Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Battle Royale

How is it that in a battle of wills with my 36 year old, educated, slightly imposing husband, I am resolute, I am a rock- an immovable mountain of stubborness. But in a battle of wills with my 5 year old daughter, I am but a tiny little crumbly molehill of resolve? Emerson, at a whopping 38 pounds, has mastered the art of wearing me out and wearing me down to the point that I have nothing left but to give in to her ridiculous and unfounded logic. Maybe it is the product of being raised by two lawyers or maybe she has some freakish DNA mutation that allows her to gain mind control over those she wishes to dominate, I don't know, but I don't have this problem with anyone else.

Heretofore, Carson had "the face". I called it his "anything face" because when he arranged his precious features just so, I would do anything for him that he asked. "So, you want to go to Starbucks right now for a $4.00 cup of hot chocolate even though we have some right here in our very own cabinets?" Insert "the face". "Ohhhh, alright, let's go, you adorable child!!!" However, after years of succumbing to "the face", I have somehow become immune to its once unstoppable powers. I think it may have something to do with the fact that Carson over played his hand a bit and started using his X-power for evil instead of good. Over time, hot chocolate became trips to GameStop which became endless needling for expensive games and just like that, the bubble burst and I came to my senses. However, worry not, all is not lost for young master Carson as Grandma is still under his spell and regularly spends her weekends carting him around town happliy granting his champagne wishes and caviar dreams.

Okay, so back to Emerson and her Jedi mind control. Today it was the clothes. She has particular ideas of what she wants to wear and usually it involves wearing all of favorite things at once. A Hello Kitty sweat pants, an American girl shirt (hot pink belt on top of the shirt) and silver dress shoes is her idea of fasssshhhhionnn (insert disdain and eye rolling for the full effect). Throw in a random purse full of chapsticks and playing cards and you have got yourself a mall worthy outfit.

She picked out a navy blue too small skort and a navy blue uniform shirt and purple paisley hightops. Forget the shoes, I was not about to go to war over those (that is a losing battle any day of the week) but I did object to the blue on blue number she was planning on wearing to school today. I pointed out how the colors weren't even the same shade of blue and she burst into tears. (The tears, oh the tears she can shed) "But they matchhhhh". True enough, so whatever, wear the ding dang blue shirt then. I give up.

Which is precisely my problem, I always give up. As we all do it seems. No matter what everyone eats for breakfast, Emerson only eats Toaster Strudel. Every. Single. Day. And if that wasn't enough, she insists on have a "letta" inscribed on her strudel each day, to which she only knows. So we slavishly ask every morning, what letter do you want today- usually it is M (for mama) and E (for Emerson). Which ironically spells out ME. As in the whole world revolves around me, me, me.

And if was just her breakfast or her outfits, I may actually stand a chance. But it is everything, all day long. Her baths, her hair, her clothes, her food, her milk, her drawings and the list goes on and on. So much drama with this girl. And the tears, you would not believe how many tears are shed if so much as one crumpled up drawing makes its way to the trashcan. I'm such a sucker for the tears.

No tears: "Mama can I sleep in your bed tonight?"
Me: "No way, you have a great big beautiful bed and you are a big girl, so nite-nite, love you."

Tears rolling down that sweet cherub face: "Mama, I think there are weetches in my room and Bubba won't let me sleep in his bed and I'm sooooo scareddddd (sobbing now)."
Me: "Okay, but you better pretend you're asleep when Daddy gets here or he's gonna make you go back to your room. Nite-nite, love you."

My mother says I am paying for my own dramatic youth. To which I have no reasonable reply because I do remember being a giant headache for my parents until about age 16. But, with that in mind, how am I to ever make it nine more years held hostage to Emme's wild ideas and dramatic mood swings? I have heard that it only gets worse. Yikes. The thought makes me want to cry a little. Unfortunately, at 36, crying doesn't do you much good anymore.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas Magic

Every year, I set out with my sister, Sandy and my sister-in-law, Jessica to achieve the Holy Grail of our Christmas time existence, a family portrait of all of our children. They are seven in number, our little angels, ranging in ages from 15 months to 12 years. Individually, they are, how shall we sayyyyy, "challenging" to their respective moms. However, when combined, they become a supernatural force that could only be characterized as "impossible" - as in impossible to corral, impossible to cajole, and impossible to not kill.

