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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