Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Food

In a given month, the Crocker family goes through:

6 gallons of whole milk
8 dozen eggs
6 lb of banana
10 pounds of cheese
3 large containers of yogurt
8 lbs of apple
6 lbs of pairs
12 packages of frozen veggies (corn, peas, spinach, Brussels sprouts, mixed)
3 lbs of baby carrots
3 lbs of applesauce
2 large containers of cottage cheese
4 loaves of normal bread (2 of gluten free)
1 giant tub of peanut butter

Today, I am greatful for a husband with a good job and Costco.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Baby Belle

When your children are born, you have grandiose ideas of who they will grow to be. A percosious toddler charming those at the local bookstore while your husband and you quietly sip coffee and read the New Yorker? A mild mannered pixy who bats eyelashes shyly from behind your leg while waiting in line at the store? The beautiful child in a stroller who people stop to coo at?

Motherhood is a reality check on so many levels. I have learned to never say the words "oh, we won't EVER do that with our kid". God has a sense of humor that is a little off color. While you hope your child will be blessed with you and your mates best attributes, the mix doesn't always come out so...tidy.

Belle is my third kid. You would think I would have been humbled enough at this point to better roll with the punches that parenthood delivers. Tiny but vocal from the very beginning, she was not to be overlooked. She somehow didn't get the memo that if you are going to be high maintenance you should have been born first. The picture above pretty much "captures" our youngest.

Annabelle is her own person, thankyouverymuch!! Not one to be told what to do, she isn't interested in making friends and doesn't think your teasing is in the least bit funny. Sweet and easy going while living a predictable life at home, she is quick to let the world know if they have messed up her grove. No, she doesn't want to go to the zoo, a parade, a friends house. No, she won't smile nicely at the librarian who knows her by name. No, she won't wave to the little old lady who thinks she is cute. Don't even think of laughing when she is mid-fit or you will suffer her wrath.

At the age of just-turned 2, she sings the ABC's and speaks in full and understandable sentences. She counts to ten. She loves to sing and play with her sisters, pretend to be a mommy, help in the kitchen, fold the laundry. But don't mess with this little package, don't get in her space, don't try and be her friend because she is not interested. I worry about different things with each of my children, with Annabelle it is that she will cold clock someone at the age of 4 and learn to flip off her teachers in kindergarten.

Chalk this kid up to another lesson in parent humility.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Solo

I was told by my mother when I was a teen that my curfew was midnight because "nothing good happens after midnight". If that is true at 16, I am pretty sure that "nothing good happens before six a.m" is true for my current station in life. Some may argue that it is always true, but not Annabelle.

For the last few weeks, the babe has been up before the sun. It isn't exactly the fault of the whole "fall back" time change, but that didn't help matters. Normally this is annoying, but not really my problem as Matt is the one on call as the sun rises. Alas, Matt is in Korea and I am flying solo, desperately missing my morning wing man.

I am not ashamed to say that in the wee hours of the morning I told my not-quite two year old that I was not getting up yet, tossed her some toys and dry cheerios with a sippy and told her to play quietly. I stumbled back to my still warm bed knowing I bought myself about 15 minutes to clear the cob webs from my brain and attempt to fix my black attitude.

Fifteen minutes later, Eliana was up too. I mumbled to Elie to take her sister downstairs and feed her some grapes as I searched for my errant slipper and sweatshirt least I catch hypothermia in my attempt to make breakfast in the pre-dawn hours. Within twenty minutes all three children were happily munching boiled eggs, bagels and grapes and I was sipping on some strong and much needed coffee, trying not to feel too guilty about the unborn who was also drinking strong coffee. Sorry kid, your number four, mama's got to be able to function.

Single parenthood isn't pretty. My house is messy, and by messy I mean messier than usual, which is a state bad enough to appall my grandmother but not so bad as to be condemned by the city. My dishes pile up because my kitchen is separate from the rest of my house and if I am in there I have no idea that the baby is crying or who caused it, and I hate dishes with almost the same passion I have for mornings. I spend my days doing mundane things like folding laundry, sweeping up crushed cheerios, feeding the dog and attempting to locate lost lovies. By the end of the day my patients is thin, my brain is an oozing pile of mush due to lack of grown up interaction and my house looks even worse than when the day started despite the fact I spend most of my day picking it up.

Isolation is the crazy-making of motherhood. If it gets done, it is because I did it or bossed around a little person until they did. I walked by my half eaten dinner, cold and gelatinous, not quite remembering why it wasn't eaten. Was I getting someone more milk? Did I forget the napkins? Mopping up whatever was spilled? It doesn't matter, I scrape it into the trash.

The big girls are giggling upstairs and I am going to let them. I could go in and be the heavy, but when parenting alone, I have already been the heavy enough to day and I just don't have the heart to end their day being in trouble with mom. The babe has decided she isn't as sleepy as she thought or I wanted and is calling to be rocked. I make the closet thing to a deal with the devil as a stay at home mother can, I bargain that I will snuggle and rock for 2 minutes but then she must go to bed with no fits. I think we both know how it will end.