Like army generals, we met up early this year to plan out the mission down to the tiniest detail. Naps for the little ones- check. Non-messy food with which to bribe the little ones- check. Empty promises of "prizes" for the best behaved big kid- check. Everything should have fallen into place as planned. We left nothing to chance. Oh, but once again, we underestimated the power of seven.

It seems in our zealousness to arrive early at the picture site, we overshot the time of sunset and had to improvise with alternate sites while waiting for the sun to set. Well, we might as well have said, "Scatter to the winds, young ones, and never look baaaack" because that is precisely what they did. The big ones took off to climb a retaining wall adjacent to where we were and the little ones started climbing a big dirty hill next to the wall. We would catch a couple of them at a time and take a few pictures and before they could so much as say cheese, the others would be off on some other dirt covered endeavor.

When the sun finally started to cooperate, we began to arrange all the kids on the wall where we planned for the blessed event to take place. The best way to describe the process of coordinating seven kids is to conjure the image of one person desperately trying to spin seven plates at once and never quite getting them all going. Sandy took something like 150 pictures trying to get one shot that would work. Unfortunately, the longer it took, the worse our chances got of getting anything that would work.

The picture above is the final result. All seven lined up atop the wall, the delights of their mother's hearts, Emerson hamming it up, Campbell too sick to bear one more minute, Lauren angelic as always, and all the boys, behaving for once and at once. Not the perfect picture that we had in mind, but pretty darn close.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


The planets sure did align for Halloween this year- the weather was perfect, it fell on a Saturday this year and best of all, we got an extra hours rest when it was all over!!
Unfortunately, sweet Emme was not too quick on the uptake about the whole trick-or-treating business and before we ever got started she fell into a big heap on the ground and burst into tears. She is naturally a fairly tearful child, so I let her cry into her her plastic pumpkin for a couple of minutes before I attempted to ask what could be possibly be bugging her one minute into the evening. She hyperventilated out some cryptic nonsense, so I had to ask my dad for the translation. "She said that she looked everywhere and couldn't find any candy at all." I let that sink in and then figured out that she thought it was supposed to be like Easter and she had been scoping out the lawn for candy. I explained the concept of Halloween, she dried up and off we went for the up close demonstration.

Emme loved trick-or-treating but got to about her 4th or 5th house and announced she was done and wanted to go home. That sounded great to me and we headed home, leaving Carson and his buddy Karson to continue on with our group. Emme and I spent the rest of the night handing out candy, eating candy and otherwise having a delicious good time.
The Carsons came back awhile later with all the cousins and spent the rest of the evening in high stakes negotiations for the best candy portfolio. Carson made out like a bandit, but only because he totally hustled his poor 5 year old cousin Austin out of all of his good stuff.
The rest of the night was spent with good friends, family and football. Like I said, the planets surely aligned for Halloween 2009. It was perfect.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Out of the mouth of babes

Last night, Carson and I were going through our I-Tunes catalog, trying to put together a kid friendly, yet still rockin', playlist for the car. I would play a song, we'd listen a while and then decide whether it was car-worthy. We were bee-bopping this way for a while when I came across "At Last" by Etta James. I hit play and explained to Carson that this was the song from Mommy and Daddy's wedding and that it still makes me swoon. Swooning still, I insisted that he dance with me. And being a right good sport, Carson jumped up and slow danced with his mom in the middle of our study.

So, there I was, alone in my thoughts, reminiscing about my beautiful wedding when Carson asked, "Is this how you danced with Daddy?"

"Yes", I replied, "it was one of the best days of my life."

"Oh, I wish I could have been there."

"Well, I explained, you were still up in heaven waiting to be born."

"Oh, I see."

At this point, I find myself thinking that this may be one of the sweetest exchanges of my adult life and I am trying to concentrate on remembering it in vivid detail. Still dancing, with his precious head leaning against my stomach, he mused out loud, "And after the dancing, did Daddy reach up under your dress and take off your underwear?"

WWWWWWHHHHHAAATTTTTTTT!!!!!!!! I found my mind reeling in shock and I ended up having an entire conversation with myself in a desperate attempt to make the preceding comment make sense.

