school's out

My Daughter's Bedroom Takeover & Makeover #2

Last week I discussed how slow-moving we are in this house when it comes to getting things done.  I mentioned that when we picked this 4+ bedroom house ten years ago,  we had specifically done so, so that each of my triplets could eventually have his or her own room, I could have my own office, and that would leave a total of zero rooms available for anyone to ever even consider coming to live with us. My husband Lloyd and I don't really care what relatives think of us as long as they don't think of us as the couple with the spare bedroom.

I say 4+ bedrooms because there are four indisputable bedrooms with walls and floors and everything. Then you know how nowadays they give you this unfinished room that you can do whatever you want with like you can put up walls and finish the floor or you can leave it for ten years as a dark, sweltering, stifling sawdust mess? Well, we've toyed with making it into a man cave or office but so far we're still  going with the sweltering sawdust mess motif.

This is of no consequence to my daughter. She's been kvetching for her own room for years, and just like contractions, her kvetches have been coming closer together: Right now they're about 2 minutes apart. So while that sawdust museum upstairs will someday likely maybe probably who knows? be my office, she is done waiting. Her sister must move out of their room and into my current office. So next time I write a post, it will likely take me twice as long as I will be holding my PC with one hand and typing with the other while standing in the hallway between the bedrooms. (Yes, I have heard of lap tops. I told you I'm behind with everything.) With the minor task of disposing of her mother and sister out of the way, it's time to decorate. (I've concluded that the abbreviation for "interior decorating" is "deteriorating".)

The first thing she's picked out of a catalog is a $2200 swing chair. That's certainly a fair price for something that's eventually going to make my roof buckle. Do we have the dimensions on that swing? Perhaps we can sell the house and all live in the swing chair. Next is the bed which is up in the air. No I mean literally. She wants to sleep in the top bunk of a bunk bed-- preferably with a canopy. but she's willing to forgo the canopy if it's not possible, because as she stated: "I'm not totally unreasonable." And no, her sister can't sleep in the free bunk. Are you crazy? This isn't about saving space or money or accommodating anyone else you know. The bunk bed just looks cool. Speaking of looking cool, there's going to be an ice cream sandwich bench at the foot of the bed.... and a corner desk because she's going to middle school and she needs that corner desk to do her homework. I agree a middle schooler should have her own desk. I'm not sure why a normal rectangular desk wouldn't promote homework focus as well as a corner one, but apparently it won't. And the room will be painted light turquoise except for the window frames and edges which will be dark turquoise and can we get someone to paint her name on the ceiling? A quick calculation brings this room to about $20,000.

I knew I was probably wasting my time, but one day mid-bedroom designing hallucination when she was showing me where she would put her revolving shoe display, I had to finally confront her: "Not to interrupt but: Do you have a top ten hit on the charts that I'm unaware of? Have you been signed to an NBA team? Do you have any idea who your parents are? Haven't you seen me wearing the same pair of jeans your whole life and driving a vehicle that only starts every third try?"

To which she responded, predictably: "I've noticed. I just always figured you were saving up for my room."

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My Daughter's Bedroom Takeover & Makeover (Part 1)

 

When many couples buy their first house, they get something with a bedroom or two not knowing exactly how many children they might end up with and go from there. But since I had just, eight months before, given birth to triplets and told the doctor during the c-section: "So, while you're in there, you might want to tie those up. In fact, make it a double knot just to be sure " and then at my six week check-up: "So, how's it going down there, Doc? Everything still tied nice and tight?", my husband and I had a pretty good idea of the maximum number of bedrooms we were going to need for at least the next decade or two in our new North Carolina home.

"Four" seemed like a good round, even number of bedrooms. This way each child could have his or her own bedroom, my husband and I could be left alone downstairs and all of our relatives whose eyes got wide at the prospect of using us as a Motel 6 on their journey to and from New York and Florida could be met with: "Of course you're welcome! If you don't mind sleeping on the floor of the laundry room."

