Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Entering a new parenting phase

Tonight N asked me to play Polly Pockets with her after I put M to bed (D and G were playing in the sandbox).

Within about 4 seconds of me sitting on the floor, N started talking about how a girl she was in class with last year (and who she just adored and considered her "best friend") is now in a different class and has been playing with another girl instead of N during recess.  And that she feels sad and angry about it.

It was a rare occasion that I didn't know what to say.
But I've never parented a child through elementary school friendship weirdness.
I lived it, to be sure.
So I flubbered along and shared how I had a friend who often left me hanging in order to play with another girl, and how that made me feel sad too.  (Of course I was considerably older than N but the feeling of being abandoned, disliked and like shit are still the same.)

And so I'm out of my element here.
I know what to do with a toddler and a preschooler and a kindergartener.
But I'm a little dumbstruck by a 1st grader who opens up about feeling sad and angry with a friend.
And I want to fix it, but there is only so much a mama can do.
So I'll just listen and hug and hope.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Things I want my kids to know about me (Part 1)

My mom was 35 when she had me, and 38 when she had my brother.  And when I was a kid that just seemed so flippin ancient.  Now, as I quickly approach my 37th birthday, I realize how young my mom was.  But I can never know her as she was at that time because I was too young to remember.  And the person she is at age 72 is certainly not who she was almost 37 years ago.

So I began thinking what I would like my kids to know about me as I was raising them.  What I enjoyed.  What gave me pleasure.  What I thought about.   My blogging will, of course, give them a huge insight into me, but I thought it might be a good idea to jot down some things in a more organized way so they don't have to read all of my blogs since I hope they do have a life.

1.  Why I didn't take their dad's name
I married at 24 years old, which I now think of as being entirely too young.  I hope my kids wait until they are 27+ to marry.  I just think I didn't even begin to get my head screwed on properly until I was edging nearer to 30.

I wanted to get married but I HATED the idea that once I married D I would forever be thought of as part of a "we."  I think this bothered me so much because I hadn't yet established "me."  I also thought a lot about my mother, who married at age 33 in 1971 and changed her name.  She had many, many years of establishing herself as by one name only to change it to another.  I guess I feared no one would know me anymore (as I don't know lots of Facebook people who don't follow directions and use their MAIDEN names).  And so D and I discussed it, and I decided not to change it.  Because calling myself Carrie L just sounded foreign.  And weird.  And it still does when I say it inside my head.  (When N's school or doctor calls and refers to me as Mrs. L, I sometimes ignore them until they've said it multiple times.  I'm like, "Who the eff are they asking for?")

For awhile it prickled me whenever someone erroneously called me Mrs. L, and it REALLY bothered D whenever he was referred to as Mr. V, but now that we're approaching 13 years of marital togetherness, I don't think either of us much care what we're called.  And there have been occasions when, due to my sassy mouth, I think D has been quite happy that no one could "place" me with him.

2. I like picking apples
Tonight at Mamaw's, I picked apples out of the tree in her backyard, with D holding the ladder, and N occasionally braving the steps to grab a couple off the branches, and G running after the ones that fell as I picked and pulled at branches to get at the best ones.

And I realized how much I thoroughly enjoy picking apples.  Or picking strawberries.  Or picking green beans.  Or doing most anything related to tending to plants, gardening, or harvesting.

3. And I like to write and remember
After a recent letter to the editor I wrote was published in the local paper, N asked, "Mommy, why do you write?"  And I tried to explain it in a way she would understand, but she kinda zoned out.  But it made me think about writing and why I do it.

I've written stuff, reflections, diaries, whatever you want to call it, since I was about 10 years old.  I have a huge plastic bin in the basement packed with journals.  In high school and college, I wrote really poor poetry.  And now I blog.

I have zero imagination so short stories are not my thing.  I am best at writing what I head, my heart.  And hopefully using what is there with maybe a dash of common sense to make a point.  At this point, I've been doing it for 25+ years, so it's a habit.   But it kinda goes hand-in-hand with keeping my name....I write because that is inherent to who I makes me feel like Carrie to write.

