Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sophie's Choice or: Why My Children Will Prefer to Take the Stairs

So, I'll save you some grief for when your youngest child is no longer in a stroller. Kids are afraid of escalators. I had absolutely no idea. See I have had one, if not two, kids in strollers for the past seven years now rendering escalators impossible. And even if I were to be naughty and fold up my stroller and take the escalator the child in question was probably small enough that I carried him/her up the darn thing.

So today I had a return to make at sears (side note, never buy anything from unless you know for certain that you won't be returning it, I am 2 for 2 on nightmare return situations). So I took the three kids with me, we made our return and wound up with $15 on a gift card. I figured it would be easiest to just use it while I was already there. The kids section was on the second floor. And that, my friends was when the "shizzizzle" hit the proverbial fan.

The way it goes in our family is that Ivy and I lead the way while Bentley and Gwen fight and bicker and putter along behind us. So, proceeding in our typical fashion I had Ivy's hand and got on the escalator going up. 1.5 seconds later I realize that Gwen had made it on the escalator but Bentley was still at the bottom quivering like it was a death trap. I urge him to just step on, certainly he had done this before, right? Meanwhile Ivy and I are drifting further and further up and away from Ben.

He finally gathers his courage enough to make a move but then freaks out and tries to go back down off a stair. He's completely panicking as he realizes that he could be stuck there forever and is not getting any closer to the bottom. He starts trying to go faster and... faceplants it on the escalator. He's wailing. Absolutely wailing, but Ivy and I are approaching the exit and as I think of her trying to get off the escalator alone horrible stories from the past of people's shoelaces and hair and phalanges getting gobbled up at the top of escalators flash before my eyes.

It's a real pickle. I felt like Sophie in Sophie's Choice. I really did. I quickly made a plan of action, despite Bentley's situation looking awfully precarious, I figured I would have time to get Ivy safely to the top of the escalator and then run down and catch Bentley before he made it to the top. It was kind of a nightmare all of the sudden as I contemplated the possibility that I could lose two children to the monstrosity.

Then a nice old man (who looked at me with utmost disdain for so carelessly abandoning my son-- can't blame him) saved the day. He picked up Bentley and carried him up the escalator to me.


So life goes on and ten minutes later we are ready to leave the store, we have to go down the escalator. Having graduated the school of elevator hard knocks I picked up Ivy and Bentley and proceeded with caution to the mighty beast. It was then that I noticed Gwen cowering and nudging her way backwards away from the escalator.

For twenty minutes we sat there at the top, trying to help Gwen muster up the courage to get on the escalator. Ivy, Ben and I went up and down ten times to try to show her that it was going to be okay. Now, I could have understood if Bentley had a little post traumatic stress but Gwen? Really. I got lots of fun looks from passersby as I gave my best motivational speech about how if she was afraid of escalators she would be stuck on the "first floor of life" for ever. She didn't care.

Finally, finally, after much bribery and much motivational speaking we finally made our triumphant return to the first floor of Sears. None the worse for the wear but having learned some valuable life lessons. Like that you should maybe not just assume that kids know how to use escalators. Or at least put them on it first. Or better yet...just take the elevator.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Chipmunk Cheeks

That was my nickname. Chipmunk Cheeks. We did a lot of things with my great aunts when I was a kid. Our Christmas traditions involved lots of great-aunt visiting. We enjoyed eating talerina with Aunt June (and getting a pair of socks with a fifty cent piece inside), then going over to enjoy Aunt Audrey's vast collection of cuckoo clocks and birds (of the real, non cuckoo variety). It was a fun childhood. Except for that they both called me "chipmunk cheeks" like all the time.

Anyway, flash forward two decades later and Bentley's favorite thing is to play "Chipmunk Cheeks" by stuffing whatever food we are eating in his cheeks before chewing and swallowing. It's endearing, and...kind of gross.

So last weekend was our family camping trip to Fountain Green. At the end of the trip my dear sister-in-law Stef offered to take Bentley for most of the next week (WOOHOO*)

The kids were exhausted when we finally got all packed up to go to our respective homes, and Stef sent me the following images of the first five minutes of their drive.

Woohoo! Riding with cousins is the best. thing. ever! (Note that poor Bentley gets lobsterfied anytime the mercury creeps past about 75 dgs, good thing we aren't in Texas anymore eh?)

A few minutes later Stef's kids had fallen asleep and Bentley looked a little...distressed. She asked what was wrong, he replied, "I'm doing schimpmuch sheiks". It took a minute to figure out that he was, indeed, doing chipmunk cheeks. But then he fell asleep.

And since he was asleep she decided to help rid him of the Chipmunk Cheeks.
And the grapes kept coming, and coming, and coming. I am not sure I know what the final count was, but I am certainly glad that the poor kid didn't choke to death!

It sure has been quiet around this house with little Bentley gone. Gwen and Ivy have been downright civil to each other. Not sure what it is with Gwen and Bentley, but they fight incessantly. But despite the peace and quiet and calmness that has presided over our home the last several days, I miss this kid! He is like a walking exclamation point and I can't wait to kiss his face off when I see him again tonight!

* I remember one time when I only had one kid someone who had two kids saying something to the effect of "well you only have one kid so you don't understand". It really bothered me. But, I have to admit in the last two months I have had the chance to only have two kids a couple of times (thanks Stef!), and it does not matter the combination of kids but in my personal experience two kids is WAY, like tremendously, extraordinarily, extremely and downright miraculously easier than having three kids. That is not to diminish anyone's one-kid or two-kid lives at all, those times were hard too. But jeepers, two kids is like a stroll in the park compared to three. But that could just be because I never really got a chance with two kids. Remember how I was pregnant with Ivy when Ben was the tender age of seven months? yeah. I am sure that three kids is a walk in the park compared to having four. Which is why I only have three :). The end.