Carmella usually tells me I'm a mean mommy. This is because it is true. I am mean and I don't really care. Here's why she says I'm a mean mommy: According to Carmella, it is because I punish her and Beau for naughty stuff they do. I know, I know, I am so cruel. She says I should just let them do "whatever," because they "can't help it." Instead of getting mad and putting them in time-outs, I should say; "That's okay!I know you'll try harder to be good next time! Right?"
I am also a mean mommy because I get angry when they don't listen and then I yell. I yell because I assume that the reason that they didn't do what I told them to do was because they didn't hear me. So I raise my voice. Some people, er uhm, cough, Carmella, calls this "yelling". I "yell" because then I know for sure that they heard me. And if I can be sure that they heard me, then I can justly punish them for ignoring me and being disrespectful. I am also mean because I don't take them to the jumpy place every week and I don't let Carmella have sleep-overs.
In case anyone doesn't remember Carmella said that being 5 meant you could have sleep-overs. This is her rule, not mine. I think 5 is too little for sleep-overs. But since she did just graduate from pre-school and because she has been desperately missing her friend Alexa I surprised her by inviting Alexa to spend the night Friday.
Both Carmella and Alexa nearly drove Stacie and I nuts in their anticipation for Friday's arrival: "What day is it? How many days til Alexa comes/I go to Carmella's? When I go to Carmella's/when Alexa comes over we are going to . . ." and so on and so on--all week. To no end. Maddening. By Wednesday I told Carmella if she even mentioned Alexa's name again until Alexa was actually here that I would call Miss Stacie and tell her Alexa couldn't come. Miss Stacie pretty much told Alexa the same thing.
The sleep-over went well. I will have Alexa over again, anytime. The girls are always good together. Regretfully, I didn't take pictures except the one above but they cracked my ass up watching them get ready to go out to dinner Friday night. They came down in near identical outfits, sunglasses,and decked out in about every piece of jewelry Carmella owns. They had hideous, poorly and overly applied purple lipstick on. Dark purple lipstick. They reminded me of my friend Elizabeth and myself in middle school. And like my mother did to us, I let the girls go out as they were; figuring, as my mother did, that the humiliation of looking like that would cure them of their poor taste. This tactic didn't work any better with 5 year olds than it did with 13 year olds. At least on the 5 year olds it was kind of cute.
At dinner I got asked by several different people if they were twins. They do sort of look a like and are the same size and age so this wasn't totally surprising. I also felt flattered that people thought I could handle twins. Dinner, though, was an event unto itself. Ryan and I, along with Meme and Pat, found out that when you go out to eat with 4 kids that you become invisible. Even when you order your Mexican food in Spanish they still mess it up because they hate you. Even when the kids tango in the aisle and get in the way of the servers, you are still invisible.
The girls didn't go to bed til after 10:30 and then to my horrors woke up before the sun was even up. Around 6 am I heard Alexa across the hall telling jokes. I think Carmella was still asleep because I didn't hear her. Only Alexa: "Why did the chicken cross the road? To get dressed! Ha ha ha. Get it? Get it? Get it?" After about 15 minutes of this there then ensued much shushing. And then screaming. And then more shushing. And then Beau was up too-- all this before six thirty in the morning.
The kids were outside playing by eight and I was drinking coffee. I had successfully, until Saturday, been off the coffee for three weeks. Sigh.
They played until we had to go to Carmella's Flip Fest. The Flip Fest was Carmella's gymnastic recital. Alexa's dad met us there and picked her up. Alexa was very disappointed to go.
Carmella yawned through the entire Fest. She looked dazed in the choreographed group routine but so did the rest of them. The instructors then took the kids through the events: bars, beam, vault and floor. Carmella got up on the uneven bars and waved but then shook her head and got down, refusing to do her little bar routine. On beam she completely refused to do it (can't say I blame her, I hated beam and bars too). At one point I saw her sneak off to the bathroom. I ambushed her there and asked what was up. She told me she was tired. I told her Meme, Pat and baby Pat had come to watch her perfom. She admitted that she wasn't aware of that. It seemed once she knew at least part of her fan base was present she did better. She made a good showing with the vault and floor and the presentation of the certificate. Later, she was even perkier about the pink trophy.
