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Last day of preschool

June 5th, 2013 | Posted by Kerry Lyons in MaMa Moments | triplets - (0 Comments)
1st day of school_on steps

1st day of school... how can the last be here already?!

When you have identical twins or triplets, the life you lead is different.   You are stopped on the street.  You are asked “are they identical?!” time and again.  When they were first born, you probably couldn’t tell your own babies apart.  And as they get older, you realize other people probably never will.  You find tips and tricks to identify them to the outside world – different colors, a freckle here, a scar there.   You want the world to know that while they look identical, they couldn’t be more different.  And you find yourself explaining this again and again.

Today our identical triplets “graduate” from preschool.  Today is a day I know I will cry – tears of joy that they are happy, healthy and moving on; tears of sadness that this phase in my life – in their lives – is over.  No more preschool.  No more babies.  Just big kids.  Big kids who are eager to get out into that big world and show their differences.  It’s my job to help them.   It’s my job to explain what sets them apart.  I do it time and again and today, I thought I’d share a few excerpts of the note I sent to preschool on day one:

  • Physical factors:  Much to our own surprise (and against all odds!), all three of them crawled, sat, walked, talked, potty trained, etc. at the normal ages of development.  We think all three are right-handed although, apparently with identicals, one is bound to be a lefty so, keep an eye out for that!  (Note: it’s still unclear if this is true or which little fella may be a leftie!)
  • Play & Social Experiences:  They play well with each other, with their brother and sister and other little buddies.  Caution: if someone picks on one of them, the other two are prone to defend their brother — not in a violent way, but enough to make their presence known. You’ve been warned!
  • Goals: Basic algebra and conversational French. Gotcha!  We just want them to have a happy, healthy, positive classroom experience that sets them up nicely for kindergarten. 

Ok, now for what you really wanted to know — their differences/nuances/how to tell them apart:

  • Kevin: Stick with me here — his nickname is KooKoo Bear.  Don’t ask. It just happened.  So, if you hear the other guys call him KooKoo, that’s why.  His color is red; his crocs are orange.  He has two parallel freckles on the bridge of his nose. He is sweet, easy going, laid back and very helpful. When in need of a haircut, he can be identified by a little twist on the nape of his neck. He’s a big talker with a lot to say.
  • Declan: His nickname is Little Duck. Also called Duckling. Again, embarrassing but true and you may hear the other kids call him this. His color is blue; his crocs are turquoise. He is the most “attached” to his color.  He once got so mad when we gave him a red sippy cup that he threw it at us and said “I’m BLUE!”  He is super smart.  He was the first to do everything — walking, talking, sitting, etc.  We think he will go to Princeton. (Ha! Gotcha again!)
  • Cormac:  This one got off easy with the nicknames — we call him Mac, or MacMac. On occasion we call him Mac&Cheese but I don’t think that will come up.  His color is green, his crocs are too.  He has a freckle on his left eyelid and a sparkle in his eyes.  He can be a bit mischievous but responds well to reminders about right choices.  He wakes up giddy — bouncing off the walls jolly. The kid is a pleasure to be around.  Unless he is really tired, in which case, he is not. Hopefully this won’t happen at school!

Ok, well, I hope I haven’t scared you.  They are all truly a joy to behold — happy, curious and sweet with just enough mischief to keep ‘em real.  They love stories and music and we know they will love preschool.  And we hope you will love them. 

“We hope you love them,” I said.  They did.  They loved them. They taught them.  They learned to tell them apart.  They discovered their differences and delighted in their similarities.  Just like we do.

spring sports overload

All winter we wait.  We optimistically think, “This is last snow storm, spring must be right around the corner!”  We put away our heavy coats and sweaters, often prematurely.  We look for the bright yellow and vibrant purple of crocuses peeking out through dirty, grey snow.  We listen for birds chirping in the pre-dawn hours to confirm that spring has arrived.  And then, finally, the wait is over.  Spring arrives.

