Month: May 2011

Bye-Bye Terrible Two’s

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Bye-Bye Terrible Two’s

By Lisa Baniewicz

In the last few weeks, my family has devoured 48 cupcakes, a pistachio cheesecake, and an entire ladybug shaped cake. We topped it off with ice cream nachos. (My first glorious taste of these.) They’re fried cinnamon chips a-la-mode drizzled with caramel and hot fudge. In other words, they’re a gazillion calories but absolutely to die for. Who cares? We’re not dieting anyway, just celebrating a slew of family birthdays. My mother-in-law insists calories don’t count on birthdays anyway. I think when there’s seven family birthdays in a row that rule might not actually apply. Time will tell as well as the scale.

With five birthdays down and two more to go, one of the happiest moments was my youngest turning three. I admit (with only a little guilt), that I was counting the days until the “terrible two’s” were over. (As if they just magically stop on a certain date.) My daughter was no exception to spontaneous outbursts in public. I’d say she practically became an expert. Tantrums became so routine in my day; it was the equivalent of brushing my teeth. Although one of my five children basically skirted through the “terrible twos” without a hitch, she made up for it when she turned three.

I’m sure there is probably no perfect age, but by age three there are some perks. The child is usually potty-trained (or close to it), can drink from a Sippy-cup, and usually sleeps through the night. (Emphasis on “usually.”) My daughter still hasn’t mastered this yet, but I think that’s why some genius (or desperate mother), invented under-eye concealer.

Another upside is no more diapers. I happily admit that I will be dancing in the street if I never see another diaper in this house again. Just think of all the money I’ll save. I could buy a vacation home, sail around the world, or backpack through Europe. Or I could just be happy that I’ll have cash in my wallet instead of only coupons. Coupons or no coupons, diapers are expensive and there’s no getting out of using them. I haven’t heard of a child yet who walked right out of the birth canal and asked to use the nearest restroom.

Although my daughter has conquered the two’s (and my husband and I have survived), she continues to…entertain, for lack of a better word. In her newfound independence, she’s become quite the fashionista. Her outfit of choice (every single day) is a leotard, tights, and a tutu. She prefers to sleep in her pink-polka-dot bathing suit, layered with tights, a tutu, and whatever else she can find, including wellingtons and her Easter bonnet. This has made nighttime bathroom trips interesting.

The other night I heard a noise in the kitchen. I got up to find her changed out of her Dora pajamas into her usual ballet attire. (Big surprise there.) While helping herself to food in the fridge, I asked her why she changed her clothes. She said, “Mommy, I had an accident in front of the fridge.” She proudly added, “I cleaned it up.” She looked down and said, “Oops, I missed some.” She proceeded to get the dishrag out of the sink and wipe up her mess. I died a small death, affirmed her for her cleaning efforts, and told her I’d take it from there.

Although sometimes the three’s can be just as challenging as the two’s, I feel like we’re moving forward. I know I won’t have to follow her around with a dustpan and broom for the rest of her life. (I think.) And, I know one day she’ll stop trying to flush full rolls of toilet paper down the toilet. It’s all good.

Compliments of the Atchison Globe

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Mother Nature’s Sense of Humor

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Mother Nature’s sense of humor
Lisa Baniewicz
Full House

