Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Why don't I own stock in this?

Lila's favorite place in the entire world to eat is Friendly's.  For those of you in places where they don't have them (one of the many things wrong with Arizona) basically, it's a family restaurant that is actually better known for their fantastic ICE CREAM.  Basically, if Baskin Robbins and Denny's merged and then got WAY better food at pretty reasonable prices, it would kind of be like that. It's pretty awesome. 

For the first two years after we moved back from Arizona, we lived about 4 blocks from a Friendly's and because it's pretty affordable (and just too fucking easy) we went there ALL THE TIME.  Seriously.  I should be embarrassed by the fact but in the interest of being totally honest with all of you who take the time to let me into your heads, I will just fess up: There was a time where we literally went there AT LEAST once a week.  I say "at least" because for a lot of the summer months, we would go one day a week (usually a Friday or Saturday evening) and have dinner, and then another week night (or two or three) we would walk there after we ate dinner, just to get ice cream.  Some weeks, we would also have lunch there.  And although they do have fantastic (and cheap) breakfasts, we only went for breakfast twice (both times meeting some friends with children).

If this sounds totally excessive, I want you to know that you will find no argument from me.  It IS excessive.  And I have the gigantic pants to prove it.  And although I would love to tell you that when we moved to our new house in October and started needing to budget our money a little better that dinners at the Friendly's have stopped, I cannot do that.  Our new house is less than a mile from our old house, and so I can safely say that the walks for ice cream are probably in the past.  And since it isn't QUITE as convenient, we are eating at home more.  See, now that we are in our own house, we only go to Friendly's when we have a coupon, which is pretty much every week because I have signed up for their email list (I'm a BFF - Best Friend of Friendly's) and they send them out pretty often. 

And there's another component to the fact that Lila BEGS for Friendly's all the time.  You see, last fall Lila became somewhat "enamored" with one of the servers there, a 20-something named Corey.  Corey is tall and handsome and has a giant diamond earring in his ear.  And Lila calls Corey her best friend.  Lila makes cards and colors pictures for Corey and we bring them on our next visit.  It is a very difficult dinner to get through when we get all hyped up to go to Friendly's and then it turns out that Corey took the night off.  Generally, Lila will cry and refuse to eat her food until the server properly engages her in conversation, and then she will spend the rest of the meal looking for "her new friend".

We went there tonight and it struck me just how much we actually go there because Corey said to us, "I haven't seen you guys in a while," and I thought about it and realized that "a while" was about 2 and a half weeks.  Then I started thinking about how much money we must actually spend there and I think I can safely say that I may single-handedly be the reason they were able to buy snazzy new carpets...

And just as I was getting tired of their food, they introduced a new seasonal menu with like 8 new items and they're fucking fabulous.  They're so good that I actually took the time to email Friendly's corporate office to tell them how fucking incredible the food was, especially considering that Friendly's isn't somewhere you go to have a mind-blowing meal (these are the people who created the giant cheeseburger served between two big grilled cheese sandwiches).

I seriously need a life...

I wonder if I wasn't exhausted all the time if I would feel a little less like having someone else do the cooking and cleaning up.  I wonder if my kid ate at home HALF as well as she eats at Friendly's (because of the incentive of a ridiculously fancy sundae at the end of the meal if she actually eats) if I would be more inclined to cook healthy food at home.  Because no matter how much I plan and make lists and stock up so that we can eat at home and save money, there inevitably comes a day where I am just too tired after work to cook, and Lila is begging and I just don't have it in me to say "no". 

I should just look into buying a Franchise.  I mean, who wouldn't want to take some credit for this fucking brilliant idea:

See the vegetables in there?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

SHIT...maybe next year.

Well, once again I have destroyed my chances of winning Mother of the Year. 

I really hate my days off work during the week.  Since I work part time at the gigantic downtown library and they don't have the budget to hire full time people, I have every Tuesday and Wednesday off of work.  Tuesdays are nice because the Kid goes to preschool in the morning until about 11:30 and it gives me time to get dressed and plan something for the rest of the day to occupy her so that she doesn't just whine and harass me all day.  Yesterday we hit the Barnes & Noble where she played with the trains (way more fun that the set we have at home for some reason), then played on the stage (she sang and danced for no one in particular), and then we went home where Netflix had sent us Lilo and Stitch to keep us occupied for much of the afternoon.  This also afforded me a "relax" time on the couch (go ahead, applaud my fantastic ulterior motives) and after that we only had about an hour before Daddy came home to entertain her while I made dinner.

But Wednesdays are always another story.  Sometimes, Lila cries to go to Grandma's (where she spends the days when I work) and I have NO PROBLEM calling my mother and letting Lila plead with her to let her come over.  But most days, it is up to me to make magic for her. 

Luckily, Wednesday morning is story time at the local branch library.  Unfortunately it's at 10:00 which for some reason seems to come too early for us.  But Lila loves the storytime.  It's a small affair with 3 to 5 kids at a time and a wonderful older childrens' librarian who Lila is attached to.  You see, we used to live on the same block, right up the street, and so last year we spent A LOT of time taking walks to the library and hanging around in there.  But since we moved, it isn't really walking distance and so we need to take a car rind and in the winter that means a little longer to prepare.

