A Letter to Sleep

Dear Sleep,

Where have you been? I miss you so much. I wish you could stay longer. This coming and going thing has really got me wondering. Please stay with me just a little bit longer at nights. I get lonely without you. I think I might go crazy.

You always come and go as you wish and I’m tired. I don’t mind sleeping in that puddle of drool on my pillow. I just need some good rest. Please! I beg of you!

Come by early. Come by anytime, as long as the babies are sleeping…so stop at them first. I really need you. I’m ready anytime.

And please stop by Elsie’s pillow and take a little extra time. Sprinkle some of that sweet sparkly dream dust on her. She is a growing girl and needs you. I’m also tired of getting up in the middle of the night with her. I mean, seriously, it’s been 10 months. She should be sleeping all the way through the night. Do your damn job! Sorry. Please help us.

I know we’re a big family and keep you busy, but we depend on you.

I might have taken you for granted in years past. Okay, I know I took you for granted in years past and I’m sorry. I really do appreciate you.

You don’t know what you’re doing to me. No sleep makes me a blubbering idiot. I spaz out easy and feel like I’m losing it. I forget things and trip over kids and dogs when I don’t have you, sleep. I also repeat myself and can’t keep one train of thought. Do you see?

I might just lose it if you aren’t with me all night.

Please chase the dark circles away from under my eyes.


A tired psycho mommy and sweet lil’ Elsie

p.s.  Collin could use a little extra dream dust, too. He wakes up at 5:30 am.

p.p.s.  It would be really nice if you could let me sleep in this weekend. At least until 7 am.

p.p.p.s. You shouldn’t give Brad so much dream dust so maybe he will quit snoring and wake up with the babies one of these nights or weekend mornings.

Thank you.


Yackety Yack! Don’t Talk Back.

Yackety yack! Don’t talk back.  This has been my theme song lately.

Oh, the things kids say. Lately, Bradley has been getting into a lot of trouble with the things he has been saying.

I don’t know where this came from and I don’t remember when it started. I do know it is driving me nuts. And it seems like no matter how much he gets in trouble for it, he keeps doing it. Here are a few samples:

Me:  Do you want oatmeal?

Bradley:  No, you’re oatmeal.

Me:  It’s time to brush your teeth.

Bradley:  No, you brush your teeth.

Me:  Are you ready for school?

Bradley:  No, you’re ready for school.

Bradley:  May I have a snack please?

Me:  Yes. How about some crackers with peanut butter?

Bradley:  You’re a cracker AND peanut butter.

Something I might say to Brad:  I have to go to the grocery store.

Bradley will pipe in:  You’re a grocery store.

Me:  It’s hot.

Bradley:  No, you’re hot.

(That one is kinda funny. I let that one slide.)

Me:  These dogs are driving me nuts.

Bradley:  No, you’re driving me nuts.

Me:  Bradley, stop talking back.

Bradley:  You stop talking back.

Me:  Bradley, you’re going to get into trouble.

Bradley:  No, you’re trouble.

Me:  Knock it off! If you talk back like that one more time you are going to be grounded from tv AND your video game.

And he just keeps it going… and going… and going…

I want to scream! I want to smack the back of his head and watch all the back talking fall out of his mouth letter by letter. I want to find a button on the back of his head that I can switch to “sweetheart.” I want a magic wand to bop him on the head with.

We have had long talks about the way we should talk to each other. He has been warned. He has been yelled at. He has sat on the steps in a time-out. He has been sent to his room. He has lost privileges. And he keeps going… No, you’re a tim-out.

I told him a story (that I made up, but told him it was true) about a boy named Brian who said the very same things that he does… and I was lost for words at the end. I was like, “And do you know what happened to Brian after talking back like that?”

Bradley smiled up at me with a challenge in his eyes, “No, what?”

And hell, I didn’t think this all the way through. What happens to Brian? Does he get banned to the moon? Does his tongue turn to slime? Does his teeth rot out? I didn’t want to scare him. I stalled with more of the story about “how Brian talks” and finally came up with Brian doesn’t have any friends when he talks that way and no one calls him on the phone. He doesn’t get to watch movies in his room or play with his friends.  But when he talks nice he has lots of friends, etc. etc.  I don’t think he bought it. Maybe Brian should have turned into a dog with stinky breath who had to sleep in a dog house outside. No, that sounds like it might be fun for a 5-year-old boy.

