Saturday, March 10, 2012

Beware the 9th of March...

My first child was born on March 9.  She was expected on March 19, and we were secretly hoping for March 17, but my body just wouldn't take being pregnant a moment longer.  Which is odd, considering how much I enjoyed being pregnant the first time.  It was just the two of us, and she was like a special secret that only I got to share and nurture.  Not that Daddy wasn't around or very excited, too, it's just...with the first child and the first pregnancy, it often is hard for the baby to become real for the husband until AFTER the child arrives.  However, when someone is using your bladder as a trampoline, it's a lot easier for you to find it real.  Pregnancy is a time of potential and hopefulness, and I did enjoy it.  I was very upset to be induced 10 days early due to pre-eclampsia, but pretty excited, too.  I would finally meet the newest love of my life, my first child. 

Fast forward to her seventh birthday.  Seven years.  SEVEN.  It's so hard to believe that the tiny baby I adored and snuggled is now over two-thirds my height!  She's tall, slender, with dark blonde hair and such beautiful hazel eyes.  She's funny, sassy, obnoxious, smart as a whip, sweet, infuriating, and wonderful.  She loves her little sisters deeply and takes good care of them.  She's a constant challenge, asking questions about the nature of life, love, God, sex, and everything in between!  So as much as she drives me insane, she also brings such joy and richness to my life.  It's natural, then, that I'd want to really celebrate her birthday! 

I show up at her school today at 11:40 for lunch.  I brought frosted sugar cookies and two-bite cupcakes.  Why?  Because someone in there has a peanut allergy, but can eat frosted cookies, and someone else has a gelatin allergy, but can eat cupcakes, and another has an egg-white allergy...I'm not knocking allergies - my kids are fairly dairy free.  But it just doesn't seem like it was so complicated when I was a kid!  However, the operative there being that I was the kid, so how would I know?  I get there to find out they are eating in their rooms because of class pictures taking over the cafeteria.  21 hyper, excited kids anticipating a glorious treat and sugar high crammed into their classroom.  Now C's teacher and student teacher are WONDERFUL women, but they are no match for the awesome power of twin toddlers!  I don't think there was a kid in there who didn't get a hug and kiss from Twin B.  Twin A was slightly more selective...not snobby, just selective...OK, so she didn't want to kiss or hug some of the boys.  That's not such a bad thing.  In fact, now that I think about it I'm a little worried about Twin B...They put on a Magic School Bus video - it was hard for me to watch the girls, because I wanted to watch the video!  They kept wanting to sit with my mom in the rocking chair, which meant they kept blocking some of the screen.  And the kids (especially the little girls) kept sneaking up to the front to steal hugs from the twins...and the girls kept pitching fits over who got to sit in C's lap..."Whisper sweetie.  Yes, I know it's hard to shriek in a whisper, but just try it for mommy, anyways, pllleeeaaase?!?!?!?" 

Finally the video is over, and a hush and rush of anticipation falls over the classroom.  "Boys and girls, we have a special treat brought in by C's mommy today."  WHOOOSH!  That was the sound of the children shooting up to the front table to claim their treat.  AAAAWWWWW!!  That was the sound of the teacher denying said children and sending them back to their desks until they complete the ritual of singing BEFORE cramming.  In all seriousness, they behaved very well, said please and thank you, waited patiently until everyone had a treat, and ate with pretty good manners.  One little boy, who had asked me repeatedly if there would be cookies, came up and said, "Thank you.  I got a cookie, but it's in here now (pointing to stomach).  It will be here later (pointing to bottom)."  Er,'re...welcome?  I do like the kids in C's class.  They are very sweet, and a number of them came up specially to thank me very sincerely both for bringing in the cookies and the twins.  It was a very stressful time trying to manage everything, but a lot of fun, too. 

We dash out, mom heads home for a break, and I take the girls to the Dollar Barn for needed birthday supplies.  Yes, I bought things at the Dollar Barn.  Deal with it.  Good prices, nice selection...and the TINIEST aisles and shopping carts ever!  I can't get a side-by-side or tandem stroller in, the leashes are useless because they practically stretch from the front door to the I put one in the front seat of the tiny shopping cart and one in the back, and grab a hand basket for my purchases.  Talk about an excruciating hour of my life!

So where to go for dinner?  After much debate, she settles on Mellow the Avenues...on a Friday night.  Oh my...ok, are you sure honey?  Yes, yes it must be Mellow Mushroom.  So my husband had to come home early Thursday (he was asked to be home at 5:30 - he shows up at 4:30 "just to be sure"), and he feels he cannot take off early two days in a row.  Please?  Pretty please?  It's Mellow Mushroom...on a Friday...The agreed upon time becomes 5:45.  Oh have mercy...We'll make this work!

