Monday, December 20, 2010

Jingle Bells, Sung in Real Life

Jingle bells,
My sons smell
My daughter loves to play

“Moms” with her dolls
in my high-heeled clogs
and wigs like bales of hay – ay!

Jingle bells
Why DO boys smell?
When will it go away?

I wish I knew
But I am through
Cleaning pee off the pott-ay.

A day or two ago…
They thought they’d take some rides
Down an icy driveway bank
Landing under the four-wheel drive

Ha! Ha! Ha!

The weather isn’t mild
My kids are now just wild
And you know that means I
just might lose my mind (where’s the bourbon?).

Jingle bells
The boys still smell
Perhaps they don’t use soap?

My main complaint
Please, please aim!
I’m at the end of my rope - ope.

Jingle bells
Little Meems melt-
ed down at 11:03.

She lost another tooth
To her brother’s hoof
but is scared of the fair-y (go figure).

The presents were all wrapped
Waiting under the tree
And now I see exposed boxes
Peeking up at me.

The tree is slowly melting
The greenery is parched
The candles are all crooked
And the heat pump has not stopped (and we’re out of bourbon).

Hey!

Jingle bells
What IS that smell?
Oh, I just boiled an egg

And forgot it was there
Til it shot through the air
And burned me on the leg!

Oh!

Jingle bells 
The power bill tells
We owe 500 bucks.

Merry Christmas to me
Let’s burn the tree
It’ll heat this whole place up.

Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Sucker!

I hate vacuuming.  I love when it's done and how the house feels so clean, but I hate it during the actual event.  Why?  Aside from me hating virtually any kind of housework, it's because there's always...CRAP... on the floor.

Kid crap.  Pennies and beads and little balled up pieces of tissue and buttons and silly bands and socks and teeth (yes, there was once a tooth on the floor) and little alien figures they get from the gumball machines at the pizza joint.  Among other things.

AGH.  I get so tired of picking it up.  And inevitably it ends up in my pocket because there's not a trash can nearby.  And then it gets washed because I forget to take it out of my pocket.  And then I find it later, lurking in there.  Ick.

I've told the kids, PICK UP YOUR STUFF.  Over and over.  And over. Again.

Crickets.

I told them, IF IT'S ON THE FLOOR, IT'S GETTING SUCKED UP AND/OR THROWN AWAY.
HA- That'll get 'em.

Again, crickets.  Ah, who'm I fooling?  They've probably figured out that they don't have to clean it up that way.

So today I vacuumed while they were all gone.  And I enacted my new rule.  I sucked up silly bands, hair elastics and some play money.  Then I sucked up a shoelace (by accident -- it nearly broke the vacuum) and part of a candy cane that my daughter wanted to save.  Actually, I think I accidentally knocked that to the floor...but it shouldn't have been on the coffee table in the first place.  And she never even noticed it was gone.

How wrong is it that it didn't FEEL wrong??  It felt good.  So, so good.  That "hhhwwwup" sound, then the little rattle is makes as it enters the hose...beautiful music.  Total satisfaction.

OK so maybe I need to get out of the house more.  Or maybe it's just because of the week I've had -- I have aggression that needs an outlet.  I am a mama on the edge.  I think I teeter there most of the time anyway.

Judge me if you will.   But there are three less silly bands polluting my world.  Hair elastics cost like, $.02 a piece, so that's no big deal.  The play money -- well nobody ever plays with it.  And I don't even know where it comes from.  How do we even HAVE play money? 

They'll never notice it.  Clearly, they have too much stuff.  My rationale is that if it was on the floor, then it wasn't especially important to begin with.  And sometimes you have to learn the hard way.  That'll teach em!

Oh, I see a fake diamond and a couple tickets on the floor in the living room.  Gotta run!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Elfie Magic

Am I alone in thinking the Elf on the Shelf is a little creepy? 

Is it a great idea?  YES.  Do I wish it was my idea?  UM, SO MUCH.  Does it work?   Pretty darn well.

But look at that thing.  Look at those laughing, mocking eyes.  Look at the way it sits, in judgement, legs crossed just so.  Always with a mischievious twinkle in his eye.  My husband says it's scary like a clown.  And clowns are creature you either love or hate.  There is no in between with clowns.

We've been visited by the elf-that-you-must-name-but-never-touch (Elfie -- don't ever think my children are not original or creative) for 4 years now.

The first year, although the kids loved, loved, loved it, Little Meems would freak out any time she thought it was looking at her.  Which was all the time.  That was the year she was three.  SheWe almost didn't survive it.

Now, it's a tradition that they look forward to with a unique combination of excitement and dread.  The other day, Elfie showed up on our doorstep during a get-yourself-dressed-or-you'll-go-to-school-half-naked crisis.  Little Meems and her little brother stood at the top of the stairs with their bottom jaws on the floor.  How did it know?  Their older brother, W, roused himself from the sofa just long enough to take a look and beat a hasty retreat into the other room.

Perhaps the novelty has worn off?  Perhaps it has lost its charm?

The truth is, now that they're older I think they find the idea of Elfie moving around in the house while they sleep, finding the best place to spy on them a little unsettling.   

Once, they loved little Elfie.  I think they still do.  "He sees you when you're sleeping...he knows when you're awake...."  Elfie is a physical manifestation of the magic of Christmas.  In this, the age when kids seem to figure things out all too soon, he explains how Santa KNOWS.  The tree is great and all, but until Elfie comes, Christmas time isn't REAL in this house. 

Even if the reality causes the occasional nightmare.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Ode to a Dirty Hippie

My kids have been fighting again.  Not over anything material…just fighting.  It’s like the mere presence of one another is enough to irritate the others.  Why?  I’m sure I don’t know.  Because my own siblings and I never fought when we were growing up.  Ever.  

I’ve been leaving them to their own devices.  I am NOT getting involved!  Work it out!  I don’t want to hear it!  Zip—that means no talking to me about it!  This is not my problem!  I mean, they do need to learn to work it out amongst themselves.  It’s called conflict resolution.  Interpersonal relationship development.  Or maybe it’s just leave mommy alone.

They’re learning.  Slowly.  I think.  I hope.  

Oh, who am I kidding?

Case in point:  a biking accident was (accidentally?) (on purpose?) caused by Little Meems.  You never know with her.  She’s subtle that way and has a knack for feigning na├»ve oblivion while she plots her evil destruction.   Which always surprises me because it’s very passive/aggressive and not really like her.  She’s usually just aggressive/aggressive.  They had words.  Heated words.  Blame was thrown.  Innocence was feigned.  Tears were sprung.  Screaming ensued and soon progressed to a earth-shattering crescendo.  And then, my son delivered the (apparently) fatal blow…

“Shut up you dirty hippie!”

??

This apparently was more than my “but I’m unjustly accused” daughter could bear.  Tears and convulsions and heartbreaking (hers, not mine) sobs followed, as she relayed to me the dreadful, injurious words.  

