The Sleep Summit

While Ben was out of town last week, the girls evidently held a secret conference. I don’t know where I was—maybe on my 100th milk run of the evening, waylaid in the kitchen by an over-affectionate Coconut, who, unbeknownst to me, was acting under orders. The conference took place in Addie’s room. In attendance: Addie, Rosie, Chris and Martin Kratt, and seven thousand Shopkins.

Addie: I feel like maybe Mom has gotten a little too comfortable around here.

Rosie: I don’t know, I mean, I feel like we’ve done a good job slowly eroding her spirit, right, Chris?

Chris Kratt: TO THE CREATURE RESCUE!

Addie: Yeah, during waking hours. But then there are all those sweet, sweet hours after we go to bed when she has control of the house.

Rosie: I thought Mommy was a robot that turned off after we went to bed.

Addie: I used to think so, too, but then, one night, when I thought I could come to the kitchen and help myself to some mini-muffins, guess who was standing there, completely not a robot, and took the muffins from me?

Rosie: [Gasps audibly.]

Addie: So I’m telling you, we’ve gotta hit her where it hurts.

Rosie: The boobies?

Addie: No, her bed, moron. But also her boobies.

Shopkins: [Lay on floor, saying nothing, preparing to stab Mommy in the foot as soon as she dares enter the room after dark.]

And so it came to pass that every night for the past week, Addie and Rosie have come to sleep in bed with me at some point during the evening. Addie will generally wake me up to inform me that she has arrived; when questioned, she makes up an elaborate story about a bad dream involving a spider and glowing green eyes out her window and sometimes killer unicorns, which is pretty badass, because those guys would make amazing impaling machines. Rosie, on the other hand, sneaks in using ninja-like skills, wedging herself between Addie and me until we form a capital H.

I’m not really sure how I’m going to undo this—I assume there is some parenting book about how to get your children to sleep in their own beds, but I’ve gotta believe that their method involves me waking up repeatedly in the middle of the night, and I would really rather just end up relegated to eight inches of mattress at the very edge of the bed than deal with that noise. I just keep telling myself that eventually they would be caught dead than spend their evenings snuggled up with their mama.

Even if their idea of “snuggling” is really just “sleep-punching me in my boobies.”

The adventures of Margarine

To be honest, I find parenthood a lot more baffling that I thought I would. I wasn’t expecting so much talk of butts from my five-year-old, for instance. I didn’t expect Rosie to take great joy in destroying our home and everything we hold dear like some sort of pint-sized Godzilla. I didn’t know I was going to be required to introduce myself to every kid at the playground in an attempt to play matchmaker for Addie, and I wasn’t aware that I was going to have to make sure she wasn’t just putting on a new pair of underwear over top of yesterday’s pair every day for a week.

But one of the accouterments of childhood that I am having the hardest time with is Shopkins.

Shopkins, for those of you not in the know, are inch-high, anthropomorphic representations of common household and grocery items. They inexplicably  have giant holes in their butts, for reasons that are never fully explained– maybe Shopkins are supposed to be pencil toppers? Or maybe in the bizarro world that they come from, giant gaping buttholes are de rigeur? I don’t know.

And I mean, I get it. I had my own weird toys when I was a kid. Bears that shoot glee or something from their bellies? Yes, go for it! Armless, legless people who somehow manage to be farmers and airline pilots? Sure!

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But you guys, Shopkins are literally tiny, colorful plastic molds of mundane shit you can find around your house. I just can’t imagine a situation in which I came home from a hard day in kindergarten, kicked off my pink Crocs and relaxed with a soothing game of Tiny Vegetables With Faces:

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I feel like Carrot’s wink is making everyone uncomfortable

And it’s not just food, it’s literally just anything you could find around your house.

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How many wacky adventures can Margarine get into? She has a knife in her head! And lotion soap is just happy to be here. Those two tacos with the girl eyelashes and the mustaches are sending very confusing (but body positive!) messages, although I don’t even really want to think about what is going on with the one that appears to be full of ground yellow meat.

Addie and her friends cannot get enough Shopkins, though. When she’s not playing Shopkins, or organizing her Shopkins, she is scheming new ways to get more Shopkins, most of which involve picking up one sock from the floor, putting it in the hamper, and yelling at the top of her lungs “I DID CHORES YOU CAN PAY ME IN SHOPKINS LET’S GET TO TARGET TIME’S A-WASTIN’!”

