Monday, December 28, 2009

Windmills always Win

Today I looked up the quote "All is fair in love and war." Did you know it's a paraphrase from
Don Quixote? The full quote reads: "Love and War are the same thing, and stratagems and polity are as allowable in the one as in the other."

How appropriate that the full quote derives from the tale about that hopeful but silly windmill chaser, trying to outsmart all obstacles, but experiencing folly at every step. If you don't know already; I am a windmill chaser. My windmills have names: Laura, Julia, & Elizabeth. Sometimes I think I can outsmart them. Today during naptime when Julia slept a meager 40 minutes, I immediately worked up a strategy. I'll bring her to bed with me. If I don't talk and avoid eye contact during transfer from crib to bed, I'll win! Alas, the moment I snuggled my little windmill next to me in bed--the wiggling of baby limbs began. Must keep eyes closed. If she thinks I'm sleeping, she'll sleep too. Little hand smacked against my face. Keep eyes closed. Baby doll with rattle inside smacked hard on my face. Keep eyes closed. Eruption of baby laughter. Forget it--I've been Don Quixoteed.

When will I learn? I can't outsmart the windmills! The oldest and most challenging of my windmills--the toddler of all toddler windmills, is usually best at it. She sneaks out of her room seconds after being put to bed. "I can hear you Laura," I holler in my stern voice from downstairs. Thumpety, thump-thump upstairs as tiny Flinstone feet paddle back to her room. An hour goes by and I seep in the victory of my all powerful Mom voice, until I hear the distant clink, clink of the baby gate at the top of the stairs. "Laura!" Thumpety, thump-thump, back to her room. For the sake of full-proofing my magnificent strategy, I always do one last check to make sure she's in bed and not sleeping in the middle of the hallway (a new favorite Laura strategy). All is well and Mom feels sound in her outsmarting ability--until that is, Mom and Dad find Laura in a flowered summer dress with gray sweatpants at 5a.m., with her discarded pull-up and purple footy pajamas downstairs in the living room. Mom's strategy to keep windmill safely in pasture=failure. Toddler's success at outsmarting Mom=success.

It appears that all will remain fair in love and war in the Davis household, although I abandon any thoughts of outsmarting my little windmills. Poor Don Quixote refused to let go of his delusions of grandeur. Perhaps had his windmills took the form of twin babies and a toddler, his ego would have been beat into submission before his fateful end. Word to the wise...if you chase my kind of windmills--don't ever, ever take them to bed with you thinking they will go back to sleep, or think they're really asleep in the first place; you will be fooled at every turn!

Happy chasing.

Monday, December 21, 2009

It's Been a Great Hard Day's Night

Dedicated to my friend Cindy

I like to wear my Beatles shirt. "Mommy whose on your shirt?" Laura asks each time I wear it. Then inevitably follows the second question asked every time I wear it, "Who are the Beatles?" Together she and I point to each sepia colored face on my under $10 t-shirt: John, Paul, Ringo & George. "What are they doing?" is the third and final question regarding the Beatles shirt, before we are on to more pressing topics like "what's for snack?" or "can I do some coloring?" Hmmm, "what are they doing?" Well, currently the Beatles are stretched across my bodacious tata's but instead of saying that aloud, I settled for, "They were a singing group." To which Laura usually finds satisfactory and goes about her business of snacks and coloring. But today, I decided to switch it up for a change. "Would you like to hear some music by the Beatles?" "Sure!" (her new favorite response to anything good).

Laura and twin sisters accompanied me to my CD cases--rarely opened these days--who needs music when you have your own constant soundtrack? Amid the music of my teenage and early twenties years of angst, was a "Hard Day's Night" tucked beside the likes of "STP," "No Doubt" and "Green Day." As I pried the CD from it's dusty plastic cover, surrounded by fussy babies and a rambunctious toddler, I thought back to the days before my Mom passed away, when the Beatles filled our living room. I often wondered why my Mom, ill and bedridden with ALS chose to listen to those "bowl haired" dudes so much. I enjoyed the songs well enough, but was too young to appreciate the the wider scope of the Beatles revolutionary contributions to music.

