Friday, December 19, 2008

So Cute, So Evil

Look closely, for this is the face of Evil.

Avery woke up at 4:30 AM, but I kicked Frank until he rolled out of bed to deal with her. Once again she had her fat leg stuck in the slats of her crib. This happens now 2 or 3 times a week, and she always gets all bent out of shape and mad when it does. Who can blame her though? You’re happily sleeping, and all of a sudden you try to roll over, and find out you’re stuck. Being 16 (almost 17) months old, you can’t figure out how to get your leg out, so you scream for Dad. This is my favorite part, she always screams for Dad. I should feel guilty that she prefers Frank to me, but I don’t. She is clearly his baby.
She’s so bad. I used to think that Anaya was the anti-christ, as evidenced by 6 months of horrible colic and refusal to sleep more than 2 hours in a row, but now I’m starting to think that Avery must really be a demon in disguise. She likes to get up on top of the counters or kitchen table (she knows to push the chairs around to climb up on anything) and stand there and yell for Frank- “Dada! Dada!” When he gets to her, she’ll pick up a bunch of crayons or paper or spoons, and start dropping them one by one on the floor. Or, she’ll make eye contact with him and slowly walk to the edge and put a foot out, daring him to get her before she steps off.
Her first words were “stop it” and “no.” She bites, pulls hair, and tackles the other kids. If one of the other girls is sitting with Frank, she’ll come over, worm her way between the two of them, and slowly push the other daughter away. Yesterday, Frank was zipping up jackets to take the kids to daycare. He started with Anaya first. Avery stood there, watching, and all of a sudden reached out and pulled Anaya’s braid. Anaya of course had a meltdown (typical for her, at least 6 a day). Avery acted contrite. Went over, gave her a hug, patted her back, and then grabbed the braid and pulled again. She ran away laughing as Anaya threw a complete fit. That’s pretty much typical for them. Avery is bad, Anaya cries, Frank attempts to parent, but as he says, “how can someone so cute be so evil?”
Avery is also the reason why our Christmas tree is so pitiful. We have 15 ornaments on it, all red. They're at 3.5 feet or higher up, because she ripped off all of the other ornaments. She also knocked over the tree three times within the first hour that it was up. I never had this issue with the other kids. My Mom tells me that everyone deserves a child like Avery, so that you appreciate how easy your other kids are. She had Liam, and he was just as bad as Avery.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Taking Advantage of Free Babysitters!

My husband I and don’t get out a lot. We live sort of on a budget, he works the PM swing shift (like 11:00 AM to 11:00 PM or so), he’s a chef, so he works weekends and holidays, and getting a PM babysitter is a pain in the butt. But, this week, my Father-in-law was in town. Now, I know that I ranted about him. But, he wasn’t that awful this time around. Possibly because he had someone with him or possibly because they took off for Las Vegas and weren’t at the house for the whole week. Either way, the week wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. My husband was home on Friday, and his Dad wanted us to go out, and leave him with the kids. We jumped at the chance, and went to see Four Christmases, which wasn’t as awful as expected, but it was the movie that was starting when we got to the theater, so we went. Then, we got almost home, and got very, very drunk at the bar near the house. Good times.

On Saturday, Frank’s Dad starts in on the “I want to take the whole family out to dinner.” OK, my kids can’t even handle IHOP in the mornings without 2 or 3 major meltdowns, so “going out for dinner” is just a bad idea. Top that off with the fact that the baby goes to bed now by 7:00 at the latest. But, whatever. At 3:00 or so, Frank’s Dad and girlfriend go off to do something “we’ll go to dinner when we get back.” Whatever, the kid will be in bed probably. And, sure enough, they don’t get home until 7:15 PM. I have the youngest two in bed already, since they were wiped out. Only Adeline is awake still. Then it’s the whole I thought we were going out, blah, blah, blah. Sorry dude, they’re sleeping, and at 7:00 at night, even Applebee’s doesn’t want to see us, because the kids will be horrible. So it turns into a “Why don’t you guys just go out” type of situation. We jumped on that, because a free sitter is something that you never turn down.

