Lex Left Out

By mommy of many™ | Filed in children, family life, kids, siblings

youngest kiddo of 9 kids gets left out of picking his own toys but makes due

I’ve been saying this sentence to Lex for as long as I can remember; “Go pull out the toys and play.”

This morning I looked at our bins of toys; puzzles, trains and tracks, kitchen and grocery store items, wooden blocks, a set of plastic cowboys and indians, a marble racer, various moving dinosaurs and robots…and I realized that NONE of those things were specifically purchased for Lex. These are all things that have been around his entire life and got put in bins and stacked up and became Our Toys. I also realized that he nearly NEVER goes and takes any of those things out.

So I called him over, “Hey Lex, what toys do you like?”
He was confused by the question-”Huh?”
“Lex, what toys do YOU like? If I were going to go by YOU a toy, what would you want?” Poor kid really had to think about that.
“I like those really big balls, like are in your office.”
“Oh, excercise balls!”
“And I like Rainbow Loom”.

What I discovered this morning is that Lex, as the youngest of 9 kiddos, has never, truly been asked what HE likes and has just gone along, making due with what’s around. Now, there’s really nothing wrong with him doing that. But I AM glad I realized that it’s time to take Lex and his Ninja-Loving, Soccer-Loving self and let him pick something out that is all HIS!

Doing the Dance of the Children and Missing a Step~

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Lex came into my room, and buried himself in my bed under pillow and blankets, clearly upset. I asked what was wrong and he told me about his dream, that I had dropped him off at daycare and there was a fire and the teacher didn’t care.

I rubbed his back and told him that I was sorry for his bad dream and that he never went to daycare, that I was with him every day that he was little and that when he went to preschool, that I went too and worked in the school.

He piped back, “You dropped me off at daycare at the Y and I hated it!”

Ugh! He did! I think I only made it through 2 whole workouts in all my times of trying to take him there. I told myself, over and over again, that he would get used to it and that it was just a matter of him not wanting to be there because he was so used to being with siblings and there, he was on his own because his siblings were in school. But nightmares, 4 years later?! Talk about starting the day with a huge helping of Mommy Guilt!

Doing the Dance of the Children~

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Musical Kiddos

By mommy of many™ | Filed in family life, kids

Last weekend I was the joyous recipient of a neighbor’s piano. There was a bit of fuss over it’s arrival because I had to move things around and figure out where it would go and had to find a willing participant to help move the beast from 2 streets over. Everything fell together and my room has now become a bedroom/office/music room.

My intent behind getting the piano was to have Max pick up his lessons. Sure, there are other kiddos in the house that will want to play and are interested in lessons too, but my main focus was Max. He was very excited about the whole thing…until a couple days ago.  He came home with a paper from school, all about their music program. Piano was NOT one of the listed instuments. He asked if he could play the piano in the program, but there isn’t one available at school.

So, now I have 1 piano in my room and 1 trombone player in queue.

Doing the Dance of the Children~

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Back to School With a Vengeance!

By mommy of many™ | Filed in children, family life, kids, school

We’re just over a week into the new school year and it’s kicking it to me! I’m so out of the routine and there’s more to do this year. I have  3 drop-offs each morning. We’ve had 1 of 3 Back to School Nights (8th grade) and the other 2…yes, the other 2, are tomorrow night at different schools at the same time! I’ve had a meeting with Max’s teachers and principal and have retrieved a missing lunch box twice. We’ve had 2 popped bike tires and I’ve already forgotten to sign the planners. I spent a gazillion dollars on Back to School supplies, printer ink, shoes and groceries for packing lunches and I’ve already had to hear WAY too much whinning about getting up and ready for school.

Yep, it’s Back to School alright!

Doing the Dance of the Children into another Year of School~

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The Dangers of Cleaning Day

By mommy of many™ | Filed in children, cleaning, family life, mom

Cleaning Day…the mere suggestion invokes whining, crying and fear in the eyes of my children. It’s a sure-fire way to ensure a day of fighting, anger, upset stomachs, dire thirst, sleepiness and sudden illness.

