Saturday, September 26, 2009

Clever quips from Myles today

Myles has had quite the day for clever comebacks.

Coming back from the park, Hunter asked Myles for some water. After Myles gave him a sip and Hunter gave the water back to him, Hunter said "thank you mama". Offended, Myles asked Hunter if he looked like he had boobs because only mama has boobs.

Over dinner, I told him to hold his breath because he had hiccups and he looked at me like I had grown a 2nd head. "Are you trying to kill me mom because I'm pretty sure if I hold my breath I will die". I explained that sometimes holding your breath can help but suggested he try standing on his head to see how he would respond. Not missing a beat he replied..."but I'm eating pizza and if I eat my pizza upside down it will end up in my brain and not my tummy."

Having ordered 3 large pizzas for dinner tonight I noticed that there were only about 7 slices left so I made sure to tell the boys not to eat any more pizza so that there is some left for their dad when he gets home this evening. Myles turned to me and said "We're growing boys mom and we've got to eat. Dad is done growing and he can get by on less."

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Stats & Updates

Phi Gamma Tan recently celebrated Jackson's first birthday and as a result there was a trip to see Dr. Kathy for 1 year shots + the flu shot. We adore our pediatrician who weighs and measures the boys and simply shakes her head. Since Jax was getting his stats done, we went ahead and measured and weighed the other boys so for those keeping track, here goes....

John Thomas
7 years, 9 months: 4'10" / 100lbs

5 years, 10 months: 4'1" / 65lbs

2 years, 5 months: 3'2" / 40 lbs

1 year: 2'6" / 24 lbs

Jax should be bulking up in accordance with the Phi Gamma Tan tradition but Dr. Kathy shared that with him being in the 90th percentile for height he's not likely to be our shortest. The odds on who will wear that moniker currently go to Myles who is projected to be about 6'4".

John Thomas and Myles are the tallest boys / kids in their class but unlike Myles, John Thomas is almost as tall as his teacher.

Hunter is tracking larger than John Thomas at the same age and with Jax turning 1, the Tan kitchen is now up to 6 gallons of milk a week; 7 if pancakes are served more than once during the week.

With the exception of Jax who I believe is going to have Timugen's build, all boys are solid and muscular.

John Thomas enjoys swimming competitively for SOBA and in November will be joining the Redondo Beach Youth Basketball League for Fall/Winter Ball. His father recently clocked him doing a 1/4 mile in 2:38, which I'm told was pretty good.

John tried to clock Myles but halfway through Myles began to sing and dance his way around the track and through the soccer field. Focus is not one of Myles' key attributes currently but he's working on it.

Hunter has picked up a football recently and enjoys throwing it at anyone who he thinks will play catch.

Jax, who has manged to fool everyone into thinking that he's the sweet, quiet and docile Tan, has the strongest grip of any of the boys at his age and can bring Hunter to tears when he won't let go of a toy that Hunter thinks should belong to him.

Happy & Healthy at Phi Gamma Tan and all's well.

Having it All- Myth or Flat Out Lie?

As Queen Bee of my frat house I can have it all. I just can't have it all on the same day, of the same week in the same year. It's impossible. I've had days where I knocked one out of the park at work and landed a big account or booked a 6 figure buy - good day. But on that same day odds are pretty high that I was not up to par as a wife or mother. Quite possibly because in order to land that account or book that buy my work hours to home hours ratio were very skewed and not in the direction of spending enough time at home with the family.

I've had good mom days where I was able to answer all questions; solve all problems and bake beautiful, well proportioned cupcakes with the appropriate amount of icing on them on the same day that I had two cancellations from my top agency and learned that a key account was moving their corporate office, taking it out of my territory and taking part of my income with it.

I personally believe it's God's way of keeping score. I'm all about the karma. With 5 testosterone filled individuals sharing breathing space with me, karma is going to play a role. Karma and getting to the shower before the hot water disappears.

I like to believe that I'm pretty good at my job and get better each day at being a mom. With 4 boys my role morphs, depending on the child and his needs. John Thomas is a couple of months from turning 8 and while he still lets me drop him off at school with an arm around his shoulder as we walk to class, I can see him looking around, not quite sure if it's cool to have his mom hugging on him. On the other hand Myles is thrilled if I give him a piggy back ride up to his classroom door and jumps into my arms when he sees me at the end of the day. Hunter & Jax are still young enough to believe I hung the moon and can do no wrong; which can be a pretty good feeling even though reality is staring you in the face to remind you that you didn't hang the moon and putting the peanut butter & jelly sandwich into the wrong lunch box can start a mini war.

The most challenging role I tackle each day is wife. I adore my husband and love him more today than the day we were married. As with many couples life seems to take off with 24 hours a day not being nearly enough time to get things done and you find yourself at the end of the week looking at your partner; trying to remember if you've told him that you love him in the past 48 hours. Odds are if you have to think about it; you haven't done it.

I am often reminded how wonderful my husband is and how lucky I am when I run into moms who know John from drop off or park dates with Hunter & Jax. More than once I've heard "you're so lucky to have a husband that spends so much time with the kids" or "John is such a sweetheart and is so good with those boys." My immediate response to those comments is 1) he is their father and 2) again, he's the father of 4 boys - surely at some point he's come up with a trick or two for calming infant angst.