We have visions of long family walks while the sun warms our backs; of tending to the garden and nurturing new plants to life while our brood frolics around us; of lazy afternoons on the patio soaking up the sun.  And then reality sets in.  As lovely as spring can be, in our house, it’s more like Extreme Parenting, Spring Sports Edition.  In short, it is a nightmare.

For starters, when you’re watching a soccer practice at 9:30 AM or a baseball game at 5:30 PM, what little sun there is lacks the power to warm your back. Or anything else for that matter. It is freezing out!  Especially when your heavy coat and sweaters have been packed away.

There is simply no time for walks or gardening or soaking in the sunshine when you look at the calendar for Saturday and need to determine how you can be at the Girl Scout Cookie pick-up at 9:00, soccer at 9:30, hip-hop at 9:30 and baseball at… 9:30!  Reality check: you can’t!  And your kids can’t either. For ages you’ve known that a clone would be a good thing for you. For all moms.  In fact, I’ve even suggested the notion of a “sister wife” to my husband — just another gal around the house who would be my pal around the house and help out as needed — car pools, laundry, shuttling kids and equipment to and fro… and if she occasionally “helped” my husband out too well, that’s fine by me because the reality is, this spring schedule is exhausting!  But I digress…

The spring sports schedule has me thinking that even our kids need clones.  How else can they be at the baseball practice and soccer game?  At lacrosse and hip-hop?  It’s just not right.  I’ve always prided myself on “just saying no” and not overscheduling our children but I fear this spring has done me in — so much so that I am already looking forward to next winter, when the days are short, the activities are few and I dream of curling up by the fire… a fire which, for the record, we only lounged by a handful of times this past winter but even so, a girl’s gotta dream.  I just never thought those dreams would include a sister wife and a fireplace!

The week including Passover and Easter was spring break for many of us here in the Northeast. Our family didn’t have any extravagant plans but, I always relish a simple break from the routine…. especially the respite from making lunches!  The days flew by quickly — too quickly — and suddenly it was back to school, back to business, back to reality.  Just a few days in, I was  TIRED.  Ten days later, I don’t how I’m going to make it to Memorial Day, our next day off which feels eons away.  That week the kids were off from school was simple, easy, more relaxed and oddly enough, even more productive in some ways — I was able to sort through hand-me-downs and pay bills in the pre-dawn hours while the little ones snoozed.  I realize that doesn’t quite sound like a vacation but there was a sense of self-satisfaction that came with making a dent in my monumental to-do list; there was mental clarity in knowing things were organized and tidy; there was a sense of relief when the clock struck 7:00 and I didn’t have grab grumbly kids out of their warm cozy beds.

Here are my Top 5 signs you’re not on vacation anymore — any you’d add?

  • I never thought I’d be glad for a school break because it meant I’d have time to put the laundry away but, it’s true.  Then, our clean clothes were in drawers; now they are in baskets.  And there they will likely stay until they get worn, washed and put back in the basket.  If they get washed at all.  There’s a good chance our clothes  won’t see the inside of a drawer until the next school break.  Good thing for all those hand-me-downs!
  • Dinner is planned before breakfast is consumed.  During the vacation week, we just rolled with it.  One night we had pizza and “make your own sundae” night.  Another, we made a last minute decision to take the crew out for Mexican.  Now, it’s back to defrosting meat before the coffee pot even perks up for the day. It’s hard enough to face my own thighs some mornings but chicken thighs before sunrise can be a tough way to start the day!
  • Bedtime is at 8:00. Sharp!  While the kids were off from school, we hung out well past their usual bedtimes.  There was extra “kid TV”, movie night and a strong likelihood to honor the requests for “one more book!”  Now, it’s a 50 yard dash to the bunk beds as soon as the sun starts to drop in the warm spring sky.  “Brush your teeth! Go to the bathroom! Go to bed! NOW! Good night!!”  And the door is shut, the lights are out, and the work begins — house work, office work, all the things that we let slide while they were on vacation. I have to say, I’m missing the “kid TV” and “one more book!”
  • Activities and Sports and Playdates oh my!  It feels like someone shot the starting gun at about 6AM on April 1st, which was their first day back in school.  It was also the day that lacrosse, baseball, soccer and everything other spring activity you can imagine started in full swing, leaving me to wonder if perhaps I am the April Fool?  What are we doing?!  Racing here, racing there, grab your helmet, where are your cleats, get your water bottle, and on and on.  Truth be told, they seem to thrive on it but I am already ready for a vacation!
  • Rise and Shine has reverted to Rise and Whine.  Need I say more?