Nothing seems to work.

You don’t work.


Maybe it is just a phase we have to work through. Any suggestions on how to keep my sanity in the meantime?

From a very tired mom.

No, you’re a tired mom.


This Can’t Be Happening

This post is part of “Mama Kat’s Pretty Much World Famous Writing Workshop.”  Awesome blog! You should stop over to check it out. She just cracks me up.

As I was thinking about the writing prompt and doing dishes, I was relieved; I mean, I have no major mom fail moments. Oh, sure…there are the little things, like letting your kids paint with watered down food coloring and dying themselves blue and orange.  It eventually washed out. Or there was that other time… Ok. So I have plenty of mom fail moments. This parenting business is hard, especially with three kids under the age of two. Thank goodness I have a 5-year-old also, he brings sanity into the mix; “MOM, don’t turn the light off on me. I can only see in the dark when my eyes are glowing!”

Then the memories started floating to the surface and popping like the bubbles of the dishwater, fast and furious. The memory that stands out the most, and I would call my largest mom fail moment… AND that I feel really bad about… is when I locked Collin in the bedroom. Not on purpose though!

I was exhausted, pregnant with twins, and trying to get ready for work with Collin under my feet, who must have been 9 or 10 months old, something like that. He was barely walking, but he could crawl fast. I had him on the floor by the full length door mirror. He was kissing it and making it all slobbery. I was trying to do something with my hair and darn it, I forgot the hairspray. So I took the two steps in the hallway to reach in the bathroom to grab the hairspray, and shut the bedroom door behind me because Collin was hot on my trail…and the doorknob fell off in my hand. I stood there dumbfounded for a second, feeling the weight of the old knob in my hand. Seriously!?! What the hell?!

A screaming wail from behind the door shook me out of my bewilderment. I tried to put the doorknob back on. No luck. I wiggled and jiggled it and tried to will it with my mind to go back on. No luck.

I tried to reach in and grab the old metal piece that the doorknob should be connected to and tried to turn it. No luck.

Baby still crying on the other side of the door. I’m a frantic pregnant mom trying to keep my cool, even though a million pictures from my demented mind kept racing through my head.

My bedroom is sooo not babyproofed! Did I turn the curling iron off? Please don’t be hot. He could find a bobby pin and stick it into the outlet. He could find the pen by my bedside and poke his eye out. He could get tangled in the blankets and suffocate. He could find a penny and choke on it. He could climb onto the dresser and push on the screen and fall out the window.

Adrenaline flowing, mind racing, I tromped (I wish I could have run, but I was ginormously pregnant already) down to the kitchen to get a butter knife. Bradley was zoned out in front of the tv in his SpongeBob underwear. I tried not to alarm him, no luck. “Mom, what are you doing?”

“Oh, nothing hunny. Collin just got locked in my bedroom. Mommy has to try to get him out. Watch your cartoons.”

“Hey, Mom! I know! Maybe Special Agent Oso (courtesy of the Disney Channel) can fly up to the room and go through the window and unlock the door.”

How sweet and helpful. “Great idea! You watch for him and mommy will be right back down in a minute.”

Baby still crying behind the door. I talked to him as I tried to unlock the door with the butter knife, “It’s okay, sweetie. Mommy is right here. Hey! Can you open the door? Open the door!” He can’t even reach the doorknob, but it was worth a try. I was getting nowhere, except for bending the knife all up.

“Hold on just a second, hunny,” I said. I can take the hinges off,  I’ve seen that done before. But the hinges were on the inside. Crap!

I go to call somebody. CRAP! My cell phone is locked in the room with him. How can it get any worse? I instantly picture my neighbors’ houses, who would be home? We just moved in, so I don’t even know any of them. I decided on the old people across the street, since old people are usually awake at 7 am.

I held my pregnant belly and trotted as fast as I could across the street barefoot. Please answer the door. I didn’t have a clue on what to say, but it just came out. “I locked my cell phone in the bedroom with the baby and I need to call 911.” He let me in.

The 911 operator kept asking me, “HOW did this happen?” Like I deliberately locked him in. A very young cop, probably just turned 21, came to the door. He kept asking, “And HOW did this happen?”

