Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Walk On

I walked tonight. On the treadmill. In the basement. For 30 minutes.

To many, this is such a small deal. To me, it’s not. It’s a big deal. My relationship with exercise is a love/hate thing. I love the way it makes me feel. I love the way it eases my stress levels. I love that it helps my body to look more presentable. I hate doing it. I hate sweating. I hate that I’m sore afterwards. I hate that I can’t find the time to do it. To be honest, the hate side of this list could go on and on and on.

The point being that even though I have an extreme dislike for exercise, I still got on the treadmill. And I’m coming to realize that if I want to live to a ripe old age and still possibly be able to bend over after 40, I should exercise. So, I am slowly wrapping my mind around the concept that this is not a temporary solution. I am not exercising to lose the next 20 pounds. This has to be a regular part of my life. Everyday. (This is me-growling under my breath.)

The kids love going down to the basement while I walk. They kick the soccer ball, bat off the tee, and ride tricycles. So, I can’t even use them as an excuse not to go down there. I know in my heart that they’ll love it even more if I can run around like a crazy person with them and if I’m still alive when they’re fifty. So, for now, I get on the treadmill. I walk. I’m going to take it one day at a time and just keep on walking. Maybe one day, I’ll get somewhere.

Monday, September 28, 2009

To Be Heard

I have been writing this blog for almost 2 months now. That’s not very long in the blog world. When I began, it was to take a step towards something-for clarity. I wanted to begin writing again everyday. I wanted to hear my voice again. I knew it was in there somewhere, but it has been lost for a while.

When you are a mom, everyone listens to you and no one listens to you. Little people have to listen. You instruct them to smile, to hold your hand as they cross the street, to share their toys. You are constantly talking to them and instructing on how to do things. How to live. How to be.

Then, you find yourself amongst adults again. I’m not talking about other mothers. I’m talking about adults who are doing something other than raising children. It is difficult. The switch. The turning off of your simplistic (1, 2, 3, 4 year old) brain and trying to recoup the brain inside that can exist in that environment. The synopses fire differently.

Every year, my husband has an office holiday party at a very nice restaurant in the city. Every year, it freaks me out. Pathetic, I know. But, at these gatherings, only adults are present. No one has any stains on their clothing. Nails are polished. They speak of things like world events, the stock market, business, art, and literature. I used to be very adept at these types of discussions. Now, I feel uneasy. Unsure if I really know what I’m saying.

You see, in my world, I am the all knowing-the authority on everything. It’s pretty easy to be that to a 2 year old and 7 year olds. And let’s be honest, even if I don’t know, I can bluff my way along pretty well.

I’m not a woman who has stopped reading or who is not in touch with what is going on in the world. I still take in these things even being at home full time. What I don’t do is discuss them with anyone on a regular basis. I don’t speak my thoughts out loud. I don’t give my opinions. So, it all festers inside.

Lately, I think I’ve been too eager to talk. Not about worldly events or such. Just to talk to anyone in general. It’s like I’ve been deprived and now I have to make up for it. My husband has been complaining that I’ve been interrupting him during conversations lately. He’s right. I have. It’s my over eager desire to be heard. I’m not sure why this is kicking in 7 years after becoming a mother. I’m not sure why it either took this long or why it’s come at all.

Obviously, I need a release. I need contact with the outside world. I think I’ve gotten a taste of it through blogging. So, thank you to anyone who reads this. To anyone who has listened to my thoughts or stories listed here. It has helped me more than you can imagine. It’s nice to have a place to express myself and to be able to be heard. I’m hoping that with this project, I can find my voice again.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Gut Check

One of my babies is sick. B was home from school yesterday. He’ll be home again today with me. Strep throat. Yuck. The poor little guy, it came on pretty quickly. He complained of a headache when I picked him up on Wednesday after school. And when he came home, it was right to lie down on the couch-very unlike him. He didn’t even ask to watch a TV show. He was content to just rest there.

During the night, he came into our room and asked to sleep with us. No fever though. I decided to keep him home. He just seemed off to me. Throughout Thursday, he was sluggish and keeping his arms crossed over his stomach. His appetite was not the same. I kept asking how his throat felt. “It hurts a little where you would take my pulse.” he said. I believe that was his way of saying his glands hurt. I kept inquiring about the stomach and lack of eating and the arms. He insisted that no, all was fine. I decided to call for an appointment that afternoon. I knew he had strep. He always gets that stomach thing that goes along with it. And sure enough, I was right.