I scoop up the tiny person from her almost-big-girl bed and sit in the rocking chair. Her feet hang over the end and she fills my lap. One hand holds a ratty pink hippo and the other reaches to stroke my face, looking for a kiss on the palm. As I plant a smooch in the middle of the fingers, she smells of peanut butter despite the repeated washing. I smell the bubble gum toothpaste on her breath and the diaper cream on her buns, a mix of big girls and baby the betrays to speedy passage of time. I sing to her a favorite song and melt a little as she sings along, words mumbled by the binky clenched firmly in her mouth.

As I head downstairs I mentally make a list of all that needs to be done before I can put an x through this day on the calendar. I pour myself a glass of chocolate milk when what I want is a glass of wine but a mother can handle only so much guilt in a day. My house is quite except for the strange hiss and pop of the steam heaters that I have yet to become accustomed to.

My husband is starting his day on the other side of the globe. A long night spent tossing and turning on a uncomfortable bed, trying to convince his brain that it really is night and his stomach that that really was his dinner. Matt works hard for our family and I am so grateful. Because of his trips, I put my children to bed in clean jammies under warm blankets. Our home is filled with toys and love, food and pets, blessings beyond number.

I sip my chocolate milk and decide to forget doing the dishes until the morning, instead I will make cookies. My melancholy fades as I beat the eggs with the butter and sugar, knowing the pleasure fresh cookies will bring the girls. And because when the cats away, we may just eat some of these cookies for breakfast, as the sun rises and I drink a stiff cup of coffee, grateful that I get to spend another day with these so dear to me.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Rod

I have my panties in a wad about something, so if you are not in the mood to hear me rant, please move on. I read this, and oh boy, did it get my blood hot.

I am a huge fan of "to each there own". I parent my children one way, because of who I am, who they are and what I believe to be true about children. I do not expect others to parent the same way I do. I am not raising your kid, and as long as your kid is turning out ok, more power to you!

We are not really a spanking household. My girls don't usually require it, it isn't that effective and the few time my kids have been spanked I think it was as much to make me feel better as it was to get the desired outcome.

What gets me mad is the idiot Christians who follow other idiot Christians in the misinterpretation of the bible and use it as an excuse to beat the crap out of there kids! They often quote the scripture that says "Spare the rod, spoil the child". Lets look at that a second: first, we must acknowledge it was written in reflection of shepherds and sheep. Shepherds carried rods that were a multi-purpose tool. One of the things they did with said rod was guide a wandering sheep back on to the path with a nudge. They also used rods to free sheep from bramble, there is a great story about a good shepherd rescuing his sheep with his rod. Here is what shepherd DIDN'T do with there rods: whack sheep. Funny thing, when you hit an animal with a big stick, animals then RUN from you when they see you with said stick. Not real conducive to keeping a heard together when all the sheep are running for there lives in fear of the shepherd.

"And they will know you are Christians by your love". Or, you know, by the fact they smack their kids with sticks. That too.

I want to see large churches STAND UP and say "we don't believe he is right!!". I want church's to actively teach parents healthy parenting. While you might be able to make a case for a hand swat to the hinney on occasion, there is NEVER a reason to starve and beat a child in the name of Christ.

I believe "Jesus wept" over these children.



Sunday, November 6, 2011

Thankful

I have a confession: I have a bad attitude. Not about everything, all the time, just lately, about a lot of things. I am grumpy that I just found out 2 of my good friends are expecting (one of them is having twins) right around the same time I am and yet here I am, stuck in Jersey, with no one to be pregnant with. I am surly about Matt leaving for Korea for 8 days. I am always cold in this stupid house, with high ceilings and absolutely no insulation and the cold winter days haven't even started yet. My kitchen is the worst and my kids eat all the time so I am always in my kitchen and always frozen, despite the many layers and slippers. None of my clothes fit me and I look like I have been hitting the Twinkies a little too hard. People in Jersey are rude and grumpy. I have to take several highways to get to my grocery store.

It is easy to forget to be thankful. I don't want to be grateful for what I have, I want to sulk and be grumpy. I want to stomp my feet and crawl back into bed. I want to flip the world the bird and put on my headphone and forget about everything and everyone. But I can't. I have 3 little girls who watch my every move and know my attitudes well, 3 little girls that I want to grow up with a little perspective. Perspective that I seem to have lost.

So here it is, my perspective, my attempt at an attitude adjustment. These are things that DON'T make me grumpy, things that I have been blessed with.

-Annabelle's singing. It is incessant. Her cheerpy little voice singing a made up tune with whatever words happen to be on her mind.

- Eliana's helpfulness. I love that she gets the baby dressed, sorts the laundry, empties the trash cans, puts away her (and everyone else) toys, she washes dishes and mirrors, sweeps the floor. All of this usually with a great attitude.

-Addilyn's willingness to laugh. About anything. Ready to tickle and wrestle, dance a silly dance and cheer up the baby.

-Matts understanding that I need grown-up conversation. Willing to talk politics, sports, education, you name it, anything but Dora and kid stuff. He is happy to pour a cup of coffee for us both and sit with me to keep my brain from rotting and oozing out my ears.

-The fall colors are beautiful out here.

Sorry, that is really all I can come up with right now. Yes, I know there is more to be grateful for: health, family, food, shelter yadda yadda yadda. But really that is all I can come up with. Guess the whole "attitude change" didn't pan out.