Tuesday, April 27

Apple Peelers and McDonald's Lunches

I just woke up from a much needed 50 minute nap. A hard, sound asleep, wake up and wonder where you are and what time it is kind of nap.

I nap just about every day. Some days it's short, like 20 minutes in which I don't so much fall asleep, I just close my eyes and rest my brain. Some days, like today, it's long and deep.

I like to think of my naps as a rebooting of my system. By 2:30ish every day the girls have run me long and hard and I need to shut the system down and let it reboot, otherwise it starts acting a little wacky and gets slow and unproductive. Just like a computer.

Yesterday I had a moment of realization that I shared with Scott, "I didn't nap once the entire time I was at the conference in Michigan."

He knew what I was getting at. A statement laced with my weekly dose of "my job is harder than yours while I'm at home taking care of the girls all day. As a matter of fact it's so hard that I crash into bed in the middle of the afternoon. My week away, in which naps were not required to get me to 9 p.m. is a testament to this very fact!"

(Honey, I LOVE YOU! Thanks for putting up with me!)

So what, you ask, brought on such a deep slumber this afternoon?

Well, I'm beginning to think my children are a little wild and crazy and out of control, like more so than other children, is what...Perhaps every mother has that feeling from time to time. I sure hope so. I mean we're not talking Supernanny out of control-- it's not like they're belligerent. They just have a LOT of energy and can be very needy, and now that it is times 2 it seems motherhood may have reached a new level of challenging.

It's things like Ella trying to climb into cupboards and into the fridge. Like the girls pulling all of the cushions off our couch to jump on them. Like Ella trying to climb step stools and stairs and beds and chairs. Like Ava jumping off of chairs and doing somersaults.

It's not so bad at home, but then they try to crawl onto my mother's coffee table and jump on her bed and couch and my father or mother step in to say, "We don't do that here." Or we drive out to drop muffins off to my grandmother and I find Ava in her clean and stately kept family room with all of the cushions off of her couch jumping on them like she is playing leap frog.

Scott joked the other day that Ella is payback for his childhood (he is a twin and boy does his mom have some stories to tell about dressers climbed and windows broke and windows crawled out of for that matter!). Well, I say, if she is payback for your childhood then I'm going to start to send her to work with YOU!

Back to today. I'll share the part about McDonald's because it pretty much encapsulates the rest of life.

I decided to take the girls to McDonald's for lunch today. I used to be anti-McDonalds and will be the first to speak about the denigrating side effects of their food on our bodies, BUT now that I have children and they give away free toys with lunches and have HUGE slides at some locations, McDonald's is not so bad.

While driving by the other day Ava spotted the huge slide which is quite astutely placed in a large open window near the road so as to be spotted by little munchkins who will then ask their parents to take them there. I figured it sounded like a good enough reason to get out of the house and so agreed to her request today.  The hour and a half after we arrived were full of mayhem and frenzy.

My friend Maria (who is older with four grown children, is an author, has almost 20 years of publishing experience under her belt and recently started her own publishing company with her husband here in Buffalo- she offers me hope that ALL things are possible even with children!) stopped by to meet and chat about some work...she ended up helping me pick string cheese and french fries off the floor and bear witness to Ella's shrieking.

Ava got salt on a small cut on her finger and started crying that her boo boo hurt. She got this new boo boo mixed up with the boo boo from late last week when I gave her an apple peeler and proceeded to tell Maria the story of how I gave her an apple peeler and how there was then blood ALL OVER. (She would not be lying. We were making muffins for my grandmother and I gave her an apple peeler and ran to the bathroom for 3 seconds! I came out feeling like the worlds worst mother when I looked down and saw blood gushing from her thumb. She's been telling everyone ever since "mommy gave me an apple peeler and there was blood and it was a VERY bad idea.)

Maria got up to get her some ice as I blew on her finger. She finally settled down and proceeded to eat an eighth of her lunch which she didn't find appealing (for which I'm secretly grateful!). All the while Ella launched onto the floor anything she could find within reach; my keys, her cup, a rattle, an entire string cheese cut up into pieces which I thought she was eating while I was tending to Ava, craisins,  and several french fries.

We finally made it to the playroom where the girls tackled the slides.  Ella, in all of her climbing vigor managed to make it up through the big plastic tubes far enough that I had to crawl in after her to get her out before she hurt herself. She also tried to escape the playroom several times prompting me to need to hold the door shut and leaving her shrieking and nodding her head "no" to my "NO". Finally, as we were about to leave and I was putting Ava's shoes on, Ella ran to the corner of the room and started climbing the high chairs. She was almost inside of  one by the time I caught her!

