: Me leaning over while husband props up foot and me again, sniffing. The things we do. But no, it isn't that either.

Then the crew walks in to 'inspect' the area. They have a mop and their noses, they scan the area like the freakin scent is going to jump out at them and say, 'here I am.' They pronounce they don't see anything, and walk out. You know, perhaps some air deodorizing spray might work in this situation, again I am just saying.

Ethan then walks up to me to tell me something crucial. It is that 'I can't believe this just happened,' face. It is half smirk, half amusement, half astonishment. These are typically great comments.

'Mommy guess what? I just farted like a super big fart and it's so loud in here that I couldn't even hear it!

'That's awesome E, but since you told me, can you still say excuse me?'

'Uh yup, 'scuse me.'

I suppose this was his first experience with the 'don't ask, don't tell,' policy regarding passing gas in public. If they don't know it was you, don't draw attention to it.

And I like couldn't even smell it either.

So then of course he has to use the facilities, and Andy is like, 'that's it we're out you are going to have to hold it E.'

And you know little boys and holding it? Yeah, not gonna happen.

So we run to the bathroom, he is dancing his I have to go to go jig, as I cover the seat with tissue paper. He says his normal line, and I can pretty much recite it as I know he will proclaim it every time, so that all females in there will hear that this wasn't his idea. 'Uh Mommy, it is ok for me to come to the girls room, even though I am a boy, because you are with me and I am too little to go to the boys room by myself, and there are strange people in there when I am not with Daddy.' I think he means strangers, but you know, people are strange too. You've heard the stories.

Then we walk back walk in and the smell hits me and I want to literally vomit. I grab one of the kids sweatshirts to breathe through because you need a gas mask of some sort. I announce, 'pack it up, we are getting out of here this is so gross!!!' And the smell is like dirty socks that have not been washed in seriously five months. You know the ones that have been sitting in the bottom of a gym locker after a serious sweat for the entire school year. And there are children who clearly can read, running through the playhouse at top speed. The culprits.

I tell Kendall that we are going, she is aware of what is going on, not sure where the smell is coming from and says, 'well if you want me to I can check the slide, maybe someone threw up in there, and I can go and tell the workers if I find some in there.'

I thank her for her sacrificial suggestion, but that we will be leaving before that can occur.

We rush out the door breathe in the fresh air, well sort of, it still smells like fast food, you know that fry and hamburger smell that encompasses the establishment in a one mile radius? But it ain't that terrible smell from the playhouse.

I announce, that that is it, we are never going in that dirty place again. No more playhouses at fast food places ever!
They both say, 'yeah that was super smelly gross! But we can go through the drive thru?'
And they have a point.
I mean who can never ever again have fast food fries?
Case Closed.

*And I would like to point out also that with us that evening was a 10.5 month old who ate his entire Kids Meal... we're talking four nuggets, a small fry, and a juice box. He is no joke in the food department.


Needs Sleep

If you see me and I look haggard, please don't ask me why.

If you ask me a question and I stare at you blankly in response, and they ask, 'wait, what did you say?' Don't get frustrated.

If the dark circles under my eyes refuse to be covered up my makeup because they have gotten so dark, please don't mail me a Mary Kay Gift Card.

If my children have mismatched socks and their hair looks like rats ran through it all night, grab a brush.

If I doze off mid sentence, please put a blanket over me.

It's this third child.

He has run his poor mother into the ground, has hopped into his little scooter and ran over me at least 50 times.

He is really like no other.

You can't even go to the bathroom in this house without having to be busied by something he has done.
(try 6 balls in the toilet, 6 of them, and Ethan dancing around holding his wenus, while I emptied them all out while trying to ward off Jacob from putting them all back in screaming at me in frustration.) I said a little prayer that one wasn't stuck way down in there, I reached has far as I could, and thanked my other two for not going potty on top of them.

He has now refused all baby foods.  Just up and smacked it right off of the high chair tray in revolt.

Eating PB & J because he is too cool for Baby Food.

He is impossible to change. He twists and turns, and crawls away quickly, laughing...poop typically everywhere. It's so wonderful.