4. The hair or lack thereof
My hair doesn't grow long.  Ever.  It grows immensely thick.  Like a helmet.  For many, many years I tried to grow my hair out, but it always looked terrible.  At some point, I accepted that some women are just born to wear their hair short, and I am one of them.

Given my lack of girly curves and my inability to wear cosmetics due to sensitive skin, I sometimes look boyish.  But that is ok.  Because very short hair, in addition to being super easy to care for (and I am extremely lazy when it comes to personal appearance), is also kind of edgy and suggests a certain amount of confidence.  Confidence to not hide behind one's hair.  Confidence to subvert the notion of what is feminine.  And I like that feeling of boldness.

Touching trucks

A nearby community held a Touch-A-Truck event, a free event for kids that allowed them to sit in and investigate all kinds of vehicles---fire trucks, police cars, backhoe loaders, big rigs, tow trucks, dump trucks, school buses, tanks, street sweepers, and more.

Aside from the air horns (which led to both of them walking around holding their hands over their ears periodically), they both had a blast.   M was, as usual, just along for the ride.

They make me laugh

My kids have been on a funny streak the past week or so.  Saying or doing cute things.

G will be 3 in a month, so he is chock full of amusing insights, interesting pronunciations, and wicked cute comebacks.  Like the other day I asked him to bring me the dvd remote.  He brought it over, and I said, "Oh you found it.  You're so smart."  He replied, "No, I cute."

Later that day he said something in the car I couldn't understand.  I can't remember if I asked again what he said or if he just noticed the puzzled silence in the car, but he responded, "I know wha I talk about."

G loves sweets and treats of all kinds.  One day when I asked what he wanted to eat he asked, "Can I have some junk?"

And then today when he and N were playing Barbies with D, he kept asking D to "Make him tall," whenever the Ken doll would be in a sitting position and G wanted him to stand back up again.

N is mostly attitude but she is developing physical abilities that I have been trying to jot down.

Within the past few weeks, N learned how to blow bubbles when chewing gum.  She has a serious addiction to gum, so I don't purchase it too often---she goes through a pack a day.  Tonight she wowed us with her hula-hooping skills which have gone from good to great since last summer.

And when she was playing Barbies with the guys one of the dolls was on top of D's head (I'm not sure why).  But the "doll" said, "Man, this is deep."  (referring to D's hair)

Last but not least is M, the slobbery, funky-crawling mess of a baby, who is pulling up on everything.  He don't say much that is funny, and his physical abilities are pretty lame, but he is a total doll.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Brain we go.....

I have gotten to the point that I keep a pad/pen in the car and in my diaper bag so that I can jot down an idea or something I need to get done whenever the thought floats through my head.  If I don't, it is gone and doesn't come back until I am wet & soapy in the shower.  And by the time I'm out, dry and dressed, the thought is long gone.

At the moment, I've got a couple ideas safely stored so I'm going to download.  Right here.  Right now.

1. The NYC brouhaha over the Muslim community center at Ground Zero and President Obama.

I've got no dog in the race so my opinion matters not.  But one of the things that has long rankled me about the US and its "public face" is that we come off as a spoiled teenager, quick to speak, very, very slow to think, lacking wisdom and maturity.  There is no question we are a great country, but we are imperfect and, worse, we are unable to admit our imperfections.  That's one of the reasons I like President Obama---because I think he understands that the reason some countries despise us and the general feeling about the US under W was horrible is because the US acted like a cocky son of a bitch.

I like the idea of the Muslim community center at Ground Zero because it spits in the eye of every person out there who brainwashes others into thinking the US hates Muslims.  It shows our ability to transcend destruction, loss, and fear.  I like to believe that everyone who died on September 11 in NYC is in possession now of an understanding of love, light and meaning that those of us left on Earth can't wrap our heads around.  And that they would think being forgiving, not lingering on what happened in 2001 but can happen in the future, is what is important.

