Saturday, February 27, 2010

Mom, better bring your A game

Among the things that make motherhood a unique experience for me is the uncertainty from moment to moment of how much is expected of you. 

You may be sitting calmly at the breakfast table, explaining to the baby why she needs to only put 3 Cheerios in her mouth at once when Big D, who has be suspiciously quiet all morning, walks calmly toward you and throws up all over the floor.  

SWITCH GEARS!  Suddenly you are thrown into multitask mode. You must simultaneously do these things:
-Before your hands are covered with puke, get all but 3 Cheerios off the baby's tray so she doesn't choke in the next few moments when she will be completely neglected.
-Wipe the terrified and revolted look off your face which is freaking out your son
-Grab the puker and gently but efficiently move him from the carpeting on to the linoleum. 
-Say soothing, encouraging things to said puker to get him to stay calm.  We all know that crying just brings on more puking.
-Attempt to comfort son in the way which endangers the least amount of your own clothing since you already got dressed and these are the only jeans you fit in.
-Do calculus level calculations to figure out if it is in your best interest to keep son in the kitchen or risk carrying him over the carpeting again to get him into the bathroom.

And just that fast you went from a leisurely morning to needing every multifaceted skill that motherhood requires.  The above incident happened a couple weeks ago, but it is a daily occurrence. 

Case in point:  On Thursday the kids and I went on a road trip to Columbia to see Aunt Cheryl and Uncle Nathan.  That's an hour and a half each way with motormouth and the baby.  Here is a sampling of our conversation.  I am not making any of this up. 

D: I see a water tower!  And a phone pole. And another phone pole.  Phone pole...pole, pole, pole, pole, BIG POLE!  Pole, pole, pole....And I see a bridge!  No, it's just a wire.  I see another wire.  Wire, wire, wiiiiiiiiiiiiire...."

As you can see, this really required minimal input from me.  The occasional, "Mm  hmm."  seemed to satisfy him.  And so I was lulled into a false sense of security.

D: It's verrrrrry sunny out today.  No clouds.  I can see WAY up high in the sky...Heaven is high up in the sky."

Ah, the word 'heaven'.  We've moved from babble to a more serious topic.  My ears are perked.

D:  WAAAAAAY up high in the sky.  Jesus lives there.  And God..."

And here is where things switch gears so fast.

D: Mommy, who is God?

Ahh!  Now I'm responsible for continuing the formation of his idea of GOD! Boy, this is not going to have any ramifications on his character, morals or entire worldview!

So, over Silly Songs with Larry I attempt the simple task of quickly and concisely defining God in three year old terms.  But just as I'm getting past explaining how he is so big that he goes past the farthest star but that he is always with you and made you and loves you, I'm suddenly done.  My intense mother-responsibility of shaping his view of God is relieved as he interrupts with...

D: I saw a trampoline!  I would like to jump on a trampoline.  HIGH up into the sky!  Oh look!  A butterflly!

I decided to just look past the fact that the butterfly had in fact been a hawk and just slide back into tossing a "Cool, honey," towards the back seat every thirty seconds or so. 

And my favorite D quote of the day, spoken in his best teacher voice:
"Mommy, the moon is very hard.
It is so very hard because it is made of plastic."

Monday, February 22, 2010

Eat your heart out, Canada.

Along with the rest of the civilized world I have been tuning in every so often to watch the Olympics and listen to the announcers say, with absolute sincerity, "Such dedication and inner strength!  What a warrior!  She embodies the peak of humanities dreams and all that we stand for as a species!"  for someone who has strapped long sticks to her feet and slid down a remarkable steep hill.  Appropriate?  Not really.  I mean, don't get me wrong, those Olympians are amazing athletes, but 'warriors' may be pushing it a bit.  I think the announcers should say, "Now that is some fast skiing!" and leave it at that.

But I digress.  The reason that Canada should eat its (her?) heart out is that while the Olympians are struggling to control their skis on icy slopes, we got ELEVEN INCHES of snow yesterday.  Here's a picture of our driveway  Yes, the ruler shows a bit under 9", but when I shoveled that part I found that the ruler had been sitting on top of at least 2" of ice. 


And it was good skiing snow too.  Not to slushy.  Lindsey Vonn would love it. 

And then after shoveling for AN HOUR AND A HALF to get our driveway clear, I don't know that I really helped matters much.  The aforementioned ice was impervious to the thin plastic snow shovel I had, so instead of nice fluffy snow we now have a driveway of life-and-limb-endangering ice.  Again, in the spirit of the Olympics, it is a bit like an ice skating rink.  Apolo Anton Ohno could come to my driveway and do a 10 meter super-short track speed skating race.  It would be especially exciting since he would have to dodge traffic on our street once he crossed the finish line. 

And while I won't idolize the Olympians, it is true that there are some significant differences between them and myself: 

1) Olympians struggle through pain and failure and trials to finish their sport.  I just got the driveway to this point...

