Monday, September 28, 2009

Why I Don't Want Danyo Doing My PR

I was telling my cousin the other day, that as much as I know it's a dumb way to think, I can't help falling into the trap of believing my kids are a walking advertisement for me and my parenting. I'd say "us and our parenting" but memories of J laughing uncontrollably at Avee when she stole a beanbag by way of her undies comes to mind....

My cousin, who knows me very well said, "I'm really surprised, I wouldn't have thought you would be that way."

Sometimes I can get my head clear, and just let it go. But other times I find myself harping on Bo incessantly or mortified when Avee loudly exclaims her love of my armpits. Well, smelling them. See, now that didn't make it any better.

Every finger up the nose, every dirty fingernail, every loudly exclaimed, "Oh cwap!", every blank stare of incomprehension, every unreturned library book, every squirmy child in like a C- or even a D on my report card of life.

But why? These kids CAME this way! I had no idea how much of a concerted effort it took to keep kids from being disgusting, socially inappropriate, weirdos. I thought that kind of stuff was learned behavior. Turns out, being normal is learned. Who knew?

It is one of my goals to let go of this societal or self-imposed pressure to present perfection. It's almost laughable that I even have this is as a goal. For myself, personally, I feel no such pressure---but when it comes to my kids, I want them to be a walking neon sign touting my exemplary parenting.

With that said:

Danyo just may be the death of me.

Bo was born smiling and used to crain his neck, reach his body in unnatural ways to make eye contact and smile at people. He LOVED people. Still does. Yesterday at the church potluck he sat a table away from us, chatting away with all the kids from one family, and another adult in a different family. He didn't want us, need us, and was in heaven surrounded by lots of people.

Avee has spent the better portion of her life, staring boldy at people, silently daring them to tell her how cute she is. Yesterday she was doing an Avee-version of a handstand. During one of them, her elbows must have given out because she faceplanted. I saw the whole thing and while I kept my expression the same, I was fully prepared to comfort her wounded pride and possibly, nose. She sprung up, swung around to anyone who might have seen and declared, "That was AWESOME, only I can do that!" She, aware of the public, wants to please them.

Then there's Little D. When he suspects someone might address him or even look at him, he snarls. The other day he stood at the door like a guard dog and growled at the UPS man for putting his hands inside our house to hand me a package. At the store he points at people menacingly and yells, "NO! STOP!" and a few other unintelligible things that I'm certain are expletives.

Last night I told him to be quiet and lay down. He barked, "Ut up!"

We have a rule in our house. It's an unspoken one, but it's there. The rule is, you have to be smarter or more well-spoken than the person you are bossing around.

He broke that rule. Whatsmore, we don't say shut up. Really, ever. I suspect Avee mutters it in defiance when sent to her room, and that's where he's learned it.

When I didn't "ut up" right away, and insisted that he lay down, he scrambled for his bottle of water and aimed the top of it at me like a gun. Um, what?!

In the privacy of our own home, I have a hard time keeping a straight face. This kid still has chubby cheeks. He can say about 8 words clearly. He's mastered the little puppy dog look with his eyes. He's a little small for his age. The combination is all very entertaining for me.

But put this naughty little cherub out in public, and I'll be mortified.

It doesn't help that he is fascinated with trucks, has the classic impediment when saying "truck" and loves to yell every time he sees one.

Between that and Avee's mispronunciation of the word fog, I think Bo's convinced we're all going to hell (or the skills room).

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Confessions of a _________________

Hi Guys.

I really want to be a blogger again. Regularly, I try to drum up some action in my noggin, and as you can see, it doesn't happen.

There are so many things that seem to get in the way of my blogging. Big and important and time-consuming things like:
French Fries
16th Century Historical Fictions
Ugly Betty on DVD
My hawt husband
Danyo the Dictator of keyboards

Those are the biggest things I can come up with off the top of my head.

Since I got married and started having children, always in the back of my mind has been the goal and desire to go back to school for a Masters or PhD. I mull it over and talk it out with J regularly.