Today was deemed Cleaning Day at the House of M.O.M. Oh, the torture! Apparently I had not properly prepared them for the journey of strife they were about to embark on. But I pushed them forward anyway. Such horrendous tasks as; dusting, vacuuming, dishes, putting clothes away, making beds, dismanteling the dilapidated trampoline, sweeping, and wiping down the bathroom, were distributed as evenly as possible. But no matter the distribution, each task was deemed “unfair” by it’s doer.

Ultimately, horrors were endured through each task. Lex, found a stuffed toy, left over from his older siblings, that will surely envoke nightmares. Po, the Teletubbie isn’t safe for children to view. Teeth…TEETH were found on the floor! A sure sign of the life lost from previous, unknown children who were told to clean! And worst of all, Lex came to me with a bloody nose. He came running and screaming Max’s name. Of course, I took this to mean that Max had, unjustly, put his hands on Lex and injured him. I sent Max to his room and brought a wet cloth to Lex, who then said, “It’s my fault. When I was trying to tie his legs together…” Guess who’s got an extra chore!

Somehow, I will continue to push them through the day. Counseling my be needed, but the house will be cleaner. And someday, when they no longer live under my roof, they can leave their home unclean and untidy and share the story of this horrible day, from atop a pile of filth and forgotten items, while a film crew from Hoardering, Buried Alive,  works their way through the cluttered and unlivable rooms. Or perhaps, just maybe, they will learn something and take it into adulthood and I will have done my job.

Cleaning Day…a dangerous undertaking indeed!

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Well That Explains It!

By mommy of many™ | Filed in children, frustrating, kids, lessons, mom, parenting

Yesterday I had one of those terribly emberrassing Mommy Moments, where you have a child who’s acting out so badly and you just can’t get them to stop. This usually happens with an overtired toddler, but this was my 7 yr old! We got home and I put him straight to bed. He ended up sleeping for over 4 hours and I figured that being tired was the reason for his meltdown.

Then I got home from work today and found him lying in my bed, watching a movie on the laptop and hot with a fever. Ah ha!

How many times have we, as parents, been able to look back and better understand why our child had an issue…any issue? I’m out of the practice of dealing with toddlers, so his behavior didn’t make any sense to me. But it sure does today!

Doing the Dance of the Children and revisiting old lessons~

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I’m always wondering if the kids hear ANYTHING that I say, EVER. It sure doesn’t seem like it, since I’ve repeated the exact same instructions, every day for over 24 years.

The other day I got home from a long day of work, to run errands with the kids and take them to the gym and pool. By the time we reached the gym, I’d had it with their arguing and fighting. As they were complaining about the swimming, rock climbing and Kid’s Place activities they were going to HAVE TO endure, I yelled, “Stop fighting! Stop complaining about everything! I hate coming home from work and being made to YELL! I don’t WANT TO YELL!”

Max piped in with, “Mom, I’m just going to tell you what you always tell us; you’re in charge of your actions. No one can MAKE you get mad or yell.”

Yeah, thanks Buddy. So glad you’re letting me know you listen.

There’s hope. They really DO hear me and they let me know, just when it’s time to eat crow.

Doing the Dance of the Children and choosing not to YELL~

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Costco=Status

By mommy of many™ | Filed in family life

For the last 2 years, my trips to Costco have been few and far between. The membership I once held and the twice-monthly trips I used to loathe, became of thing of the past, a thing of my “old” life. And I realized that I suddenly felt inadequate. I no longer belonged to the “club”, that club of mothers and households that have cupboards and refrigerators full of offerings for any and all people who happen to live in or visit my home. I realized that Costco Shopping was a thing of status and that I was now living below that status line.

I worked hard to carefully plan meals and reuse/repurpose our leftovers and to keep my kids and myself from crossing the line into the Hunger Zone. And I was successful! We’ve never missed a meal and no one has ever gone to bed hungry (thanks in part to my beautiful, loving and supportive network). But I still longed to go shop the aisles of Costco, letting the kids enjoy the samples and mindlessly tossing in an item or two, that wasn’t on my list. I dreamed of having my ink refilled for dirt cheap and once again buying the beautiful jar of pesto and loaves of garlic bread that used to be a staple in my home. I kept my membership card in my wallet and the bill for my renewal, tucked into my planner, hoping for the month that I would be able to renew.

