Thursday, March 31, 2011

Baby Girl is Growing Up

My Little Meems, the snuggliest of the snugglers, is growing up.  And by that, I mean she's becoming too mature to snuggle, apparently.  She IS almost 8, you know.

Honestly, there once was a time when I looked forward to the day she wouldn't be hanging all over me all the time.  That girl's love tank has always been filled through touch, and she seemingly could never get enough.  It's not like she was starved for love.  But there for a while, she was an extra appendage.  I couldn't walk, sit or lie down without her climbing on my lap or climbing into the chair next to me, or insisting I hold her.  Or rub her arm.  Or scratch her back.  Or play with her hair.  Or let her play with my hair.  She didn't walk until she was almost 16 months because she wanted to be carried.  Even her language for asking to be carried implied her need for touch -- she'd throw her little arms up and say "hold you."

But now...well, lately, she shrugs me off when I scoop her up (a tiny thing at only 40 pounds - yes, that's right, she's almost 8) she's pretty easy to scoop up.  "Moo-ooom, STO-OPP."  The standard extra syllables and a little pop on the "p" sound.

I guess it was inevitable.  This is the age her brother was when he first shrugged me off.  Of course, he's never been as touchy-feely as his sister.  But it was about this time that that shrug meant "I don't have time for this right now."

And that's what hurts the most.  They're busy.  On the plus side, it means they are turning into their own people, a little more independent of their parents each day.  On the minus side, it means they are turning into their own people, a little more independent of their parents each day.

It's both wonderful and heartbreaking.  A perfect representation of parenthood, if you ask me.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Case of the Missing Scissors

I just found scissors in the washing machine.  The very same scissors that the kids lost weeks ago and "I refuse to buy you new ones because I'm tired of you not taking care of your things."  Glue sticks, pencil sharpeners...these are the things that we have a million of, yet we never seem to be able to find them.

There is an art cabinet (Yes, I'm THAT organized, can  you believe it?  Yes I know!)  right next to our kitchen table.  It is FULL of art supplies  Just don't open the door too quickly. 

Yet, the 10-pack of glue sticks I recently bought has mysteriously vanished.  My son had to attach his word study words into his notebook the other day with ticky-tack because there was no glue to be found. OK, let me amend that.  Glue STICKS.  Because there is an overage of actual school glue, however my children are disasters with the stuff.  Complete and utter disasters.  Like, "go take a bath because you are covered in glue" disasters.  I sharpened a pencil with a knife the other day, a la Laura Ingalls Wilder, because I couldn't find a pencil sharpener.  It created an awkward, misshapen, hot mess of a pencil that no one would use.  They decided to use a pencil  nub they found, and SHARE IT.

Maybe I'm onto something.

Back to the scissors.  We couldn't find any the other day, so I taught my daughter my old school trick of folding a piece of paper, then licking the crease to create an easy, clean tear.  She thought I was crazy.  Licking a piece of paper.  Really??  This is the same little girl who licked the tire of the car one day, just to see what it tasted like.

And I'M the crazy one.

So the scissors were found in the rubber sealing around the door of the washer.  They have been there for weeks.  Literally.  I really should check that thing more often, because I also found mates to all my son's missing socks.  And a pair of my underwear.  And some money and wadded up tissues, which can't be good for the washing machine.

Those scissors are back in their rightful place in the awesome art cabinet.  Ah, organization.

Just don't open the door too quickly.

Monday, March 21, 2011


I have friends who laugh about wearing their pajama pants to the bus stop or to drop the kids off at school.  Because, let's face it, when you're getting up that early and getting little people ready, your energy is spent on them and you're just coming home for another cup of coffee anyway.  Hopefully.

Wow, we moms live vicariously, no?

I've never done it.  Not because I'm a mom-prude.  Because I am the mom who will get caught without her pants on (well, regular pants anyway).  I will be the one who gets rear-ended, or has a flat tire, or runs out of gas.  And I will be standing there on the side of the road in white threadbare pants covered in giant fruits.  Or cowboys.  Yes, I have cowboy pajama pants.  And they are old and the elastic is sprung.  What can I say, my husband is the luckiest of men.

I toyed with the idea today.  Little T being sick, I had nowhere to go after running them up to the bus stop, and I had spent most of the morning trying to find W's missing shoe.  Because APPARENTLY someone is breaking into garages and stealing just one shoe.  Or something like that.  He insists he placed them neatly together, side by side, in the garage, right NEXT to the shoe basket.  So that he'd know where they were this morning.  As if his wording of "neatly together, side by side" isn't suspect enough, the "so I'd know where they were in the morning" is the icing on the cake.  And NEXT TO the shoe basket?   Story of my life.

So after literally digging through his closet (guess what he gets to do after school) and tearing the garage apart, I was informed that his other pair of shoes is too small and the backup pair has a huge rip in it.  And has had one for weeks.  But he's been wearing them anyway.  But today, it bugs  him.

Needless to say, no time for gettin' dressed.  I did manage to exchange the fruity pants for some yoga pants, but I had my pj top on under a highly unfashionable, yet quite comfy, maroon sweatshirt left over from my college days.  Glasses, hair in a messy bun/pony, a dab of zit cream here and there (I'm 40 - why is that still happening?).  Hop in the car, drive to the bus stop, drive home.  Because the shoe search made us too late to walk.

Upon entering my kitchen, I see my son's science extra credit project sitting on the counter.  You know, the one I told him to put in his backpack three times this morning?  There it sat, in all its glory.  He'd worked so hard, and wants to bring up his science grade so badly.  I hopped back into the car and chased the bus down, thinking myself lucky to intercept it.  Of course, there I was, crazy lady screaming and running toward the bus, arms madly waving the driver to stop.

