Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sometimes I Get It Right

There are some days that I love being a mom, really love it -- not just say I love it because I'm overwhelmed and exhausted and need to say it to remind myself that I do.  I wrap my entire being around my life, infused with energy and goodwill from my children, knowing that, at least for this one moment, I am doing it right. 

There is so much uncertainty that goes with parenting, so much second guessing.  I have never felt less sure of myself than I do now, when instinct and intelligence battle daily.  My instinct is always, first and foremost, to show my children love.  My intellect riots when, instead of demanding an over-tired toddler sit in time-out, I cradle the child close, rocking and soothing, instantly forgetting and forgiving the transgression because I just ache from places I didn't know existed when they cry.

Today I had one of those moments of clarity when I felt sure, felt competent, felt that what I am doing and how I approach my children is right.

Milo's first bit of homework is an "All About Me" project.  Scott helped him complete a worksheet on Sunday night and I helped him decorate a paper-wrapped shoe box with markers and an odd assortment of stickers (Halloween, Batman,Chocolate Labs, and dots).  He had to place three objects in the box which give insight into who he is.

His first selection is a small figure of a Chocolate Lab.  His second selection is one of his Star Wars guys -- he waffled for a while about whether or not he wanted to put one in, but ultimately decided that they really are his favorite toys.  His third selection?  I suggested a Wii game, a book, his favorite food, a plastic egg (because of the chickens), a tractor, a car and numerous items.  He refused all of them.

Finally he said, "Mom, why can't I just put in a picture of my family?  They are the most important thing to me and I want to share that.  I'm me because of my family."

Talk about blown away...

Of course I immediately printed a picture for him and let him tuck it safely into his box.

The other part of the assignment is a "Meaning of My Name" note.  So I quickly typed up an explanation of how he got his name.  When I read it aloud to him, his eyes filled with tears and he squeezed me more tightly than he's ever squeezed me before.  He whispered, "Mom, that's the most beautiful story I have ever heard.  Thank you and I love you."

Naturally, this turned on my waterworks, too.  And we both sniffled sweetly at each other for a moment, that moment when I felt like the best mom in the world.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Out of the Mouths of My Babes

My dear son is now a three-day old Kindergartner.  The shiny new student smell is still there, though I am noticing differences in the child.  For one, his usual tendency towards motor-mouth has been revved up into fifth gear, likely from sitting quietly all day in class.  Or as quietly as a five-year-old boy sits.  But the instant I pick him up until the moment his eyes snap shut at bed, he talks.  And talks... and talks, talks, talks, talks...

On both Friday and today I had to swing by my office after picking him up from school and complete a few mundane tasks.  He chattered like a tweaking squirrel all the way into my office, as he fished out a piece of scrap paper and started adorning it with a freebie highlighter.  He narrated his drawing process, zipping sound effects as he created four-armed aliens with twenty-seven toes. 

And when he's not talking?  He's a teakettle.  It started about a week ago as he was having some sort of Star Wars firefight -- he made a vaguely whistle-sounding noise, surprising himself.  Then he came running to show me, "Mom!  I can whistle!" as he pooched his lips and made a breathy, windy sound. 

"Almost, little buddy!  Keep practicing!"

And now I regret having ever given that edict.  Keep practicing.  Am I an idiot?  Why on earth would I suggest that to him?

Because he did.  And now he can whistle.  One note.  Over and over and over again.  He'll whistle rhythmically to songs he hears, doing pretty well with that, but he has no pitch control.  So guessing what song he's whistling is nearly impossible.  Hint: when in doubt, go with "Ironman."

Not that our little princess is to be outdone!  Nope, she's now sleeping in her own room, in her little toddler bed, with dry safety diapers every night.  Well, it's been a couple of weeks of dry safety diapers, but one night of in her own room.  I have a lampshade to cover and a couple of sheer curtain panels to pick up before I take the "after" pictures, but I think it's pretty cute!