Since Lila is going through her phase of freaking out any time I tell her its time to do anything, I had to warn her a few weeks ago that if she ever threw a fit when we were getting ready to go anywhere, we simply would not go.  But since I also desperately NEED to take her to storytime in order to have a little time to space out, I really need to make it happen.

Well, today I told Lila I the plan.  "I am going to go upstairs to get showered and dressed.  You need to play nicely for about 15 minutes and then you will be getting dressed, cleaned up, and ready to go to storytime."  She didn't throw a fit.  She said "okay".  So far so good. 

I went upstairs to get my clothes together and Lila came up behind me and went into her room to play.  This is also good because then I can listen while I shower.  I heard her getting frustrated with something and when I went in she told me she needed some help getting her notebook and pen from under a stack of coloring books.  "I am pretty sure you can do this yourself," I said, but I took the notebook and pen out and she went to put it on her little princess table.  I walked out and took my little stack of clothes into the bathroom. 

I heard more sounds of frustration (namely, the notebook being thrown on the floor and a grunt).  I went back in, now half undressed.  "What's the problem Lila?"

"I can't make my pen work..."  OK.  I went and hunted for another pen.  "Problem solved.  Give me 10 minutes."

Then I heard a loud crash and a whiny scream.  Lila had overturned the table in her room and started a mini fit.  I told her to take a deep breath.  She did.  Then I asked her to show me what the problem was. She started yelling at me that she didn't want any help from me.  "Fine," I said.  I am getting in the shower.  Please play good for like 5 minutes and I will help you when I get out." 

Somehow, this was too much for her and she threw herself onto the floor screaming.  I attempted to EXPLAIN that story time is starting at 10:00 and if she wants to go, I have to get into the shower NOW.  "Play with something else for 3 minutes, and then we can talk.  She continued to scream and yell at me telling me that she doesn't WANT to play with anything else and that she needs me to fix her table NOW".

I told her I was giving her ONE MORE CHANCE to knock that shit off and then we weren't going.  At that, I turned to walk out of her room and got into the shower.  I heard her stomping the ground and screaming.  I soaped up as quickly as I could while she continued to cry and as I did this I felt my blood begin go boil. "OK.  YOU WANT TO BE A HUGE BRAT TODAY?  NOW WE DON'T GO TO STORY TIME."

At this, her tone changed and she started the truly upset broken-hearted crying.  But FUCK HER.  I tried to be nice.  Why the hell was I going to take a kid who is clearly just being an asshole to storytime?  She was not throwing a fit because she wanted me to hang out with her.  She was throwing a fit because she has a temper and even though I tried to talk her through it she threw a fit anyway. 

As she continued to cry, I yelled at her that she OBVIOUSLY had decided that staying home and breaking her stuff was much more fun than storytime and so she should go ahead and break all of her stuff so that I can throw it away and she won't have any toys to get mad about anymore.

And I yelled and yelled and yelled and she just kept on crying and telling me that I am a Mean Mommy.  And then I started being a real asshole.  "Boo Hoo Hoo..." I said.  "I am being a brat and now I can't have what I want so I am going to be a bigger brat...BOO HOO HOOO!!!"  I was mocking my 3-year-old child. 

I admit, looking at that now, it was probably not nice to do.  It was childish.  I am the adult, right?  I am supposed to remain composed and calm, right?  So why does my kid have the ability to make me fucking insane to the point of wanting to strangle her?  I actually had to go into my bedroom, shut the door, and scream into a pillow until my throat started to hurt so that I didn't totally lose it.  I considered calling her father and telling him to come home so that I didn't traumatize her emotionally for life.

Then I started to feel guilty because I KNOW that my behavior is no more acceptable than hers, and I AM NOT THREE.  I started to think that I am setting a shitty example and now she is going to think it's okay to be an asshole to someone when they are upset. 

About 20 seconds later, Lila came in with a pack of candy that she got from her Valentine's Day party at school, as if NOTHING EVER HAPPENED and asked me to open it.  I said, "You know we're not going to storytime right?"  "Yeeeaaaah." she said sadly. 

"And you know that it's because you threw a fit for no good reason, right?"  "Yeeeaaah." she said. 

"Then why would you be allowed to have a candy treat when 5 minutes ago you were acting like a total brat?" I asked her, trying to be the stern Mommy.  She gave it to me and I told her we were going to save that for later. 

Then she said, "I want to tell you something very important."
"Oh yeah?"  I said.  "What's that?"

"I'm really sorry that I made you mad and sad." She said matter-of-factly.  "You don't have to take me to storytime when I'm being bad."

And that's when I realized that I have a really fucking good kid, and that as a mother, I totally do not deserve her.

