Monday, April 16, 2012

A Tradition Like No Other...

It was just a simple nap.

I wanted to catch a few zzz's. I didn't need to be totally dead to the world like my child can be when she sleeps, just a mom nap.

You know the kind. The one where you're just kinda resting your eyes.

A Sunday afternoon tradition like no other here in the good ole USA.

After all the hustle and bustle of getting everyone up and dressed and fed and out the door to church, I think moms are kind of deserving of a short nap when the afternoon hours roll around, don't you?

My husband was busy staining the fence in the backyard and I wasn't about to stop that work in progress.

Big sister was playing next door.

This left me with the six-year-old and the three-year-old.

Sadly, they had already lost the privilege to watch t.v. (I say unfortunately because taking away tv time is the single most painful punishment a mother can inflict on herself in the history of motherhood. You know it was bad if I had to resort to punishing myself.)

So anyway, I spent some time pushing the girls on the swing set out back, then informed them that, "Mommy wants to take a quick nap, okay? Be good and keep Daddy company out here while he paints, and we'll do something fun when I get up."

"Okay, Mommy!"

I walked away with only a small little seed of hope that this would actually happen. Looking back as I walked toward the house, I saw them laughing and giggling, their pigtails bouncing in the wind as they frolicked and scampered together around the backyard. It was a beautiful day to be outdoors. Maybe they could restrain themselves and actually allow me a catnap. More impossible things have happened in the history of the world.

Ahhh, I thought as I snuggled down on my bed and pulled the down comforter up to my chin. I closed my eyes and almost immediately began drifting off.

This is when all heck occurred and it went on for the next 30 minutes.

The backdoor slammed.

"Mommy!! She hit me!"

The backdoor slammed again.

"Mommy!! She called me a baby!"

We got this one worked out relatively easily and I never did have to get up. They just stood next to my bed and practiced the art of reconciliation with me as their reluctant mentor. A moment later they walked out quietly and went down the hall to the playroom.

"Mom, can I go see if Hope wants to play?"

"Yes! Great idea! Bring her back over here and y'all can play outside."

"Mom, their cars are in the driveway but no one answered the door. Can I go back and try again?"

"Yes! Please don't wake me again, okay? You can ask Daddy if you have a question, alright? I'll get up in a few minutes."

This time I asked her to close the bedroom door behind her. Little sister was still playing happily in the playroom (doing who knows what, but quite frankly, unless it involved matches or scissors, I didn't care).

Sweet sleep caught up with me again...

Bonk, bonk, bonk.

What in the world?

The baby sister was laying on the floor outside my door, rhythmically kicking the it.

We got that one worked out and she agreed to restrain herself from such actions.

About twenty seconds later, a weird scratching noise began. I ignored it as long as I could stand it, then had to deal with that one, too.

I found her putting all her bracelets on my doorknob, popping them and twisting them around the knob. It's pretty amazing how noisy that can be, actually.

"Get away from the door, please!"

I must've drifted off again because I woke to the feel of mini-earthquakes occurring next to me on the bed. Every 3 seconds or so, another one would hit.

I opened my eyes and looked over my shoulder.

There, sprawled out next to me on her tummy, was my six-year-old, looking thru family pictures on my laptop and playing with FaceTime. Her legs were alternating as they kicked the bed.

She just looked at me and matter of factly stated, "Hope couldn't play. She's taking a nap."

For the love of all things holy....

I gave her the laptop to take with her and sent her out of the room, closing the door behind her.

This time I even turned on my white noisemaker.

How crazy and wrong was it that I was seething with jealousy that the 7-yr-old next door was peacefully napping?

Surely, surely, now that they have my laptop and have learned how to turn on America's Funniest Home Videos (which entertains them really well...something about kids accidentally doing painful things to mommies and daddies just cracks them up), they will grant me just a few minutes of quiet. I know, I know, they had lost the privilege to watch tv, and here I was being inconsistent. But technically, it wasn't a t.v., it was a computer.

I was quickly reminded that I had never taught them how to adjust the volume on the laptop.

That was it. My breaking point. It was not a proud moment, but one I share with you in the hope that you will not judge, but see me as the wretched sinner I am and maybe offer some prayers for me.

I said in a (only a teeny bit, slightly) loud voice..."GET AWAY FROM THE DOOR!!"

To which enters my husband, shocked that I would speak to our babies in such a manner. He had apparently just walked in to take a short break from the work outside and had no idea what had been transpiring. In his eyes I had just had a mommy dearest moment and his sweet babies were being mistreated.

"What in the world?" he asked.

I just looked at him. There was nothing I could say.

"Come on, girls, mommy needs her nap."

So, I got the peace and quiet I had wanted. Except now I was wide awake, feeling guilty, and had to spend those few precious minutes in prayer for forgiveness.

