Thursday, December 29, 2011

Little

She's not called Little Meems for no reason.  Yes, she's a little girl, but she's also a little girl.  As in, at age 8-and-a-half barely meeting the weight requirements to even be in the booster seat, much less be out of it.  At this rate, she'll be driving in her booster seat.

I've known kids who were tiny because they didn't eat anything...anything healthy anyway.  She's not that kid.  She loves healthy.  ADORES healthy.  She's the kid who orders a side salad in the Chick-Fil-A drive through.  She'd rather have California Rolls than tater tots and grilled salmon than pizza.  Her palate is not what you'd expect of an 8-year-old.  Or of any kid, for that matter.

She's the oldest kid in her class.  And the smallest.  She gets picked up and carried around a lot.  By me, by neighbors, by her friends.  Lately, she's been mistaken more than she would like for her younger brother's twin sister.  He is 5.  It doesn't go over well, and I always feel badly for the well-meaning person who gleefully exclaims "twins!"  He's going to outgrow her in about another month.  I dread it.

The other day, we were buying some cool green skinny jeans.  She's into a more grown up look these days, and is starting to have fun with her fashion.  We tried on the 6.  She swam in them.  We tried on the 5.  Also too big.  Luckily, there was a size 4, but suddenly the pants she was in love with lost their lustre.  

I feel her pain.  I was that kid. I remember when all my friends graduated to the "miss" department and I still had to buy my shoes at Stride Rite.  I feel her pain more intensely than she does, I think.

Until yesterday.  I knew she felt the pain too.  No amount of reassurance that one day she'd be thankful for the small size was going to ease it.  She abandoned the pants and walked away.  I bought them anyway, thinking maybe she'll change her mind.  Thinking I can show her that she makes the pants look that much cuter because she is so little.  Thinking this is my challenge as her mother...to show her how to just overcome her difference, and not let it stop her from doing anything she wants.   

And so maybe I bought the pants for me too.  I don't always know the right things to say, but I know how to help a little girl rock some cool green skinny jeans.  

And hopefully, some self confidence as well.

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Baby Story

Little Meems loves babies.

She also loves the programming on TLC.  The Duggars' 19 Kids and Counting has been a favorite show for a while.  She loves all those kids and the fact that the mom never yells.

Now she has discovered A Baby Story.  Which, for her, is like a dream come true.  Seriously.

And now we have some explaining to do.

Little Meems is quite possibly the most naive little 8-year-old on the planet.  She's not one to question the logic of Santa, she blindly accepts that our Elf on the Shelf just happened to show up while Mommy was standing at the front door.  She thinks the "S" word is "stupid."  She just doesn't see the bad in the world yet, and that's good.

Meems has been content to believe that a baby grows in a mommy's tummy and when it's ready to come out, the belly button opens wide and the doctor pulls it out.  She may have gotten that idea from me.  When her little brother was born, she was only 2 and W was 4 and they weren't ready to find out the truth yet.  If you've had a 4-year-old, you know they ask 10 gazillion questions a day and I was just too exhausted to answer truthfully.

The first time she watched it, she was so excited to follow along with the pregnancy of the new mother.  Of course, the show follows the moms into the delivery room.  Where she starts to deliver.  And everything screeches to a halt.

I see it.  I see her eyes grow wide, I see her mouth open and her brows knit in confusion and horror.  She turned to me, and, unable to even form any words to describe what she's seeing, mouths "wha?"

So I have to explain to her how babies are delivered.
"And there's BLOOD?"
"Yes."
"And it comes out of your BOTTOM?"
"Yes."
"And you PUSH it, like POOP?"
"Well, yes and no.  Kinda'."

Silence.  The silence is pregnant (haha, no pun intended) with dread at the next line of questioning.  I guess that, if she's ready to know about uteruses and things, then she's ready.  I'm frantically going over how to explain it all to her in my head so that she understands and doesn't get freaked out.

"Soooo, what's that long thing that was wrapped around that baby's neck?"
"The umbilical cord."
"Oh, that's how the baby gets food from the mom."  How did she know that?
"Yes.  And then they cut it and it falls off."
"It falls OFF?  What do you do with it then?"
"Well, some people keep it, some people throw it away."
"What happened to ours?"
"Well, Church ate W's, and the rest got thrown away."

She is sufficiently diverted by the thought of the dog EATING the umbilical stump that I know I'm safe for now.  She has the info she needs to understand what she's seeing, and apparently it's enough.

"Mommy, it really IS a miracle, isn't it?"

Yes, Meems, it really is.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Peace on Earth

One thing I have always loved is the sight of a sleeping child.  Specifically, my sleeping children.

As babies, I used to stand in the doorways of their rooms and watch them sleep.  Often, I'd call my husband in to watch too.  It's amazing to have that time to reflect on the wonder of God's little miracles.  On days when it was crazy, the sight of their sleeping bodies restored my faith that everything was going to be fine.  That sudden surge of love...it's God's way of saying "you can do this."

I, still, every night before I go to bed, sneak into their rooms to give them a little kiss, straighten covers and just look at them.  They are growing up so fast and I'm not ready.  Somehow, no matter how old and how mature they look and seem during the day, in slumber they look just like they did when they were babies.  Innocent and sweet and angelic.

My sister and I used to have a nickname for bedtime.  We'd call it "peace on earth."

My Christmas wish this year?

Peace on earth, everlasting.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Busted Hot Dogs

T is home from school today.  An episode of emptying the contents of your stomach into the potty first thing in the morning will do that.

He's feeling better, and asked for a hot dog for lunch.  NOW, before everyone gets all crazy on me, I am a firm believer that, when you're stomach is feeling urpy, you are the best judge of what you should and shouldn't be eating.  For the most part.  Within reason.  What I mean is, if it sounds good to you after throwing up all morning, then chances are you might be OK.

T wants a hot dog for lunch.  I am happy to oblige.

But tragedy has struck.  I put it in the microwave for too long and it exploded.

T has decided he cannot stomach a busted hot dog.  Only a hot dog that's intact.

"It's FINE.  SEE?  Look!  You can't even tell it's busted when you cut it up."
"It's all icky and it's insides are hanging out."  Which is just him being dramatic.  It merely popped open.  There is no gore.
"Oh for pete's sake.  You're going to chew it and it's going to be all inside out anyway."
"I don't like busted hot dogs."
"There are children who would be THRILLED to have your busted hot dog.  Now eat it."  Here I am reminded of the haggard mom in A Christmas Story haggling with Ralphie about his food.  "See, it tastes just fine."

Mmm. That's delicious.

He is unfazed.  "Here, I'll even eat another bite to show you...and I don't even LIKE hot dogs" (which is not true, but I am being a martyr, and this thing is truly mouthwatering right now).

I want that hot dog.  I never eat hot dogs.  We moms don't let ourselves eat hot dogs for lunch.  Well, we eat them, but we call it "cleaning up" after the kids because food shouldn't be wasted.

He's a good kid and he sees my point and eats it anyway.  I try to occupy myself with some work so that I don't drool over his lunch.  I congratulate myself on my willpower -- not because I didn't cave in to his nonsense (in an effort to teach him to be grateful for all he has, even busted hot dogs)...

...because I resisted the urge to make him another hot dog so I could have that one.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Fancy

I got dressed for the bus stop this morning.

Not "dressed" like you hear about some moms doing...looking cute and stylish for no particular reason first thing in the morning.  Although, I do TRY that occasionally.  It never ceases to amaze me how much I can get done at home if I look cute.  Weird.  But usually I wait until after the bus leaves, so I can take a shower without having to locate someone's shoe or fix the toothpaste because someone squeezed it too hard.