And she is walking around naming things, everything.  Sula, Lala, Lissa, Nilla, Bracebrace, and other Scrabble names.  Scrabble?  Put all the letters in a bag and draw out five or six random tiles to make up a name.  Please tell me this is a phase and I won't end up with a granddaughter named Kisla...

And actually she's saying actually a lot.  Pretty funny, really.  It comes out "Ak-shlee" but she's using it correctly. 

"Ak-shlee, mom, your granddaughter's name is Bleena..."

Thursday, August 19, 2010

First Day of Kindergarten

Well, he did it!

I took my dear, sweet son to Kindergarten this morning.  He was so excited that he dragged me through the technically still-closed doors to get to his classroom a few minutes before we were even supposed to be in the building.  I thought for a moment about stopping him, but decided to go with his wave of excitement -- who am I to tell him on his first day of school that he has to wait six minutes?  The last thing I wanted to do was make him feel self conscious, but he was so thrilled to be there I just didn't have the heart to make him wait.

When we got to his room, we read the list of things to do on the door and followed the directions.  He hung his backpack on his peg, signed in, and was on his way to his seat when I gently caught him.  I stooped down and looked him in the eye, telling him, "I just know you are going to have an awesome day and learn so much today!"

A quick hug and a high five later and I was the only childless mom standing in front of the school, waiting for the doors to open.  I promise to wait tomorrow...

No tear from mom, no tears from boy -- sounds like a great start to the year!

And then I worked for six hours, anxiously checking the clock between tasks, wondering what he was doing and if he felt comfortable enough to ask to use the bathroom.  Of course he did, silly mama...

Finally the time came to pick him up.  I met another mother in the hallway, her daughter is the friend Milo gets to sit next to in class.  We watched a group of kids leave the room for after-school care.  The teacher came in and out four times.  My friend's daughter came out, grinning.  Then Milo and he was beaming.  He charged straight for me, proclaiming, "This is the best elementary school I've ever been in and I LOVE Kindergarten!"


As we chatted on the way to pick up Violet from daycare, more details of the day came out.  His special today was P.E. and he said, "We ran and skipped and galloped between the lines."

They took a tour of the building and he saw the music room and the art room, met the school secretary and the school nurse.  He liked the pizza for lunch, but accidentally dropped his cake on the floor, "But that doesn't matter, lunch was good anyway."

He enjoyed three recesses and liked the stories he heard.  He sang a song for me and said he learned to say, "Bon Apetite, now let's eat!" before snack.  He brought home a school bus picture he colored with green and blue marker and, best of all, he said his teacher "was nice all day!"

Yay for Milo!  On his way to school, I told him, "You never ever get to have your first day of school again -- this is the only one, so I hope you have a really terrific first day!"  And I do think he did.  And I did tear up when he came out of his classroom with a smile as wide as the Pacific ocean, but only then and only for a minute.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

'Twas the Night Before School...

Tonight is Milo's last night as a wee one.  Why?

Tomorrow morning he starts Kindergarten.  He's in a class of 20, of which five are preschool friends.  I like that.  I really like that he gets to sit next to his close friend at his table.  The other poor red circles will never know what hit them!

We toured his room, met his teacher.  He was, naturally, playing shy.  So I introduced him as my "fashion accessory" since he was clinging to my leg with his left cheek mashed into my, um, right cheek.  That didn't last long, though, as his curiosity led him to explore the room while I signed up to bring treats for the Halloween party and filled out a schedule saying that we were picking him up and dropping him off daily.

He found the hook for his backpack, his place at his table, his cubby, and unloaded his school supplies carefully into the appropriate containers.  He chatted with a couple of friends, peered into toy bins, and stuck his head in the bathroom.  We noted some of the decorations, pointed out the calendar and some of the stations around the room.

Someone asked me if I would be tearful tomorrow.  I don't know.  I'm generally not a sentimental person and have much excitement for him, knowing that he will have fun learning and doing and exploring and friending.

