Friday, November 30, 2007

He knows a great deal

for a 3 year old.

Me: We need to go to the post office and mail some packages
Him: Should I pack a snack?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Short term disappointment vs long term enjoyment

Last year at Xmas Havoc was disappointed in most of his gifts. The thing he really wanted was the last thing he opened & by the time he got to it he was feeling pretty unhappy. But he was ecstatic when he opened that gift. It's not like he rejected a large pile of gifts, he had 5. It's not that there was anything wrong with the gifts he had opened. They just were not the 'hot rod' he really really wanted and had asked for from Santa. By the time he had opened the other 4 gifts he was upset that he hadn't received the one thing he had asked for & wanted. I don't criticize him for this. I've felt the same myself.  The thing is.... in the long term, those other 4 gifts have seen far more use & provided far more enjoyment than the one he really really wanted. The hot rod was the toy of choice for 48 hours and was played with occasionally for a couple months after that.  It's been sitting untouched on the shelf since July.  The Leapster he was so disappointed in, gets played with weekly, sometimes even daily.  The Thomas train station is always out, the books & game are played with regularly.

I know my children. I can tell very well which toys are impulse wants and which toys are likely to see long term use.  They love radio controlled things, but they rarely play with them. They are too young to appreciate & enjoy the challenge & skill development aspect of them, so they get bored.  But they find them enormously appealing & desperately want them. I'm not going to spend $40-75 on a toy that will see very little use.

This wasn't really a problem until this year.  Last year was the first year any specific toy really stayed in his mind and it was only one $10 item. Even though I suspected the toy would not be a long term toy it was not big deal to get it.  This year the list is much longer.  I've been hearing about various remote control vehicles and race car crashing things non-stop since September.  These toys are single use items. There are no creative play aspects to them and I know the boys will quickly tire of them. I'm not getting them. I've been trying to prepare the boys for this all along. They know they are only getting 3 things. They accept that. Havoc seems to understand that if you are only getting 3 things and you are asking for 10, you won't be getting some of them, but I don't think he grasps the reality of that.  Mayhem parrots his brother & doesn't understand at all.  I've told Havoc flat out that he will not be getting any of those ride on battery powered Jeeps and things and he cries about it but I see no point in lying to him. 

I've already bought their presents. Each of them is getting something they asked for already and a couple things I know they will like & play with long term that they have not.

They are going to be some very sad little boys Xmas when,in the end, there is no Shake & Go Crashing Race track under the tree.  But I just don't have $60 to spend on a toy that will be a thrill for 3 days tops & then ignored because it does nothing but crash cars together (I don't have $60 period. It'd be the only thing one of them got.).  Even small boys get bored with that after awhile.  I know that. But man I feel bad for refusing to buy the one thing my kids really really want.

Monday, November 26, 2007

It's good to be home

You know you have been stuck in a car with small children for too damn long when you and your spouse staring high fiving one another when you spot a McD's with a play area.  It took us 9 hours to get out of Florida, a trip that should only take 6. Traffic was moving at 20mph on I75 for nearly the whole time we were on it.  No reason for it. No construction, no accidents, no flat tire or cops having pulled someone over (why would they, we were 50mph under the speed limit). At one point I had to pull over so DH could hack his way into the underbrush & find a spot for Havoc to poop. I'd been hoping to reach an exit for 10 minutes by then & only gone a couple of miles. 

I seem to have a ton of laundry to do.  I'm not sure how that happened because I did laundry the day before we left. There should only be 4 sets of clothing & 2 of Pjs from that day waiting for us when we got home. I did laundry the night before we left FL as well. So there should be 2 days of clothing for 4 people from the drive home.  Yet somehow I have almost 4 loads of laundry to do.  WTF is up with that?  The house is also a mess. I'd accuse the cats of having a wild party while we were gone, but lacking opposable thumbs they can't open the door to let their friends in.  But there are a bunch of crumbs on my kitchen floor.  I know the toys are all over the house because of the boys. The first thing children must do upon returning home from a long vacation is reacquaint themselves with all their possessions. This means dragging everything off the shelves & out of the drawers,playing with an item intently for 5 minutes & then moving on to the next thing until every toy in the house is on the floor.

Friday, November 23, 2007

That is a lot of photos!

