Kentucky Mom to Twins and More

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Closing up another year...

Rats. Another year is coming to a close. My kids are one inch taller and two shoe sizes bigger... and with January around the corner, I am going to be one year older (and gruesomely closer to the big 40). It's only the beginning of December, yet I feel like our Christmas tree has been up since Halloween and the kids anticipate Santa Claus even more each day. Except Téa, who has a major meltdown at the sight of Santa Claus (especially life-size robotic Santas that sing and dance).

Brayden is reaching great heights -- he was recognized at school with a medal last week for being a student achiever by making good "choices" (there are apparently many bad choices a kindergartner can make) -- and speaking of heights, he measures as tall as my bustline at nearly age 6 - no doubt he'll surpass my head before he hits third grade! He has learned how to tie his own shoes (with only one tutorial) and will not leave the house until they are 'double-knotted' (despite my hurried yelling at 12:30 pm, "Brayden you don't have time, you have to get on the bus!")
Lately his world has been all about football. On Saturday, it's Notre Dame football, and Sundays it's the Cincinnati Bengals. With his football in hand, repeatedly throwing it up and down, he'll watch a game in its entirety and recite for you each play. "Mom, it's 2nd and 10. Mom, it's 3rd and 8. Mom this is their last shot."
I think Matthew and I get annoyed sometimes, were it not for the simple fact that he's so damn funny. One time we kept telling him to quit throwing himself the ball and falling over the "first down line" (a piece of duct tape on the carpet) because he was going to wake up the baby with all the thumping. As we're in mid-sentence telling him to cut it out for the 100th time, he throws himself over the ottoman onto the floor with a slam and then... silence... and all we see is a little arm go up in the air, triumphantly holding the football.

The twins will be 3 just after Christmas and the only way to describe them is constant hurricanes. It's like two hurricanes of drama, noise and more drama rolled into a gigantic Terrible Two storm. Here's an excerpt from this morning:

Brayden yelling from basement to the girls, telling them to come have races with him.
Mia running into living room while I'm rocking baby Payton to sleep, whining about wanting to wear her new tennis shoes. Throws shoes at me, hitting baby. Baby's awake. Téa comes sauntering in room with a funk hanging over her that the dog leaves the room. She looks a little blonde version of the stinky, dirty character from the Snoopy cartoons. She's got a Christmas ornament that sings holiday tunes at about 10,000 decibels. Mia was playing with it an hour ago, so that means it's off limits to any other human all day. She rips from Téa's hand. Crying. Then hitting. Baby's crying. Baby goes on floor for the mediation of twins' fight.
Brayden's in junk drawer fishing around for scissors, as he needs to cut something... immediately.
Change PigPen's diaper while singing "Bye Bye Poo Poo," obviously stuck in my head from the Potty Movie we watched earlier. Mia dumps about seven dozen broken crayons all over the floor (Santa needs to bring the big fat unbreakable crayons to this house). I'm yelling, "pick every single one of those up before Payton eats them!"
Baby inchworming her way across kitchen hardwoods, her target - the dog's fur - so she can grab a chunk with her fiercely strong little, clammy, saliva-ridden fists.
Téa brings me her shoes, wanting to also wear her new sneaks, since Mia now has hers on (although it's two left shoes in two different sizes, at least she got them on by herself).
Kids climbing the daddy mountain
Familiar clanky-shuffle sound of a 2-pound bag of plastic toy food being emptied on floor. Mia now smells foul, a smell I will not describe, but you can imagine it after knowing they had Hamburger Helper last night for dinner. As I change her diaper pleading for her to learn how to poop in the potty again, she throws a pair of big girl underpants at my face. I swear she nicks my cornea. Spanking follows. Fake crying. Heads for loud jackhammer toy Brayden got from Santa a couple years ago. Santa needs to bring some quiet toys, preferably made of yarn.
Baby's eating crayons. 
Drums start banging from basement (another Santa toy - stupid Santa). Brayden yelling for girls to come have races with him. Téa brings me her shoes ...wait didn't this already happen?

Seriously, and that was only five minutes.