We spent the greater part of that week off close to home (and 48 hours in Philly, which I will share highlights of at a later date!) and still the transition back to our regular routine was a tough one.  I imagine it would have been even tougher had we actually really taken a vacation and returned with piles of laundry — see?  With five kids, it’s really all about the laundry!  Speaking of which, I need to go do some!

Our boy is growing up and I’m not sure I like it.  Maybe I do. In fact, I might.  But the reality is I’m not sure I’m ready for it.  Is anyone ever really ready for it?  Ready to say good-bye to the unfaltering adoration of infancy? To the sweet discoveries and fantastic firsts of toddlerhood? To the wonderful wide-eyed innocence of elementary school?

Well, I’m watching it all fade away and, as most parents would agree, it’s happening way too fast. Our firstborn recently turned eight.  We’ve long kidded around when his pants are too short or his shoes are too tight that “I told you stop growing!  Geez, don’t you ever listen?!”  Thankfully, in this case, he doesn’t.  He is bigger, smarter and sending some strong signals that he is officially a big kid now.  Here are a few of those signals from the past few weeks:

(more…)

Last Thursday night I walk talking to my parents and boasted, “I think this is the week!  Five for five!  I think we may actually have all five kids in school for ALL five days for the first time since before Thanksgiving!”  Then on Friday morning, our pale eight year old appeared in the kitchen, dropped to the floor, grabbed his stomach and moaned in pain. “It hurts Mom! It really hurts!”

I took his temperature. Nothing. He tried to throw up. Nothing. His tummy just hurt.  A lot.  But, given the lack of fever and vomit and my hellbent ambition to fulfill my “five for five” week (not to mention my desire to show up to work on time for a change!), I sent him off to school with toast in hand and the reassurance that if it really really hurt, he should go to the nurse and I’d be there to pick him up in a heartbeat. So, at 10:15 the nurse called and I was. So much for “five for five!”  And so began yet another weekend where the Lyons Den took on the air of an infirmary.

I’m not one to run to the doctor but even I had to admit defeat last week when my pals at work told me how crappy I looked (even on the day I got all fancy and used tinted moisturizer!) and started to call me “the Germ.”  The poor guy who sits down the hall from me was blasting his music just to drown out my  sniffling and nose-blowing — which is admittedly un-ladylike and loud. Really loud. Like a foghorn.  I finally decided enough was enough and sought medical treatment. It turns out that with a sinus infection, my hardcore “this too shall pass” mentality doesn’t work.  Thankfully, antibiotics do!

I share this because it dawned on me on Saturday that one of the triplets has been asking me to take him to the doctor for weeks.  Weeks!  He does lean toward the dramatic but, when I think back, I realize he was the ONLY kid who didn’t make it to the pediatrician during the long, sick month between Thanksgiving and Christmas –  those frenzied four weeks when we had at least two kids home sick from school daily. For real.  It was awful.  And this poor kid got lost in the fray. Has his nose been running? Sure. Thick green boogers? Sure. Fever? Well, not persistently but perhaps on again, off again.  “PLEASE Ma,” he pleaded on Saturday, “please can I go to the doctor?!”  And as we ran from errand to errand, to practices and parties, I told him “yes, tomorrow.”

That night, he was a real pest. A major whiner. And he refused to eat his dinner so, like any good parents, we forced him to.  As we tucked him that night — his very first night with his  brand new “big boy comforter,” he asked again, “tomorrow will you take me the doctor?” And I said yes. Then I got all sappy and sentimental as I looked at our triplets, tucked into their big-boy bunk beds with brand new comforters they could feasibly bring to college.  I went to bed pining for the baby days that have passed us by and not quite ready for the wonder years that lie ahead.  At some point in my slumber, I heard a muffled sound. “I think someone barfed,” I told my husband who was pretending to sleep.