Even Rosie has fallen under their spell– I can hear her in Addie’s room right now, actually, playing with the Shopkins set Addie got for Easter. When I was downloading the pictures I had taken of the Shopkins onto the computer, she pointed at them and said “Shopkins!”, which may not sound impressive until you realize that she still thinks her own name is just “MEEEEEEEEEEE!”

I mean, I guess tiny refrigerators and macarons can have just as plausible of adventures as glee-shooting bears or horses with tattoos on their butts. But part of me wonders if I can just slap some googly eyes and false eyelashes onto common kitchen items and try to pass them off as toys. I could really use one of those mixers…

Christmas II: Return of the King

As I’m sure it’s become clear by now, I am not a religious person. I don’t have anything against it– I just really, really like sleeping in. But because I like reaping the rewards without actually doing anything, I definitely take full advantage of all the holidays. Christmas is, of course, my favorite, because the spirit of giving and childhood wonder but also presents. Easter, though, has always been a bit of a bummer for me, mainly because I always feel like I’m being yelled at. JESUS DIED FOR YOU, everyone reminds me, AND ALL YOU’RE DOING IS WATCHING DRUNK HISTORY AND EATING TOSTITOS!

My kids have been spared from generalized Christian guilt for the most part, except for a weird period when Addie went to a Christian pre-school down the street and returned home with a LOT of questions about someone named Gina, and it was only months later that I realized she was probably talking about Jesus. Which is good, because according to Addie, Gina was always watching us, and I was just not comfortable with that.

So to them, tomorrow is all about the Easter Bunny, and the pressure is on.

Just like pretty much every single aspect of childhood, Easter is completely different now from when I was a kid. Back then, there were dyed eggs, of course, and usually an eighteen-inch-tall grade Z hollow chocolate bunny (which is totally not a put-down in my opinion, because Easter grade Z chocolate is one of my favorite things on earth). I usually only managed to eat about half of it before ants came to claim it, but that was probably for the best, because there was also about a metric ton of other amazing candies, plus a few little trinkets and a stuffed bunny (I still have my first one– her name is Barbara, because I gave all of my stuffed animals weirdly grown-up names as a child). When I got older, the bunny was replaced by a CD, or a movie. No big.

Anymore, from what I have gleaned, Easter is now Christmas II: The Return of the King (THEY SHOULD TOTALLY MARKET IT LIKE THAT). There are brunches with the Easter Bunny, special themed cakes, and full-blown presents. They don’t even sell grade Z giant hollow chocolate bunnies anymore, at least not that I could find.

I think I struck a good balance between the candy-coma Easters of my youth with a few token gifts thrown in– some Shopkins for Addie, because nothing says Christ is Risen like tiny molded plastic household items, and a Minnie Mouse stuffed animal for Rosie, plus new books for both. We’re also going to attempt our first egg hunt tomorrow morning, which I am really looking forward to, because I’m assuming I get to keep all the candy in the eggs they can’t find, so I’m going to throw a few on the roof, just for good measure.

I’m expecting an excellent Easter Sunday filled with plastic grass, happy girls, Shopkins underfoot, brunch and candy. I like to think Gina would approve.

On Target

I, like every red-blooded American between the ages of 18-80, am a huge fan of Target, and am deeply suspicious of people who are not. My dad, for instance, swears only by K-Mart, which makes no sense, unless you enjoy shopping like you’re living in a post-apocalyptic wasteland:

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Target, by contrast, is a brightly-lit wonderland of deals and discounts, where everyone is boldly dressed in red and all the movies I want to own magically only cost $5 and YES, I WOULD LIKE TO TRY THIS BAG OF CACAO NIBS AND THIS ORGANIC CONDITIONER THAT GIVES VILLAGERS IN AFRICA CLEAN WATER FOR A MONTH AND ALSO SMELLS LIKE SUNSHINE AND MANGOES.

But no matter how much of a paradise Target may seem– and sometimes, with a 20% off clearance coupon on Cartwheel, it straight up seems a more desirable location to spend my afterlife than actual legit heaven– it transforms into a grueling death march once my children are introduced into the equation.

This evening’s trip was to be fairly typical– we needed the following:

  • Posterboard
  • A hot glue gun (please don’t judge me for being the only living woman who did not yet own a glue gun)
  • A box of crayons
  • Valentines
  • Cat food
  • Turkey bacon

I was prepared. I had a list. I snagged the cart that has the two child seats in the back. This time was going to be different.

