Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Full Disclosure: Why I am a Terrible Mother

I love my kids.
Seriously, I mama-bear-love them and would seriously maim anyone who would be so stupid as to hurt them. Or tell them that Santa is not real.  (I seriously pity the child who breaks that news to Abigail.  He'll be in a body cast.)

But I am a Terrible Mother.  I am just being honest.  Larry always kisses me and hugs me and says "I love being a parent with you on my team" but I really do suck.  Here's why:

  1. I am an introvert.  Having 2 tiny people want to be around me 24/7 doesn't work well with my personality.  (Yes, I claim all 24 hours since one of them always wants to sleep with me and will even sneak into bed next to me after I have fallen asleep.)  Related issue: I do not enjoy being a jungle gym and I sometimes wish that my 1 year old and 4 year old understood "personal space."
  2. While Lar and I are both on summer break, we are putting the kids into daycare for 2 days per week.  We say it is to help them stay on a schedule.  To keep Joseph socialized.  So Abigail can see her friends.  But really, I would be willing to go into debt putting them in for 5 days per week just to have all that glorious time to myself.
  3. Speaking of daycare, I am a MUCH better mother on days when the kids are in daycare.  It seems like I have a finite amount of patience and awesomeness and love (gulp!!) to share and on the days that they are in daycare for 8 hours and come home, all of that Wonderful Mom-ness is condensed into about 6 hours.  On days that they are home All. Day. Long.  all of my Wonderful Mom-ness has to be stretched thin to last All. Day. Long.
    I can't make more of it and the kids want to use it up by 7:43 AM.
  4. Often, I find myself more interested in taking great pictures, editing pictures, sharing videos, blogging, and scrapbooking about how great my kids are and what fun things we have done and how much I love them instead of actually spending more mind-numbing time with them as they dump all of the blocks, cars, trains, train tracks, and play food onto the floor for the 12 millionth time this week.
  5. I would rather run alone.  Yes, we have a double jogging stroller.  Yes, Larry likes to run too.
    But I would rather it be a solo venture.  (See #1)
  6. And speaking of exercise, if I run alone, then that means Larry has had the kids for ~40 minutes.  So I feel guilty taking a shower and making him watch the kids even longer.  As a result, I am forced to decide what to do with my precious free time and loathe being forced to decide between such luxuries as exercise, showering, shaving, using the computer, and eating something I don't want to share with anyone.
  7. That brings me to drink-sharing.  If I have a drink, my kids think that by extension it is their drink too.  But I have decided I am done with that; a full-scale drink-sharing embargo is now in effect.  I used to share, but no more.  I have had my fill of back-wash and mysterious floaties, not to mention the HFMD incident and how much Joseph is a festering toxic germ factory. I will gladly get them their own drink, but that never appeals to them as much as mine does.
  8. I don't hear Joseph when he cries at night.  Larry will say to me in the morning, "Joseph cried 6 times last night" and I will not be aware of a single one of them as I slept right through the whole thing.  Six times.
  9. All the inspirational, bloggy, preachy mommy people make memes and write about enjoying every minute with the kids while they are little and claim that things like laundry and dusting can wait.  I don't entirely agree with this.  I am just not going to live in a dirty house and my kids are going to wear clean clothes.
    When Abigail wants to be held and cover me with kisses or wants to be tucked in for the 3rd sweet time at night because she just wants another few moments with me, I sigh sadly thinking that before I know it, she will want nothing to do with me, especially not cuddly moments and kisses.  When Joseph gives a full-out belly laugh in a way that only babies can, I think "I want to bottle that sound and keep it forever."
    I do enjoy these moments, but that isn't the stuff of which days are made.
    In the every-day moments of daily living, I would usually rather be the parent scrubbing the bathroom or doing the laundry than the parent pushing 2 kids on the backyard swing while it is 90 degrees outside or squeezing back tears of boredom and listlessness while sitting on the floor next to the play kitchen set, waiting for the kids to make me a 42nd "dinner" in under as many minutes while I can only think about all of the real work I could be getting done, instead of sitting there.
    But the inspirational, bloggy, preachy mommy people don't acknowledge that real parenting is boring.  They would make you feel guilty for thinking "this is SO boring" while you are spotting your 1 year old climbing up the toddler slide for the umpteenth time today.
    But in reality, these are some of the things I did this summer because I found them more fulfilling and less mind-numbing than babysitting my own kids:  dusting, toilet scrubbing, laundry, mopping, waxing the car, closet cleaning, weeding, cleaning all the fan blades, and washing our 19 windows (inside and out). 

Given the crazy nature of my life, this entry was made in pieces all summer, just to find time for it.
Anyone can feel free to read this entry and commiserate or silently judge me.  However, any unsolicited attempts at advice-giving will not be well received or tolerated and I may seriously hurt you.

{Please don't take my kids from me.}

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Tales from PA (part 3- going to a petting zoo)

My mom doesn't work Mondays and my dad took the day off so that we could all take the kids to a zoo.  I love zoos.  I have been to many zoos in my life and I love taking the kids to different zoos.  My favorite moment of this trip was when the male lion was feeling discontent about everyone watching him and he charged the viewing glass while letting out a thunderous roar, getting nose-to-nose behind the glass with Joseph.  Joseph held his ground though: he just roared his little roar right back!  I wish I had it on video!

Joseph getting up close and personal with a camel
when he really wanted to meet the zebra

Joseph was a little unsure about petting a joey!!

Joseph was also unsure about
this giant wooden tortoise statue.  

As usual, Abigail's favorite animal
was the giraffes.

Abigail even got to bottle feed
a baby giraffe!!
Joseph's favorite animals were
any of the primates.  He couldn't get enough
of them.  