I listened more closely. There was a cough, a snuffling nose, a quick cry. Then silence. So I rolled over and returned to the Land of Nod. Big mistake.  As the sun rose on Sunday morning, I discovered my top-bunk boy bedded down in barf, literally covered with the remains of the dinner we forced him to eat. Unfortunately, it was pasta and meat sauce.  Unfortunately, it was all over him and that brand new big boy comforter.  I don’t need to describe in detail the odor or how gross it was to clean up the mess in the top bunk; I will suffice it say that I had to shake the sheets out in the yard before washing them. It was that bad.

So, who knows.  Maybe those comforters won’t make it to college after all.  But, that boy sure did make it to the doctor. At long last!  In considering the past few weeks, I’ve spent more time at the pediatrician than in my bed and more money on doctor’s visits and prescriptions than groceries.  My pals at work have wondered aloud, “how do you do it?!”  And I resort to my standard answer, my North Star, “one day at a time.”  And then I remind myself that this too shall pass. And quickly.  This winter is long but this year, like those before it, will undoubtedly pass far too fast.  And when it does, I won’t miss the barf-covered bunks or sobbing sick children but, I’m sure the day will come when I do miss feeling so needed, so necessary and so vital to their well-being.  That’s a feeling I’d like to hold on to — one that I hope will never pass.

 

 

I’m not much for making resolutions, mostly because I’m not one for keeping resolutions.  With that said, one thing I’d like to do more of in 2013 is spend individual time with each of our children.  It used to be as easy as a walk around the block or even a trip to the pediatrician — there’s nothing like an ear infection to encourage a bit of bonding when you have five tiny tykes!  As they get older though (they are now 8, 6 4, 4 and 4!), quality time together is tougher to come by.  And let’s face it, a trip to the pediatrician is not the stuff memories are made of!  Memories, I think, are forged through shared experiences and, if they happen to be new experiences, all the better!

I was lucky to have one such experience with my little lady in December.  We took a break from the basketball games, cookie baking and Christmas shopping to spend a Sunday in the city at the Broadway Edge Annie workshop.  From the look on her face, I think it’s fair to say she really liked it…

 

All smiles at the Broadway Edge Annie Workshop

 

Ciara happens to be our only daughter.  She also happens to be a bit of a drama queen… who wouldn’t with four brothers to fend off on a daily basis?!  We don’t get a lot of “girl time” but our afternoon at Broadway Edge was a day I hope to repeat for a few reasons, none of which have to do with her theatrical ambitions or, truth be told, lack thereof!   While our little lady is full of drama at home, when offered the chance to channel that drama in front of an audience, she became timid and shy, as many of the children in attendance did.  But, they were quickly drawn out of their shells by the pros at Broadway Edge, who literally got down on their level to instill comfort and confidence.

 

Broadway Edge: on level with kids but treating them like adults = success!

 

In just a few hours, a somewhat timid group of kids — including Ciara — was transformed into a confident group of “orphans”, singing and dancing to “It’s a hard knock life.” Were they perfect? No. Do I envision her on a Broadway stage? No.  But what she – and the rest of the group – discovered that day were enduring life skills:

  • Confidence: if these kids can sing and dance in public, public speaking later in life will be a piece of cake!
  • Camaraderie:  they arrived strangers and left with a new-found sense of empathy and teamwork.
  • Gratitude:  they all realized just how lucky they are that they don’t scrub the floors at home… yet!

What did I learn?  That nothing beats a day with my girl.  That she can tackle anything she sets her mind to.  And, that I love the music from Annie as much today as I did when I was six!

So, with 2013 just kicking off, my goal is to have another such day with my lady and to share a similar cultural experience with each of my sons.  As I recently told a friend, we used to have a cleaning lady and now we don’t so, every time I scrub a toilet, floor, shower or tub, I am going to pay myself.  And I am going to use that money to fund our excursions, expand our horizons and create memories that I hope will last a lifetime.  For the record, I do see the irony in scrubbing floors to get back to Broadway (it’s a hard knock life!) but, I think the effort to give our kids an edge — a cultural edge — will be well worth it!