When I pushed play on the Bose in our living room, the cranky, tired, and bored aura that previously consumed my domain, began to transform into something a little more peaceful. "It's been a hard day's night...and I've been working like a dog"--Laura began to bounce softly on the couch, smiling from ear-to-ear. "And when I get home to you, I find the things that you do will make me feel alllriiighhhttt," Elizabeth let go of the toy she was desperate to confiscate from Julia and shook her little baby body in time with the music. "When I'm home everything seems to be right--right," Julia reaches up for me to pick her up. I put her on my hip and take her pudgy baby hand; we take turns around the living room together. For at least a song--we were all happy. Something foreign was taking place in my living room--peace. As I spun through the song, switching out a baby from time-to-time, I finally felt mature enough to really appreciate the Beatles' gift to the free world.

No wonder my mom, trapped in a body that didn't work anymore, wanted to listen to those floppy haired men so much. I guess I felt a little grateful for not only the peace in my living room, but the peace in my heart for having the opportunity to dance with my girls--even if only for a single song. "You know I feel alllrriiiggghhhttt!"

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Teething Troubles & Only One Ark

The days of my little five pound babies snuggling side-by-side are over. I remember how sweet they were nuzzled in their pink pack-n-play together.

Those days are over. Enter the days of squealing, screeching and fighting. How can two little people be so angry--at each other! This is the moment I learn that having two of certain things, does come in handy. Variety in teething toys for example, have become a huge liability in the Davis household. Fresh out of the freezer one day, I handed Julia a blue double ringed teether. Her red puffy face softened, as she shoved the chilly object into her mouth. Immediately, sister Elizabeth's own tear-streaked face became even more reddened upon seeing sissy with an icy cold treat. Okay, mom's on top of it, I cleverly congratulated myself re-opening the freezer. "Here you go sweetie," I cooed, handing over another icy blue teether to Elizabeth. And yes--into the mouth it goes. But no sooner had I done the happy dance at solving the teething dilemma, did Julia toss her teething ring aside and make a beeline for Elizabeth. With the determination of a lion going for the kill, Julia bulldozed Elizabeth over and snatched her teething ring in seconds. The next five minutes were filled with high pitched protest and guttural sobbing. Julia grinned victorious--Elizabeth crumpled on the floor defeated. I picked up the discarded teether and with some persistent tugging, pried the "prize teether" from Julia. What was so special about this teether to cause twin WWF wrestling in my kitchen? Both teethers were blue, and the only difference I could find was a little yellow worm on the prize teether. Really? A worm? Now, the worm teething ring can only be alocated to a twin, if the other is sleeping, in a different room, or on another planet, otherwise I can count on another fullscale wrestling match.

My second favorite battle of the twins has a fun little twist. On this particular occasion, I sat on the couch in the living room while Julia and Elizabeth pleasantly played on the floor next to me. Out of nowhere, the serenity of the afternoon was broken by howling and bashing of toys. I slid down from the couch to inspect the commotion below. Julia and Elizabeth sat opposite one another, and were aggressively playing tug of war with a toy boat. Ah, but not just any boat. The object of desire this time, was in fact, Noah's Ark. I had to laugh at the irony of two creatures pulling and bashing each other with a biblical item. I ended up having to hide Noah's Ark, to shelter it from anymore abuse from twin babies. I'm tempted to buy another Ark, but that just seems counter intuitive. I wonder if Noah had this much trouble with his doubles.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Adding Color to my Cube

Dedicated to Lauren, Natalie & Tanya who add color to my cube on a daily basis.

Last night a friend shared her trepidation of taking a new job that would land her in a cubicle. "I just don't know if I can work in a cubicle," she groaned, "How depressing."

"It's not so bad," another friend chimed in, "In fact, I can actually listen to radio, e-mail people (now looking right at me) and read an occasional story." We had also just discussed a recent writing/publication victory of mine--reason for the purposeful glance in my direction. "I don't know why she worries that sharing her stories will bother me, or make me think she has an ego" she addressed the group, "When Erin sends me e-mails and stories she has written, it adds a little color to my cube."

