Toothpaste and Poop: The New Art Media

The easel helped a lot with the “surprise art” I would find around the house. It obviously hasn’t stopped completely. This was so sweet-she was absolved of all wrong doing that day, for at least a few minutes.

As I sat upon the throne in the bathroom today, I noticed that someone had put toothpaste on the full length mirror.  This isn’t unusual to find toothpaste on a surface in our bathroom.  There have been times when I have walked in to find EVERY surface of the bathroom covered in toothpaste-mirror, walls, bathtub, toilet, counters, floor.  Toothpaste as far as the eye can see.  I don’t know why they do it.  They just would rather wipe excess toothpaste anywhere but a towel.

What was different today was the toothpaste was not only covering the mirror, it had been used to draw a picture.  I knew who did it.  Princess Artiste was so busted!  I asked her about it, and she owned up to it.  Though it’s easy to tell-if it’s a mess with an artistic flair there is no doubt who was the culprit. We’ve known for a long time who the artist in the family is.   I sent her up to clean it up.  Then I called The Professor in to go up and clean up his toothpaste mess.  His was the blobby mess that had no artsy look to it, on and next to his drawer in the bathroom.  There might have been some sort of mathematical coefficient involved, but we won’t get into that.  I just threw that in here in case my husband actually reads this.

He has also confessed that he hangs out in the bathroom sometimes and “drinks the toothpaste” (my son, not my husband).  He’s a weird kid.

As a parent you deal with your share of messes, especially when you are ADD and it takes you a while to realize that “Oh, that’s not good, I should probably clean that up.”  And then forget for another few days.  It all depends on where the mess is, what it is, and sometimes it takes awhile to be discovered.  Like the abstract poop picture on the back of the shower room door (It was down very low).  Once that one was discovered after who knows how long, it was cleaned up quickly (this happened during the fun fun period where they are potty trained peeing but not yet pooping).  We’ve also had lovely artwork done on the table with pasta sauce, milk, frosting, glue, etc.  The hardened cheerios decoupage is my favorite, and it’s virtually indestructable.  Once those Cheerios revert back to their solid form after being soggy in milk they could very well be used as armor, except for the fact that you’d have holes in it.  Maybe it lets the surface breathe?

And there is the traditional media of pen and marker, which has found itself upon many surfaces in our house, including both my children’s bodies.  The Professor has always had a hard time keeping markers off of himself accidentally, his sister just decorates herself on purpose.  When Princess Artiste was pretty little she somehow got a hold of some of my scrapbook paper and a pen, and went crazy with drawing on it.  I was livid.  My mother insisted I keep it and use it to make a scrapbook page.  I did, and it actually turned out to be one of my more creative pages.  It helped that if you looked at her “drawing” just right, it looked like a face sticking its tongue out at me.

Oh yes, and we must not forget that she painted the dog. I’m really regretting the fact that I didn’t grab the camera on that one.  As far as most of the other messes, I don’t have evidence of them either since I didn’t see the artistic value in those, especially the poop one.  I did, however, take pictures of my daughter when she helped paint the hallway white.  SHE was also white, from her head to her toes.

In addition to the above, we have had lots of experience with anything that cuts.  Both kids have managed to cut things they should not.  The Professor attempted to decimate a scrapbook page of mine that was already in the scrapbook when he was pretty little.  Ironically, his cutting skills haven’t much improved since then.  Princess Artiste has got a hold of not only scissors, but my scrapbook paper cutter which she used to cut up her brother’s class picture.  She’s in support of the movement for smaller classes, apparently.

The Professor just isn’t big on art, unless it has a purpose.  If he has drawn something it is something that he has designed, like a car or a superhero suit.  I have a lot of their art framed in the hallway upstairs, and had to beg him to draw me something so that his sister’s artwork wouldn’t totally take over the space.  He finally did, in his own way.  He drew our house, and the school bus he rides every day.  He refused to color it in.  There it hangs among the other artwork-it is definitely one of his pictures.  Princess Artiste draws/paints/colors pictures for me every day.  At one point our refrigerator was so covered with her artwork it was hard to tell there was an appliance in there.  I didn’t put them there, she would dash to the kitchen as soon as she would complete a picture and put it on there.  She was very put out with me when we ran out of magnets!

