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Perfect Moments at the Circus

Life certainly is not perfect.  This blog tends to highlight those far from perfect times, because, well, they are generally pretty funny.  But there are plentiful perfect moments,too.  They are short lived, and you never know when or if a moment like that will ever come around again.  But that makes them all the more precious.

Like this morning, the little princess woke me up around 5am.  I put her in bed with me and let her nurse and when she was finished she popped her little fingers in her mouth and flung her free arm up over mine as if she were giving me a hug.  She wriggled her body in even closer and gave a great big content sigh.  Stretching my glance down to that sweet little face I was afraid to breathe, in case the movement made her stir.  Just a beautifully perfect moment. She’s growing up fast and I know there can’t be many more moments like that ahead.

Of course then she went back in her crib and is still sleeping hours later, while I had to get up with the wild things, but hey, sometimes you have to get up early for those perfect moments.  Wouldn’t want to miss a single one.

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The Circus Goes Swimming: with only Mommy

Well, today I took the plunge.  Literally.  I got all 4 kids in the pool by myself.  This meant a great deal of groundwork.  You know, laying out clothes to change in to ahead of time.  Fixing lunches ahead.  Laying out towels to protect little feet from a hot deck, strategically placing umbrellas for shade, etc.  Then there was the actual clothing change into swimming attire, punctured by Circus Boy #2 missing the potty and peeing all over his clothes and the floor.  That was FUN. 

The actual pool part was pretty fun, I will say.  The big boys are able to swim pretty well now with their floaties.  They don’t need to hold on to me, which is fortuante as I only have two arms.  I had to hold the little princess in one arm and Circus Boy #3 under my other arm.  Circus Boy #3 keeps trying to figure out how his brothers can just go, but he hasn’t figured out he needs to keep his feet out behind him and kick.  If he just bobs in the water his little swimmy diaper just floats his fluffy rear up to the surface, he panics and forgets to keep his face out of the water.  Anyway, I had one kid under each arm and we hopped around the pool (literally) for a half hour or so, much to everyone’s delight.  The little princess was just a bit too small for her ring floaty, but it worked well enough to hold her while I got in and out of the pool, and Circus Boy #3 discovered he could hold on to the side of the pool without his rear floating up away from him.  Otherwise, I’m not sure how I would have navigated the pretty rickety ladder with both kids.  I’m good, but not that good and 4 ft is a long way to fall with two kids in your arms (that’s the height getting out of the water..). 

So it was wildly successful.  I was able to let the big boys stay in while I changed the little kids since I had thought ahead and their clothes were right by the door.  (Change outside on a towel means no water in the house!)  When I was done the big boys climbed out and that’s when things kind of headed down hill. 

The plan was to take my pre-made lunches, sit outside and let the big boys eat outside and drip dry (its so hard to get wet swim shirts off, isn’t it?).  Well, the big boys got out and naturally yelled “I gotta go potty!”  So they had to change or else drip all over the hardwood floors.  Not happening.  So as they hopped around (gotta go potty, ohh noo, ohh noo, gotta go now!) and tried to peel their wet clothes off, I set out their lunches.  They eventually went in and potty-d (in the toilet this time) and got their dry clothes on with minimal goofing around.  No biggy.  They ate their lunches and all was well.  Until….(drum roll)…the WASP.  I had just brought the little princess into the house and settled her on the floor with some toys in anticipation of the “I’m done!” dishes, messy hands and faces rush, when I heard “WASP!!  Oh, Oh, Oh, RUN.”  That would be Circus Boy #1.  Who is convinced the mere site of a “sting bug” means that it is headed straight for him with malicious intent.  Screen door flies open, in runs Circus Boy #1, carrying lunch box, followed closely by Circus Boy #2, carrying half his lunch box.  Then in meanders Circus Boy #3.  The only part of his lunch that he carried was spread over him in the form of monstrously peanut buttery hands and bits of sandwich in his unmanageable mane.  (Mr. Ringmaster, if you’re reading this, we really need to get his hair cut.  He’s starting to use it as a napkin.  Seriously.  I wonder if that’s where that odor is coming from…I’m only half joking.) 

Of course no one closes the door, ironic.  So now, in addition to cleaning up the lunch mess outside, I now had to clean the lunch mess dragged about by Circus Boy #3 before I managed to tackle him with half a roll of paper towels, and I had to clean up lunch mess at the dining room table as there was no way Circus Boy #1 could be coaxed back outside and there was no way Circus Boy #2 was going out there if Circus Boy #1 was scared of something.  Ah, I love cleaning up messes (sarcasm, please, note the sarcasm).  Which is good because I think I spend 95.978% of my time doing that. 

I shall think twice before letting them eat outside again.  Perhaps next time I will provide the youngest circus boy with a healthy snack while he waits for his brothers to get it together so we can go in for lunch.  Live and learn.

 

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Circus Birthdays: Rescue Bots

Are you familiar with Transformers Rescue Bots?  They are based on the Transformers but significantly less violent, and as such are appropriate for younger children.  They do not fight, but rescue people from danger (they are ambulances, police cars, firetrucks, etc).  Anyway, the circus boys love them, as they are the only “super hero” show I will let them watch.  (Seriously, does a 3 1/2 year-old need to watch Batman beating up bad guys?  Like I need them running around, jumping off furniture, imitating that garbage.)  So Circus Boy #1 really, really, really (REALLY) wanted to have a Rescue Bots themed birthday party.  (Did you see the “REALLY” part?)  But, guess what, no one makes Rescue Bot themed party decorations.  No one.  So Mama got creative.