A mother’s intuition. I always seem to know when they are sick. I don’t know why. There are no logical explanations. Sure, there are some physical signs usually. But, I will say that there are physical signs when they have a cold or virus that I know is just that and doesn’t need any more attention. I can’t tell you how many times I have made appointments to take one of my children in to the doctor for something when T has thought it was too early or nothing to be concerned about. I’m not stating this to belittle him. I don’t know why, but that thing in my gut signals it’s time to go. Maybe it’s just that we know our children so intimately we can sense any minor abnormalities. Maybe we are programmed with a sixth sense about them for survival purposes. Maybe we just love them so much we never want anything bad to happen to them-so we rush in when we feel it.

My best friend from college, her five year-old son has Leukemia. It’s the good kind they tell them-whatever that means. They are fighting. He is doing well. She knew. She knew and told me that was what he was going to have before they even got the test results last fall. I’ll never forget that. I said to her on the phone that day “You have to be optimistic. It won’t be that. “ Her response “I already know it is.” She’s one strong mommy. I give her credit the world over.

I guess this is one more unexpected fact of motherhood that I never anticipated-to be so completely physically and emotionally bonded with another individual that you just have a sense about them. You know. Your gut tells you. You just have to follow it.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Have Faith

Tonight was the first night of B and A’s Religious Ed class. It should be a big year for them. They make their First Communion and First Reconciliation this year. These are both important sacraments and rather difficult to explain to a 7 year old. I know because I tried to earlier this week.

They started attending Religious Education classes when they were in Kindergarten. So, they’re going on their 3rd year. This still seems so odd to me. I attended Catholic school from preschool through eighth grade. The CCD kids, as we referred to them, were the ones who came in and messed with our desks and wrote nasty words on the tops over the weekend. Now, these are my children. Hopefully, not including the nasty word writing.

For a brief second prior to Kindergarten, I looked into enrolling them at the Catholic elementary school in our town. I went in for orientation and it seemed so familiar to me-a comfort even. There were the plaid skirts, the large statue of Mary, the worn out classrooms and building. All that seemed to be missing were the nuns. Where have they all gone anyway? However, the public school curriculum won out over the Catholic school’s curriculum in the end. I felt a little uneasy though at the thought of my children being “publicans” as we used to call them. It just didn’t feel like home to me. It felt like something was missing. But, on we went.

Now, we’re at a turning point in their faith. The first step in accepting Catholicism, as that faith and I feel torn. You see, these days, my faith is at best lacking. Not necessarily my faith in God, but my faith in the Catholic Church as an institution.

Since all of the (how can we completely understate this…) missteps that have been made and have been all over the news the past few years, I feel entirely disgusted and appalled at the church that I’ve grown up in. As a parishioner, I question the very foundation of this church. How can you have leaders, priests, do those types of things to innocent children? How can you cover that up and believe that you are right in doing so? How can you do so little to compensate these people or the millions of other parishioners that you have hurt? Their faith now shaken in you, an institution that is supposed to guide and lead. A faith based on love, trust and understanding. It just feels wrong. And I can’t get over it.

As a mother, I really can’t move beyond it. I can’t do the very thing that I learned to do in church. I can’t forgive them. So, I am torn. These sacraments. These religious milestones. They are important to me. They mean something. They symbolize my childhood in many ways. They are like going home to me. I want B and A to make their First Communion. But, my faith is shaken. I’m not sure I want them to be Catholics. I’m not sure I want to be Catholic. For now, we’ll continue to go forward. We’ll continue to test our faith. And, hopefully, we’ll all come out stronger for it.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tip Toes

This year, one of my goals is to make sure R is well socialized. I am feeling a tad guilty (surprise, surprise) that she hasn’t gotten as much of an opportunity to do this as B and A at her age. I know this is a repetitive theme for me.