If I'm not working, my bus stop attire is yoga pants and a fleece.  These days, I've been mixing it up with a black down jacket and, sometimes, striped gloves.

This morning, however, I wanted to seize the day because there are a million things to do.  So I donned some jeans, put on a turtleneck sweater, my Frye boots and some (gasp) mascara.

Which stopped Meems dead in her tracks.

"Are you going to work today?"
"No, honey, I can't wear jeans to work."
"Then why do you look so fancy?"

It has come to this.  "Fancy" for me now is pants that aren't stretched out because I may or may not have also slept in them.  Fancy is a ponytail that's not covered by a ball cap.  Fancy is the tiniest little bit of makeup.  Basically, any sort of proof that I haven't given up completely.

Heck, I even brushed my teeth!

Wonder what she'd say about that?!!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Scam

I totally scammed my children the other day.  Is that one of those things you tell yourself you're never going to do??  Mmm, I don't know.  Still, I shouldn't be proud of it...yet I kind of am.

My children have become syrup snobs.  Why, I really don't know.  They're like Buddy the Elf when it comes to junk, they're just not picky about the source of their sugar...just as long as they get it.

But lately, the sugary syrup they douse their waffles with must be Log Cabin...or nothing at all.

I brought home Mrs. Butterworth's not long ago, a big 'ol bottle, because it's cheaper than Log Cabin and it was on sale and W had told me he had it at a friend's house and it was so delicious!  Great, I thought, I'll treat them to something different.  I mean, I like Log Cabin best and so that's what I buy, but I probably shouldn't foist my syrup preferences on them, right?  A good mother would let them expand their taste horizons to the buttery wonder that is, apparently, Mrs. Butterworth's.

They hate it.

So now I have this large brown LADY popping her head out at me every time I open the pantry door.  Mocking me.  Because it was also the extra large size, and so she is taller than everyonething else in the pantry.

I run out of syrup frequently because I am continually surprised by the consumption rate of the stuff, and they keep moving it in the grocery store so I forget to buy it.  Should it go with the breakfast foods?  Or the coffee?  Or in the spice and seasoning aisle?????  I'm flaky enough that this never ceases to throw me off.

When we are out of syrup, I always offer up the old lady, but the resounding answer is always no.  They'd prefer jelly or even DRY waffles (gasp) to the Missus.

The other day, I saw I was low on the LC.  As in, not enough for one kid, much less three.  Anticipating a battle of epic proportions, and not having had enough coffee to endure such a scene, I grabbed Mrs. B, opened her up and poured her contents into the Log Cabin bottle -- not too much, because it needs to be believable, but just enough to cover their Eggos.

My husband: "Seriously, WHAT are you doing?  That's not going to work."
Me:  "Watch."  That is all.

Wouldn't you know, they ate it up.  Dang!  I wish I'd bet my husband...I could be $50 richer right now.  OK, that never really works, but if it did....

You know, in the annals of parenting, these kinds of little white lies happen.  I got lucky.  When my parents tried to pass off eggplant parmesan as lasagna-with-regular-old-noodles, I didn't believe them.  Luckily for my siblings and me, I found a worm that proved their trickery.  Sure, I know that's not the only time they tricked me, but it was a nice victory and I didn't have to eat the eggplant.

Now my husband is worried about the cold, calculated-ness of my little lie.  I reminded him that in the game of parenting, the kids seem to always win.  You have to take victory where you can get it, darn it.

Trust me, it won't come often.  How'd those kids get so savvy???

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Dream

Little Meems really wants a baby sister.  You know that.

I told her the only way she’s going to get one is if someone leaves one on our doorstep.  I thought the sheer absurdity of something like that actually happening would be enough to get her to drop her campaign for another baby.  I thought there was no clearer, yet gentler, way to illustrate “NO.”

Not long ago, she began telling me about these "dreams" she was having.  “The doorbell rings, and we go to answer it, and there’s a baby!”  Said without a shred of irony.  Bless her heart, my gentle “no” was apparently lost on her.  I left the door open, gave her the tiniest glimmer of hope.  I guess in her 8-year-old mind, anything’s possible.  And I love that about her.  But this is a reminder that subtlety is lost on the kid.

I laughed with her at the “silly dream” (her words, not mine).  But she kept having them, and then she started "dreaming" that someone left a specific baby on our doorstep – one that we saw at the mall not long ago.  She hasn’t been able to get her mind off that little baby, even going so far to occasionally say “wasn’t that baby cute?” out of nowhere and for no reason at all.  Her brothers always look at me like “what the heck?” but of course I know exactly what she’s talking about.  I finally (again gently) explained to her that 1) no one leaves babies on doorsteps, and 2) you can’t order a specific baby who clearly already has a loving mother and family just because you really want a sister and you think she’s cute.  This time I was sure to be perfectly clear.

She finally let her dream go.  Although a weekend spent with a baby cousin has once again made her wistful for what she can’t have.  “I sure wish we could get another baby,” she sighed the other day.  Followed by a larger, deeper sigh for emphasis.  

Thankfully, she’s moving on…to a puppy.  Having just lost our dog, she’s transferred her dreams of a baby to dreams of a surprise puppy awaiting her and her brothers when they get home from school.  “I just want to pick something up,” she says.  Meaning, if she can’t hold and love a baby, a dog will suffice. 

To be honest, I wish I could grant her her one true wish, but it’s just not in the cards.  I have assured her that Santa's a dead end on that one too. 


That noise you heard is likely the sound of the door (hopefully) closing on that matter once and for all.    

Now about the dog...

Monday, November 7, 2011

Happiness Is...

Eating whatever we want for dinner.

Upstairs.

Having popcorn and cupcakes for dessert.

In a tent.

In the playroom.

Snuggled in with three loving kiddos and oodles of quilts, comforters and pillows.

Laughing to a favorite movie.  

JOY is...each of them, at some point, saying "I love you Mom."  For no reason at all except because they do.


Saturday, November 5, 2011

I Plastic Wrapped My Son

Words I never dreamed I'd say.

I had to.  T has a broken foot and a cast that goes from his toes to his knee.  It was pouring this morning as the boys were eating breakfast.  The cast must stay dry because insurance doesn't cover the waterproof ones and I'm too cheap to fork over the moola to get one.  Considering this kid is on his third cast in under 2 years, I think we might want to rethink this whole "college fund" thing for him and use it to cover his health insurance instead.

So, like I said, the cast must stay dry.  My husband took the plastic bag the newspaper comes in with him to my daughter's appointment.  That left big Target bags, a smaller but noisy WalMart bag, or a Talbot's bag I scrounged up.  From a mother's perspective, it's the clear winner, as it is a very thick plastic with a nice drawstring.  

Not acceptable.  Too big, too noisy, too thick.  Clearly, he doesn't get it.

So, in a moment of sheer genius, I broke out the clear plastic wrap.  And wrapped up his leg like a mummy.  

Except anyone who has ever used clear plastic wrap knows that it doesn't really stick.  So out came the Glad Press 'N' Seal.  That stuff is magic.  Seriously, changed my life.  

Press 'N' Seal wrapped around the cast forms a waterproof barrier, hugs the cast with no embarrassing bulges and stays put.  Even T is amazed!  Until he discovers that I inadvertently Press and Sealed him to the chair.  

Further proof of how well it works.