Kids are funny.  Just when I think they are out of the coloring on the walls phase, or the cutting things they shouldn’t cut phase, they do something that totally paints me as a liar.  I’m happy that my daughter likes to do art, and that my son likes to design stuff (and with all of the art that she comes up with, it’s probably a good thing he’s not a prolific artist!)  When they do things they shouldn’t, I have to sit back and laugh after I’ve taken time to dole out the punishment.  And be thankful that I have creative kids-except for the poop.  Poop and creativity simply do not mix.

Here is another non-poop picture drawn of me by Princess Artiste. I’m not sure what is coming out of my armpit…

NOT Running With Scissors: The Day Mommy Cried

It was bound to happen sooner or later…

“Mommy, I’m really good at using scissors!” my recently turned four year old announced this afternoon. “Oh that’s nice.”  I respond.  I’m only half listening, trying my best to get done what I am actually here to accomplish so we can get home before dinner.

“I know I’m good at using scissors.  You know how I know?  I took my purple scissors upstairs and cut my doll’s hair!” she boasts, looking rather proud of herself.

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh… and once again I am reminded that when she is being quiet, it usually means that she is up to something not so good… A preschooler has used scissors inappropriately. I think we all have a story somewhere in our childhood of this happening.  My particular version of this happened when I was little and my younger sister lopped off one of her ponytails with Mom’s sewing scissors.  I thought we had already had our story this past year:   little sister gets a hold of scissors and cuts up big brother’s class picture.  Mom is angry-brother might have noticed something outside of the realm of video games and books.  Scissors privileges revoked and life goes on.

The thing is I knew exactly why she did it.  She didn’t even have to explain it to me.  I taught preschool for many years, and much of the time I know the ins and outs of what goes on in her little head.  She goes to a sitter occasionally that she thinks is just it-the best thing since sliced bread.  This sitter has a daughter who could very well be her own little mini me.  Both of them have dark hair and dark eyes, just like this little dolly.  Both have very cute little haircuts-not so much like the one that dolly HAD-more like the one my daughter gave to her dolly.  Unfortunately for me, this dolly used to be mine.  Surprisingly though, she didn’t do a half bad job.

I shed some tears.  She felt very very bad.  I have had a million hugs, kisses and lots of help this evening.  I dare say it may even work out in my favor, until the next time.

I had to post that, because honestly I was having a very bad day and it was one of those that someday I probably will look back on and laugh.  It was just the icing on the cake.  You see, I have figured out just how they get good jedi knights to cross over to the dark side:  they took their kids to work with them.

It’s summer vacation and I work a part-time job for a non profit organization that shall remain nameless.  I lost my job a year ago and this one just sort of popped up.  It was a way to make some grocery money while I collected unemployment and looked for a new job.  My husband was finishing up school and we were looking for any way to keep ourselves out of the cardboard box just a little bit longer.  It helped-and although the original job I was supposedly hired for really in no way shape or form really resembles the job I am currently doing-it brings in a little money so I can be available for my children without being tied down to something full-time.  My son is very, very bright-all references to Sheldon Cooper minus the germ phobia would be correct.  He also has some serious issues in school.  He has ADD and has been suspected of but never diagnosed with Asperger’s.  His kindergarten year he spent more time in the principal’s office due to kids “bothering” him (talking to him is considered bothering, apparently) during his kindergarten career than most kids do in their entire K-12 career.  Needless to say that has resulted in some serious limitations for me as far as any sort of full time work.  The very end of the kindergarten year we finally got him into an IEP, and this year has been much better, albeit far from perfect.  He is a neat kid who so wants someone to understand him-he relates fabulously to adults, but just doesn’t get kids anywhere around his age.

About the time the unemployment went the way of the dinosaur my husband graduated and got an internship an hour away.  Since it was so far away and nothing was guaranteed, I just kind of kept hanging around the job because interesting things kept happening.  Somehow each time I thought the hours were going to disappear, they found something else that I could do to keep me going.