Last spring, we took a painting class together. There we were sitting criss cross applesauce on the carpet singing the hello song. Various hand motions were involved. Very expressive parents smiling at their toddlers. It was cute. That’s probably what every other parent in the class was thinking. I was thinking-I can’t believe I’m back down here on the carpet singing this crap. And I really wish I had made that Starbucks run prior to class. The age span of almost five years in between my children is tough.

Kids classes and parent participation vary by the age of your child. When they are toddlers you attend and participate with them. Then, you graduate to sitting on a chair or bleacher nearby and can talk to the other parents. Eventually, you get to the drop off point. Here you go, your taxi service is pulling out and I’ll see you in an hour and a half. I am just getting to the drop off stage with B and A. It’s a beautiful thing.

With each of these stages comes a hint more freedom for the parent. For instance, I can remember the pure joy I had realizing I could (gasp!) read a book while B and A ran around the gym playing basketball or gymnastics or ice skated. When I drop them off at practices now, I can run errands with R and actually get things done. When I sign R up for an activity- it’s carpet time. Uggh.

So, this fall she is taking a ballet class. I have to say she has been so very excited about it. We’ve had the leotard, tights and bag picked out forever. She has been asking for weeks when it starts. Well, first day of class comes along. This one should be a mommy sits on a chair in the hallway type of class. All of the other mommies were able to do this. Guess where I was with my little Koala bear? (Graphic image of how this type of bear hugs onto a tree. Guess who’s the tree in this scenario?) I was, of course, in the ballet class. Trying to get R to let go of my neck and participate. I don’t know if she thought brutal Miss Mary (not making the name up) or her posse of six in tutus were going to take her out or what, but she clung for dear life. So, we left without a stamp on our hands because we would not even try one step.

Miss Mary did not want me to leave R in the class and have her cry it out. I’m not sure if Miss Mary has children or not or if they have a similar temperament as R. However, there was only one way this class was going to happen and I was not ready to stay inside the class again. So, this week, I went up to Miss Mary (remember I am not good at confrontation) and let her know that I would be leaving R in the class and she would cry (hard) for a minute. I would be right in the hallway. If she cried longer than a minute, I would come back in to get her. I don’t think Miss Mary thought this was a great plan, but who’s going to argue with a deranged mother?

So, I left. Miss Mary had to hold her back as she shrieked for me-for all of 15 seconds. I know this because I timed it. She was fine within 30 seconds and participating after 1 minute.

Ahhh. This time around, when R is in a class and I am in the hall, I don’t have anyone else to entertain. It’s just me, myself and I for a whole 30 minutes. The look on her face when she came in the hallway after class was priceless. R was so pleased with herself and I couldn’t have been more proud of her. And she had the stamp to prove it.

Monday, September 21, 2009


Sometimes, I feel suffocated. People are all around me. Hanging on me. In my face. In what is my nonexistent personal space.

The noise is deafening. Chatter. Constant chatter. Even more questions. The sound of toys banging, whistling, crashing. The sounds of running on the hardwood floors.

Someone always needs, wants something from me. A juice box. Attention. Love. Understanding.

So, sometimes, I need an escape. A break. A moment to refresh. My husband or my parents will take the kids for a few hours and push me out into the world to find that space.

But, I am lost.

I do not understand how to exist outside of that universe anymore. I look for things to do. I try to find something to amuse myself. It is an effort. I know it shouldn’t be, but it is.

I am uncomfortable. I check the rear view mirror. No one back there. In stores, I have the sudden panicked feeling that I’ve lost them.

The silence is deadening.

There is no love. For as much as I need a break, I don’t really want one. As much as I want to claw away to be free of my constraints, I need them as much as they need me. I love them. And now, I’m not sure who I am without them.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Time Check

Last night, the kids and I are in the car heading home (finally) after baseball practice at 7:15 pm. We were cold and tired. We had not had dinner yet. The girls and I grocery shopped while B was at his practice. So, I’m about to lay out our plan of attack for when we get home when R speaks up.

R: “Mommy, where we going now? Are we 3, 4 late yet?”

Me: “R, we are headed home. We’re not going anywhere- just home for dinner, cuddle time and bed. What do you mean 3, 4 late?”

R: “3, 4 late yet? Are we 3, 4 late for home?”

Yes, she was inquiring if we were running 3 or 4 minutes late for getting home on time. Yikes. Nice schedule we’re keeping these days huh?

