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.