2.   This is How I Do It....

Sometimes I'm asked how I can possibly have time to blog or write for a local magazine with 3 kids.  And my answer to that is, "I do not watch tv."  So from 8-10:30 or so when I lug my butt up to bed, I have the opportunity to write if the mood strikes me.  I stopped watching tv regularly when Seinfeld went off the air.  As far as I'm concerned, I'm not missing much.  I'd much rather read other people's thoughts that they've blogged or catch up with friends' comings & goings on Facebook than watch Snookie or the Kardashians or reality "stars."

3.  I keep thinking about money---saving it, spending it.  Obsess much?

It dawned on me the other day that part of the reason I feel broke is that I have purchased Christmas gifts already for my nieces and nephews but I haven't yet "paid myself back" out of my Christmas savings account.  And I've been purchasing super cheap size 4T summer clothes for G for next year but the money is being spent now.  

Today I purchased party supplies for the boys' shared birthday party in early October.  It seems a little early, yes, since it is still August, but I send invitations 4 weeks in advance, so that means I will need to mail them out within 2 weeks.  And if I'm going to drive to the store to get invitations, I may as well get the plates, napkins and cups while I'm at it, rather than making a special trip again to Factory Card Outlet.

And this is one of the problems with being a non-procrastinator.  (Is there a word for a person who is not a procrastinator?  An alacritator?)

Alright, so my brain wasn't as full as it felt.
I'm sure when I hit the shower in the few minutes thoughts will come spewing out all over the place.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

First day of school, Butterfly Festival and the pot

My big 1st grader.
She refuses to let me put a brick on her head so she'll stop growing up.  

Special times with the kids, waiting for the bus.

Play time with just the boys while N is off at school.

A local nature preserve held a Butterfly Festival this weekend.  I took the kids as well as my MIL and niece.  The kids were able to see butterflies close up in a tent, catch butterflies & moths in flower gardens and fields, and do a butterfly craft.  And it was free.  And I LOVE FREE!!!

Oh yeah, and we are s.l.o.w.l.y making the most minimal of progress on potty-training.  

Breathing again

N started school this past Tuesday, and I feel like a weight was lifted.

I felt the weight of worry lift----worry that she was bored, worry that her brain was slowly rotting away because of watching too much tv, worry that she was feeling neglected because it is simply a necessity that the boys (being so much younger and dependent) require more of my time and care.

I knew she would be happy with her friends, having consistent and scheduled activities and classes, being able to run and play outside freely without being told to "slow down" or "wait for your brother."

And I was able to do things with the boys that was their "speed," like letting G play for an hour in the sandbox without whisking him away to keep his older sister occupied.  Letting M crawl around the patio and explore.  (Plus, we have been fortunate to have some cooler mornings this week, which made the patio absolutely lovely in the morning shade.)  Walking them over to the road construction site so G could watch the bulldozers without having to listen to his sister complain about being there.  Letting G watch The Letter Factory dvd repeatedly without hearing N screech that she is sick to death of it.  (And darn if he isn't learning all his letter sounds too from this dvd, just like N did when she was his age!  That dvd is a damn miracle, I tell you!)

And the best, most needed thing is that the boys either nap at the same time (if M doesn't take a morning nap) or overlap naps, so that I get at least an hour of absolute quiet time in the middle of the day to recharge my batteries.

It feels good to have a routine, a plan, a better, stronger, more definite structure to the days.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Frettin over dollars

Today I had to pay what we owe for G's ear tube surgery...just the hospital part of it....not the anesthesiologist, not the ENT.  Goodbye $917.

And I had a plumber in this week to fix minor little things going on in every bathroom.  Goodbye $465.

And tonight I ran to the grocery for some bread, milk, crackers, fruit, baby food, yogurt, and a couple other things.  Goodbye $72.

D makes the money, but I am the bill-payer and household accountant.  Every other week I get an email reminder that his check has been direct-deposited.  I check his paystub online, jot down how many hours of saved vacation he has so I can tell him (because I don't think he ever looks at his paystub).  And then I proceed to transfer money into different accounts and pay bills.

We have a 11 different saving accounts:
a regular checking account
an account for FUN (vacations, zoo memberships, etc)
an account for ESCROW/TAXES/HOME REPAIRS(since we don't do escrow included in our mortgage payment)
an account for HOME IMPROVEMENT (which includes anything from new flooring to new curtains) an account for MEDICAL EXPENSES
an HSA (for medical expenses)
an FSA (for medical expenses which was depleted today)
and each of the kids has a savings account.