Covered with a sock, no one knows his little secret.  Little T can save face among his Kindergarten buds and be the cool dude he is.  I am a hero this morning.

And, as it turns out, an unlikely spokesperson for Glad Press 'N' Seal


Monday, October 24, 2011

Separation Anxiety

No, not my kids...me.

And I never thought it would happen.  I've always been OK with separation.  That's not to say it wasn't hard at times, but I didn't fall apart like some moms I've known.  I've found it does get easier each time, and with each child.

Little T went to kindergarten this year.  He's so ready and excited to learn.  But, he's been having some trouble wanting to go each day "because I miss you too much."  He's a momma's boy.  And I secretly love that.

I found that when he climbed aboard the bus that first day, I was nervous and anxious, but ready.  See more on that here.  Sad, and happy.  A little boohoo and a little woohoo.

And I've been fine, even though each morning, I get the same line about how he misses me all day.  At this point, I realize it's just a stall tactic.  Or so I thought.

Today, I volunteered in his class.  It's always amazing to see your children in their classrooms, following instructions, working and chatting with other children.  It's then that it really hits you just HOW grown up they are.  When it was time to leave, he hugged me and asked if I could stay all day.  "No, honey, Ms. S doesn't need me here anymore" (probably because after I was there the room was a DISASTER, I think she was ready for me to just leave -- the experience of which confirms to me that I most definitely am NOT cut out to be a teacher).

"Can't you just stay for a little bit?"
"No, mommy has to go, but I'll see you after school, ok?  How about one day next week I come and have lunch with you?"
"OK" in a tiny voice, head hung in disappointment.

And suddenly, all that "readiness" and "strength" on my part dissolved into an enormous puddle of goo.  I left reluctantly and am now experiencing what I can only describe as separation anxiety.  It literally took all I had not to grab his hand and excuse him from school for the rest of the day so we could hang out.  I miss the little guy.  REALLY, really miss him all of a sudden.  Plus he fell on the bus and scraped up his eye and his head.  I can't even soothe his booboos.  Which, as any mom will tell you, is a killer.

4:00 can't come soon enough today.  Actually, 4:00 is eagerly awaited every day.  It seems that with my increased free time comes increased loneliness.  By 3:00 or so, I can FEEL how much I miss the kids and am ready for the bus.  Today, T needs some mommy time.  So that's what he's going to get.

Or is it the other way around?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Strike a Pose

Not long ago, I was snapping some random shots of the kids.  I was taking some pictures of Meems, and told her to pose like a supermodel.

This is what she came up with.
Clearly, she's a natural.

Friday, October 14, 2011

When is it Time?

And how do you know?

In addition to my three human babies, we have a yellow lab.  Our first child, really, as we got him as a baby and have loved him ever since.  Like any child, there have been trials and tribulations.  If you've ever seen Marley and Me, then you get an idea of what Churchill was like.  He's been a great family dog, although he had a lot of trouble adjusting to the humans when they started coming home from the hospital.  After some medication, lots of love, and a basic resignation to the fact that those squirmy little things were here to stay, he settled in to his role as family dog.

He's 13 now, and he's gotten very old in the last year.  You might even say the last 6 months.  He has trouble walking (arthritis and some hip dysplasia -- all too common with labs but remarkably late onset for a dog his size), sleeps most of the day and has gas.  Lots and lots of gas.  Lately, though, he's also been having accidents.  And sometimes his legs will give out and he has to drag himself around the yard.  We recently learned that was due to nerve damage in his hip.  A couple months ago, he started having little accidents just trying to stand up.  His back legs were working so hard to stand that he was losing control of other faculties.  And now, this week, he's had an accident in the house every day, sometimes twice, even after he's been outside (if he goes outside at all).  The vet gave him meds to help with the arthritis, but a side effect is diarrhea (one of the issues we're trying to combat) and they upset his stomach.  He spent last night in the garage for fear of another accident after an unpleasant episode that affected the family room, dining room, kitchen and hallway of our house last night, right after he'd been outside.  And hours after a similar incident that morning.  This morning, he refuses to come inside.  He's spent the better part of the last week hiding behind the bed in the guest room, shaking because he thinks he's in trouble, or because he doesn't understand and he's scared...I don't know which.  Maybe both.  He's not in trouble.  Although our carpeting and rugs are taking a hit, you can't be angry with him -- he's too pathetic.

What do you do?  When do you know it's time to move on and how do you know?  I can't imagine our lives without him.  But as his mother I see he's miserable, and scared and in pain.  And I can't do anything to help.  In our selfishness of not wanting to say goodbye, are we being cruel?  If we decide it's that time, are we giving up too easily?  I've been crying all morning, careful to wear sunglasses so Meems couldn't see me on the way to her tutor and school.  She is now saying she wants to cancel a much anticipated mother/daughter outing to the American Girl store tomorrow because she's worried about him.  She's afraid he'll have an accident.  She's so intuitive to emotion and suffering...does she sense something?

The weekend awaits.  I am hopeful that our lack of schedule will give us time to love him and the clarity to know what to do.  I pray that life will get better for him with his meds, and I pray for the strength we'll need to decide what to do if it doesn't.  And, in the meantime, we will love on him and cherish what we have.  Because who knows how much longer we'll have it.      

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Stealth

Not long ago, I had to run by work to pick up my laptop.  It was a day off for the kids, so they were with me.  We pulled into the lot, and I parked the car with strict instructions NOT to get out of the car, that I would be right back, and DON’T MOVE A MUSCLE.  Mommy is expecting you to behave for 5 minutes while she sneaks in (in her holey jeans and messy hair – a workplace no-no) to get this one little thing.  

Of course, my coworker is there, so I'm kinda busted, but she doesn't really care and I close the door so no one else can see the hot mess that is me today.  As I download the necessary files, a car alarm goes off.  My car alarm.  The car is locked, so they are stuck inside and somehow have managed to set off the alarm, but cannot get out.  They are screaming and jumping around in the car, banging on the windows because they are trapped (it never occurs to them they can unlock the car) while the horn blares and the car is rocking back and forth and people are staring.  I am looking, in horror, out the window, too frozen with "whattheheck" to move.  I can hear them from INSIDE the building.  And THEY are INSIDE the car!  I run outside and start pushing buttons on the key fob – one of which is the unlock button – and they pour out of the car screaming at each other and at me, trying to blame the nonsense on one another and then on me.  Somehow it is my fault they set the alarm off because I left them in the car.  Little Meems is so upset she literally starts to melt down in the parking lot, head thrown back sobbing uncontrollably while she screams that it’s not her fault and W did THIS and T did THAT and then the horn went OFF and we were TRAPPED and WHERE WERE YOU and we were so SCARED we thought you were never coming BACK. 

I was gone for 30 seconds.  They were right outside my office window.  I had waved to them from that window, to show them right where I was and to indicate it would only be a minute.  

This kind of madness is precisely why I left them in the car. 

She was doing the ugly cry.  And now the maintenance staff has come outside to see what’s going on and what old lady hapless person is in need of assistance.  Then the general manager comes running outside and...well, he's my boss.  Jeans and holes and messy hair are extremely frowned upon here, as are screaming children and noisy scenes in general.  

I am busted.  And everyone’s still freaking out.  Now T has lost it, blubbering something unintelligible, and W is still trying to maintain his innocence by simultaneously crying and shouting  that he didn't do anything and that Meems is the meanest sister in the world, and I STILL cannot figure out how to turn the darned thing off.  I am doing that quiet yell thing...you know when you're quietly speaking to your children but you're doing it with your teeth clenched and your neck veins popping out?  

