Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Kids, Kitchen Floors and Ice Cream

Something happened to me along this road of mothering. I loosened up. Somewhere I set aside the 'shoulds', 'musts' and 'cannots' and picked up a magnifying glass and headphones instead.

I was once convinced that everything I did as a mother would affect my sons for their rest of their lives. Beneath this load of (ahem...) responsibility, I would load up on, "He should be doing this....He must do this or he cannot do that...". I rarely stopped to listen or look closely at my boys. I never stopped to really hear them and see them for the little, unique humans God has dropped into the middle of my heart.

I know I loosened up because I ignored the 'to do list' with it's appendices. My fellow OCD moms will understand. 'To do lists' have appendices when the list of things 'to do' falls over several categories-work, home, personal, church, etc. Doesn't everyone have multiple layers of tasks and reminders to slave under?

So, yesterday, I ignored my 'to do list' for an entire morning. I sat in a recliner. Held my sweet, 19 month old. Giggled when he passed gas and held him as he fell asleep. We awoke in each other's arms an hour later, sweaty, sleepy and happy. He looked up at me with that slow smile. I caressed his little cheek. He caressed mine. Then he picked my nose. It was glorious. Truly glorious!

Tonight, I sat on the floor in the kitchen, saw and ignored the crumbs and detritus under the fridge and ate ice cream. Ice cream gotten with a screeching 5 year old I spontaneously scooped up on my way out the door. He was still dressed in his storm trooper costume, with 'maked' feet. He couldn't stop giggling about his 'maked' feet and how crazy mommy was to go get ice cream like this. (Disclaimer: I would like to take full mommy credit for the ice cream brilliance. I can only take partial credit. I have Aunt Flo and desperately needed sugar and fat, which doesn't live at my 'healthy' house anymore. But I digress...)

We sat on the floor in the corner. My back squshed against the cupboard, vainly trying to avoid a handle to my noggin. I had a squirming, sticky five and a half year old on one knee and a binky slurping 20 month old on the other. I shared ice cream with them both.

We read a book from the floor. It was, "Bashful Bob and Doleful Dorinda" by Margaret Atwood. (Disclaimer 2: Okay, so I checked it out because she also wrote, "A Handmaid's Tale" a brilliant, post modern epic on feminism and childbirth. I just HAD to see what a children's book from the same woman would be like. But I digress...) The story was hilarious and I got to do many voices, a favorite habit of mine when reading to littles. I even pulled off a Russian accent for the Borzoi dog that is Bob's friend.

The kids were covered in sticky ice cream goo, and so was I. Yet, I held up my magnifying glass and looked closely at my boys as they were both pulled in to the story. The baby would glance at the pages and had more fun trying to pull his brother's hair when I wasn't looking. My grown up little guy kept laughing at all the silly parts (Begonia the Buffalo who was a victim to a Bureacratic Blunder!) and seemed to melt into me as I read. I put on my earphones and listened to the sweet symphony of binky slurping and baby boy giggles.

I have one more thing to add to my 'to do list'. Keep magnifying glass and earphones handy. I have a feeling I'll be using them more and more. Oh, and one more thing, rip up the damn to do lists!

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Little Bits O'Kidness

Things I Never Thought I Would Hear or Say As A Mother:

-"Do you want this cracker or are you just going to eat that booger you are digging out?" (BTW the answer was, "Eat da boogie")

-"Mommy, my butt is fresh! It smells like cherries!"

-"Mommy, wet me pick out an elegant shirt for you." (And he did!)

-"These glasses only make me look a wittle bit handsome. I am not enchanted with dese."

-"If you find me more underwear to fold, I will be very pleased with you."

-"Son, please do not sit on the pillow on your brother on the carpet. He can't breathe that way."

-"No, baby, don't eat doggie food. It's for Frank, not babies!"

-"Honey, don't play with Mommy's anti-depressants."

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Seeing Straight

"Mommy, these are kind of not handsome on me. I do not wike dem."

"Mommy, I am not enchanted with these."

"Mommy, all right! (Fist pump in air) Dese are de ones. I wook handsome."

This is how we picked glasses out for my 5 1/2 year old today. He was so grown up, he barely flinched when they did the air pop test on his eyeballs. He was also able to tell the Doc which one worked best 1 or 2, 3 or 4.

My little sweety will indeed look handsome in his new glasses. He also, for the first time, will frickin' frackin' be able to see straight! What is not so handsome is the wave of guilt that overwhelmed me as I saw he indeed couldn't see. I actually began to mist in the office.

We haven't had his eyes checked, because, well we just didn't. There are a hundred reasons, all not good enough. We just didn't. So, I can beat myself up that maybe the majority of his school problems can be attributed to his poor eyesight. I can wallow in the guilt of not taking care of one of the major details of my son's health.