After a brief explanation on why our day was finished and noting that we didn’t have to run around anymore, she stopped asking if we were running late. This topic has come up a lot in our household lately. It seems that in order to get these children to anything on time, I have to become the crazy time lady. Here are a few examples.

Me: “School starts in 10 minutes. We need to be in the car in 3 minutes in order to not be tardy!”

Me: “We need to be walking out of this house for soccer practice in 4 minutes. That means you have 3 minutes to finish getting your shoes on and to go potty!”

Me: “If you are hoping to go on a bike ride tonight, we need to finish dinner in the next 15 minutes or that won’t be able to happen.”

Even I am tired of this routine. I just can’t figure out how to get them to move. Or finish their dinner in under an hour.

I read a story recently about a mom of four, who went to load everyone in the minivan for some outing. She started to yell about shoes, the bathroom, coats and whatnot, when she realized that everyone was already in the car. Her children had reached that magical age when these reminders were no longer necessary. She promptly got into her minivan and cried a bucket of tears. She couldn’t believe she got there. She also was crying because she felt as if she wasn’t needed.

I don’t believe I will have this same reaction. I will most certainly be dead from the shock of it all. If that milestone is indeed out there, I can’t see it. I wish for it. I pray for it. I don’t want to hear my 2 year old talking about 3, 4 minutes. I just want everyone to cooperate and get in the car!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Delay

Everyday, as we drop B and A off at school, R goes into her routine. In the carpool lane, she starts with “Give me kisses, B! A, you need give me kisses!” As they are stepping out of the car, she says “I wuv you, B! I wuv you, A! Now, you say wuv too!” As soon as the door closes, she turns to me with tears in her eyes and says “Why do B and A go to school all da time?” Her eyes are usually brimming with tears. Each and every day this happens, which is why I signed her up for preschool this year.

She is technically not supposed to go to 3 year-old preschool until next fall because of her October birthday. However, this child needs something of her own. She needs to feel that she is not being left behind all of the time.

Preschool was scheduled to begin only a week after elementary school. However, in their infinite wisdom, they sent a letter out three days before school was supposed to begin to say that there were renovations happening (all to improve your child’s learning experience, of course!) and this would delay the start of school until September 29th. Are you kidding me? Nice notice. What may I ask was happening over there all summer long?

In the mind frame of a 2 year-old, this 3-week delay is a lifetime. She has complained. Everyday. She has asked. Everyday. She begs to go to school with B and A. Everyday. I feel terrible for her. I feel terrible for me. So, I’ve resorted to trying to keep her occupied with other things.

This past week, we took all of our summer flowers out of the ground and pots and put in Mums for fall. R and I headed to the nursery to purchase the mums. She loves it there. She stops and smells all of the pretty flowers. She is the one who pulls our wagon. The fountains on display entrance her.

As we are walking and picking out the flowers, R turns to me. She says, “Mommy, is it just you and me?” Her face is beaming as she is pulling the wagon by herself. I said, “Yes, R. It’s just you and me.” With that, she hugged my leg and said “I wuv you too, Mommy.” She was content. She realized it was just going to be us and that was OK. It may not be the same as having her two playmates that are now in school. But, she has me. All to herself.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Talk, Talk, Talk

The beginning of the school year is exhausting. Not only do I find myself running around trying to get back into old routines. But, I am also adding new activities to the agenda. As if those were not enough, I find this time of the year requires me to up the ante, if you will, when it comes to true parenting.

The playground seems to bring out numerous opportunities for coaching. This was perhaps the biggest surprise from first grade. I was prepared for the exhaustion level to increase until November. I was ready for them to be sad that they were no longer in the same class. But, I was not prepared for the jungle otherwise known as recess time.

Luckily, this year, I was a little more ready. We are now in second grade after all. And low and behold, many opportunities have already arisen for various lessons. These include bullying, mean girls, bossing around, picking teams fairly, injuries and crying in front of other kids. This list could go on and on and on. Mind you, we’ve only been back at school for 3 weeks. Uggh.

As I said above, I find it exhausting. Maybe I shouldn’t pay as close attention to these details. Maybe I should let them figure it out for themselves. Sometimes I do. But, isn’t this when they need us the most? Isn’t this what we are here to help them with?