I pulled her off. She screamed and ran back. I pulled her off again. She screamed and ran back (I'm trying to put Ava's shoes on in the meantime.) I pulled her off, turned the high chairs around so that they were facing the wall. She screamed, ran over to them, attempted to turn them back around and climb up. I finally picked her up and strapped her into one so that I could put Ava's shoes on. She screamed and wretched around like I had inflicted corporal punishment.

A mother with her two older children (6 and 7) and a grandmother with 5 year old twin grandchildren watched sympathetically as their children played independently. The mother proceed to tell me about the time she was at this very McDonald's and a 3 year old girl got stuck in the mesh tunnel up above and proceeded to pee which gushed down like a waterfall onto the floor and room below.

I laughed. That would definitely be worse.

Ella screamed almost the entire way home. She was mad at me.

We finally made it home at 2:30 and I sent everyone straight to bed, including myself.

Perhaps I need to start saying "No" more. Perhaps it is partly the stage of life.

I told Ava, this morning, that we're not allowed to jump on the couch anymore. Maybe that's a start.

Here is what I learned this week:

1. Don't give toddler's apple peelers, no matter how coordinated they seem.

2. Make sure you have your keys in hand before you approach your car when running errands with children or like me you will find yourself crouched on the ground in the parking lot of McDonald's digging through a diaper bag that is filled with an abyss of random things looking for your keys with a toddler at your side and shrieking one year old balanced on your knee.

3. Follow the advice of a wise friend- "don't let  your children do things at home that you don't want them doing at other people's houses." Namely pulling cushions off couches and jumping on furniture!

All in all, if you're reading this, please chime in and let me know if your houses are often a meld of chaos and frenzy, or if your children are calmer because you set better boundaries. I'm serious. I want to know!

Tomorrow I'm planning to post a little photo montage that depicts my girls personalities!


  1. Sounds like my house. Everyday I sit down on the couch to nurse my almost 7 month old. As I do this, my boys (4 and 2) bring out almost every single toy to 'show me' along with their sheets, blankets and pillows. Then screech and scream as they roll around on the floor. When I am done feeding the baby, I proceed to yell at them to clean up, while I do it myself. Which of course is when they see the clean living room, and empty couch, and do as yours do. Take the cushions off and jump on them. Not cool in a 2nd floor apartment.

    Oh and btw, I gave my 4 year old a peeler before to help peel potato's, your right, not such a good idea ;)

  2. Our last trip to the McDonald's Playland ended with my oldest running into the emergency door and setting the alarm off. So much for the ice cream cones we were going to get before we left. Mom wasn't very happy and even though the kids had a hour of running around. So much for a "break."

  3. I can't help but laugh, so sorry! I'm tired just reading this! And yes, I encourage you to keep taking those naps!


  4. Hopefully, I've shared enough on my blog that you know you are not alone, friend! And yes, I, too, often need a 20 min. power nap just to make it through! I used to justify the nap when I was pregnant or had a baby waking up at night, now I justify that it makes me a nicer wife and mother to be around when evening rolls around!

  5. Thanks Everyone! Tanya- I'm glad to hear you have these stories too because you guys seem so organized/coordinated/put together!!! Hugs to you all!

    Allison- I'm glad to hear you nap as well! Sometimes I think I'm nuts for needing a nap!

    Nicole- When I think I've got my hands full I"m going to think about you!! and your 3!

  6. It is so comforting to read your posts, Lisa. There aren't many people that will open themselves with so much transparency. Even though my boys aren't even a year old yet, I'm beginning to experience MANY of these same things. Ben constantly throws his food (even when he's hungry) and Jack laughs in my face when I tell him, "No, we don't play off the side of the couch." He literally thinks it's some kind of game! Oh, well. I'm a work in progress.

    Thanks for your honesty!!

  7. Kids are much happier with boundaries. It is OK to say no and often it is a relief to the child that at least someone is in control. If you don't want your children jumping on the couch, set the boundary but then make sure they have plenty of outside time to run around and blow off steam. Set the boundaries--Keep it simple--then give them a good alternative. If you don't want them to empty the cupboards, give them one drawer with plastic ware that they can dig through. By the way, my kids are now 25, 23, and 20. Life was hectic back when they were small but I have many great memories of good times with my children.


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