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Table decorations!  I bought some shiny fluffy toothpick thingies, some pails and those round styrofoam balls they use at the florist.  In a word document I put rescue bot pictures in circles and printed them out on sticker paper.  Cut them out (duh) and stuck them to either side of the shiny toothpick thingies.  Then I covered the styrofoam ball with white tissue paper, a little glitter and stuck those toothpick thingies in.  Poof.  Table decorations.  Not that anyone at the party noticed.  But my kids did, and that’s what matters.  (They are my dining room table’s current centerpiece and will probably remain so until next year’s birthday party when they decide they want something else.)  (Same method on regular toothpicks made cupcake toppers for the big boy’s school party and their shared friend party at the Children’s Museum.  Circus Boys #1 and #3 have birthdays 3 days apart. )

Then, Circus Boy #1 really, really, REALLY wanted a Bumblebee Rescue Bot cake on his actual birthday.  Despite a fever and feeling like poo, I took up the challenge, because I spoil my children, or I enjoy pain, agony and mountains of added stress, or something.  Here it is:

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Now, as you can see, I am no master cake maker.  But it made the birthday boy happy.  Its a simple one layer chocolate from scratch cake.  The frosting is a butter-cream, sort of.  I threw some butter in the kitchen aid, added some powdered sugar and some milk, and mixed it up.  There was a little too much milk, not enough butter.  But, recipes aren’t really my thing so much.  I could have easily added more butter and sugar to compensate but I was running low.  (I mean really, how hard is it to mess up frosting?)  But, I digress.

The face and eyes are marshmallow fondant.  Marshmallows, a tiny bit of water.  Microwave.  Stir.  Add coloring.  Add powdered sugar.  Mix.  Keep adding powdered sugar.  Knead giant sticky mess until less of a giant sticky mess and it comes together in a ball.  Dust rolling pin, roll, cut, put on top of frosting.  Use a bit of frosting as glue when putting fondant on fondant.  Done.  (Ok, getting it off the work surface is a little bit tough, especially if its humid.  Just work fast and use that powdered sugar like its flour and you’re making cut out Christmas cookies.)  I told you recipes aren’t my thing, but if you really want one.  Google it.

And that is how the Rescue Bots themed birthday came to be.

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Circus Walking: The Pace

Circus Boy #1 “Mommy, you know why I’m walking back and forth like this? ”

Me:  “No, baby.  Why?”

CB1:  “Because I’m thinking. Know what I’m thinking about?  I’m thinking about how to make this family better.”

Me: “Oh really?  What have you come up with?”

CB1: “Um, just behaving.  Not stomping feet.  That kind of thing.”

Me:  “You’re a special boy, you know that?”

CB1:  “Yup.”

Me: “How?”

CB1:  “Because you love me.”

 

Aw, sweet.

 

10 minutes later:

CB1: Thud, thus, thud

Me:  “Stop stomping, you sound like an elephant!”

CB1: “Oookkkk.”  ::laughter::

At least he gets the irony.

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In the Center Ring: The morning routine

I try to keep our days, especially in the summer, pretty much on a schedule.  We have a pretty set routine, because, lets face it, I do not have enough words in a day to tell each child the obligatory 4 to 366 times that they need to get dressed, pick up their clothes, brush teeth,etc.  So I try to get them to automatically pick up their dishes after breakfast, put them in the dishwasher, get dressed, put their clothes in the hamper and make their beds.  It works, sort of.  I’d say it cuts down on the amount of directions I have to repeat anyway.  Except when they get hung up on one and just decide, well, not to cooperate. 

Like this morning.  Circus Boy #1 was not pleased with the breakfast choice options.  “I want something for a quick breakfast.  Cereal takes too long,” he wailed.  Now, why he wanted a quick breakfast I haven’t the faintest idea, but, that’s not really unusual.  I often have no idea what’s going on.  Truly humorous is the fact that he sat on the floor by the pantry pouting that cereal would take too long to eat for about 25 minutes, during which time, an entire bowl of cereal could have been eaten even at his reduced speed of 1 bite per minute. 

 

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A Circus Allowance

Circus Boy #1 is almost 5 (in 2 days!  I am old…). We decided it was time for a bit more responsibility and also some lessons about money.  So he has been assigned a couple weekly jobs and is being given an allowance.  He is responsible for turning the pool filter pump on and off everyday, and he has to clean the downstairs bathroom on Fridays (just the surfaces and floor with  a vinegar and water solution).

So as he’s cleaning the bathroom he comes out and says, ok, I cleaned the sink.  “Great!”  “Where’s the money?”  “Huh?”  “I’m supposed to do the sink and the toilet and the floor, so after I do the sink, I should get some, but (big sigh) the dollars aren’t coming!” 

I don’t think we quite get the process yet….

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Circus Pollution

How do you explain the concept of noise pollution to a 3 1/2 and 5 year-old?

  • You do not need to shout “I did it” when going potty after you have been potty trained for over an entire year?
  • Walking into a room and screaming “Ogga Boo!” might be funny if one person did it, once, but as it stands in this house, it is not.
  • Asking the same question your brother just asked so that you get your own answer, while interrupting Mommy talking about something else, is not acceptable.
  • I assure you, I can hear when someone says a potty word, I don’t need someone else to scream “Mommy, he said a potty word!”  Chances are I’m already addressing it, but no one can hear me, because of the tattling.
  • I also do not need random words shouted like “Ice cream,” or “Armadillo” when they is clearly no need to use those words.
  • Squeals are not necessary at the table.  Lunch is just not that exciting.
  • “Boom”, ::clap::, “cock-a-doodle-do,” “gah,” “arhhhh,” “whoooo,” “ha”  (the last 10 seconds of random noises)

 

Add in the beings that can’t help it, the non-stop raspberry blower and the little boy who communicates mostly with grunts and screaming, and it gets pretty darn loud around here.  Back to what I said yesterday about those ear-plugs.

At least they’re happy, right?