We ate at a tiny restaurant in Scottsdale, called Atlas Bistro. Frank’s friend Josh is the chef at (Josh was one of the ushers at my wedding, I think he was paired with Bridge). So, anyways, we get there, buy a bottle of wine (it's a BYOB attached to a wine store place)- a pinot noir I think- and sit down. We didn’t give Josh a heads up that we were coming in, we just made reservations on the drive over, so it was unexpected to him. We weren’t expecting anything beyond a normal dinner. We ask the server to just tell Josh that Frank is here. Josh comes out of the kitchen, surprised to see us, and asks if he can take over the food selections or if we want to pick from the menu. I went with menu items. Frank got a 13 course tasting, or something ridiculous like that. The food was really excellent. I had this tuna and squid starter, a frissee and potato salad with a foie gras dressing (like little puddles of heaven), Steak, and this strange fennel and apple tart. But it was really good. Probably the 2nd best meal I've had in Arizona. (The best was at Janos in Tucson, that was an incredible 12 course tasting, with wine pairings, for Frank, I was pregnant and couldn’t drink.) Frank just keeps getting course after course of everything on the menu, tasting portions, but still a ton of food. Duck, sweetbreads, tuna, lamb, steak, everything. We got all these dirty looks from the other patrons, because the chef kept coming out with the plates himself and running down the ingredients and everything. He’d fire a few tables, and come back out to us. We were like the VIPs in the restaurant, which pissed off the snotty Scottsdale “regulars.”

The special attention from the chef wasn’t expected, because we didn’t let him know beforehand that we were coming in. On the rare times that we actually do get to go out, and call ahead to somewhere, Frank usually mentions who he is, or where he works, and we get “special” tasting menus. A professional courtesy. I sometimes like it, and sometimes don’t. I start to get feelings of dread when the server comes over and asks if there are any food allergies, because “the chef has put together a special menu” for us. This is a heads up that we’re not going to get to pick, but that it’s already been chosen for us. If it’s something that I don’t like, I have to eat it anyways, or the chef will be slighted. It’s one of the perks of being married to a chef.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Inconsiderate In-Laws

Why I Can’t Stand My Father-In-Law
An Essay

My father-in-law (FIL or he from now on) was a bad parent to my husband, a bad husband to my mother-in-law (just ask her, she left him), and now an over-bearing grandparent to my children. He called our house last night, to let us know that he wants to visit. We ask “when?” getting ready to give out the normal excuses that we usually use to stop him from visiting. “Oh” he says “we already booked the tickets, just now, and we’ll be there on Sunday, and we’re staying for a week.” MOTHERF’ER. ARE YOU SERIOUS???? WHO DOES THAT? You decided to visit, didn’t ask us first if you could come, or what our schedules looked like, you just went ahead and booked the trip for you and your obnoxious girlfriend. He’s emotionally a 6 year old in a 60 year old’s body. Everything is done the way he wants it to be done, even when he’s not at home. Last time he visited, which was about 3 years ago, thank god, I was almost homicidal. Frank is lucky, because he’ll be working the entire time. I’ll be the one stuck entertaining them. Because god forbid they actually have a plan before they come out here. They expect you to have an itinerary set up for them, dance hoops around their dietary issues (he doesn’t eat beans, or Mexican, or anything with sauce, she picks at everything and complains about EVERYTHING) and drop everything to cater to them.

My house won’t be clean enough for the girlfriend, so F her. He’s supposedly shipping crates of god knows what out on the train to Maricopa so that he can go pick it up when he gets here. Shit that I’ll have to throw away as soon as he leaves. We're currently in a mad scramble to hide or ditch the stuff that we've just tossed in the garage from him, because he pretty much buys dollar store crap or ugly clothes.

In addition to that, I've been hiding the Christmas presents in the guest room, which is where they'll be staying. If we instruct them to keep the kids out, and especially out of the closet, he will go out of his way to show the kids the closet, because he's that big of an asshole. It's his way one-upping us. Wrecking our Christmas so that he can come in and save the day with a "new Christmas." So I have to find a new place to hide the presents.