Except lately, I haven't. I realized I was letting apathy creep into my body. I would be content just puttering around eating PBJs and taking naps. To be perfectly honest, I can hardly think of anything better right now....

This realization set some other realizations into motion and I think it might be safe to say I have let myself go. Some of you who live near me might contest the implied "recentness" of that sentence. It may be more accurate to say "I've been gone".

I do love french fries though.

I guess I'm telling you this so you know that it's not just my blog I'm neglecting. It's also my dreams, my ambitions, my leg hairs, and periodically, my children.

I'm gonna get on that.

In other news. My kids are still awesome and funny and I love them. Yay!

Today I went shopping with Danyo. Just Danyo. It was so nice because when he was screaming and threatening to jump head first out of the cart and scatching at my face for buckling him in, I didn't have to deal with anyone ramming the cart into other people, or displays, or tell anyone I'm not paying $3 for a couple of ritz crackers and pre-cut turkey and cheese, or apologize for running over Avee for the third time because she slid across the floor (purposely) under the wheels of the cart (accidentally). It's so nice shopping with just one.

Anywho, I got him a big ol' plastic cart full of beach toys for $3. Beach toys always come in handy in Iowa. I also bought him a pack of pens. AND a pin wheel thing. That was 50 cents, if you are interested.

Guess what he held the entire time, at the checkout I had to pry from his hands, in the car he sang to it and about it, and has now gone down for a nap, snuggling it.

If you guessed the Great Value Canola Oil Cooking Spray, you are a genius.

The one constant with my kids is, they are all weird.

That's all I have to say about that.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Of Apple Trees and Parent Teacher Conferences

Today I signed up for Avee's little preschool Parent-Teacher conference.
I remembered so vividly longing for one with Bo's preschool. I wanted to hear the words, "Your boy is a genius". I wanted them telling me they'd never seen a child with such brilliance, and that it was obvious he got it from me. I wanted them to tell me he was perfect, and we were doing everything right.

The preschool he went to didn't have their conferences until March or so. There they told me, "He's really quite bright. He can't tie his shoes, he can't hop on one leg 4 times in a row, we love him, he's pretty much like every other kid in our class."

That sort of knocked me back to reality. I forget sometimes that we all think our kids are adorable geniuses with the great potential to be walking advertisements for our parenting prowess.

So, here it is, not quite two years later, and I'm going to a conference for Avee in a week. The funny thing is...

Before I went to Bo's, I could have recited every little thing they would tell me.
He loves letters and numbers. He plays alone a lot. He gets along with everyone, but doesn't single out any one person as a friend. He has a great sense of humor. He cannot keep his hands to himself. He really hates those kids up the road who stole his scooter 6 months ago...

I know that boy. Backward and forward. I know what will delight him. I know what will amuse him. I know what will hurt his feelings. I know what he loves. I know what makes his lower lip tremble. I know he'd choose an American Flag birthday cake over a balloon or rainbow one (although, a rainbow one would be a close second). I know that 90% of his waking thoughts right now are about Harry Potter and Professor Flitwick, and Snape, and Voldermort. The other 10% are "how can I get more junk food" and "How can I annoy Avee the most."

And then there's Avee.

I wonder WHAT in the HECK her teachers are going to tell me. She's sweet? That's generic. She insists that the Y at the end of her name goes in the middle? Hardly a character definition. She wants to be a princess? When it suits her.

I truly pride myself on what I know about that girl. When I find the right angle to get her to eat her food, or wear a more seasonally appropriate outfit, I literally feel like I've won an Olympic gold medal. I've figured her out, if only for a brief moment.

I barely know what makes her tick. I don't know what motivates her impulsive and frequent bear hugs and "I love you so much mom's" through clenched teeth. Clenched with so much love. I don't know why she won't stop crying sometimes when she gets upset. I don't know how she manages to be so forgiving and loving with Danyo. I don't know if she really thinks she is his mom. I don't know if she knows any numbers past 13. I don't know if she really doesn't know the letter "J" exists. I don't know why sometimes she sneaks upstairs and puts on diapers. Or why sleeping in her old toddler bed thrills her. I don't understand her obsession with the word "butt". I don't know a lot about this girl. The truth is, I don't understand her. She is a mystery. Sometimes she seems so easy to understand, predictable even. But whenever I really start thinking I have a handle, I'm almost always mistaken.