Now what kind of writer would I be if I didn't snatch up that image and run with it--color to my cube? I'm not one to get overly sentimental--at least not on a blaaag for us folks who aren't supposed to be taking ourselves too seriously...but bare with me while I take just a small sentimental tributary. The idea of me adding color to my dear friend's cubie, got me thinking about my relationships with my women confidants. I became grateful at the thought of being able to add something pleasant to their world. Especially through my words on paper...or blaaag...or website...or they get the point now Erin. I thought about how, in another life when I was not the healthiest of human beings, I blackened my friendships--taking, rather than giving. What a blessing to be able to make someone smile with my goofy analogies, similes, big words, words used in the wrong context (Lauren, that's for you), and stories of life and three trippy, but adorable kids.

More important than the warm fuzzies of hearing that I add color to one's cube, is the fact that these women friends of mine--these intelligent, beautiful, crazy women friends of mine, add infinite amounts of color to my cube. True, I don't work in an actual cube...but with twins and an almost three-year-old stuck in a 20x20 living room most days, it certainly feels like one. True too, that I experience plenty of color in my day from my little people. But, phone calls from my girlfriend on the eighth floor of her office, sharing disasters of project management, or from a friend managing a department store in the throws of Christmas season, and from my friend trapped in her cubie...add a different kind of color to my cube. I'm addicted to their voices, stories and laughter. I'm addicted to the color they bring into my days filled with crazy, crabby, and wonderful children. I'm hooked, and must keep up my daily color fix.

To all the ladies in my life--thank you for adding color to my cube.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Ode to the Rachels

Amidst the naughty Jack's and Jill's of the world, lay a few sparkling diamonds in the rough of rudeness. If you missed the last blaaag--Jacks' and Jills' are those folks completely oblivious to social etiquette and courtesy (although we will forgive them, because that's what nice and healthy people do).

When you have infant twins and a toddler, or any combination of more than one child, asking for help is not something to consider--like, should I purchase those snowmen socks; asking for help is a necessity; yes, purchase those white ankle socks instead. I have learned this on more levels than a Mario Brother's video game (sorry, I'm from the old school Nintendo days). I recently however, experienced a whole new level of beseeching help from persons of the world at my local Sam's Club.

I had just picked up my almost three-year-old from preschool with a hopeful plan of running by Sam's Club on the way home. A tired toddler and two adorable, but precocious twins close to nap time--this could get scary. So I did what any savvy mother does: baited toddler with soft pretzel from Sam's food counter and milk and "puffy snacks" for babies. Once safely transported from minivan to lovely big-twin-toddler-perfect-sized-cart, I held my breath and prayed for limited meltdowns (praying for no meltdowns is unrealistic).

To my surprise, all was going quite well once in the club. Twins were happily cooing in their double, front compartment of the cart, toddler happily munching on pretzel--wait--uh-oh, toddler is wiggling--toddler is wiggling uncontrollably. "Laura sweetie," I ask in fear of answer, "Do you have to go potty?" "Noooooo," she growls, meanwhile giving the Wiggles a run for their money. Ugggg, I think looking at my present condition. Two babies not able to walk yet, and a toddler well potty trained, but not quite a pro without assistance in public potties. This is where mom must take a deep breath and ask for help.

I quickly grabbed my wholesale club necessities: diapers, toilet paper and paper towels (what else?) I raced to the checkout with the speed of a contestant on one of those grocery shopping game shows. Of course at the noon hour, Sam's was hoppin'--but I didn't care this time. More people = more register help=more help for mommy. That is the moment I spotted Rachel; a cute young supervisor with her hair pulled back. "Excuse me, Rachel?" I ventured, "My daughter needs to use the restroom, but isn't old enough to go by herself, and this cart won't fit in the bathroom, could you just watch my twins right out side the door for a minute?" "Sure!" Rachel replied without skipping a beat. Now you might ask me at this moment if I was scared of Rachel wheeling my twins out the front door and selling them on the black market. Not really. The door of the bathroom was open for cleaning, and since the store was busy, I had plenty of witnesses if Rachel made a run for it.

