Monday, December 3, 2007

Not Until I Get My Kiss

When you're a mom you're not just on call but on deck 24/7. It's part of the job description until kids bloom some independence with the where withall to execute it properly. I'm not sure when that happens, sometime in their twenties??? Thirties???

That being said, sometimes I feel like I'm out of gas. Lately I've felt like more of a maid and my kids think I'm their personal assistant and chef. Most of the time I have a sense of humor about it, but I haven't really been able to recharge in a long time. Before you bring out the cheese (to go with my whine)...

Today started with the normal rush-and-a-push (not to swipe from that Smiths song) to get the kids ready for school on time. On our way to the bus, my daughter stayed back from the others so I walked with her. She opened up to me about school, social troubles and all that's bothering her. It was nice that she trusted me with something so personal, that she felt she could open up those parts of her life with me. As we turned the corner, the bus was pulling to a stop. My son was at the door, refusing to get on. "Not until I get my kiss!" he told the driver. With a hug and a kiss, they both boarded the bus.

Sometimes it's hard to know the impact we have on our children's lives, or how much they appreciate our love. And little do they know how such small things can refill a mommy gas tank.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Marketing Madness

It's that time of year again...the early marketing push by toy companies, telling your children what they want for the holidays. Every commercial on Nickelodeon is followed by "I want that!" by at least one of my kids. My oldest tells me if it's on TV, that means she needs it and I have to buy it. Good thing for her, her parents have a good sense of humor. Recently it backfired on her though, as there was an oatmeal commercial on. For some reason she won't eat it. We told her we had to buy it, because after all, it was on TV!

I wonder what it must be like to be the child of a marketing executive for a toy company. Imagine seeing pictures of all those cool toys. Do they get free ones? And what if a Fisher-Price marketing rep has a daughter into Disney Princess? Does he/she cringe when their daughter begs for the Ariel Talking Salon? Do they stand in line for hours and shell out the rediculous full price for plastic like the rest of us? Does it kill them to know how much the markup probably is?
Not surprisingly, I've received Fisher-Price, Lego, and My Twinn doll catalogues in the mail this week. Invariably my children always want the most expensive item in it. *sigh*

Friday, September 28, 2007

Play-Doh Pandemonium

Opportunities present themselves in the oddest places. My kids love Play-Doh, most notably my 3 year old where it's been elevated to the status of gourmet food. This week she's been begging non-stop to play with it. After months of banning the stuff, I finally give in. "You're not going to eat it, are you?" "No, Mommy." Not wanting to tempt her, I give her one can. I reiterate that it is not to eat. She happily squishes, forms, stamps and creates. I work on other things while chatting with my friend Kristin. Suddenly, something is horribly wrong. My little girl is crying in agony, clutching her middle as she makes her way to the toilet. I scramble to assist her, trying to figure out why she's in pain.

"Mommy, there's Play-Doh in my butt!"

Her hands are covered in Play-Doh, which is now covering my toilet seat and anything else she touches. Emotionally I'm in an odd cross of concern for my child, pity because she hurts, and trying not to laugh. I wipe her gently, attempt to clean off the seat (with her on it), and diagnose her problem. I conclude either constipation or travelling bowels. All my baby can do is sob hysterically that Play-Doh is in her butt. Kristin starts laughing, which starts me laughing. I attempt to regain composure with little success. Shortly thereafter the pain subsides. For a brief second I consider resassuring her, but Mommy-brain took over. "Are you going to eat Play-Doh anymore?" She solemnly shood her head no.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

A Mother's Worth

This is my Mother's Day gift from my children. Isn't it lovely? Pictures certainly don't do it justice! I've never had an orchid before, so I'm reading on how to keep one.
My husband and son had to go out this evening, so they took the opportunity to get my Mother's Day gift. Our son went directly to this flower. None other would do. My husband tried to direct him to other plants, and he said in a loud voice "Dad, stop being cheap!" A few bystanders couldn't help but snicker. Out of the mouth of babes... (I sure love that boy!)

Monday, May 7, 2007

Bee Shortage? Where???

I first saw this on the national news. It's actually considered a crisis in some states.

When we first moved in, one of the most disconcerting things for me were bee hives. Since the place had been vacant for awhile, My husband assured me they were probably old. Now that it's spring, I see we actually underestimated how many insects live here.

So what's the big deal? I'm not the type of girl who goes nuts at the sight of a worm, or freaks out over a beetle. I know how to use my shoe when necessary, but overall the balance of nature can regulate itself, KWIM? One thing does make me freak: stinging insects. Like bees, wasps, yellow jackets, and hornets. I become a human balloon when stung. The remedy isn't all that thrilling either. Benadryl makes me tired and loopy. So they can live...elsewhere.

