Monday, July 30, 2007
Depends completely on when you ask. When she is sleeping I stare at her miniature angelic face and she seems so tiny. When she is standing in front of me screaming like a little maniac, she seems larger than life.
Today I took her for her first haircut. I mean, it really was time. You know, her baby curls were starting to just be stringy and her bangs were so long I wasn't sure anymore what color the child's eyes are. It was time. Time to find that one perfect stylist that wouldn't mind cutting the hair on a head that can't be still--not even for one second. Ever.
I took her to the salon I painstakingly picked out and made sure I had a spare lolly in my bag in case this place didn't have them on hand. A crucial accoutrement for times like these.Serenity took one look around the place, which incidentally was kid-friendly enough, and started trying to climb into my skin. We couldn't have been meshed any closer, and we had not even made it past the waiting area. Oh Boy.
It was going to be one of those days.
We made it back to the chair, I peeled her off my person and of course, she wouldn't sit up there in the little booster by herself. Or wear the cape. Or fall for the trick of looking at "the baby in the mirror".
So, she sat on my lap. Not such a bad thing. Until all of the hair began falling into my shirt, and down my arm and anywhere else it could land. I was fighting the urge to scratch and sneeze when I realized my Baby was entranced by the stylist's scissors. Is this a good thing I wondered? Then, I too became entranced- with the image staring back at me from the mirror. I watched as Her little curls were trimmed away, her bangs were chopped off (yeah, I meant to say chopped--they are definitely too short) and I realized how sad I was in that moment. At that point I wanted to cry. The transformation was spectacular, as all first real haircuts are. Out from under all that soft, fine baby hair emerged a Big Girl.
All said and done, this process took less than 5 minutes, but it was as if time stood still.
My Big Girl hopped down from my lap when it was over, retrieved her Big Tootsie Pop and marched her Big Self out the door.
Today Haircut. Tomorrow, Potty. Since I have such a Big Girl on my hands now and everything.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
1) I have been told that I have feminine hands. Since I played the piano, I also discovered that my fingers were long and slender, which apparently is a good thing. At least pregnacy and childbirth has not changed that particular feature on my body.
2) I have friendly eyes.
3) I have a Big heart and by many this is considered a bad thing since I tend to wear my feelings on my sleeve and am very obvious about how I am affected by something or someone.
4) I am loyal and authentic. What you see is what you get.
5) I am a Real Friend, honest and compassionate, dependable and trustworthy . I will go the extra mile for my true friends, helping whenever physically possible, being there for support, whatever is needed.
6) I have high expectations of myself as a member of the female gender, as a mother, as a daughter, as a sister. The way I see it, without high expectations a person can become complacent and comfortable and fail to set new goals.
7) I consider myself to be a good mother. I did not use the word great, see above question. I learn from my children every day, they are incredible teachers and full of wisdom. I listen to my children. I am raising boys that, despite the lack of father figure, are turning out pretty o.k. I hope that, for my girls, I am providing them with a strong, female role model. Above all else,I teach my kids respect for themselves, others, and the environment because I consider this important beyond measure.
8)I really, really, really, really want to go skydiving. I crave adventure and the unpredictability of it. Shhhh, that is a secret. I don't want my kids to find that out!
9) I like my own space. I don't like someone else in my space for any reasons. I am listing this as a good thing, because I am running out of things to say and as long as someone maintains a certain awareness of my space, technically it can be a good thing.
10) I am affected by smells, fragrances, scents. Seriously affected. Sometimes in a good way, often in a bad way. Cooking aromas, perfumes, fragrances, etc. Certain fragrances make me want to run from the room frantically gasping for air. Many times I just give up and breathe through my mouth so as to save myself the trauma, although at times that can mean sacrificing the pleasure. Strange thing about me, I know, and not sure how it fits into good things, but nonetheless, is a fact.
Thanks Slouching Mom for the unofficial tag. For any of you who read my blog (and I know you are out there lurking) and have not yet visited SM's blog, look over to my blogroll, as I haven't yet been able to add a link within the text of my blogging, and check her out.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Today i am taking a small break in my usual parenting-type blogging.to share these wierd news stories that I found quite amusing.
Here are a couple of the articles in this week's artsy paper in my town.