Monday, February 14, 2011


So the other night we were out at Friendly's with my friend who has a 6 year old son named Louie.  He's adorable and Lila was laughing hysterically at all his knock knock jokes.  Louie let me know that on Valentine's day, he believes that he is supposed to pick a girl at school to marry.  He said he didn't really like any of the girls at school and so I told him "that's why we brought Lila here to see you! So you can marry her." 

Lila got DEADLY serious and turned white.  "I DON'T WANT TO GET MARRIED!  NEVER!"  We all laughed, of couse, and I said, "Smart Girl!" 

As you may or may not know, Lila's dad and I are not married.  We just haven't bothered. 

Then I got nervous.  Does Lila not know what marriage is about?  Does she think it's some awful thing? (it kind of is.)  Or is she just like me, not seeing the purpose?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Starving for Newtons

I've been told it's just her age.  But I swear to God, every regular routine part of every single day is a huge dramatic nightmare for Lila and she makes all of it pure hell for me.

We eat dinner together every night.  I am a big fan of "family dinner time" so I insist that Ben be home from work and we all sit together at the table WITHOUT the TV on and talk.  I gave up a LONG time ago on eating foods that Lila is unlikely to eat.  So we rarely have steak or roasts or basically ANY grown up food because I just know that she will refuse to eat it and additionally make a big deal about the fact that she can't eat Popsicles for dinner.  And since I am no short-order cook, I only make one meal per night and so we eat a lot of hamburgers and pizza and tacos.  I try to make "healthier choices" when it comes to these things and so we use lean meat and whole grain and that kind of thing. 

In most families, this is enough and the kids generally shut up and partake in the dinners, but not in my house.  Not for the queen.  Lila just refuses to eat.  She just will not eat.  At least not what we are eating and not when we do.  Lila's entire MO for the last couple of months, is to take two bites of dinner then begin to play.  Usually we "suggest" that she eat some more and she says she will after she takes a break.  But she doesn't.  And she starts to do annoying things like bang her silverware or make obnoxious noises.  After a few minutes we tell her to either eat or get down.  She always gets down. 

It's the four food groups.
As I am sure you can guess, as soon as we clean the table off, Lila asks for a snack.  At first we tried giving her a " food you didn't finish at dinner" snack but this only caused convulsion-style tantrums so we stopped.  We began simply telling her that if she got down from the table without eating her dinner she could not have a snack.  Although this seems like a perfectly reasonable statement it fills me with fear and dread.  Because inevitably, as we are lying in bed and I close her story book for the night, she tells me she's hungry.  Then she can't go to sleep because she's too hungry and she ends up crying until well into the night until either we give her a snack or we drink ourselves unconscious.  I am not exaggerating when I say that she has cried in her room from 8:30 until close to 2 am until I finally gave in and brought her a cereal bar. 

We have tried allowing her to eat her dinner later, if she chooses.  She refuses, saying that at bedtime you can only eat snacks and not dinner.  I have tried offering her peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or carrots and dip for snacks so that she can get some nutrition but then I realized that she was just holding out for these things.  Then I began trying to give her these things at dinner time, just to end the hassle of it all and GUESS WHAT???? She suddenly didn't like them anymore. 

I will not battle with her over eating.  She does not understand why she can't skip dinner and just eat 8 Fig Newtons at bedtime every night.  This is a battle of wills, and the only way to win the battle of wills with a 3 year old is to not let her know it's a battle.  I just tell her I really don't care if she's hungry.  She can eat what I give her or not at all.  And although I say these things, I have to admit that when she turns into a total asshole because she's hungry after refusing to eat lunch and then she refuses to eat anything other than whatever random food item she deems necessary at that moment (it Alvin and the Chipmunks gummy snacks, today) I just send her to her room until she can chill the fuck out and act like a human child again.  Sometimes I can get her to eat normal food, sometimes I can't.  Usually, I compromise on a bowl of cereal or yogurt or something and about half the time, she still refuses to eat it, but I still feel like she holds out for these snack foods that she likes better than actual meals.  It's not the fact that she only wants to eat a few foods.  Its the fact that the few foods she wants to eat are cookies, chips, and ice cream.

I know the old adage that a healthy kid will not starve herself.  But no one ever says she won't maker her mother completely insane in her quest to only eat the 3 items she wants to eat so that she can prove who is in charge.

So. Very. Tired.

I have been so exhausted lately that I cannot even begin to bitch about my kid because I just don't have the energy.  I am pretty sure that the thick gray of winter is sucking the sunshine and happiness out of my soul (what little I had in there).  Anyone want to tell me a story about their spawn?  I am a fantastic listener (reader).

Sunday, February 6, 2011

I hate winter

I think my kid would be a whole lot more managable if I was willing to get her all dressed up and go outside and play with her in the snow.  But I fucking hate the snow.  And the only thing I hate more than being outside in the snow is coming in and having miniature puddles of melted snow all over the house.  I don't even bother to buy myself hats or gloves or the kind of boots that are useful in actual deep snow.  Because I never have any intention of being outside in it for more than the amount of time it takes to get from the house to the car.

But every now and then I am forced to participate in snow-loving antics by Ben, who insists we do "family things" together.