Time stood still and the following conversation took place in my head:

Stacy: Holy Guacamole!!! Did he just say what I think he said?

Self: I think in the movies, this is where the lead character tells the quirky best friend something outrageous and the quirky best friend spews wine all over the place. Or maybe something less visual; maybe something more audible like a record needle being dragged across a record or the sound of a stack of plates breaking in the background.

Stacy: Who Cares!! Did you just hear what I heard? My sweet innocent child, knows stuff. Baaddd stuff. And I am going to have to discuss with my child what the heck he knows about going up dresses and grabbing underwear. I am so totally unprepared for this conversation. Everyone always tells me that I tell him too much as it is. I am soooo not ready for this.

Self: In the movies, after the spewing or the plates breaking, they usually break away to another scene for dramatic effect. I am afraid you don't exactly have the same luxury here. So you are going to have to gather your senses and face this thing head on.

Stacy: You're right. Here goes. I will be calm. Cool. Collected.

Back from the mental break and into reality:

Deep breath.

"I'm sorry Carson, you were saying?"

"Well, I saw on T.V. how the man grabs this lacy thing from under the girl's dress and shoots it into the people watching."

OOOOOOOOOOOhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Big smile. Blood rushing back to my head. I am now breathing again and my heart rate has reached normal limits. He was talking about the garter, silly girl. He knows nothing about the birds and the bees and all is still right with the world.

"Oh yes, they do that at all weddings. Although, now that I come to think about it, I have absolutely no idea why."

I returned to my dancing reverie.

From my tummy came his little voice again.

"Mom, will you dance with me at my wedding?"

"Of course, my darling."

"That is if your not dead yet".

Cue the plates breaking again.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Beauties and the Beast

Here is a little known fact about me. Way back when I was pregnant with baby #2, I went to the doctor to find out the sex of the baby. I was pretty convinced I was having a boy because (1) I really, really wanted a Boy, (2) I just knew Carson was destined to have a brother and (3) I didn't have any experience with a girl and the idea of raising one overwhelmed me. So, imagine my surprise when I was informed that my baby was in fact, a girl. After making the doctor double check and being assured that I was definitely having a girl, I looked over at my sister and promptly burst into tears.

All I could think of was that girls grow up and spend their teen years hating their mothers and the rest of their lives thinking their mothers are crazy. I didn't want to be crazy. And I certainly did not think I had the emotional fortitude to endure years of fighting some smart mouthed eye-rolling nightmare. And being an ex-teen nightmare myself, I felt like I was probably due some serious payback.
Well, what can I say, I must have hit crazy early, because having a girl has been an absolute delight. No matter how much your husband loves you, there is no way he is going to enjoy a day at the mall followed by a mani and a pedi. But make this same offer to a three year old girl and you've got a friend for life.
So when I saw that a theater production of Beauty and the Beast was coming to our town, I jumped at the chance to experience it with Emme. To be fair to Carson, I totally invited him, but he was less than enthusiastic about the prospect of watching a play, about a fairy tale, with his sister and his mom. So, I let him off the hook and invited my niece Campbell.

I dressed the girls up in princess dresses and we had a marvelous time. The look on their faces when that curtain went up and Belle came out singing was positively priceless. Emme has seen Beauty and the Beast on video about a million times so she was literally on the edge of her seat with anticipation. Campbell (a bit of a tomboy) was less familiar with the storyline, but she seemed to be really enjoying it too. That is until the Beast showed up and he just about scared the ball gown off of her. From that moment on, she refused to take her face out of my lap and after crying non-stop for about twenty minutes, she fell asleep in my arms. Not long after, Emme started fading too. So, even though the play was only half over, we left at intermission. I really hope to see it in full one day, because it was really entertaining.
So, as I left with one little princess in my arms and the other slowly puttering behind me, I found myself thanking God for knowing that a little girl was just what our family needed. Emerson Claire is such a blessing. I say that now, but you may want to check back with me in about ten years. Things may have taken a turn for the worse.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Remodeling madness

Every summer, Dobie and I embark on a journey towards home improvement with hopes that this year, unlike every year before, will somehow be different. I think we have developed some form of home improvement amnesia which erases all memories of past projects gone wrong. We seem to block out all memories of the gigantoid mess that accompanies these little DIY’s or the unforeseen glitches that always come up. This year is no different.