First, a demonstration of how litigious our society has become: St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Josh Hancock apparently was killed in a car crash in April (I don't follow baseball). He collided with a stopped tow- truck on a section of I-64 in the middle of the night. According to the police report, Hancock was drunk, not wearing a seat-belt, speeding,and talking on the phone while driving. Nonetheless, Hancock's father filed a lawsuit against (1) the tow-truck operator (2) the driver who was being assisted by the tow-truck, and (3) the manager of the restaurant where Hancock had been drinking.
Least-competent people: In June, 1200 Polish troops were deployed to Afghanistan as part of NATO buildup to patrol the Pakistani border, searching for Taliban forces. But, Polish commanders admitted that they would not be combat-ready for several weeks, becasue the keys to all their Humvees had been stolen. One commander said spare keys had been ordered.
Ironies: The local government in Dalkeith, Scotland has decided that, notwithstanding global warming and carbon footprints, the lights will stay on all night, every night in the former Dalkeith High Shcool building (vacant since 2004) for fear that trespassers might hurt themselves in the dark and sue the town. Come again?
Compelling Explanations: Jonathan Powell, 17, was convicted in April of sexually assaulting a college student in Iowa City after his DNA was found in several places on her body. Powell clained that he'd accidentally bumped into the woman while jogging and had become so entangled with her that he was inable to free himself for about 45 minutes. WHAT?
Strange people walking around in the world these days, I tell you.
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Friday, July 20, 2007
The words "Naptime" invoke some seriously sad faces around here. It must be some kind of cruel and unusual punishment according to kid-law, because the prospect of taking a nap turns my kids against me.
Here I must offer a disclaimer: I do not enforce naptime for my older children-my boys-but they are required to have a quiet hour of reading around midday--which, of course, they despise as much as naptime.
If someone were to come tell me that I get to go rest for a whole, entire, complete hour, I would stand there dumbfounded. It would, however, not take me long to grab my pillow and find a quiet little place to curl up and sleep. I would not have to be cajoled, begged or forced to go lie down. I would not have to be bribed. Sweet slumber would be upon me in no time. I am yawning already.
Such is not the case for my daughter. She whines, she begs, she attempts to offer good behavior in trade for no nap, as if she can have bad behavior if she does in fact sleep. NO, she wants to stay awake, has to go to the bathroom, needs a drink, squirms, flops, until...finally, sleep wins the battle again. I start out being nice, quiet, calming. I end up threatening loss of priveleges if she does not hush and go to sleep. For I know the after-effects of no nap on my little girl. By 5'oclock she is simply someone else's child. She whines, she cries, she shrieks. She can't be pleased, she cannot be placated. She hates her toys. She hates her sister. She hates me.
She was even like this as an infant--I called it the "witching hour" because if she hadn't had enough sleep during the day, I literally could not satisfy her with anything and she would just cry for an hour. Having been used to little boys up to that point, who can be satisfied with some dirt and a truck no matter what is wrong, my little girl has taken me on many emotional roller-coaster rides since her birth.
Alas, Naptime is in effect for one more year, then Kindergarten arrives. But, thankfully, a respite is in sight. Yes, I'm weak, I know. In three weeks, Journey goes back to pre-school and naptime is once again Ms. J's responsibility. Whew!
God Bless Ms. J.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
So, my kids and I, and their Nana, were planning a picnic this afternoon/evening. As time drew nearer, it became apparent that once again, it would rain. We made an executive decision and decided to go anyway. For all we knew, it would clear up within a few minutes and things would be fine. Or not.
We loaded the car with picnic gear, food, drinks, and four children and off we went--in the pouring rain. Onlookers might have questioned our sanity or at least our judgement. Nonetheless, we WERE going on a picnic, if it killed us, or drowned us--whichever came first. It is not a pretty scene when four children are disappointed AND it is raining outside, therefore making it necessary to wallow around in their disappointment INSIDE among adults. No sir.
We drove to the park and unpacked the car in a drizzle, becoming more and more hopeful by the moment that we had made the right call. We piled into the pavilion and unpacked all the grub. Picnicky things like luncheon meat, veggies, crackers, olives(for the baby, who strangely loves them), cheese cubes, peanut -butter- crispie balls, watermelon, etc.