I had to try not to laugh.  Props to Will for his unusual, yet creative comeback.  What a wordsmith.  You know, I'm grateful for dirty hippies right now.  Because it could have been butt head or fart breath or diarrhea drawers.  

And I'm sure soon it will be.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Rescue 911

You know those calls you get from your kids' school?  Well, it always happens to me during the one trip I make at work to the bathroom, or on the random day that I actually have a meeting, or when my phone is dead.

Today was no different.  I was in the bathroom.

And I got a call about an incident at school with my son.  The last call was a bonked head and just make sure you ice it and he doesn't pass out and slip into a coma when he gets home please.

This one was about the fact that he had "spilled" maple syrup all over himself during lunch.  Yeah right.  Maple syrup doesn't attack you by accident, and I've been my son's mother long enough to know I need quotes around the word spilled. 

Apparently, it was all over and a sticky mess.  And could I please bring a change of clothes?

I left work, drove across town to my house (passing the school on my way), got him a change of clothes (am I really doing this?), and took it to school.  After finally locating him, they called him down to the office and...he comes around the corner looking miraculously just as clean as when he left the house this morning (keeping in mind there are different degrees of clean).

"Where's the maple syrup emergency, son?"

He pointed to a patch on his shorts, about, oh, I guess an inch high by 2 inches wide.  "It's super sticky Mom."

This kid.  He could go weeks without bathing and not think twice.  After months of taking his own showers, we realized that he hadn't been using soap regularly.  Just when he remembered.  He gets off the bus most days with remnants of his lunch smeared across his face and he found gum in his hair this summer one day...but there was no gum in the house.  And hadn't been for days.

So suddenly he can't function with a bite-size syrup spot on his shorts?  I could have licked the spot and the syrup would have been completely cleaned up, just like that.

The lesson HE learned is this:  Do.  Not.  Call.  Me.  Unless it's an EMERGENCY.  Maple syrup on your clothes does not qualify as one.  Go to the little boys' room, find the sink (it's that square white thing that water comes out of), wet a towel with that water (go ahead, just turn that little knob there, that's it), and rub the stain away.

The lesson I learned:  just because it's a call from school doesn't mean it's an emergency. 

The only payoff was the fact that the office ladies were all standing around (as well as the principal and vice principal) and when they asked me what I needed, I announced "well, apparently there was a maple syrup explosion and I'm here to help."  Their hysterical laughter boosted my spirits; their immediate recognition of the offending child lowered them again.   

And so, this is my life.

However, just know that, from now on, we will be packing on French Toast stick days.  For sure.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Bike Riding Memory

When Little Meems decided to learn to ride her two-wheeler, she decided she needed to do it RIGHT NOW.  And she wanted me to show her how.  Not her dad, who's responsibility this kind of activity is supposed to be.

Which had a bit of a lustre to it...her memory would be of her MOTHER teaching her to ride a bike.  I was starting to like the reputation I was going to have.  I mean, this would forever be a triumphant shared moment.  Us girls against the world out to prove that we can do whatever the boys can do.  Or maybe that was just me.

It did not turn out so well.

She fought me on every. single. instruction.  She insisted she could do it, then blamed me when she fell.  She refused to actually pedal until I stopped holding the seat, but she didn't want me to let go.  She didn't like trying in the grass; it was bumpy.  She didn't like trying in the street; it was scary.  And on a hill (a hill with maybe, just maybe, a 3 degree incline).

I tried to maintain patience.  I really did.

The situation quickly went downhill (on a much steeper grade than 3 degrees).  It was sweltering outside.  There was drama.  And screaming.  And crying.  And yelling.  And storming off.  And threats.  And more crying.  And more screaming.

Until finally there was just screaming.  "WELL, I DON'T WANT TO DO THIS!" (not true)  and "YOU MADE ME FALL." (also not true) and "I DON'T WANT TO RIDE A BIKE ANYWAY." (again, not true)."

Follwed by:  "FINE!" and "OH REALLY" and "FINE.  I PERSONALLY DON'T CARE IF YOU NEVER RIDE A BIKE."

And then we stormed off in different directions, her crying and me sweating profusely, my hair turned to wiry wisps and face red, muttering under my breath; her trying to pedal off on her bike in a huff, then upon realizing that she couldn't do that shuffling down the street in the opposite direction with her bike in between her legs.

My husband came outside to investigate the commotion.  It was not a pretty sight.  By this time, she had melted down in the middle of the street and was wailing, the bike still between her legs.  I saw him blanche when he saw my face -- I can only imagine what THAT must have looked like.  We had made a spectacle of ourselves in front of the whole neighborhood.

Mostly, though, I had.

It's not my proudest moment by any means, and even as I write this, I cringe.  I really hope no one witnessed the fiasco.  Everyone's been friendly to me ever since, so maybe we're safe.

Another precious mother/daughter memory down the tube.

Miraculously, later she came back to me and told me she was ready to go back outside and try to ride the bike.

"Why don't you ask your dad?"

"No, I want you."

And so we did.  And now we have a memory.  And it's salty AND sweet.

And that's OK, because it fits.  And it's ours.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Price of Vanity

Little Meems loves, loves, LOVES to look in the mirror.  Not because she's vain -- frankly she could care less that her hair is tangled, her nail polish is nothing but a chip and her clothes don't match.  I wish she'd spend a little more time in this particular area, but I'll regret saying that someday.  She loves to pretend, and, even more, loves to watch herself while doing so. 

Usually wearing a wig (the pink one seems to have made a recent comeback), heels, a variety of jewelry, a purse, a baby bag, an infant and a coffee thermos.

If only she could multitask the rest of her life as well.

The other morning, as I fired off an email before bus stop, I heard her in the bathroom, talking to herself in the mirror.  As this is now second nature to all who reside here, I didn't think twice until it was time to go and then...splash.  Followed by a blood curdling scream.

She'd stepped in the toilet and there was water everywhere and her shoe and sock were soaked and her pants were also wet and then she slipped a little on the water on the floor and we were going to miss the bus and we were going to be late.  She went berserk.  Literally.  In fact, look "berserk" up in the dictionary.  Pretty sure you'll see her picture there.

Keep in mind, when I asked her if she was standing directly on the toilet seat instead of the lid, her answer was "NOO-WA".  Two syllables.  In all caps.

Being the excellent mother I am, I diffused the situation immediately with my calm voice and lightning-quick efficiency.  Because I am an excellent mother.  With lightning-quick reflexes.  And also I'm unshakably rational.

We made it to the bus.  Can you believe it?  But not before she fought me on every. single. pair. of shoes I pulled out of the closet.  Seriously?  You're going to be this difficult NOW?

Later, upon assessing the ridiculous amount of water that was on the floor, I noticed a faint indication that one of her brothers had likely visited the offending toilet sometime before her splashdown.