At the first sign of warm weather, which basically consisted of two days in a row of shorts and T-shirt attire, I ran to the store to purchase flowers. I was desperate to see bright colors in my yard again and desperate to spend a little cash. Since I’ve become this new budget-minded person, I don’t even recognize myself anymore! Suddenly, I’ve become my financially conscious father. (I miss the old me.)
Since my grass had already started to turn green, I was banking on this as a sign that spring was officially here to stay. The fact that the calendar officially hit March 20 a few weeks earlier only added to my confidence in Mother Nature. (She certainly wouldn’t tease me, right?)
Wrong! As luck would have it, Mother Nature does have a sense of humor. Those few warm days were misleading and apparently a joke. After living here nearly five years, one would think I wouldn’t trust her anymore. It forces me to summarize Kansas’s weather in one word — unpredictable! From now on I’ll bank on that definition. I plan to carry an extra coat, blanket, snow scraper, umbrella, and sunscreen in my car at all times. And why not include a gallon of bug spray while I’m at it? Kansans never know when a swarm of mosquitoes might descend like a coven of underfed vampires. And lastly, I’ll never plant flowers this early in spring again! (Actually that’s not true. I change my mind so frequently, this is just an empty promise until next year.)
Nonetheless, despite the up and down temperatures, I was determined to add a little cheer to my yard. Little did I know that as soon as I finished all my hard work, a major storm would hit. (Was Mother Nature in fits of laughter over my disappointment?) The storm, which appeared to be far away in the distance, brewed rapidly, and settled over my house in minutes. It brought lightning, paranoid and freaked out children, and topped everything off by giving us a downpour of golf ball-sized hail. This did not make me happy. After convincing my children to stop washing the car (a little dirt certainly wasn’t worth risking their lives), we took cover inside. I looked out the window at the lake and wondered if my husband, who had been fishing at the time, would high tail it in or get struck by lightning. For an intelligent man, holding a metal pole during a storm isn’t the smartest thing I’ve seen him do. I let him decide his own fate.
Once safely inside, I watched Mother Nature pummel my freshly planted flowers from my living room window. My daughter tried to offer consolation knowing I wasn’t thrilled with this rapid turn of events. I tried to remain optimistic (more for me I think, than her), and hoped the flower packaging was correct in stating it was “cold tolerant.” (Did this include “hail tolerant?”) Trying to hide my dismay, I started dinner. I cooked side dishes in the kitchen while I suggested my husband bar-b-que outside. (His life insurance policy is higher, so it’s a no-brainer whose life is risked more.) I figured if he could fish in weather like that, he could certainly throw some chicken on the grill. A family has to eat, right?
After all this excitement, I’ve decided it would be much more efficient if I just hold off on the rest of my planting until Mother Nature decides spring is here to stay. I’m convinced it has to be right around the corner!

Batter Up

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Batter up
Lisa Baniewicz
Full House

Baseball, the God of all sports for the Baniewiczs, has begun. My husband is back to coaching two teams again this season. I put his picture on my phone as my screen saver so I could remember what he looks like. (Pretty adorable, I must say.) Our dinner conversations, when he’s able to join us, revolve around the sport. I had to beg him to change the subject when he and my son started baseball banter at the dinner table for the third night in a row. (Really?) To be blunt, I’m living and breathing baseball (and inhaling a little dust) for these next few months. I’ve come to accept this is my life every spring. Muddy cleats, dirty uniforms, and sweaty baseball hats are the norm in my home.
To be honest, for a family of seven I’ve gotten off a bit easier this year. Currently our baseball schedule consists of just three teams total. When my 5-year-old tried to get in on the action and play T-ball this year, I pretended like I didn’t hear her. This wasn’t a total lie since I have two drummers in my house. And isn’t this how they respond when I ask them to clean their room?
With my blessing, my husband is coaching two teams again but I vetoed any dream of coaching three. I do have my limits. He’s already deeply wrapped up in his own little, baseball world anyway. In order to reach him I either have to text or phone him in-between games and practices. And this is when we’re in the same house! I’ve learned that getting his attention while in the dugout isn’t wise. Apparently there’s strategy involved in baseball. Who knew? My theory of less distractions equals quicker game, sometimes works. The other night he didn’t even know I was there. Besides the fact everyone was wrapped up like Eskimos in blankets, hats and scarves (which I know I just packed away), he never even recognized me. When he phoned to say the game was over, I said, “I know, I was just there!”
Following in my husband’s shoes, my 12-year-old son (a.k.a. baseball fanatic No. 2) is newly outfitted for his season. He has new cleats (since his feet have outgrown his body), new pants (because they last approximately one season), a new bat (that someone else bought after I saw the price), and recently, a new glove specifically for first baseman. (Is this really necessary?) He loved his new glove so much he asked me not to write his name in it. He said it was perfect and it would be ruined. I convinced him it wouldn’t be perfect if he left it somewhere, it would just be gone. So, in my practical, motherly way, I wrote his name in it.
In answer to my prayers, my daughter’s softball practices haven’t started yet. For now she’s practicing in the yard. Quite frankly, if that’s as far as it went, I’d be ecstatic. I’m willing to host the games at my house if it means less driving, a clean bathroom, and food from my own fridge.
But for now, my life is all about earned runs, errors, and hits. It’s about curve balls, knuckle balls and sliders. Not to mention pick-offs, sacrifice flies, and bunts. And don’t forget switch hitters, pinch hitters, and no hitters. Homeruns, grand slams, and shut outs … and of course the hope of one day seeing a perfect game.