I feel like I have a few years tucked in between first and fourth grade when I can get them to really still open up to me and to come to us with their problems. As they hit the preteen years, I think the door slowly closes. So, I figure if I can open up this relationship with them now, maybe the door doesn’t have to slam shut. It can still have a slight crack of an opening.

So, each day on the drive home we talk about school. We talk about whom they sat next to at lunch. We talk about what and whom they played with on the playground. After a few canned yes, no, insert name of friend here, they eventually open up and tell some stories. The dialogues are sometimes good. Sometimes, they’re great. Sometimes they stink.

I still think of them as being so little. They are only seven. It feels as if I’ve let them out into the world. And the world is sending mixed messages home. It’s making its imprint on them. Other people’s values or language or thoughts are sneaking in. Gone is the time when our household was their bubble. Where they were safe and T and I were their main influences.

They need to learn to deal with all of the rubbish. It will only increase, as they get older. I know the day is coming when the problems will be more serious than who was picked for captain of the kickball team. I am so not looking forward to that. So, for now, I work. I coach. We talk. We talk. We talk. What else can we do? Today, it seems exhausting.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Oh Crap

Yesterday, we took B to his first soccer game of the year. T and I are so proud of him and how hard he is working on this new team. The games are great to watch. They’re so much more exciting than the local recreation league games. These kids want to play and they want to win! Badly. B included.

So, we were sitting with all of the other suburbanites in our folded stadium chairs along one side of the field. We’re yelling and cheering on our team. When all of the sudden R, 2 years old, yells out “Oh Crap!” after her brother missed the ball.

It was one of those moments when you think the world has stopped and you can actually hear a pin dropping. So many thoughts were going through my head. I was sure there would be judgment from the other mommies-most of whom we’ve only recently met.

Now, if she had stopped there, it wouldn’t have been that bad. However, her 7 year-old sister’s eyes flew wide open like saucers and the giggling began. I was too busy hunkering down hoping to God that no one had heard my sweet little toddler with the bow in her hair swearing. That was right about when she realized this was quite amusing and began to repeatedly call out “Oh Crap!”. Over and over again. Until her father scooped her up in order to have a moment with her away from the field.

Who’s fault was this?!? Who was teaching this child to speak that way? Can I blame daycare? No, she stays home all day with me. Can I blame her older siblings? No, they are actually quite well behaved most of the time.

Oh, Crap. She must have learned it from me.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Potty Talk

R is, shall we say, a strong willed child. My third is my challenge. The one that has been put on earth to test just how much patience I can have in a given day. She is the person who if I ever say black, she will say white. If I ask her to do anything, only the opposite will happen. So, to say I was dreading potty training a child with this particular temperament is an understatement. So, I put it off. Basically, I was going to wait until she was practically begging me to do it and then I’d reluctantly agree. Reverse psychology with a 2 year old.

So, after she turned 2, we’d peruse the aisles at Target. We’d admire the new potty seats and chairs. We would look at the pretty underwear. Yes, I do think those princesses are pretty. Yes, I love the glitter. Oh, look. They also have some with your friend Dora on them. No, we can’t get any until after you are potty trained. After a few months of this, we conceded and bought a little froggy potty chair. She liked to look at this, but did not want to use it. I did not push.

Being the third child in our family, there were other obstacles to her training. Once she was asking me to go, I had to say no not now to her. We were in the middle of baseball and softball season this spring. The only things out on those fields are porta potties. No way would she have gone in there and no way would I go in there the every two minutes a newly potty trained child needs to go! So, I told her she had to wait. The panties at Target tormented her each visit. Oh look, they now had Elmo and Abby Cadabby!

As soon as the sports season ended, our family was scheduled to go on a 16-hour road trip to North Carolina. There, we were going to be at the pool and beach for a week. Sorry, but I did not want to deal with it during vacation. The 16-hour trip would have been a 25-hour trip with potty breaks. So, again, we said she had to wait.

When we came back from vacation, she trained. The first time I took the diaper off, she wet the floor. The second time that day, she caught herself after a sprinkle started. Same with the third time. After that, she made it to the potty. The end of Reagan’s potty training.