And, that'll be our little secret. 

But seriously, those shoes are going in the laundry PRONTO.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Rocking Chair

This isn't my only blog.  I also write a blog for PoshTots.com, about all things baby and child and mom.  It focuses mostly on decor and gear -- it appeals to the mom in me.  Especially the nostalgic mother whose babies are growing up too fast.

This is one I wrote for them, but it fits here too.  And it makes me think of my grandparents, who regrettably didn't get to meet these great-grandchildren of theirs.  It especially makes me think of my grandmother Rachel and the many, many fond memories of the times I spent with her.  After I wrote this entry, I found myself recalling those memories, especially the time I spent sitting on her lap, while she stroked my hair -- my favorite thing.  And it occurred to me...that was the rocker in this article.  Or maybe it wasn't.  No matter.  It's a piece of her that I got to share with my children.  And one day, hopefully, they will share with their own children.

Nursery Necessities:  Rockin' Out
As an expectant mother, I turned to a rocking chair I had acquired from my paternal grandmother’s house after her death.  We used it in our guest room, and when the time came to decorate the nursery, there was no question as to the location of its new home.  It wasn’t especially beautiful — in truth, there was nothing at all remarkable about it.  I have no earthly idea where the chair lived at her house, so it wasn’t that it was especially nostalgic either.  But it was the right size, in great condition and, to me anyway, it was a way to envelope my new little one in the arms of family — and a way to somehow share this experience with my beloved grandparents.


Now that I’m not using it any longer — my third child long ago outgrowing the need for a rocker — it waits in the attic.  For what, I’m not entirely certain.  Time will tell.

But I can’t get rid of it.  It’s where I spent countless hours snuggling, cuddling, comforting, nursing.  My fondest memories of my children as babies fill the seat of that rocker.  It’s overflowing with all the special moments my husband and I shared with them.  Nights spent awake, feeling like we were the only two people in the world as we rocked and snuggled in the quiet house…

That rocker, sitting in the attic, is chock-full of the most precious memories.  Mothers, fathers, grandparents and great grandparents have warmed the seat of that rocker.  The wisps of thousands of lullabies sung there hover just overhead.  They'll probably have to bury me with that rocking chair.

One day, it will be delivered of its home far off in storage.  And in its arms, a new generation will be born.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Jello

Today was my youngest's 2nd soccer game.  He's 4, which in our house, is a little young to play a sport (I usually make them wait until 5), but the poor thing gets carted around so much between his brother and sister and their activities that I figured I would bend the rules this time.  Besides, both his siblings have done soccer and he's been dying to do it too (naturally).

His team named themselves Orange Crush.  Sounds fierce, right?

Turns out, not so much.  Today, one kid kept crying and running off the field.  We assumed T would have some idea of what to do out there after spending so many years watching the game.  Alas, we assumed incorrectly.  He runs around and does a good job of "hustling" without doing much else.  He practices his fierce, competitive face.  He looks at bugs.  And sometimes he just falls for no reason. 


This week, they got slaughtered.  SLAUGH-tered.

By Jello.

That was the name of the team.  Jello.  Last week, they got creamed by the Yellow Bunnies (which was clearly named by the angelic looking little girl that scored 5 goals).


Today, the other team got 7 goals in the first quarter.  Which is only 15 minutes.  I think the end score was 22 to 1.  Luckily, score keeping is discouraged.  But T got a goal today -- yahoo!  Of course, it was for the other team...

Sigh. 

Williams Shakespeare was right.  What's in a name?  Clearly, nothing.

It's good entertainment at least.  And a good reminder that every child is different. Each is an individual with their own likes and dislikes and talents and passions.  Time will tell whether soccer scores with him.  My guess is probably no.  Sometimes you can just tell.

In the meantime, Orange Crush will continue to crush...no one.  And that's OK.  They'll all be victorious one day.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

I'm Not Even Sure What to Call This One

My oldest son started baseball this week.  He's never played before, and right now, honestly, he's a bit out of his league (no pun intended).  But he's enthusiastic and is crazy about the game and so eager to learn and be a part of it that I have no doubts he'll pick it up quickly.  Or not, who cares.  Right now, however, the boy is in love.

After his first practice, he was excited about his uniform and the gear he needed.  My husband promised to take him shopping for it the next day.  That night, as I was tucking him in, he informed me that some of the boys wore this "thing that you put in your underwear?  that protects your, you know, your privates," while swirling his hand in the vicinity to further indicate what he meant.

"You mean a cup?"
"Yes."
"Do you think you really need one?"
"Well Mom, I don't want to get hit in the privates with a baseball.  I mean, that would HURT."
"Well, the chances of you getting hit there with a baseball are maybe a million to one, but we'll talk about it tomorrow, OK?"  This is me not wanting to address this part of my son's athletic endeavors just yet.

He's only 8!

True to his word, Dad took him shopping and got all the necessities.  Including undies with a built-in cup.  Sigh.

When it was nearly time for his game, he got ready and walked through the kitchen, a little hint of pride beaming on his face at his uniform.  As I watched him walk past me, I couldn't help but notice...

Oh, I was NOT ready to see that.

It was...creepy.  My son had a...package.  I don't know how else to put it delicately.  There are no words.

We got to the field and I put it all out of my mind until I noticed, well, I noticed a lot of "adjusting" going on in the outfield.  And in the infield.  And in the dugout too.  It seems that all the boys were protecting the family jewels from the one in a million shot of getting hit with a baseball.  These were skinny, bony 8-10 year olds who hardly had enough hiney to hold up their baseball pants, and yet there was visible evidence that they all shared the same concern.  Honestly, there was so much fidgeting I'm surprised any baseball got played at all!

I'm not ready for this.  I'm not.  For one, how do I clean the darn thing?  Oh, I just threw up in my mouth a little.  I guess it's time for me to man up, as my son certainly seems to be doing.  But, come on, he still has chubby cheeks!

Of course, when we got home, he and his brother were fascinated by it and I caught them both trying it on.  Giggling.  Which led, of course, to a teaching moment about appropriateness.  There's that word again.

And so marks the end of an era.  There's no turning back now.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Back to School - How WE Roll

I knew it.

I knew we wouldn't make the first day of school without something happening.  Last year, Little Meems face planted two days before school and had dark, bruisy circles under both eyes.  The year before that, she got hit in the cheekbone with a baseball.  The next day she and her brother fell out of a hammock.  She suffered a scraped up cheek (the other side), and somehow during the falling process managed to give her brother a black eye as he landed on her.  The year prior, I vaguely remember a fat lip. 

This is how we do back-to-school at MY house.  You could say it's become a family tradition.  Mangle yourself as much as possible before school starts so that you can re-pre-sent the family.

My reaction has evolved from overwhelming empathy (poor little honey!) and horrible embarrassment (what people must think!), to "what the hell," not again" and "oh for the love of george!"