Within five minutes, I made my first critical mistake– attempting to even glance at something not intrinsically necessary to survival within sight distance of my children.

Me: I could use some new sunglasses…

Addie: SUNGLASSES I NEED ALL THESE SUNGLASSES I NEED THEM ON MY FACE RIGHT NOW DESPITE THE FACT THAT EVERY TIME YOU BUY ME SUNGLASSES I LOSE THEM WITHIN FIVE MINUTES AND CRY ABOUT THEM MONTHS LATER WHEN YOU LEAST EXPECT IT AND DEMAND YOU SEARCH THE ENTIRE HOUSE FOR THE NOW-MISSING PAIR OF SUNGLASSES BUT I NEEEEEEEEED THESE NOW NOW NOW NO–

Rosie: HOW MANY OF THESE CAN I FIT UP MY NOSE? ALL OF THEM? ALL OF THEM!

I abandon my dream of not having permasquint and hustle to the valentines, where Addie spends what feels like approximately five hours selecting the perfect ones to reflect her true personality and sparkle to her classmates (3-D zoo animals with googly eyes, which makes a lot of sense, actually). But then–

Addie: What about Rosie’s valentines? For day care?

Me: Rosie doesn’t need valentines, she’s two. She can’t read.

Addie: [Inexplicable sobbing over the tragic unfairness of her sister being left out of the Valentine’s Day exchange despite the fact that she can’t read and has no idea who any of the other kids even are in her class, except for the one girl who keeps biting her.]

I see that valentines only cost about $2, so I make the executive decision to purchase some for Rosie if it will shut Addie up.

Me: Rosie, which ones do you want, Minnie Mouse or Paw Patrol?

Rosie: YOU FORGOT TO PUT A DIAPER ON ME BEFORE WE LEFT AND I JUST PEED THROUGH MY CLOTHES ALL OVER EVERYTHING IN THE CART AND ALSO ON THIS VERY EXPENSIVE-LOOKING TOY THAT I STOLE WHEN YOU WEREN’T LOOKING!

Addie: Now that we’re as far from the front of the store as possible, this might be a good time to announce that I am about to pee my pants!

So we sprint all the way back to the front of the store, me running with Rosie tucked under my arm like a football, Addie gripping her crotch with both hands, and by the looks on all the other moms’ faces, I am definitely nominated for Mother of the Year for this particular display. After Rosie is changed and Addie mercifully makes it to the potty before critical mass is reached, I realize that so far, we have been here for half an hour and somehow managed only to get one item on our list.

Addie: I BELIEVE I WAS PROMISED SHOPKINS, IT WAS NEVER EXPLICITLY MENTIONED BUT IT IS AN UNSPOKEN PACT, I REQUIRE SHOPKINS OR I WILL BURN THIS PLACE TO THE GROUND.

Rosie: I AM NOW JUST CRYING FOR NO REASON AND EVERYONE IS LOOKING AT YOU AND I’M NOT GOING TO GIVE THEM ANY REASON NOT TO SUSPECT YOU JUST KICKED ME RIGHT IN THE FACE.

So I load both kids into the cart and Supermarket Sweep the remainder of the items on our list, my eyes misting over as I ran past the display of 30% off spring scarves and adult gummy vitamins. We’re almost home free– one day, I mouth mournfully to the rack of anti-microbial water bottles– when we stall out in the check-out line.

Addie: Is this chocolate? Let me open it and find out. Yep, it’s chocolate! But not the kind I like! Allow me to spit the half-chewed remains of it into your outstretched palm and then not bat an eye when you have to pay $3.50 for the opened container!

Rosie: THERE IS NO ROSIE, ONLY ZUUL!

So finally, two hours later, we limped home, defeated and downtrodden, but at least in possession of a mini glue gun. Almost immediately upon walking through the door, we had a man down:

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I unloaded our bags, emptying our newest purchases into the river of junk that runs through our house. After everything is put away, I realize that somehow, in all the chaos, I must have abandoned Rosie’s pee-soaked pants somewhere on the Target campus, and I hope that the Target gods see this as an offering. I left behind soiled Circo pants for you, Target. I also realize that somehow, I made it out without purchasing any Shopkins, and a slow smile spreads across my face. In my book, that makes this trip a success.