After 6 months of working at my new job, I have finally been able to whip that card out, renew my membership and buy a bag of tri-color peppers, a super large bag of spinach, that lovely jar of pesto and the loaves of garlic bread that I’ve been dreaming of! It was really weird to swipe my card, pay for my membership and my groceries and realize that aside from some staple food items, what I had really missed, was the status of simply being able to.

Doing the Dance of the Children and treating them to a hot dog and a HUGE slice of pizza~

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Back in 2008 I finally came out and said what I had thought, for almost 20 years of parenting…Motherhood is Full of Shit. Truly! We are continually dealing with the clean up of bathroom issues by our little bundles of joy. You can read the original blog here.

Tonight, I was reminded and wrote the following Facebook post;

I have long said that Motherhood is full of shit.

Yes, it’s predominately the first 2-3 yrs of diapers, diaper explosions and toddlers who like to remove diapers. But it doesn’t end there. No! There are clogged toilets by overzealous wipers. There are overly excited kids who are too deep in play and don’t make it all the way to the bathroom. There are the over-confident bouts of gas etc. I will spare you the current details. But I am confident that I am not alone in my saying….

Yes, Motherhood is surely F.O.S!

Doing the Dance of the Children with rubber gloves on~

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M.O.M. Moments

By mommy of many™ | Filed in funny, kids, mistake, mom

On the way to work, this morning, I got a phone call. On the other end was one of my kiddos.
They said, “Mom, I forgot something.”
I asked, “What did you forget?”
Kiddo-”I forgot something at home.”
I replied, “Ok. What did you forget?”
Kiddo (whispering into the phone)-”I forgot my underwear.”

Thank you to beautiful people who are willing to go into my house, rummage through my dryer, find the underwear, text me a pic to make sure it’s the CORRECT underwear and then deliver it to the school in a bag, under the guise of it being “lunch”.

Doing the Dance of the Children~

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It’s 7:30am and the kids just rode off to school on their bikes. They are dressed, fed, hair-fixed, teeth-brushed, backpacks-packed, school-ready kids. It didn’t happen without a morning filled with Mommy Madness.

I sent Max to bed last night, to get recharged and with the hope that he’d wake up and have a new perspective on his homework. It’s a technique that’s worked in the past. Today it was an utter failure. We sat for nearly 2 hours and got about 7 problems done. This is not because he is incapable of the work and it’s not because he doesn’t understand the work. It’s because he simply decided he wasn’t going to do it. Once he makes that decision, all bets are off! This is the same child that, as a 1st grader, hid MONTHS worth of homework under his bed. ~Sigh~

The best tactic I’ve found to keep my sanity when dealing with difficult children, is madness, goofiness, humor. A silly song about the situation goes a long way to break tension for all involved. I can choose to scold, berate or punish or I can Do a Dance or make up a rhyme. The number of times my kids have heard ridiculous songs can’t be counted.

Once my other children saw that Max was being difficult, it was like a Difficult Free-for-All. “My shoes are too tight”. “I don’t like this food”. “I’m freezing”. “I’m sick”. Name it, I heard it. I broke into song about peanut butter bread;

A little bread
A little spread
Gives us all a very good head

Hey, I have to make the point for the importance of breakfast, somehow!

Next it was scolding shoes that were too tight;

Bad shoes!
Bad shoes!
Why must you be bad shoes?!

I’m sitting here, knowing I need to start my work day and feeling absolutely drained from the last few hours of Doing the Dance! Perhaps a song will help motivate me;

Put on your shoes
Put on your pants
Put on your makeup and get on with The Dance!

I think Paulo Coelho said it best;

Doing the Dance of the Children~

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Holy Thursday Reflections

By mommy of many™ | Filed in change, family life, mom

Just finished hanging up and folding clothes with a lil help from Rod Stewart, of course. I have WAY more clothes when I actually get them onto hangers!

Gabi and Tristan came to spend the night. Max and Lex visited for a little while and I made a simple pasta dinner (spinach, red pepper and grape tomatoes in garlic, olive oil and white wine, with a white sauce, over bow tie pasta).