Well, thank GOODNESS I didn't have my pajama pants on.  Because THAT would have been embarrassing.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Holla Yuya

Is what Little Meems says, because she apparently CAN’T say Halleluiah.  Even though she’s almost 8, there are still some things that just get rolled around in her mouth like marbles. 

Last night at the dinner table, the kids were being silly and telling stories.  And for some reason she started shouting Halleluiah!  I don’t remember why.  These are MY kids, remember?  Who knows why they do some of the things they do.  They’re weird sometimes.

Anyway, the same little girl who coined the word "chub" as in "Mommy, you're really chubbin' that corn down" has coined a new family phrase, just in her sheer inability to enunciate correctly.  

I think, in her case, things just get a little garbled between her head and her mouth.  Which is the indication, as it turns out, of a larger issue, but the up side is it's brought us a new family vernacular.  

For example:
Holla, yuya!  Because I aksded you to.  And for that, you get a gif tercificate to Chick-Fur-Lay.  Where, if you want, you can get fried or girled chicken.  To chub.  Because your marvin is starvin.  

Let's get ON the ship! (totally untranslatable -- it means "let's get this show on the road!")

Holla yuya!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Oh No My Baby!

One spring day a couple years ago, my daughter and her friends were enjoying the weather and playing outside.  As I was outside planting some flowers that would never grow, I let them play in the street with their strollers.  Mostly they were just pushing the baby-filled strollers down the street, pretending they were moms out on a walk with their children.  Back and forth and back and forth -- they're only allowed to go to the neighbor's driveway.  Cute, huh?

Chittering and chattering and wearing their sunglasses.  Meems wearing her red heels, of course.

Shortly, they're all screaming and laughing, and as I stand up to see what's going on, a stroller whizzes by me down the street (which is a slight incline) with a screaming 5-year-old running after it.  Not thinking, and noticing the look of panic on my daughter's face, I stop the stroller.  I mean, for a mom, that's an instinct that's as much a part of us as breathing.

"MO-OMMM!"  Meems always adds another syllable for emphasis.  "You messed up our GAME-UH!"

And then I notice another baby in a stroller coming, full-throttle, straight towards me, and another screaming 5-year-old running behind it screaming "OH NO MY BABY!!!!"

"See,"  Little Meems points out with her hand on her hip.  "We're PUH-LAYING a game called OH NO MY BABY!"

And here comes the third screaming little girl hurtling after her speeding stroller.

Three little girls collapse in a pile of giggles.  "That was funny, let's do it again."  

At this point, I don't feel I need to explain any further the details of the game.  I think you get it.

I admit, I had a moment of "is this appropriate?" but it quickly lost out to "oh well, they're having fun."

Maybe that was a bad call.  My neighbor across the street walked by with her daughter, who, incidentally was pushing a REAL baby in a REAL stroller.  And they stopped to talk to the girls.  Holy crap!  Before I could high-tail it up the hill to intervene (and say what, exactly??) they had already explained the game.

I only hope, as the mother of 4 children herself, somewhere in her history there's a childhood game that's equally as inappropriate.

It's now a regular in my children's made-up-game repertoire, along with wedgie-mama (you know that one) and big wheel slingshot.

More on that later.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Will They Dance?

When I was pregnant with my oldest, "I Hope You Dance" by Lee Ann Womack was popular.  And, of course, I fell in love with it, like 1.3 bazillion other moms did.  I think, unless you have children, it's hard to really feel what that song means.

For me, as a mom-to-be, the lyrics not only had meaning, but I felt, really felt the weight of that meaning for the first time.

Every time I heard that song, I felt so happy.  So expectant.  So full of the insights and advice and lessons I wanted to pass along to my unborn child.  That song so eloquently expressed everything I wanted to say, everything I wanted to feel...but I lacked the words.

I heard that song today, taking my youngest to school.  Now, I never was a sap until I had children.  And even now, I'm not one to be too emotional over every little thing.  There are so many things that other mothers save of their children that I simply toss.  An example (and this is timely, as Little Meems lost two this week):  teeth.  I had good intentions of keeping their first teeth until I actually held one in my hand and thought about it sitting for years in a baby book or treasure box until, one day when they were grownups, we found it.  It seemed...disturbing to me.  Who really wants to see a 20-30-40 year old tooth?  I quickly flushed it down the toilet.

But, I digress -- back to the song.  I started tearing up.  Remembering the hope and excitement and serenity and expectation I felt.  That quickly turned to sniffling, as the meaning of the words hit me again, this time from the perspective of a mother of children who are learning those lessons.  Children who struggle sometimes.  Children who are so innocent and fragile and in awe of so many things.  Children who accomplish.  And children who hurt sometimes.  And who have been knocked down.  Children, who, despite every parent's best attempts, are just trying to figure out where they belong in this big world.  And the realization that the search for that can have mixed results.

It wasn't very long before I was sobbing and gasping for air as my young son, alarmed in the back seat, asked me (of course) if I was crying.

Thank God for big sunglasses, because they allowed me to look at him in the rearview mirror and reassure him that I just had a cold.  They covered my tears, but also my lie.

I will always love that song.  And, I will probably cry even harder the next time I hear it.  It occurs to me that it would be an appropriate song for us to dance to at his wedding.  Someday.  At which point, I'll REALLY lose it.

To my children, if you're reading this one day...I hope you always dance.