This year, so far (we still have 4 days to go, so the status could change), it's a sprained foot (at least we think it's just sprained...a few days will reveal all) and poison ivy pocked private parts (because who can resist a wizz in the woods).  All on one kid!

Way to start third grade, son!  At the very least, it will not be a first day easily forgotten.  Or maybe we should spend some extra time and elbow grease erasing that one from the annals of back-to-school history. I cannot imagine his teacher is going to be too keen on applying calamine to his itchy unmentionables.  She seems like a nice lady and all, but we all have our limits.

There are still 2 more kids!  And there's still more than enough time for calamity to strike.  In the words of the wise and beautiful Jon Bon Jovi -- wait, what was I saying?  I got a little distracted by the tight jeans and the chiseled jaw.  Oh yeah, living on a prayer.

The G kids, putting the "oooooo" in back to schoooool.  Hey, that's just how we roll.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Weeds

Yes, in my yard. Again this year, as always. My husband cut the grass for the first time in a while (we've had a drought, I promise) last week, and the smell of wild onion was so heady that it actually made me crave salad.

This time, I'm not talking about the yard. I need headache medicine and a very large glass of wine for that.

My weeds are my children. Because they're growing like them, not because they're nuisances.

Cliche, I know, but I'm overcome with allergies and I think I just sneezed a little of my brain onto the keyboard. I'm too sneezy and wheezy to be clever.

We were at the zoo not long ago, and it was hot, so the kids were wearing shorts and sensible shoes. I'm a big supporter of fashion over function, even when it comes to the kids, so this was a big move for me. They all wore their new tennis shoes, and as I became dazed and delirious from the heat and the crowd, I noticed how BIG their feet looked in those sparkly new, white shoes compared to their skinny white legs. And I wondered, is it just my children who look like they're wearing wood planks on their feet? Will they ever grow into them?

On the one hand, they look straight-up ridiculous.  But if they grow into their feet, it's that little bit more they seem to grow away from me. Again, both a good and bad thing, for different and yet similar reasons.

I can't have it both ways.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Talent

I think, as parents, we are on the lookout for our children's talent(s) from the day they're born.

"She's the best sleeper!"
"He's eating 5 ounces already!"
"Oh, she was potty trained by two!"
"He knows all his numbers already!"

You know the drill. We moms and dads are so proud of these "accomplishments" (read "developmental milestones"), and love to brag, incessantly and to anyone within earshot, just how advanced and talented little Johnny is because he walked at 10 months (read "star athlete").

I've done it. I admit it. You have too. Whether you want to admit it or not.

As they get older, you actually DO start to notice where their talents might lie. My oldest, a boy, has always been athletic. He may not be the best student, or a musician (but that has yet to be determined), but I do know, at this point, that he will shine athletically.

My youngest, another boy, is only 4. It's still a bit early to tell, although he seems to have an affinity for the piano, and will spend an hour trying different notes and combining them to hear how they sound. And he's got some mad dancing skills. His air guitar is bananas.

Little Meems...well, we're trying to find her talent. She loves to sing, but is completely tone deaf. She likes to dance, but rhythm is not her friend. She loves her gymnastic mats, but she's about as coordinated as I am (and maybe even less so, and for those of you who know me, you know how uncoordinated I am). She's not interested in anything. Her brothers want to play soccer, and swim, and do karate, and take guitar lessons, etc. She wanted to do soccer...but only because they have snacks.

Which is not a good reason to do soccer.

So far, her talents are 1) touching her tongue to her nose; and 2) burping her ABCs.

The latest being a new development.

Sigh. I am so proud.

But wait. Don't we, as parents, want our children to be able to hang their hats on something, no matter how trivial? Each little talent is a confidence builder to a kid. Little Meems lights up when asked about her tongue-to-nose talent. Hey, let's face it, not many people can do THAT. Maybe her new burping talent is OK after all. I remember being tiny for my age and the thrill I felt when I learned how to make myself belch like a beer-swillin' trucker. It was my hidden talent, and now she's mastered it as well. Occasionally I'll treat my kids to a display because I enjoy the belly laughs and the little thrill it gives them to hear their mom do something so crass and inappropriate. So maybe it's OK not to be alarmed that her talents lie, not on the sports fields or in music halls, but in bar tricks.

Besides, she'll find something eventually that she'll love. I did. It took a while, and while I was never great at anything, I did find I was good at some things.

And if her new talent makes her feel proud, then I'll be OK with it. And I'll be happy for her. Regardless of the fact that it's inappropriate (because then it wouldn't be fun). Until I get a note from her teacher, or bus driver, or babysitter, or neighbor...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Masters of Disaster

I came home from work to find my children laughing hysterically. Together. Without any screaming or fighting or drama.

The way things have been lately, this should have been cause for alarm. They just have NOT been on the same page, at the same time about anything this summer.

It turns out, they had created a game. "Wedgie Mama."

But of course! What good would any sentence or title around here be if it weren't for a "potty" word?

So, the game involves my exercise band ("but Mom, YOU never use it") and couch cushions. I don't think it actually involves a wedgie. At least I hope not. I got a few details, but those are sketchy and sound suspiciously like they've been made up on the spot.

I guess a better mother would have pressed them for more information. As it was, I was just so thrilled they had used their imaginations and weren't fighting that I figured I probably didn't want to know the rest. Because then the better mother in me would kick in and explain that it wasn't: 1) safe, 2)appropriate or 3) either.

Another teaching moment avoided. You know, as much as we moms love those, sometimes we just get so tired of 'em. Or at least I do.

Besides, if it's a hit, they'll play it over and over and it will become the stuff of family folklore. Just like "Oh No My Baby!" and "Big Wheel Slingshot."

I'll get into those another day. Otherwise you'll judge me.

I have memories of ridiculous games and sayings and tricks we played growing up. My own children should have them too. Ever seen Real Housewives of New Jersey? Caroline's kids have the "Ham Game" where they throw pieces of ham at each other. Silly, yes. Judgementally unsound, uh-huh. Funny...you betcha!

So, I'll let them have "Wedgie Mama."

Because what's life without a little bit of reckless, silly, potty word humor?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Mary, Mary Quite Contrary

Little Meems is 7 today. I can hardly believe it, but isn't that always the case? Where does the time go?

The past 7 years with her have been indescribable. Wonderful, challenging, sweet, exasperating, loving, spunky, unpredictable years.

She's my little miracle baby, in a way. After years of trying with her brother, she just happened -- no plans, no needles, no waiting. I walked into Target, got a whiff of fresh popcorn, and high-tailed it to the bathroom to throw up. Another first...I never even felt sick with her brother. Days on the sofa eating crackers were followed by three months of weekly migraine headaches and an insane craving for Cocoa Pebbles. I thought then that if those headaches were an omen of what was to come...turns out I think they probably were.