We ate until we were stuffed--both with food and funny, silly conversation. This is the point where I add another reason to my "why children are different from adults" list. They wanted to go and play on the climber even though it was raining. I said sure, why not.
For the next hour, in the rain, my kids played on the little playground and had such fun. More fun than fifty dollars worth of fun in FunDepot or Chuckie Cheese--to my amazement.
Looking at it from my point of view, I would have been utterly miserable out there in the chilly rain getting wetter by the minute, hair getting frizzier and frizzier (as naturally curly hair tends to do with the slightest bit of moisture), but my children, this was not the case. They couldn't have cared less that their shoes were soggy, their hair was ringing wet, there clothes were dripping, no. What did matter was that the slide was so much faster, the sand made better sculptures, and the swings went higher (I am not sure about this one). Chalk it up to difference between kids and grown ups, I guess.
All in all, picnic a great success and I also added one more reason to my "why I drive an old car that is already paid for" list--wet children sitting on the seats--reason # 562, of course.
Although, as I write this, I know there are a few of you out there who secretly wish to go out and play in the rain with childlike disregard...come on, you know who you are.
Better yet, how does that taste ?
Well, my children and I were bound and determined to have s'mores yesterday.
Despite the fact that we weren't outside.
We are not on a camping trip.
We don't have a fire, so toasting the marshmallows is out of the question.
So, since the top element of the toaster oven is out (of course) we elected to use the microwave.
I was unsure at first, but as I watched my kids break their chocolate pieces, place them on the crackers, anticipate the melted, sticky reward, and pop the concoction into the machine, I saw them having fun.
Granted, the marshmallows were a bit chewy, the graham crackers kind of soft, and the chocolate was still hard in the middle..but buddy..s'more we had.
Monday, July 16, 2007
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Oh, summer and all of it's little joys.
Daytrips to the swimming pool, camping, catching lighning bugs, staying up past bedtime (my children's personal favorite, since during the school year they are in bed by 8), playing outside with friends, sleepovers, and the infamous ICE CREAM TRUCK. My children have their ears perked at all times for that familiar sing-song chime of the ice cream truck. I know the feeling, my brother and I also listened to far away noises hoping that out of the hazy, Memphis heat would appear the Ice cream truck. Most days it was comparable to a mirage in a desert; we kept thinking we heard it, ran in to beg for a dollar, but it never actually came. Those times it did roll through our little nighborhood gave us a jolt of excitement like no other and kept us going for days. God forbid if we came home one day to find that it had come and we had missed it? There is no other devestation like it for an eight year old.
Now, the truck that rolls through our neighborhood now is a bit ridiculous-looking, but the one from my childhood was probably also . Kids do not notice that kind of thing though. The one that graces our neighborhood now with it's presence is bright green with a ridiculous bell on top. It has silver rims that spin and of course plays a silly little sing-song to alert all children of it's arrival. Now, my kids will run into the apartment wild with excitement and begin frantically searching for their money. Of course, they can't ever find it, so I have learned to head them off at the door with a few bucks and send them right back out. This small expenditure is certainly worth my sanity later, should they actually miss the opportunity to have a $2.00 cup of colored ice from the ice cream man. Yes, $2.00 cup of ice. I suppose the little tiny bubble-gum ball in the bottom of the cup costs $1.90, because most certainly the ice cream man wouldn't try to rip of these little innocent children, now would he. Hmph.
But alas, price is not an issue when it comes to the ice cream man, so they gladly fork over two weeks worth of allowance to have fifteen minutes of joy sitting outside in the heat on a sweltering summer day, with their friends, eating their treasure. Now I must say that the ice cream man also offers, well, treats with actual ice cream in them for those more inclined to have a sticky substance sliding down their hands and off their face within minutes. Because that is way more fun. This was the choice of my little Journey yesterday. A Dora The Explorer ice cream treat. On a stick. With bubble-gum eyes. Wow. Serenity "chose" a less sticky option--a small red popsicle (for $1.25. The same kind one can purchase 50 in the store for the same price or less). I am not sure why I chose red. Her fingers and face are still red, despite the long, bubbly bath last night. But it was soooo good, she would tell ya if she could.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Motherhood: Where everyday is a total waste of Make-up.
Mother always said that honesty was the best policy, and that money isn't everything. She was wrong about other things too.
