Sunday, May 27, 2012

Supercalifra... Where are you, Mary Poppins?

I know why they make kids toys in such bright colors.

It's so parents know at a glance if the thing baby is banging on the wall is a toy, or something big brother or big sister happened upon in their constant search for breakables and ink pens. And markers.

And scissors. 

And cash (because what fun is scissors without something valuable to cut up?).

(That only happened once...)

So if I don't see pepto pink, princess purple, primary orange, red, blue, green, and that bright yellow, I'm pretty certain I need to intervene.

Or, if someone is sitting quietly for more than 2 minutes, usually in a different room and usually with their back to the door, that's my cue to run over. (Literally run. Those seconds saved by running vs. walking are VITAL. From one who knows.)

And when I DO catch someone doing something they shouldn't be doing, they're always shocked to see me.

If it's Jake, he gives me a big grin and if he's standing he'll usually do a little jump and his eyes dart from side to side like he's looking for an escape route.  He usually denies all. Even though the evidence is *right* in front of me.

And sometimes he just shrugs and says "Yep mommy!" when I catch him.

Always with a smile.  He stands still *just* long enough for my heart to melt at how precious/precocious?  he is... and then he's off again. Onto his next adventure (and my next few grey hairs).

Katie's quieter.  Also? She does things that we might not notice right away...  like when she cut off a chunk of her hair and I didn't notice it till I found the evidence under her bed. I confiscated scissors two days before. And I had even washed her hair the day before and didn't notice a thing. So I don't know who was MOST surprised.  Me to find a chunk of hair? Or Katie because she didn't expect to be found out. She looked at me and all I did was shake my head and ask her if she was hungry for some dinner.

Or when she made "nests" out of dry spaghetti noodles and we found them in her room under her bed, under the desk, IN the desk, under her rug, and behind the couch. And not all at once either! It was a gift that kept on giving.

Jack is pretty little yet so we've got lots and lots of time to learn his quirks. And hopefully we'll catch on quickly.

I do look forward to the days when I won't need to sleep with one eye open or jump up to check on one of the kids when things are *too* quiet, or encourage cleanup cooperation when kids are "too tired" or their "legs hurt"... or they "can't bend".

But I don't want to be too excited about time moving forward. Because once these days pass, there's no going back and I will (probably) really miss the baby/toddler stages (when I'm dealing with three teenagers and licenses and dating and busy "teen" activities).

And I've loved every moment with these kids even when I don't know weather to laugh or cry. I usually lean toward laughing. A sometimes maniacal laugh, but hey, still a laugh.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Birth certificates and taxes

Well, it's official.  Birth certificate stuff is my nemesis.

I'm not sure if you remember the birth certificate debacle from last year (if not, you can read here for a refresher) but basically I put off getting one for Katie, didn't even think about it, until I learned that we needed it to enroll her in kindergarten, then the race was on. It worked out but it was stressful.

If you do remember, well, you're probably wondering how I could have run into problems so soon. I mean, neither of the boys is old enough to enroll in school so no rush there. And we're not traveling so we don't need it for that. (Given the timing, you can probably guess why we need it but let's pretend I'm keeping you in suspense till the end of the post . Like a mystery...)

Well. I can explain. And I'm happy to report that it is not my fault. Well, not all of it is my fault.

The story begins a long time ago, in a land far away... or rather...

Back in June of 2011 when I had my third and final baby. While I was in the hospital after giving birth, I filled out a lot of forms. A whole mess of them.

On one of those forms there was a little tiny box that parents were supposed to check off if they wanted to receive a shiny new social security card in the mail mere months after giving birth.

I checked that box. Unfortunately it did not occur to me that I should have been keeping an eye out for the card to show up.

Finally, I realized* (when the clinic bill came for some of Jack's well checks and I actually opened the letter and saw that the total was in the THOUsands... and freaked out a little before I realized that it was because they didn't have a SSN for him) that I hadn't seen the card yet.

*I *might* have realized this in January (okay, yes, it was January).

So I called the hospital and explained my dilemma and before I had taken my next breath, the lady told me to call the social security office. And that was that.

So I did and let me just say, have you ever had to call the social security office? I waited for probably 25 minutes for someone to answer my call for help and was on the phone for maybe 3 minutes - just long enough to explain my problem, and listen to some fast typing by the rep, before I was told to call the hospital again because the social security office didn't show any request for a card.

Soooo, I called the hospital back. And after waiting on hold (for 15 minutes I would never get back)  then being told yet again that I needed to contact the social security office, and then INSISTING the hospital needed to look into the issue, the nurse researched. She found out that whoever sent in that batch of requests had not marked whatever she should have marked so I would get that shiny new card in the mail.

And I asked her if I had checked that box on my form (because I had a tendency to fill out the forms in the wee hours of the night when there was nothing else to do and it's entirely possible I hadn't checked it.)

But, you guys, I DID check that box!

So you can maybe imagine my frustration at being told that I would now need to request a card from the social security office. So, I called social security again to explain the situation. Hoping that there was a special "go-to-the-front-of-the-line" prize for people with my special circumstances.

I can now tell you that there is not a special prize.

You get the same sucky "prize" as the people who forgot to check the stupid box in the first place. Can you guess what that is?

Ahhh, I'm happy to tell you.

You get to mail in a request for a BIRTH CERTIFICATE. And once that arrives, *then* you get to mail in the request for a social security card.

I checked last week to see how long it would take to get the birth cert and it looks like they're starting to work on the requests received in... oh, mid to late February. Yes. They're more than 2 months behind.

More. than. two. months.

So you might wonder why it took me so long to start this whole process after talking to someone months ago and I'll tell you.

I'm not proud of it but...

I was sulking. I was grumbling. I was mad and holding a grudge against the nice hospital lady who couldn't help me at all. And every time I started thinking about it, I would get madder and I would get huffier.

And I was protesting against the injustice of it all.  (And maybe whining a little bit.)  And... well, I didn't think I would need it for 4.5 more years, so I was procrastinating the whole thing.

And then? I started filling out my taxes (on April 12). And realized that the social security number is necessary if I wanted to claim Jack... and boy did I ever!

So here it is, almost a month later. I'm still huffy. And I'm still feeling a little grudgy. But I put the form in the mail last week.

Now I wait.

And hope that I get everything by October so I can file by the extension date.