As I'm thinking about these things on my ride home, I realize....

I've pretty much summed up J's experience of being married to me. It's all so very clear in my head, but I'm afraid my apple, Avee, hasn't fallen far from this tree.

I'm sorry J. For what you have to work with, you are amazing.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Just A Peek Into The Chaos That Is My Mind

Just now I sat down to post and opened up a comment box in my previous post to do it.
This is how I have been operating of late.

This morning I was trying to persuade Avee to go with me to check out the preschool she is going to tomorrow. She assured me that she already knew they had ponies, and that was enough for her to know she'd like it.

I listed off some other things she could see if she went with me, knowing full well her mind was made up and she wasn't interested.

Suddenly she interrupted my list and said, "Wait! Is breakfast included?!"

It's rare that people can get such a hearty guffaw from me like that. Especially teeny little four year old people.

Danyo hurt his toe in June (pretty badly), had to have a hold drilled in the toenail to relieve pressure, toenail eventually fell off, etc. A week and a half ago he re-injured it.

If you meet Danyo today he will show you his toe. He stills says very few words. But "toe" and "ouch" are two we hear every day.

I do not tire of hearing him complain about his toe (it does not hurt him anymore, it's just the memory of two painful injuries on the SAME toe that has affected him the most) because I am just like him. And I know his need to let everyone hear about his suffering.

Bo has been playing outside with a 3-year-old since he got out of school today. This is the same boy who has sought out older kids from the moment he could walk. He even exclaimed today, "Sebi's a pretty nice kid!" I wish I could teach him how very much it is in his control how nice or not nice kids are. The not-nice ones don't get the pleasure of his company. The nice ones do. That might be very Nobody-esque though, I've always thought of my presence as some sort of reward for the masses. Where did I get that idea?

First grade seems to be going well for the little guy. He's kind of obsessed with food, always saying he's hungry when he's not. I don't know what that's all about. J thinks it coincides with the departure of his best friend Caleb. I think J's going all psychoanalytical on me and that's MY JOB. He may be right. Caleb's family leaving left a hole in all our hearts. I'm filling mine with Oreos and french fries. Oh wait, that's what Bo is trying to do, only I keep telling him he can't. That's not very nice of me.

I noticed a lot of discussion throughout Facebook about Obama's speech to schools. I'm not entirely sure I ever actually formed a complete opinion on the matter. I think there's some mistrust with Obama, even with people who voted for him, particularly with his speech-giving. He is an excellent public speaker. He's rousing, and and he taps into just the right rhetoric that gets to people. Myself included, with the exception of his channeling Bob the Builder during his campaign. That just made me laugh. But so far, there hasn't been a whole lot to back up all that good tawkin'. For me, that somewhat lent itself to some skepticism. Turns out he was just going to say to our children, what we should be saying, and preaching, and living ourselves. In some ways it makes me sad that such a basic idea has to be the grand message our president gives. How come 'Merican's have gotten so lazy when it comes to taking care of our children? If you are reading this, I don't mean you. Clearly you are a superb parent.

Oh man, I need to give it up. This blogging business just isn't flowing for me right now.

Glad you could join me for the ride.

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Bloggers I Met

In the back of my mind, for the past month and a half has been a post on my trip to Utah. Now it's getting to the point where referring to my nearly 2 month old vacation is just lame.

On the other hand, I've never really objected to being lame before, have I?

In July, I took my three kids, my 16 year old niece and her best friend, to Utah. Having my niece and her friend proved to be invaluable. They were wonderful at putting out the little fires and I could focus on driving and not speeding. I messed that up a little bit in the middle of Kansas. But really, has anyone ever made it through Kansas without getting a ticket? The last time I got a ticket was almost exactly 7 years ago on our honeymoon, heading back to St. Louis.


