Thursday, February 23, 2012

Stop, Drop and Roll

Want to know what my hell looks like when it all breaks loose? 

Picture this. It's 4:47 in the late afternoon, and I'm trying to get dinner going. Bella, like every day after school, is spinning around all revved up like she's just downed a Mountain Dew Big Gulp. She's literally running around the house, talking nonstop to herself, occasionally looking up to me to ask a question, which for the life of me I can't quite understand because DAMMIT CHILD I DO NOT SPEAK AUCTIONEER! 

From another room Mia is moaning. And grunting. And then the grunt turns into a sort of whine-yelp. She begins flaling her body on any surface that will hold her up. And proceeds to bitch out loud about the fact that her "glass slippers" are not making the right noise when she walks.

No shit Mia. They're rain boots. 

But I can't say that. Oh no. I have to play her little game, it's like an unwritten rule of motherhood--agree, agree, support their creativity, agree. And so I suggest an alternative pair of glass slippers, such as the light-up Sketchers over there, the ones that I just tripped on because Bella kicked them off mid-spin. 

I'm sweet right? Almost helpful even. Well, based on her response it was the most ridiculous idea ever because Princess Olivia "does not and would never wear shoes that light up." And then Bella hears that I have offered her shoes to Mia and so of course she non-chalantly spins right back to her spot and  swoops up the shoes so that Mia has no chance to even consider them. Mia loses it. 

And then Chance starts banging his head on the floor.   

I peel him up and notice he's smiling and it occurs to me that his head banging may just be an elaborate plot to get picked up. Genius, that one. So I hold him for a moment. But only a moment because the timer has gone off on the oven. So I put Chance down, ignoring the wailing that begins. I take out the hot food, step over the depressed princess and toss it on the counter. 

Then my dog starts to whine. And then another whine. And then a bark. And then a look that says, 
I'll piss on the princess if you don't take me out. So I do. 

When I come back into the house, every child is losing their mind. I desperately look around and all I see are hungry and tired and crying little people everywhere. Its enough to make me want to hop in my car and just drive. 
But instead, I throw my arms up in surrender mode and go straight to the family room and lay on the floor.

Just lay on the floor. 

Because I know that this simple act changes everything. It's my parental trump card. It's my ancient chinese secret. My check-mate move.

I lay on the floor face down and after 5 seconds pass, the crying stops. Which is followed by 3 seconds of silence as they ponder how strange it is to see their mom on the floor. Free range? Free range!

I hear the giggles and the sound of feet scampering. And before I know it I've got 3 kids jumping and crawling all over me.

Rolling around. Tumbling over each other. Laughing. 

Every time I do the lay-on-the-floor-trick I'm reminded of how much I enjoy these few minutes of happiness among our chaotic daily routine. 
Pure and simple, mother and child.

I spend most days towering over them, telling them what they can and can't do. Being the enforcer or the referee. But coming down to their level? I don't do it enough. And I should because it's a game changer. Heck, this isn't just about coming down to their level, it's about getting below it, changing your viewpoint. See I want my kids to know that they can lean on me, literally and figuratively. I want them to be so comfortable with me that we can all laugh at mommy's accidental undie grundie. True story.

Sometimes we parents get caught up and forget some of the most simple of acts.  

 So I challege you, take 5 minutes today to stop, drop and roll. Feel the innocence and the excitement. Ignore the occasional knee jab to the eye and enjoy your kids. 

And then proceed to reheat the dinner that got cold. 

Friday, February 3, 2012

A Wet Winter Getaway

They sounded like a herd of baby elephants as they trampled down the hall in search of their suitcases--giddy and excited at the mere mention of a family road trip. After getting some great report cards and generally feeling the need for some family bonding, we decided to take the kids to the Wisconsin Dells for a weekend.

Telling them on a Monday had its ups and downs, on one hand it made the week ridiculously long, yet all of us were riding cloud 9 in anticipation of the getaway. They'd wake up and talk about it. We'd go to bed counting down the days. We'd even sing about it. Shocker (years ago on a random roadtrip I came up with a goofy travel song that verses can easily be changed around and it has strangely become our anthem.)


And before I knew it, we were packed up, car loaded and heading north--not looking back. Road trip snacks? Yup. Twizzlers? Check. M&M's? Check. Clementines? Check, check. We turned the volume up and shouted Baby Baby at the top of our lungs (like true Beliebers.) And it occurred to me that these moments with my family when we're free and adventurous--are my absolute favorite. I let go. I let loose. A different me, dare I say an even better one. Something about getting out of my own house, my safety net, and throwing structure and expectations out the window is so envigorating for me. All of us, actually. Even little Chance was riding the thrill of a new environment. A new hotel? Hells ya! The kids spent a good 30 minutes exploring EVERY single nook of our room. 

Why are hotel phones the COOLEST toys around? 

Taking his Trunkie for a ride
Now, if you're not already aware, the Wisconsin Dells is the waterpark capital of the world. Waterpark after waterpark after waterpark, each trying hard to outdo the other. The greatest part of some of these waterparks? INDOOR WATERPARKS! What could be better than packing a swimsuit and going tubing in the middle of January? Not much. It wasn't long before the swimsuits were on and we were hitting up the late-night waterpark in our hotel.

Fun times getting wet inside, while the snow was falling outside. 

This was their first time at a water park--and OH MY GOD they LOVED it. They were a bit nervous at first but once we took them down the slides with us, they were ready to do it on their own. 

Mia had made a family annnouncement that "in the water area she would like to be called Mermaid Mia"--but only in the water area (because god forbid you make the mistake of calling her that when tucking her in to bed later that night.)

Sista's got a mean set of standards.

He's becoming a little boy right in front of me these days.

Chance loved walking around the 9 inches of water that filled the area like a true champ. 
Lap after lap. Little man was tired!

And they loved their new bed, if only for 2 nights.

We spent the next two days at a larger waterpark, Chula Vista. Which meant that us adults got to have a few thrill seeking rides on their three story waterslides. Holy crap, it was fun! As soon as I pushed off, that familiar 7th grade feeling of slipping and sliding down the tubes all came rushing back to me. 

It was a perfect little getaway. Time and time again we are convinced that even 48 hours someplace different, is enough to make a lasting impression.

Chance HATED it when we took him out of the water to leave.

And Bella and Mia enjoyed EVERY second of their water play. 

They're already asking us when they could go back again.

And I'm already trying to plan for the next getaway.

But until then, we've got a cute little family movie to remind us:


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