Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Baby Blues

The Baby Blues.

It's not what you think.

I know you may be assuming from that title that I am feeling the ache of empty arms since I no longer have babies in the house.  I am staring longingly at the snuggly bundles of goodness I see with other mommies at Target or being pushed in their little strollers throughout my neighborhood.  You might think I am pining away for another baby and begging my husband for #4.

Sister, you couldn't be further from the truth.

In this case, "the baby blues" is referring to the fact that I am about 99.9% positive that my baby, the four-year-old, is indeed going to kill me before it's all said and done.

I'm serious. If this child had been born first, she would be an only child because my husband and I would be scared to death to risk it again. For heaven's sake! Our first child was totally false advertising. She had us thinking this parenting gig was a piece of cake. What was everybody whining about? Our second child was a teeny bit more challenging in temperament, but still, we were feeling pretty confident that we were exceptionally gifted at parenting.

And then...the baby was born. And we were instantly in love. 

The good times are SO good.  She is the very picture of sweetness.  I mean, seriously, look at this kid. Adorable. She's funny and smart and imaginative and totally lovable.

But the bad times? Well, let's just examine the evidence. Perhaps some of you mothers out there can identify with my baby blues because you're just as bewildered as I am over how in the world you're going to manage to raise your own little darling.

Exhibit A:

Last week I took the kids and bought each of them a new pair of summer shoes. The oldest chose flip flops, the middle one wanted waterproof shoes, and the baby wanted these cute purple crocs with a big flower on them. She was happy as a clam and couldn't even wait til we got out of the parking lot to put them on. She was smiling from ear to ear.

And Exhibit B, a mere two days later:

That's right. That's duct tape you see there holding the crocs together. 

Someone was unhappy because she got overruled and did not get to have Chick-fil-a for dinner. Oh, the humanity of it all. It was just more than her "eet mor chikin" heart could handle. She just couldn't contain her emotions and those little crocs were in the line of fire. They paid the ultimate price.

Exhibit C:

These are the only pair of shorts the child owns that she will actually wear. And you know what? This mom has decided that battle is not worth the emotional cost to fight. The result? She wears the exact same thing to school most days. Yep. Literally holding clothes on your child to prevent them from being stripped off in the parking lot of the school will greatly deter your determination to dress your daughter in a lovely variety of cute outfits. I know, I know, some of you are saying, "Well, honey, why don't you just let her pick out what she wants to wear the night before?"

Sounds so simple, doesn't it? And it would be, except my child suffers from a rare condition I like to call "bedtime skitzophrenia". She lays out her clothes happily and smiles so angelically as I tuck her in, assuring me that she can't wait to wear them in the morning.

And then morning arrives. Somehow the hours between 8pm and 7:30am completely and 100% change all her favorite choices into the most despised items in the universe. 

For cryin' out loud. I am pretty sure I am going to get stopped by the staff at her mother's day out one of these days with concerns that my child is not being well taken care of. You see, I was so frustrated with her I told her I refuse to buy her new shoes for one month, so if she wants to wear the crocs, she'd better be okay with parading duct tape for all to see. This in addition to the fact that she lets me do her hair with bows or ponytails and then immediately rips them out before she gets to school leaves her looking a little like a pitiful orphan child. And don't forget she's wearing the same outfit to boot.

Babies of the family. What would we do without them? How boring it would be without literally chasing my child through stores and searching for her at Disney World (FOUR times!) and pleading with her to change her clothes. We're not totally sure where this child came from, but we do know this: she will be the one who takes care of us in our old age.

How's that for scary? 

Please, tell me I'm not the only mama out there wondering how on earth she will manage her
"strong-willed" baby. We must stand together!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Sibling Rivalry, Virtual Style

Let's talk video games.  

I know, I know, I'm a mother of three GIRLS.  You'd think this wouldn't really be an issue at our house.  We all know that the male species tends to have more of a problem with addiction to video games than females.  Definitely still true, but nonetheless, we have a video game issue going on over here in recent weeks.

It all started with these:

old, delapidated laptops which had spent years sitting in some closet at my husband's office.  Lucky for him, he knows someone who is skilled and prepared to help in just such a situation.  

Within a few weeks, my hubby had two refurbished laptops ready to go.  He proudly brought them home and announced, "Hey, these will be great for schoolwork for the girls.  Just think!  They won't have to fight over your laptop anymore."

I had to admit that was a little appealing.  But still...a 9-year-old and a 7-year-old with their own computers?  I wasn't sure.

In the month or so that the girls have had them, they had not once violated any restrictions we've placed on internet usage and haven't hacked into the passwords we've set to keep them off of sites we wouldn't want them visiting.  Inappropriate viewing has not been an issue at all.

Unfortunately, educational viewing has not been an issue at all, either.  

One word:  MINECRAFT.

Some of you are nodding your heads and groaning at the mention of that name.  

Minecraft, from what I can understand, is a video game which has absolutely, undeniably, and maddeningly, NO PURPOSE WHATSOEVER.  Really!  There's no goal, no points to earn, no mission...It makes me totally nuts!  

I mean, come on!  When I was a kid, I was hooked on Nintendo's Super Mario Brothers.  And as we all know (well, all of us over the age of 30, anyway), this game had a definite goal!  Collect coins to earn an extra life, jump on the turtles and mushroom guys, defeat Bowser, and most importantly, rescue the princess!  

Now THAT was an age where video game makers had some brains.

But today?!  Today my girls are playing a game in which the sole purpose appears to be to wander around creating a virtual world.  No points.  No long-term goal.  No skills to learn (like memorizing all the secret helps on Super Mario).  

They build these huge towers and houses brick by brick, painstakingly placing each stone where they want it.  And now, because we have TWO laptops for educational purposes at their disposal, they can actually connect their virtual worlds and visit each other.  

And just like in the real world, when they visit one another in their virtual worlds?  They fight.  They fuss.  They argue about who tore down whose building and make running, dashing leaps to destroy each other's stuff using their stored tools and weapons such as swords and TNT.  

"STOP IT!!  I worked for hours to build that warehouse!!  MMMMOOOOOMMMM!!!"

"Oh yeah?  Well, I'm just going to go tear apart your garden and rip down your fence around your mansion!"  

Commence crying.  

Merciful heavens.  

Did we REALLY need more ways to fuss?  

I try to go in and be the peacemaker, but usually it goes down something like this:
(screaming and yelling and crying)
"Mom!  She just blew up my entire neighborhood.  I'm never inviting her to my world again!"


"Why would you do that?" I ask the one wearing the wicked grin.

"I dunno."  

"How would you like it if she blew up your neighborhood?" I ask.

"I wouldn't care.  My neighborhood got invaded by zombies," she replies coolly.

It's at this point I have to just detach myself and focus on what is actually happening in our real, live world.  I finish my speech about getting along, not destroying each other's worlds (because they do that enough in real life to now start the same pattern in their pretend worlds), and to cut it out before I cut it off.  

I go back to my room, wishing again for the days of Super Mario and Luigi.  Now HERE were brothers who knew how to get along.  To work together.  To cheer each other on.

Probably because they were never working in the same world at the same time.

Why can't video games be like they were then?  Isolating.  Nice and separated from one another.  

Thanks, Minecraft makers.  Now I'm spending time actually cleaning up virtual messes my children are making.  Better get back to picking up my daughter's destroyed building brick by brick.  Stupid laptops.  


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