Woolsey Family Chronicles

Documenting the journey of raising triplets and their wild big sister

Lion Mamas January 27, 2012

Filed under: Bad Day,lions — The Hip Mothership @ 4:16 am
Tags: , , ,

Yesterday I had a bad day. I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. For this, I blame my kids. I was woken at 6am by Violet and Elsa screaming at each other in the bedroom. One of them had inflicted some pain on the other. Our house rule is that no one comes out of their room or down the stairs until their clock says 7am. I don’t want to hear from them unless someone has an injury. This mothership greatly values sleep.

Along with getting woken up too early, I couldn’t fall asleep last night. Ava and I were watching this documentary called The Last Lion (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PoAcNdeEf_Y). It was about the last wild lions on the planet. They live in Africa in the bush. The movie is about their struggle for survival among all the other wild animals. These lions are fighting for their lives against other lion tribes, herds of huge buffalo, hyena, crocodiles, etc. I don’t want to give the movie up but the documentarian follow this mama and her three lions cubs. [SPOILER ALERT] One of the cubs gets eaten by a crocodile and the other gets trampled by buffalo while mama is out looking for food. She is still alive but she has a broken back and has to walk on her front legs with her back legs dragging behind her, useless. You can see the mama lion struggle with the big decision about what to do with this injured baby. She looks out the savannah and ponders for a few minutes. Ultimately, she knows that she cannot save a baby with a broken back, so she walks off and leaves that baby cub by herself to die.

I cried. It is every moms worst nightmare. I couldn’t fall asleep because I couldn’t get that baby cub crying for her mama out of my head. I literally sat in bed for two hours trying to forget about the painful decision that the mama lion had to make. Finally I took a Tylenol PM.

At midnight, I was also thinking about how buffalo stick so closely together as a herd. If one buffalo is in danger, the entire huge herd comes to that its rescue. I felt like those buffalo may treat each other better than humans do. They have each other’s back at all costs. They work as a village to help each other out. They don’t have to worry about mortgages, 401K retirement plans or the stock exchange. They just work together to survive. It was inspirational.

I have a hard time with these wild animal movies focusing on survival. I always have. When I was in the dorms in San Luis Obispo, my good friend Nicola, who is from South Africa, used to subject all of us to these African wild animal movies. I would always excuse myself. She didn’t understand because it is just nature after all. But nature is cruel and violent at times.

Anyway, so I had a bad sleep and spent the first part of the day irritated at my children. You know, one of those days that you wish someone else was the mom to these children and you were traveling the world experiencing new cultures and foods. Or maybe that is just me. I was tired of cleaning up their hoarding messes that they leave all over the house — this is where they get bags and boxes and fill them with random shit from all corners of my house. The funny thing is that it was hard staying mad at them because they are so cute and sweet and they love me so unconditionally. They are not trying to drive me crazy, they are just acting their age and there are four of them, so I am always outnumbered and overwhelmed. I need some buffalo to come with their herd for support.

Then there was the bus incident, which occurred in the afternoon. According to Ava, she was reading her book on the bus when a fifth grade girl “took my book, LOST MY PAGE, and then gave my book to someone else.” Ava reacted by calling this girl rude, repeatedly. Whatever Ava feels or thinks comes immediately out of her mouth without ever getting the chance to be reviewed by her common sense or the potential emotional maturity that may be trapped inside her little body. Ava felt that she was standing up for herself, but perhaps she could’ve used better language in doing so. The girl who took her book was just being playful, but her playfulness was misconstrued by Ava who doesn’t always have the greatest sense of humor when the joke is on her. Chris and I had to use this incident as a teaching moment; how we talk to people and what she could’ve done differently next time.

The lion mama struggled to find food for her cubs and keep them alive in the dangerous African savannah. Human mamas have to worry about feeding their babies and keeping them protected from the bad people or freak accidents also. In addition, we have to guide, shape and mold our children to fit into society, be good people and hopefully be successful based on the ethics we have instilled in them. These traits are not always human instinct. This last part is the hardest I believe. But if our children break bones, human mamas can take them to the doctor to get fixed, rather than leaving them on the playground to die. So we humans have that going for us, which is nice.

Until next time, the mothership is signing off.


WTF Wednesday January 25, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — The Hip Mothership @ 6:35 pm

One of the many smoke alarms in my house

Dear smoke alarms,

Why do you insist on running out of batteries in the middle of the night, waking up a household of people who dearly need sleep?  Also, smoke alarms, why must you always warn us you are out of batteries in the middle of the night by chirping the most obnoxious beep known to human kind?