622 photos made the printing cut. Even with my parents' cable connection it took me almost an hour to upload them. I didn't go through all of them because I felt it more important to upload them while I had the faster connection. I can do some basic cropping online & that is all any of them really need. It'll be just over $76 to print them all and I only have 2 photo albums at the moment, so they will get printed in batches

I did very little black Friday digi shopping. I got a template set by Teresa fergusson, and kits by ScrapKitchen Designs and Fee Jardine at Sweet Shopp and some some overlays by Stacey J Stahl & Birgit Kerr from DSAG.

I did spend $140 at Amazon on assorted Christmas gifts & now only have to buy one game & something for DH & then I am done.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

An active day

We started the morning off at 9am with what Mayhem calls a 'bike walk', where the kids ride their bikes and the adults walk along at some distance behind them.  My folks' community has all these walking/biking paths all over place, connected by humpback bridges. Havoc and cousin Mischief, rode their bikes, while Mayhem had his 3 wheeler and DH and went along. They can go fairly fast on the straightaways but they can't bike up or down the bridges so we can catch up with them at those points.  Mayhem discovered the thrill of a lifetime - riding his bike down the bridge. He lifts his feet and shout "Wooooo!" and flies down that hill. He keeps control of it the whole way & then does some gentle swerves to slow down. Impressive for a 3 year old going really really fast.  We went about a mile all told. Then we came home & everyone went in the pool.  Havoc stayed in the pool for about 2 hours or more.  Mayhem & Mischief were in and out. After lunch they were off for another bike walk, then back in the pool, then back on bikes (this time in the circle in front of the house, my folks live at the end of a cul de sac), then back in the pool until dinner. Their other lcousin, Giggles, is too little to bike so she only was in the pool.

Now they are all making sugar cookies with Aunty, while DH makes chocolate chip cookies. We will have cookies out the wazoo when they are all done.

Tomorrow we are going to the beach in the morning & then more biking and swimming

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I had no idea

I'd planned to spend part of my time here sorting through all my photos & pick out some to print. I have no printed photos. I haven't printed out a photo at all in the 21st century (professionally, I do print my own on my crappy printer for certain projects) . I thought I might end up with about 250 photos to print. But no. I selected almost that many just for the first 15 months of Havoc's life. And those are the ones I selected. I've easily got 5 times that many I'm not printing. I averaged about 125 for years 2004-2006. I have about 500 or so photos to print before I get to this year's, this will run me about $60-70 with shipping. I'm also going to need a few more photo albums. I have a couple nice ones that have a space on the side of sleeve to write information but they don't hold enough photos. I also don't recall where I bought them, World Market maybe.

I still have to go through & crops some & fix the eyes & lighting on others before they can be printed. There might be about 30 or so that need significant retouching. If they are just a tad dark or light I'm going to leave them be. I'm not running 500+ photos through Lightroom. I discovered that ACDSee will to batch resizing so once I have them cropped to right the proportions I can just tell it to make sure they are all 4x6 so they will print properly. I'm hoping to finish with this by Friday so I can upload to WalMart from here. My parents have cable internet.

I miss my dual screens. I am so not used to the limited screen of my laptop.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Friday & Saturday


9:15am - left with much wailing & whining & general grumpiness. This mental state would continue through the next 32 hours.

9:30am - stopped to mail a package, took 5 mintues

10:10am - realized plan to get oil change in C-ville was a forlorn hope. Why is everyone in C-ville getting their oil changed at 10am on a Friday morning? There was line of people waiting at Jiffy Lube.

11:45ish - got lost on a by pass & ended up 14 miles out of our way before realizing. According to the ladies at the Gas & Go, this is a common occurrence.

12:30pm - stop at McD's somewhere near the the North Carolina border.

1:30pm - cross into North Carolina

heavy traffic on I77. Mayhem naps for 2 hours.

3:45pm - stop at a Love's rest stop for juice, water, chips & a race around the area for the boys.  We may have been in South Carolina at this point but I can't be sure. South Carolina did not announce itself the way North Carolina and Georgia do.  We just suddenly realized at one point we were outside of Columbia and therefor must be in South Carolina

5:50pm - stop at Ruby Tuesday's for dinner. This was a very nice, quiet & understated Ruby Tuesday's, with low lighting & subdued coloring and soft chairs.  The one at home is bright & garish & full of sport memorabilia, though I hear they are redecorating & most of the sports stuff has gone to Glory Days.  I had a very good turkey & avocado burger, which is my favorite thing to order there.

6:50pm- back on the road

10:30pm - stop at a Holiday Inn near the Jacksonville airport.

