Oh The Irony

At the beginning of the school year, I cleaned out a bag full of books from the kid’s collection. Some duplicates, a few that we had out grown, some that we didn’t like, etc. I donated a bag of them to Auggie’s class. They love books and the board books are perfect for little hands to explore.

When I picked up Auggie from school after lunch one day, he was sitting on the little couch, totally engrossed in a book. I realized it was Goodnight, Gorilla  or as he calls it “Night Night Monkey”. His teacher told me that it’s his favorite and he gets it every day to look at.

As I pried it from his squishy little hands, I reassured him that we had the very same book at home. We never read it because you can’t read it. It’s essentially a picture book, there’s like 4 words in the whole thing. And because by the end of the day, my ability to cleverly narrate a picture book is lacking so we stick with the books that provide the story for me.

I scoured the shelves at home looking for Night Night Monkey while Augs recited the book, page by page from memory (“den monkey takes keys! den he let out gerrraffe!”). Slowly it dawned on me…the freaking book he was in love with at school was the one had given away to his class.

Augs then got to learn what it meant to same day deliver from Amazon Prime. Because when a kid loves a book, you buy it. Even if it’s the second time.

Goodnight Gorilla. Thank you for providing sweet, albeit ironic memories for us.

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No. More. Mickey.

Have you read this post from TheUglyVolvo.com? I was dying reading it because of how familiar her rage over the minutia of her son’s well loved book.

Reading, watching or reciting the same things over and over and over and over again (and again) really give us time to dissect every inch of the thing to point of making ourselves crazy. Suddenly we are hyper aware of the message, the nuances and the context.

Take for instance Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

I don’t really want to admit how much of that stupid show my kids watch….so let’s just say if we collectively sat down together, we could probably recite Minnie’s Winter Bow Show from beginning to end. Hey, we were all sick with the flu. Cartoon binges are real people. Real necessary.

The issue is that the more I watched it, the more I noticed that Minnie Mouse is always looking to Mickey Mouse for help, approval, rescue and advice. ALWAYS. To the point that I wanted to shout at the TV you don’t need him Minnie!! What the f*ck does Mickey know about a small business? What business is he running these days that would give him such amazing insight into where and how you should display your bows?!?

And that’s when we switched over to Doc McStuffins. That’s a chick I can get behind. Poor Baylor. She’s going to have amazing things to talk about in therapy some day…

my mom would never just let me watch a cartoon! She was always saying “you know, you can do whatever you want in the world. You don’t need anyone’s approval or help, you’re perfectly capable all on your own. Minnie doesn’t need Mickey’s help – she may want it, but she doesn’t NEED it”. All I wanted to do was watch a cartoon without worrying about the message. But could she just let me enjoy? No! 

This post is probably a really good indication we need to be reading more books…

 

 

Holiday Do Over

I want a do over.

All of the Wand’s in our house fell like dominoes to the nasty flu virus the week of Thanksgiving. Slowly but surely, we went down one by one. We visited the doctor 4 times the week of Thanksgiving; fevers of 103, croup (momma learned her lesson – I refused to leave the office without steroids), wheezing, vicious secondary infections…by the time Monday rolled around, I took both kids back to the doctor and with very little examination, everyone walked out with antibiotics. I think our doctor took one look at my face and knew I meant business. There would be no “wait it out” on bronchitis.

That said, here we are a solid 2 weeks later and we are just now getting to enjoy the holiday season. We missed a whole two weeks of holiday fun. Instead of happily putting up the Christmas tree, it was a race to finish before the DayQuil wore off. Rather than enjoying hot chocolate, snuggled on the couch, we were downing fluids and hiding under the covers. We traded fun parties for household 7pm bedtime. Instead of the smell of warm, cinnamon candles, our house smelled like we had invested in Vicks Vapor Rub and bleach.

So now that everyone is feeling a bit more human, we’re catching up on all the fun. I’m squeezing our lost two weeks into the next two weeks. We’ve updated and added to the decorations. We’ve done Zoo Lights and watched Prep and Landing at least 15 times WITH hot chocolate (and a little Baileys…), presents are wrapped, cards are out. We are ready to participate! Christmas 2014, here we come!

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Dear Sandman

Dear Mr. Sandman,

Where the hell have you been?! You decided to take a vacation weeks ago and then just never returned?? What is the matter with you? How do you expect to keep your job when you are so sloppy?? No one in this house has slept more than 4 hours at a time for the last 2 months!! Four hours!! Do you know what it’s like to have to sleep in intervals and never know when you’re going to get to go to sleep and when you’re going to be woken up again?! No! You don’t! Because you’re on vacation!!