So we get there and find a HUGE line awaiting us.  My DH, who got there a few minutes before us, informs us that there is a 40 minute wait.  So Gapa, DH, and I take the girls to B&N to poke around while Gama hangs out and waits for the table.  Whereupon we start discussing how we could have made our lives MUCH easier (ordering take-out pizza, going earlier to get a table and letting DH catch up, etc.), but of course, hindsight is always 20-20, so it's not helpful now.  Twin B found the rack of stuffed puppets (squirrels, frogs, etc.)  It was amazing!  She couldn't stay away, but they totally freaked her out!  She'd run over, ask to hug one, and then scream in fear as it came towards her.  Wes Craven fan, anyone?  Mimi pulled every book she could find off the shelf.  I couldn't even begin to keep up with her.  C informs us, "I REALLY want the Guinness Book of World Records."  (Quick, honey, I'll watch the kids, you go buy the, I did not say go buy it AND poke around in the computer section, which is on the OTHER side of the store, meaning you didn't just "happen to go by it.")  We poke around and then go back after 35 minutes to wait for our the world's smallest waiting area with two young children who absolutely REFUSE to sit in the seats that would keep them out from underfoot...

...35 minutes later, we realize it's just not going to happen, and decide to order take out.  "Do you want to stay and wait for the pizza?" DH asks, "I'll take the kids home."  "No, you hang out..." I say...oh why, why, WHY did I say that?  I could have sat in the crowded craziness of Mellow Mushroom with my Dad for company.  No, I choose to go with my Mom and THREE cranky, hungry, frustrated little girls.  Well, to be fair - two cranky, hungry, whiny toddlers and a crazy, birthday-hyped, hungry, insane seven year old.  We decide to run by Publix to pick up a veggie tray (C LOVES those), and Gama, in the true fashion of mothers everywhere, throws herself on the grenade, shouting, "Do you want me to stay in the car with the girls while you run in to get the food?" over the wailing and whining coming from the back...Oh yes, how I love my mother. 

One veggie tray, bogo graham crackers (car snacks), and a pink birthday balloon later we dash back out and get the kids back to the house.  By now the children are slightly mollified by the graham crackers and C is literally bouncing off every piece of furniture in the house.  She gets pizza, a balloon, and a CARPET PICNIC, meaning we eat on the floor of the family room while watching a movie.  She chose Tangled, which is easily my new favorite film.  It truly it has it all!  "Frying pans!  I know - who knew?"  I give each girl a tray with some veggies and some "white dip" (ranch).  By the time my Dad and DH get home, I discover that once again, tonight is about learning lessons...namely, if you don't want white dip all over your clothes, your children's clothes, the carpet, the blankets covering the carpet, your mother, and various other pieces of furniture, do not give it to hyper, cranky, fussy toddlers who simply cannot sit still because they never took a nap.  There.  You can now say you've received your life lesson for the day.  What's that you say?  I should know better by now?  Honestly, not really - the more I'm around the twins, the more I realize what an exceptionally well-behaved child C was as a toddler, and how lucky we were.  The doctor swears the twins act more like what normal toddlers act like...

So three outfits, almost all of the tomatoes, and most of my nerves later, the pizza arrives.  I will say that Mellow Mushroom makes some seriously good pizza.  At first all is well, eating pizza in the family room while watching Tangled...until the twins take the volume of the TV as a personal challenge and begin talking OVER it.  They wanted to sit in my lap...then Gama's lap...then Gapa's lap...then one goes to Daddy and one to Mommy...apparently we'd eaten enough and it was time for some sort of wild toddler-rule driven game of musical laps!  So quick, let's do cupcakes and gifts!  Did you know that you could REALLY stretch out opening your gifts?  You can take nearly 7 minutes to unwrap a lightly wrapped book.  I know, because I personally witnessed it!  JUST RIP THE DA*& PAPER KID!!!  I remember my parents saying that to me when I was younger...oh hush, I know, turn about is fair play and all that. 

The twins go down about 10:30, with C dragging her feet and reluctantly following at 11pm.  At 11:31 I started drafting this blog entry, and I see it's 11:58.  There were a lot of rewrites.  It is impossible to truly capture this day.  We asked C anxiously if she enjoyed her birthday.  She said, "I sure did!  I got lunch with my family, everyone loves my sisters, I got to read in B&N, I got to have pizza on the carpet and cupcakes right afterwards without having to drive home, I got Tangled..."  The list just continued.  Thank goodness she sees nothing but the positive.  I was so angry, stressed, frustrated, and tense trying to make the perfect birthday.  I see screw-ups everywhere, and she sees nothing but fun and adventure.  Yes, I know there's a lesson there.  It's 12AM.  I'd rather sleep than pontificate ;-) 

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