And I would have more because I am just that anal.  I would have a CLOTHING account.  An EATING OUT account.  A GAS TANK account.  A GROCERY/HOUSEHOLD account.

Basically I would do with savings account what Dave Ramsey recommends people do with envelopes.
But I don't like having all that cash on me.

And when I have a week of dropping as much money on repairs and health expenses as I have this week, all I can think about is where I can make cuts in the budget.

We need wine, but I didn't get any at the liquor store next to the grocery tonight.
But, damn, I need a glass to help me not fret about money.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Just maybe......

*N was the only thing that kept me half-way sane this summer, even though it often felt like she was the one who drove me nuts more often.

*Her snappy comebacks at me the last week and a half were anxiety-induced, knowing school would be starting again soon (I noticed tonight that she started picking at her nails, which she had stopped doing all summer).

*D, somewhere deep down inside, really adores me and the kids even though we drive him bat-shit crazy most of the time.

*D is secretly glad I am such a tightwad because he can then blame his putting off of purchasing technology on me being cheap as opposed to him waiting around for something newer & better to come out.

*M's red face is something that can easily be taken care of by a dermatologist and not some allergic reaction to my breastmilk that just began a month ago or a lifelong condition that will make it hard for him to get dates.

*I should communicate better with my husband so that he understands I really do prefer that he dork around on the Xbox instead of hanging out at bars.

*I should tell him that I sometimes specifically take the kids out somewhere on Saturdays or Sundays so he can have downtime, but what that means is that when I come home with the kids after 3-4 hours I want and expect him to spend time with us.  Or to just be on the 1st level of the house, breathing our air.

*G is sometimes my favorite kid because he is such a little hellion mess.

*I feel a little sad knowing that I have a first grader starting school tomorrow whom I will miss and whom I don't want to grow up, especially when she pulled out the scrapbook today so we could "look at her when she was smaller."  (Sniff)

*M is sleeping better because that darn tooth finally cut through the gum.

*The better sleep will be short-lived because of 2 white teeth sitting just below the gum, ready to break through at any moment.

*I am pretty content even though I sometimes feel like my head will pop off in frustration.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Counting it all joy

I was brought up Catholic, which means I know about a thimble-full of Bible verses.  So I did what any hack of a writer does....I stole my title up there from my friend K who's blog is called Count It All Joy.  And then I had to google the actual scriptural reference.....but it boils down to this:

Count it all joy whenever you face life's hardships and difficulties because being tested makes you stronger and increasingly able to persevere, so that you become a better person.  

I saw another friend who blogs last night at my daughter's school.  Her blog is very earthy and sweet;  I usually feel like the world's biggest curmudgeon and sad sack of a mom when I read her posts about making fairy houses with her daughter and picking berries near their home.  So I told her how much I enjoy her blog and all the neat things she writes about since I just spew venom on mine.  And she told me she tries really hard to write about the good and sweet because so much of her time is spent like mine, feeling overwhelmed and tired and often beaten down by motherhood.  

So between my 2 blogging friends and their efforts to find good and delight in the sundry, I thought it was high time I write about some of the joys I find in mothering my kids.

*I still nurse M at night, and even though I would really love a series of 8-hour stretches of uninterrupted sleep, a part of me really doesn't mind nursing him, feeling his soft skin, his chubbiness.  Tonight as I was changing him into his pajamas, he laid his head on my lap as he sucked on his pacifier and I rubbed his back and thought, "Gosh, I will really miss this."  The softness of baby skin.  The way he crawls across the floor to me and just plops his fat ole self into my lap.  

*G was in desperate need for a nap this afternoon and had a grand mal fit in the car.  Once he had calmed down a bit and was slightly less hysterical, N asked him if he wanted her to hold his hand.  He said yes, and she talked gently to him, saying "It's alright buddy."  It brings me great peace when I see her being sweet to him, trying to make him feel better.  It makes me hopeful that she has learned (or just been inherently blessed with) a sense of empathy for others.