I picked up my book-Journey Through the Great Fast-and realized that I’ve missed quite a bit of reading lately. But reading the meditations for Holy Thursday and looking ahead to Good Friday, put me in a reflective space. It will be weird to be working on Good Friday. I honestly can’t remember the last time I wasn’t able to shut down with the kids and pray and reflect on that day. Tristan has asked to stay here, alone, tomorrow to have quiet time, pray and watch The Passion of Christ. I’m grateful that the seeds of faith our growing in him and that he recognizes, on his own, that the day should be solomn. I think I’ll take my lunch at noon tomorrow and go for a walk with my rosary.

I just realized that some of you might not know that I’ve started a new job! February 19th I started as the Marketing Coordinator at a local marketing firm, Tytanium Ideas and am working full-time (and then some). It’s been a really good transition for me and the kids and I are adjusting to our new schedule. I’m REALLY proud of them for helping me make this happen.

Ok, enough for now. I need to get to sleep!

Doing the Dance of the Children and of Lent~

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A Lullabye for My Kiddos Who are Away

By mommy of many™ | Filed in children, kids, love, mom

It’s been a really long and full day. Part of the fullness is how much I’m feeling filled up with love for my kiddos who are far away. Clayton called this evening, to talk to me and the little kiddos and he gave us all a finish to our day that was full of love and the memories of the few months he was with us, last year. We all felt how much we miss the members of our family who are far off.

So I’m ending today’s Dance with a lullabye that I’ve sung to each of my kiddos and that my mom sang to me.

Good night, sweet dreams and much love; Kateri, JJ (Clayton), Mariah and Maddi. I love you~

I see the moon and the moon sees me
And the moon sees the one that I long to see.
So God bless the moon and God bless me
And God bless the one that I long to see.
It seems to me that God above
Created you for me to love.
He picked you out of all the rest
Because he knew I loved you the best.
I once had a heart called mine you see,
But now it’s gone to you from me.
So take good care as I have done
For you have two and I have none.
I see the moon and the moon sees me
And the moon sees the one that Iong to see.
So God bless the moon and God bless me
And God bless the one that I long to see

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He’s Breathing Too Loud!

By mommy of many™ | Filed in children, family life, frustrating, kids, mom, parenting, siblings

Here’s the scenario;

One kid is doing something harmless, but that another kid finds annoying. So the annoyed kid tells the first kid to “stop___”. Kid one wasn’t doing anything wrong, but now does whatever the action was (and sometimes, it’s simply breathing “too loud”) extra, EXTRA annoyingly.

I am then caught between the kid who was needlessly annoyed and the kid who is now purposely being annoying. And let me tell you, it’s AMAZING how loudly a kid can breathe when they know it will further annoy a sibling.

Doing the Dance of the Children~

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When I was growing up, I was surrounded by sisters. I’m the oldest of 9 kids and 8 of us are girls. My parents got their boy at the end. So, most of what I knew about kids when I became a parent involved what girls thought, felt and dreamed. As I began having my own kids, I was blessed to get a, nearly even split of boys and girls. And suddenly, most of my girls are out of the house and I find myself raising 3 boys. I’m still fumbling through getting a grasp on what might be going through their heads at any given moment.

The other day, Lex called me into the bathroom for some assistance and I found him sitting on the pot. He looked at me and then pointed to his thighs and said, “if I’m so skinny, why are my legs so fat?”. Fat?! There isn’t anything fat about this kiddo! I knew I had only that moment to help him see his legs differently. I explained that when we sit down our legs spread out a little and that what he was seeing where the strong muscles in his legs that help him run so fast and ride his bike so well and that because he does those things, his muscles get bigger and stronger and help him get even further.

He was suddenly proud of his legs! He told me how long he can jump on the trampoline and how fast he can ride his bike.

In that short interaction, I realized that boys struggle with body image, just as girls do. Yes, I’ve read articles about eating disorders occurring in both boys and girls and depression occurring in both genders. Of course, I know that boys aren’t  just pillars of confidence, roaming the earth. But I didn’t know that my, very fit and healthy 6 year old son, would be scrutinizing himself! I’m grateful he vocalized his wonder and that I was able to help him form a positive opinion of himself.

Lesson Learned!

Doing the Dance of the Children~

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