He is torso deep into cabinets and the refrigerator, flinging things out behind him. Just yesterday a dozen eggs in carton went flying out. 2 were spared. Floor still sticky.

He tries to cuddle with the cat and when she attempts to walk away he pulls on her tail, and refuses to let go despite her swats and hissing. He just grunts right on back at her...'but snuggle kitty, snuggle.'

He tries to crawl into the bathtub, clothes on, all of the time. Water, no water. He landed in there a few days ago, I was in Ethan's room putting on his shoes. I hear him banging in the empty tub...all is quiet...go running into snatch him out, bubble bath. Bubble bath soap emptied all over him, and all over the tub. Fantastic.

He now is climbing out of his crib.Free falling and wondering why it hurts.

He opens drawers and empties its contents. All.day.long.

He empties the dog and cat's food bowls and eats the spilt contents.

He wants to be up, then he wants to be down. Up again, down again, up, down, up, down....

He chases balls around the house. Zeroes in on them. He is obsessed with them, and in putting them places they don't belong. In shoes, in Stan's water bowel, in the trash, in the fridge, and of course, in the toilet. He now sleeps with one.

He is the resident door patrol. Open them, close them just a little bit...open them back up. If you leave one open he is right on it, closing it behind you...then opening it...breakage of fingers will surely come, and I don't think they will be his.

He apparently does not like to sleep for more than a 3 hour span.
To break him of this I would have to move the rest of the family to a hotel for a week, because he is a screamer. I would have to move the neighbors as well apparently. Because he wakes up everyone else in the home. And have you seen Kendall with a lack of sleep? Seriously, you just want to run and never look back.

And he is loud. Just loud in general. I am loud. People who don't like me I love to annoy them with my volume. I laugh loud, and  I talk loud. Jake has inherited this.

But he's cute, right?
He is every one's favorite.
He is a lot of fun and is going to continue to be a lot of fun.
Apparently going to play sports.
Apparently going to cost me some money in home repairs.

But I love the nugget. Oh I love him so. He is a quick little sucker with an agenda and a mind of his own. But I love him with all my heart.

He is endearing. A lover.

But if he would just let me sleep...I might just forgive him later on in life for filling the Principal's office with 6 pigs. A "Get out of Jail Free Card." Because he will be that kid.

"Uh, hello Mrs. Fink? Uh yes, we have Jacob here in the front office because he thought it might be a good idea to put some tacks point up on his teachers chair."

And I'll say.

"Ok, ask him if he wants to use the free pass for sleeping through the night when he was 10 months old now, or next time.'


Birthday Boy

It's alot of people's birthdays today. No joke. I know 3 people in my family who are celebrating a birthday today. Facebook told me there is more. I think a study should be done, apparently a busy time of the year is May. Must be the warmer weather or something. It's Dr. Seuss' Birthday today. If it's your birthday today also, you are in good company because most importantly to us in our home it's the boss' birthday. Big Poppa, Daddy Donut...Happy 34th Birthday!

I just want to point out a few things here that are going on in this picture. This is clearly the first school picture that he was able to pick out what he wanted to wear, it is written all over his face. Remember that year? Remember the years your mom picked what you would wear? That used to make me so mad! It is clear looking through old photos, that the previous year, his mama picked out the ensemble he is wearing. It's a charming blue wool sweater with a collared shirt on underneath all tucked and perfectly matched. Here, in a blaring shout of independence he has popped that collar and is even showing a bit of  manly chest in that really awesome button down. See the eyes glowing? They are saying, 'Finally! I am so cool, look at me ladies!' I can even see the bottom half in those pleated acid washed jeans that were worn in the late 80's. Hot stuff.

My oh my that is getting up there my darling. 6 more years and well you are 40! I think when you are celebrating 40 we should go to some far off land where it's sunny all day long, and we can swim in crystal clear salt water, sleep in, and invite all of our friends to go with us. Or could we do that tomorrow and celebrate 34 and a day? Pack your bags people!

One year on spring break whilst in college we did go to the beach right around your birthday in the Carolinas. Great times, we wore sweaters on the beach....here is the picture to prove it.