If you’d like to check out Broadway Edge for your budding brood, the next weekend audition intensive will be March 2nd-3rd, and right now, they are offering a special discount code.  Sign up by February 4th and enjoy $50 off using code MBLOG.

Dear Ikea,

I just wanted to thank you for high-jacking our weekend and providing my husband and I with a few hundred more grey hairs.  As working parents of five children, we were truly delighted to dedicate our weekend to bunk bed assembly, rather than enjoying quality time together as a family.  We were especially thrilled that as the moon rose on Sunday evening, the bunk beds still lay strewn in pieces and we had to farm out our triplets to other rooms of the house in sleeping bags.  Do have any idea what kind of disappointment this has been to our trio of four-year olds?  Or what that disappointment sounds like?  Imagine heartbroken wails, whines and tears; a symphony of agony as our little fellas faced the dark alone on the floor rather than snuggled together in the “big boy beds” they so eagerly and patiently anticipated.

With all of this in mind, we’d like to applaud you for astutely recognizing that most bunk bed consumers have large families and busy lives and as such, the luxury of time to labor feverishly over the fourteen thousand pieces you so thoughtfully provided for building the beds.  We especially appreciate the effort you put into creating the user-friendly, simple and intuitive assembly manual.  When we saw the first page – the one with an X through one stick figure and circle around two stick figures — we gave each other a big hug and jumped right in, knowing from the sweet diagram that this was a job for two people in love.  When darkness fell and we were still surrounded by bits of wood and bags of bolts, we swore and snarled at each other and considered burning your manual, having learned from a grueling day that it is woefully deceptive.  Building a bunk bed is not a job for team of two but rather, for a group of at least three, each of whom ideally has an engineering degree.  Next time you update the manual, please consider adding a third stick figure (at a minimum!) and a diploma to the diagram; this will save other harried, time-pressed parents from the frustration and duress we experienced today.

As dusk began to fall, we recognized we needed that third set of hands and called in my Dad in to help.  He was impressed by how you cleverly numbered the wooden dowels, screws and other assorted pieces pictured in the manual; he was far less impressed when he, as we had, searched for the corresponding numbers on the dowels and screws themselves and realized they did not exist.  That was a mean trick.  It literally drove my father to drink.  Not wanting to see a grown man drink alone, we joined him.  Needless to say, this didn’t make the assembly any easier.  What would make it easier would be if you could separate the thousands of pieces and place them in numbered bags that correspond to the numbers in your maddening manual.  Perhaps you were being environmentally conscious by putting approximately 14, 462 pieces into one large bag rather than several small ones? Perhaps you thought it would be fun for parents under pressure to build beds before sundown to revisit the puzzle-solving joy of their youth?  Whatever your intentions, they were wrong. We suggest you buy the baggies, number the parts and save the sanity of parents the world over who, like us, will be wooed by your Swedish design and undeniable affordability.

As for us, two weeks have passed since I first started this note of gratitude.  Though we purchased two sets of bunks, we’ve only built one. It took roughly eighteen hours.  So, here we are, two weeks later, with three boys in one set of beds. How does it work?  There’s one fella up top and two on the bottom.  Which was all well and good until one of the bottom boys barfed this week.  On the bunk, bed and brother. All we can say is that when they grow up and wonder why they shared a bed and why one was the recipient of the other’s regurgitated hot dog, we are telling them to call you. And hoping they will have a better experience than we did with your customer service line!

(not so) Fondly Yours,

The sleep-deprived members of the Lyons Den

 

It’s been about two weeks since last I wrote.  For me, that’s a really long time.  If you’re a regular reader and I’ve disappointed you with my lack of Tuesday Tips and typical light-hearted fare, I apologize.  The reality is, it’s been a rough few weeks.  In the past three weeks, I went to Chicago on business (good, but stressful), moved (very stressful), experienced the wrath and ensuing chaos of Hurricane Sandy (very bad and very stressful!), and went to Vegas on business (good, but stressful — and, exhausting!).  My good friends know that if I don’t have anything positive to say, I often won’t say anything at all.  I go silent.  Lately, I’ve been so overwhelmed that I’ve gone silent.  And, since some readers say they wish I’d share more of the hardships and challenges I face, well, here they are.  I am breaking my silence with a confession.  And here it is.