Did we do something to offend you? Was it something I said? Something Peter said? What about Auggie? He doesn’t have a big vocabulary but since he’s the center of the problem, I’m wondering if he did something….

Because if he did, just tell me. I’ll make it better. I’ll fix it, I swear. Just tell me. TELL ME. I WILL DO WHATEVER YOU WANT JUST PLEASE COME BACK!!

Please?

Pretty please?

Miss Independent

Immediately after giving her name for check in at camp, Baylor raised her hand at me and said “I don’t need any help putting my bag away. Wait HERE”. I silently eyed her and let her pass to go through the locker room doors. The check in lady looked at me with a smile and I responded by rolling my eyes.  “Miss. Independent” I said. “But that’s such a good thing! You need to encourage that”.

Her comment stuck with me. I couldn’t put my finger on what was bugging me about what the instructor had said. Yes of course I enjoy her independence! I love that she goes head first into an unknown situation and “figures it out” (her words). I watched from a distance as she missed the pool gate before it closed. She stood on the outside, unable to open it. She didn’t panic, she didn’t cry. She looked around, got the nearest tall person’s attention, motioned to the gate and then waited as they walked over to open it for her. She got separated from her group, so she walked around looking for them and when she couldn’t find them, she asked loudly to a group in the pool if anyone knew where the red group went. She handles it. And she does it really well. We joke that if we told her she could go to her friend’s house, but she had to figure out how to get there on her own, she could and would make it happen. So why was I not ok with her doing so much on her own?

I realized a few days later what my problem is; she’s five. She’s five with the self confidence of a much older child – the problem is that she has five year old judgement. Actually, that’s probably better than most kids her age too – but it’s not the same as a teenager’s judgement (God help me) or an adult’s. So while she knows what she’s doing – she may not actually be supposed to doing it.

A few days later, she came home with a very pink scalp and sholders. When I asked if she put on extra sunscreen and wore her hat, she said “well, part of the day”. I grumbled something about the instructors needing to push the sunscreen more and she said “well, they asked me, but I told them I put some on this morning”.

Ah ha! This is what I was talking about. Her self confidence fooled the adults. She’s smart. She’s independent. She’s convincing. Why wouldn’t they believe her when she said she already had on sunscreen? Because she’s five. That’s why.

The last thing I want to do is crush her spirit. Nor do I want anyone else to do the crushing. So where to go from here? I don’t know. Kindergarten is another year off and the safe halls of preschool are just a few months away. I’m hoping I have it figured out before then…!

super baylor

Not One More

Listening to Richard Martinez speak after his son was killed in the Santa Barbara shootings gave me chills. And not the good kind. When he asked when does the madness end?? When do we decide that we don’t have to live this way?!  – the words echoed in my head.

Why do we think we need to live this way? Why does sending our kids to college, high school even preschool have to be tainted with the fear that someone may make a horrible decision and our kids would be sacrificed? And for what?

Now before you get up on the second amendment horse, you should know that we are gun owners. I grew up in a house with guns and I have shot guns of all kinds since I was a child. I was taught that they were not only dangerous, they are capable of complete destruction and that they should always be treated with caution and respect. Peter has been through the training to obtain a concealed weapon permit and is an avid hunter. So,we get it.

This is a call to a conversation from both sides to figure out what we can do to prevent further shootings. And honestly, not limiting ownership can’t be a solution. Some people should not have guns. Period. And just because people could steal guns is not a reason not to have some controls in place. You have to have a license to have a car. You have to have that car registered. Yes that car may be stolen, but if we didn’t have laws against stealing cars, how would we prosecute a thief? No action is not a solution. Something has to be done. We don’t have to live this way and more importantly, we shouldn’t live this way.

I signed a post card on EveryTown.org asking our law makers to do something. Gabby Gifford’s Americans for Responsible Solutions is working to tighten criminal background checks and stop gun trafficking. We have to start somewhere. Our politicians need to know that Peter and I who are registered voters, gun owners and parents want change. We want a safer place for our kids and that they can’t let people like Joe the Plumber talking about how dead children don’t trump his right to own a gun scare them into not acting.

Do something. Say something. Not One More.

Successful What?

A friend once told me that successful people do 5 things before 8am. If my kids are up every 2-3 hours at night requiring water, clothing changes (vomit), bedding changes (you don’t want to know…), rocked back to sleep, patted back to sleep, tucked in – that is way more than 5 things we’re doing before 8am. And the fact that this pattern has been happening the last 5 nights that should make us really successful. The question is what we are successful at. At being sleep deprived? At being crabby? At being zombies? PW and I have yet to determine….