She came bursting into our lives with such impatience and assertiveness...another omen. From the get go, she was a force to be reckoned with. From her nursing, to her sleep habits, to her body temperature, to her ever changing moods -- she was much more high maintenance than her brother had been. I thought, well, here's the difference between boys and girls.

And that may be true, but it's also just her. And as much as it makes me crazy sometimes, it's what I love the most about her. She usually knows just what she wants, and what she doesn't want. She is loud and forceful in a way that belies her very petite frame. She stands up for herself, for which I am thankful. She's imaginative and sweet, compassionate and observant. She's sassy and challenging, with a quick temper and an even quicker tongue, but she's empathetic and encouraging and supportive and loving, so much so that it takes my breath away. She has a twinkle in her eye and an impish nature that draw you in. The dimples and bouncy curls are the icing on the (very scrumptious) cake.

She's a treasure trove of stories...and my best inspiration. She's challenged me to be a better mother. A different mother.

Her mother.

Happy 7th birthday to my beautiful Little Meems. I love you.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Um, Yikes!

My children are clueless.

I mean, when it comes to uncomfortable information about our bodies, what things are called, and what they do.

Little Meems is especially blissfully unaware, although we're stepping into the advanced world of elementary school and, more importantly, what they learn on the bus. Right now, the Kindergartners are somewhat protected from the big kids, sitting up front. Sweet, innocent, naive...

This won't last long, and I'm afraid of the touchy conversations coming up. I might actually have to EXPLAIN to her what happens to ladies when they become, well, ladies. And give her some basics in female anatomy, utilizing correct terminology.

Cringe.

My sons, however, have had head-on collisions with some of these delicate issues of late. My oldest is 8; they youngest is 4. The 8-year-old found a tampon in my purse, held it upright in front of his face for further inspection, and said, "what in the world is THIS thing?"

At the doctor's office. In the waiting room, which, of course, was packed.

I stumbled upon my other son's introduction to tampons the other day. I found some pieces of wrapper on the floor of my bathroom, but didn't think much about it, considering I had just emptied the trash can. Later, as I helped Little Meems fill the tub for her bath, I noticed full-sized wrappers in the trash can in the kids' bathroom. I called the little one to come see. With big eyes and bent head, he lead me to where the contents of those wrappers were hiding...behind the cushions of the big chair in the family room. With Buzz Lightyear.

Turns out, they make excellent rocket ships, and Buzz IS trying to return to the Intergalactic Alliance in the Gamma Quadrant of Sector 4.

You might think that I was presented with excellent teaching moments for my children that I should have utilized. Us moms are always looking for those! But no. To one son I explained that a lady's purse is her private area, and to the other I explained that he just needed to stay out of mommy's bathroom.

I'll get to that lesson some other day. Hopefully in the far, far, way-off future.

To infinity, and beyond!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sun Kissed and Sweet

It's that time of year...pool time. My children are so upset to learn that the pool has been open for a few weeks and I neglected to mention it. There's a reason for that. Pool season around here lasts a long time...especially for the moms.

Sunday, my husband took the kids to the pool so that I could get a few things done around the house. I don't know how long it's been since I've been alone in my own house, and with the advent of summer vacation, it's going to be a while before it happens again. It was HEAVEN.

The best part? When they all got home, smelling of chlorine and sunscreen. Mmmm...yummy. Their lips were blue, the hair was wild, eyes a little red...but the cheeks were just a little pink, the eyes were sparkly, the skin slightly damp and cool to the touch. You know the way freshly bathed babies feel?

Delicious. Simply scrumptious. I wanted to hold on tight and let myself be enveloped by sweet smell of summertime kids.

But the 8-year-old is not much for hugging, and so the 4-year-old isn't either. Little Meems was torn between wanting mommy hugs and wanting to investigate what her brothers were up to.

Sigh. Oh well. Like I said, it's a long pool season. By the end of it, I just might be sick of the smell of summer.

Until next year...

Monday, May 17, 2010

Competition

Our lives have been overcome with competitions.

Not so much sports, although between soccer, swim team, basketball, baseball....

They fight. Relentlessly. Those...little people.

They fight over what show to watch. Who has to turn off the TV. Who left the toothpaste in the sink and who forgot to flush the toilet. They fight over whose mess it is; then whose mess it isn't. Two fights in one! Who's turn it is to feed the dog, set the table, who sits next to whom at dinner, who gets to stay up latest...and then who gets tucked in first (again, two fights in one). Who can scream the loudest, clean their rooms the fastest (mommy likes this one) and sleep the longest. Or get up the earliest. Who gets the last waffle, who gets more cheese, who drinks their milk the fastest. And sometimes, just for no reason at all but for the sheer joy of argument.

The other day, the youngest two were bored while awaiting the start of their brother's soccer game. My husband has made up a game of imaginary baseball with them that they LOVE to play. LOVE. So when they asked him, like the wonderful father he is, he put his whole being into it, and threw the first pitch...to my son.

At which point my daughter attacked him, trying to pry the imaginary ball out of his hands, claiming "he always gets it first, it's my turn." Whining and fighting and struggle ensued, despite my protests and admonishments. I even suggested they pretend there were two balls, since it was, after all, an imaginary game. They stared at me as if I had just blown an orange out of my nose. And continued to fight. Did I mention it was an IMAGINARY ball?

My husband walked over, grabbed the pretend ball, and threw it into the woods. Their gazes followed it, my daughter shielding her eyes from the sun as she watched its imaginary arc of descent into the forest (she really gets into imagination games). Stunned, they turned back to their dad, bottom jaws hitting the dusty ground.

"If you can't play baseball without fighting, there will be no baseball."

I wish I could say they learned a valuable lesson that day, but no. They immediately began fighting over whose fault it was that Daddy threw the ball away.

And who was responsible for finding it. And who got to have it once they found it...

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Let's Pretend We're Moms

My daughter has an active imagination. She's lost in the world of pretend as often as she's present in reality. So much so that frequently she will clarify "for real" when she's talking about something that happened/is going to happen, so that I know that she's not making it up.

We've watched her, with fascination, as she crosses back and forth over the line between the two as easily as most of us blink. While at dinner, watching TV, in the car...one minute you're talking about school, and the next she's waving her hand around saying, "I know, I know, my kids do the same thing," in a tone I can only guess she thinks commiserating moms use. Or she'll swing her hair down into her face, saying "i just can't find the time to get it cut" to her imaginary commiserating friend-who's-also-a-mom.

The theme here is moms. That's her passion. She loves all "mom" things. How many times have I walked outside to find her pushing her little brother around in a stroller and asked her, "whatcha doing?" to have her answer "Well, my son's sick, and so I think I might have to take him to the hospital. Can you give me directions? Oh, and I LOVE your shoes!"

I remember playing with my dolls and playing moms. I guess if I really think about it, it had an allure to me. The "mom" world -- a world of grown-up ladies who drank coffee and had meetings and wore Dr. Scholl's sandals (it was the 70s).