We have located two bumblebee nests, and there's more we haven't found yet. They post 'guards' at the back steps and at the entrances to our shed. They attack the invading wasps. They dance to communicate to their bumblebee friends. From a distance, it's fascinating. From a distance. But I have to go into my shed from time to time, and I have to use my back steps. My husband accidentally ran over one of their nests with the lawn mower. They spent the next 10 minutes attacking it.

Yes, I've heard their docile. Yes, they're important to agriculture, flowers and planet earth. I'm sure there'd be those who would argue that I should feel blessed to have them. I really believe in 'live and let live', but I won't be feeling that way in the ER if I get attacked. This isn't an area where I'm all that rational. So I'm wondering if there's a market for them. Them and their little wasp friends too. What's the going rate? The bidding can start right here.

Monday, February 26, 2007


Like most kids, my son loves to play video games. We have a console, which requires a degree in electrical engineering to set up on our TV. My husband had it set up, but something happened. Somebody pushed buttons on the VCR, remote, or something, because it wasn't working. After 20 minutes of doing everything I knew how to do, I gave up. He would have to wait for Daddy to come home from work to work his wire and button magic. I turned on some music and went back to cleaning.

A few minutes later, my youngest hands me the phone. "It's Daddy." I hadn't heard the phone ring.

Our son had called him, told him there was an emergency.

"What's the emergency?"

"The video game won't work."

"Put your mother on the phone."

I had a talk with him about what constitutes an emergency.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Shocking! Bees in the walls!

A few weeks ago we bought our 4 year old son a very cool nightlight. It looks like a small lava lamp, with blue luminescent liquid that circulates a reflective glitter around. The first night we plugged it in, he was fascinated with it. A half hour or so after saying goodnight, we heard a blood-curdling scream come from his room, followed by hysterical cries. We bolted upstairs. "The bees! The bees!" he kept screaming between his uncontrollable sobs. He had tried to unplug his nightlight and touched the metal prongs while they were still connected to the outlet. We explained to him about electricity and why he shouldn't play with it. Of course, that couldn't be the end of it. Today we found him trying to put something in an outlet. Again.

"Remember the bees?"

"But we can pour bee-juice in there, and then the bees will get dead!"

At this point I'm having ugly visions. This is one of my monkey-children. No matter where you put it, or how high, if he wants it bad enough he will get his hands on it.

"You are NOT spraying anything in my outlets. Do I make myself clear?"

"You don't spray it, you put it in a cup and pour it in. Then the bees will find it and eat it, and then they'll get dead!" He's proud of himself. He believes he's found a solution to a massive problem, and all he needs to do is convince us of his brilliance.

My husband steps in. "There are no bees in the walls, son." He goes on to explain by using the example of static electricity. He shows him how if he shuffles his feet on the rug, he can zap someone. Our son is excited to find a new way to torture his sisters. My husband informs him how the electricity in the walls is much more powerful and can even kill you. His answer?

"Daddy, bees can't kill you. They just sting you."

We may have to refer to Schoolhouse Rock for this one. In the meantime we're going to make sure the Raid is in an ultra-secure place.

Friday, February 9, 2007

"Glue does not make good chapstick."

That's what my daughter learned in school today. And of course, she lost a ticket for that one. sigh.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Two Hour Delay

The most wonderful news a mother can hear. I'm set up with a local TV station to email me when there is a delay or cancellation. So before bedtime last night, I knew. Even better. I slept in till 7:40 and didn't have to scramble out of bed and fly up the stairs to rush my children out of bed. I could have a cup of coffee, catch up a bit, and relax. The kids woke up on their own and came downstairs for breakfast. Still no rush. They can get themselves dressed for a change. Usually if I don't dress them they lolligag until we're totally cramped for time. We were ready with time to spare.

And the best part? They still go to school. I have a chance to get some housework done. Everyone is in a more relaxed mood.

It's gonna be a good day.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

What TV Does to Your Kids.

Little Man: Daddy, I feel insignificant.

DH: Oh really? Where did you see that? On TV?

Little Man: Daddy! You're supposed to say "Aww!"

Little Man is 4 years old. He may be very smart for his age, but there's no way he could know what the word insignificant means. He did understand the emotion the use of that word was supposed to evoke, however.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Who Knows Best?

They say a mother knows her child best. Parenting isn't an exact science, but it floors me how many will discredit the parent on things we know about our child. When they're babies they'll tell you you're a new mother, take advantage of new mother anxiety to push their views on you and convince you you have even less clue than you already thought you had. When they're school age they'll tell you you don't know, after all, your child spends more time at school than at home. That must make the teacher (who has around 20 other kids in her class) somehow the expert. I'm sick of supposed experts undermining the authority and confidence of loving parents fervently trying to do what is best for the little being G-d put in their care to raise.