I finally turn off the car.  Meems runs over and drapes herself over my legs.  W and T just have stunned looks on their faces.  The crowd of people now in the parking lot pick their jaws up off the ground and whisper to each other, shaking their heads as they head off.  I am left standing there, panting as though I had run a marathon.  I have a cramp in my side.  Sweat is streaming down my face and I can feel the steam coming off my head.  My coworker starts giggling and my boss just looks at me for a long time and starts laughing.  He tells me he just loves my kids and heads back inside, hooting hysterically.  

I peel Meems off my legs, hug the boys and load everyone back into the car, leaving without my laptop.  Must. escape. with. remaining. dignity. intact.  

Considering it's in low supply, I'm going to need all I can get.  Welcome to motherhood! 










Monday, October 10, 2011

Supposed to Be

I was supposed to exercise this morning, but I remembered that my boss needs to pick up some papers at my house and he just said "early" so I'm here waiting for him instead.  Because as soon as I get a mile from my house, he will call and say he is on my doorstep.  That is how my life works.

I was supposed to throw those pajama pants out because they have a big hole in the seat, but I decided, after this blog entry, to throw caution to the wind and wear them into my yard just to take the dog outside.  Of course I saw my neighbor, who immediately commented on my pants.

I was supposed to do laundry yesterday and get some things done while I worked from home (ah, the beauty of working from home) and all I did was work.

I am supposed to have a document ready for a client in a little while, but I'm writing this instead.  And thinking about exercise and the laundry.

I am supposed to wake Little Meems up to get her ready for her math tutor, but she looks so cute and sweet and she was up late worrying and stressing about her new earrings to the point of insomnia.

I was supposed to wait until she was older to let her get those earrings, but she's had a really difficult year and has worked hard and been so brave and she never asks for anything other than gum, so I knew this would thrill her.

Apparently, I am supposed to make my son breakfast right now, seeing as how he just woke up and IS STARVING, but I showed him how to toast his own Pop Tarts instead.  He'll thank me for that one day.  So will his wife.

I am supposed to, as a wife, be organized and the house should be clean and the floors mopped and there should be creative meals every night, but I'm not organized and the house is clean, but the floors need to be mopped and I balance my creative meals with things like breakfast night and corn dogs.  Besides, kids don't like food to be too creative.

I am supposed to write every little thing down in their baby books to save my  memories.  Only I can't seem to remember where the baby books are.  So I do this instead.

I'm supposed to be doing "mom" things today, like laundry and dusting and scrubbing toilets.  But I'm going to go snuggle with my babies and watch Good Luck Charlie instead.

Because that IS a "mom" thing.

Turns out, I AM doing something I'm supposed to do.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Consequences, Part 2

While we're on the topic of consequences...

Sometimes you learn the hard way on your own.  No punishment necessary.



Thursday, October 6, 2011

This Hurts Me More Than It Hurts You

This hurts me more than it hurts you.

How many times did I hear this growing up?  How many times did I think “yeah, right?” 

And now, one of the “things I will never say to my children” is a well-worn standard.

Along with that other “things I will never say to my children” standard, “because I said so.”  But that’s another entry for another day.

Consequences are tough.  Especially when you have a repeat offender.  Especially when you thought you’d put the offending behavior behind you, because you thought a lesson had been learned.  And perspective and maturity had been gained.  

In this case, the offense is netting the child a week without friends, video games, TV, or anything other than already scheduled activities.  This includes sacrificing a much-anticipated birthday party this weekend.

Ouch.  That hurt just writing it.  But, there comes a time when you have to make it hurt, in order to nip it in the bud, to coin one of my mother’s famous expressions.  Still, the tears…it’s those tears that come from a place of true sadness and shame, tears from deep within that you can’t control no matter how much you try to be stoic and so grown up…those are the ones that get me.  And those are the ones I’m anticipating.

And that’s why, as a parent, you know that it does hurt you more than it hurts them.  WAY more.  Because they may be feeling hurt, but you’re feeling their hurt tenfold.  Because their broken heart is your shattered one.  Because their wounded ego is your crushed spirit.  Because you are connected to them in mysterious ways you never anticipated.  You'd sacrifice yourself to pain ten times over if it meant they never had to feel it.  

But, the pain is part of the process.  And while it's one of the hardest things we, as parents, have to endure, it's also the best gift we can give...the understanding that actions have consequences.  

No matter how much it hurts.  

   

Monday, September 19, 2011

Gross

One of my favorite fonts (and the font we use for our kikibOnan tags -- shamelessplug) is called Boyz R Gross.

Obviously, created by a girl.

As girls, we start out thinking boys are gross...then they're not gross -- they're nice and kinda' cute.  Then they're cute AND gross, but we don't mind the gross because of how cute they are then we marry them and they are gross again.  Because, suddenly the cute is replaced with things like dirty toilets and having to launder their exercise gear.

Then you have sons.  And I love my boys more than I though I could ever love boys.  I am overthemoon CRAZY about those dudes.  Just ask my husband.

But, as any mom of boys will tell you, the cycle begins again.  But it goes backward.  They start out adorable and precious and you love them like crazy.  And they are not gross, really, any more than any baby is gross.  Then they start playing in dirt and giggling when they poot (it's inherent with boys) --  now they're getting a little gross, but let's face it, still pretty darn cute.  Then they stop washing their hands when they use the bathroom and forget to wear underwear and lick their hands to slap each other's faces and make underarm farting noises everywhere.  Getting grosser by the second.  Then they show up with gum in their hair despite the fact that they had gum days ago and have taken several showers since, except they forgot to use soap.  Or shampoo.  They have potatoes growing under their nails, they store their retainers next to the fake dog poop they keep on top of their dressers (and you're not sure which is which), and there are dirty socks everywhere.  I actually found one balled up inside my son's yearbook.  His YEARBOOK.  Which, remarkably, was on the shelf where it was supposed to be.  Thank God for small miracles. There is underwear between the wall and his bed, and there are wet things on the floor of his closet, along with a million shoe strings and used tissues.  There again, thank God for small miracles -- he used a tissue!  But the socks smell, and the underwear.  My boys themselves are generally just grimy everywhere.  To make matters worse, T's coloring is so dark that I can't tell if it's dirt or his skin.  I wish I could say it's just his skin.  They smell like pickles and trashcan.  And they're not even teenagers yet.

And now, they have to wear cups.  Which you, as their mother, have to wash.

It's a good thing we love boys.  And it's a good thing that love can overcome the disgusting that. is. boys.

You know, that's why boys love their moms so much.

We know too much.


 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Brothers

Our summer was one giant battle of the sexes.  Mostly, it was Meems battling the fact that she's the only girl sandwiched between two boys.  Who really get along and play together and have similar interests.  That are, unfortunately, NOT interests she shares.  Although she tries.  Bless her heart, boxers just don't work on a girl.  Besides, she only wants the station wagons and the minivans when they play cars.  Which don't cut it on construction sites.  And, apparently, construction workers don't get mani/pedis over lunch break.  Despite her encouragement that it will make them feel better and their wives will LOVE it.

She was lucky to spend two weeks with some girl cousins.  And for two weeks, she had sisters.  For one of those weeks, there were even NO BOYS.

The sadness when they left...heartbreaking.  Because, despite her insistence that there might be a baby in my tummy (there's not) she's never going to have a sister.  Which breaks my heart too.