I know. It shouldn’t be that simple should it? But, I think that waiting for her to be really ready and not pushing her made it so much easier. We still have to get rid of the pull-ups overnight, but they are dry more frequently now.

It’s pretty ironic that the one child I was most worried about was my easiest to potty train. No fuss, no muss. She just did it. I thought it would have been terrible and it was the complete opposite. I couldn't be more thrilled. R was rewarded with an unbelievable supply of princess, Elmo, Dora and Abby Cadabby underwear. Hey, if I knew it’d be this simple, I’d have given in a while ago. It’s a lesson that I’ve learned repeatedly on this parenting adventure. They’ll surprise you if you let them.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Mom's Life Lessons

Today, my mom turns 60. She is a very youthful 60. She still works everyday. She runs around with her grandchildren and is able to help my sister and I out regularly. Her health is good. For all of this, I am grateful. I love my mom. She is always there with advice, but never pushes it. And above all, I know she loves me. Isn’t that what we all want from our mothers? I should tuck that thought away. So, in honor of her 60th birthday, I have composed this list. Here are some of the life lessons I have learned from my mom.

Love your children with all that you are.

Your house can never be too clean. This includes the garage.

A good relationship with your husband is the foundation for everything because together you can manage whatever life throws at you.

You can do anything you make up your mind to do.

You only have one sister, so get along.

Add a little extra flour, cool the cookie sheets in between batches and don’t over beat the butter in order to make truly excellent chocolate chip cookies.

Having children means your wear your heart outside your body.

How to have class.

You can’t treat each of your children the same. They are individuals and will need different things from you.

You can actually fold a fitted sheet into a square shape. (I, however, have still not mastered this task.)

Make holidays and special occasions memorable for children. This is the stuff that childhood is about.

How to study for a test.

You have to remember yourself every once in a while. You can’t give it all away or there will be nothing left to give.

What a crevice tool is and that the word crevice can actually be used as a verb.

How to love.

How to be the best mom I can be.

Happy 60th Birthday, Mom! I love you.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Big Splash

I will admit it. I am a very protective parent. Cautious, I’d like to say. My children are not allowed to play outside by themselves. I need to know their friend’s parents if they are going somewhere to play. They don’t take the bus to school; I drive them.

Yesterday, B and A made a very bad decision. Something that goes against all precautions I’ve ever taught them. They jumped into the neighbor’s pool without an adult present. Threw all sense of caution to the wind and just jumped in. This may not be that much of a surprise to some. A pool next door is a huge temptation. It has been since it was installed last summer. But, there is a fence around it. There are rules that have been established at our house about pools and that one in particular. But, yesterday, no one seemed to remember that.

We were doing some early fall cleaning of the garage. T and I were cleaning and the kids were playing with us out front. The neighbors, one year younger than B and A, came out also and they were playing in a small group. They asked if they could have an ice cream sandwich and we said yes. So, they went right next door to the garage to eat this. Honest to God, this is the first time I did not follow them over there to sit by the garage and monitor them doing this simple task. This summer, a lot of their friends have gotten more freedoms than B and A are allowed. Some of their friends can ride their bikes around the neighborhood without their parents. They run back and forth to each other’s houses. I don’t want to be overprotective, but I think 7 is a bit young for all of that freedom. So, this was their chance. I gave it to them. I did not walk over. I kept cleaning and watching R.

There is a back door in that garage that leads to the fenced in pool area. This point I did not think about. They did. They took it. Out they went into the fenced in pool area of the back yard. One thing led to another and someone threw A’s shoe into the pool. Her gallant, ridiculous brother jumped into the pool after it. At this point, they do not realize that an adult is anywhere around. It turns out that my neighbor was back there with them, but outside the fence area watching them and doing yard work. The neighbor kids jumped in after B. A jumped in after all the rest did it. Into a pool, without an adult present (to their knowledge).

Now, T and I realized that it had gotten a little quiet in the garage 50 feet away from us. So, we started calling out to them. No answer. They were supposed to have eaten the ice cream and headed back home. T leaves to go check it out. He was the one that discovered their little pool party in the backyard. So, two minutes later, he is walking around the house with 2 drenched rats, still in their clothes by the way. My stomach immediately sunk. I knew it involved the pool. They never even came around to ask. They knew we would have said no. So, they just did it. Just like that without abandon, jumped in. All precautions about the pool that I have preached to them over the years forgotten. Just jumped.