Motherhood is hard.  I tend to be a glass half full kind of a person but the reality is that this whole mommy thing is just really freakin’ hard.  No one said it would be easy, but I never expected it to be quite so challenging — in every way imaginable.

Physically, motherhood is grueling.  It starts at the very beginning, with the morning sickness when egg meets sperm. I thought it ended with the final push and first cry but, I was wrong.  With a son who is almost eight, a daughter who just turned six and four year old triplets, motherhood is as physically challenging as ever.  The triplets still need to be buckled into the back of the minivan – a daily task that includes twists and turns and seems to require a level of flexibility I no longer have. Not to mention, my pre-partum ass would have been a much easier fit into the third row!  My oldest son expects me to wrestle, rough house and play soccer, football, lacrosse, and baseball.  I grew up taking ballet classes and never played a team sport. Last summer he told me with more of a hint of disappointment, “Mom, you just weren’t meant to play baseball.” And he was right.

My daughter tends to challenge me more emotionally, though all the kids do in some way.  The emotional challenges of motherhood were also unanticipated.  I wasn’t prepared for how lonely it can be when you’re never actually alone but your constant companion is a newborn – often, a screaming newborn that you have no clue how to calm.  I was completely unprepared for how early the mother-daughter drama begins; the battle of wills over things I know don’t matter (for instance, the removal of every barrette/headband/elastic I’ve ever put in her hair!), yet still I engage in battle.  Then there’s the heartache – the gut-wrenching heartache – you experience when one of  your children is made fun of or another is chosen last for a team.  And once a year, there are those sharp needles that pierce their tender skin at the annual physicals. Ouch.  It’s physical for them, emotional for me.  And the emotional roller-coaster is ongoing.

Then there are the financial challenges of raising children.  Our grocery bills are outrageous.  I mean I’m thrilled they like fresh fruit but at this rate, it would be cheaper to buy an orchard. Or two!  Clothes aren’t cheap either. I tend to buy on sale and welcome hand-me-downs but when five kids need new shoes, well, let’s just say this mama’s not getting a brand new bag!  Another thing no one ever warned me about is extracurricular activities – they really add up! Just think about all the aforementioned sports plus hip-hop classes – and, all the equipment /outfits/uniforms they require!  I suppose it’s a good thing the kids are well-outfitted because at this point, I am not… and at this rate, I’m not sure I ever will be… though I’m grateful I once was – I suspect it was my formerly cute, sassy self that attracted a nice man and got me into this marvelous mess called motherhood in the first place!

There’s much more of course… in my life, there’s the struggle of the juggle as a working mom; the strain on a marriage with so many kids and so little time for each other; the challenge of maintaining friendships, finding time to exercise or, for that matter, finding time to sleep!

Nope, it’s not easy.  And sometimes it helps just to admit it.  So I’ll say it again.  It’s not easy. It’s really really hard.  But, being that glass half-full kind of a gal, I can’t linger on the hardships for long.  The reality is, no matter how hard it is, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.  Although, if anyone has an “easy button” that can be applied to the mega-job called motherhood, please let me know.  And Santa, if you’re out there, consider that “easy button” on the top of my list!

This week we are moving. The countdown is on. Just three days to go.  Rather than packing and organizing and preparing for our new life in a new home, I’m at a conference in Chicago as the clock ticks down our last days in our first home.  Crazy, right?

Well, in fairness, this is business travel, not a frivolous getaway and, Marketing to Moms is a really good conference.  Although the notion of moving has me totally FREAKED OUT, I have convinced myself that getting away for a few days will help me be better prepared to enter the fray when I return.  Even though my days here are long and filled with working and networking, it’s still a break from the chaos, stress and pressure of juggling a job, five kids and a pending move.  I’ve decided that there are some distinct advantages to this admittedly untimely trip…

I feel appreciated.  In the 8 hours since I’ve left home, I’ve fielded texts and calls seeking the whereabouts of:

  • CCD homework (my oldest son)
  • Thank you notes (my daughter)
  • Dinner (my husband! Even though I left food in the fridge and a message on the white board in the kitchen!)

