Closing up another year...

Rats. Another year is coming to a close. My kids are one inch taller and two shoe sizes bigger... and with January around the corner, I am going to be one year older (and gruesomely closer to the big 40). It's only the beginning of December, yet I feel like our Christmas tree has been up since Halloween and the kids anticipate Santa Claus even more each day. Except Téa, who has a major meltdown at the sight of Santa Claus (especially life-size robotic Santas that sing and dance).

Brayden is reaching great heights -- he was recognized at school with a medal last week for being a student achiever by making good "choices" (there are apparently many bad choices a kindergartner can make) -- and speaking of heights, he measures as tall as my bustline at nearly age 6 - no doubt he'll surpass my head before he hits third grade! He has learned how to tie his own shoes (with only one tutorial) and will not leave the house until they are 'double-knotted' (despite my hurried yelling at 12:30 pm, "Brayden you don't have time, you have to get on the bus!")
Lately his world has been all about football. On Saturday, it's Notre Dame football, and Sundays it's the Cincinnati Bengals. With his football in hand, repeatedly throwing it up and down, he'll watch a game in its entirety and recite for you each play. "Mom, it's 2nd and 10. Mom, it's 3rd and 8. Mom this is their last shot."
I think Matthew and I get annoyed sometimes, were it not for the simple fact that he's so damn funny. One time we kept telling him to quit throwing himself the ball and falling over the "first down line" (a piece of duct tape on the carpet) because he was going to wake up the baby with all the thumping. As we're in mid-sentence telling him to cut it out for the 100th time, he throws himself over the ottoman onto the floor with a slam and then... silence... and all we see is a little arm go up in the air, triumphantly holding the football.

The twins will be 3 just after Christmas and the only way to describe them is constant hurricanes. It's like two hurricanes of drama, noise and more drama rolled into a gigantic Terrible Two storm. Here's an excerpt from this morning:

Brayden yelling from basement to the girls, telling them to come have races with him.
Mia running into living room while I'm rocking baby Payton to sleep, whining about wanting to wear her new tennis shoes. Throws shoes at me, hitting baby. Baby's awake. Téa comes sauntering in room with a funk hanging over her that the dog leaves the room. She looks a little blonde version of the stinky, dirty character from the Snoopy cartoons. She's got a Christmas ornament that sings holiday tunes at about 10,000 decibels. Mia was playing with it an hour ago, so that means it's off limits to any other human all day. She rips from Téa's hand. Crying. Then hitting. Baby's crying. Baby goes on floor for the mediation of twins' fight.
Brayden's in junk drawer fishing around for scissors, as he needs to cut something... immediately.
Change PigPen's diaper while singing "Bye Bye Poo Poo," obviously stuck in my head from the Potty Movie we watched earlier. Mia dumps about seven dozen broken crayons all over the floor (Santa needs to bring the big fat unbreakable crayons to this house). I'm yelling, "pick every single one of those up before Payton eats them!"
Baby inchworming her way across kitchen hardwoods, her target - the dog's fur - so she can grab a chunk with her fiercely strong little, clammy, saliva-ridden fists.
Téa brings me her shoes, wanting to also wear her new sneaks, since Mia now has hers on (although it's two left shoes in two different sizes, at least she got them on by herself).
Kids climbing the daddy mountain
Familiar clanky-shuffle sound of a 2-pound bag of plastic toy food being emptied on floor. Mia now smells foul, a smell I will not describe, but you can imagine it after knowing they had Hamburger Helper last night for dinner. As I change her diaper pleading for her to learn how to poop in the potty again, she throws a pair of big girl underpants at my face. I swear she nicks my cornea. Spanking follows. Fake crying. Heads for loud jackhammer toy Brayden got from Santa a couple years ago. Santa needs to bring some quiet toys, preferably made of yarn.
Baby's eating crayons. 
Drums start banging from basement (another Santa toy - stupid Santa). Brayden yelling for girls to come have races with him. Téa brings me her shoes ...wait didn't this already happen?

Seriously, and that was only five minutes.

Payton, now 6 months old, is the most easy-going, happy baby. Thank God for small (good baby) miracles. I'm pretty sure this Mother Hen would have abandoned nest by now. She is content to watch her siblings duke it out as she plays (with the dog's tail) from the sidelines. Today during my scolding episode in the playroom, during which both twins were crying and screaming, Payton was just smiling and giggling - I suppose she thinks this is all a show for her.

Luckily my hard-working husband allows me to indulge in a sitter a few days a week for a couple hours so I can go to the gym (I never thought I'd be so happy to see those treadmills, but I skip on them some days), go grocery shopping (I can look in my purse for coupons!) or do, simply whatever I want. I am embarrassed to say that quite often I've driven up in town and parked in a parking lot, to sit in silence in the car - sometimes with a very fattening iced mocha from Panera in my hand.

At the end of each day I am beat. Exhausted. The neighbors, I'm sure, can tell, since I haven't gotten out of my sweats, brushed my hair, put on socks or ... have I even brushed my teeth?

But as I remind myself that soon, these days will come to a close, and there will be no more visits to Santa from innocent, believing children, and no more little feet running around here with two different shoes on or little coloring hands at the table --I will remain frustratingly happy singing poo poo songs and wiping butts (I've grown to love the smell of powder).

Santa better not bring me a treadmill, that's one toy I prefer to go drive up in town to play with.


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