We told them that they need to rent a car, because they can’t be at the house all the time. Frank is working on a list of things for them to do. This is challenging, because he's not into culture and she doesn't like to do anything that involves walking or not spending money. Thank god there's a casino two miles from my house.

He’s totally critical of my parenting skills, even though he could easily qualify for worst parent of the year, and Frank’s got the scars to prove it. His biggest complaint is that my kids are too scheduled and sleep too much. You know what? My kids go to bed between 7:00 and 7:30. I don’t care that Terri and Phil let their kids stay up all night long, my kids know that they need to be in their rooms at least 10 hours a night, and I do not want to hear from them at all during that time. So I know that he’s going to bitch that he doesn’t see the kids enough, seeing as how I’ll be taking them to school/daycare at 7:15 AM before he gets up (because he already told us that they won’t be watching the kids while we’re not home and to keep them in daycare for the week), and picking them up when I get out of work, usually not walking in the door until 6:00 PM or so. This pretty much means as soon as I get in the door, I start dinner, feed them, and in an hour it’s bedtime. And that’s when he’ll start to complain that he’s not getting enough time with the kids.

Oh yeah, and the girlfriend is a chain smoker who's going to complain about having to smoke outside, and even at that, I'm going to lay down the law and tell her that if she needs to smoke, she can't do it in the backyard either, it has to be in the front yard, which she'll hate, because she's one of those people who doesn't like to leave the house without a facefull of makeup. I'll probably have to get the house fumigated after she leaves though because the reek of smoke will follow her everywhere.


Monday, December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving Excess

Too much turkey.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. Mostly because it’s a grown-up holiday that the stores can’t commercialize too much. This Thanksgiving, like most, my husband worked. He’s a chef at a resort, so he gets stuck working all major holidays. Therefore I cooked dinner just for me and the kids. I opted for a non-creative Thanksgiving, doing just a 4 lb turkey breast, box stuffing, mashed potatoes (real potatoes easy, box potatoes yucky), jar cranberry, box pumpkin pie and homemade cranberry bread pudding. It took just a few minutes to prep and the cooking was done in about 2 hours. I timed it right, even after an hour delay for an extremely crabby teething toddler, and had dinner on the table right at 12:30. The bread pudding was a masterpiece. I took pictures which I will post as I am rather proud of my accomplishment. Then Frank came home at 7:30 with another whole turkey breast, this one larger than the one I had made, already cooked. Plus a few pounds of beef roast, sausages and cornbread. He also brought home a raw, thawed 14 pound turkey. I had to cook that turkey yesterday. We will be eating turkey for the next week.

This Thanksgiving was also significant in that I actually had a plan in place for the Black Friday sales, managed to get out to the stores (not super early, but around 9:00 AM), and bought 80% of what I needed for Christmas. The kids don’t want anything big this year, just stupid little toys like Littlest Pet Shop, High School Musical Dolls, and Barbie. On Sunday night I assigned wrapping paper colors, and got it all wrapped up and stored in the closet. I color code the wrapping paper, like Adeline gets red background paper, Anaya gets blue this year, and Avery gets green. It looks pretty under the tree that way, and then its easy for the kids to know what presents they can open. My biggest excitement on Friday shopping was that I managed to pick up three old fashioned red plaid flannel nightgowns for the kids. I like them to coordinate, and I’ve been looking for these nightgowns for a while now. They’re hard to find in Arizona, and I didn’t want to spend a ton of money at somewhere like L L Bean or Land’s End.

My Mom is smart in that she just sends me a check for the kids presents, and tells me what to buy, and that way I reserve the right to veto her toy selections. My father-in-law buys the kids all sorts of stuff, and then pays a fortune to send it out via UPS. Kind of silly in my mind, and kind of annoying at times because he’ll do stuff like buy dollar store junk that I just throw away as soon as the kids loose interest.