*And G does the same to her when she is upset.  The other day, after one of our rows, N was up in her room crying.  G followed me when I went up to check on her and asked, "N, you ah-wight?"  And then he climbed into bed with her to snuggle.  

*I meant to write this down in G's journal, but I don't think I ever have.  When I took him for his hearing test at the audiologist's office, I had to hold G on my lap in a soundproof room while Dr. B had different sounds come on in different parts of the room to see how and when G turned his head.  The whole thing unsettled G a little bit because he would hear a sound, turn his head toward it and say, "Sop! (stop)"  Another sound would register, G would turn his head, hold out his hand (palm facing forward like a traffic cop) and say, "Sop!"  He did this over and over again throughout the test.  I couldn't help but find this extremely sweet.  

*When I took the kids to iHop this summer, N found a small writing pad I keep in my diaper bag to jot down notes or reminders for myself.  She wrote, "Im so glad we went here Mommy thank you."  It is nice when she shows that she appreciates some of the things I do to entertain her.  

Sometimes I swear I feel seasick from all the emotional wave riding I do as a mother to 3 young children.....angry, happy, sad, content, miserable, delighted, frustrated, guilty, proud and overwhelmed.  I think of Steve Martin in the movie Parenthood during the children's play....on that roller coaster ride.  I think I need to remember more often what the grandma said:

Grandma: You know, when I was nineteen, Grandpa took me on a roller coaster.
Gil: Oh?
Grandma: Up, down, up, down. Oh, what a ride!
Gil: What a great story.
Grandma: I always wanted to go again. You know, it was just so interesting to me that a ride could make me so frightened, so scared, so sick, so excited, and so thrilled all together! Some didn't like it. They went on the merry-go-round. That just goes around. Nothing. I like the roller coaster. You get more out of it. 

Friday, August 13, 2010

Dear god, the rage

When I was a kid, I remember only one time throwing a big ole tantrum and destroying my room.  Tumping over toys, trashing the place.  But afterwards I realized that the upheaval was pretty dumb because I then had to clean it all up.   

As an adult, if my temper got out of hand, I would explode, be ready to yell or throw something, but once it was out, I could move on.  

But this, the "Summer of Keeping 3 Young Kids Relatively Happy and Suffering From Inconsistent Sleep for 10 Months," and especially this week, knowing that a "break" of sorts is coming with N heading back to school on Tuesday, has had me raging, exploding at the kids on a far too frequent basis.  And at the same time, this week I have felt a little sad knowing that N will not be with us every day.  

I am trying to figure out why my patience has been so, so, so thin these past 3 or so days.  I know much of it is that I am just plain tired of trying to balance the needs of the kids.  

N and G can play together, rough-house and have lots of fun, but M, now that he is crawling, gets into the middle of it and is sure to be hurt.  But when I try to move him to safer quarters, he fusses.  And when N and G's rough-housing gets to be too much they start squabbling.

The other situation is that G and M like to do "babyish" things, like read board books or just sit on the floor and play with Little People toys.  But this is boring for N, so she turns whiney and demanding, wanting me to entertain her in ways that I simply don't have the energy to do.  

So someone is always bored or being squashed or trying to run over someone else with the Thomas the Train ride-on toy.  

Perhaps some of it is this goddamned heat which has made us unable to get outside at all this summer, even to play on the covered patio.  The humidity has been unbearable for anyone, but especially a young baby.  So we've been inside alot, watching far too much tv.  

This week I have flown off the handle repeatedly at N's sassiness and her expressions of "entitlement," such as acting like her tv programs are so much more interesting and important than anything else we want to watch.   Acting like she gets to decide for G what Netflix queue program he should watch, regardless of what he has said he wants to watch.  

And then I have lashed out at G's amazing ability to pester M to death.  Since M began crawling a few weeks ago, G has been trying to sit on, stand on, somersault on top of, lay on, ride and be inappropriately physical with M.  I don't think he is trying to be mean.  He wasn't this way before M became mobile.  I think G thinks M's ability to move around makes him a wonderful playmate, and G simply doesn't "get" why he can't rough-house with M the way he does with N.  