This is not a rare occurrence.  This beep warning happens in the middle of the night EVERY TIME!  And they run out of batteries ALL THE TIME.


Around midnight just as Preston was calming down from his croup episode and we were all starting to doze off I heard the dreaded BEEEEEP!  Sage came running in crying because she doesn’t like loud high pitches noises (I think she may have sensory integration disorder).  Chris was sound asleep.  It was yet another smoke alarm needing a new battery.

So there was Chris, in his boxers trying to figure out where the BEEEEP was coming from.  After 10 minutes, he located it in Ava’s room.  She wasn’t fazed by it since she was still sound asleep.  When she awoke to her dad up on the ladder in my her room at midnight, Ava said, “why is it that every time the smoke alarm is chirping, you are there?” as if Chris is causing the smoke alarm to go off. She is on to him and his efforts to make her life miserable.

My house is 12 years old now.  I would hope that there is a better system for smoke alarms and their imminent loss of battery power today.


The Mothership


Croup January 24, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — The Hip Mothership @ 12:40 am

With the Internet, the iPad and smart phones at our fingertips, we have all become experts in everything in the world.

Last night, Chris and I became doctors.

We had just turned out the lights for a long winters nap at 10:45pm when I heard crying.  It was Preston.  This kid doesn’t wake up too often crying when he is supposed to be sleeping, unlike his triplet counterparts.  I ran upstairs to see what was the matter.  I immediately noticed that Preston was wheezing, like he was struggling to breathe.  My mom radar went off immediately and I brought him downstairs.  Chris was also concerned.  His wheezing was vibrating throughout his entire back.  When he coughed, it sounded like his lungs may collapse.  It was horrible to listen to.

We got the nebulizer out, which I must say should be a staple in every home with children, and gave Preston a breathing treatment.  His wheezing improved, but because the breathing treatment is a steroid to open up the lungs and make breathing easier, Preston was wired.

At 4:45am Preston woke up again with the horrible wheezing and cough.  That is when it hit me.  He has croup!  I have never had a kid that had croup but I have heard about it in the murmurings of fellow moms.

Chris got out his iPad and confirmed that in his expert technological research, I had made the correct diagnosis.  The Internet is a scary place.  According to the Internet, we should’ve called 911 with the symptoms Preston was exhibiting.  I think if it weren’t for the Nebulizer, we would have done just that.

Preston woke up this morning and all of his wheezing and coughing was gone.  It was like last night never happened.  Apparently this is called spasmodic croup; it comes at night and symptoms can clear during the day but then recur again at night.

When we called the on-call nurse at our doctor’s office, he said that we had done everything perfectly.  I think we missed our calling.  Or we are just good at looking things up on the Internet.

Now I am hoping that his croup symptoms do not come back tonight. If they do, this Internet doctor is ready with humidifiers, nebulizers and Ibuprofen.

Until next time, the mothership is signing off.


Birds and Bees January 20, 2012

Filed under: birds and bees — The Hip Mothership @ 10:36 pm

I woke up at 6:15 this morning and texted Chris, who was in the family room, asking him if he could please bring me some coffee. I told him that if he did I would be his best friend.

He must have really wanted me to be his best friend because my coffee came delivered in bed a few minutes later.

While I sipped on my coffee I eavesdropped on a conversation taking place in the kitchen between Ava and Chris. Ava had a few questions to ask. She was a very curious girl this morning.

First, as Ava is eating her cereal she bursts out “Well daddy,who tells you when you can have a baby? All of a sudden there is a bump in the belly!” The premise of this questions was why all of a sudden is someone pregnant? How does this happen? Chris says, “well, when a man and a woman love each other very much they decide to have a baby together.”

This wasn’t enough. Ava had more questions, and it turns out her next question was getting down to the fundamentals of the birds and the bees.

“Well how does it happen that a baby is made?” Chris says, “when two people love each other and get married, they have a baby together.”

Ava says, “well how?”

This is about the point when I, laying in my bed sipping my coffee, chuckled to myself and pulled the covers over my head in hopes that I wouldn’t be dragged into this conversation.

Chris is faced with a conundrum: does he launch into the birds and bees discussion, right there at the breakfast table at 6:30am, which Ava will most certainly relay to her friends Kendall and Lauren in the car on the way to the bus stop? Or does he just smooth it over and hope it goes away quickly?

Chris chose option #2. He said, “when two people are married they have a baby by loving each other.”

YUCK! That was Ava’s reply. That is the moment when Chris knew that he had made the right decision by not getting too graphic or detailed.