Or I can take the advice first given by our LaMaze coach. "When you know better, you do better." I now know he needs glasses. We'll do better to get him checked.

Why is it that tonight, it's hard for me to see straight? straight past the mommy self recrimination?

What I need to see is the vision for my son's life. That glasses, allergies, asthma and an annoying habit of grabbing pieces parts or boogers, are all steps toward him becoming the amazing man God created Him to be. I need to see that getting glasses, and him feeling good about them is a good day. I need to see that he is growing and maturing so fast if I blink, I might not see it.

After some sugared corn based breakfast product, I know I'll see better. And tomorrow, when we pick up his new, enchanted glasses, I know my love, my first son, will see better too.

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Pop Tarts and Profiles

Tonight I looked at my son's profile in his night light. He was singing the lullaby I made up and taught him as a baby. He was singing loud and proud (whether to annoy his baby brother a few feet away or to impress me remains to be seen).

In the soft angles of his face I could see the profile of the boy he is becoming. I am achingly aware times to cuddle before bed will disappear; replaced by texting and gaming and complaining. Yet this night, tonight, I was beside him, singing along.

The other morning we shared a miracle. My first born has struggled with reading and numbers. I have turned the house into one ginormous letter matching game. On a whim, I bought funky Nascar pop tarts. They have race cars and cool graphics. Frankly, it's a blatant attempt to get him to finish breakfast, his least favorite meal (unless it's for dinner).

While I was packing his lunch, he asked, "Why does Daddy have 'off' on his keys?"

Hm? Off on his keys? I walked over. Ian read the label on my husband's key ring. He read a word we had never 'worked' on. He read it, because HE CAN READ. I could have cried. Okay, I misted. We then 'read' the pop tarts with their cool racing facts.

We took him for the first time to see Nicole, his tutor. She's this wonderfully enthusiastic, soft spoken elementary education major I met at Curves. After tutoring, she shared assessment results. I held my breath. Our last assessment showed that he actually knew less letters. He was not only at risk according to the test, he might need to repeat kindergarten. She was smiling. He knew all his letters. HE KNEW THEM ALL.

We still have tough, prayer soaked, decisions to make regarding his education next year. I'm beginning to exhale and relax. Right now it's more important to cuddle and read how often race cars change their tires before they melt. It's more important to see his profile in night lights and eat some pop tarts.

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Monday, March 9, 2009

A Long Stream of Interrupted Time

I remember when I would take entire weekends (yes, 72 straight hours) and do nothing. Do nothing but laze around in jammies, spend 'quality time' with the hubby, nap and eat. All while lounging on my clean couch, covered by a blankie in my clean livingroom.

Then I had children.

Let me clarify, then I had two boys.

Two, energetic, verbal, active, crazy, imaginative, demanding boys.

Now I spend every weekend, and indeed everyday, living in a long, stream of COMPLETELY interrupted time.
(Got interrupted now to pass a spoon to the baby who has decided the dried noodles I had for lunch are suddenly very important to lick.)

Taking the obligatory, post delivery potty run, I am interrupted most mornings by a screaming baby. He has decided the first thing he should see every morning is a sippy cup with his milk. (Interrupted again by a screamer who wants to help me type. Can't let him as he has noodle goop on his hands.)

Making any meal is always punctuated by one of the following: a pan being thrown at the dog and/or a cookie sheet becoming a cymbal on which to beat with a wooden spoon stolen from the dishwasher.
(Gotta break, baby has now discovered how to climb ON the table.)

Even the dog gets in the act. The furry monster decides he needs a drink on the other side of the closed door, just as I have folded myself into the warm bed. Now he sits, shaking and whining to get back upstairs to nap away from the baby. He can wait. This blog can't.

One would think I could be uninterrupted while my older son uses the loo. As we worked for too many years to count to make the potty a successful place, we are trying to let him be as independent as possible. Of course, that means just when I think I can get something cooked/cleaned/straightened I hear the plaintive wail from upstairs, "MOOOOOOOOM! I'm DOOOOOONE!"

There is only one safe haven for me. And it is only safe after little fellas are asleep. It is my sanctuary. My small Universe of uninterruptedness. It is the bathroom. I have a little basket with magazines/books and can often read AN ENTIRE CHAPTER in the time it takes to...well...take care of business that cannot possibly be interrupted.

One day I will own my own home. One day I'll have a bathroom with one of those padded seats. You know, the kind you can sit on for hours and leave no lines. One day. Of course, by the time that day will come I'll be writing about recalcitrant teens who I have to chase down just to make eye contact.

Interrupted again. The baby is banging his face against the front door. He likes to lick the screen.

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