June 29, 2011

Why I Can't Buy Fireworks

Growing up, I used sparklers and those weird things called snakes. No big deal. Some day my daughters will likely hold a sparkler... under strict supervision, of course. But they won't be sparklers bought by me. I cannot bring myself to go in to those big establishments (or, in the case of my neighborhood, the roadside tent) where they sell oodles of fireworks.
The summer before my senior year in college, I interned at a TV station in West Virginia. One day, just before the 4th of July, a huge fire broke out in a fireworks store. At least 8 people died. The fire started when a man went into the store with a lit cigarette. The man was mentally disabled and some reports suggested he was "dared" to light the fireworks inside by some dumbass teenagers. (That allegation was long disputed and I don't know what ever came of that). From what I can find in Internet searches, the man is still confined to a mental institution after being found incompetent to stand trial.
This was my first time covering a situation involving such heartache and tragedy. I watched desperate family members stand outside the yellow police tape, waiting for news of loved ones. I saw video of a young boy, clearly in shock, coming out of the building and trying to figure out where the rest of his family was. It wasn't an easy story to cover.
A few years later, while working at a reporter in another state, I was assigned to do a fluff piece, typical 4th of July fireworks story. At a fireworks store. I can't explain the wave of panic that came over me. I did the story.... and got the heck out of there as fast as I could. I kept one eye on the exit and stayed as close to the doors as I could.
Every year, a red and white tent sets up just outside our neighborhood (we're right by a major highway) with huge signs screaming "Fireworks!!!" Smaller signs warn "No smoking." I drive by, tighten my grip on the steering wheel and vow never to set foot in there. 

June 28, 2011

Wiggle, Wiggle, Wiggle

For months now, each of my daughters has been convinced she has a loose tooth. From time to time they have even convinced me they have a loose tooth. It seems like it might be moving. Then Hubby all but rolls his eyes and concludes the tooth is not loose. As I found out the other night, you'll know when your child has a loose tooth.
I floss the girls' teeth every other night. If you are able to floss your child's teeth every single day, then go ahead and judge me for only doing it every other day. The nightly routine is chaotic enough. I'm surprised we stick to the every other night flossing. Besides, I can probably count on one hand the number of times I flossed as a child. Anyway..... I was flossing Roo's teeth and kept looking at one of her front bottom teeth. Why was there suddenly a strange gap between that tooth and the tooth next to it? Oh no... are we going to have to go in for an emergency dental appointment? I touched the tooth with the flosser. It moved. Yep. Our first loose tooth. We had to halt the tooth flossing and brushing so she could wiggle the tooth for her sisters and Hubby. Hubby, of course, did not believe us, until he wiggled the tooth for himself. 
He and I agreed... that tooth is likely coming out in the next week. This sent me into a panic. When he and I went downstairs I threw $10 at him, with strict instructions to go to bank the next day and get gold $1 coins. I've been meaning to do this, but kept putting it off. Can you imagine what would happen if the Tooth Fairy dropped the ball on our first tooth?! And yes, I said $1. I think for my first ever visit from the Tooth Fairy I received a silver dollar. After that, teeth were probably worth 25 cents. Do not tell my daughters there are children out there who receive $5 or even $10 per tooth. We would be in the poor house!!! This Tooth Fairy hands out $1 gold coins.
And now we wait. Every morning we wiggle Roo's tooth. She's a little concerned about when it might fall out. I've assured her it won't come out in the pool or while she sleeps. I've explained to her that it might fall out when she's eating, so if she bites something hard she should spit it out. That's all we need... for her to swallow her first loose tooth! So far, none of her sisters are jealous. Sure, they want to know when they will have a loose tooth. But for now they're content to be excited for their sister.

June 27, 2011

What Can 5-year-olds Watch?

While I try not to have the TV on all the time, there are times when my daughters do watch television. In the summer it's not on very often because we're out enjoying the parks, pools and even just our own back yard. But some days, after all the running around, we only have the energy to come home, sit on the couch and watch some TV. The problem, though, is that right now my girls are either too old or too young for what's being offered.
Dora, Elmo, Backyardigans, Yo Gabba Gabba... we've out grown them. Their lessons are great, but I think my daughters have finally figured out that they need to share and they shouldn't bite their friends. Hannah Montana and all her Disney cohorts are something I just don't think we're ready for. Do 5-year-olds need to watch shows that have plot lines centered around dating? Forget Spongebob. I don't like him and we don't watch it. Ever.
PBS has the most educational offerings and even its animated shows tend to go beyond the preschool crowd. Arther and Cyberchase come to mind as two shows that are still suitable for the kindergarten crowd. Long before we had cable we only used an antenna, so PBS was our only option. I think that's why my girls tend to overlook those shows.
Fortunately, being "in between" shows, means my girls are engaging in more creative play. Right now the TV is off and they've created an "animal city" out of blocks and bricks. It has kept them entertained for the last hour.