Today, walking to the bus stop, she was discussing our family dynamics of more boys than girls in our family of five plus a male dog which makes 4 boys and only two girls.  "But, that's OK, because I like having brothers."  She then shot me a look like "wait, what did I just say?"  Total shock.  And then a shrug as we walked on, her declaring with a sigh "It's true.  It can be a hard life, but I love them, even though they're always mean to me.  But sometimes they are nice.  Even though they're usually mean."

And then, she stopped dead in her tracks, looked at me very seriously, and said "unless you really DO have a baby in your tummy, even one you don't know about because God wants me to have a sister."

There's no sister growing in there.  I'm positive.  This is the way it is.  But, you'll love having brothers.

Especially if you can sell them on the mani/pedis....



 

Friday, September 9, 2011

Independence Day

This week, my little T man started kindergarten.

As my friend Celia says, it's a little boohoo and a little woohoo.

He's my baby and I'm not ready for him to be so grown up.  The fact that he IS so grown up means that the other two are REALLY grown up.

That's the boohoo.

Truth is, I've had a child at home and no more than 2.5 hour chunks of time to myself for 10 years.  And I am ready for a little "me" time.  WOOHOO!

So, seeing as I work Tuesday through Thursday, and Monday was a holiday (and they hadn't yet started school), today was my very first day of no kids.  For 7 whole hours.

No car line pickups, no negotiating naps, no running around like a crazy woman trying to get all my errands done in 2 hours.

I have awaited and anticipated this day for so long.  Independence Day.

So here's how it went down.  Hold on to your seats, people.  You're in for a bumpy ride.

1.  Wake up everyone extra early to take Meems to her tutor's before school.

2.  Shove Pop Tarts down their throats, yank brushes through their hair and show extreme irritation that W forgot his backpack three times.  And to wear shoes.  And to get his lunchbox, which he had taken out of his backpack for some odd reason.  I think it was after he asked me what I had packed him and he was checking to make sure...that I wasn't lying???

3.  Get Meems situated with her tutor while I deal with two very bored little boys who don't have anything to do despite the fact that I told them at least 11 times to bring something to do.  Yes it's my fault they are bored.

4.  Drive back to school.  What's with all the police?  Answer a million questions of this nature that I don't know the answer to, explain that it's probably NOT a robbery or a mob hit (do you know what that is?  no.  then don't say it).  Finally, it's time to drop them off.

5.  The children are wild at this point.  Curse you Pop Tarts!  They are talking a mile a minute and hanging out the window talking incessantly and asking me questions that are getting more and more ridiculous by the second.  Or maybe that was my perception because THEY WOULDN'T OPEN THE SCHOOL.  And I've been waiting for this for 10 years.

6.  I'm literally shoving them out of the car when they get to the door, with a sugary sweet "bye babies, love you too much, mwah" that I'm sure they didn't believe.  GETOUTOFTHEDAMNCAR.  Please.

Now, there's a caveat here.  Yes, I was ready for them to just GO because I was ready for them to just GO ALREADY, but also the sushi I had for dinner last night was doing the samba with the coffee I drank this morning and, well, let's just say I needed to get home.

7.  Toast myself some waffles.  I never have time to eat those and I am starving.  Eggos, because I am a gourmet.

8.  Talk to my mom on the phone.

9.  Shower.  No shaving because that takes too much time.

10.  Out the door.  Daggone, why is everyone driving so slowly?  Run a couple errands, then off to meet the aforementioned Celia for lunch.  The most exciting thing ever!!!  I'm running late, but that's OK because it means I missed the craziness that surrounded the President's speaking engagement here.  Yes, THAT President.  Which explains the police.

11.  Lunch with a long-time bestie in Carytown.  No rushing.  No looking at my watch (although I did because I'm not used to not rushing -- bad habit.  must break.).

12.  A little stroll and a little shopping.  Beautiful day, finally not raining, and no children means I can go in any store I want and spend as long as I want.  I even made myself NOT go in stores that sold stuff for them.  I drooled over some Hudson jeans, Frye boots, American Apparel gold lame tube dress (just kidding), jewelry, a linen and green alligator faux Kelly bag, and some rainbow hued skinny jeans.

13.  Take my time getting home.  I plan on ingesting a Tums and then some ice cream while I sit, watching Secrets of a Stylist, until it's time for T's open house/meet the teacher thingy.

14.  Remember that the dog is out of food and run off to Target.  Shoot, the gas tank is on E.  But the ice cream calls and the sitting and I decide I'll coast on fumes until later.

15.  Tums and ice cream.  'Nuff said.

16.  T's meet the teacher thingy.  So fun to see him in big school.  He is all hugs and kisses and "miss you mommy."  He proceeds to give me a tour around his classroom that consists of every little thing.  He explains to me that the big hulking desk is where the teacher works.  And introduces me to Mr. Chalkboard.  And explains that "these are hooks, they are where our backpacks go."  And because it's all new to him, it's all new to me and I love every minute.  Especially because he's holding my hand the entire time.

17.  Round up the other two.  I am glad to see them.  No, really, I am.

18. Get home.  Pour myself a glass of wine.  It's only 4:30, but what the heck.  I did the back-to-school week all by myself.  Call my sister.  She is not ready for a glass of wine.  Instead, she is scooping dog poop out of the yard while she talks to me.  I tell her she might be taking the multi-tasking thing a bit too far.  She doesn't agree.

19.  Write.  The perfect end to the perfect day.  Even if it doesn't make sense to anybody but me.  The writing that is.

20.  TBD

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

That'll Never Happen

“Oh, honey, we don’t really get earthquakes around here.  Don’t you worry.”

These are the words that I spoke to my 9-year-old son a couple weeks ago.  He asked me if we’d ever had an earthquake.  I told him that they didn’t happen in Virginia, although we did have a mild one several years ago when he and Little Meems were babies.  A very mild one.  And that's the ONLY time EVER in my WHOLE life of living in Virginia that we've had one.  

Seeing that he thinks I'm pretty old, he was mollified.

So what happens?  A 5.8 earthquake.  Right where I told him there wouldn’t be one.  Just two days AFTER I'd told him not to worry about ever having one.

He and his siblings were playing outside.  My husband was working from home while I was at work.  As soon as he realized what was happening, he raced out to them to make sure they were OK.

“Yeah, we’re fine.”  Quizzical looks.

“Did y’all feel that?  Did you feel that shaking?”

“Yes.”

“That was an earthquake!!  Are you all alright?”

“THAT was an EARTHquake??”

“Yes, pretty crazy huh?”

A shrug indicating that was really no big deal, and then back to playing, completely unfazed that what I told them would never happen actually happened.  Not bothered in the least.  No.
Big.  Deal.

Until I got home.  And of course, I was met with…

“YOU said we’d never have an earthquake…”

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Take THAT!

For those of you who know and love Little Meems, or who just follow her stories, you know that her year of being a 3-year-old was nearly her last year of life.  As in, I didn't think she would survive it.  As in, I didn't think I would survive it.  As in, daily thoughts of "I canNOT do this" and tearful calls to my sister to vent and ask advice.  Because I teetered on the brink of sanity most of that year with her.

Who was this creature?  Her older brother had always been so even tempered.  I, myself, am relatively even tempered.  She was not even tempered.  Not even a little.  Stubborn and mouthy and feisty and challenging and needy and emotional, all rolled into one little ball.  She was also sweet and loving and affectionate and snuggly and caring, but mostly that was with other people.  I felt like I'd birthed an alien life form and I was lost as to how to parent this child who, literally, was unlike me in almost every way.  What kills me is the memories other people have of her at that age and what a doll and a firecracker and how funny she was.  For me, those memories are emerging, but for a while got tucked behind the memories of all the challenges.  I want to remember the funny cuteness of her little three-year-old self, and the further I get from that time period, the more I do, but I sometimes feel like I lost a year of her.  And it slays me.