We visited lots of people and had a grand time. But I want to mention three bloggy friends I got to meet up with. One for the first time, and two are ollllllllld news 'round here. :)

First was Yvonne. I met her last year at a blogger party and I liked her immediately, and REALLY liked her by the end of our weekend. But there were a lot of people and not a whole lot of one on one time with anyone.

So, I was looking forward to getting to sit and chat with just her. Granted, Bo and Avee were there, stealing a little of my thunder, but whatever. They do that ALL the time. When we finally parted ways, I thought we had talked for about 45 minutes. It was uh---over two hours. And still it wasn't long enough, but my kids were climbing trees and threatening to wet their pants and whatnot. We talked nonstop. She is funny and wise and kind and insightful and one of those people who when you talk to, you feel like they are your biggest fan. And then you realize they make EVERYONE feel that way. Which is a really cool way to be, if you ask me.

She let me show off Bo talking about geometry. And didn't roll her eyes once. She's just that classy, people. And she saw Avee in full-Avee form. Climbing trees in a dress and making everyone around us leap to their feet to save her. She never needs saving though.

It was a definite highlight of my Utah visit. Thanks for taking the time, Yvonne. Hmm, I hope she reads this blog...

The next day I met Sister Pottymouth for lunch. I don't know if she was nervous meeting me for the first time, but I realized as I was driving to meet her that I wasn't one ounce nervous, just really, really, excited. And she did not disappoint. I have to say, she's a total hottie in real life, and I didn't expect that. Not because I'd seen pictures that were contrary, I just wasn't expecting that kind of hotness from someone named "Pottymouth". :) She also just had a baby a year ago, and me, I had a baby TWO years ago and still look like I'm pregnant, and that showers are just beyond my grasp. Maybe I was so enamored with her writing, I never paid attention to anything else.

She gave me a cute little handmade bag filled with goodies for the kids. I was just really struck by the thoughtfulness of this. One of the goodies was play-dough. Another was a rocket/slingshot Spiderman. I'm thinking perhaps Sister Pottymouth had something against me before she even met me. On the other hand, the kids thought the flying Spiderman on the trip home was HIIIIILAAAAAARIOUS.

We also talked nonstop. Danyo was with me on this visit. He's a totally obnoxious lunch date and it was frustrating for me, and I was sweating like a pig within 12 minutes of meeting SP, but she didn't point and laugh once. At least not that I saw. She was very good with Danyo and I guess he was appreciative because after about 15 minutes of being a terd, he just stopped and was totally delightful for the rest of the time. That NEVER happens. I believe he was the one that rounded out the visit with a good ol' poop. Between the three of us, it was bound to happen, I guess.

Sister Pottymouth made me want to move back to Utah. I think we would be fantastic IRL friends. I could show up at her house for lunch, she could make me lunch...the possibilities really are endless. I really like her. She was easy to talk to, funny, engaging, and picked a REALLY yummy lunch place. Her first three kids are all boy, and the youngest boy is just a little younger than Bo. She's sorta been there, done that, on the parenting boys front---as far as I'm concerned. It was good to talk to her about some things Bo says or does---I live to hear the words, "that's pretty normal". Sadly, she didn't assure me of that much when I talked about myself. I look forward to more visits with SP. And lunch too.

We also shared a brief round of "It's a Small World" which I always enjoy. She knows, by way of her husband, my friends Rob and Mary Ann.

Then I was out one day running some errands when Lil' Ms. Klin sent me a text, and it turns out, I wasn't very far from her house at all. Our visit was quick, but still a breath of fresh air. Klin is a "take you as you are" kind of girl. I love them kinds of peeps. She's also a therapist, and I think this kind of attribute is especially useful in being a good therapist. I guess the therapist part of that is, "Take you as you are" and then "help you be even better".

I have no doubt, if I had turned up and been all clepto at her house, she would have still been kind and happy to see me, but probably would have engaged in a little more "help you be even better" action.

