Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Happy Birthday To Me.

Today is my birthday.  I've been on this planet for thirty-eight years.  I learned long ago that birthdays, though special, are also just one of 365 days.  And on that note I rang in my birthday with a midnight vacuuming of the living room.  This morning I ran a load of dishes and also managed to finish a couple of loads of laundry.  This afternoon I cleaned my daughters' room.  

On the bright side I squeezed in a morning bike ride (if you want legs of a behemoth try pumping a bike uphill with a 60# parachute, aka bike trailer). 

 My husband also took me to lunch; mmmm - crispy crab sandwich.   The family gave me a pepper mill and asian wire strainer.  These will come in quite handy when I attempt to fry up the zucchini blossoms growing in our garden.  

I thought the perfect end to my day would be to walk with the kids to the library and farmer's market (the husband had to work).  I thought wrong. 

Things started out innocent enough.  An ice cream truck passed as we left the neighborhood.  The girls were giddy and each bought a popsicle.  But the sugar high was short-lived. As we neared the library things went swiftly downhill.  Middle daughter was thirsty.  She was about to perish. And she desperately wanted her OWN library card.  

This is not a new discussion.  I like to keep all our checked out items on one card so I know what is due and when.  And middle daughter does not have a strong history of responsibility. She's been told that if she demonstrates responsible behavior then she could earn her own library card.  

"But how?" she moans (as if sounding like an injured seal is likely to make me change my mind). 

"By taking care of your room," I reply through gritted teeth. This conversation is all too familiar and I know where the trail leads.  

"But I don't like that!"

"Well part of responsibility is doing things you don't like." 

 (In an alternate reality I'd have already strangled her but in this world part of being responsible is avoiding public strangulation and as such I demonstrated my role admirably.  Her head remains firmly attached to her body).  

Middle daughter proceeded to pout and stomp her way though the library.  At checkout time my youngest daughter was taking the security cases off our movies.  It seems middle daughter also wanted to participate.  They managed to get into a SHOUTING MATCH in the lobby.  Then middle daughter shoved my son who was trying to reason with her.  I stood between them and shoved them both to break it up (Parenting 101: Proper Ways to Shove Children in Public).  

Gaaah.  So I threatened to go straight home and skip the market.  

"Noooo mom.  Nooooo! We'll be good."  

Yeah right.  When has a promise like that ever panned out?   But I wanted to go to the market and it was my birthday. 

They were each given a $3.00 spending budget.  Middle daughter immediately bought a drink for $2.50 that she didn't like.  It ended up in the garbage.  Then she borrowed a dollar from her sister to buy a brownie.   In the meantime little sister freaked out because she only had two dollars.  I gave her another dollar.  She wanted candy.  The farmer's market does not have candy.  They have cookies and brownies and rice krispy treats and candied nuts and lemonade and blueberries and cherries and all kinds of other goodies that most children would love.  But no.  Not her.  CANDY!

That was it.  We left.  Picture a woman, thirty-eight-years old (to be exact) lips pursed pushing a stroller.  In the stroller is a five-year-old frantically waving three dollars and shrieking, "I WANT TO EAT SOMETHING!  MOMMY I WANT TO EAT!"  

Lucky for us we still had a mile walk uphill.  So, yes, happy birthday to me.  Those same children are now peacefully playing Jenga together on our wood floor.  Go figure. 

And now it seems the laundry and dishes beckon.  They will pair well with an entire bottle of wine.  


I had another topic, another post, for today.  It seems it will have to wait.  



Amy said...

um, I did your dishes and laundry for you while you were at the market? as a gift?
ain't no life like the one we got!

Bridge said...

ah! birthdays. i like celebrating, but my day is usually very similar to yours. this year is going to be big though! VERY BIG!! i may even not do any laundry on that day@

happy birthday shalet! thanks for all the joy and wonder and peace you have brought to the planet!

Jennifer said...

Love your description of your time with your kids. I'm an adoptive mom-to-be and keep visiting mom blogs to remind myself of all of the fun and not-so-fun stuff in store.

Thanks for keeping it real.

Love visiting your blog.

And Happy Birthday!

Anonymous said...

I always love your posts! Motherhood is the toughest job in the world, isn't it? Sorry things didn't go as planned on your birthday, perhaps it will go better next time. We have just started allowances with our two kids. They do have to earn by helping the family with assigned chores...then when they get "paid" on Friday, they get $3 and have to divide it up between three cans in their room that say "save", "spend", and "church". This is working really really well...I am amazed they don't want to put it all in the spend one, but they really don't. And if they don't get their chores done...I use their allowance money to "pay" me to do it. Trying to teach them how the real world works. Keep writing's always a pleasure to read!

Gayle said...

Happy Birthday, Shalet!!!

Oh, man, I can so relate to this post! It always amazes me that my kids can seemingly hate each other during one portion of the day and then be the best of friends in another. I had to laugh out loud at the picture of you pushing the stroller with your shrieking five year old!

elk said...

I hope the next year will be full of happiness and hope for you ! I too have had birthdays like this one and yes folding laundry and a nice glass of wine do so go together...cheers!

Jamie said...

Happy Birthday To Your! I hope the wine helped take the edge off the day ;)

Jessica New said...

I was just asking someone the other day... Re: Parenting, "When Does It Start Being FUN?"
LOL! My child is only 22 months & she would fit in perfectly with your bunch! Ha!

Happy Belated Birthday to you...
May all of the days of the year be as "special" as our day of birth.

Maybe you should celebrate an unbirthday this year, to make up for it!

Brené said...

Happy Belated Birthday! Wishing you the best!

the Lady said...

Happy Belated. Sorry it wasn't all bright.