When we moved into our new house, there were two bedrooms perfect for each one of our girls. Our girls who are one year apart. One might think that separating them and giving each of them their own space would be ideal, but obviously this is just a knee-jerk thought. Not one that I had spent weeks months, perhaps years plotting and planning.
My girls were going to…
**cue the dramatic hamster
(introduced to me my new bloggie crush, Rach Riot)
Yes, you might think why would you do this? Do you want more fighting? Hair pulling? Children waking up the other in the middle of the night? NO! Are you high? Why would I want that! I have my plan. Part forcing them to work out their problems together, part learning to share, part helping them feel safe in the middle of the dark night AND…
THE PLAYROOM! Ah, yes the playroom. I painted it pink before we moved in (a prerequisite for them to even move to the new house. I think it was in the contract.) and made sure it had a door that would fully close.
This brilliant idea (and I still claim it is brilliant) has saved me many a headache. I don’t have to yell at them to clean up their toys every night. Only the day before the vacuum is to enter the picture, do I tell them if it is on the floor, it will get sucked up. For some reason, they are quite good at picking that crap up. Only ONCE did they not do it and I have 4 boxes of tiny, headless Polly Pockets and Disney parts in the basement awaiting their demise.
I don’t like to clean, nor do my children. But we know that it has to happen. When the vacuum is a’comin’ you better put it into overdrive! Otherwise please close that door to the playroom on your way out and don’t forget to turn off that light. I’m not paying to light up the whole neighborhood!
How do you get your kids to clean up their crappola? Every day? Once a quarter? Talk amongst yourselves…discuss!
Before children, I used to be crafty. Not evil or plotting, but into yarn and stuff. Even when I first met my husband, I tried to knit and paint and cross-stitch…oh, how I could cross-stitch like a mothah! But that was another time, another life, and 20/15 vision up close!
Now that I have no time, no energy and can’t see within my arm’s distance, I have put my professional crafting career on hold. Until this morning.
I guess a mother can only hold back her crafting skillz so long and can be broken by the incessant whining of children complaining during their “Groundhog Day” movie version routine of getting ready for school.
“Look at your feet. What are you missing?” I ask one child for the DAILY (I’m not exaggerating) question.
“UGHHHH!!!” she says stomping her bare, blue cold feet up the stairs to retrieve socks…again. (Let’s hope this day she will return with socks because this march to her sock drawer does not always promise she will return with socks on her feet)
Today, luckily she returns with socks. Two of them. Don’t care if they match. Just want two socks that are to go on her feet before the shoe debacle.
This is what I want to happen:
Child puts on shoes, coat, grabs back pack and gets into car.
This is reality:
Child stews over which shoes to wear. Mom intervenes and says we are leaving we will meet you in the car. Child gets anxious and can’t make a decision. Plan is NOT working. (Polite little horn honk) Child comes to door with no shoes on and visibly upset.
“Just put on those shoes in your hand and get in the car,” cries out a semi-frenzied lady who has taken over this mother’s body and stomped all over her patience.
The child loses it, “I can’t wear these shoes. The laces are too long! But they are my favorite and they go with my outfit.”
Boys would be easier at this point I’m sure, but I reassure myself I love her and it would not be appropriate to leave a 7 year-old alone in the garage while taking the other child to school.
Well, she put on some old ugly beat up hobo shoes and I took her to school. Nice.
But now I have a craft project in mind.
“Perfect pink shoes with dreadfully long laces!”
First I found some leftover craft beads in her favorite colors. I chose 2 beads per each lace (8 total).
Make sure knots are snug against the beads to prevent further whining.
Two inches from the end of each lace, I tied a square knot.
Then I strung the 2 beads next to the knot.
Keeping the beads close to the first knot, tie another knot at the end to keep them in place. (If you have the first knot at 2 inches, you should be able to do the second knot without difficulty)
Repeat this 3 more times on each lace.
“OMG! Mom!!! I love them”
This is the final look. Pretty cute and the laces are no longer dragging on the ground. I know you all may be thinking why didn’t she just double knot the suckers in the first place?
You have your battles and I have mine! Don’t even get me STARTED on the double knot!!!