June 23, 2011

When a Quadruplet Gets to Be a "Normal" Kid

This month, I've had the time to participate in some of the activities offered by my moms of multiples group. It's been a lot of fun seeing my girls interact with other multiples (mostly triplets) and even more fun when they get to just be kids and not "The Quads."
The camping trip we went on earlier this month was organized by my moms of multiples group. It's the first activity we've done with the group where my girls are old enough to understand "triplets, quadruplets, etc." and where they've been old enough to not be shy. They had a blast playing with their new friends and it was so nice to not have to constantly answer the "Are they quadruplets?" question. I mean when you're running around with 21 triplets, no one really cares if you're a quadruplet!
Yesterday we went to the zoo with my moms of multiples group. I think we ended up with about 21 kids. Normally a zoo outing for our family ends with me wanting to tell people "It's the animals who are on display, not us." (Yes, most people are just curious and kind, but it's hard not to get frustrated when you're simply trying to enjoy the day). Yesterday, we just looked like one of the day care groups spending the day at the zoo. We barely turned heads, except for the one mom with her young triplets in a triple stroller. I'm sure she still endured her fair share of comments.
Now, of course, my daughters want to know why they can't see their new triplet friends every day. I guess I need to start arranging some play dates!

June 22, 2011

My Annual Summer Rant

It's that time of year... time for me to complain about the inattentive parents at the pool. I just don't get it. My daughters have "graduated" to the big pool. I stay near the edge if I'm not in with them. I want to be able to get to them as fast as I can if there's a problem. The biggest problem, though, is the kids whose parents aren't watching them. This is a neighborhood pool, not a city pool. There is no lifeguard on duty.
One day, a little boy kept jumping in the pool... practically on top of my girls. Where was his mom? On the other side of the pool, sitting in a chair texting away. I finally told my girls to move and asked him to please be careful so he didn't land on anyone. The mom kind of glanced my way and then went back to texting.
A few weeks ago some kids were using a raft in the pool. They kept steering the raft near the steps where my girls and lots of little kids were playing. At one point the raft was OVER the head of one of the younger kids. For whatever reason, I'm the only parent who noticed this. I kindly, but firmly, suggested they keep the raft away from the steps so no one got hurt. At this point, their mom went off in a litany of Spanish. I'm not sure if she was yelling at me or them. I don't really care.
Yesterday I was at the pool and watched a mom put water wings on her two-year-old, let the little girl jump in the deep end (5 feet) and then promptly laid down on her back and sun bathed. Water wings can be a great tool to help a young child gain confidence in the water, but water wings are not a life saving device. What happens when the little girl gets tired and is stuck in the deep end with no one watching her?
I'm sure I tend to hover a bit too much at the pool. I have four kids to pay attention to, while most parents are there with one or maybe two kids. But I would rather hover and prevent a tragedy than put my child at risk. 
And so, I have finished my annual rant about the inattentive parents at the pool. I will try not to bring this up again this summer!

June 21, 2011

We are Obsessed with Gnomes

The day we returned from our first camping trip with the girls, none of us wanted to do anything other than sit on the couch. We were exhausted! (And FINALLY clean. There was little vegetation at the campground, so there was dirt everywhere). Once we had all showered and the washing machine was started, we called our neighbor and asked if we could borrow Gnomeo & Juliet. (We were on the wait list at the library, but it was taking too long to climb to the top of the list). Since then, there has been a gnome obsession in my house.
We watched the movie twice before returning it to the neighbor. Right now my daughters are in the play room and pretending to dress up like gnomes. They're also singing "Gnomeo, gnomeo...." (If you've seen the movie, you know what I'm talking about).
The neighbor who lent us the movie has garden gnomes galore in the backyard. Now? My daughters want gnomes! They asked the neighbor what color hats his gnomes have. Unfortunately, we won't be able to create a red/blue rivalry because his gnomes have various colored hats. My daughters want to know when we're going to go buy a gnome. I don't know... garden gnomes have always been something I've avoided. I think they're kind of creepy looking. Plus, we don't have a garden, yet. I guess we'll have to wait and see what happens.