After the dust settled (literally) from last year’s popcorn ceiling replacement-slash-debacle in the living room (see above), we began to dream-build again and decided that we would go it once more in our bedroom. However, knowing full well that replacing the ceiling means that you MUST replace the flooring, we also decided that we would get new carpet. And that of course led to new light fixtures which eventually led to us to needing new paint on the walls and baseboards. It was sort of like the home improvement version of If You Give a Pig a Pancake.

So, we took a week off of work and got all the work done so that the carpet people could come on the following Monday and put in new carpet. And by people, I mean the Home Depot carpet installation “team” that we hired to handle this leg of the project. Well, some "people" showed up but they looked nothing like the clean cut uniformed crew I saw on t.v. who arrived in a big professional looking truck with an actual back on it. What I got was two dudes in a red pick up with my carpet sticking out the back. I tried not to judge and decided to wait and be happily surprised with the completed product. Well, I am still waiting, because some other nincompoops from the aformentioned "team" measured wrong and came up 6inches short of carpet.

To be fair, I did get carpet in my bedroom, so that room actually looks great. We even sprung for a new flat screen television for the wall so I don’t have to squint to watch my old ugly 19 inch white hand me down t.v. from Dobie’s grandma. But once you leave the peaceful tranquility of my bedroom you are hit with the jarring spectacle that is my living room. Here, you have to step over the entire contents of our study which includes multiple guitars, two recliners, music stands, bookshelves, a console table and piles of clothes from the closet. Scattered around other parts of the house are electronic components and doors off of their hinges. For someone like me who needs complete order and symmetry, it is a bit unnerving. I am getting progressively more snappish as the days go by.

With this latest project, I think Dobie and I have decided that we definitely need a break for awhile. The next project is the kitchen countertops and fortunately I work with a guy whose family owns a granite store. So, surely nothing can go wrong, right??? See, it is happening again, the home improvement amnesia is doing it’s job……..

Friday, July 31, 2009

School Supply Mama Drama

Is it just me or are school supply lists getting just a wee bit complicated? I have been on a two week long scavenger hunt all over Wichita Falls (and the Internet) for no less that four ga-jillion items which I believe can only be loosely tied to the actual education of my children. I remember the good old days when you just showed up with a Big Chief tablet, a couple of pencils and a box of Kleenex.

Fast forward 25 or so years (gulp) and now one cannot be properly educated unless there are wet wipes and Germ-X at every desk. For reasons I cannot possibly tie to any educational purposes, I have to buy small paper plates, large Ziplock bags and Sharpie markers. The list goes on and on.

I have searched for washable classic color markers until my feet hurt and I am still looking for the Holy Grail of school supplies: the 8-count Crayola washable crayons. I was forced to go off-list on the crayons and I ended up buying a 16 count, triangle shaped set of Crayola crayons. Emme will probably pitch a fit when she sees that they are not like all the other 3-Ker's. She is a stickler for details that one.

In my defense, I don't think anyone can really fully comply with that list. Seriously, why must Carson have a 1 1/2 inch Durazip binder? If I actually could locate this overly specific piece of school accoutrement, I think I would still hesitate to buy it. Exactly why must his papers be zipped up in order to be brought home? Did he gain some kind of extra security clearance now that he is in third grade that requires that all papers should be under lock and key before placement in his backpack? It is getting ridiculous.

I am beginning to think that maybe the list is a test. What if there is some kind of sliding scale of compliance that tells the teachers just what kind of parent they are dealing with? Like at the crazy type-A end of the scale are the loonies who manage to get every single thing on the list and then go one step further and monogram it all. And at the lazy slacker end of the scale are the parents who go all rogue and buy Rose Art instead of Crayola and figure that nobody needs 3 boxes of Kleenex on the first day of school, so they just send one. And in the middle of the scale are the poor schmos who do the best they can with the supply list and hope that their kid doesn't notice that they have triangle crayons and not round ones? And depending on how you do with the list, that is how the teachers know how to deal with you.

I don't know, maybe I am just over thinking this whole school supply thing. But just in case you find small and/or large binder rings, let me know. I sure don't want to be nailed as a slacker.