I was overwhelmed.  With a new baby, a new status as a stay-at-home mom (and the financial burdens of that), a husband with a travel-all-the-time job.  It was mostly me, most of the time.  No relief.  To be truthful, (and as time passes I now realize), she felt that chaos the most.  She still feels the absence of her dad more than the other two.

But.  BUT.

It's also the time that she made me laugh the most.  Some of my funniest stories are from that difficult, precious little three-year-old girl.  Like I said, the good memories are slowly making their way out of hiding, now that we've all had a chance to distance ourselves from that time in our lives.

Like the time she got so mad at me when she sassed me and got sent to time out.  Stomping through the dining room, she wailed back and punched the wall.  "I bet that hurt."  Yes, to the wall.  I don't remember who was sitting with me at the kitchen table, but we had a good laugh.

Another time, my mother and I were at the kitchen table and she was throwing a tantrum over something we told her she couldn't do.  She looked at us and screamed "FINE.  I'm LEAVing!" and stomped off through the door into the garage, where we overheard her wandering around, occasionally kicking the pole in frustration that the garage door was closed and she was trapped.  Even then, she knew that she couldn't come back in and still save face, so she hung out in the garage, screaming under her breath (a very rare talent) until I went to retrieve her.  She immediately burst into tears and squeezed me so tightly.  She had gotten stuck in the "what's next" and was held captive by her pride and it was too much for her little body to bear.

There was the time she lost all her toys and room accessories for continued misbehavior.  As I was clearing the room out, she was laying on the bed, arms behind her head, legs crossed, one leg wagging up and down.  Finally, as I struggled with the books, she said "oh, you dropped one" and went back to wagging her foot.

If it was quiet, disaster was on the horizon, whether it be blue paint spilled on the hallway carpet, nail polish poured down the toilet, lipstick pictures on the walls, wallpaper ripped off her walls, paint hammered off her antique iron bed, oh, yes, and the time she cut her hair off.  She had less than a half inch of hair remaining on the crown of her head.

Oh, so many stories.

There are the good memories, but I'll save those for another time, when they're not overshadowed by my failings as a mother.  Because those are too special to taint with these admissions of my own ineptitude.

I wonder...what are her memories of that time?  I feel certain she can't remember many instances of that year when it didn't look like my head might explode.  She probably never even noticed that the vein on my neck doesn't always pop out.  I imagine all she can remember is my mouth open wide and words coming out and the exhausted look that took up permanent residence on my face.

I hope not.  I don't always know that I was the mother she needed for me to be that year, but it was a further education in how to be her mother.  She needs a different kind of mother than my boys.  I never understood what it meant to be the parent your child needs until I had two completely different children who needed completely different things from me.  W doesn't want hugs after he's gotten in trouble; Meems wants them immediately and will cling to you like her life depends on it.  A raised voice is enough to get through to and upset W, while Meems is completely unfazed.  W is like a cat, and wants affection on his own terms; Meems wants it constantly.  And then there's T, who's an entirely different kid altogether.

Yet, in some crazy way, all the trials and tribulations made me more connected to her than I knew I could be. I feel her pain.  I can anticipate her moods (most of the time) and know how to diffuse them.  I know when, in the middle of her frustration, she's gone past the point of no return and just needs me to scoop her up and hold her tightly.

I like to think that was God's plan all along.  He doesn't give us more than we can handle, right?  I had to prove myself.  She knew what she needed all along; I had to find out.  She's one of His special creatures, of that I am convinced.

And I can't thank Him enough for the blessing that is Little Meems.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Chickie Bunny

This is Chickie Bunny.



He belongs to Little Meems.  She saw him in TJ Maxx one day when she was 3.  She picked him up and carried him around and talked to him the entire time we were there.  So, of course, he came home with us.  Thanks DeeDee!

When we arrived home, he was supposed to be an Easter decoration.  But Meems had other ideas.  We decided he needed a name.  Ever the creative child, she came up with "Chickie Bunny." (This kind of originality is pretty standard around here.  Her dolls' names are typically either Mary or Catherine.  Or Dolly.)

Chickie Bunny has been a loyal playmate for 5 years.  He'll make an appearance, then disappear for a while, hidden somewhere in favor of American Girls.  Usually, he just lurks in her room beside the bookshelf.  I redid her room not long ago and moved Chickie Bunny to the playroom.  I considered, for the briefest of moments, getting rid of Chickie Bunny, feeling she'd probably outgrown him.  But I couldn't do it.  He's been a faithful friend, and of all her dolls, he is the go-to when she's playing "moms" and needs a toddler or a preschooler in her brood.

He's missing some feathers.  And his Easter basket.  He's got tufts of idontreallyknowwhat coming out of him.  There's an orange thing tied around his ankle.  He's lost his stiffness, and now mostly either leans against a wall, or hangs out, oddly enough, on both his feet and his face simultaneously.

He has been loved.  And he clearly still is.


This is where I found him today.  In my bed.

And this is pretty standard for Chickie Bunny.  Every once in a while, I find him randomly placed in a chair, or on the stairs (in time out) or even in the shower.  Sometimes he's even wearing a tutu, or a shawl, or some bows clipped to his ears.  As he seems to randomly pop up in my life, I think it's only fitting, going forward, that he pops up at her big events in life...lurking in prom pictures, having a snack at her graduation party, as a wedding guest....

Chickie Bunny, you are blessed that a special little girl saved you from the clutches of a tacky over-decorator and instead gave you a life full of love.  Because love lives all year round, but Easter is only once a year.




Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Weirdness

You know my children love to make up wacky games.  There’s Oh No My Baby!, Wedgie Mama, Big Wheel Slingshot (which involves pedaling the Big Wheel as fast as you can down the hill next to our house, then cornering into the driveway like you’re on rails while your sibling follows behind in an umbrella stroller tied to the Big Wheel’s axle and gets flung wide by the sudden turn.  The object is to eject before you reach the ditch.  Or is it?).

So what’s a kid to do when they’re bored on the beach?  Make up a game of course, using only a paper plate and the wind. 

Let the wind plaster the plate to your face and hold it there as long as you can.  It’s a contest, see?  And it's fun!  And then, do the same thing on your hiney.

That’s when mommy flips over on to her stomach, pretending she doesn’t know you.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Just Like Me?

It amazes me, how, as you watch your children grow you see more and more of yourself in them. 


Lately, I’ve been noticing this about my son, W.  He’s 9 -- an age where he’s got a foot in two worlds and he’s not sure where he feels more comfortable.  I guess that’s what the whole tween thing is. 

He’s athletic and physical like his father was as a boy, but I’m beginning to see more of the introspection and the shyness that defined me as a child.  He’s an observer of situations.  He assesses to get a feel for the dynamics before he feels comfortable in joining a group. 