Ah, Sunday afternoon naptime. Who knew it could bring out such a monster in mommies?

Sweet little Hope from next door, freshly napped and looking energized, rang the bell shortly.

Oh, well. I can sleep when I'm old, right?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Face Painting and Skittles

Well, that didn't really go quite as I'd imagined.

Two rather big disappointments, actually.

You see, recently we visited a local outdoor shopping center for what sounded like a super fun event.

Inflatables, games, and the ever popular, ever alluring face painting. What could be better? Sunshine, fun, and paint on your skin which doesn't get you in trouble?!

I had some excited girls, to say the least.

So off we went to Bridge Street, happily discovering a very close parking spot and holding hands and remarking about what a beautiful day it was to be alive. The birds were singing, the sky was a crisp blue, and the spring grass was a lovely shade of green.

It's moments like these that get mothers in trouble, I thought to myself. The loveliness of the moment was just sweet. I (almost) wished I had another chubby cheeked, brown-eyed baby to push along in the stroller with us.

Must be all that spring pollen in the air messing with my mind. I shook my head a little and resumed my presence in reality.

If you've ever been in a face painting line, you are aware that you can sometimes be in for an extremely long wait. In keeping with our lovely afternoon, there was only one small boy in front of us and Skittles the clown was already busy working on his face.

You'd think it would be fairly quick, right? What do boys care about how things look, after all?


This kid apparently was a Picasso in the making. He scrutinized each and every brush stroke poor Skittles made, testing her actual clown college graduate skills and asking to look in the little handheld mirror nearly constantly.

For the love of mike, I thought. How complicated is it to paint a kid's face red and put a few black lines on it for spiderman? I later heard from Skittles that this delightful lad had already had his face painted once that afternoon. This was his second time around because he didn't like the job she did on him as batman.

The woes of a clown are are often missed, I thought.

Finally, we were next!

My youngest eagerly stepped up (having been repeatedly assured that Skittles was not one of those creepy, freak you out kind of clowns that doesn't talk but just smiles eerily at you). She had already made up her mind that she wanted to be transformed into that famous cat, Hello Kitty.

(which while I'm on the subject, is it weird to anyone else that Hello Kitty is all the rage now again among little girls? That cat has got to have used up its nine lives by now! It's like thirty years old!)

She was quite pleased with the results. Skittles was just happy to have a three-year-old who didn't understand the finer points of shadowing and shading and demand she start over.

Next, my eight-year-old was up for her turn. It had been a very big decision. After all, Skittles was proudly displaying a poster with about fifty different choices!

I was personally pulling for the dragonfly, because that would've been an interesting one to pull off.

She decided on the unicorn, but at the last second she stopped Skittles' first stroke in mid-air and said, "STOP! I changed my mind! Make me a Smurf!"

A Smurf, huh? Well, I can't say I blame her. After all, who wouldn't want to be the only female in an entire community of men who adored you and would do anything for you? Serve your every whim? AND each of these men had special talents! One would cook for you, another brought you flowers every day, another was handy around the house, one was super intelligent, one could talk fashion with you (Vanity), and one was just all muscles (Brawny).

Did Smurfette every actually DO anything or contribute to society in any way? If she did, I missed that episode.

Anyway, Skittles grabbed her blue paint and got to work.

We had a very interesting conversation as she painted, definitely a first for me. I learned all about clown college and different types of clowns and the tricks they learn, etc.

I am a little concerned that my listening child may be under the impression clown college is a viable option for her because she likes to paint and she has a dog she could dress with a funny looking ruffle around his neck.

Finally, the finished product:

Not bad, Skittles!

We thanked her and spent a few minutes on the inflatables, and again I just couldn't help thinking what a perfect afternoon this really was. I love being a mother.

No sooner was the thought completed than a very distraught eight-year-old approached me, insisting that I must take her to a bathroom immediately so she can wash off this horrible paint job.

What? Wash off the face paint we waited for about 20 minutes to get? Whatever for?

"Mom, it's embarrassing. I do not like the little mole she put above my lip. I look weird."

I don't remember Smurfette having a facial mole now that I think about it. She had a point.

But still! We'd waited a long time (in kid time) for her to get her face painted! I tried my best to talk her out of it, but to no avail. The look she gave me was not friendly.

Hello Kitty, however, was positively glowing with happiness.

We marched ourselves to the nearest restroom, and she got to work.

Meanwhile, Hello Kitty ran out of the restroom to announce to all the restaurant staff that her sister was "wiping off her face because it's ugly".

So, to sum up, there were two fairly big disappointments that afternoon.
1. Clown College is not something I'm willing to discuss.
2. Smurfette should really just stick to cartoons and not try to take over little girls' faces.

Thanks anyway, Skittles. At least the one you painted like a cat is behaving like you'd expect a cat if she owns the world.

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