So it should come as no surprise that my own little girl enjoys it. But I really think she enjoys it much more than I ever did. I notice her watching me sometimes, and later I can usually find her in front of a mirror doing the same thing. She talks to her imaginary mom friends with her hands, the way I do. She throws her head back and slaps her thigh the way I do when I laugh. She puts a lot of cream in her coffee, like me. She reads home decorating magazines in the chair, her legs crossed, giving her index finger a little lick each time she turns the pages. She scolds her children for their sassy mouths and for not listening, just like I do. Using the same words, the exact tone and with just the right amount of exasperation in her voice.

I've always thought it a little funny. What a funny little girl she is. But as I write this I'm touched.

Because good or bad, she's emulating me. She's pretending she's me. She's fascinated by ME.

And it hits me what a cycle we little girls live. Generation to generation, our moms are our greatest influences. Our first ambitions. Our nurturers. Our style icons.

As Mother's Day approaches, I realize in writing about my daughter that she's giving me, every single day, the best present a mother could ever ask for.

Happy Mother's Day to all you ladies who are moms, who have moms, who've played moms. You are truly blessed.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Price of Too Much Fun

This weekend, we celebrated my husband's birthday with a group of long-time friends. It's always a treat to see that your children seem to have just inherited the bond that made the grown-ups friends to begin with.

Little Meems and the other two little girls she played with are all the same age, and they just click. Hugs and kisses and giggles -- they're little girls that are somehow made for each other.

This little girl has had some big struggles. OK, in the grand scheme of the universe, not SO big, but to me as her mom...huge. Friends, school, her place in the world and in our family...she's getting it all figured out, as are her parents. I worry more about her than I do my boys, even though she's the toughest of the bunch. Maybe that's why I worry about her. I don't know.

Or maybe it's me that's been having the hard time lately, on her behalf. I feel her struggles as deeply as if they were my own, but does she feel them as intensely as I do? I doubt it.

So, to see her playing with utter abandon, and to hear her laughing that deep, belly laugh of hers was a balm on this mother's hurting, nurturing heart.

And when she came up to me and whispered that she'd laughed so hard she'd peed her pants, I couldn't have been more thrilled.

When was the last time you had so much fun you wet your pants? When was the last time you laughed so hard you lost all control? When was the last time you completely turned yourself over to sheer bliss without a concern for anything else?

I took her inside, wrapped her underwear in tissue and dried her pants to my best ability with paper. It wasn't a large spot, and luckily her long shirt and the pending darkness covered it nicely. She was good as new.

Later, she left a tired, happy girl. I left a happy mom. Of course, I found out the next day that her "best" friend from school has been making faces at her and laughing at her handwriting. So THAT's why I never heard back from her mother about a playdate. Sigh. The reprieve from the struggles of a 6-year-old girl was far too brief for this mom.

Which reminds me -- I think her underwear's still in my purse.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Just Once...

Just once, I'd like to be alone in the bathroom.

Just once, I'd like to not have to pick up the backpacks from under the hooks where they're supposed to be hanging.

Just once, I'd like to have everyone LOVE the dinner I make.

Just once, I'd like to have a clean car, clean house, clean yard and clean children...all at the same time.

Just once, I'd like to have a full day to myself.

Just once, I'd like to be caught up on the laundry.

Just once, I'd like to be able to buy them whatever they want, when they want it, without worrying about budget.

Just once, I'd like to be able to buy myself whatever I want, when I want it, without worrying about what I won't be able to buy for them.

Just once, I'd like to open my drawer and see my brush sitting there instead of having to search the house for it.

Just once, I'd like to not have anything I HAVE to do, so that I can do everything I WANT to do with them.

Just once, I want to not feel guilty about not having enough time -- for work, for them, for me, for my responsibilities, for school...

Sigh.

But, I almost had a life full of "just onces." A life where my time was mine, my money was mine, I was caught up on laundry and the cleaning, my brush was always where it was supposed to be and I had privacy in the bathroom. I traveled, decorated, shopped, got things done and no one ever complained about dinner.

But I gave it all up for three shining faces and the chance to be called "Mommy."

And I've never looked back. And never will. It almost didn't happen. I know how lucky I am.

And I should have privacy again in about, oh, another 20 years. I'll wait.

It's worth it.

Monday, March 8, 2010

This Mom's Life

This morning, I stepped on a pile of coats and something coughed. My son plays with his chainsaw while we listen to KidZBop Christmas tunes on the way to school each day. There's a tangled-up wig on the banister and my daughter just came downstairs without any clothes. The turtle's new home made him turn blue and my son is napping with tongs. Ironically, this is nothing out of the ordinary...welcome to this Mom's life.

When did it get so...weird?

The other day, I looked at my old yearbooks with my oldest children. They were laughing hysterically at the pictures. I looked at them: my son had pudding all over his face (where'd he get pudding?) and my daughter was wearing mismatched shoes, a pink wig and had colored all over herself in green marker. Sigh. My youngest son told me there's a monster under his bed that bites his back while he sleeps, and there's a tree that talks to him on the way home from school and says bad things like "worms." Occasionally, he whips out his AC/DC wristbands and wears them to bed to keep him "nice and cozy" (his words, not mine). He refuses to blow his nose and instead uses his tongue to squeegee the constant nose-run off his upper lip. But he likes to snuggle. And he lets me kiss his chubby little cheeks whenever I want.

Little Meems may wear tangled up, matted pink wigs, but she likes to play with my hair, pushing it out of my face as she says her prayers at night in the sweetest, most loving way.

My oldest son may be coated in pudding or whatever he had for lunch that day, but he doesn't want anyone but me when he's upset. And sometimes, for no reason at all.

So, despite the general strangeness of my life, and maybe even my children, I'll take it if it means that the weirdness is accompanied by the good stuff. Like snuggles, and kisses and hair stroking.
And lots of funny stories to tell them when they're older.

Besides, I'll know where to turn if I ever lose my hair.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Best Day Ever

Yesterday was the best day ever.

Not for me, for my daughter.

What made yesterday the best day ever? Her dad came home from a business trip and we got to go to the airport to pick him up.

Go figure.

Not long ago, my son's best day ever consisted of me playing baseball with him in the back yard. And another best day ever was when my daughter got into cake decorating class. And when my son scored 6 goals in one soccer game. And when he got his basketball uniform. And when Meems lost her first tooth. And the day we got to go to Chuck E. Cheese's for a birthday party. And the day my son got his guitar. And the day her grandmother painted her toenails green. GREEN!! And the day it snowed 12 inches and we didn't have school. And the other time it snowed 12 inches and we didn't have school. And Christmas...birthdays...movie nights...any day with cupcakes or Slurpees...

So many best days. Best days ever.

