I’m Leaving on a Train Car…

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I want to start off by saying I love my kids.

I do, I do, I do.

But they drive me CRAZY!!!!

I know I’m not alone in this. I’m pretty positive every single parent, at one time or another, has envisioned running away from home holding a plaid knapsack on a stick containing a few PB&J’s while whistling a merry tune as you find a nice train car to jump into and go far, far away.

Or do what I do and hide in a corner, suck on a thumb and rock myself.

I was a teacher. I took child psychology classes, learning development classes, I knew all the stages of anal, oral, and whatever else Freud liked to talk about, so you would think when my child is freaking out about something I would remember it was normal.

It’s so hard to remember that when they are screaming at the top of their high pitched lungs and telling you they hate you because their apple isn’t as red as their brothers.

(That was last night)

My oldest is 18 and is easy at this point, but he still has no idea how to clean up after himself. He can create mods on his computer games, and defeat any enemy he wants, but the concept of bringing dirty dishes to the sink escapes him.

My 5 year olds, well, they are another story. Every minute is full of wonder, such as: “I wonder who is going to have a meltdown next?”

The Terrible Twos and Threes are nothing compared to the Terrible Fives.  I find myself correcting more during the day than cuddling, and constantly trying to see into the future to know what may or may not cause a tantrum.

Eggshells. Lots and lots of eggshells.

One of the twins said they hated me last night because I wouldn’t give them a sucker with their dinner. I have never given them a sucker with dinner, but they decided it was to be, and when I nicely refused, it caused a serious row and I was flabbergasted. I’m often flabbergasted.

One of the twins has a broken arm and decided he wanted to wear long sleeved pajamas to bed. I said that wasn’t a good idea because a) the cast doesn’t fit into the arm easily, and b) it was 85 DEGREES.

Well, that made him more determined to prove that I was wrong and he proceeded to fit that cast into the sleeve one millimeter at a time. He was getting red faced and mad and kicking and screaming, and it took him 10 minutes to put on the shirt while I watched, defeated.

But he showed me.

They also like to lie, now, which is awesome. I will say: “No, we are not going to the McDonald’s play area, it’s 9PM!” and they will say: “You’re mean. You said I’m a stupid boy and you hate me!”

WHAT?? NO I DIDN’T! “Yes, you did, you said you don’t love me any more and that I’m just a stupid head.”

<facepalm>

I’m exhausted from all the work my brain has to do to deal with them sometimes. Yelling doesn’t do anything but make everyone more frenzied, but sometimes being calm makes them think their behavior is ok. Forcing them to say they’re sorry when they aren’t, or don’t even understand why they should be sorry, is difficult, as does knowing which battle to fight or give up on.

Every generation goes through this, and I think it’s because we aren’t given enough insight into what children go through in their little brains. They are testing the waters, seeing what they can do, not realizing they are slowly sending their parents into mental zombie land.

There should be a pamphlet that is sent to us on their birthdays so we know what we’re in for the next year. Things like: “Five year olds often have no clue what the heck they really want, and reverse psychology works amazingly well at this age. They will also think they need everything they see on every commercial, especially the “As Seen on TV” ones.” (Thanks, Snackeez)

I also think there should be hotlines for each year of age and when the kids start going nutso, we can call the 1-800-5yrolds for advice.

Operator: “Hello, this is the 5 year old hotline, how can I help you?”

Me: “Um, hi there, my 5 year old won’t come downstairs because I refuse to carry his blankie for him.”

Operator: “Do you have a plaid knapsack on a stick?”

Me: “Why, yes I do.”

Operator: “Fill it up with sandwiches and find yourself a train car.”

 

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Cross THAT Off the Bucket List

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I’ve been playing musical instruments since 4th grade, starting when my mom brought me back a little silver fife from Williamsburg, Virginia. I played it for hours. My brother Sean, a first grader at the time, tried to play his but he couldn’t and said it was “stupid” and “girly” and then I had two fifes.

(He would later go on to be a fantastic trumpet player that could hit the highest of high F’s after not playing for a year, but gave that up for FOOTBALL…)

I played flute in 5th grade, then Mom then dusted off her clarinet and I started playing that in 7th. I couldn’t stop practicing, I loved it so much. I would tape myself on a cassette recorder (for the youngins, it was something we old-timers used to record music with) playing one part, then rewind and have a duet with myself.

Good times.

I played all through high school, then packed the clarinet away before leaving for my freshman year at Kent State where I was majoring in elementary education.

That year, I was MISERABLE without playing.  After 6 + years of playing my clarinet, I missed it, but what could I do? I was too shy and figured everyone at the music building were Juilliard caliber players.

Then it happened.