- Writer Gerald Barzan
Things all mothers miss: Reading,
taking a 15-minute shower without interruption,
a car without crumbs,
Life without worry
The story of a mother's life: Trapped between a scream and a hug (AMEN)
- cartoonist Cathy Guisewite
Things ALL mothers say: Don't run holding scissors
Want me to kiss it and make it better?
I can't even hear myself think!
The most devoted friend, lover, or even husband would never call you in a panic to warn you of the dangers of nylon-crotched panties.
The real menace in dealing with a five-year-old is that in no time at all you begin to sound like a five-year-old.
My personal Favorite still remains, although I haven't actually caught myself saying this yet:
Don't forget to wear clean underwear in case you are in a car accident.
I have an enornous book of these sayings and they make me smile. Let me know if you enjoyed reading them and I will post more from time to time.
Monday, July 9, 2007
When I was little we had like four kinds of cereal we could choose from--besides all the "flakie types" that all kids loved to hate. There was, as I remember, ONE kind of Cheerios, ONE kind of Froot Loops, ONE marshmallow cereal which was Lucky Charms (my brother and I were only allowed to have this special treat in the summer months when we were out of school) , etc.
Why do we have to have all this junk cereal now for kids? And just to point out, the trend certainly does not stop with cereal. There are multiple choices of everything now, I even get bewildered searching for the old stand-by flavor of something. I saw a commercial a few minutes ago that was for Fruit-smoothie Froot Loops. What? Sugar-Coated sugar rings?That doesn't even sound good, not to mention the amount of sugar in one bowl. "Here, have a bowl of hyperactivity with your toast this morning, son."
Some cereals have upwards of 15 grams of sugar for 8 ounces of cereal; some worse than that. There are at least five kinds of Cheerios, bunches and bunches of marshmallow cereal, everything has a chocolate-coated option, and we wonder why our children can't sit still. "He sure was bouncing off the wall today!" Well, how many ounces of Fruit-smoothie cereal did ya feed the kid?
Heck, now we can even get the sugary concoction minus the bowl, "to-go" in the form of a prepackaged, preservative-rich "energy bar". Take a dose of that without milk. A no-brainer--literally.
Sunday, July 8, 2007
I need to organize my pictures!
They lay everywhere, piled up just calling my name to organize and focus the energy on putting them into the appropriate scrapbooks and albums. This is a task that, although it does not sound that way, I truly enjoy.
However, at this point it is daunting because I have been in class for the last three years and haven't had the time to devote to such pasttimes.
To compound the monstrocity of the assignment ahead of me, for Christmas this past year I received a digital camera from my coworkers. Mind you, I enjoyed taking pictures before, but grew weary of always trying to make sure I had film and batteries for the camera, or for backup I always had a disposable camera on hand. Not to mention taking the film to be developed. Since I came into possession of my beloved digicam, I have been relentless about photographing anything and anyone that will let me practice--especially my poor children! (My goal is to one day have a side business taking pictures of family outings/activities/functions that people want to remember but don't want the hassle of taking the pictures themselves)
I have hundreds of photos now that are logged here and there, shutterbug online albums that need to be sorted through and hard copies obtained. It makes me weary just thinking of it.
I adore photography and the result of putting these albums/books together. At one time, I organized journals with pictures and antidotes for my son's preschool class of 18 as graduation gifts. This was incredibly time-consuming project that went on over the course of a whole year, with entries for each child at least twice per week, but I loved the finished product and I think the families will appreciate being able to look back on those days. My son Max has a keepsake album that his daycare teachers compiled for him through the years that is about six inches thick. It includes artwork, pictures through the years, different things he said that were cute or funny, records of milestones he reached and the age he was at the time.
Anyway, I am setting the goal for today to at least sort the pictures and arrange them into piles alongside the album they will be placed into. We shall see...
Edited to add: I did not get through all my pictures today. My 22 month old had other plans. Maybe next weekend!
Saturday, July 7, 2007
Thursday, July 5, 2007
Yesterday I could do nothing except complain about things that today, seem trivial.
Last night, at 1:52 a.m. I awoke to someone outside my apartment building yelling "Fire!" "Get out!". I could faintly hear the beep of a smoke alarm--somewhere.