So all morning I thought about how amazing it is that I have a daughter who is just at the right age to start asking about the birds and the bees. I specifically remember being her age and very curious about how babies got into people’s bellies. It is such a crazy abstract concept when you are young.

Now I am going to have to come up with a strategy on what I will say the next time Ava wants to bring up the birds and the bees at any random point during the day. Right now I am ill-prepared. I dodged the bullet this time, but if I know my daughter, she will not let this curiosity go until she is fully educated and understands the answers to the question at hand.

I think I will need a few martinis before I sit down for that conversation.

Until next time, the mothership is signing off.


WTF Wednesday January 18, 2012

Filed under: wtf wednesday — The Hip Mothership @ 5:41 pm
Tags: ,

Will you look at this dog? Eating food from my island counter? WTF?

I have had this dog a long 10 years. She is a big pain in my ass. I will never get another dog again (I can feel all of your glares, animal lovers). It is not that I don’t like animals. I actually really love animals, I just do not want them shedding and giving me more work in my house when I have four small children. I like animals in other people’s homes.

So, this dog of mine hasn’t always been a counter grazer. This bad habit began somewhere around the time of the birth of the triplets. This most annoying habit began, most likely, because the mangy mutt saw that I didn’t have the time or energy to beat her or seriously reprimand her for her very tacky behavior.

So what she does is circle the kitchen like a great white shark. When she sees us leave, if there is any food remaining on the kitchen table or counters, she stretches her front paws up and clears all the plates.

One time I made a banana bread and left it on the bread board and she ate the whole thing. WTF.

So, the crime is bad for three reasons:

1. We get our food eaten by a dog all the time

2. When she eats it she drags it onto my carpet and makes a huge mess

3. She later throws up on my carpet this neon yellow barf that won’t come out so I have to pay carpet cleaners to come take care of it.

As I am typing this, I just looked over and saw a plate face down on my carpet. Hmmmm, what was that I wonder? It couldn’t be the sausage from breakfast could it since I put it way back against the wall where I thought she couldn’t reach it? Oh yes, it was. Her reach and flexibility are getting better, either because of all the practice she gets in food thievery, or maybe she is doing doggie yoga in her spare time.

My dog’s counter grazing is so bad that the kids, who often start eating and then realize they all have to go to the bathroom at the same time, worry about their food when they are gone. “Mommy, will you watch my food so Sage doesn’t eat it?” they always ask me when they leave the table.

Her other bad qualities are that she beats up other dogs, sneaks out my front door when anyone is trying to get in or out of my house and then doesn’t come back when I call her, and tries to sleep on my furniture when we are not home.

Does anybody need a wonderful dog? Seriously, let me know.

Until next time, the mothership is signing off.


Mommy’s Bad Day January 16, 2012

Filed under: Bad Day — The Hip Mothership @ 1:05 am
Tags: , , ,

I woke up yesterday and fully intended to have a great day, but I had a few things working against me. First, Chris and Preston are in LA leaving me alone with these crazy girls. Second, I woke up with a sinus headache. Third, I am PMSing.

Ava was having a particularly wild day. The girls had destroyed my house in a matter of minutes with their various projects. My least favorite house destroying game is when Ava pushes the little kids around the house in a laundry basket playing “grocery store”. This game consists of the little kid telling Ava what they want to put in their grocery cart and this ends up being an accumulation of various crap from every single room in the house.

Ava likes to put on plays and dances and she makes props and collages and tapes them to the wall. She sets up every chair in the entire house in rows in front of the “stage” for her audience. I spend the whole day retrieving my chair I need to sit at my desk. Then she barricades the family room off with all of these audience chairs so I end up having to climb over the piano bench to get to the other side of the house.

The house has doors that open. The play script is on the top right.

I am happy that she is using her imagination to play, but I am unhappy that every project Ava plays creates a huge mess that I later have to fight with them to clean up.

So I was grumpy yesterday. I think when Ava and Elsa got a pencil jammed in the brand new pencil sharpener they weren’t supposed to use and then somehow dropped the pencil shavings all over the floor is when I really started to lose it.

But when Elsa came in the house from the garage with gold glitter glue painted in designs all over her face and hair is when I silently lost it.

The silent “lose it” is scarier than the outward explosion lose it. The silent lose it is when I am rendered speechless and my children will pay, and they will pay big time. When my children see the silent lose it come on they usually start in with a stream of very sincere apologies – the “I know I really F’d up this time and please don’t kill me or put me up for adoption apology.” The silent lose it is way more powerful.