I always had my own room as a kid. Even one that was teeny weeny was still my own. My husband shared a room with his sisters until they were all teenagers. Creepy-sounding yes... but in a NYC apartment... still creepy... but understandable. So our plan upon move-in day was to keep all three babies in bedroom 2. Bedroom 3 would be a play room and bedroom 4 would be my office. Then, when they got a little older, the shift would be on: My one daughter (I dare not call her "daughter 1" especially since she thinks of herself as "daughter 1+") would keep bedroom 1, my son would move into bedroom 2, my other daughter would move into bedroom 3, and we'd finish the unfinished room and I'd pick up my work belongings and head over there. Well, none of this is happening fast enough for daughter 1+. Her brother did move into the play room as planned. One sibling down, one to go. Then progress came to a screeching halt. The delay is totally my fault. (That's daughter 1+ over there nodding in agreement.) The shift can't proceed because we've still, ten years later, never gotten around to finishing that room. My husband and I are the ones single-handedly holding up the shift. I don't know if normal parents of a normal birth's worth of kids have these issues, but as parents of triplets (or maybe it's just us), we're always way behind. If we have to mail in papers for camp in March, by the time we get it together it's June so we just have a kid hand them in when they get there. "Here. My mother said you might need these." It seems to be a pattern with us. They stopped sleeping in cribs with a Disney mobile at five, we toilet trained them at seven, took off their training wheels at ten. They'll be eleven in a few weeks: Is it too soon to start them on solid foods? Does anybody happen to know?

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Join me next week for part 2 of: "My Daughter's Bedroom Takeover & Makeover". In the meantime: If you'd like more laughs at your kids' expense: Consider signing up for my bimonthly newsletter & If you'd like some quick, fun, funny, summer reading that's just right for parents right now, please take a look at the all new edition to my Laughing IS Conceivable eBook series:

Laughing IS Conceivable: From End of School to Back-to-School (I love my kids. I love my kids. I LOVE MY KIDS!) ... Come de-stress on my journey with the triplets from camp to local activities to back-to-school haircuts, shoe shopping, clothes shopping & doctor appointments.

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Planning a Kid's Birthday Party or 2 or 3 (part 2)

A week or so ago,  I whined about planning a kid's birthday party or, more specifically, my triplets' birthday party (parties) and how demanding they are and how they each want their own party, in its own location complete with three totally distinct cast of characters that they call "friends". True they walk all over me but I don't think it's my fault. My mother used to tell me that when I was in kindergarten she asked whom I would like to invite to my birthday party to which I responded: "My class."

"Who in your class?"

"The whole class. It wouldn't be nice to leave anybody out."

Before you mistake this for a heartwarming story, you'd have to have known my mother and her wind-up to the story every time she retold it:

"So I, like a moron, invited twenty-three 5 year olds to my house."

This is why I don't take the blame for being my children's doormat. Clearly the problem is genetic. Or maybe my mother started sending me subliminal messages when I was in kindergarten:"Your kids will one day do the same to you. Your kids will one day do the same to you."

Planning A Kid's Birthday Party: The Eats

Back when I made one party for all three, there were still disputes... Over the pizza for instance:

"Can you get Domino's?" That's my favorite.

"I don't like Domino's. Can you get Pizza Hut?"

"I like Papa John's, but Mommy doesn't like Papa Johns' politics."

Since Little Caesar's was the cheapest, I brought a stack home and tossed it onto the counter:"Here's what I got. You wouldn't know the difference if you didn't see the box. If you don't like it, don't look at the box."

Planning a Kid's Birthday Party: The Cake.

Two like chocolate. One doesn't. Does she really not like chocolate or does she just like to be difficult? Everyone agrees on ice cream cake but my husband and me. Sorry, we can't be that precise. If you don't time ice cream cake exactly right you need a chisel to cut it or a straw to drink it. When they were four, my husband gave BJ's bakery a photo of the kids that they "painted" on the cake. It was lovely until my son yelled out at the party:"I want to eat Hayley's eye! Please can I eat Hayley's eye?!!" (Should I be concerned? Maybe it's a common trait among psychopaths and cannibals: When they're little, they all beg to eat their sister's cake eye.)

Planning a Kid's Birthday Party: The Presents.

Then the kids urge us every year to let them open their presents at the party in front of their friends. No way. I'm not getting suckered into that. That's all I need. A child tearing into a gift, holding it up and announcing in front of every invitee and their photo-taking parents: "What the fuck is this supposed to be?'