By this time Collin was screaming uncontrollably behind the door. Bradley was excited, a cop at our house to help us, how cool. “Mom! He has a gun,” Bradley whispered.

“I might have to break down the door,” the cop said. “I’m just worried I will hurt him.”

“I don’t care what you have to do. I just want my baby out of there!”

It seemed like hours; baby screaming behind the door, babies doing somersaults in my belly from all the excitement. I wished I could drink.

Finally he hit the place where the doorknob should be with a screwdriver and hammer and the knob popped. I hoped it didn’t clunk the baby on the head.

It was all quiet except for the gasping baby in my arms with  big crocodile tears covering his face, along with a lot of snot. Tears were streaming down my face, too. “I’m so sorry. It’s okay,” I said softly to him and rocked him back and forth.

I felt terrible.


***Note: I made sure I explained to Bradley’s daycare teachers what happened. I’m sure his version was much more entertaining though. I can just hear it, “My mom locked my baby brother in the bedroom and the cops came…***

Super Baby

Baby by day, Super Hero by night.

He can scale counters with his bare toes. He can climb tall cribs in a single bound. He can open juice containers with his bare teeth and drink milk from the jug. He can swipe a refrigerator clean in one turn of the back. He can spill anything before you can say “sp…”. He can get what he wants with a single grunt. He can ride a dog like a drunk cowboy on a broncking bull. He can pull hair harder than a mad hairdresser. He can herd babies better than an Australian Sheep Dog. He can flood the bathroom with one turn of the faucet. He can empty all of the toy boxes faster than the speed of light. He can slam doors louder than a mad housewife. He can throw a toy out of orbit. And he thinks he can run through walls.

But the best thing of all…He can give hugs and kisses better than them all.

But seriously… this kid has destroyed EVERTHING in his path today. He kind of reminded me of something like this:

Don't ever turn your back on a baby with a gun, Kool-Aid mustache, and dirty feet.

There is never a moment’s peace…unless he’s sleeping.


Conversation with Bradley

Out of the blue… a conversation with Bradley in the backyard. It went something like this.

Bradley – “Mom, God sucks.”

Me – “That’s not nice. We have so many things to be thankful for, and all because of God.”

Bradley – “Like what?” he says defiantly.

Me – “Everything around us God made and gave to us. And he gave me YOU, and Collin, and the girls.”

Bradley – “I don’t want Collin anymore. He messed up on Collin. He is always annoying me!”

Me (holding back a chuckle) – “He didn’t mess up on Collin. Everybody is made different. You have to remember, Collin is still a baby. He’s only two.”

I look at Collin, trying to stand on his head in the grass, one foot in the air. Sometimes you really have to wonder about two-year olds.


Cake for Breakfast, a Motorcycle Ride to School, and Easter Eggs in August

“Who wants cake for breakfast?!”

I am so excited I am saying this. I mean, I am such a cool mom!

“No, I don’t want any,” Bradley says. “I just want cereal.”

Collin says no, too.

What the hell is wrong with these kids?! Bewildered, I pour them the same cereal they eat every day. They are well-trained.

My dad comes a half hour later to take Bradley to school. He is carrying a bag of doughnuts. YUM! I’m excited.

“Bradley, you gonna eat a doughnut before you go to school?”

“No thanks.”

“They have sprinkles!” I say, trying to entice him with the sugary goodness.

“No. Just save me one for later, maybe.”

Really? No doughnuts, too? Is he sick or something? At least Collin ate one. I mean, c’mon…who doesn’t want cake or doughnuts for breakfast? Crazy kids.

 When it was time to leave for school Bradley runs in to the kitchen, “Mom, I get to ride the motorcycle to school. This is gonna be soooo fun!” Finally I get some excitement from him.

It’s still hard seeing him off to school. One of these days I will get used to it.

The babies and I got a lot of playing and work done. They played, I worked. To get a few things done in the kitchen I let them play with the plastic Easter eggs.

 Collin wanted to hog the whole bowl for himself. We ended up with Tupperware bowls, spoons, and a variety of other utensils out by the time it was through. It looked like the Easter bunny exploded all over my kitchen floor.