B and A are OK swimmers for 7. I’d give them a 50/50 shot at being able to get themselves over to the side of a pool if they got in over their heads. They have no business in a pool unattended. I don’t even let them in a baby pool unattended. This goes against their personalities. I honestly did not even think they would have it in them to blatantly go against us like that. Turns out, I was wrong. Thank God everyone was OK. But, I couldn’t shake that terrible feeling all day. The what if, the Oh My God feeling that gets you in your gut. My worst nightmare could have come true.

B and A got the reprimand of their lives. I have never heard T yell like that. We are not yellers. We have always been able to just talk to B and A. They are those kinds of kids. They usually listen. Yesterday, we yelled. Loudly. I think those neighbors probably could hear us. I really don’t care.

You do your best each day to love and protect them with all that you are. Then, with the complete abandon of youth, they do something like this. It makes me wonder if we’ll make it. The biggest challenges are yet to come. The biggest obstacles in raising them. Will T and I survive as they continue to learn how to exist outside of us? Outside of our household? Without our constant supervision? A big part of this job is to teach them how to do just that. God, give me strength and wisdom. And please, continue to watch out for them.

Friday, September 4, 2009

My (In)Sanity

Here is the proof that my husband needs to have me locked up. You see, sometimes, I think I am losing my mind. Is it the constant noise level in my home? Perhaps, the 2 year old asking why nonstop or the constant chatter of a 7 year-old girl? It may have something to do with the tackling, sliding, running boy that lives here. The hectic schedule, constant clutter, constant cleaning of said clutter, repeating of myself, repeating of myself could all be factors. Maybe my brain can only take so much noise. It is on overload and here is the proof.

1. In our mad rush out of the house for some practice or activity or whatever, I can’t remember now, I tell R to go potty before we get in the car. She has only been trained for 3 weeks now and is still in the going every 5 minutes mode. (Now that I think about it, this could also be a possible contributor to the slippage of my sanity.) As I am running around trying to get everyone else ready, I keep saying things like “R, please go potty. You have to go right now. We need to leave.” Etc. Etc. Etc. She, of course, would rather do whatever is appealing to a 2 year-old other than the potty. So, finally in a mad rush, I pick her up and put her on her little potty seat on the big potty. She is crying and giving me a hard time. I think I am simultaneously tying a soccer cleat and reviewing someone’s homework at this time, but I can’t be quite clear on this. I hear her saying something like Mommy I can’t go (faded muted whines inserted here). I finally break from the other 10 tasks I am doing and say, “R, what is the problem?” She says, “I can’t go potty. My pants aren’t down.” Yep, I put her on the potty with her pants and underwear still on her. Well, R, don’t you know that your mother is losing her mind? Get with the program.