Maybe I have just reached my limit at having to get after them about the  

Today we met one of N's school friends and his mom/siblings at the Science Center.  We were there for about 3 hours, and N and G had a wonderful time.  M fell asleep on the way home and most of the time I can transfer him from the car into the house.  But today, G started screaming, deliberately trying to wake M up when I turned off the car.  I got G to quiet down but M's eyes had opened for a moment.  He may have gone back to sleep if N hadn't gotten out of her booster seat and stood up in front of him, wagging her head back and forth with her tongue hanging out and her eyes bugging widely.  

So my hoped for "plan," to get both boys down for naps, was screwed.  And I was LIVID!!!!!!  

And I know, I know that having a "hoped for plan" was pretty stupid, but I'm grasping at straws, searching for little nuggets of peacefulness, of relative quiet (or even the volume turned down to 6 from a roar of 11), of being able to pee without having to rush out of the bathroom to keep G from squashing M or N and G from taking each other down in the living room.  

So now as a mother, I still feel the "volcano," the rush of spew that comes out of me when my children have pushed me to my limits, but it is flavored with guilt.  Over yelling.  Over cursing at times.  Over feeling like I really could physically harm my children if I didn't get control of my anger.   

Monday, August 9, 2010

I am a fashion faux pas

I don't "get" fashion, and sometimes I really wish I did.  

My mother passed down the No Fashion gene to me which means the following:
1. If it ain't comfortable, I don't buy it.
2. If it ain't cheap, I don't buy it.
3. If it is comfortable and was purchased for cheap, I wear it multiple days in a row until either a.) it can walk to the hamper by itself, or 2.) I somehow manage to get baby poop on it.  (Poop trumps all.)

These are the Big Rules of Carrie's Fashion No-Sense, but there are many, many small rules that make it almost impossible for me to find clothes I like.

Small Rules--
1. I don't wear navy blue pants.
2. I don't wear chinos or docker-type pleated pants.  In any color.  
3. I don't purchase shirts that have to be ironed. 
4. I don't buy anything that has to be dry-cleaned.
5. I will not wear blue jeans with tennis shoes.
6. Shirts must be long or tunic-length since I am long-waisted.  If they hit at the belly-button, they don't get bought.
7. I only like very light-weight t-shirts like those papery-thin ones at Old Navy.
8. I don't do thongs.  Ever.  (Life is irritating enough without having something riding up my butt.)
9. I prefer to buy used blue jeans that have long been broken in.
10. I don't wear earrings, necklaces, bracelets, etc.
11. Purses are a necessary evil, and when I can get away with only packing my wallet, I do so.  
12. I have one pair of Merrell shoes that I love, love, love.  All I need is those, my galoshes, my flip flops, and a pair of tennis shoes.  Heels are evil.  
13.  I own 1 belt, which is nearly ripped in two from wear.

In addition to these clothes/accessory issues, I don't wear makeup.  Ok, maybe some tinted lip gloss on occasion.  But no eye shadow, eyeliner, blush, foundation.  I have never stepped inside a Sephora.  

Sometimes I wish I did like fashion, could comfortably wear all different kinds of clothing.  I have walked past White House/Black Market and Anne Taylor Loft and seen so many beautiful outfits.  But I know that even if I did find something that felt really comfortable, it wouldn't be really inexpensive.  I could justify spending $90 on my Merrell shoes because I wear them every day for at least a couple years.  But $90 on a blouse?  Forget it.  

I think my lack of fashionability makes me feel a little defensive whenever I see those "People of Wal-Mart" pictures because while my ass and boobs are covered, I ain't a pretty sight most days of the week. 

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Things that confound me

Numero Uno:

How does every thing I own convey to every other thing I own that they are all going to break simultaneously, or at least within the same 3-month time span?  

I am officially labeling this the Summer That Everything Broke.  I guess the lawnmower technically broke in the late spring before yard-cutting got into full swing, but I'm counting it.  There was the dead car battery that required 2 jumps to get us to Valvoline so that we could proceed on to Holiday World.  Last week was my Jiffy mop that broke completely in half from rust and rot.  And today it was my toilet bowl brush--again, into 2 pieces.  