The point is, I could have fretted about how I would logically unload all girls from the cart, get them into the bathroom, and help Laura with the potty process without dropping babies on their heads...or I could take a chance on Rachel. Asking for help turned out to be the best avenue here. Laura and I were in-and-out of the bathroom in about two minutes. The twins were giggling and playing, Rachel steadfast holding the cart in front of them. "Thank you Rachel," I said. "I know it's not technically in your job description to watch children, but you sure helped this mom out," I added. "No problem," she replied, "I consider it part of customer service."

Just remember...for as many weasels we mommas encounter out there in the real world--those shifty Jack and Jill types, we'll find a few Rachel's to help us along the way. We just have to reach out a little bit. I intend to send Sam's a shout out on Rachel's above and beyond customer service, although this happened going on two weeks ago. Eeesh, guess my next blaaag will be about procrastination.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Tale of Naughty Jack & Jill

Whatever combination of multiple children you have...let's say one-year-old twins and an almost three-year-old for example, you learn to distinguish the dirtbags versus the good Samaritans real quick like.

Take for example the time when you had no other choice than to lug all three of your children to the doctor's office. And let's say for example, that the double stroller you have at this juncture in life is a piece of doodie. You are therefore forced to carry your (then) infant twins in their two-ton car seats, while simultaneously trying to firmly explain to your (then) two-year-old how important it is NOT to leave your side without sounding like "Mommy Dearest." Upon your arrival to the double doors of the doctor's office you are pleased to learn that the pretty blue disability button you have come to adore, is not operational, hence no magic opening of double doors for you. Now you really are starting feel like you might be channeling Joan Crawford. Arms about to detach, two-year-old en route to meltdown, your own urge to throw a tantrum is temporarily halted by two individuals inside the double doors--let's call them Jack and Jill.

But what's this? Jack and Jill continue to talk amongst one another despite the fact of you being in spitting distance of them...with two-ton car seats...with two fussy babies...with a sweet but exhausted two-year-old. One minute--two minutes--three minutes and Jack and Jill are still pleasantly chatting away. Realizing that your importance to Jack and Jill is somewhere between 0 and -10, you are forced to set down the car seats, wrench one double door open, awkwardly squeezing and intermittently getting the overstuff diaper bag smashed in the dang thing, corall your two-year-old through first, and one-by-shoulder-popping-one, carry each car seat inside the doctor's office. Wiping sweat and hair from your windblown forehead (the wind another fun obstacle of prying double doors open), you celebrate the success of managing a preposterous situation on your own.

Still, you have one last hope of being acknowledged by Jack and Jill, who continue to idly chat about God knows what. After all, there is one more door to open to get inside the actual doctor's office. What's this? Jack and Jill look at you! They see you and your crazy matted hair, unruly children and exploding diaper bag. And then... (insert let down noise here) waaaa--waaaa, Jack and Jill merely send a half-hearted smile your way, not even taking a mili-second to halt their precious conversation. Again, you repeat the harrowing process, this time with an even smaller door, and even more sore limbs than prior to the double door experience. All the while Jack and Jill remain oblivious to you, your screaming kids, and diaper bag (which now resembles a geiser showering diapers in the air).

On the way out from the doctor's appointment, you pray you don't see Jack and Jill. You try to make excuses for their shortcomings: maybe they were a couple in the throws of passion (although by the look of Jack, it probably wasn't the good kind of passion), perhaps they were discussing top secret FBI matters (really, in a doctor's office lobby?), or maybe they have never had children...or at least not as many as you and just don't get it. Because how on earth could two human beings with reasonable intellegence NOT OPEN THE FRICKN' DOOR FOR SOMEONE CARRYING TWO TWO-TON CAR SEATS, A DIAPER BAG, WHILE ESCORTING A RAMBUNKCIOUS TWO-YEAR-OLD?