After Flip Fest we went to my mom's to pick up Beau, so I could run and to also pick up cousin Bella for sleep-over number 2. Earlier in the week, well after I had already committed to Alexa sleeping over, Bella's mother asked if I would do her a favor and keep Bella Saturday night as her mother (Aunt Boo) couldn't do it and my mother wouldn't. We haven't seen Bella in a year, maybe 2 and I thought since all of Carmella's other cousins are younger and are boys I thought it would be fun for her to hang out with Bella.
Bella is a super-model child. Carmella is not short by any means but Bella is at least 5 inches taller. She looks like she is 7 but she is only 4. She is a beautiful child too, with a head full off blond enviable curls. She also is a funny kid. She told me that she had to eat these bars-- and these bars were Quaker oatmeal bars-- that they were medicine.
Medicine for what, I asked?
For her allergies.
Oh, what are you allergic to?
Don't know, pollen or something.
Later, it came out that it is Barbie that she is allergic to. And eating those bars she explained, "keeps me safe." I was greatly entertained by her and so was Carmella.
They played good together: They played barbies (though Carmella worried about Bella's "allergy" and later Carmella, surmised that Bella's allergy was probably because of Barbie's hair). They giggled in Carmella's room. They had a clubhouse on Beau's top bunk that excluded Beau. They swung so high on the swings they almost touched the trees. They had a blast in the bath making alphabet soup. They had a pizza picnic and watched a Scooby Doo movie. But as it got darker Bella started getting a little whiney and then Carmella told me she was ready for bed. Beau protested. Bella began to cry. Carmella obeyed. We brushed teeth and I read books. Then it was time to sleep. Ryan ushered Beau to his bed and I tucked the girls in. Bella decided she needed to switch places with Carmella. Carmella complied, as Bella was the guest and Carmella already told her that as the guest it was her right to chose and be first--at everything. Bella began crying again and saying she was scared. She wanted to call her mommy.
I had previously been warned that Bella would do this at bedtime. My Aunt Boo, whose house Bella had stayed at the night before, had let Bella call her mommy--with disastrous and hysterical results. I was planning on trying a less sympathetic route. I explained, rather matter of fact, that her mommy was busy and that there was nothing scary here and that I would be right downstairs and then, later, right across the hall. It was fine. Everything was fine, I assured her. And, look, see, I wasn't even turning the lights out. Just putting the chandelier on dim. It's cool. Carmella's not scared and Beau, well, Beau is a baby, that's why he is fussing. Everything is fine--I said backing out of room-- good night.
Beau, as I passed his room on my way back downstairs, called out that "Mama, I'm 'ared too."
Hush, no you're not, I whispered to him.
Beau went to sleep.
Carmella tried to sleep.
And after a few minutes of sniffling, Bella came downstairs.
I hugged her and snuggled with her for a minute and then led her back upstairs and told her to go potty. While Bella went potty I gave Carmella the 4-1-1. Bella misses her mommy and she is going to cry for a while, I explained. Don't worry though, I told her, because everything is fine. Don't get scared because she is crying. You need to be brave for her because Bella is nervous about being away from her mommy. Tell her it is okay, I said. And Carmella promised she would.
I then tucked Bella back in and kissed them both and went back downstairs. And waited.
About 10 minutes later both girls came downstairs, crying.
We are both scared, Bella announced. I asked of what. Bella said she was scared because she missed her mommy-- and could we please, please call her, she begged. Carmella's reason was so lame I almost laughed out loud, forgetting that I was trying to be sympathetic. She was scared because she was worried about her trophy that she left at Lala's.
Your trophy is fine, I told her.
This was way too funny not to share, so we called Lala. Yes-- I know--I risked serious, possible upset of my plan but, don't you know? A lonely trophy is much more serious than missing mommy. Come on!
Lala assured Carmella the trophy was safe and Carmella went back upstairs and got in bed. Bella, of course asked if she could call her mommy, again. And again, tucking her in, I said no. I told her that "we're not going to do that." Surprisingly, she didn't ask why. But she did argue that she missed her Mommy. I said I knew she did but the sooner she closed her eyes and went to sleep the sooner she could see her mommy. And even more surprising, she did close her eyes and I heard nothing more from any of the kids till 8 am.
Ah, sleep, blissful sleep.
So, I think that I have redeemed myself and have earned the title of "nice" mommy--at least for today and until tomorrow when I yell or don't take them to the jumpy place or punish them for beating the crap out of each other.
I have also learned that maybe some 5 year olds are ready for sleep-overs but 4 year olds most definitely are not. That's not a sleep-over, that's baby-sitting.