I did that.  He doesn’t seem to be self-conscious, necessarily (unlike me), he just seems to want to get a handle on things first.  Or maybe it's because he's a little shy.  He’s affectionate in his own way, but not the least bit demonstrative.  Which is a bummer to this mom who wants too many hugs and kisses.  BUT, again, he's like me.  I get it, and I have to respect it, but it doesn’t mean my arms don’t ache sometimes.  He’s quiet.  As a mom I worry that he has something on his mind, or something troubling him.  From experience I know he’s just doing some thinking.  And enjoys being alone with his thoughts. I remember my mother bringing me to tears on occasion trying to make sure I was OK (I was, I was just thinking).  At the time, I felt like I was being poked and prodded and talked to death, but now I understand.  It’s agony -- craving insight into your child.  But I'm reminded by my own experiences not to worry, that if he needs me he knows where to find me.  I just hope I can hold up my end of that bargain -- the worry part, that is.   

Truth is, I like that he's like me.  I feel a connection to him because of it.  And that's better than any hug.

He's becoming such a nice kid.  A mature kid.  A handsome kid.  

And I'm so grateful he's MY kid.  



Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Power of Suggestion

W had a sleepover last week, so Meems and her brother T had some quality time together.  Just the two of them.  Which oftentimes is a recipe for disaster, but this time, THIS TIME, it was good.  So good, in fact, that it was almost magic.  Which, as a mom, is something.  Because it means that everything is running smoothly all at once and there is peace.  Which almost never happens.  Ever.

So, things were going so swimmingly they decided to have a sleepover in T's room.  He has bunk beds.  Which everyone here thinks is super cool, even if he won't let anyone else sleep on the top.  And besides, Meems' room is pink, and T doesn't do pink.  

The sleepover is marvelous, and they are even being quiet in their talking and giggling.  And then a creak, creak, and a little head pops over the stair railing.  "We can't sleep.  We need sleeping pills."

Herein lies a slippery slope.  I occasionally give them Melatonin to help them sleep, as Meems takes medication that can make her wakeful.  Which is dreadful for all involved.  It's like the aftermath of a nuclear meltdown when the kid doesn't get enough sleep.  However, I have long feared that they will take the interpretation of these "vitamins" up a notch and my children will tell their friends' parents at a sleepover that their mother gives them sleeping pills.  Knowing Meems, she will add that her mommy typically lets her wash it down with wine.  Where she gets this stuff... she loves to shock.

Walking the child back into the bedroom (she has been dispatched to break this news to the parents, as her brother is suspended in mid-air and it is dark and he is clumsy and she loves to be in charge anyway), I explain to her that in order to sleep, one must close his/her eyes and mouth.  Because it is very nearly impossible to fall asleep while talking with your eyes open.  

"We've tried that."

Oh?  You don't say.  "Well, then the only thing for you to do is to close your eyes and make your body limp like a spaghetti noodle.  A cooked one (quickly added so there's no confusion over the fact that uncooked noodles are not, in fact, limp).  Pretend you're jelly.  Now, breathe deeply through your nose.  That's it, in...and out...See?"  

Just as I'm thinking, "God, where do I come up with this stuff" T says, "ahhh, that's nice" to which Meems adds, "I feel restful now" and T adds again, glee in his voice "so welaxing...this weally works like a chawm."

Oh boy.

Amazingly, it did work.  And it worked the next night as well, as, still feeling the love they decided to have another sleepover (so excited about it, in fact, that Meems didn't even notice she was going to be a whole half hour earlier) and informed me as I left the room after tucking them in that they had decided to be noodles again.  As I descended the stairs, I hear a chorus of "i am SO welaxed wight now" and "i feel sleepy already" and "it's, like, magic or something or being at a spa" and "this bweaving fing weally wuhks!"

I don't know when she's ever been to a spa, but whatever. 

Magic.  It does exist.





Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Bees

My kids just came running in the house, slamming the door behind them, all out of breath.  Between huffs and puffs, they managed to tell a tale of bees gone berzerk.  They have been doing that a lot lately.  The bees.

It all started several weeks ago when my oldest son stepped on a bee and it stung him on his toe.  He is one tough kid, but you woulda thought someone cut his toe OFF.  It was a ginormous wasp, he breathed, in between moans.  Moans.  Turns out, it was a yellow jacket.  Which is slightly smaller and less lethal than a wasp, but painful just the same.

A couple weeks later, their dad mowed right through a yellow jacket nest that was buried in the grass weeds grass.  They went crazy and  bit him directly on the butt-ocks (that's a Forrest Gump reference, in case you missed it).  They've been mad as hell at him and everyone else in this family ever since.  You don't MESS with a yellow jacket's weed house.

So now, all bees are cra-zazy around my family.  According to them.  I mean, those kids are freaked.  I just went outside to close the garage door (something they dare not try because of the dive bombing bee swarm) and there are no bees in sight.  Hm.  There are, however, bikes and scooters and skateboards and helmets scattered everywhere.  There are only three kids, and yet there are about 50 things with wheels and things that are associated with things with wheels scattered all across the driveway.  There's even a helmet hanging on one of the bushes, where it was flung in a state of near hysteria.

I have yet to see the first bee.  But I have enjoyed the mental pictures my family has created for me regarding their evil intentions.  I can just imagine the hub's high-stepping around the front yard.  I base my vision on the memory of him high-stepping across the yard once when he refused to stop mowing until a giant lightning bolt cracked down practically in front of him.  And the way things were strewn across the driveway gives me all the clues I need to picture the scene that occurred when the bee swarm attacked my precious babies just a little while ago.

I wish I had been a neighbor happening to look out the window at just the right time.  Between the screaming match in the street, my daughter traipsing through the neighborhood in a pink wig and red high heels, the weird games my kids create, the bees and the getups my kids wear (right now, the youngest is walking around with my hubby's old glasses, a prepster ribbon belt with drumsticks tucked into it, and a cape).  Well, let's just say there's never a dull moment at our house.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Bad Mom Award?

Last night, I was folding laundry in the family room while watching Ant Farm on Nickelodeon.

Sadly, my life has come to this.

It's no Good Luck Charlie, that's for sure.  However, it is heads and shoulders superior to Pair of Kings.

The laundry.  So, I'm folding and I find a pair of underwear.  Boxer briefs, to be specific.  Holding them up, I realize how tiny they are.  And that I have no idea whether they are my 9 year-old's or my 5 year-old's.  Yes, the 9 year old is that skinny.

"Whose are these?"

Meems giggling, because what's funnier than your brother's tiny underwear?  Of course, I couldn't resist adding something about "whose cute little teeny buns go in here?"  And then I danced them around in the air a little bit.

W:  "They're T's."
T:  "They're not MINE."
W:  "Well, you can have them.  They'll fit you."
T:  Eyes lighting up with glee.  "I can HAVE them?!"

I know, a little pathetic.  But, apparently, exciting nonetheless.

So, as my oldest has now confided in me that he really only likes to wear boxers, not boxer briefs because he likes the circulation (?), I passed all the little teeny boxer briefs down to his brother.  Which gives me an opportunity to throw away the hand-me-down Cars and Toy Story underwear that T currently sports.

It occurs to me, as I make these piles:  is this just WRONG?  Hand-me-down underwear?  Honestly, I'm not sure the poor kid has ever worn underwear that wasn't a hand-me-down.  But it's perfectly good underwear! Surely I'm not the only mom who's done this?   I mean, it's clean!  And the boys go through underwear like crazy, so there's tons of it so as to minimize the frequency with which I have to do laundry.  It's not like they CHANGE their underwear that often, it gets squirreled away in unusual places (instead of walking it to the laundry shoot) because they're lazy, then they can't find any underwear to wear.  Except under the mattress or tucked in the Lego bin on the bookshelf.  Which is not clean.  Or maybe it is, who can remember?  But it's all you've got, so you're going to have to wear it.  

