We woke today to slushy streets but thankfully, not a lot of ice. I was able to manage a run (although my calves are sore from flexing them in order to avoid slipping in the slush), which makes all the difference in my day. Everything gleamed throughout the neighborhood due to the fresh white snow on the ground. My footsteps made the first marks of the day.
When I got home, the kids were outside with Jon shoveling the sidewalk. Jon knows how to put them to work and they love it. My stomach twisted up a bit when I drove up and saw them outside. A good twist – a feeling of warmth and gratitude in having such a wonderful hubby and kids. I like when that feeling creeps up on me. The kids and I went inside and began our Saturday cleaning, which is still like pulling teeth. Once we get the music started and begin picking up, the whining wears off but until then it was as if we told them they had to go work in the mines.
We started with Mario’s room because Mario had a little accident in the middle of the night. He came into our bedroom around 5 am to get his sleeping bag. I thought he had just woken up and wanted to use it but I should not have been so naive. He must have changed out of his pants and dried himself off because the towel was in the middle of the hall and his pants were by the steps. At least he didn’t call on Jon or me to do that for him like he used to a year ago.
After cleaning, I made them work on their workbooks for 15 minutes. Mario loves showing me how he can trace his letters; Maria loves trying to get an “A+” on each workbook page. After they finished that task, we headed off to Toys R Us. I still have a $25 gift card that Maria got for her birthday about 2 years ago (it’s probably worth about $!0 now) and I told her she could get something little in honor of a great report card. Mario earned himself a small toy, too, for helping to clean his room and finishing his ABCs (should I have dinged him for peeing in his bed!).
When we first walked in Toys R Us, the kids’ mouths dropped at the massive amount of toys and games and movies and candy throughout the store. At first, I thought about how amazing it must be to walk through the store as a kid – every toy you can imagine floating around the aisles for you to view. I soon changed that thought and decided that Toys R Us is hell for kids because of all of the toys floating around and their desire to have every single one of them. Maria went from wanting a Leapster game to a Barbie to a stuffed dog to a penguin to a …. Mario was surprisingly not as crazed about the toys. He planted himself in the toy cars aisle testing out the jeeps and four wheelers. He also eyed the skateboards.
You tend to tune out the crying in Toys R Us because it is so prevalent. Kids begging their parents for toys and upon hearing “no”, falling on the ground in pure distress. Maria and Mario did not go there, thank goodness, because they know better. Maria is well aware that she has a lot of “things” and if I tell her “no” on one more “thing” she typically takes it in stride and moves on. That being said, after going through a lot of “no’s” with me, Maria found a Barbie “head” – one of those decapitated creatures with long blond hair that kids can braid and comb. The thing was marked down 70% from Christmas so it was a steal. I cracked up that she chose this toy as she absolutely detests to brush her own hair or get it brushed by anyone else. She also detests anyone braiding her hair. Maybe this toy will help her move towards that direction for once in her life.
Mario got a set of army guys – those little green, plastic figures. It came with a tank and truck, too. All for $5. Love that deal. We also looked for Yoda. I have loved Yoda for years and had an awesome little plastic figurine back in college (why wasn’t I more careful with stuff back then?). I got another one as Fitness Director at the YMCA but lost him in one of my moves from Cincy to Columbus to Cincy to Columbus. They had every Star Wars figurine except Yoda at Toys R Us. I was so mad. Sweet Maria who always takes care of me told me this story: “Mom, when I was at Target one day, a man asked someone where Yoga was in the toy aisle and that person said “Who’s Yoga?” Can you believe that someone doesn’t know who Yoda is?!” She always tries to get me in a better mood. And if there was a Yoda in the store, I am quite sure she would have bought it for me with her toy money.
After Toys R Us, I got a welcome trip to Stauf’s to eat a black russian bagel and diet coke. I read about Newt Gingrich’s win in South Carolina (UNbelievable!!) and felt sick to my stomach so I had to switch over to reading labor and employment articles (numb my mind). When I got home, Maria begged me to help her braid her new doll’s head of hair. That turned in to her begging to “dress me up”, which she has begged to do for weeks, and I have declined for weeks. It was 6:30, cold, and I knew I would not be heading out again. So what the hay. Within a half an hour, I had eyeliner on my eyebrows, lipstick all over the lower half of my face, blush smeared on my cheeks, and nail polish on the top halves of my fingers. Worse than that, she dressed me in my old orange dress that is tight and short with a pair of gray high heels. She made me throw a white skirt under the dress since it was so short (this is Maria’s signature look – a skirt under a dress). I just don’t understand how she can look at a well-made up woman and comment on how pretty she is but then lather me with crazy make-up and think I look good?! She proudly took me downstairs and introduced me to the boys. Mario’s response: “Will you marry me?” He is going to be attracted to some winners (Jon’s response was “ugh” – much more appropriate).
It’s now close to 9:30 and Jon and I look forward to a half hour alone before we both can’t keep our eyes open and fall fast asleep with the hopes of no little ones crawling into our bed.