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