Yes, maybe a little sad.  Today might be a good day to go out and buy him his very first set of non-worn underwear.

He'll be so excited!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Determination

Little Meems decided to do swim team this year.  I am proud of her for going out of her comfort zone to try new things.  I am even more proud of her for how brave she's been and how determined she is, even in the face of...well...the girl can't swim.  She's got no game.  I keep thinking it'll happen, that she'll get it, but I'm not sure she will.

But she keeps on trying anyway.

She's the smallest one in her age group.  Not the youngest, just the smallest.  She feels a little embarrassed that the other girls are faster, but at the end of the race, she's just happy to finish.  All teeth and dimples.

In her first meet, she was so brave, even though she was so nervous she was shaking.  She held onto my hand for dear life and, at one point, fought back tears so no one would see.  But I did.  So I fought back mine too.

She's the kid that everyone cheers for because he/she is so far behind everyone else.  In the backstroke, most of the kids have gotten out of the pool, toweled off and have gotten a bite to eat before she finishes.  She looks like those old ladies you see with the flower caps swimming laps, slowly and with purpose, gracefully and in no hurry whatsoever.  Except she keeps criscrossing the pool and bumping her head on the lane lines.  In the end, everyone knows her name and is cheering madly for her -- even the competition.

The meaning of that is not lost on me, and it makes my heart hurt a little.  She, however, doesn't seem to mind.

Last night, she was bummed to hear she came in 35th in the freestyle.  Out of 35 swimmers. She was happy about finishing 32nd in the backstroke.  I didn't tell her there were only 32 swimmers.

She figured it out, though.  When she asked me, I had to tell her the truth.  She can handle it.  She nodded knowingly, sighed and declared "it's because I had to doggie paddle, isn't it?"

That, and the fact that between water in her goggles and the zig-zaggiest freestyle race I have ever seen, she got disoriented.  I know because I could tell by her expression mid-way down the lane.  It read "what the hell?  where am I?"

Oh well.  She hasn't complained, although she HAS already declared she won't be doing it next year.  But who knows??  She told me last night "maybe."

I'm so proud of her determination.  And, as much as it will be fun one day to reminisce about her "season of swimming," my hope is that it will set the stage for a sense of dedication and responsibility that will grow with her.  If quitting has crossed her mind, she hasn't said so.  I must say, I'm surprised and delighted by this tiny little girl who's so determined and brave and committed.

That's what I'll be thinking the next time the entire pool is cheering for her.

I'd like to think that's what everyone else is thinking too.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Heart

Little Meems never ceases to amaze me.  True, she is a little girl full of contradictions, and consequently, full of surprises.

But I don't know that I've ever known another child with such a capacity for love.  Genuine, honest love.  And she'll give it freely, if you let her.

Let her.

She is a sister so excited because her brother is getting his cast off.  She is a daughter who will compliment you on how pretty you look, or how handsome you are.  She is a friend who is worried about you when you get sick on the bus.  She gives compliments freely, and often.  And she means it.  She will pick you up when you fall.  And fret over your tears.  And kiss your booboos.  The victories of the ones she loves are her victories too.  And when you're sad, her heart hurts.  And she'll encircle you in her little spindly arms and stroke your hair and hold you until you can hold yourself again.

If you're lucky enough to be loved by her, you're luckier than you know.  If you're lucky enough to love her, then you already know how lucky you are.

Little Meems, when she was little

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A Dozen Reasons Against Arts and Crafts

Arts and crap, that is.

I succumbed.  To the pleadings of a sweet, bored 5-year-old boy.  In the "hobby" section of the fabric store, where I had spent far too long to just pick up the thread I needed.  To reward him for his patience and good behavior, I let him browse the crafts.

Mistake #1.

He found a "weally cool piwate ship" that he just had to have.  A wooden model that you get to paint too!  For ages 8 and up!  Against my better judgement, but because I knew it would give him something to do, I bought it.

Mistake #2.

And so that leads us to mistake #3:  believing that he would be contributing whatsoever to the assembly endeavor.

Because it's for 8 year olds.  Which, even then, in  my house means "or their parents."

Mistake #4:  believing that it was as simple as following the instructions and that all prep had been done for you.

Mistake #5:  not having any sandpaper to sand the pieces that had not been prepped beforehand.

Mistake #6:  believing that the hole sizes would match the diameter of the sticks going in those holes.

Mistake #7:  jamming them in there anyway.

Mistake #8:  cursing when they break.

Mistake #9:  wasting $5 on the stupid thing.

Mistake #10:  freaking arts and crafts from the hobby section of the fabric store.

I should have known better.  This isn't my first rodeo.  Nothing, NOTHING I TELL YOU, that we have ever purchased in that section has worked out to be fun for everyone.  Not unless you consider tears and frustration and cursing and splinters fun.

Mistake #11:  Lying to him, telling him that we'll get another one.  And this time, Mommy won't break it.

Mistake #12:  Forgetting I told him that.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Aunt Diane Song

We spend Thanksgiving with my husband's family.  He has an aunt who lives in Memphis.  Diane.  I love Aunt Diane, and we always love catching up because she lives far away from us and we only see her once a year.

When Little Meems was 3, Aunt Diane really made an impression on her.  I'm not sure why, exactly.  It could be that Aunt Diane had missed the previous Thanksgiving when we had it at the beach because the travel was just too much.  So she was new to Meems, and I feel that at 3, kids start to really have an awareness for family and their whereabouts.  It's almost like that's the age they start to develop memories.

I think Little Meems and Aunt Diane must have bonded.  I can't remember fully, but my guess is there was lipstick and gum and a purse (or two) involved.  Those were the keys to her heart in those days.  Aunt Diane has two sons, and knowing Little Meems, she picked up on the fact that Aunt Diane needed a good dose of little girl.  Which is a service she could provide.

She's very intuitive that way.

We realized the impact Aunt Diane had on Little Meems once we returned home.  Little Meems made up a song about Aunt Diane.  Tuneless, and with just two words - "aunt," and "Diane."  Yes, it was the words "Aunt Diane" sung at the top of her lungs to a tune that played solely inside her head.  And since the little girl is completely and utterly tone deaf, we will never truly know what that tune was.

We soon realized she sang this special song only at certain, special, times.  

When she was in the bathroom.  Pooping.

Now, I don't know how to explain it.  Maybe the extended visit to the bathroom made her turn to song to pass the time.  Carly Simon sittin' on a toilet.  Pooping.  Girlfriend singing at the top of her lungs.  Adding a vibralto here and there for good measure.  And for specialness.  Because it sounded fancy that way.  

Never did the song get sung on shorter visits to the loo.  And never was the song sung anywhere other than the loo.  Only, only on visits to the loo for, well, it rhymes with loo.

In hindsight, it would have been nice to record that action.  However, I'm not organized enough to have the camera charged and ready to go at a moment's notice.  Bummer.  It would have been excellent material for a rehearsal dinner video.  As it stands, it'll have to settle for after dinner story time when the kids are all grown up.  

Aunt  Diane had a great attitude about her little dedication song.  She laughed.  If she felt offended, she never let on.  Aunt Diane, if you're reading this, thank you for that.  You've always been very sweet.

I just might have to sing your praises!  Wow, I hope I can remember the tune.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Meems. A Story in Pictures.

Sometimes, a picture is worth a thousands words.  

In honor of her birthday month, here's what you need to know about Little Meems.  Although they're in no particular order, they tell her story nonetheless.















































The End.