Storm clouds are female.

Nothing is fair when you’re seven and everyone else has things better than you. At least, that’s what our resident 7 year old [Spunky] would claim is true. I don’t know at what point her life became so unbearable, but somewhere along the line, life yanked her pig-tails, kicked her shins and swiped her cookies.

It isn’t uncommon to witness her sporadic crying. Her eyes will be red and swollen and her face will get scrunched up like a withering fig. Strong emotions have siezed her petite body and are now present at every part of our lives. One moment she may be happily playing with Legos or Barbies and at the very next interaction with a sibling, she comes nearly unglued.

“Nobody (hiccup) is giving me any love todaaay,” she sobs. In a torrent of misery, tears slide down her cheeks in a mix of dirt and dejection.

Life is filled with all sorts of injustice when you’re seven.
Being seven is just…the worst.

Most often, strong emotions come flooding into Spunky’s tiny frame when accompanied by what she considers to be Bad News. In Spunky’s world, “Bad News” would include things like bedtime, mustard, a lost puzzle piece, or Huevos Rancheros.

Without warning, we can be subjected to the doleful sounds of crying and high-pitched sniveling. “Nobody will play with me,” her sad voice says frequently. Or at other times, “Somebody put mustard on my sandwich ON PURPOSE. Everyone KNOWS I hate mustard.” This is followed by quivering lip-whimpers as her hot tears trickle down to her folded arms.

I may not claim to know much about parenting, but I do know this: after a girl turns five, her body is hijacked by an emotional rollercoaster that she will keep riding for the rest of her life. Forever. The End.

In contrast to the extreme emotional “lows” that come with the travesty of being served a dinner of fried tortillas topped with meat and eggs, there’s a large amount of happy squealing that erupts from Spunky’s emotional volcano. The bountiful happy moments are filled with her giggling laughter; a melodious sound that flits across the room with fairies and silver bells.

The next moment is filled with weeping because it’s time to brush her hair.

Being a woman myself, I should be somewhat used to weathering the storms of emotional onslaught, but as far as I know, I have yet to cry over the wrong brand of peanut butter, or whether or not I can find my shoes. This week anyway.

Apparently having a large personality crammed into such a tiny body causes some leaks, and some of that feisty personality oozes out. Seven-year-old angst appears at very random moments.

Nearly every night we get to see some of that spirited persona as Spunky treks down to the living room long after bedtime and loudly announces that she’s most certainly not tired.

“Ooooh, You’re watching House Hunters? Why would you watch that without me?” She asks.

“We watch tv every night without you,” I say to her, “and it’s a tradition we believe in keeping. Back to bed.” 

Her eyes flit over to the bowl of “Chex Mix” Mr.Diaz and I are snacking on. Of course we wouldn’t dream of offering any to her because

1) after 8pm, I turn into the meanest mother alive and

2) Couch Eating in the dark of night without children is another tradition we believe in keeping.

“Don’t worry mom, I’m not hungry, so I won’t ask you for any,” she says while staring longingly at the bowl. This is followed by a demure and innocent smile.

“Ok good, because you can’t have any,” responds Mr. Diaz. “Back up to bed.” 

With a sigh of disappointment and a crestfallen face, poor Spunky slumps over and plods back up the stairs to her room and her unwanted mattress. Thump, thump, thump, her small feet slowly and loudly hit the stairs.

I can’t blame her for her reaction. When you’re seven, bedtime is the most undeserved penalty of all, especially when you’re denied a delicious and highly processed pretzel mix at 10pm.

Despite the blustering gales that blow the emotional pendulum from side to side, having Spunky around makes my life zesty. In fact, she’s my favorite. Without a fiery seven year old around, life would be rather boring.

Then the pitiful sounds of soft singing drift down the stairs, “I never get ANYTHING…” and her father and I exchange looks. It’s time to take cover.

A storm is brewing.

 

This post is also located at: http://www.momresource.com/mom-blogs-party-week-10/ 

To the complete and total strangers at Costco:

Dear complete and total strangers at Costco,

I know you watched as we navigated our vehicle into the crowded parking lot.  You stood in awe as we wedged our trendy 15 passenger mega-van into a parking space between a 2 door Miata and a very roomy shoe box- on-wheels deemed a Smart Car. You saw us attempt to unload our family with as much class, decorum and organization as we could humanly muster… and 23 minutes later file toward Costco with our seven *progeny and three carts for our weekly shopping trip.

I can only imagine your thoughts as one wailing child donned an open-toed sandal on his right foot and a rubber boot covered in duct tape on the left. You correctly saw that a second child was wearing pajama pants that are at least three sizes too short, paired with a faded Thomas The Train pajama shirt, because he refuses to dress with his eyes open.