The things I do to keep my kids busy. I crack myself up. They have fun. 🙂




August 16, 2011

We have been hitting a lot of milestones, especially today. It’s Collin’s second birthday and Bradley’s first day of kindergarten. <big sigh> I’m trying to hold back the tears.

First day of school –  All over America moms of kindergartners are crying as they watch their little ones go into the very beginning of their school career. And I’m sure some mother’s of older children are cheering, “Yes! They needed to go back to school before they drive me crazy!” Right now, I’m the crying one.

I woke up before all the kids on the first day of school, feeling that old excitement and fear as if I was in grade school again. I wonder who I will sit by? I wonder who will be in my class? I hope my teacher sure is nice? I can smell the new notebooks, glue, and crayons now. I remember when I couldn’t wait to use my new paints, and sport a new outfit and book bag.

Bradley was still fast asleep. I love sleeping children. I didn’t really want to get any of them up, but it is the “big day” and there’s no putting it off any longer.

Ready for the first day of kindergarten.

I studied the photocopied pick up and drop off procedures for Bradley’s school the night before and in the morning before we left. I looked at it through blurry eyes as I tried to push back those big momma tears that always want to spring out and overflow when you send your kid to kindergarten for the first time. I tried to orientate myself with the streets and the map, doing a rehearsal in my head. My brain did not want to cooperate since time and places are so confusing right now. I mean, he’s only a baby! And now I have to pull up, push him out of the car,  and send him into the big brick building all by himself (along with the seventy other something kindergartners)?

And I kept thinking how scary for him, but as we pulled up I smiled and in my most cheery mom voice said, “We’re here! You’re first day of kindergarten! How fun!” Fun for him, not for me – is what I really meant. I’m going to so miss having him home with me during the day. I really thought of holding onto his book bag and giving him a hundred kisses before the teachers had to pull me off, but I restrained myself. I also held back those tears (a.k.a. uncontrollable sobs) that I think all mom’s get that first day. I mean, I didn’t want to scare the poor lil’  fella’.

The thing that drove me crazy is I should have parked and made sure he got in the right line, etc. But I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to keep a handle on Collin, there wasn’t enough time, and there wasn’t anywhere to park anyway.

I got out anyway and helped him put on his book bag, gave him a kiss, “Have a good day. Mommy will be here in this line when you get out. Look for our car. And make sure you see Mommy in the car (for fear he might get into some other black SUV) before you get in.”

I asked one of the school staff standing there, “Where is he supposed to go?” I couldn’t really leave the car since Collin was in it, and you’re not supposed to park there (drop off only zone).

“Just go and get into the Kindergarten line,” she said motioning over to the hundreds of  lined up kids on the other side of the playground. “We goota keep this line moving. Your teacher will be holding up the Kindergarten sign. Oh wait, you probably can’t read yet. Ummm…” she was clueless. “I guess you could go park.” I looked around, park where? Two blocks away? I doubt we would make it to school on time. Cars were zooming in and out as they dropped off their kids. Movement was everywhere, and I just wanted to stay planted to that spot. “No, don’t go,” but I didn’t say it.

I took control of the situation. “Bradley, do you see that lady standing there in the white pants? See, there are two ladies, one in white and one in black? Go run up and there and ask her where the kindergarten line is.” And I held up the drop off-line while I watched and made sure he reached the ladies and was in place in line. Ticket me. I don’t care.

He was so happy and proud when I picked him up.

My dad was watching the girls, so when Collin and I got back home my dad says, “Happy Birthday, Collin! How old are you? Are you two?”

“Holy crap! I have been so busy running around to be on time this morning I forgot it was his birthday!” I mean, I remembered a week ago, two days ago…but it just slipped my mind this morning. I spoiled him the rest of the day.

He even got balloons and candy delivered from Connie at Miller’s Florist.


He even got to eat the extra vegetables after dinner. (He helped himself.)

Cake and icecream for dessert.

*I forgot to get frosting. Oops. It just makes the cake healthy. ;)* And he’s two, so he doesn’t know any better yet. It also went well with the banana split icecream.

Other milestones, Mallie is crawling and pulling herself up on everything. This girl can get around…and gets into everything. I can tell she is going to be Collin’s partner in crime.

Don't eat the dog food, Mallie!

