Monday, August 29, 2011

My New Normal

If you've ever watched Dr. Phil, he's always suggesting a "new normal" in the midst of any life changing event (whether it be good or bad).  Not that I watch a bunch of trash talk TV, but he does have a good point if you think about it.    Last week, Alpha Gamma McVey and I found new normal,  one which I'm thoroughly enjoying.  You see, Good Time Charlie and SirWhineAlot started all day kindergarten last Tuesday, along with Captain Competitive Monday in second grade.  Which leaves me with an EMPTY house for 6.5 hours a day, for the first time in 8 years.   A quiet, clean, organized, free-of-flying-objects house.  I've had so many people ask me, "aren't you sad?".  Which I usually reply, "Have you LIVED in my house these past 6 years?? Have you read my blog??"  I did feel a wave of sadness last Monday morning thinking this was my last day to spend with the two of them before school.  So off we went to Target and Coscto and my sadness very quickly disappeared as they engaged in a high speed game of tag through the aisles of Costco, accosting the sample ladies for just one more sample each, in EVERY aisle.   There's nothing they love more than wide open spaces and free snacks.  My sadness had quickly turned to annoyance by aisle 3, so off they went happily to school on Tuesday leaving me with a new found appreciation for sanity. 

To really appreciate my normal, you must be aware of all the things that go on during a typical day with Alpha Gamma McVey.  Of course, as in any house, there is the usual amount of fighting, bickering, whining, and cajoling.  But here there are also items being parachuted off the catwalk upstairs, linen closets being unloaded with freshly folded sheets for forts, legos clogging my vacuum and filling up all the cracks in my couch, "potions" being made with shampoo, food dye,  and whatever else they snuck out of the kitchen while I was trying to pee.  After 77 days of summer with this trio, I was very close to losing my mind.  Now I honestly do love to accompany them to all their summer swim meets, tennis lessons, playdates, etc.   Yet the reality is that there is only so much summer fun I can possibly stand.  This particular summer they took a liking to chalk drawing on the driveway. Who doesn't love when their kids draw cute pictures for them on the driveway??  I used to love when they'd draw me a rainbow, a house, a portrait of me looking like Chewbacca. (Good Time Charlie has told me I look like him because I also have long hair and a purse. Seriously.)  This year they kept themselves extremely busy and quiet drawing for quite a few hours one day.  I often praised them out the kitchen screen door, "you are drawing so nicely, thank you for not fighting, keep it up!"    I should have known from past experiences that quiet and peaceful was NOT a good thing.  When they were ready to show me, I walked out thinking I'd find all kinds of cute drawings, and that perhaps I should grab my camera, capture the kodak moment.  They all 3 proudly stood on the driveway and explained that they had drawn "boobies and butts" all over the driveway.  And they really were ALL over.  It looked more like triple X porno driveway, and in that moment I just prayed and prayed for rain.  In my old normal, we had a nice conversation about inappropriate drawings and then I cracked open a nice cold alcoholic beverage and prayed to the parenting gods.  Sometimes a cold drink and a prayer is all a girl can do. 

In my new normal, we get our clean clothes out of our dresser drawers and not off the piles on the dining room table that haven't made it upstairs yet.  We have dinner which consists of something other than the left over food we brought home from the pool cabana the night before.   Captain Competitive Senior has ironed shirts in his closet for the first time in 8 years.  The legos have successfully stayed in the basement toy bin and GI Joe doesn't stare at me on the toilet anymore, he too has made it to his own bin somewhere outside of the bathroom.  As for me, people always ask what is it I like to do with my time.  To be honest, I have no idea what it is I like to do by myself all day.  I went from being a kindergarten teacher one day, to a mom the very next.  So peace and quiet has never really been in my repertoire.  But I'm not complaining, I'm actually loving it.  And I won't lie and say I miss them all day long.  I love the noise and chaos at 3:30 when they get home, but I love my new normal during the day.  And I thought you'd all like to know that I haven't yet gotten a call from the school about Good Time Charlie or Sir WhineAlot.  Unfortunately we all know that all good things must eventually come to an end.............. STAY TUNED...............

Monday, April 4, 2011

To Wii or Not to Wii

Not much has changed since I last updated this blog.  Good Time Charlie is still having a GREAT time, and still can't keep his hands to himself and still doesn't seem to mind the loss of privileges.  To have his level on contentedness with life is truly is a gift.  Sir WhineAlot is STILL whining, although it seems to lessening in intensity and frequency the closer we inch to six years.  Starting in August it's his poor kindergarten teacher who will get the privilege of listening to this whining 6 hours a day on a daily basis.  Lucky me, and not so lucky her.  And Captain Competitive is still making sure he wins, or at least tries to, at everything he does.  I've tried my hardest to explain it REALLY doesn't matter who wins the backyard soccer game, but his brain is just wired differently than mine.  I blame this on Captain Competitive Senior himself.

The most significant change in our family life since I last wrote comes in the form of one box, which measures about 10 inches by 2 inches, brought here on the last joyous Christmas morning.  It was about November when Alpha Gamma McVey started announcing that we were "the only family in the whole entire universe without a Wii".   My mind immediately started racing, thinking, "What about the starving children in Africa, or the children right here in our own state who don't have ANY toys?? I'm sure they don't have a Wii!  How have I failed as a parent making my children so self absorbed??"  Then I remembered they aren't allowed to watch the news and aren't old enough to read the paper, so they really are products of their environment, and their little street which resembles Pleasantville if there ever was such a thing.  We are never the first in the neighborhood to get the latest and greatest gadgets (mostly because I don't even know how this stuff works), and considering the Wii was on its way out, and XBox on its way in, I figured this was the perfect time to take the plunge.  So we told them what any good parents would.... the fat man in the big red suit is WATCHING YOU...... ALL the time.....  and maybe, just maybe, he will bring it down the chimney. 

Now I love November and December for lots of reasons, but mostly because of the magic of Santa and his watchful eyes.  All it takes to redirect behavior those two months of the year is a reminder that he's watching... ALL the time.  I wish the man in the red suit came every month, would seriously make my job MUCH easier.  Now he did bring the Wii, and along with it the Norman Rockwell Christmas moment of alot of celebrating and screeching and smiling.  All seemed well in the world for those first few days.

And then it happened.............  the Wii turned my boys into crazed lunatics.  For some reason I coud not find the warning on the box, but am thinking of writing Nintendo a very lengthy letter.   Crying, screaming, kicking, crazy lunatics.  I never imagined such a small little box/game could create so much unrest in my house.  It's like they become possessed with that 5 inch remote in their little hands.  And then I become an angry, crazed lunatic mother as I  threaten to shut it off, throw it out the window, and give it to the poor kids in Africa who have no toys.   But every once in while, there are glimpses of normalcy when they play.  I listen from the door and hear nothing but complete silence and the little beeps of Mario jumping all over the screen.  Still have no idea how Mario can be so entertaining, but then again I'm not a video game addict like others in my house.

Something magical happened about a month later... the lightbulb went on in his head and Captain Competitive Senior  figured out how to use this little box to our personal advantage.  On weekend mornings, it's Wii time now my friends.... from 7am on.   Not family Wii time, kid Wii time.  That's right ... no one asks for breakfast, for snacks, for help assembling the latest and greatest Lego ship.  No one even comes up to tattle.... that would mean giving up the precious remote in their hands and leaving the screen to walk up two flights of stairs.  The fighting stays all the way down in the basement, and we are all the up on the 2nd floor................ and no one bothers us for hours.  Aaahhhhhhhhhhhh................ to wii or not to wii.  It's these mornings that I too have learned to love that little box.