Joseph REALLY liked the primates.
See- he is communicating with this one.

Abigail enjoyed petting the kangaroo
but the wallabys were softer.  
When not looking at primates,
Joseph passed the time by
looking at the person who was carrying him!


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Tales from PA (part 2- hanging out on "the farm")

Part of the beauty of going to "the farm" is that is it a sort of mini-vacation for Larry and me.  My parents hands-on amuse the kids most of the time and there is SO MUCH SPACE.  So much beautiful, soft, green space.  The kids act differently there.  The never stop smiling.  They never stop moving.  They rarely demand to be picked up or held or get fussy.  They just run at 100% for about 15 hours per day before we toss their grubby bodies into a bath and tuck them into soft old beds covered in piles of well-worn blankets.  Even the dog acts differently there: we just let her do as she pleases and instead of sleeping all day, she runs and explores and sniffs.  The farm is truly a magical place.  (I don't know what I will do if my parents ever sell it and follow through on their abstract plans to move closer to us.  I can't even think about it.  I'll bawl for weeks.)

Anyhow, I know you are here for the pics, so enjoy them

"Helping" Yinski on the tractor, before they
started battling for control over the steering wheel!

"You look pensive."
"Damn.  I was going for thoughtful."

It is so amazing that 4 months ago
he was a Ramen noodle in a crib in one of
Henan's not-that-great orphanages!!

Abigail loves apple season as much as the horses.
(Can you spot the apple?)


Abigail ran over 50 acres for 4 days.  

Joseph got his first rides on the "Gatorade"
as Abigail called it.  He got 60 second turns
in-between Abigail's 5 minute turns, but he
didn't seem to notice or mind!

This boy is so resilient.  

How does my Chinese boy
have blonde hair?!?!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Tales from PA (in this case, Fish Tails)

Last week, we took a final summer trip to my parents' old farm in western Pennsylvania.  We have inadvertently started a tradition of going there during the coldest week in August for the past 5 years, which has really been wonderful: we get an early teaser-taste of fall, get to wear jeans and long sleeves in the evenings and sit around a campfire, and can be outside all day without sweating.  
My beautiful little fisherman.
She dug her own worms and
wasn't afraid of anything!

One of the things we did while in PA was to go fishing with the kids.  We went to a small pond owned by a friend of my dad.  It was one of those ponds full of na├»ve little fish that could be caught in a matter of seconds before being thrown back (and probably caught again!).  Abigail even caught several fish on a bare hook, but we lost track of how many she caught for the afternoon. 

This pic and the one below it crack me up
because they made me realize that every time
Abigail cast her line, my dad covered his eyes!

1.  Baba showing Joseph how to hold the rod
2.  Joseph excited: Look!  I caught something!
3.  Ugh-ahhh!!!!  Joseph's hilarious first reaction at his fish.
4.  Okay, maaaaaybe I'll touch it.....
My mom, who understands that the parent who always holds
the camera never gets to be IN any pics since she herself is
a rarity in any of our childhood pictures, snapped a few pics with my camera.

My mom's candid shot shows what a beautiful and
relaxed afternoon we had with the kids.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Volcano Project

Since Abigail is home 5 days per week and (like her Mama) likes to have lots of Stuff To Do, I started the summer prepared with several long-term projects for her, as well as many quick afternoon surprises or gifts.  One of the biggest projects was to build a volcano and make it erupt.  Since the eruption is just a chemical reaction of sodium bicarbonate and acetic acid with some food coloring thrown in and has nothing to do with why lava actually spews forth from a volcano, I almost decided against a volcano project.  But, then I reminded myself that she *is* only four.  And, she also understood when I explained the differences in the eruption she simulated and the way it really happens.  She also enjoyed seeing pics of her Baba and me on our honeymoon at Mt. Rainier, knowing that is a volcano too.  

Abigail stringing a frame for her
volcano around a center tube for the
chemical reaction

Abigail adding the plaster strips over her frame.

Time to paint the dried volcano.
Joseph wanted to help by painting something too.

(Joesph was very UNhelpful, however, even
though he was very cute.)
The final project.
Eleven years ago at Mt. Rainier.  

Monday, August 4, 2014

Zoo and Other Pics Update

Well hello, August.  
July was horrid, with infinitely long days, yet was over swiftly as we careen toward the opening of yet another school year.  

On a scale of 1 to 10, Joseph's surgery and recovery was a 4.  
On the same scale, his hand-foot-mouth disease was a 10.  
And that, my friends was July.

But August is a promising month.  A month in which you cram everything you dream of for summer break before school begins soon.  And yet, here is what you have missed so far:

Joseph's first trip to the beach.
He loved the sand.  He wasn't fond of the water.

Someone told me that boys are just
"noise, covered in dirt"

Abigail's fur-cousin Huxley is quite a good sport
about being a highway for Abigail's cars!

Abigail, reluctantly sharing her frozen fruit bar

Joseph's first trip to the zoo was a huge success.
He walked about half of the 2.5 hour visit.
No, it doesn't seem like he saw the sea lion, but I swear that he did.

Abigail loved following the elephant
foot print trail

The National Zoo is my least favorite of all zoos that I have
visited, and I have visited a lot.
But they do have the pandas.  (Even if the pandas look dead.)

"Mama.  This panda's bo-ring.  It looks dead."

Abigail, practicing her Tiger Face at the
National Zoo, getting ready for
Tiger Lee's Karate.

Hangin' out with Uncle Jim

New Family Picture taken in July 

Abigail got her yellow belt in TKD after
she sparred these two boys at the same time!
It was so cute  tough.