June 16, 2011

The Green-haired Monster

One of my big "summer concerns" is that my daughters will end up with green hair from all the swimming they do. Their hair is light and we spend a lot of time in the pool. I'm not convinced the people who are responsible for putting the chemicals in the pool know what they're doing. My eyes always sting when I'm in the water. Any white parts of our bathing suits turn a dull yellow. I'm pretty sure green hair is next on the list.
I've been using Suave's Swim and Sport shampoo. It claims to get out the chlorine. So far, no green hair. Earlier this week we ran out of the shampoo. No big deal. When Hubby went to Sam's Club I had him buy a multi-pack of Suave kid's shampoo, the same multi-pack that contained the Swim and Sport shampoo last summer. It's not included this summer. I went to Target. There was an empty spot on the shelf where the shampoo should have been. I even looked for the L'Oreal Kid's version and couldn't find it. I went to Walmart. No Suave Swim and Sport. I just happened to walk past the baby section and found the L'Oreal Kid's version. I bought two bottles! 
If you know of a better way to get chlorine out of hair, let me know!

June 15, 2011

When Tantrums Backfire

Yesterday started like any other day. We went through our morning routine and then decided to go to the pool. The neighborhood pool is more enjoyable before lunch, since most people wait until the afternoon to go for a swim. We started getting ready. All the girls put on bikinis. Unfortunately, Sue Sue's bikini was too big in the bottoms. I knew if she wore it, she would constantly lose her bottoms in the pool. So I told her to find a different suit. You would have thought I told her she had to give up her a coveted toy. 
She began screaming at the top of her lungs. Actually, it was more like screeching. First I tried reasoning with her. Then I tried ignoring her. Then I tried to simply put her in a bathing suit. She tried to take it off. Then I told the girls we weren't going swimming. This resulted in tears from everyone. I quickly realized it wasn't fair to punish the other three for one sister's poor choices. 
In the end, I forced Sue Sue into clothes and told her she would be joining us at the pool... from the sidelines. I was a little concerned she would throw a new tantrum at the pool. She whined a bit as she sat in her chair. She constantly told me "it's not fair." I pointed out that it wouldn't be fair to make her sisters stay home just because she was naughty. Eventually she apologized and was quite disappointed that I wouldn't even let her put her feet in the water.
All in all, I think she realized tantrums won't get her anywhere. She is currently upstairs putting on a bathing suit to go swimming today and I haven't heard a single argument.

June 13, 2011

Our First Camping Trip

Given the choice between sleeping in a tent or a five-star hotel, I'm picking luxury every time. Still, I know how to rough it and I'm not opposed to camping. My daughters have been asking to go camping for the past few summers. This year I decided to sign up for my moms of multiples group camping trip. 
Overall, we had a great time. Especially since we slept in our "vacation lodge." I find it quite humorous that any tent would have the word "lodge" in it.
We were the first to arrive, so we ended up with a campsite with a breathtaking view of the nearby lake and mountains. We spent all day Saturday exploring the area, throwing rocks into the lake and just enjoying nature.

(Not bad for a picture taken with the camera propped on a rock).
There were only a few drawbacks. For our first trip, this was a tad too primitive. There was no running water and the bathroom was basically a hole in the ground. One of my girls was terrified she would fall in the hole... can you blame her? We were all glad to be away from "the stinky potty" when we came home. Plus, while it was nice during the day (70's) it was literally freezing at night. In fact, the first night it may have been below freezing. The girls did great. Sue Sue burrowed into her sleeping bag each night and woke up nice and warm. They each slept in lined pants, a shirt, a jacket and a hat and seemed fine. Hubby and I had trouble sleeping but the girls woke up well rested each morning.
All in all, there were 8 families for a total of 25 kids (all triplets, except our family). The girls had a blast making new friends and visiting everyone's campsite and eating s'mores every night.
Here we are, six loads of laundry later (only 4 or 5 more left), exhausted and happy. My girls want to know if we can go camping next weekend, too!

June 09, 2011

Just Call Me Granny

I was shopping with the girls yesterday when a woman approached me. "Oh, are they quadruplets?" "Yes," I answered. Her next question floored me: "So are you the grandma or the mom?" Um, say what now?
I'm 36. I don't really care if you know my age. Some days I feel 36, most days I'm surprised it has been so long since I graduated college. I don't have a gray hair on my head. (Some of this could be due to the fact that my hair is highlighted, which could hide any potential gray). Sure, I'm starting to get laugh lines, crow's feet, the typical signs of aging that happen as one approaches 40... but grandma? Whatever. 
At least I have my girls to give me an ego boost. The past few summers I've known that I need to wear a hat out in the sun. The ones I've found tend be too "working in the garden" or way too expensive or both. But the other day I found one on clearance at Old Navy ($5.... my kind of price). I tried it on and all four girls oohed and ahhhed. "Mom," one of the exclaimed, "You look soooooo stylish." All the way to the car they talked about how "cute" I looked, how much they liked my hat and how they couldn't wait for me to wear it to the pool. When my girls receive new clothes they like to model them in a fashion show of sorts. As soon as we arrived home from Old Navy, they begged me to have a fashion show to show off my hat. I guess that makes up for rude people who call me granny!