Midnight - Mayhem still awake, Havoc tossing  & turning

5am - Mayhem restless.  I'd slept in small bits.

6:30am - both boys up.  DH & I lay in bed trying to sleep until 7am & then give up.

7:30am - breakfast at Waffle House, DH's favorite part of the journey.

8:30am - on I295

9:15am - on Rt301, stopped at the TA plaza for a half an hour trying to fix Havoc's glasses (we'd had them less than 36 hours & the were already bent beyond belief & one of the lenses fallen out). The a/c issue is becoming more noticeable. It is quite warm in the car.

11:10am - break at a rest stop on I75. 

1:15pm - gave up search for diner or Denny's and stopped at Applebee's. It was right next to a Tuffy's so we dropped the car off for an oil change while we ate. Mayhem so cranky & overtired the people in the booth behind us ask to be moved. I personally am so tired & worn I cannot summon the energy to be embarrassed by this but dearly wish to move with them. Learn that my car a/c has no freon & must have a leak because it was just refilled 2 months ago & something is going on with the steering column.  My car is due for inspection next month & will need new tires to pass. Guess what I am getting for Christmas?

3:00pm - back on the road, grumpier than ever knowing not only will I be spending an enormous sum in labor to fix the a/c, plus parts, but I will also be in Florida for a week with no a/c in my car.

5:30pm - arrive at Mom & Dad's

5:40pm - boys in the swimming pool.


Friday the boys watched Cars, Peter Pan, a Mickey Mouse video, Madagascar & a different Mickey Mouse video. Saturday they paid vague attention to Jungle Book, Ice Age and a collection of Backyardigan's episodes.

DH & I listened to the end of Five Little Pigs and all of A Bone of Contention, which turned out to be twice as long as I thought it was.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Nothing to do but wait

and wonder...did I pack everything? What necessary & irreplaceable item have I forgotten to put in the suitcase? What am I suddenly going to remember in South Carolina?

I have lists of everything but the kids' toys and I'll have that once they pack them.  So far we have one giant suitcase, one overnight suitcase, one small dufflebag, 2 laptop cases, 2 sleeping bags, a soft sided cooler, a portable DVD player, a case of DVDs, 2 kiddy suitcases and a Wii. There will also be the winter coats we won't wear but feel obligated to bring with us in case it is really cold on our trip back (for the 5 second dash from car to restaurant or gas station bathroom).  I have my Zen loaded with about 14 audiobooks & am debating whether to bringmy crochet project along.  On the one hand 18 hours in a car with nothing to do is tedious. On the other hand there really is no room for a bag of yarn.

Havoc's glasses are in. We go pick them up after school, grab lunch with Daddy, come home, clean the house, select movies & toys for the trip, eat dinner, rush to the school for the thanksgiving play, get home around 9pm, pack up DH's clothes and go to bed. Tomorrow we leave as soon as we eat breakfast,  load the car, and round up the cats. A friend will be feeding them daily while we are gone so they have to stay in the house.  At some point I need a shower & the boys need baths.  Saturday night I can rest & then Sunday my brother's family arrives.  Busy, nosiy week ahead.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I hesitate to mention it but,

Mayhem has eaten 3 dinners in a row with a minimum of fuss. Not that they were fuss free or anything, but the fuss was more of a token fuss, a fuss because it is expected, not necessarily because he is actually upset.

Sunday he had taquitos, which were his choice & therefore limited his fussing subjects. He complained about the size of the pieces I had cut for him and there was some grumbling about whether there were too many or not enough pieces on the plate.  Then he ate them and asked for more.

Monday we had cream of veg soup - potato & spinach this time - plus a salad & bread. There was an immediate flurry of protest at this meal that ended with a request that I feed him the required one bite. He eventually ate all the soup, DH feeding him nearly all the bites. He ate the required one bite of lettuce and nibbled at the bread.

Tuesday was noodle casserole with cheese and salad. Basically homemade mac & cheese with some pureed carrot for color.  There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth from Mayhem once he was dragged to the table.  He was persuaded to take the required one bite & he refused to eat more.  However, Daddy distracted him by talking about school, and another bite went in his mouth. Daddy and Havoc started singing the various letter songs that Mayhem is learning in school and in between songs Mayhem would eat another bite.  Eventually he finished the whole bowl.