In the last year we've replaced both the washer and dryer.  We euthanized the other two.  They weren't dead yet but were well on their way to the appliance graveyard.  And with having 3 kids, one of which is a spit-uppity, highly poopy baby, I needed to be able to count on both of these appliances functioning well and reliably.  

The refrigerator is in a slow decline.  We've had it for 13 years, and I'm really, really hoping to get a few more years out of it.  

And Dos--

I guess I'm thinking about this because I am having to replace all the shit in my house that is breaking....

Will someone please explain to me how this statement makes sense:
"Buy more to save more!"

I see this in ads all the time, and it drives me completely bonkers.  You cannot buy and save at the same time, unless you are buying a savings bond or a certificate of deposit which earns interest over time.  

If you buy a shirt, you are not saving money.  You are spending money on something that will depreciate in value.  

I have long been an advocate for finance/economic education for children starting at a very young age, and it is this kind of nonsense that makes me even more certain that I am not made for this materialistic world.    

N's Summer Scrapbook

N is in the process of doing her "What I Did This Summer" scrapbook.  It is very low-key.  Lined paper printed off the internet and covers made of cereal box cardboard that I wrapped in white paper.  N decorated the front with the words:   My Advencher Scratbook.  

Last week I had her dictate to me the details she wanted to write about in her scrapbook.  I am allowing her to read over what she dictated and then write whatever she wants with those details being in her mind.

N's Dictations:

* Me and my family went to the Science Center.  And we got to get sneezed on by a sneeze machine.  Before we even got to go into the Elmo stuff.  Me and G got to be in a bubble and we got to make  bubbles by pressing a button for a machine.  

*The diggers were making a new road and it was still dirt and my brother G had been saying that he wanted to climb it.  And so one day we did.  And I had to change clothes because I was wearing very pretty clothes that day.  And I wish I had new shoes because when I wore my old tennis shoes I needed some more.  

*We went to Sheila's and she had a pool that was just the right feet.  And my Uncle K threw me into her pool.  And I went deep underwater and it was very fun.  And it was my Pa's birthday that day.  And I had to wear my goggles because I'm not very good swimming underwater without goggles.

*We went to see Thomas (the Train).  Not my brother's middle name, Thomas.  He (meaning G) wanted to see him.  When we first got there my legs were already tired.  And then when we walked back to the car they felt a little better.  And then we got tattoos.  I got Rosie because I like her.  And we got to ride him and we had a snack.  And I jumped in the jumper.  

*We went to the new Krispy Kreme in *-town.  And we all had doughnuts.  I got the sprinkles because sprinkles are my favorite.  And we all got a hat.

*We went to Holiday World.  It was very fun.  We got to grill out and ride rides.  And guess what?  I got to ride the big water slide.  It was so long you could run down it.  And then there was the wave pool.  At first they turned on the waves and then they turned off for 10 minutes.  And then they turned back on again.  And then there was the Holidog roller coaster.  It was fun.  

*Saturday I went to the movies with my daddy and we saw Toy Story 3.  I'm not gonna tell you about the movie but there is a scary part.  And we got popcorn and water.  And there was a very, very scary preview.  And then we came home.

*Me and my mamaw yesterday we went shopping.  She got me new shoe and new clothes and they are just the right size and style.  And she had to get me new socks because we didn't bring other socks for the new shoes.  

Here are the pages she has completed thus far:

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Ideas floating around in my brain

There are many things I think to write about, but when I have time to write, usually in the evening hours, I have forgotten my ideas.

I'd like at some point to write about why I wish more parents would consider not circumcising their sons.  Or at least be considerably more informed when they decide to have their sons circumcised.  

After listening to an On Point program about soldiers in Iraq, I have been thinking that while I would be extremely proud if either of my sons (or daughter for that matter) went into the armed forces, I also really, really hope they do not choose to do so.  So I'd like to explore my feelings on that a little more deeply.

