Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Fa La La La La, La La La La...

Christmas Eve is in 3 days- it's crunch time- and some of the items that "Santa" got the kids (online), have been showing up at the door. The girls notice almost every package that is delivered, so I have to try to be pretty careful about it, but I apparently can't hide everything. They saw a few big toys come in the mail that "Santa" got for the babies, and they had a few questions. I explained that sometimes Santa mails gifts ahead for mommy to wrap, because he's so busy, and they're short on elves this year (you know, the economy and all...). It seemed like they were processing this in their heads, but couldn't quite pinpoint the inaccuracies in my story. Kind of like when Santa came down the street last week, and Ariel asked why there was a truck pulling his sled, and why the police were following him... and how she asked why Santa was sitting in a chair at the mall all day... "why isn't he at the North Pole?"

Uhhhh... who wants icecream??

Speaking of the mall, this past Saturday, Monte had work stuff, so I decided to go to the mall with the kids. The Saturday before Christmas, alone... with all four kids. Yay. Parking was a bitch, but I eventually got a good spot up close. The main reason for my trip was not for Christmas gifts, actually (otherwise, I would have waited for a weekday), it was for baby clothes for Atticus. I realized he had no "normal" boy clothes, only onesies and footie PJ's. We had a baby shower to attend the next day, and I wanted him to look snazzy. I have plenty of girl clothes, oodles of it, actually. I know people say that girl clothes is so much more fun to shop for, but let me tell you, after having 3 girls and then finally getting that little boy- I LOVE shopping for boy clothes! The cute little collared shirts, cargo pants, loafers, baseball caps and ties- SO adorable! I was having way too much fun at The Gap, I had to hold myself way back from getting too much loot. The kids were being pretty good, but I ended up having to bribe the girls with toys to get them to last the hour that we were there. The babies got fussy, and I had to switch them out from Ergo to stroller, and back again a few times for them to nurse so they'd calm down. I finally got a few fabulous things for my little man, and got his Christmas outfit covered as well.

The parking lot was a madhouse, so when I arrived back to my parked car, another car quickly noticed, stopped, and threw on their blinker. I had opened the sliding doors and back hatch of the spaceship before I had even reached it, so I was able to start loading immediately. Now, if you're waiting for a lady to load 4 kids into a minivan in a parking lot, so that you can get the spot, you want to be waiting for me. I'm as quick as they come, but I'm no magician. I tell the girls to jump in and get seated. Meanwhile, I remove an infant seat (with child) from the stroller, and snap it into one of the car adaptors. I then remove the second infant seat from the stroller (sans child), and snap that into the car adaptor. Then, I remove whoever is strapped to me and place and buckle them into the infant seat. Then, I remove shopping bags and purse from stroller, which are now very wet, and throw them in the front seat. Then, I quickly fold the stroller and throw it in the back, then close the hatch. The person in the waiting car throws up a hand as if to say "Any day now", and gives me an impatient look. I mouth "sorry" to them while giving an apologetic smile. Why am I being so nice to this wanker? Not even 7 years ago, I'd have rolled my eyes, and given them a dirty look, but now I'm apologizing to them because they chose to wait for the spot of a mom with four kids to load in? I then reach into the back from one side-door to help Ariel get fully buckled, then I switch to the other side, and buckle in Aurora. I look back at the asshole in the still-waiting car, and give a little half-wave. Happy now, shithead?

I think I made a decision in my subconscious, years ago, that I'd just let things go when on the road. Road rage is a serious thing, especially in LA, and it just wasn't worth it to me, anymore. I used to drive aggressively, like I was playing Tetris. I'd speed through traffic in my Mustang convertible, zipping in and out of cars, honking and flipping people off. Ya know, like a normal L.A. driver. Now, I let people cut me off, I let people steal my parking spots from right in front of me, and I drive the speed limit. I try not to let it bother me, and I just grit my teeth, and curse them out in my head. Or, I write it down, and post it on my blog.

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Great Escape

Where do all the braincells go when you have a baby... or two... or... more? Are they stored away in some sad little neurological file somewhere? Are they escaping via breastmilk? Did I just get way too boring for them, and they jumped ship?

It is now imperative that I have a system in place for certain things like, say, cooking. For example, I have to set the oven timer, even when using the stove, otherwise I'd destroy every meal that I cook. It took a lot of over-boiled pasta and over-steamed veggies to learn that something had to be done. But, my lack of brain power is not limited to the stove. I quite often place perishables in the cupboards, and put cleaning products in the fridge. One time, I was actually laying in bed about to fall asleep, when I suddenly remembered that I had gone to Trader Joe's earlier in the day, and it was all still in the back of the car... let's just say that a few things had to be thrown out.