Sigh. Why can't I have so many best days ever? Why do I feel the need to compartmentalize my best days into main events that contain personal significance? Or rationalize why my best day ever should have that distinction? My wedding. Each of my children's births. The day I landed my dream job. Surely they can't all be best day evers? That just doesn't make sense. I mean, best day ever means just that -- the best DAY ever. Singular.

Maybe I should take a cue from my children and just...you know...live in the moment, on a grand scale, the way they do.

Maybe we all should. Stop saving up our "best day ever" title for something that REALLY matters but probably hasn't happened yet, and instead, recognize it when it happens. Delight in the moment, and then move on to the next best day ever. And the next one.

I'd like more best days ever. Wouldn't you?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

My Sons Have Gigantic Heads

My sons have gigantic heads. Just my sons. I don't know what it is, or how they ended up that way, but...serious hugeneness.

We have always (secretly) referred to my oldest son as Punkin' Head. His head always measured a good 25-40% larger on his growth chart than the rest of him. The head won the growth race, every time. When he was a baby, and was undergoing the battery of tests they performed to isolate what caused his cleft palate, they even explored the possibility that his large head could be somehow related. It's not, thank goodness. He was just overly blessed in the melon department.

My youngest had his 4-year well checkup today. Like his big brother, he's got some serious noggin going on. When he was a baby, the neighbor boys thought he looked like Harold, of Harold and the Purple Crayon.

Rats, that would've been a great Halloween costume.

Today, as he sat on the table talking to the doctor, naked except for his Tow-mater underwear and socks, I noticed that his little baby body is finally thinning out and becoming little boy body. Sadness. And cuteness. But not good news for his head.

I'll be honest with you, I kind of lost track of what the doctor was saying. I was too busy marveling over the fact that he didn't topple right over. Boldly defying the laws of gravity daily, that's my boys.

My oldest son, at 8, is finally growing into his head. It's about time. He wants to be on the swim team again and, by all logic, with that head he should be sinking straight to the bottom of the pool. Imagine if he finally has grown into it -- hello Michael Phelps!

I'm kind of sad to see the head now losing its comfortable lead. It means that he's growing up. One day, the race will be over, and punkin' head will be no more. Gosh, I love that little big head!

Luckily, I still have Harold. Now, where's that purple crayon?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Once Upon a Time...

Once upon a time there was a little girl in trouble.

Her name was Mary Catherine. She was three.


“Five.”

“No, Mary Catherine, you’re three.”

“I’M FIVE.”

And so our story begins.


Mary Catherine was the only girl between two brothers. She was tiny in size, but big in attitude. She was a darling little girl who loved babies, hugs and giggles. She also loved gum, lipstick, pretty dresses, flip flops and playing in the dirt.


Mary Catherine was a sweet little girl, but she had a fondness for mischief -- peeling the wallpaper in her room instead of napping; spilling blue paint all over the carpet in the hallway after her mom told her not to touch it; coloring on the walls with her mother’s lipstick; hammering the paint off of her antique iron bed; hiding from her mother until her mother was so frantic she started screaming hysterically and running in circles around the house...


But as mischievous as Mary Catherine was, she always knew when she had been naughty, even if she didn’t always want to admit it. And when you misbehave, you must always say you’re sorry.


But, sometimes, saying “I’m sorry” is the hardest part of all.


It was a day like any other. Mary Catherine came home from school and took off her shoes, and left them right in the middle of the kitchen floor, like she always did. Her mother -- arms full of groceries and her little brother -- stumbled over them, dropping a grocery bag and nearly dropping her brother. Her mother became upset with Mary Catherine.


“Mary Catherine, I’ve told you a million times not leave your shoes in the floor!”

“I forGOT!” Mary Catherine sassed. "Geesh!"


It’s not OK to sass mommy. So she got scolded for that too. And while she was being scolded, do you know what little Mary Catherine did? She screamed “STUPID” to her mother. Well. I don’t have to tell you what happened next.


She got sent right to time-out.


After a few minutes, her mother came in to see if she was ready to get up.

“Mary Catherine, it’s not OK to talk to Mommy that way. We also don’t say that word and you don’t scream at Mommy, do you understand? Now what do you say to Mommy?”


Mary Catherine hesitated for just a moment…“I don’t care.”


That’s not the apology her mother was fishing for.


Three more minutes passed in time out and Mary Catherine’s mother returned again to see if Mary Catherine was ready to apologize.


“What do you say, Mary Catherine?”

“SOOORRRRRYYYYY!!!!!” she screamed. And so she kept sitting.


A few minutes later, her mother, now nearing the end of her patience with Mary Catherine, returned one last time for an apology. She sat on her knees and looked into Mary Catherine’s eyes. She said, very slowly…“I. Am. Not. Going. To. Tolerate. This behavior. Young lady. What do you need to say to Mommy?”


Of course Mary Catherine knew what she was supposed to say, but before she knew it...


“YOUR BREATH IS BAD!”


She used to think her mommy was pretty. But now her mommy’s hair started to spring from her ponytail, her eyes got really white and round, there was a large vein popping out of her neck and she was…vibrating. Was that smoke coming out of her ears, and what happened to her lips? They disappeared!

Her mother had turned into a monster before her very eyes!

Before Mary Catherine knew what happened, she was in her room with the DOOR CLOSED. Her very most hated thing ever!

Her mother poured a glass of wine and tried to compose herself.

Mary Catherine was sorry. She WAS. It's just...that...she couldn't help herself.

Her mother came upstairs. Opened the door. She looked a little like her old self, except that her eye was twitching a little and her hair was still a mess.

She said the words. The hardest words of all. She got a hug, she was released, and her mother's eye stopped twitching.

And they lived happily ever after.

Well....

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Just Do It

I posted on my facebook status the other day that there's nothing like watching 1st and 2nd grade boys play basketball to help put things in perspective.

I realize now that perhaps it was a little too "deep thoughts" because it's kind of confusing. Or maybe it was just that it was late and I'd had a glass of wine and was feeling philosophical and bored.

But it's true. These little boys show up to an early morning game, hair all askew, teeth probably not brushed, fueled up on pop-tarts and adrenaline. The house music starts blaring and they run in as they're introduced individually over a loud speaker, NBA-style. They take their places on the bench, ready for the big game.

And they play big. And fast. And hard. Running for their lives to make a basket, trying to dribble and control the ball...then just trying to catch the ball as it gets away from them. They get bonked on the head. They trip over shoelaces. They tackle each other. They freeze in a panic as someone passes them the ball and they're not sure what to do. The shoot at the wrong basket occasionally. They play with passion and utter abandon. They don't know enough to be self-conscious yet. Bed-head hair bouncing up and down all the while.

Michael Jordan is alive and well on the courts of the Baptist church down the street, every Saturday morning.