Payton, now 6 months old, is the most easy-going, happy baby. Thank God for small (good baby) miracles. I'm pretty sure this Mother Hen would have abandoned nest by now. She is content to watch her siblings duke it out as she plays (with the dog's tail) from the sidelines. Today during my scolding episode in the playroom, during which both twins were crying and screaming, Payton was just smiling and giggling - I suppose she thinks this is all a show for her.

Luckily my hard-working husband allows me to indulge in a sitter a few days a week for a couple hours so I can go to the gym (I never thought I'd be so happy to see those treadmills, but I skip on them some days), go grocery shopping (I can look in my purse for coupons!) or do, simply whatever I want. I am embarrassed to say that quite often I've driven up in town and parked in a parking lot, to sit in silence in the car - sometimes with a very fattening iced mocha from Panera in my hand.

At the end of each day I am beat. Exhausted. The neighbors, I'm sure, can tell, since I haven't gotten out of my sweats, brushed my hair, put on socks or ... have I even brushed my teeth?

But as I remind myself that soon, these days will come to a close, and there will be no more visits to Santa from innocent, believing children, and no more little feet running around here with two different shoes on or little coloring hands at the table --I will remain frustratingly happy singing poo poo songs and wiping butts (I've grown to love the smell of powder).

Santa better not bring me a treadmill, that's one toy I prefer to go drive up in town to play with.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Brayden's big day

Time slapped me in the face today. Surprise! Your baby is a kindergartner, it chided.

More than five and a half years ago I held a new little baby in my arms. I was in awe with him, and as a new mother couldn't believe this little person was mine to take care of forever. He learned to walk around 10 months, and has never stopped since.
At age 3, he got a John Deere Gator and learned how to maneuver the cul-de-sac better than I can in the minivan. Last year at age 4, he rode a two-wheeler perfectly only minutes after we took the training wheels off (we never even held the seat). Now that baby of mine is officially a 'big boy' -- he started his school career today a kindergartner at Thornwilde Elementary School. It's PM kindergarten, and he must have asked me 20 times all morning, "when can I go to school, mom?!"
I stood there taking pictures of him in his new classroom (before he basically shoved me out the door) and couldn't believe how fast this time has gone by. I saw a few other mothers with their cameras too - we were all snapping pictures of our babies before they walked through the doors. Maybe hoping the click would stop or slow time a bit. One last shot of this memory, of my little guy, who still doesn't mind holding my hand in public... who still wants a Transformers band-aid when he skins his knee, or cries for my help when he gets a splinter in his foot. One last glimpse of this boy who won't go to bed without a night light on and either mommy or daddy reading him Chicka Chicka Boom Boom or a tale about Babar the Elephant.
Every place we go, no matter if I have just Brayden or all four kids with me, onlookers and passers by warn me, "enjoy this time, it goes by fast!" ... those words sink in today. I know I can't stop time with the click of my camera. I know I need to heed these warnings a little better. I'm realizing that I don't play in the sandbox with the kids when I send them outside, and I don't really swing on the swings once I send them down to the swingset, and I only hurriedly get out the play-doh for them when they ask for it. I can't remember the last time I brought markers out because I fear them on my walls or carpet. I've been bad about reading the kids books too (something I did religiously with Brayden as a toddler) because I feel busy and tired all the time. And sadly, Brayden isn't really allowed to play with Legos that much because I know what a pain it is around the little ones and not to mention the cleanup would be a pain!
But I'm seeing that I need to listen to those little old ladies who tell me to 'delight in them every day' -- they speak from experience. It will only be a matter of time before I'm that little old lady wondering how my babies grew up in a blink.
So today, after watching my baby literally grow up before my eyes with this huge milestone, I'm promising myself to NOT grow up for a while.. to build more sandcastles, get the markers out and color a silly picture and sit outside on a picnic blanket under a tree and read to them -- even if the kids aren't listening.
I'm going to get out the Legos and let that kindergartner make a big damn mess. I just hope someone takes a picture of it so I can remember how happy I was about the cleanup.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Magic number ...6

Call us crazy. We added another.

