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...