Don't worry I didn't steal. Much.

I got to meet three of her children, and her husband.

Klin does foster care and I have all kinds of respect and admiration for people who do that. Her having foster children wasn't new to me, meeting two of her children and one of her foster children, I was just reminded of how cool I think she is. While I was standing in her home, it struck me how cool her husband was too. I think it's generally more natural and "easy" for a woman to be nurturing and have that desire to take care of children who are in need. But I think it takes a pretty great guy to be involved and supportive and provide that good home life for those kids. Is that sexist? I meant it to be a compliment.

Danyo got his kitty fix. He calls all animals "Daddy". It reminds me of how Bo used to call all cheese by-products and Jesus, "Cheese." There is no end to the amusement it provides me.

The visit was quick, but wonderful. Klin is good people. I'm gonna grow up to be just like her. She also loaded Danyo up with some goldfish crackers and sent some treats for Bo and Avee. Bo and Avee don't even know her, but they looooooooooove her.

And this doesn't even touch the the rest of the awesomeness of my trip, but I always like to read/hear about new bloggers (or even "old" ones I already read), so I thought I'd share.

The End.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Everything That I Do

Avee is sobbing hysterically on the couch. I'm tough, but not so callous that I haven't tried to comfort her. 4 times. I've been punched 6 times. So I'm going to let the plastic hanger she's trapped her legs in, console her.

I took Bo and Avee to run a few errands, the last of which was the post office. I hate the post office. With a passion greater than these words can convey. I hate their prices, I hate their lines, I hate how 9 out of 10 of the employees aren't friendly because they don't have to be, and I hate their lines. Oops. Already said that.

So anyway, Bo and Avee have been delightful errand companions and I'm thinking this mothering gig just might be something I can do. As I approach the counter and plunk my stuff down, I hear the employee two stations over gasp. I turn and she's pointing in my direction and says, "Honey, you need to get down from there right now." I turn around, and there's pretty little Avee perched on the counter, happy as can be. I laughed that just two seconds before, she had been hanging on my legs, and suddenly, there she was 4 feet off the ground. I also laughed that a child dangling her little legs a few feet off the ground had made the worker gasp and insist Avee get down immediately.

I don't think she should climb on counters, just out of basic respect for public property, that's not what we do at post offices, etc. But acting like she was in mortal danger was a little much for me.

Apparently my little giggle was too much for Avee.

A couple of minutes afterward, I looked down to see Avee hiding her face and periodically flinging her arm out to hit in mine and Bo's general direction.

I seize the moment to show what a good, kind, attentive, caring, and intuitive mother I am. I pick Avee up and say gently, "No one is mad at you, it's okay---we just can't climb on things in the post office, this isn't a place for climbing." By "we" I meant "you" because I generally don't climb anything anymore.

So I get about 3/4 of the way through that brilliant little parenting moment and Avee slugs me and squirms from my arms. That's the other thing I hate about the post office. I couldn't really kick her in the kidneys like I wanted to, and I couldn't address the issue in any way because I still had to pay for the dang packages.

She nailed me a couple of more times in the thigh before I was done.

I dragged her out the door by her hair arm and gave her a whatfor outside the door.

I don't care how mad you are, or who you are mad at, you do not hit, it is not okay for you to hit me!

That's really how a parent. In unrealistic definitives through gritted teeth. If you must know.

In turn, Avee flung herself against the post office window I had just seen being cleaned as we walked in. There's a nice body print on it now.

Halfway home, with her wailing and me counting backwards from a million, to keep my cool, I think to ask her why she's so sad.

It's then that I learn that it was because of my teeny, tiny, millisecond laugh as I hoisted her off the counter.


Now I can't laugh? Is everything I do going to constantly be under scrutiny. We don't say shut up, we don't say stupid, we don't say butt. And NOW we don't laugh at funny little girls. At least not at the post office.

Bossy little dramatic girls make me want to fling myself at stupid post office windows.

We don't say stupid.