June 08, 2011

A Glimpse at My Teenage Daughters

Yesterday we spent a long afternoon at the pool. Hubby even got off work early and had time to join us. Once he arrived, he took the girls one by one to the deep end so they could jump in and practice swimming to him. Tortilla wanted turn after turn after turn. 
Once we were back at the house, everyone changed and I passed out popsicles. When she was finished, Tortilla wanted the TV on. I refused. I suggested she find a book or build something with Megablocks. She started crying. Then, right when I was ready to tell her to stop crying she looked at me and said "If you're not going to turn on the TV, I'm going to go cry in my room." Fine by me!
She stomped up the steps. About five minutes passed and I needed to take laundry upstairs. Tortilla was sound asleep in her bed. All that swimming wore her out.
Once Tortilla came downstairs, she was all smiles and in a much better mood. Hubby said "So, were you really mad at Mommy for not turning on the TV, or was that just your excuse to go upstairs and take a nap?" A sly smile crossed her face. I'm in big trouble in about ten more years!

June 07, 2011

It's Always Something

Hubby and I tend to say the only luck we have is bad luck. Whenever we feel like we've taken two steps forward, we suddenly have to take about 10 steps back.
Hubby has been able to work overtime lately. This, we thought would give us some "breathing room." Unfortunately, my hours keep getting cut at work (7 1/2 hours next week? Whatever), so his overtime is now compensating for my lack of hours.
We had a company come out about a month ago to start our sprinkler system. We knew we needed some minor repairs, but the project kept getting bigger and bigger. We finally just stopped making follow up appointments. The system works. The grass is green. We know there are still some things with it that need fixed, but they're not the priority right now.
Why? Because one of the gutters is detaching from the house and a bird has made its home there. Someone is coming out to look at it today, but I really don't want to know the estimate.
Remember the tree that wasn't budding? Yeah, it's dead. Due to HOA covenants we have to have it dug out and replant a new one.
Oh, and don't get me started on Hubby's Jeep. The engine light came on. We had the spark plugs replaced and declined the rest of the work as it's not as critical. It blows me away the spark plugs cost $30.... and the LABOR was $260.
It's always something.

June 06, 2011

A Fruitful Summer

Summer is my favorite time of year. I like the heat (for the most part) and I love the sunshine. Plus, I always look forward to eating fresh fruit. Cold fruit is the perfect snack after an outing to the pool.
This year, my daughters are actually putting in requests for which fruit they want me to buy. I typically buy strawberries, blueberries, grapes and bananas. Lately, they've also been asking for raspberries, blackberries and mango. While I don't care for tomatoes, I've been buying grape tomatoes because two of my girls really like them.
My girls are really into talking about how "colorful" their plates are when they're filled with fruits and vegetables. It's a fun way for me to explain (in simple terms) health and nutrition. They're starting to understand that the more colors you have on your plate, the healthier your meal is.
Still, if anyone has tips for storing raspberries, send them my way. Keeping them in the plastic containers they come in seems to result in mold within a day or two.

June 01, 2011

A Not So Fun Milestone

I consider myself a good swimmer. I passed every level of swim lesson offered at my local pool and even had my life guard certification at one point. I'm thrilled that my girls love the water. I'm not so thrilled that they have graduated from the "little pool."
It was bound to happen. Last year they were the only kids their age who spent the majority of their pool time in the little pool. I would take them into the big pool for a few minutes, but the water went over their heads when they stood in the shallow end, so we only spent 15 minutes at a time there if I took them by myself. It's not a lot of fun in the big pool when four little ones are clinging to you. Last year they started swim lessons, so at least they had confidence in the water. While I think water wings are great, I just couldn't bring myself to use them. I had visions of my girls being too confident and having all four of them go in different directions. I tried swim vests, but the ones I bought never fit right.
Anyway, that brings us to this year. Our pool opened Saturday. We finally made it there yesterday. I knew there was no way I could justify letting four 5-year-olds play in the little pool. They want to splash, swim under water and have more fun than you can in the little pool. Our pool has huge concrete steps going into the shallow end. This worked out because I made them stay close to the steps and I was able to be close enough to grab them if needed. Fortunately, this year the water in the shallow end only comes up to their chest. It took them a few minutes to realize they could stand up and their heads wouldn't be under water. It took them even longer to remember you should only breathe out (and not in) when you go underwater.
It's a "not so fun milestone" because graduating to the big pool takes away some of my sense of security. The pool is always a fun way to burn off energy, but the big pool adds a whole new level of stress. 
Also, thank you to everyone who voted for Buried in Laundry for the Top 25 Parents with Multiples List by Circle of Moms. Buried in Laundry is on the list. I'll let you know when it's the featured blog. Thank you again for all your support!!!!