Last night I made the mistake of going shopping for clothes for myself.  So I'd like to write about how fashion is so not fun for me.  And discuss who in the hell makes clothes for 30-something non-professional women and how it is that they all apparently smoke crack.  

I sometimes think about what I will do when I retire....or when D retires and I go back to work full-time or join the Peace Corps....because I seriously do not want to spend my golden years watching my elderly husband play community X-box with the teenager down the street.  

Maybe I'll have the time and/or desire to actually write about some of these things when N starts back to school in less than 2 weeks.  

Monday, August 2, 2010

I don't hate the players. I (sometimes) hate the game.

Some people might think I hate my kids based on 1. how often I vent about them on Facebook and 2. how ready I am for N to begin school in 2 weeks.

Recently someone came out and asked if I hate my kids.  Now I assume this person was joking, although the little winky-wink/smiley face emoticon was not included, so I'm not certain.  But I admit, the question got my back up.  Got my panties in a little bit of a twist.

And here's why.  

Unless a person is a stay-at-home mom or has ever been a stay-at-home mom of more than 1 child, she has no idea what this life is like.  Staying home with ANY child is a challenge, but being pulled in more than 1 direction at any given time has the potential to make one come completely unglued.  

If you have a job and are away from your child/children more than 5 hours every day, you really can't comment on what it must be like for me, who is around my children every day for a minimum of 10 hours.  For.years.  Since February 2004, I can remember only 1 time in which I was away from my child/children for over 8 hours.  (I was going to suggest when I was in the hospital in 2007 and 2009, but I had newborns so I wasn't exactly child-free, was I?)

I know many working parents who spend 40+ hours a week (including commute time) away from their kids.  And on Saturday and Sundays, I have heard them comment that their kids are driving them bonkers.  So add 5 more days to that, and you have me.  

This morning, N wanted to do Bendaroos, the sticky little wands that you twist and mold into dinosaurs and circus clowns.  She was all, "I can do it," and within 15 seconds was grouchily complaining, "I can't do this. I need HEEEELP!!!"  

And then poor little M, also known as Mr. Fussypants, who is going to the doctor this afternoon for a suspected ear infection, was crawling and snotting all over the floor, trying desperately to get away from G who alternated between bugging the shit out of me and N as we tried to make a Bendaroo seal and trying to step on his baby brother.  

So N was whiney about not being able to make a "perfect" seal as beautiful as the one on the box.  And G kept asking, "Can I touch it?" and trying to grab every sticky wand I had in my hand, while M was crying and trying to climb my leg.  Who doesn't love this????

I do not know what it is like to be a working (outside the home) parent.  And even though it seems like it might be a little delightful to be able to pee without an audience poking at your pubic hair, I recognize that the logistics of working outside the home and being a parent are tremendously hard.  So hard that I have no desire to try to do both.  

I can't imagine the frustration of trying to get kids out the door in the morning because you actually have to be somewhere on time.  Every day.  Most of the places I take the kids we can get to whenever.  We have no deadlines.  

I can't imagine how tired a person must be to be up many times in the course of the night with a child and then awake and off to work at 6:30 a.m.  I mean, if I am super tired, I can lay on the couch and the kids can watch tv all day.  I won't win any Great Mothering Awards, but I can rest a little.

I can't imagine the rush of trying to get everyone in, dinner cooked, everyone fed, dishes cleaned up, homework done, kids bathed, books read, and lights out in the window of 3 hours---from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.  Every day.  

I can't imagine the frustration of trying to clean house, do laundry, get groceries, run errands AND try to spend quality time with the family every single 48-hour weekend.  

Since I don't do it and have never done it, I can't really begrudge anyone what they do as working parents.  I can't tell them they are complaining too much.  I might suggest, as I do to my brother, that he hire a cleaning person so he doesn't have to stay up until the wee hours of the morning mopping the kitchen, but I should just butt the hell out.  

I love my children with the fiercest love known to humans.  But I also know that some animals in the wild kill their young.  I have yet to meet a momma lioness or baboon who didn't have the urge to knock her young into the next wildlife preserve because they were driving her straight up crazy.