And his poor teacher?  Well, Scott and I introduced ourselves.  And then we engaged in some witty repartee with a friend.  And volunteered left and right.  And probably overwhelmed her with our enthusiasm and slightly off-beat humor.  That's not really a bad problem to have, is it?


Our hens have begun laying.  Their first eggs looked like this,

but they soon became this

which, if we still had roosters, could have become this

that was served with these

 to feed these!

And there is the bounty of our lives!  Our eggs, our chicken, our green beans, our kids...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Jeckyll and Hideous...

Oh, my sweet girl,
Why didst thou transform from sweet toddler to loud preschooler,
convinced that your narrow opinion matters when it comes to
eating your supper,
getting dressed,
washing your hands,
using the toilet,
going to bed,
picking up toys,
setting the table,
walking into the road,
eating too many Oreos,
hitting your brother,
feeding the chickens,
brushing your teeth,
or kissing me goodnight?

And, to myself, please, oh, please may my recent insanity be due to hormonal supplementation.
Please?  Please?  Please?
and more Please?

I have gotten a peek at my future, and I think that the world just might end of your puberty and my menopause align like an eclipse.  Poor Daddy.  Poor Milo. I think they might want to consider building a shelter in the back yard.  They don't really need that much space, do they?

Maybe you and I should get more sleep, huh, babe? 

Disclaimer:  No children were hurt during the making of this post, nor the events that led to the making of this post.  There was just a mommy with low blood sugar and a child pushed way past tired.  And mushrooms, a potty, and pajamas.  Don't ask, it wasn't pretty -- not sure if it was her tears or mine on my shirt.  She did, however, wake up this morning sunny and cheerful and full of hugs.  So did I.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Happy Second Blog-o-versary to Me!

That's right!  Two years ago I started writing about my kids on my lunch hour as a way to keep a virtual baby book for them because I am fundamentally lazy and have handwriting that is beyond atrocious.  I can't even read what I've scrawled sometimes, let alone my poor children thirty years from now when they want to know when they got their first tooth.

I came out of the blog closet in January and, boy-howdy, has my life changed.

I have made some wonderful friends, women to whom I genuinely look up because they're amazing people and wonderful writers who have fascinating and engaging stories to tell. 

I have shared more of my life with people who have known me forever, family members who remember me when I was the age of my babes, cousins living too far away for real hugs, and friends with whom I have lost touch.

I have found a community where my voice fits in, harmonizing with others who write on the melody of motherhood.  And my voice has become stronger, more supported, more able to be heard through the crescendos and decrescendos of life.

I have had face-to-face conversations with people about things on my blog, shared with them the joys and pains of the last two years of my life as honestly as I can.  I'm not really sure how to do it otherwise.

And, because this is me, I can't get away from this post without poking fun at myself a little...

The Soup Nazi tweeted "No soup for you!" to me because my twitter ID is IASoupMama.  For real.  The real Soup Nazi.  Althoughm the joke's on him as he hasn't been here (as far as I can tell) -- no Soup for him!

And finally, not one but TWO friends have compared me to David  Sedaris.  Wha-what?  I'm flattered, but my humor is to David Sedaris's humor as a drop of tequila is to a swimming pool of margarita.  So hand me a lime so I can go swimming, already!

Here are a few of my faves from the last year.  If you like 'em, great, let me know!  If you don't, please don't tell me -- I don't want to cry at my on party...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

My Pregnant Hubby

Last night, I came to the conclusion that we are simply doing it all wrong.  That we are completely inept at conceiving this third child because we're trying to get ME pregnant.  Clearly, we need to get Scott pregnant.

OK, so that's not really going to happen.  But we saw a commercial on TV last night where a woman reveals to her gal pals that she's pregnant by not ordering wine for lunch, but water instead.  At that moment, Scott was gulping ice water from his favorite blue cup and he announced, "Well, now you know.  I'm drinking water, so I'm pregnant."