...spent about an eighth of an second wrestling with myself about trying to do a better job then gave up, went inside and got some hot chocolate.  (In my defense, please remember that the bottom 2 inches was ice nestled down snugly in between the pieces of gravel that make up our drive way.)

2:  Olympians are in good shape.  I thought I'd better hop on and blog about my shoveling quickly before all my muscles seize up and I can not move.  I'm fairly sure that while sitting here I have lost the use of everything below my mid-back.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Valen-what day?

I don't like Valentine's Day.  It's the only holiday that a man can come home, give his wife a big kiss, tell her he loves her and that's not good enough.   Anyway, because of that Medman really lucks out.  He is completely off the hook in buying overpriced flowers or making reservations at a busy restaurant on Valentine's Day.  A couple years ago he actually gave me a gift on Valentines Day and I just stared at him like, "Who are you?  Who do you think I am?"  But it turns out it was a necklace that I wanted and he'd bought it and couldn't wait another month for my birthday before giving it to me. (He has serious problems with delayed gratification.  Ask who it is around the house that can barely wait for Christmas to open presents...hint: it's not the 3 year old.)

I also forgot this year that children send each other Valentines.  In my defense, D is not in preschool and it was his friends that are who gave him Valentines.  Maybe next year I'll think of it.  Actually if one of you could email me a couple weeks before V Day next year and remind me, that'd be great.   

But look how cute this Valentine is!  D's little buddy Catcher who now lives in Fresno sent it.  Clever, huh?  Of course D tossed aside the picture of the little boy who was his first friend in the world and did a little happy dance with the lollipop, but that's not the point.  I appreciated the picture.

So kudos to Catcher's mom for the clever Valentine and to Wesley's mom for doing Valentines when I know she has ridiculous amounts of stress and chaos in her life right now!  Not only did Wesley get to give out superhero Valentines, but someone sat with him while he wrote both his friends name and his own on the back of each.  Wow.  That's a time commitment.   I think she is up for this week's Mammy award. 

Saturday, February 6, 2010

And the winner of this week's Mammy Award is...


If Hollywood can tirelessly award itself for jobs well done, so can mothers.  I introduce the Mammy Awards.  These awards are not given annually (be a good mom for a whole year?  unlikely) they are given weekly.  And when all the votes were counted this week, I was the clear winner.  Just let me tell you about my excellent Mommy-week and you will see why:

Monday: Bundled both kids up and went to the Conservation Department for Kneehigh Naturalists.  The subject?  Snakes.  Yes, I touched snakes.  Not only did I touch them, I did so enthusiastically so as to counter the reluctance I saw developing in D as the snake was carried closer and closer to us.  Because it is important, for some reason, for children to feel snakes, right?  Why is that again? And we watched a snake eat a mouse.  That's one of those things that is morbidly fascinating.  I cringe but I can't look away.

Tuesday:  The only day we stayed home, but I did sew Belle a shirt - and it came out cute.  Really cute!  My friend Jennifer has commented before that she likes that I self-congratulate myself on things I make.  It's not pride, though, it's astonishment.  Really, the shirt came out as cute as I imagined!  Things I sew NEVER come out how I imagine them.  This could be because of the aversion I have to several important steps in sewing.  Namely I hate ironing my fabric, I dislike pinning things together and I hate wasting time measuring.  With all that in mind, please join me in staring in astonishment at this cute shirt!  Even Belle looks pleasantly surprised.

(Never mind that I spent most of Wednesday pulling apart 75% of the seams since when I first finished the shirt the armholes were only big enough to fit a highlighter.  Remember the measuring aversion?)  

Wednesday: Hosted D's friend Gus for the morning and lunch.  Provided stimulating playmate for son.  (Never mind that it was an agreement between Gus' mother and I to swap boys once a week...) and bundled both kids up for some healthy, well-planned grocery shopping.

Thursday:  Bundled both kids up and went to story hour at the library.  We had a luau!  Well, the librarian tried to have a luau and get a bunch of 2 & 3 yr olds to hula and limbo and eat tapioca pudding.  It was a complete failure, but we were in her presence while she read some book about a Hawaiian lullaby.  No one was listening, but I'm sure somewhere in D's subconscious is nestled the name of a couple of traditional Hawaiian drums. 

Friday: Bundled both kids up and went to a mini carnival so D could jump on huge inflatable trampolines and endanger life and limb.  What actually turned out to be the most dangerous was the mini golf.  Picture a dozen 3' tall children running around with 3' long clubs swinging them vigorously in inept attempts to hit a hard little ball.  Really, what can go wrong there?  Oh, and I had another sewing success!  I took an old sweater of mine (never mind that the reason it was 'old' is that I put it in the dryer when I shouldn't have and the turtleneck shrunk to strangulation size) and chopped it up and reformed it into the cutest baby dress ever.  And boots to match! (Really, remember the sewing aversions.  This is a small miracle.  Don't focus too much on the symmetry...)