Just A Reminder

I had to chuckle when I opened a package from Amazon today. As if I didn’t remember I was on the slippery slope to 32…the contents of my order were a good reminder:

amazon

A second knee band because I’m now unable to run a 5k without pain in both knees…an elbow ice pack for the tennis elbow I’ve developed from lugging around a chunky 15 month old and sinus rinse. Holy. Moly. Add some Bengay and an AARP membership and I’ll meet you at Denny’s for the early bird discount.

Enough Already

If I read one more post, article or link about how to slow down, cut back on the to do list and or enjoy life, I’m going to punch someone.

No really.

Telling me to forget those dishes, stop running errands and don’t sign my kids up for activities is not only pointless, it’s down right mean. So my kids are going to be deprived of swim lessons, play dates and visits to the museum because it’s a lot of work? I should let the dishes, laundry and other housework pile up in the name of bonding time? How can I work more “efficiently” at my job in order to avoid having to multitask?

Also, these people clearly do not have a “spirited” four year old whom they stay home with who has ideas of her own and she. will. get. her. way. No matter how severe the consequences. So yes, while sitting down and spending time together is a good thing, there are days where if she doesn’t go to swim lessons, I might run out the door an never come back.

I get it. I do. I see the point these articles and posts are trying to make and in general, I agree. I do think there are limits on the day and what can get done – but while the message is clear, the call to action (or non action) is ridiculous. Show me a mom who is not stressed, worried or overwhelmed in some form and I’ll show you a mom who is not paying enough attention to her life. I’m not saying it’s healthy, I’m just saying it’s part of the gig. Learning how to not just survive but thrive is essential to make the most of your life and your kid’s lives. Quite time, unstructured time and alone time are all great, but they are only part of a fulfilling life. Getting kids dressed and out the door to church is annoying, but essential. Loading up for tennis lessons, t-ball games and riding lessons is difficult, but it provides the enrichment we all need. And let’s not forget our jobs. Fun as they are, they are necessary not only to provide for our families, pay for college and groceries.

So unless you’ve got a technique that will teach me how to thrive on 4 hours of sleep (how does Martha do it?!), spare me your warm and fuzzies. I’ve got work to do, children to raise and laundry to be folded.

Big Picture, Little Picture

I love weeks when I can see the big picture. I can see life for what it is and find joy in small things and have patience to turn bad behavior into teaching moments. I have the energy to tackle my to do list AND be a good mom. Get down on the floor and play. Get in the kitchen and cook together. Read books and go for walks. Make dinners and clean up the kitchen before 5pm. Get the laundry and ironing done. Clear my desk of bills, work and whatever else is lurking there. These are good weeks.

This is not one of those weeks. This is definitely a little picture week. I can’t see the forest for the trees.  All I can hear is a teething baby screaming, a puppy yelping and a smart mouth four year old. All I can see is the mess of toys, dishes and laundry. All I can think about is the pile of invoices that need to be created, put into envelopes, stamped and sealed.  All I want to do is look at the beautiful, smart, talented little girl in front of me and say “WHY??? WHY DO YOU KNOW WHAT MY BUTTONS ARE AND WHY DO YOU INSIST ON PUSHING THEM AALLLLL THE TIME?? WHY CAN’T YOU STAY IN BED AT NIGHT?? WHY WHEN YOU STAY IN BED DO YOU SCREAM FOR A PARENT TO COME TO YOUR BEDSIDE EVERY 2 HOURS TO FIX SOME NONEXISTENT PROBLEM??? WHY ARE YOU WAKING UP YOUR BROTHER??”.

Oh yeah, we aren’t sleeping right now. Again. It’s fun. I think B has a bet with Augg on how soon the men with the big butterfly nets are coming for mommy. It won’t be long little lady. It won’t be long.

My mom told me last week that I need to remember that her behavior comes from the fact that she’s bright. Actually, her quote was “It’s because she’s smart. If she were dumb, this would be a lot easier to solve”. And she’s right. Bay is no dummy. She’s capable of great things which is why I get so incredibly frustrated when she flat out refuses to do something. Or worse, pretends that she doesn’t know how (button pusher, party of one…). I’m not asking Hellen Keller to sign supercalifragalisticexpialidotious, I’m asking Einstien to add two plus two. So why can’t she just say FOUR and we could move on?!

I guess because she really wants to see if the men with the nets have white coats….