We are now happily, crazily, exhaustedly a family of SIX. We welcomed our fourth child, Payton Andrea Remke on 6/6/12. She was, as I predicted our biggest baby (at 7 lbs) even a week and a half early. She was a slow (at first) then really fast delivery, and in the end only took about 10-15 min of pushing before she emerged at 4:46 p.m., cord wrapped around her neck twice. I figure this was just practice for the Survivor-like roughing up she'll experience in this house with her big brother and two big sisters wreaking havoc. We brought Payton home from the hospital the next day, and all she's done since is sleep and poop. She can sleep through the dog's barking/howling at the UPS guy, Brayden's whistling and his Batman video game noise, Mia's daily temper tantrum screams and Téa's happy yelling and fork banging at the dinner table. She's got big eyes, which will, I presume be a beautiful brown like all her siblings, and lots of dark hair. She most resembles brother Brayden when he was a baby. She's an adorable baby and some days I get a little sad thinking she is probably (according to Matthew) our last child. I really am trying to soak it in, since babyhood went way too fast with Brayden and the twins.
The kids love on the baby so much - they want to hold her, feed her, give her kisses and hugs (death grip squeezes I should say) - I wish I had a nickel for every time I say, "LEAVE THE BABY ALONE!"
I should keep a video camera handy during these first weeks with her, some of the things the kids say are so funny - it would be a sin not to remember it all.  

There are some days I really think I'm losing my mind. I can't remember what life was like before four kids and nonstop chaos. I promised myself I'd never lose "me" - doing things for me, exercising, reading novels, writing, or just taking care of myself and certainly not going out in public when I didn't look half way decent. But I'm going to admit - all that is out the window at this point. I've been to the grocery literally after having fallen out of bed -- beat up T-shirt, no makeup, jammie pants (underwear? I have no clue)... during one of these trips the cashier actually asked me if I had (food stamps). Wow. I must really have looked stellar that day.

I asked Matthew if he felt like sometimes we were playing "house" - like we're still too young to be in charge of a house, four kids, a dog, bills -- and that thing I never mastered called "dinner." (Matthew said if we were just "playing" house he would have left the game long ago!) But that's how I feel sometimes. I am not sure where the time went. Just yesterday I was on spring break in Key West, where Matthew and I met, and I'm wearing my tiny green and white bikini listening to my headphones at the hotel pool (yes, remember we wore headphones?) sunning myself without a care in the world.
Flash forward to last week during one of those hot, humid days, Matthew came home from work to find his children naked (save diapers) playing in the plastic pool in the driveway with yours truly barefoot and breastfeeding our baby in a lawn chair just outside the garage near the garbage cans. I'm pretty sure this was the point I realized I've really thrown in the towel.

A couple days ago I thought it was a good idea to drag 2-year-old twins and a newborn to the neighborhood pool in 100 degree heat. I know that's stupid. Trust me - I was thinking one thing - it will make them tired for nap! So the girls and I fumble out of the minivan with the stroller, baby's carseat, two bags of towels, pool toys, diapers, snacks, sippie cups, floaties and pool rings and we find a shady table near the baby pool to unload. After getting sunscreen on the girls (which is like trying to chase down and apply SPF to a butterfly) and changing a poopy newborn diaper, I sit on the edge of the pool soaking in much-needed sun on my pale parts. Since all my other children were born in the winter, this is a new experience, to be able to "enjoy" the outdoors so soon after having a new baby. 

Well, the "enjoy" part quickly fades, as I see a teenage girl arrive at the pool with two kids she is obviously babysitting. She's wearing a cute red bikini no bigger than a cocktail napkin and she's got lovely tanned skin and a long, blonde ponytail atop her head. I try very hard not to hate this girl that I don't even know, and my mind flashes back to 18 years ago, when I was about the same age. I was a lifeguard, so I too, had a great tan and could rock a tiny bikini no matter that I ate a cheeseburger a day that summer. I whipped around my long, dark-haired ponytail too, girlie! No, you'd never guess it by looking at me now, covered up in this horrid ugly mom-kini suit with my ginormous leaky breasts spilling out the top and my post baby belly pouch trying to bust loose at my sweaty waistband. I look and feel like a big, gross gummy bear - like the kind that has been sitting in someone's pocket for a long time. I remember a 30s-something mother with kids telling me, "it'll all catch up with you someday honey!"
I guess I never realized that crazy lady spoke the truth.