It seems that the only things that I don't forget are my children. That's a plus, eh?

One of the most annoying things that challenges what's left of my braincells, is when I drop Ariel off at school, through the valet drop-off. I always get nervous because there are so many steps for my slow, tired brain to remember, and, of course, I don't know how to use all of the features on our semi-new minivan. Did you know that if I unlock my car while driving, it will re-lock itself within a few minutes if I don't open a door? Did you know that if I don't have it in park, the auto-sliding doors won't open? That's a great safety feature, by the way. Fantastic.

Did you know that this is too challenging for me to comprehend on most mornings?

This is how a bad morning with the valet, for me, unfolds: I unlock the doors while waiting in line, so that it's checked off my list. The babies are usually crying because they hate being in their car seats, and Aurora is whining something along the lines of "I want to be a big girl, too." or "I want a lollipop!" So, I pull up to the spot to drop Ariel off, the doors are now locked, and the sliding door won't open. Drat. So, I unlock the doors again, meanwhile, the nice 5th grader, who has the good fortune of getting my car, is trying to open the door which is now unlocked, but still won't open for some mysterious reason only reserved for a special few (namely me). I absolutely cannot figure out why it won't open, I rack my brain, and I start to panic because the cars are waiting behind me to move on, but my kid is still in my car. Crap, crap, crap. I finally grab my poor, confused child from the back of the car and quickly shove her out the front passenger door, "Bye sweetie, have a nice day!" The 5th grader is looking at me like I'm insane, as I pull out and drive away. It's only then that I figure it out. Damn it.

So, now, every day when I drop her off, I have a system. I seriously have to repeat in my head: "Unlock the door, put car in park, push door button. Unlock, park, door. Unlock, park, door."

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Get Into The Groove

Monte is home! Hallelujah! I'm so excited! Yay!

Let the re-acclimation begin.

First off, let me just say that Monte is the most amazing father and husband I could ever ask for. He's putting up with my crazy antics one minute, and having tea time with the girls and their Barbie dolls in the next. Massaging my shoulders on a moments notice, and then he's strapping a baby on him in a carrier, so I can feed the other one- he's a great man! Only, it always takes him just a few days to get back into the swing of things. Being out on tour is a whole 'nother world from our Dora Explorin', mini-van driving, suburbia, and I try to keep that in mind every time.

Depending on who he was on tour with, he always comes home with almost an entire new wardrobe that corresponds almost directly with the artist he just worked with, and/or the people around him or her. Like, last time he was on tour with Madonna, he came home with very strict rules about brand-mixing. For example, he wouldn't wear Nike shoes with Adidas socks, a fashion tip learned from the dancers, no doubt. This time, he showed up not only with smudged black eyeliner and a trace of glitter from previous night's London show, he was also wearing skinny jeans tucked into boots. Skinny jeans. On my husband. And NEW boots, I might add. Boots that look exactly like two other pairs that he has in our tiny, overstuffed closet. When I nag him about why he bought new boots that look exactly like the other two pairs, he says "It was cold in Sweden, I needed boots." That is also the same explanation he gives when I ask why he bought new sweaters, scarves, hats and jackets. How long does he really think he can keep playing the "I didn't know how cold it was going to be in Northern Europe in winter" card? He does this absolutely every time. Nice ploy... but, I'm on to you, honey!

Can we talk coffee mugs? The man can't help himself- he must buy coffee mugs in every city and country he visits- and he's been to a lot of cities and countries . I admit, I should take some responsibility for this because when we first met, he had never had a cup of coffee in his life. I turned him into a coffee fiend and now he has a mug from just about every place in the world- Jerusalem, Moscow, London, Tokyo- I have giant tupperware containers of them in the attic because they no longer fit in the kitchen cupboards. I've asked him to move on to magnets or Christmas ornaments or anything else, but sure enough, he came home with (only) 4 coffee mugs this trip.

I think I need to have a talk with him about shower time. On tour, the man can sleep, shower and eat almost whenever he pleases (he will claim the opposite to be true)- I should at least try to be a little understanding of his naivety. The poor dear was away for 6 months, after all. Maybe I should practice here: "Monte, I love you very much, but when you disappear without notice, only for us to discover that you've been in the shower for 30 minutes... it makes me want to spike your coffee with cat pee." How's that?

Another thing is when he asks where random things, that I never knew even existed, have gone.

Him: "Where's that ginger tea that I got in Singapore?"

Me: "Ummm... you went to Singapore 6 months ago."

Him: "Yeah, I know... so, where is my ginger tea?"

Me: "Did I know you got ginger tea? Are you kidding? Check under the couch. While you're at it, let me know if you find my pre-pregnancy body."