Now I am in a bit of a quandary.  What should I serve for dinner tonight?  I'd planned on mock tandoori chicken because I need to use up the yogurt. But because Mayhem is eating I'm leaning toward pizza to be sure of keeping up the streak.  Perhaps instead of just baking the yogurt marinated strips plain I could bread them? But I have no bread crumbs.  I do have goldfish crackers though. Goldfish chicken strips!!!! A-ha!  We'll see how that goes.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I have scrappers shoulder

As a result of scrapping all weekend I have overextended some muscles in my right shoulder (my mouse arm).  I have a hard time staying properly seated when I am scrapping & end up hunched up with my mouse arm straight out & a bit to the right.  Apparently doing this continuously will pull those muscles. 

But I am about to take an enforced break from scrapping in a few days.  We'll be going on vacation and with 11 people in the house and a minimum of 5, maybe 6, laptops in use, I'll be lucky to find an out of the way outlet & bit of tabletop.  See, those other laptops are 'work' laptops and they take priority on electricity & work space.  My laptop is a 'play' laptop & is at the bottom of the power chain. Plus I really need my flatscreen monitor to scrap. I just can't work on my laptop monitor.  I've gotten a little to used to my dual monitor set up. 

So instead of scrapping I will be going through my photos.  My sons have been complaining they don't have a photo album to look through.  They have an album of printed digi pages & they like leafing through it, but they want just photos.  I haven't had a photo printed (other than by myself) since 2001.  We are 100% digi in this house, due to pure laziness on my part. I have blank albums that I have been intending for 2 years to get photos into. I just need to do. So that is my little project next week, to sort through 2002-2007's photos and choose the best of every month for printing.  My folks have cable internet so even with all the so-called 'work' being done (Yeah I can see over your shoulder little brother, I didn't realize you could sell furniture to you fellow WOW players) I ought to be able to upload everything to Shutterfly or Walmart easily.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

How are my children still healthy

let alone alive?

I don't wipe every surface in my house down with Clorox.  I've never, not once, sanitized their toys.  We've had other children over to play and I've never even sprayed Lysol around the play area when they left.  There isn't a single bottle of Purell in the house.  Why hasn't CPS arrived yet?

The only thing, and I mean seriously, the ONLY THING, being marketed to me on TV currently is cleaning supplies.  No one is trying to sell me a mini van, (going by the soundtracks they are aiming toward moms 10 years younger than me) or investment advice (geared toward women with kids about to go to college), or even a burger.  Possibly they are trying to sell me Nutrisystem but that commercial featuring the woman who went from a size 8 to a size 2 just pisses me off (I've forced my body into unhealthy weight loss and so can you!), so it doesn't count.

Which leaves Clorox, and Lysol and the billions upon billions of germs that I am wantonly and neglectfully exposing my children to everyday through my thoughtlessly lax cleaning habits.  And Taco Bell who just now ran an ad with "I Melt for You" playing. I may just have to go buy something from Taco Bell in appreciation of their not attempting to frighten me with scare tactics.  And I don't even really like Taco Bell

Saturday, November 10, 2007

We've borrowed a Wii

A couple of DH's co-workers own Wiis.  They have an office 'Wii night' every few weeks. They hook it up to the overhead projector in the conference room and play it on a 6 foot screen.  The boxing game in the favorite. DH comes home exhausted after 2 hours of having his butt kicked.  One of them offered to lend DH his Wii so the boys and I could try it out.  He has had it for about a year. It doesn't get much use apparently. It was popular in the house for about a month, with every day play, then dropped to a couple of times a week and now is only a couple time a month if that. Apparently there are not that many games and they have a sort of sameness.  No first person shooter or World of Warcraft type games, which are the games they play the most. I'm sure all that stuff will be available by the time we can afford and find a Wii (probably a used 2 versions out Wii2.0 at the rate we are going, maybe as a high school grad present).  Meantime, we're enjoying borrowing it.  I like the bowling game. I'm as bad on Wii as I am in real life so I'd say the play is very realistic. I think I hurt my arm tossing the ball.  Havoc likes the tennis and cow rider game. Mayhem isn't really able to play anything but he has fun watching the graphics & making things happen.

While we are enjoying it, I think even if we could afford & find a Wii I wouldn't buy one. I'm fairly sure the same thing that happened with DH's co-worker would happen with us. We'd get 4-6 weeks of frequent use and then have a very expensive dust collector.  I wonder if any of his co-workers would let us borrow their XBOX 360?