So here I am this month, the last month of their fiscal year, sitting in an empty office doing much of what I have been doing for the last time because as of this weekend they are outsourcing my duties to other employees within the organization.  As I am trying to get information together so that everyone knows what they are to be doing, I have no idea what my job will consist of as of next Monday.  It’s a little distracting and it’s a lot bit anxiety provoking.  I know they say they still need me, but noone has yet to say how exactly or in what capacity.  Will I be working 4 hours, 15 hours, or no hours?  Do I go look for other employment?  Do I just resign myself to stick around and see what happens, and if I wind up with no work just try to make it work on my husband’s income?  And of course I can’t just spend a few minutes a day worrying about it.  I worry about it all the time.

Because my schedule is a bit, um, sparse, I started by cutting my daughter’s daycare down to one regular day a week, unless I taught a class.  I had been told it was ok to bring my kids with me, for what I did it didn’t matter.  So when summer started I realized that there was no way to justify paying that much daycare for the few hours a week I actually work.  So now I am down to no days of daycare, and one to two days per week of taking BOTH KIDS WITH ME.  The rest of the week I work from home doing data entry, partly during the day, often into the wee hours of the morning so that my kids can do their summer activities, or be home bored with me depending on the day.  The date entry ends in three weeks-which is the other unknown of my current job-what is coming next.

It is the third week of summer, and I am nuts.

I have two completely different children.  Both eerily smart, but polar opposites.  My son is much like me-anxious and routine driven, but has no idea how to occupy himself if there is not some sort of flickering screen or printed word to look at.  Going outside=sheer torture.  My daughter is the opposite-stubborn but imaginative and wants to play play play and go go go. She would go right outside all morning and stay outside until the cows came home-as long as Mommy is right there within arms reach (because she’ll miss me if she can’t see me.)  When I do manage to get them both outside there is arguing, screaming, crying, usually with the end result of someone getting hurt, usually because the older one didn’t like the younger one not following his “rules”.

I tried implementing a sort of schedule so my son wouldn’t spend the entire summer standing on his head, making what we call “Tauntaun noises” because he’s bored.  For some reason if I write it down, much like the newspaper, if it’s published it must be true.  Unfortunately, he takes the schedule so seriously that he can’t handle it if we deviate even in the slightest.  Snack must be at 10 am, we must engage in learning activities after lunch, etc,etc.  If we leave the house to go get groceries, it is miserable because he feels he has to find some way to manipulate the situation.  And we are together ALL THE TIME.  Sending them to their rooms is like I told them to go stab themselves repeatedly with a sharp object!  You’d think they had no toys.  Then you’d look at their rooms and think that no they have toys, they just don’t have a floor.

Working at home with them there is challenging. Bringing them to work is more challenging.  Thank goodness it’s just for a couple of hours.  Each bring a short video that they must fight over who watches which one first.  Each bring a bag full of activities that they tend to go through pretty quickly.  I spend a lot of time diffusing arguments and who started what and who had what first.

My husband doesn’t get what the fuss is.  I keep telling him to imagine doing HIS job with both kids there.  He got a taste of it-one day he was off and I had to do computer work.  Five minutes of data entry, two minutes to settle an argument, two minutes of data entry, eight minutes to deal with poopy pants, seven minutes of data entry, fifteen minutes of trying to talk to a client on the phone while dealing with two children who instantly become loud and have to be on top of anyone who is talking on a phone.  I get the work done, and I am very very honest when logging my hours.

And I am tired.  I love love love my children, but I wish there was a better way to make this work.  Not on our budget, unfortunately!  Add in laundry, dishes (our dishwasher quit working many moons ago), other housework, summer activities, etc, etc.  I feel like I work ALL the time.  My husband works all the time too-he leaves for work at 5:45 and often doesn’t come back until six.  He’s a nice piece of furniture in those couple of hours when he comes home and melts to the chair until he slinks upstairs to go to bed right after the kids to go to bed and start all over again in the morning.

Which reminds me, my husband has pants in the washer.  Somehow I think they’d frown upon him coming to work without pants.  And it’s 11:15 at night.  I get up at 4:30 and walk…

What was my point again.  Oh yes, that I am nuts…  Here’s my proof.  And yes, there is a grammatical error there but I’m going with it anyway.  I don’t mean my kids are dumbasses… oh never mind…