I flew out of bed, and immediately looked out of my window.
The apartment building adjacent to ours was ablaze. People were shouting and trying to awaken the families inside, banging on windows. I ran down the stairs and out the door to help if I could, but found myself just standing there helpless. Finally, the people started to wake up and realize that there was an emergency, but it seemed like eternity before they came out. One family, the ones on the second story were forced, by that time, to come out of their window--kids and all.
It was harrowing to watch it all just go up in smoke and so surreal, knowing that this was unfolding in front of my eyes, and for some reason known only to the Universe, the building we live in was spared.
I spent a few hours watching and trying to help, talking with the family whose children my children play with everyday, hugging their children, and basically wandering around in a kind of stupor.
My children were safely inside with my mother, oblivious for the moment that their best friends were enduring such tragedy. It has permanently imprinted my memory the sight of this father gathering his wife and children as they cried, turn around shoulders slumped in defeat, and walk away without looking back.
Today, I am humble... and ashamed. Such worries I thought I had yesterday. So quickly can it all vanish. I never went back to bed last night. Simply sat there and expressed my eternal thanks that I was spared the tragedy of losing my home--even worse, my family.
Today I have no right to have any worries or complaints. All is well. Amazing how fast one's perspective can shift. We have a home to retire to when the day concludes, we have one another, we have...well, everything that matters.
Wednesday, July 4, 2007
I seem to be slipping into a total funk. An icky, sticky, all-consuming funk. I have no motivation right now, my kids are at each other's throats and I don't even seem to be able to summon the energy to intervene. I am usually on top of these things.
I have many things on my plate right now--all of which I want to be there of course, but my plate is very heavy and today I feel like I am going to drop it. My mother and I were having a conversation this morning about what we wanted to do for the 4th. With the kids. All I could think of was different scenarios in which it was going to be "them against us". Or vice versa. So, my big decision was to do absolutely nothing. This based on the fact that I am still reeling from our trip to the little zoo here in town last weekend during which all of my kids were out of control to the level that folks were turning to locate the origin of the noise and commotion. I was mortified, and we left as fast as I could get us to the car. They received a heated version of the "this is not how I have raised you to behave" speech, which coincidentally was totally ineffective, as usual. I was in tears of course and I think that is the moment I began sliding down the slippery slope. At what point exactly should I admit to myself and others that I am totally maxed out with trying to rasie these four children without their f* father who decided that he would rather play for a few more years-parenting just wasn't fun enough. Apparently making them was more along his idea of a good time.
Those who spend time around me know me to be very optimistic and always seeing the positive side of things. So, in this whirlwind of emotions I seem to be experiencing, I surprise even myself. This past week I am even having food cravings, and I have never been one to comfort-eat (well, ok except for the occassional McD french fries that I can't say no to when I am having one of those days). Combined with my lackluster view on exercise this past month, that might produce unwanted side-effects. Ah, something else to ponder. Yea.
So, today we will be staying home. No BBQ at my friend's house because the girls will just freak out about her dog and I don't want to deal with that, no trips to the park because it is so hot that would just be miserable, I did not purchase fireworks, our town does not sponser a 4th of July parade, and so that is that.
Instead I will sit here on my ass all day, break up arguments periodically, and attempt to figure out which major decision I need to make next. Job. Move. Send my 9 year-old to therapy to deal with his father's absence and it's impact on his behavior-which I can't take much longer (the other three were so young when he and I parted ways, that they don't seem to be very bothered). Any of the above needs to be decided upon and moved forward with very soon, but alas I sit here lost in preoccupied thought.
So, here i sit dumping it all out in hopes that my plate will rebablance itself and I can climb back up the slope to familiar territory.
It goes without saying that anyone standing there at the top, feel free to throw me a rope. I could really use a hand right now. But, if that isn't possible, I would settle for some advice from someone on the outside looking in.
Sunday, July 1, 2007
My daughter Journey cannot make up her mind. She changes it all the time, from one minute to the next. This can be funny and sweet or it can be very frustrating. And, it goes all the way back to her birth story. I think that most children's birth story--the way they came into the world--is related to their personality. Directly. Let me explain.