I do not have rose-colored glasses on when it comes to my children. I'm a realist. No, my children aren't perfect. They're on the road of learning what it is to live in this world. I don't make excuses for their behavior when they're wrong. I am in close contact with their teachers so I can be on the front line in helping my kids grow and learn. But it floors me how many people discredit parents on issues that they would know best. An example? My oldest daughter has been having behavioral issues at school since we arrived here. I email the teacher after a month of this and tell her that she's feeling insecure and stressed because she feels she doesn't belong and hasn't made friends. Her response? "I don't see a lack of confidence, and she doesn't appear to want friends." Hmmm. My daughter is 6 year old. She is creative, funny, loving and exuberant. She loves to dance and sing. She's very impulsive, which gets her in trouble a bit. Since her birth I would just stare at her and wonder what kind of woman she will become. As each element of who she is reveals itself, my insides dance. I do that with each of my children. I want them to be everything G-d intends them to become. As they learn the lessons of life, one thing no one will do is crush my children's spirit. That's where I draw the line. Admittedly, I worry about my oldest the most. Perhaps it's because her personality mirrors mine. Maybe that's because I see the fragility nobody else does. She has an exterior of confidence, but inside she worries and frets. Actually, I see insecurity more with her than my other two. Whenever I point that out, I get poo-pooed. Common sense gets shoved where only a proctologist can find it. "Oh no [she doesn't]. I don't see that at all." From MIL that sees her maybe twice a year. Oh that's right. I wouldn't know. Puh-leez. Since she was a baby, my daughter was a thumb-sucker. I could pop the paci in her mouth and she'd spit it out in disgust as if to say "don't give me that fake thing, Mommy!" Like many young children, she hangs on to security things. She has two: her thumb and her bunny. Bunny now resides on her bed, a place of honor. But at 6, her most portable security friend is right on her hand.

Since we moved mid-year we had to change schools. This place is a stickler for rules. Break a rule, lose a ticket. Lose three tickets, you work on a time-out. Now I'm all for rules and the need for order. So I get emails about how many tickets my daughter loses each day, what she did, blah blah blah. Yesterday the dreaded 'pink slip' arrived in her folder. If she gets so many of these in a marking period, it's a detention. You're kidding me, right? A detention? In Kindergarten? The charge? Spitting. She tells me she was making helicopter noises. Most of the lost 'tickets' were due to impulsiveness. Talking, being noisy, not paying attention, ate glue, running in the hall...goofy kid stuff. Now it's worth giving a detention? Enough was enough. I called the teacher. I want a precise rundown of what happened to earn her a pink slip."She was making silly noises in the cafeteria and because her two front teeth are missing she sprayed on another student." You're kidding me, right? But wait, this gets better. "The student told the cafeteria worker and she gave her the slip. She didn't see it happen."So based solely on what a 5 year old said, this woman gave my child the most severe punishment available? The teacher does say she will get to the bottom of it today. The conversation continues. The bottom line is that most these infractions are not defiance, but typical cluelessness. The teacher suggests being explicit as to why the rules are in place with her, so she understands why. Okay, sounds like a plan. At this point I'm trying very hard to keep my temper, and mouth, in check. An antagonistic relationship won't be productive. The conversation continues."Please encourage her to keep her hands out of her mouth. We tell her how many germs she's putting into her body each time she does it." Here's a thought, Professor Obvious: She doesn't care. Now I didn't say that, but I sure thought it. I go on to explain how it's a security thing. At 6, my daughter is of the age where she understands sucking her thumb is not socially acceptable, but when she feels insecure or stressed, in it goes. At home I privately remind her to take it out and gently tell her "You're a big girl now, I know you don't need it." I try to encourage her to have the confidence not to rely on her thumb anymore. If I make each incident a battle, it will drive her to want it. We need to win the war. The teacher gasps. "She has her thumb in her mouth all day." Gee, it couldn't be all those ridiculous rules and tickets, could it? Hell, the girl probably thinks she can't win. She hates school. And at this point, I don't blame her. My kid isn't an animal to be trained. She's supposed to be learning. In my day, Kindergarten was fun. We did cool stuff and played. All I hear about is her infractions. This isn't "I told you so." I could care less. I'm angry at what they've done to her spirit. They've taken her exuberance and replaced it with ambivalence. By not listening and paying attention, they've shown her she's unimportant and doesn't matter. A kid from her class told her "Santa isn't coming to your house. You're bad." I wonder if they lost a ticket?

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Who's Got the Whole World Where?

He's got the whole world... in His hands
He's got the whole world... in His hands
He's got the whole world... in His hands
He's got the whole world in His hands.

Today we took our little weekly trip out to the store. Since I live out in the countryside, it takes around 40 minutes to get to the nearest commercial 'hub'. As we drove through the countryside, I hear my 6 year old sing a familiar tune from the backseat: "I've got the whole world....on my computer......" Ah yes...a sign of the times.