Obviously we've been on the wrong track.  It should have been HIM on the table at the doctor's office with the catheter threaded into his nether-regions getting the dizzy spun spermies squirted up there.  He should have been the one upon completion of the procedure to suggest to the nurse, "Am I supposed to take you out to lunch now?"  She thought that was hilarious, by the way.

Although, I was the one who got the cool experience of peeking through the microscope to see the remnants of his "sample" swimming around, looking very much like the pampered stars of a sex ed film.  I whispered, "Sorry, guys, you didn't make the cut!" 

So, yeah, this is just some off-the-wall infertility humor.  Because the IUI definitely didn't work and I might just as well laugh about it since crying just runs my mascara.  Scott and I riffed on the getting-HIM-pregnant topic all last evening and it was fun.  Way more fun than hanging out at the OB by myself reading a book on a table with my pelvis raised so the "sample" doesn't slide out.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Lost: One Sense of Humor

Hey!  Who stole my sense of humor?  I'm missing it right about now...

Oh, where, oh, where has my hu-u-mor gone?  Oh, where, oh, where could it be?

Go, go, gadget funny mom!

Paging Dr. Giggles -- we need a humor transfusion, STAT!

Yeah... I'm not buying it... are you?

Sometimes life kinda presses the juices out of you, that's pretty much where I'm at right now.  And yet, the winner of the Scholastic Parent Blogger Awards will be announced any day now (I'm totally chewing my fingernails off in anticipation...).  And my blog was nominated in the Humor category.  When the nominations were released, I got a bump in views.  I sort of expect that when the winners are announced, I might, too.  So I gotta find the funny sauce before then... 'cuz I just *might* (wink, wink) have won that contest.  This is no time to go bloggy AWOL, even if I am green with envy from reading posts about BlogHer...

In the mean time, I set out to paint Violet's room.  You see, when I am overwhelmed by life, I need to undertake a project.  Of large proportions, apparently.  And what could be better than painting a bedroom with two little naked minions?  When we paint, I require the wee clumsy ones to strip down to undies only so that they don't ruin clothing I don't want to replace.  They happily oblige, their little feet sticking to the crinkly plastic drop cloth.

Oh, Violet's wearing undies now, I guess I forgot to mention that one...  Yay for no daytime diapers!!!  She's been dry at night all week, too, but she's hesitant to go diaperless while sleeping.  She's got such a tiny little bum that she never wore a diaper larger than a size 3 -- a size which was long ago bypassed by both of her younger cousins.  Guess they are packin' more in their Pampers than she was...

Anyway, back to painting.  Two walls are periwinkle.  Two are citron green.  And then I traced a four foot tall Tynker-Belle on one wall.  Yes, I deliberately misspelled this because I don't want the crushing weight of a Mouse lawsuit smooshing me into a spot of pasty goo because I painted a licensed character unlawfully on my almost-three-year-old daughter's wall.  You just know there's someone wearing a pair of mouse ears who is paid to search the web for copyright issues...

I'm not quite done yet as I have some free-hand embellishments to do, hopefully this afternoon.  Both kids have temporarily moved into Milo's room -- I'm hoping he's up for a permanent move -- but the room shifting has caused an insane amount of clutter upstairs.  And, because I've been occupied with the painting, the kids have gotten out every toy they own in the downstairs and set up a galaxy-wide battle.  There are enclaves of rebels in the princess castle, mercenaries hiding in the play kitchen refrigerator, and troops massing in the middle of the floor.  So pretty much no room to walk.

Pictures?  Soon...

The laundry is backed up.  The bathrooms need to be cleaned.  I need to go grocery shopping.  The garden needs some attention.  And now I'm considering getting out the sewing machine to work on curtains...  Yes, I have fallen off of the turntable of reality -- I'm flung wide into a sea of decorating-inspired denial.  It's my go-to when I need a pick-me-up.  So don't be surprised if you come to visit me and don't recognize my house...