I was 39 weeks and still counting. I had been having good strong contractions for a week and it was getting me nowhere except impatient. I was ready to meet this little girl and so were her two brothers! Finally, I woke up on a friday morning to what I thought was my water "leaking". In this case it was the day after Thanksgiving so the Dr. office was closed and I had no choice, which was fine with me, except to go to the hospital to be checked out.
Upon examination it was determined that my fluid was not leaking, but was very low so it was time to induce. That word scared me a bit because of the horror stories I had heard about being induced. At the same time I also was NOT going home with this baby still inside. So it does not end there. No Ma'm.
The doctor realized that Little Miss had managed to turn herself from birth position to transverse--which meant that she was cradled in my belly instead of doing a headstand as she was supposed to be, and was doing the day before. Thus began the excruciating process of turning her around. This was as uncomfortable as it sounds and consisted of four people pushing on my swollen belly in a rotating motion to force her back around. Pushing. Hard. Like, I wanted to slap them away. You moms know what I mean. How tender the tummy is around the end of the pregnancy. And they were pushing with their weight against me--four sets of hands on my stomach. This occurred around 10 a.m. and was successful. We thought. Nurse started the Pit drip and induction commenced. La De Da...or?
Dr. came in to examine again and guess what? Yep. Little Miss Thing had turned back around. I asked him four times if he was sure because even he appeared astonished that the baby had accomplished that feat. Apparently that never happens, he explained. Now, there was concern because of the fact that my water had been broken to induce labor and with the baby turned around again, there was considerable danger of cord accident. He left me no option except to have a C-section. At that point, with my planned natural water-birth down the tubes, I was just ready to be on the other side of all of this and a C-section sounded like the fastest, safest route to that goal, so I was in agreement.
I was taken to the OR and prepped with the spinal procedure for pain, as customary. As they were putting the drape up, the nurse looked at my stomach and whispered something to the doctor. His eyes widened and I will never forget the look on his face as he checked my belly. All of the people in the room fell silent and I was just ready to cry. They brought the ultrasound machine in to the room and began to check. I was wild with terror at that point and all I was searching for was that little blinking spot that was the heart. My midwife was sitting there with me the whole time as support and she ever so slowly began to smile. She explaind to me that my little girl apparently like to change her mind and play games because she had turned herslf back around into the birth position. If babies can smile in there, I know my daughter had a huge grin on her little face right about then. I was shocked, but no more shocked than the room full of OR staff and doctors. Even though we were all relieved, apparently now we had a new dilemma, they explained to me.
Since there was no medical 'justificiation' to perform the C-section--as in no one's life was in danger now--they could not complete the operation. I was incredulous. Here I was ,totally numb and mentally prepared for surgery not to mention emotionally ready to meet my baby within a couple of minutes, and now was being wheeled back into the labor and delivery room to have a vaginal birth after all. What?!
The midwife preceeded to tie a cloth around my stomach to keep this little mischevious baby from doing any more acrobatics and labor began. I was taken back to the L&D room around 230 and the contractions began to accomplish something around 330.
My little girl made her appearance at 530 p.m. that day--all 8 lbs 13oz of her-- and all the doctors that had been present that morning for the 'entertainment' came by to meet her. Looking at this big baby and the fact that I am petite, we all wondered how she was able to flip around in there, but some things are simply unexplainable. Unfortunately, because of the medication used to numb me for surgery, my BP plummeted and since I was already anemic, I was very sick for awhile after the birth. I had to lie down for 24 hours and could not hold my baby on the way upstairs to the Mother Baby suite. Instead I was holding a big bucket in case I threw up on the way up in the elevator because I had to sit up long enough to transfer. Fun.
But all is well that ends well, right? No lasting health problems for either of us. My little girl is 4.5 years old now and is a little spitfire to say the least. She is certain about something in one minute and the next full of uncertainty. Yes. No. Wait! She has a vibrant personality that captures people's attention. She is very demanding and very strong-willed.
I gave her the name "Journey" because I feel that it fit her journey into this world, and I wanted to convey to her how important the 'journey' is throughout life. Stop to smell the roses. Pay attention to the little things along the way, they matter the most, I tell her.
Oh, and her birth story is posted in the book at the Dr. office where I went for prenatal care and the midwives all know who Journey is...and share this story often with patients who are feeling overwhelmed and impatient.