You know, I sat and watched Will and his friends play and I was envious. As 7 and 8-year-olds, they lack all the baggage that weighs the rest of us down. They're not afraid to try and they're not afraid to fail. They play with passion and they wear their uniforms with pride (and I'm not wrong about this, judging by the number of boys at the elementary school wearing their uniforms on any given day). They put their hearts and souls into every dribble and pass. They don't second-guess the decision to try to make a buzzer basket from the other side of the court. They find time for the occasional goofy face or noogie. They're humble in their victories, not affected by their points earned or points lost.

Sigh. Wouldn't it be nice to feel that way again? Just once?

So I live vicariously through my little Jordan, who just plays because he loves, well, playing. Period.

When was the last time you just played like that?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Tooth Scary

My daughter finally started losing her baby teeth. My son lost his first two within a day when he was 5, and they literally fell out of his head at an alarming rate, followed closely by the permanent replacement. My daughter, on the other hand, has been holding onto those babies for dear life. I've been watching, nervously, as they get smaller and smaller and worrying about whether there was going to be enough tooth to grab onto when the time was right to pull it.

It finally happened about a month ago. She was scared of pulling it -- first timer, not a big fan of pain, doesn't much like change. I finally convinced her and then realized that, as it turns out, she was more afraid of the tooth fairy than pulling the tooth.

Huh??

Who's afraid of the tooth fairy?? THAT'S the best part! Golly, I'm wishing I had some teeth to pull of my own right now -- I've been dying for some Frye Campus Boots. Remarkably, she fell asleep, soothed at the prospect of not having to actually see the tooth fairy. Lots of questions, like "how does she get in my room? how long will she stay? what does she look like? does she have long hair? what color is her house? i don't want her to touch my things and tell her she can't go in my closet" (???). We finally convinced her and she was surprised and delighted to wake up and find $5 under her pillow.

"See, I told you that she's nothing to be afraid of, sweetie!"

"It's not a she. It's a he."

My son, in his honorable efforts to comfort her, told her the tooth fairy was a man. And, surprisingly, she was just fine with this.

A couple weeks ago, I noticed another tooth that looked wonky. Sure enough, it was wiggly, but she didn't wiggle it, didn't jiggle it, didn't even touch it...it was like it didn't even exist for her. She ignored her brothers' daily chorus of "pull it, pull it!" and my pleadings to let me pull it before it fell out of her head during the night and she aspirated it.

Last week, Mother Nature took pity on the poor thing (I mean the tooth) and it fell out of her head, just like I knew it would. Thank goodness she was not asleep. But then panic struck.

Um, yeah.

To offset her panic, I offered to write a note to the tooth fairy explaining that she/he/it could find the tooth under Mommy's pillow. And that's where she found the dollar bill he/she/it left her the next morning. I taped the note to her door that night. She made me shut the door, so that the fairy would not accidentally enter, and lock all the windows in case the tooth fairy should enter by window instead of the front door. The closet door was closed, toys were all inspected for placement and prayers were said that the tooth fairy would find the note. AND NOT HAVE TO COME IN HER ROOM.

She got a dollar. And she lost the dollar. Which was just another reminder that, no matter how big they are on the outside, sometimes they're still little on the inside. It's also a gentle reminder that, no matter how much I think I have that child figured out, she's always going to prove me wrong.

She's been doing it for 6 and a half years.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year

Oh my goodness, it's been so long since I updated. Not for lack of material -- just lack of time. So many times over the holiday I thought "oh I have to write about this" and was too busy and forgot what I was going to write about. OK, so maybe I should amend "lack of time" to "lack of time and forgetfulness (due to lack of time)." Sigh. Just another in a growing list of things I want to do differently for the New Year.

Christmas came and went in a flurry and I still have no idea when it happened. Between my business, kikibOnan (shameless plug), to my little part-time job, to another freelance project I picked up...all thinking they would give me a little extra money over the holidays and who couldn't use that? Except I didn't count on them sucking away so much of my time that I wouldn't get the chance to enjoy the wonders of this season, and especially the wonders of little ones during the season. As a result, I've been thinking a lot about my resolutions this year. REAL resolutions to make life better. HEARTFELT resolutions to make both me and my little family happier. I'm seeking fulfillment, and enjoyment, and quality.

So here goes.

1. Raise my voice less. I don't like it, the kids don't like it, and it doesn't work. Well, sometimes it does. But only when it's not an every day thing. My daughter, who as anyone near and dear to me knows, is my challenging child. If I can get through to her best by being calm, firm and unflappable, then it'll work for my others too. No matter how frustrated I get.

2. Find quality family time. My kids are getting to an age of independence and curiosity. They can entertain themselves, they know not to touch electric outlets and household chemicals, they're not going to toddle into sharp corners. We have been slowly un-baby-proofing our house and it feels good. Now we have to un-baby-proof our family time. I'm discovering that I love just hanging out with my 8-year-old son, telling jokes. I love asking my 6-year-old daughter for her style advice (remarkably, she's never steered me wrong). My 3-year-old wants to be as big as the others, and he's getting there sooner than I'd like, so for now, I'm just going to hold him and carry him at every opportunity I can before he won't let me anymore. Sigh.

3. Pursue my passions. I have a great business that lets me be creative and independent, and we've grown so much over the last year (insert delighted shock and surprise). It's not the most financially lucrative of my projects (YET), but it's by far the most fulfilling and fun. Speaking of fulfillment, my biggest resolution under that category is to regularly and religiously update my blog. I don't know if anyone reads it. I'd like to find a way to get more people to, so maybe that's something to think about. But no matter -- this is my outlet. My high school English teach used to talk about catharsis. Now I understand what that really is.

4. Back. Away. From. The. Computer.

5. Let go of negative feelings. They bog you down. Enough said.

6. Nurture friendships. Everyone's so busy, it's hard to connect to the people who get you the most. I realize now that you have to make opportunities, and sometimes it's a struggle, but gosh, it's so worth it. The joy I feel when I'm with my friends...unmeasurable. I mean, I'm just speechless.

7. Exercise. C'mon, it could happen!

8. Renew magazine subscriptions. All my faves are dropping like flies and so I let all my others run out. GOSH HOW I MISS THEM. They're my escape...especially the decorating magazines. Besides, I want to redecorate my house some more, again. And I need to know which purse to buy. Well, which knockoff to buy.

9. Memorize every little detail about my children and give my heart the chance to just melt each time they look at me or speak to me. My son's little crooked smirk, my daughter's missing teeth, my littlest's chubby cheeks and still-squishy little body. I came across my son's school picture from last year, and compared it to this year's picture. Who IS that kid in the old picture? Where did he go? How quickly they change -- never were truer words spoken.

10. Be the best mom, wife, sister and daughter I can be. Love the people that I love the most...really love them. Treasure the times we have, because we won't always have them. Make the most of what we're given, because it could be less than what we already have. Find joy in the mundane trivialities of everyday life. Employ more patience, express feelings freely but watch my tongue, and snuggle more.

Happy New Year to you and yours!

-Jennifer