I’ve given up.

Our  toddler sported an ensemble perfect for an afternoon on a yacht.  Another youngster was flawlessly dressed for a cold afternoon at a ski resort.  The child sitting in the cart wailing was doing so, not because he hates shopping at Costco; on the contrary. He was wailing because we don’t let him shop at Costco naked.

You stared at our mobile carnival with a slight measure of horror and partly out of bewilderment. “Why on earth do they have SEVEN children?” you asked yourself. Now, I’d like to pause here and take the time to point out that the number 7 is really not that large. If I had told you that I owned seven goldfish, you might have curiously asked if I had other pets as well. If I had told you that I owned seven pairs of shoes, you might have shrugged and looked bored. If I had told you that I had seven dollars, you may have found my financial status tremendously lacking. But, observing that I have seven children seemed to invoke the same amount of shock as if I had asked you to lasso a bald eagle and eat it with your feet.

After making it past the Costco entrance bouncer, we maneuvered our troupe through various onlookers in order to fill up the carts and consume every available food sample.

It must have horrified you as you watched a tall, lanky teenager in poorly made cut-offs and a Seahawks jersey scoop up 14 paper samples of microwaveable beef wellington, down them in 3 bites and then reach for more. You see, this kid is the reason we shop at Costco in the first place. I can credit him for the reason we upgraded to the EXECUTIVE Membership after a checker said to me “Mrs. Diaz, our records indicate that you spend more at Costco than the average family.”  I’ll bet. At our house he is known as The Very Hungry Teenager. This kid can eat an entire meal, then want 2 sandwiches, 3 large carrots, a slice of watermelon, 4 mini bagels with cream cheese, a bowl of cereal topped with a fried egg, 6 pickles and a cookie, then look at everyone at the table and ask with a straight face “Are you going to finish that?”  

So you see? We are bound to the Costco warehouse establishment like an airborne rock is bound to the laws of gravity. We practically live at Costco and have made a habit of noticing reactions to our family from fellow patrons who are pushing their carts overloaded with frozen burritos, cheesy-poofs, vats of mayonnaise, candy bars  and weight-loss supplements.

Since discussing my fertility with complete and total strangers in the cheese aisle is what I LIVE for, I was more than happy to respond to your impertinent curiosity.

In fact, fellow club members, I  have loved answering your varied questions so much, that I’ve compiled a list for you to refer to in case you happen to encounter us again and so others who remain unaware can be ready for us with NEW questions next time around. Ready? Here we go.

Q: Cute baby. Is she your last?
A: This year, yes.

Q: Why do you have so many kids?
A: Because it will increase our odds of ending up in a good nursing home.

Q: Do all of your kids have the same dad?
A: Uh…so far….

Q: What is your food bill like each month?
A: How much is your mortgage?

Q: How will you ever pay for all of their college tuition?
A: Well bless your heart for taking a look at us collectively and still believing my kids could qualify for entrance into any institution that isn’t traveling with trained animals, acrobats and clowns.

Q: Does it get pretty loud at your house?
A. Didn’t catch that. What did you say?

Q: Are you trying to be like that other family? The one on TV with the nineteen kids?
A: Oh yeah, baby. Because the number 7 is just.so.close. to the number 19. Heck, I’m almost there.

Q: Why is that one taking his clothes off?
A: Don’t worry about him. He’ll stop undressing when he realizes we’re buying mustard.

There now. I hope that satisfied some of your curiosity.

Looking back, I’m sure you have subconsciously blocked out the savagery of what you saw in our check-out lane. Let’s just say it involved a twirling sister, a sprawling brother, escaped oranges, a Flop Tantrum, and a flying churro. After St. Peter (the receipt angel and exit-guardian), gave us his nod of approval to move on out, we trekked the circus back to the van and headed home. Much to your relief and silent applause, I’m sure.

That leaves me here, sipping coffee and recollecting another Costco adventure that I look forward to each and every week.

You are always welcome to join us on our next shopping trip, of course. We like new friends. I’ll even put you to work pushing a cart. But you’ll have to swear upon chocolate milk that you won’t show us up by dressing like normal people do.

Which means you’ll need to be wearing attire suitable for a day on a yacht. Or a slumber party.

Or a ski resort.

-Sincerely Yours, Mrs. Diaz

*the word progeny (paragraph 1), in this instance refers to 7 quirky, bedraggled, colorful and unconventional offspring slightly resembling a funeral parade for fellow Big-Top performers. Mr. Diaz has informed me that the word progeny is far too sophisticated for this blog and I have to agree with him and therefore apologize.

 

*This post has been featured on Scary Mommy
*This post has been featured on For Every Mom