So young, so vibrant, so cute. We are such a cute couple, babe. But look, on the beach in cold weather gear, no I'm talkin like bare feet and bathing suits for the big 4-0.

A lot of random things occurred on this trip, including a photo of me along the highway sitting on a giant rabbit that is wearing a sombrero at South of the Border. I really should devote an entire post to this trip, because it really is worth telling.

But I don't think a tropical beach is going to occur this year unless it is being reenacted my Mickey and Minnie at the Polynesian, because according to some young folk around here, if we are going anywhere on a plane it is going to be to Disney World, all 5 of us. So 6 years, mark you calendars peeps, put a little reminder into your phone, I am sure there is an app for that.

To commemorate this special day we are having chinese for dinner and warm chocolate chip cookie sundaes for dessert, and watching American Idol...because these are all things Daddy, err, Kendall, likes to do. I really just can't wait, bring your appetite.

But Daddy dearest, we love you here at home, because you are at work, and according to Kendall, who is all about birthdays, 'that is a really stupid birthday.' I didn't even correct her for using 'stupid,' it's the first time I ever heard her say it and it sounded all grown up, but even so, I don't like it, but it is a pretty stupid birthday to a 5 year old who goes to 3-D movies with her favorite friends on her birthday. Next time she says it though I will issue the warning about the 'not nice,' word, alright?

But something tells me even work can be fun on your birthday, if you have some friends there, which he does. Many, many friends at work. So in a way he is a little bit of a star on this day. Like when you were in school and your locker would be all decorated by your friends and you got to carry balloons around all day and maybe even skip morning classes to go to breakfast at Perkins, not that I ever, ever did that. I just heard that is what some people did on their birthdays when I was in high school.

Birthdays are very important to me and so I have instituted this into my children, and we have like serious countdowns. Andy thinks that this is just plain silly, to make such a huge deal about birthdays, well then he can be dubbed the party pooper at all birthday parties, but it won't kill my spirit. But not today, because today is his day! Besides, if we really do go away on the big 40 we'll see how much a big deal a birthday really is to him, I will put some money on it. According to Ethan when Mom Mom asked him who's birthday it was today he quickly replied, 'It's Daddy's, but mine's next. Mommy how many sleeps till my birthday?' See? It's exciting. We count down 23 days in advance.

So Happy Birthday my Lover.

"Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You."  ~Dr. Seuss


Chicken Little

Lots of people are getting their little spring chicks right now. You know the one that are oh so cute and fluffy and live under a little light in a cardboard box, and they all run around and poop everywhere. If you get little ducks you fill up the bathtub and let them swim around and you get to feel like you are teaching them to paddle and swim irregardless of it being instinctual, it just makes you feel good.

If you are able to watch little baby chicks, ducks, or geese with their mamas it is just so sweet to see them rallying around her; following her everywhere. Off things, under things, into ponds, and when sensing danger, like a menacing dog, they all curl up under her wing as she lifts it and swaddles them in. But there is always that one. There is always that one running in the other direction, just far enough, but not too far. The one leaping before the rest of the pack, the one jumping into the pond belly flop like with no fear far before the others slide down its muddy banks. He is the one that is the last under the wing for certain that he can handle things himself, but will then run for cover at the last second.

This chick is my Jacob.

We have never had a crawler before. Nope. The two before him did not want do it. They scooted a little bit, but were content in their little areas, not mobile. Then one day, they walked. I didn't really do so much tummy time with them, it broke my heart to see them crying in frustration. Sign of the future? 'Ok, Ok, I will solve your algebra problem, bring it to Mommy, I will google it.' I did worry a bit for E. I made myself believe that maybe he had some weird muscle tone deficiency, his bones weren't strong enough, the signals from his brain to his legs weren't working. I don't know, but you know as moms we zero in on those milestones and cling to them, will them to happen, and when they aren't right on time, we panic a bit. I would go to the pediatrician and say, 'well he isn't walking yet, he just scoots a little, not really.' And they would all look at me and say, ' he is just 12 months, just 13 months, just 14 months...' And then at 15 months he just walked, he just did it. I have posts to show it...oh he is so sweet, look at that toddle...ok...back on track, wipe the tears. Kendall walked on her first birthday at her party. She was like, 'yup today sounds like a good day to take a step and walk,' and she just did it. This is Kendall. 'Ok, yup, today I feel like writing my name,' and it is done.