I heard the soundtrack to “The Little Mermaid” and decided right then and there to change my major to music. I went home, got the clarinet, and practiced in the dead of night at the music building so none of the music majors could hear me in case I sucked real bad.

I auditioned, made it into the school and got a scholarship to boot. I was so excited to change majors.

I met my best friend, Diane, the 2nd day of my sophomore year, the fall of 1991. I walked into the band room, and had NO clue where to sit. You have no idea how terrifying that is…everyone knew everyone, and I was freaking out that I would accidentally sit in the flute section, the HORROR.

Thankfully, Diane recognized me from our clarinet class the day before, and yelled: “Hey, come sit by me!” I loved her that moment, and 24 years later we are still best friends.

In college, I played clarinet, then became the Eb clarinet player (it’s like a piccolo clarinet) for the school. At least I played it for most of the pieces, unless a greedy clarinet grad student took my part because there was a great solo in it. BUT I’M NOT BITTER.

I’m still bitter. 

With all the opportunities,  I wasn’t satisfied with just playing clarinet, I needed to play everything I could get my hands on. Luckily I was indulged greatly by the music faculty, and during my years as a music major I played: piccolo, flute, alto flute, bass flute, oboe, Eb clarinet, Bb clarinet, Bass clarinet, contra-bass clarinet, alto, tenor, and baritone saxes, and accompanied soloists on the piano.  I was the person that played what no one else wanted to.

One thing I really wanted to do, though, was direct sing. I thought I had a decent voice, but was so unsure of it that I botched all of my singing auditions in high school. One time, I pretended to have a cold when auditioning for “My Fair Lady” and ended up getting the role of a MAN with 3 lines.  My singing was then limited to a few karaoke sessions at dive bars but only after a few wine coolers.

Hardcore.

I eventually sang in church for a few years, but was always uncomfortable. I decided that one day, I would find the opportunity to sing with a band and belt out something before I die.

Then the community band director mentioned needing a vocalist for “Blue Moon.” In a rare moment of “OMG I WANT IT, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE LEMME HAVE IT!” I asked if I could audition right there. He looked startled and had an “oh-crap-what-if-she-sucks-then-I’ll-have-to-figure-out-how-to-say-no” face, but he let me, and next thing I know, I’m in.

I made it!

So the concert was June 20th, and I got up on stage in a middle school auditorium and sang my heart out. I was not even a little bit nervous, and I’m not sure why. Before a clarinet recital in college I would be ready to hurl 3 seconds before going on stage then break into uncontrollable yawning.

Not this time. I had a lot of friends and family come to see me. The best parts were my husband waving to me like a goober from the very back of the room, my twins yelling: “That’s my mommy!”, and my own mommy beaming at me from a few rows from the front. (She told everyone afterwards: “This is my BABY!”)

Scratch that off the bucket list.

I need to get started on my other items, such as finishing my novel and making millions of dollars, meeting Jon Stewart, and getting my 5 year olds to wipe their butts consistently.

That last one is going to be a doozy!

If Animals Could Talk…

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Today I was sweeping the driveway and a bird hopped about 5 feet away from me with a worm hanging from its mouth. Without thinking I said: “Hi birdie!” (For the record, I know he wasn’t going to talk back.)

He looked over at me and stared while the worm was desperately trying to wriggle out of his mouth, hopped a few more inches towards me, then a truck drove by scaring him, and he flew away.

Boring story, I know. But what if it happened like this:

Me: (Sweeping, sees bird) “Hey, Johnny! How are you doing today?”

Johnny: (speaks English just because) “Cwwie!” Turns, spits out worm on the ground. “Sorry, I shouldn’t talk with my mouth full! Carrie, I’m doing great! Just found me a big old breakfast, gonna surprise the Missus with it in a few.”

(Worm wriggling away at -45mph)

Me: “Well, don’t let me keep you! By the way, could you tell Adam to stop pooping on the kids’ swingset?”

Johnny: “Oh man, that kid is gross, and he refuses to eat anything that isn’t blue.”

Me: “Um, yeah, I noticed.”

Johnny: “I’ll have a chat with him, feather – to – feather. Bye now!” Spies the worm that made it 3 centimeters away, scoops it up, flies away.

MUCH BETTER STORY.

The other day there was something going on in my woods. There was an epic amount of birds flying around that would have made Alfred Hitchcock nervous. They were squawking and flying and screeching and I was sure there were zombies out there.

I would have loved to be able to go out there and say: “HEY! What the heck is going on out here?”

Then Johnny would come down and say: “Oh-Em-Gee, Carrie, Cindy’s eggs just hatched. Two of the babies are red, and one is blue. The blue one is from another birdy daddy…it’s gonna be on like Donkey Kong.”

Better than zombies any day!

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