So I silently wiped the glitter glue from Elsa’s face and sat down for a little calm one-on-one with Ava about why she would make such choices. This is when she usually tells me that her body made her do it — AKA, I have no control over myself — which is somewhat true.

So to get us ladies out of the house and in a different environment, I took them to see Beauty and The Beast 3D. We went with Angela and a bunch of other girls. There were 10 little girls total at the theater.

On the way, I stopped at the gas station mart and I so I could buy the little girls M&M’s and Ava got to pick out any candy she wanted. She chose sour skittles. When we got to the theater I payed my $50 for the four of us to go see a matinee and we made our way back to the theater. Right as we passed the concession stand Ava stated “see! They have way better candy here!” The expletives I wanted to shout out at her for this comment I held back and instead I calmly said, “wow Ava, it would be great if you could be appreciative of the candy I bought you.” Gratitude does not come naturally for everybody.

The girls had a lot of fun in the theater. They did a great job sitting quietly through the entire movie. Elsa spilled a whole glass of water down the front of herself and sat half naked for the last half of the movie. Elsa had managed to finish all of the M&M’s in her bag in less than one minute. By the end of the movie, Violet had most of her M&M’s still in the bag, closed off and clutched tightly by her white knuckled fists. She likes delayed gratification. Elsa likes instant gratification.

So as we filtered out of the movie with all 10 girls, Ava was striking a deal with Violet: She said, “Violet, if you give me an M&M I will give you a sour skittle.” Ava handed over a sour skittle and Violet popped it in her mouth immediately. When it was time for Violet to uphold her end of the bargain, she flipped out. Ava tried to pry an M&M from the bag that was being tightly clutched by Violet and Violet screamed bloody murder and began crying hysterically. During her hysterics over the potential theft of one of her M&M’s, Violet choked on an M&M. I picked her up to make sure she could breath. She was still hysterically crying which tipped me off that she was still breathing. I looked up and 9 girls were staring at us, watching the show. I looked down and there was a piece of a red M&M and the red dye smeared all over my brand new never before worn pure white Splendid shirt that I got from The Domestics for Christmas. Elsa looked at my shirt and said, “mom, did VV choke on a red M&M?” I said, “yes, it appears that way.”

All the girls at the movieAt the movie

Luckily, I somehow anticipated this mayhem way in advance and planned myself a girls’ night out that night at the new Irish Pub. We had a great time. I had three glasses of wine which lightened my mood right up.

But every day is a fresh day and I work hard to find a fresh attitude. After all, they are just kids and these are the kinds of things that kids do in their learning and growing up process. One day I may laugh about it all. . . but not today.

Until next time, the mothership is signing off.


And We Have a Winner January 14, 2012

Filed under: New Blog Name — The Hip Mothership @ 2:27 am

After heavy debate and ridiculous indecision, I have a winner for my contest to help me find a new name for my blog.


The new name of my blog is “The Hip Mothership”, with a $25 gift certificate going out to the beautiful, creative and funny Alyssa. She found something fun and catchy that rhymes, which is always a plus, especially for my dad who doesn’t think a poem is a poem unless it rhymes. So I hope my dad really appreciates this blog name.

The runner-up was “Mothership Musings”, also a good one but there are a lot of blogs with the word “musings” in it. Plus it is not as fun as “The Hip Mothership”. Early on in the process Chris came up with The Dalai Momma”, which is super cool, but it was already taken. Then we thought of “The Manic Mothership”, which is how I feel a lot, but when we looked up the definition, the meaning of the word is more related to an insane person who is on medication and not a busy crazed mom trying to juggle a litter of children. The Manic Mothership may be right for me in a few years. You never know.

We are quite happy with the new name. Chris wasn’t immediately sold because he thought a more self-deprecating name would be fun. I wasn’t immediately sold because I wasn’t sure I was actually hip enough to carry the title. Then I thought, hip doesn’t have to mean I am a fashionista, or the coolest mom on the block. Hip can mean I am current on popular culture and popular parenting, and I try my hardest not to go out in public in frumpy mom-wear like ugly sweats. Fight the frump, fight the frump! This is literally what I say to myself in the morning when I am debating whether to wear my super comfortable blue sweats or my nice new designer jeans.

“Hip” in the Urban Dictionary has the following definition: The state of being in-the-know, including, but not limited to, being stylish or fashionable. So I will try to be my hippest and we will see if I can live up to my name.

We are working with a blog designer to put together a cool new look. That should be launched in March.

I am going to be writing shorter, one topic blogs more often so I won’t be emailing everyone every time I publish.

Until next time, the mothership is signing off.