Friday, November 09, 2007

I'm not going to jinx myself

by mentioning how many toys we've had to return so far. We've been lucky.  My brother's family though has ended up returning about half their daughters' birthday presents.

Personally I'm kinda freaked out by the whole thing and am glad I'd already decided to go with books & games this year.  I'm not alone in this.  There are a whole bunch of people over at The Parent Bloggers Network sharing their thoughts & ideas about this as well.

Havoc is getting a new game for his Leapster, the movie Ratatouille, a game like High Ho Cherry-O or kiddy Uno, a giant puzzle by Melissa & Doug, and some books.

Mayhem is getting a new to him Imaginext pirate ship (Imaginext has not had any recalls), the Shrek 3 movie, a game to be determined. He wants Hungry Hungry Hippos, a set of Melissa & Doug wooden puzzles & some books.

Both will probably get a random wooden truck to be purchased at some point from the local co-op.

Both boys will get some Take Along Thomas stocking stuffers (also still blessedly recall free) and if I can find them some of the new Cars diecasts.

So obviously I am not banning all things Chinese made, but sticking with my usual shopping. We'd already decided to cut back on the toys this year so the recent recalls don't really affect my shopping

Check out the Consumer Union Advocacy site for updated information on toy recalls and ways you can help spread the "get the lead out" message this holiday season. Until we hit them in their pocketbook, big business has no vested interest in keeping our kids safe.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

So, what will they eat?

It's not as if they don't eat anything but goldfish crackers & pizza. They do like a variety of foods, some of them are even nutrition & many are vitamin fortified.

Havoc will eat - whole grain bagels with honey, toast with butter or honey, peanut butter & jelly sandwiches (on soft bread), Tyson chicken patties, Mrs Paul's fish sticks, taquitos, apples, bananas, oranges, watermelon, sometimes mango, dried apricots, any type of pasta in any sort of sauce (as long as it isn't chunky), pretzel, yogurt pretzels, yogurt, scrambled eggs, pizza (any sauce but only cheese, though sometimes pepperoni is ok), assorted cookies that are not solid chocolate (he's not fond of chocolate baked goods), hot dogs, meatloaf, tater tots, curly fries, tempura fried veggies (except broccoli), rice, tamako sushi, chicken noodle soup, vanilla ice cream, most breakfast cereals, pancakes and applesauce

Mayhem will eat - whole grain bagels with peanut butter, peanut butter sandwiches (on soft bread), Tyson chicken patties, Mrs Paul's fish sticks, taquitos, apples, grapes, dried pineapple, raisins, yogurt covered raisins, any type of pasta in any sort of sauce (as long as it isn't chunky), pretzel, yogurt pretzels, yogurt, pizza (any sauce but only cheese, but maybe artichokes or zucchini), assorted cookies, hot dog buns, hamburgers, meatloaf, tater tots, curly fries, tempura fried veggies (except broccoli), rice (only with spicy sauce), ice cream, most breakfast cereals, pancakes, waffles with peanut butter and most hard cheeses.

They drink heavily watered down juice, often V-8 Fusion because it has veggies in it, and milk with breakfast.

Given the above lists, is it any real wonder that I put spinach in my meatloaf and purees in my pizza and pasta sauce? Or make pumpkin waffles and sweet potato pancakes, zucchini bread, banana muffins and carrot cake?

Monday, November 05, 2007

Did some scrapping

Finally! I have had a longish streak of non-scrapping but I've done 5 layouts in the last 3 days & I am working on a 6th.  Considering I did about 4 layouts in the past 6 weeks, that is pretty good.

Check out my gallery at Digi Shop Talk to see my latest stuff. 

I'm trying to get it all in now while I can.  Next Friday we leave for my folks place for a week.  My brother & his family will be there at the same time. 6 adults, 4 preschoolers and a preteen in a 3 bedroom 1800sq ft echo chamber of a house. My ears already ache from the thought of the noise. I'll survive it. I always do, but I do get a bit bitchy about 3 nights into it. I love seeing my family & I love that my kids get to spend so much time with their cousins. But I am an introvert among extroverts. My family is gregarious & social & always going someplace & doing something and I left home eagerly at 18 because I like sitting quietly & reading and I can't do that around my family. They are active, involved, chatty people & I can't even manage that as an online persona, you can imagine how I am in real life. 