My Peepaw had a way of viewing life through rose colored glasses. His glass was always
Not Peepaw’s actual glasses – a metaphor, people.
half-full, and when a stranger asked how he was doing; his face would light up and he’d sing out,
No matter what cards he had been dealt. If the bluebird of happiness had just taken a dump on his shoulder, my Peepaw was Fantastic!
I can’t say I accentuate the positive as frequently as my long-ago passed grandfather, but I try. Those of you taking up residence outside the Midwest may view this outlook on life as delusional or a form of escapism.
But at a time when this country is so bloomin’ angry, I was needing to pull out the ole Ouija board and channel my Peepaw (“Pee” for short) to remind me how to fill my cup, when most of the media and population is successful at sucking every cup in this country dry.
After channeling my inner “Pee”ness, my family decided to go on a fun-filled vacation, away from the crazies – to escape from politics. So we of course drove to our state capitol. Topuka. Topeka, Kansas!
This was to be a test of wills for my husband and me since we grew up outside this armpit gem of a city, and spent the majority of our lives trying to avoid spending ANY time in that town; but because of my new outlook on life (at least for the next couple weeks), we planned to stretch our imaginations and make the best of the situation.
Imagine exiting the interstate and not getting lost for one nanosecond because our hotel is lodged right there underneath the roadway. How lucky were we not to drive around wasting gas money looking for our lodgings? Big savings already for us. Cha-ching!
When we pulled into the parking lot my new super girl reader, boasted to the rest of us, “Look Mom! Our hotel is next to ‘Hoot-ees!’” The “R” was not illuminated at night.
The OWL diner
Yes, Hooters was all glittery and sparkling with its outdoor bar and TVs facing us to distract us from the roaring cars and semis speeding overhead. Perfectly designed to draw in the children.
“They even have Christmas lights on their trees!” exclaimed my youngest daughter, appreciating the splendor of the bar, which I surely was going to explain in the near future why there was no way in Hades we were going to eat at such a pretty establishment.
Like a good mother who knows how to lie to her children, I informed them that Hooties had a parliament of owls flying overhead in there (hence, the name…) so to alleviate poop in our food, we should make a better choice.
I figured this lie was not any worse than the blasted Elf of the Shelf we have been dragging out for years – and at least when they learn the truth about “Hooties,” we will all get a good laugh!
When we entered the dump majestic hotel, the hillbilly concierge announced we were staying in the King Suite (loosely translated: a room barely big enough for a king bed and a roll-out couch). Now if you are on our “Exceedingly Optimistic Trip” (better known as traveling dirt-cheap due to hotel credits), the girls heard the word “King” and guess where we went with that one?!
Oh, yeah! Kings and Queens had stayed in our room!! We were on a roll.
What?! They could have. It’s right off the highway and a convenient stop for royalty traveling across the state of Kansas. I didn’t FactChecker it, but the mere thought of the prospect thrilled our princesses; PLUS, there was also a murky indoor pool they could jump into at anytime during our stay. We’s fancy!
Girl’s gotta know how to fill ‘er up!
The remainder of the weekend turned out successfully. (Yea! No bedbugs!) We went to the Kansas Children’s Discovery Center that knocked our socks off! Our girls actually wanted to go back several times during the remainder of the trip. Top notch and we’ve been to a-plenty of these. Nurse Mommy gives this kid interactive museum the highest rating of 5 lollipops and 2 stickers!!
Then a hop and a skip down the street and over the highway to Grandmother’s museum we went. Grammy had recommended the Kansas Museum of History which was 2 blocks away from our hotel Chalet Grimet. We were really pushing the limits on travel here. Dragging the girls whining, kicking and moping through the doors, they were surprised to have a fabulous time. They climbed aboard a real train (imagine Polar Express), saw an old airplane (one with pedals), and learned what it was like to live in the medieval days when TVs didn’t have remotes and you had to get up to turn the volume or one of the four channels. Poor, poor parents!
To finish off our weekend, we hit the Topeka Zoo. Boy, are those animals close to you. If you want to see some animals incredibly up, close and personal, this is the place folks. If you didn’t have the glass in between you and those cats, you could be their Little Friskies by one tongue length.
Needless, to say…it can be done. Cheap vacation and tricking your children into thinking their trip is just as special as Disney World. The best part is…it can only get better from here on out!
And for the love of Pete – next trip better be cleaner or I’m bringing my hip holster of 409 spray!
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