I like to take these moments to also recall how I picked up John Thomas from pre-school once in the clothes he wore to bed the night before. The explanation from my husband was "they were clean and you can't tell he slept in them." That of course turned out to be a day I learned about picking my battles when it comes to raising the kids with a husband who is the primary caregiver.

The best reminder of my shortcomings as a mom though come when John shows me up with one of the kids. On more than one occasion I've been told "you're not holding him right, he doesn't like that" or "he doesn't like bananas anymore." Or I've gushed over an accomplishment only to be told that "he's been doing that for a few weeks now." Talk about a dagger to the heart. That's right up there with missing the first steps or watching your little one figure out how to use the spoon to put food in his mouth instead of up his nose. It's the missing milestones that really get you.

I've been there for some milestones and have others on tape. Yes, there's some guilt but let's not forget my therapy jars....I've made it to the kindergarten's Mother's Day Tea in the middle of a work day and missed a presentation at the end of the day because I got stuck in traffic after sticking around for a client meeting that was going way too long. I've made it home for a lunch with Hunter & Jax only to have Myles complain that I didn't pick him up from school.

Each day I attempt to be all things to all people and on a good day I achieve that goal for the people who matter most. The important thing is that I try and that when I come up short, I shake it off and add a little change to the therapy jar(s) and prepare for the challenges of the next day.

Every once in awhile a mom will ask me how I manage to do it? "Do it" being the universal code for wife/mother/lover/friend/confidante/cheerleader/etc.

"Take a deep breath, ignore the small stuff, embrace what matters and keep moving forward."

Saturday, August 22, 2009

WANTED: New bed must sleep 6

I never thought I would hear myself say that a California King bed just isn't big enough but it's starting to feel that way. Although the boys have their own beds, I sometimes find myself waking up in the mornings, clinging to one side of the bed in a position that cannot possibly be good for my back. As I look around the bed, I see that all of the boys have joined us during the night and take some comfort in seeing that my husband is clinging to the other side of the bed in his own contorted mess.

It is amazing to me that the boys are able to get a good night sleep as they ultimately pile together like puppies, rolling around and shifting for comfort and always providing Jax with enough space so that he is able to stretch out with a good 6 inch perimeter around him at all times.

This event doesn't happen every night and there is actually something quite comforting about waking up with the 5 most important parts of your heart all within your grasp. It tugs at your heartstrings until of course you hear Myles saying "Thomas moooove off of my head" followed by adjustments all around and a quick "thank you" from Myles who can now breathe again.

This nocturnal gathering of siblings is not without its hazards. Each of the boys has suffered the consequences of laying perpendicular to mom and dad and found themselves rudely awakened by the hardwood floor that does little to cradle their fall. But in the Tan house it truly is every man for himself and so far no one has landed on their head - knock wood!

As the boys get older these moments are going to disappear and I can't help but treasure them more and more. But I sure would appreciate it if someone could make a large enough bed that allowed me to enjoy these moments without the need of chiropractic services the following day.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Therapy Jars

On the top shelf of my pantry I have 4 mason jars. There is one jar for each child and currently each jar does contain some money. You might think that these jars are where allowances are kept but that would not be a correct assumption. I lovingly refer to these jars as therapy jars.

The premise is quite simple. Each boy has his own jar. On the days when my parenting skills have been lacking and not quite up to snuff, a contribution is made to the appropriate jar. On the days when I know I've rocked as a mom, I've removed money from the appropriate jar (not all money, just a little). My theory is that when the boys grow up and are looking for someone to blame for all of their troubles, my husband and I will be the likely targets. I will calmly go to the pantry and pull down the appropriate jar and give it to my son, letting him know that I had anticipated this day long long ago. Based on my goal to self monitor my parenting skills, if there is quite a bit of money in the jar, I obviously had a few more bad days than good. If there are minimal dollars in the jar, I hit the mark more days than not.

Before giving my child his jar, I will hug him and look him in the eye as I remind him how much I love him. Once the jar is in his hands, he is the individual responsible for his happiness and peace of mind. Hopefully my contribution to his enlightenment will be appreciated - or at the very least will pay for an In & Out Double Double w/ shake & fries.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Reasoning with Myles

Myles - Mommy, I want a baby sister.

Mommy - I want a little boy who picks up his room and doesn't make a mess.

Myles - So you're saying no to the baby sister?

Friday, August 14, 2009

What Happened to the TP roller?

While cleaning up the downstairs bathroom my husband noticed that the TP roller was missing from the TP holder. The call went out..."who has been playing with the TP roller?" (Seriously, is this a question you ever consider having to hear yourself utter in life?)

The responses came swiftly...

John Thomas "It wasn't me but I think Hunter had it."
Hunter "Nooooo, uh uh, Moles, Moles, Moles"
Myles (having been implicated by his little brother and feeling it was time to face the music) "Oh yeah, I was playing with it and forgot to put it back."

Where do you begin with that? It's not like the boys don't have tons of toys - everything from Legos to Bakugan & Transformers and yet Myles feels the need to take a TP roller and transform it into some sort of weapon? It's like having a pint sized MacGyver.

Although I anticipated the typical response, I asked the question anyway..."Myles, what were you thinking?" to which he responded with a straight face, "I thought the spring action on the TP roller would help put more spin on my marbles." I explained that moving forward he would need to find a different way to add spin to his marbles to which he responded "Not a problem Mom, Thomas took the handle off the mop and I think that will be a lot more better."

I should know by now that no response from Myles is typical.