2. I have been waiting for the letter from our church assigning the class and time for B and A’s religious ed this year. It seems late to me and we still have not received any info. They are set to make their 1st Communion this year and I’ve heard rumblings about how involved the year is going to be with that. Great. Add another big item to the already overflowing list of to dos. My mind can clearly handle it. No worries. Usually, I am one of those really annoying, super organized people. I have bins, folders, systems, and places for everything. Starting when I had the twins, I quickly realized that if I were not organized, I would sink. T does not share my organization trait. Not sure how he is so successful at work, but he must have something worked out there. Thus, giving him the free reign to be completely unorganized at home. He is in process of planning his High School reunion. So, we have materials coming in and out of here like crazy. Checks and registration forms all over the place. This has all bled into the various bins of my desk system. So, yesterday morning I find a letter, already opened, in my incoming mail file. B and A were supposed to be signed up for Wednesday classes. This letter said that they were placed in the Sunday morning class. We are in a new travel soccer league and have games at that time. Every Sunday. I know priorities right? In my defense, I have already worked out the schedule so that I can take them to Saturday night mass. This messes up a lot quite frankly. Please take note that I had to change piano lessons to Monday mornings in order to accommodate for the Wednesday religious ed class. (Yes, that means this is happening before school starts. Insert extremely stressed smile here.) I call T furious that he did not tell me the letter even arrived and going off on how they just put kids in random classes. I’ll leave out the pretty details here; however, I do recall one rant about pulling them out and heading to the Lutheran church up the road. They get a little ugly and are just a large contributor to the fact that I am going crazy. Somehow, I calm myself and head into the religious ed office with R after I drop B and A off at school. I politely inquire about how I can get the day of the class changed for not one, but 2 students because my letter clearly says they are in on Sundays and I can’t possibly add one more thing to Sundays (almost close to tears at this point). The sweet older woman looks at me and takes a look at the letter. She says, “Oh sweetie, this is last year’s letter. See the date September of 2008?” Because my brain is failing to such an extent, I say to her in a very confused way “What?” She has to repeat it again. Yes, that is correct. Last year’s letter was moved from the Children’s Classes bin to the Incoming Mail bin. I won’t lay anymore blame on T for this. He’s gotten his punishment. But, how mixed up in the head can you be that you do not even look at a date and realize it is from last year? This is concerning to me. Where the hell is my head? To say I was embarrassed would be an understatement. That polite lady looked up this year’s class lists, even though the letters haven’t been sent yet as she reminded me again, and B and A are in the Wed class. Before I left, she pointed to the door, where a sign up sheet was hanging, and asked if I had time to volunteer to lead one of the classes. As R is dropping gold fish crackers across her floor and I am on my knees picking them up, I look up at her and say, “I don’t think so this year.” You see, I am clearly losing my mind and should not be responsible for, well, anything apparently.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Wooden Airplanes

Today, I read a wonderful blog post by a woman named CK. She is a very witty writer and I really enjoy her insights into parenting. Her post An Early Walk was about how doing something simple with your child can make a world of difference to them and you. I thought I would take her up on the idea.

When R and I picked up B and A at school today, I asked them if they’d like to take a bike ride tonight. As usual, they were very excited about this idea. It was a beautiful day here-sunny, cool, blue skies. Perfect weather for a ride. We hustled through dinner and clean up so we could get out in time. T made it home and was able to join us.

Whenever we go bike riding with the kids, I think we look like a family of ducks all in a row. I usually take the lead, followed by A and B with T pulling R behind in her Burley. They all love to ride. We cruise around our neighborhood and identify the flowers that everyone has taken the time to plant. We say hi to neighbors. We call out greetings to the dogs we know by name. The kids usually open up during the ride and talk to us about all kinds of things from their friends to what happened throughout their day.

Tonight, I packed a small surprise for them. We stopped at the top of a grassy hill at the park in our neighborhood and flew little wooden airplanes. I had purchased them at a craft store for a dollar to have as an activity this summer. I had the exact spot on this hill in mind to fly them from. One thing led to another and we never made it around to flying them this summer. So, I grabbed them tonight and thought just maybe they’d work.

The kids had such a great time. They loved every minute and thought they were just the best thing ever-a huge treat.

So, there we stood two blocks from our house on a hill watching the kids throw wooden airplanes in the last of the summer sunlight. The grass seemed so green to me. The sky was so blue. The sun was so bright. Their faces were just perfect.

A totally unplanned evening that was just what we needed. Time spent just being with each other. Just enjoying the moment. The pile of laundry didn’t matter. The baths could wait. The line of activities we have to run to tomorrow did not cross my mind. I was able to be present. For that, I am grateful. It seems so rare these days.

So, hold on to those last moments of summer. You just may be able to sneak one more in. And I’m going to hold on to these moments of childhood because they seem even more fleeting than the summer sun.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Mommy Said

Mommy said...

We have to wear our coats today.

That’s not appropriate.

I am the best drawer ever.

She loves me.

We can go to the park.

As a mother, you make a million decisions throughout a day. Some are very well thought out and have firm reasoning behind them. Some are flippant and given to merely keep order or peace of mind. Yesterday, I heard A go into the toy room and with authority proclaim to B and R that it was OK to be wearing what she had on because Mommy said so. It made me think of the many other times I’ve heard this expression proclaimed from one sibling to another. A strong declaration that is delivered with nothing but absolute authority. Is this how this comes across as it leaves my lips? And for how long will this carry forth? How long will “Mommy said” be considered law around this home? Something tells me that I can only hope for a few more good years before those proclamations are challenged by preteen lips.