Jacob, oh no, he was determined as ever to be moving. And you might say, well he has the two older siblings and he wants to keep up with them. That really didn't entice Ethan too much, and see that is E's personality. 'You do what you want, I am quite content where I am, and if my mama asks me to climb right back into her womb, I will do so.' He and I are like the italian mother and the son, he will live with me and I will feed him meatballs until he is like 35 and getting married and I will be his wife's living nightmare...'Do you fold his underwear honey? Here, let me do it, Mama knows best.'

Jake had been screaming at his toys and us for a little bit, and just about 3 weeks ago started the crawling business and can now get to things that he desires. I initially thought, oh my life just go easier, I don't have to listen to him balk about this or that, that is just out of reach and run to fetch it and make him happy.' Oh no. Nope. He is the third child. He is a mover and a shaker and he wants to go! He is into everything, climbing on everything, and wanting to be 10 years old. And so, I can be tending to one, getting a snack, turn to hear him yelling for me clinging on to the stairway banister because he thinks he can just go and walk up the stairs! Corners of tables might as well have a lit up sign on it that say, 'Hey you! Come smack your head on this!' Cabinets, in and out of them with all of its contents. The refrigerator? You leave it open just to put a splash of cream in your coffee and he is in it; like climbing up the shelves in it. You go one way and ask him to follow, he turns, looks at us, and crawls off into the other direction. Yet I refuse to have my house resemble a padded and locked anxiety striking area. I like my things. I just have to now pay a bit more attention...apparently climbing window sills will happen.

He is the potty cheerleader. Whenever anyone is doing their business he ceases this opportunity to catch up with you. He wiggles his little bottom across the floor, pulls up on bare legs, and just stands there babbling away at you. You know, since we don't close the door and all, we are that family, for now. He loves the potty when it is not occupied also....please flush when at my house. PLEASE. He thinks that it is his own bowl to splash in. Whenever you cannot find him, please check the bathrooms first. He is in there, has dumped anything in his reach into the toilet to watch it splash.

He is beginning to climb book shelves, open drawers, up and over anything. He is a caterpillar in human form. You are saying to me right now, 'This is not your first...' Got that. However this is my first determined mover. I can still corral a bunch of activities around Kendall and Ethan and instruct them to stay put, and they are still there 20 minutes later.

We have had to move and hide Stanley's water bowl at least 20 times. We finally found a spot hidden in a corner of the kitchen behind the sliding door curtains. Stanley has go and stand behind a pile of fabric in a corner just to get a drink.

He is just about 10 months. That's it. 10 months. He will be walking within this month. Do you know what this means? This just adds length and speed to the little sucker. You will see me running after him in store aisles, down sidewalks, in the library...and I will find him either climbing something or sitting dangerously atop it with some wide eyed mischievous smile that will send me to the funny farm.

I don't know. The upside to having your children so close is that you can kind of sit them in the same pot. Kendall and Ethan are growing, learning, and developing together in this sweet little package with a bow on top. I can accelerate and put on brakes as I see fit and they respond. It it tiring, yes, but it is definitely easier to initiate structure. This kid Jacob, he is like flying out there 3 years behind with his foot on the pedal and his hands all over the steering wheel, his chubbiness swatting me away.

He smirks when you say, 'hey, hey Jacob, no no.' He thinks this is just hilarious and what would have Mommy just rolling in side stitches is if I actually do it, and he does. I got tired of him crawling up to the other two in the tub, reaching over the edge, swatting at bubbles, stealing toys and wash cloths, yelling at them...'Dat, Dat, DAT!!!!!!!!!!!' So now he sits in there, happy as a clam.

Jacob likes to 'rage against the machine,' and although it quite endearing and cute to watch a personality blossom so young, it's telling isn't it? A year from now I will be informing you of how he figured out how to get the screen out of the window and climbed onto the roof. I anticipate a strong personality, a funny personality, but a determined personality.

But for now he is my little chick and though he may want to run astray at times, that ain't no challenge for my wing span.