(The above photo is not us. We have never looked like this. I especially, have never looked like that. Ever.)

So instead, in the privacy of our own home later that evening, we gather in the living room in our jammies where we sing songs in rounds, laugh, and drink hot cocoa with mini marshmallows while the adorable trio gleefully open their gifts on the floor and proclaim:

  1. I already have this. Can we take it back?
  2. Why did she get one in blue? Blue's my favorite color.Who doesn't know that?
  3. Oh no! I broke it when I pulled the paper off!
  4. I don't care that I got 22 presents. I didn't get anything good.
  5. I already opened all of mine and they have one more left. Now I have nothing to open. How's that fair?
  6. Mommy, could you put this together now? Mommy?...Daddy?
  7. Hey! He took my blue one. The blue one was mine!
  8. I'm so bored. Can I go on my tablet?
  9. This was the worst birthday ever.
  10. Oh, my show's on. I promise I'll clean up the wrapping paper in the morning.

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Planning a Kid's Birthday Party or 2 or 3 (Part 1)

Have you ever planned a kid's birthday party? Or 2? Or 3? At the same time? So next month is my kids' 11th birthday party. Yeah, "kids'". There are three of them. Triplets... and they'd each like to have their own separate birthday party. Why not? How hard can that be? I'm sure David Tutera could pull it off during the commercials. Maybe I'll schedule the parties just like the kids were born: Three minutes apart.

At 8:51 a.m., when my son Jacob was born, we can go to the popular arcade place for his party with his friends. I'm sure he'll invite Jaden- the kid I had to hunt down every five minutes of the museum field trip because he kept running off on his own. But I'm sure he'll be much better behaved at the dark, deafeningly loud arcade with the disco balls. I know Jacob will be much better behaved with his friends at the arcade than he is with his family at the arcade. Every time we go, he has a ritual of showing his dismay for having won fewer tickets than his sisters by throwing a tantrum between the "Subway Surfer" and "Classic Mario Brothers" machines. You might ask: "Then why is Jacob permitted to go every time if that's how he acts?" I ask myself that every single time.

At 8:52 a.m., we can go to the town pool for daughter #1, Carly... (She'll love being called "daughter #1- especially when I tell her that it will psychologically scar her sister for life.) Of course Carly will bring her entire entourage. And quite an entourage it is. Depending on the day and who you ask, it can include up to 12 girls. Would it be wrong for me to start spreading nasty rumors among them now so that Carly will only be friends with half of them when the invitations go out? Otherwise it will be an hour before they even get into the pool. The first sixty minutes will be taken up by every girl telling every other girl how cute her bathing suit is and then, in round two, every girl telling every other girl how cute she looks in it. Then they will splash around and play a diving gave for ten minutes before they plant themselves smack dab in front of the pool steps. For the next hour, they will be totally oblivious to the other fifty pool-goers of various shapes, sizes, and ages, who have to squeeze around them to get in or out of the pool. They will instead be totally focused on their task of comparing the "adorable" levels of the boys in their class with the ones on Teen Nickelodeon. "Logan is soooo adorable! I know, right?!"

Then at 8:54 a.m., we can go to the climbing place for daughter #2, Hayley's party with her own cast of characters: Namely the girl who devoted most of 5th grade math class to coloring her sneakers with marker, and the boy who is way-too-neurotic-to-be-only-eleven who I'm gonna guess is deathly afraid of heights. This is not good. At 5'2", I'm in no position to climb down a fifty foot rope ladder wearing a sixth grader over my shoulder like a shawl. And, I know from experience, it would all be left up to me. I guarantee, the second that kid starts to panic, my nearly six foot husband will yell: "Bad back!" which of course is the adult version of "Not it!"

Join me next week for part 2 of the "Planning a Kid's Birthday Party or 2 or 3" when I tackle the cake, opening the gifts, & more.

A little fun eBook that's just about what we're all going through just about now. From End of School to Back to School(Thanks for stopping by. I hope you're a little less stressed out than when you got here. If you'd like more laughs at your kids' expense please sign up to my newsletter on my homepage (link below) and/or check out the new edition of the latest fast, fun-reading eBook in my series. It's just about what we're all going through just about now.

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