I feel accomplished.  Not only did I advise (accurately!) on the whereabouts of the aforementioned items but I also found a few minutes to make a few calls that are mission critical to our move…

  • The movers (no doubt we need them!)
  • The mortgage company (one of the more important details for a closing, I now understand!)
  • The school bus company (which will be a key requirement for my grammar schoolers on Monday morning at 7:30!)

I’ve had a few opportunities I rarely get at home…

  • The chance to have dinner with a great friend who lives in Chicago and I haven’t seen in far too long – as evidenced by her greeting: “Wow!  Look how much lighter your hair is!”  By “lighter”, she meant “grey.”  Note to self: must see her more often and/or do a better job with hair color!
  • Shopping! My 7 year old has been walking around in pants that suggest he has either A. Survived or is B. Anticipating the great flood.  This kid’s pants are so short, he’s at risk for frostbite on his ankles.  And shins. The boy needs pants.  And, since I had the good fortune of walking by Old Navy (which would never happen at home!), now he has them.  And can look forward to warm ankles. And shins. Amen.
  • Sleep! No middle of the night visitors — no one who has to pee, feels compelled to tell me they peed in the potty or alert me to the unfortunate fact that their bed is wet.  And, though I love him, there is no furry four-legged friend trying to jump on the bed in the middle of the night… his own way of telling me that he has to pee!

Before signing off to indulge in some of that rare and elusive shut-eye, I have to mention one other benefit of this trip – and of business travel in general.  It is a chance to mix and mingle and be motivated and inspired by other working moms.  You know who you are.  You too have left sweet, needy children and husbands who can’t find their dinner at home.  You too have struggled with the juggle, the pressure, the quest for balance.  And, from what I’ve seen, you have succeeded.  And, given me the confidence that I will too!  Now, sweet dreams – this mama needs to get some rest so I return home ready for this move!

It’s only Tuesday and already it’s been a long week.  The kids are still struggling to get in the back to school routine and, well, I am too. It’s exhausting!  Each day starts with dragging them out of bed, forcing them to make those beds and then rather unceremoniously shoving them out the door to the bus.  Each day ends in a frenzy of “Did you do your homework? No, you can’t play the Wii. Why didn’t you eat your lunch? Where is your library book?!” And so on until we shove them back into those nicely made beds.

I decided tonight would be different.  My husband had to stay in the city for a work-related event and I decided to make a concerted effort to be the kind, patient, supportive Mom I want to be rather then the tired, cranky, nagging Mom I often am.  I have to say, it kind of worked.  Not in a gold star kind of a way but in a “greatly improved” kind of a way.

After a quick dinner of “dinner eggs” (see, I told you there would be no gold star!), I ushered my four youngest kids out to the yard so I could have some quality time with my third-grader — the one who is most often on the receiving end of my bedtime barrage of questions.  Instead my typical yelling and accusing as I dash to and fro with pajamas and toothbrushes in hand, I sat down and I listened.  And he talked.  And he told me why sometimes it’s hard to finish all his homework.  And he told me what he would like to eat for lunch.  And it was all very reasonable. And we both felt good.

I then called in the little ones and asked my big guy to curl up with a book while I got them ready for bed.  We actually had fun as we put on PJs, brushed teeth and picked out a story. Separating “big” from “little” worked like a charm. Everyone felt like they got a piece of this tired, stressed-out Mama – and apparently, they like that!

Then I looked at the book they chose.  Want to know what it was?  It was called “Dad is Great.”  I kid you not.  I don’t how or when that propaganda landed on the bookshelf but boy, did it ever burst my bubble!  I mean, of course, their Dad is great but really, do we need to dwell on it tonight of all nights?  Tonight would have been a good night to read “MOM is Great,” is such a book exists.  If not, I’ve changed my mind.  I want that gold star!