Saturday:  Bundled both kids up (while hubby was at some 'how to save lives and be a hero' class) and went to Home Depot's Kid's Workshop to build a race car display. Helped Dalton hammer (read "I hammered while he chattered) this little project:

Home Depot hammering project all by myself, people.  No husband.  (Never mind that ours actually has the race car sticker on the BACK instead of the front.  That is what happens when mommy chats with friend at beginning of project instead of reading directions.  Don't worry, D thinks it's supposed to be on the back.)
Please keep in mind that this is only a mothering award.  I make no claims as to the state of my house, the size of the piles of dirty laundry in the basement or the fact that the only 2 real meals I cooked this week were both ready after 7:30 at night.  
So, for all this, I win the award.  Runner Up goes to my good friend Amy for being at all these events as well.  She was slightly penalized because she brought her husband to the carnival.  Wimp.  (Never mind she managed to get herself and both kids to exercise group 5 mornings this week-Come to think of it, that makes the 'wimp' comment a bit inappropriate.  Anyway, I could have exercised too.  I was just too busy being an awesome mom.) 

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


So I was logging on to post about the aggravations of motherhood.  Those things that would seem ridiculous to someone sitting calmly at their desk at work.  Things that make mothers look like crazy people.  Things like the intense frustration when big kid messes with little baby's white noise machine, setting it so that it only workes for 30 minutes.  And 30 minutes was the EXACT amount of time that the world's noisiest truck took to drive to the front of our house which woke the baby from what SHOULD have been a 90 minute nap which caused her to scream her tiny little head off which caused her to poop which caused more screaming which caused mommy to quickly calculate that now baby and big kid would nap at EXACT OPPOSITE TIMES ALL DAY LONG.  So much for working on taxes while they both napped this afternoon.

And wow did that frustrate me.  So much so that you'd think that I'd been looking forward for months to doing taxes.  Of course I hate doing taxes.  Only weird people like doing taxes.  But that's not the point.  The point is they ruined the plan.  No one messes with the plan

But, as I logged into Blogger, I saw that my good friend Bethany had posted to her blog and I thankfully took a moment to read.  Her blog is often insightful and meaningful (unlike some other blogs I know of that just prattle on about funny things in their day... ) and she was posting about the preciousness of life.  Her brother-in-law was in a car accident yesterday and is in the hospital.  And I thought, while sympathizing with her sister who is a mother of 4, how often I do forget how precious life is, how precious my children are.  Somehow I thought that after Jack died I wouldn't forget that.  I thought I would remember that there are babies that are too sick to ever cry, and the lusty scream that Belle can keep up for what seems like hours is actually a sign of robust health.  But I forget that all the time.

So I stopped, grabbed my kiddos and gave them each a hug and kiss and told them that I loved them.  I even got a hug from D's buddy Gus who made sure to tell me that he loved me too.   I have no doubt that I will forget again soon.  Probably next time someone messes with the plan.  But maybe it is an improvement if I can just take a deep breath after my melt down and recenter my priorities and realize how precious this moment with my children is, whatever mood or volume it happens to be at.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Me and Mr. Tumnus

I'm about to explode from adoration at my son's cuteness.

(Note 1: If you've never read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, stop what you are doing and go read it.  If you don't have time for that, then just know that the book begins with little Lucy Pevensie walking through a wardrobe into a magical world where she finds a lamppost in the middle of the woods.  And beneath the lamppost she meets a faun named Mr. Tumnus who invites her to tea.  Now when you get home tonight go to the library, get the book and read it.  Better yet, go buy it.  It is worth the money.)

(Note 2:  If you haven't spent much time with D lately, you may not remember that there is very little that he does in either a slow or solemn way.  The seriousness in his tiny face was about the most endearing thing I've ever seen.)

A minute ago I heard D chattering about the lamppost that is in his room, then he crept quietly out into the hallway and with his huge brown eyes looking seriously at me he gestured to the empty air beside him.

"I met Mr. Tumnus under the lamppost.  I'm going to his house to drink tea."

Then very solemnly he turned and walked back to his room, having a dignified conversation with Mr. Tumnus about tea and the snow.  Moments later he came back out and with a tragic face motioned to our coffee table.  In a sad voice he said:

"Look Mommy!  The White Witch sent her wolves and they broke Mr. Tumnus' house.  And I think she took him away." 

Me: "Is Mr. Tumnus OK?"

D with a heartbreaking long sigh: "I don't think so.  The witch is not a nice lady."  (another long sigh)  "Oh wait!  She plopped Mr. Tumnus back down by the coffee table!  He's fine!  And now I think he's going to play with me, Thomas the blue tank engine!"  And off he ran, sentimental.moment over.