Just then, Téa swims up to me and points to a cluster of varicose veins around the side of my thigh, and points, "what's that momma? you got owwee?"
Thanks dear child. I almost forgot about that imperfection too -- my veiny, fat upper thighs, courtesy of a 45-lb weight gain with the twins and lack of an exercise regimen for the past couple years. 

I know, I know, all of this is for the greater purpose - my beautiful children - all these imperfections and the frumpy body and stretch marks and veins are my "badge of honor" for motherhood and childbirth, right? I will say I wouldn't trade any of my children or their being born for a zillion dollars. I loved the experience of having each of them and I love the string of experiences we're messing with now. This is what LIFE is ... but... there is a little piece of me, who's willing to maybe pay a zillion dollars - just for one day, to get back into that green and white bikini, and rock out at the pool by myself with only my headphones on;-)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Come on spring...where are you!?

It's been a while since I've had time to sit down and write anything lately. I don't really have time now either, since I told Brayden I'd play Connect 4 with him since the girls are napping and I told him, 'just a minute, I'll be right back...'
Shame on me, I know. It's hard to do anything alone, and when he's not at school, he wants to play everything, do everything and I just don't have the energy. He is into everything from Star Wars and Transformers to Legos and complicated puzzles.

Time continues to fly by, and that sounds stupid to say, but it's so true.
Brayden turned 5 last month. This fall he'll be headed to kindergarten and Matthew is already asking about whether the twins are going to preschool this year - what!? Meantime this belly is growing by leaps and bounds (of ice cream) every day. I'm going to bet anyone money this child will A) be the biggest and B) come on or before Memorial Day. I suppose I should just enjoy the guilt-free trips to DQ and the frequent chocolate malt nights I declare with Matthew on Tuesday and Thursday nights;-)
Good lord I'm going to need a big exercise plan once this is all said and done.

The kids and I are eagerly awaiting spring. It can't get here soon enough. We are getting really cooped up inside these past few weeks, despite the monstrous bouncy house we erected in the basement for their birthdays in January. The girls are half Brayden's size, so it makes it interesting (and somewhat dangerous) when he's leaping in the air and flying off the sides of it when they join him in there. Most always someone gets hurt, screams and they all end up crying up the stairs all pointing fingers. Mia's new saying is "TeTe did it." I think the other day I even heard the words, "oh bloody hell!" from my 5-year-old's mouth. I chose to ignore it and continue with the dishes since I didn't hear any crying to accompany it.

The twins are just over 2 now and every bit into the Terrible Twos. From what I remember though, the worst is yet to come, as 3 was a more terrible age for Brayden than 2 ever was. The girls wrestle and fight over every toy, book, puzzle and even who gets to turn pages or sit in my lap. It'll be a rude awakening for them once this baby gets here in a few months. We thought we'd prepare ahead of time by putting them in their 'big girl beds' now rather than hit them with another life-changer once the new baby comes to sleep in one of their cribs. Except for a few times of playing together in Mia's bed and jumping up and down, they've done pretty well with staying in them at night and sleeping.

In other shocking news, people might gasp to hear that we finally gave in and bought the dreaded "M" word. Yes, a minivan. I thought this day would never come, in fact I believe I even penciled it in the wedding vows we said to each other almost 10 years ago, but here we are, with (soon-to-be) four kids, a German shepherd, multiple strollers, toys, baby bags and a big momma with an aching back, heaving everything in and out of the SUV has become too much. Matthew will drive my Landrover (sniff) and I will luckily/reluctantly drive the new minivan next week when we pick it up. At least I can say it's a sporty model and I'm tinting the crap out of the windows and I will refuse to tack any of those horrid 'soccer mom' or dorky 'stick people' bumper stickers anywhere on this vehicle. Oh, and I'm still going to drive like hell ;-)

Gotta wrap it up, the boy has given up on Connect 4 and is on to Transformers play. Time to put my Optimus Prime hat on. God give me energy!