I'm hoping to get to the beach this year. We missed it last year for some reason, just never made the time. The boys want to go. It looks like the waterpark will be open this time, they closed last year due to lack of lifeguards.  DS1 wants to play mini golf & that is my favorite thing to do on vacation.  I've got my list of 'books to buy' ready. I take one book with me and buy 3-5 while I am there.  When my brother & I had no kids we'd all go out to dinner nearly every night, but now, can you imagine seating 11 people, let alone paying for it??  We'll probably go to CiCis for pizza one night.  Mom will no doubt make spaghetti one night. I've volunteered to make meatloaf for dinner one night and I'm guessing there will be burgers once as well.  And of course Thanksgiving. I offered to make stuffing, so I have to remember to bring both the cornbread stuffing recipe and the cornbread recipe because you can't find cornbread in south Florida, not even a mix. I'd like to make conrbread & oyster stuffing but no one will eat it but my father & I, so I am leaning toward cornbread & bacon, but may stick to the cornbread & sage.

Traditionally on Friday night my brother, SIL, DH and I leave the kids with our folks & go out to dinner together to celebrate our anniversary. But this year they are leaving on Friday (they usually don't arrive until Wed & stay until Sun, this year they are arriving on Sun) and Thanksgiving is so early in the month, our anniversary is well into the following week.  But I think I may have to insist on a nice dinner, in a quiet restaurant that night anyway.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

This is going to take days

I haven't been scrapping much lately. I had little to no desire to do so for the last 6 weeks. I quit all my CTs but the PSP script one. I totally immersed myself in reading for 6 weeks. I re-read all of the Sarah Kelling mysteries (10), all the Mrs Pollifax mysteries (13), most of the Peter Wimsey mysteries (7, there is only so much Lord Peter I can put up with), some of the Amelia Peabody mysteries (8, again, only so much Amelia can be tolerated), all 4 for Hillary Tamar mysteries, several of the Mary Russel mysteries (Mary's personality is similar to Amelia & Peter's. I'd like to shut them all in a room together with a pot of tea & watch them all one up each other with thier knowledgeable smug superority.) and a half a dozen novels of historical fiction.  50 some books later I think I am as sated with reading as I am ever likely to be (though I have 2 more Polly Platt travel memoirs to go) .  And I'm in the mood to scrap.

I've done 2 layouts in the past 2 days for challenges at Sweet Shoppe.  It's also Digital Scrapbooking Day today so all the stores are having sales.  Plus one of my favorite designers, Traci Reed, was having a special sale a couple days ago to celebrate her new store and it's the start of the month so 2 sites where I have membership have new monthly kits.  I bought 2 kits from Traci, there was a gift kit at MSA and one for signing up for Little Dreamer Designs newsletter, then I went shopping at Sweet Shoppe. I got a paper pack from Lauren Reid, a kit from Scrap Kitchen designs, the SS Quarterly Pack and the SS Goodie Bag.  All together I spent less than $20.  I have 61 folders of stuff to tag in ACDSee!!!!

61 folders of stuff, many with subfolders of other stuff.  I'm going to be at this for a week!

the Dinner that Never Ended

Last night I made my chicken & sweet potato salad for dinner. It consists of chunks of grilled chicken, steamed sweet potatoes, avocados, & crumbled bacon in a mustardy vinaigrette on a bed of spinach. People seem to really like it. I get many requests to bring it to cook outs & pot lucks. Its good hot or cold. Adults & kids both eat it willingly. except my kids.

All I really ask of them is they at least taste the food they are given before rejecting it. One bite of the stuff, that is it. In this case that means you have to eat a bite sized chunk of chicken & sweet potato. 2 bites of food, that you have eaten in the past without issue. If it has become hideous to you in the 5-6 weeks since you last ate it then fine, you don't have to finish it & can go have a mini bagel or an apple. Is that too much? Am I horrible parent for expecting this? 2 freaking bites of good tasting food you have eaten before? My kids don't seem to have figured or or like the time honored kid traditions of smothering disagreeable food in ketchup or ranch dressing or using the whole glass of juice to wash down the unwanted stuff while chewing quickly. By the time I was Havoc's age I could swallow lima beans whole with one gulp of water.  I attribute my ability to swallow any size pill I am given to that early training.

Havoc eventually choked down the required bites, though each one took him well over 5 minutes to eat because he tucked in his cheek and wouldn't chew or swallow it until threatened with being served it for breakfast.