And Elsie has a tooth! Just one coming in on the top. If she gets the other one, I’m gonna call her Bugs, like Bugs Bunny. “What’s up, Doc?”

Elsie and Mickey

Oh, my sweet girls.

Second day of school – I actually cried more than I did the first day. Bradley jumped out of the car, “Bye, Mom!” as he went running. He forgot my kiss. He ran up to a teacher, “Where’s the kindergarten line?” And he was off.

Tomorrow my dad is taking him to school…on the Harley. Bradley is super excited. He is getting too big! But he will always be my baby.


I’m Just Doodling

In Memory of Grandma Jean

August 18, 1928 – July 27, 2011

We made her a scrapbook for her birthday and matted some of her trees.

She would always say, “I’m just doodling.” But to me all her “doodles” are a work of art. They’re unique, like a signature. They are all her.

You could find them doodled on the newspaper, winding their branches through columns and supporting a title. You could find them on the back of receipts in blue ink. You could find them on paper towels as you cleared the table, light pencil markings instead of a spaghetti stain. You could find them on the back of envelopes or unopened mail. You could find them in sketchbooks, upside down, sideways, and every which way. Pencil, ink, markers; all sorts of mediums will do. Mix and match them, doodle some flowers or ducks on them, add a picket fence and an old barn in the background. But they were always trees; bare branched trees reaching to the sky, gnarly trees resting below, skinny trees, fat trees, free-flowing trees. They were always trees…  occasionally you would come across one with leaves, but most of the time they were bare branched trees, bare naked trees, skeletal trees, robust old trees, dead trees, skinny trees, trees trees, trees… I remember the lines, lots and lots of lines, engraving the bark into the paper, marking their passage of time. 

“I’m just doodling,” she would say. 

But I wont find her sitting in her light beige leather recliner anymore; sketchbook propped up on her knees and colored pencils on each end table next to her, and in her chair, and underneath the recliner. They were everywhere. Drawers were filled with colored pencils, markers, pens,  crochet hooks, candy for her and the grandkids, and who knows what else in her little art drawers…jewelry, kleenex, a baggie full of change, a pack of saltines, you just never know.

I remember when I was little trying to copy her trees. The side of my palm would have pencil all over it because I would smear it through the whole picture, trying to go back and make it better.  It was close, but just not the same. They are as unique as nature makes them, they are one of a kind. They are my grandma.

I love and miss you, Grandma.


Talking to Baseball Bats

He stands on the sidewalk, which is serving as home plate, and I watch him swing and then run as fast as he can around the imaginary bases. Sometimes he counts, “Strike one. Strike two.” But he never strikes himself out, occasionally he gets a home run. 

He has four bats lined up behind him in which he takes turns using each one when he is up to bat. Two plastic skinny black ones, one with white tape all over the handle for a grip, a blue whiffle ball bat, and a wooden Louisville Slugger. Poor thing has no balls to hit because at the beginning of the summer he either hit them over the fence and they got lost, the dogs ate them, or they are buried in the waist-high weeds that was our garden last summer.

I watch him examine the wooden bat. Then he whispers something to it.

“What are you doing?” I ask him.

“Playing baseball.” I guess that was a silly question.

“Are you talking to the bat?”

“Yea, Mom.” Like I should know this.

I would be worried…and maybe I should be. But then I remember that he has been watching “Everyone’s Hero” the last several days (he would watch that movie all day if he could) and there is a talking bat named Darling in it.

Oh, how this just makes me smile. I think I need more imagination.

I sit on the back cement steps watching the boys play and I’m getting kind of chilly. I should put a shirt on Collin.

But then my sweet Collin takes off. He runs with his stubby little bare feet over to steal a bat from Bradley’s collection. He manages to swipe the blue one, but is not happy and wants another one. He is just not quick enough. Bradley kneels over on his last three bats on the cold grass and holds on tight. “No, Collin! You got one. Leave me alone!” he wails.

I distract him. So Collin puts on Bradley’s old Napoleon Dynamite boots, which go above his knees, and saunters out to the swing set. He is quite a site with no shirt, no hair, Bradley’s old shorts on him that go past his knees as he stumbles through the grass with winter boots.

I think he takes after me in the fashion department. 😉