Mayhem never tried it. He just sat there saying "That's yuck." when asked to eat it, which got him moved to the time out chair for a few minutes & then back to the table and repeat. When told it would be his breakfast he said 'no it won't'. And nothing in his experience led him to believe otherwise. That threat had been made before & come to nothing because Daddy wasn't sufficiently frustrated to follow through the next morning. (Daddy does breakfast, which means pouring out the kid's cereal or toasting a waffle & then going back to bed for a half hour. He'd actually have to stay up if he followed through on the threat) Daddy seemed to have reached his point last night because the bowl was wrapped up & put in the fridge. Mayhem was given nothing else but a glass of watered juice.

This morning he asked for breakfast & was offered his dinner. He pitched a fit & ate nothing. At morning snack he said he was super hungry & asked for a PB sandwich & was again offered his dinner.  He was told that once he had eaten a bite of chicken & a bite of potato, he could have a PB sandwich or a waffle or whatever he wanted, but he had to eat those 2 bites first. He protested a bit, then said ok. But when faced with sweet potato on his fork he took a sniff, announced "that yuk!" and refused to eat it.  DH took the boys along on a small work expedition at a tower, he packed juice, snacks & Mayhem's dinner. He is going to take them to McD's for a late lunch when he is done, but Mayhem has to eat his 2 bites first.  I told him meatloaf was for dinner & he loves meatloaf & he isn't happy he's got to eat the 2 bites first.

How is this going to turn out? Which side will win? Why has it come to this? How did it come to this? I didn't set out for a battle of wills when I made dinner last night. All I wanted was something we all were likely to eat & involved the avocado that was perfectly ripe & had to be used right now. What am I teaching him, to eat the food he is given? That I am bigger than him & can make him do things? To try new things? Possibly for the rest of his life he will hate this meal because of the drama associated with it. To this day I won't eat frozen pizza because of a drama between me & my dad when I was 10 that resulted in my crying non stop while choking down 2 frozen slices.

We pick our battles, we try to keep them as few & far between as possible, but when we do choose to have them, we go to the mat. I can't imagine a good outcome to this. He isn't going to eat those 2 bites, decide they actually taste good & ask for more. We can't back down because you undermine yourself if you do that. Don't issue ultimatums unless you are willing to follow through. The best I can hope for is at some point the desire for food he likes will force him to eat the 2 bites and next time we say 'eat a bite or it's for breakfast' he'll just eat the bite & we can all get on with our lives.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

And the winners of the "our mom is so lame"

category of the Halloween costume contest is....


for their mother's last minute pirate costumes consisting of her belts, her workout bandanas and their father's T-shirts!

And lets not forget to mention her fabulous camera work - taking a photo of kids in black T-shirts against a dark green bush in the dark!

I honestly think it is fun to rummage around the house & see what sort of costume I can come up with.  That was one of the best parts of Halloween when I was kid.  I had some pre-made costumes when I was small but by the time I was 8 or so I was wearing rollers in my hair, had cold cream on my face and my mom's bathroom & claming to be dressed as a housewife. Or my dad's overcoat & old hat with a notebook and calling myself a detective. A cardboard box and aluminum foil made a robot. And there was always the ubiquitous white bed sheet ghost or toga. 

As an adult I am still not inclined to spent $25 on a costume that will be worn for a total of 2 hours & then discarded.  I'm not inclined to buy the same costume, a couple sizes larger for $8 on Nov 1st either. It will either be misplaced or forgotten by next year or the child who wanted it this year will want to be something else next Halloween. Nor am I inclined to spend several hours sewing something that will only be worn for 2 hours. Plus given my children's tendencies, they will have changed their minds on their costume right around the time I get done sewing.  I do sew their Ren Faire costumes (heavily hemmed so I can let the out & get several years wear) & then encourage them to wear those outfits at Halloween. I'd meant to make proper pirate outfits for faire wear this year but then we decided to do Great Wolf lodge instead of the faire this year so I put it off.  They have kilts though. The wore the kilts to a Halloween party last week & were all set to wear them trick or treating, but then at 2pm yesterday I was informed that kilts were not scary enough. I decided they are bit young for me to disprove that by showing them Braveheart, so I went through DH's shirts until I found a couple non-collared, solid colored Ts.  I was going to cut some fabric strips for belts when I remembered I had some that would work.  Pull the shirt on over their regular clothes, strap the belt around their waist, tuck in the plastic swords they got at a birthday party this summer and wrap a bandana around their head. Voila! Pirates!

They looked really adorable too.  I wish I had thought to take pictures when it was still light out.