Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Victory Is Mine

My youngest child is named after one of my brothers. Of the nine kids in my family, this brother was the golden child. He was perfect in every way. He was a good son, he was a great brother, everyone loved him, and no one begrudged him the title of "Mom's Favorite" because he was our favorite too.

So, I named my kid after him. Because I wanted a boy like that. It was a long shot, really. I mean what's in a name?

One of my most vivid childhood memories involves my older brother. He was cleaning the kitchen. He was probably 9 or 10 at the time. Looking back, I realize he was probably doing extraordinary things for a child of that age. But at the time I was only 4 or 5 and everybody older than me was the same (they could all stay up later, ride their bikes further and got a bigger bowl of ice cream).

My parents were standing in the doorway watching him. He was doing something ridiculous like scrubbing the floorboards with a toothbrush. Or re-grouting the counter. They were oohing and ahhing and giving him appropriate praise. For my brother, while the praise was a nice bonus, the joy of cleaning was enough for him. For me, I'd do anything for that praise. So I eyed my parents standing there giving him attention and I grabbed a rag and started intently scrubbing the foot mat of a small stool/seat. I was going to get those ridges SINGING the shine. I had one eye on the task and one eye on my parents, waiting for them to notice me.

My parents, if nothing else, are authentic. I think they called me on my game. Sure, they also gave me some praise, probably for the effort of trying to get praise. I remember feeling the victory there was weak. I couldn't have thought to spit shin drawer handles like my brother did, so anything I did would be lame in comparison.

But now, the victory IS mine. I have my own little clean freak. Even in the face of opposition, he has emerged anal retentive about cleanliness. Yee to the HAW!

Yesterday we were driving around town and passed a regular sight. I don't know WHAT it is, but it's shaped like a satellite dish, it's humongous, and it's painted bright yellow with a happy face. It's really a cheerful sight. I pointed it out to Danyo.

I said, "Isn't that cool?"
He said, "I want to take it home!"
I thought, yeah, me too, that would be fun, we could roll around in a giant bowl, take pictures, have a great time.

He said, "It's dirty, I want to take it home and wash it."

This morning Danyo has been chasing me around the house demanding that I wash his favorite blanket. "It smayohs" he tells me, "Cween it!" he demands. I have heard countless stories of parents having to sneak their child's blanket to the washer and it often resulting in major meltdowns. So, it makes me laugh that Danyo is the opposite of that. I told him I'll get to cleaning it when I get to the rest of my household chores. After the Soaps are watched and the bon-bons eaten.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I'm Tired of Thinking of Titles

I have lots of thoughts running through my head during the day, potential blog posts. I haven't had that in ages. Is this the re-emergence of Nobody blogging? Maaaayyyyyybeeeee.

I wish I could say they were meaningful and well-formed thoughts. Mostly they are me figuring out why I'm so dumb about some things, or just laughing at what my kids say. So yeah, ain't gonna win no prizes for meaningful here.

I imagined the other day that we settled here in Iowa and effectively became Iowans. And then I became annoyed with all the people who made fun of Iowa. Like I do. It would be fitting for the life lessons I tend to learn. I'm going to start making fun of people who vacation in Cancun all the time. For good measure.

Yesterday I had throw-downs with both of my kids. It made me realize what really good children we have. I think they are a tad bit on the spoiled side, and that's my doing---but in general, they are really good, responsible, responsive, decently-mannered kids.

Bo has a retaliatory temper toward Avee and when I made him and two friends go back outside and stop bugging Avee on the Wii, he turned off the game on his way out. He got in big trouble for that and spent nearly half an hour upstairs wailing and writhing on the floor. I wish I was joking about the writhing part. I don't think it's ever NOT made me laugh, how he gets Fainting Goat Syndrome when he hears something he doesn't like, and he's tired.

While we were enjoying that special mother/son time upstairs, I finished changing the sheets in the boys' rooms and moved into Avee's room for some straightening up. I discovered a pile of clothes smashed behind a toy box, covered a little by a feather mattress I had stored in her closet. She's gotten lectured about this probably 4 or 5 times in the past. I've made it easy for her to put away everything except shirts and dresses, which she is supposed to put on the end of her bed for me or J to hang up. In this pile were about 3 skirts, 5 tops, 2 pairs of tights, 1 dress, and a couple of pairs of pants. I was really, really annoyed because a few of the things were things I had specifically missed and spent time looking for. Some other things were past the season to wear, so basically she "wasted" some perfectly good skirts. :)

I called her in from outside and within 2 seconds of me pointing to the pile on her bed, she was crying and whimpering. I told her she had to sit in her room for 20 minutes, in hopes that she would remember this unpleasantness next time she went to stash what she should put away. She cried almost the entire time. But two things kept making me laugh. She would forget she was sad and start talking to me. I would forget she was in time out, and respond. So we had about 8 conversations like this.

"Why are you putting Bo's shirt in Danyo's closet? That's Bo's"
"It used to be Bo's but it fits Danyo now."
"Why doesn't it fit Bo anymore?"
"You are in a time-out, you are not supposed to be talking to me right now."

She was right, every time. And oh-so wrong.

She also claimed several times how she didn't like me anymore. I've always wondered what the exact right response to that should be. I say so many different things, "Yes you do, it's okay, I still like you, you don't mean that...." etc.

After her time out was over and she came to me for a big hug, I sat down with her and we talked about her saying things she doesn't mean when she's mad.

I started with, "You love me, don't you?" She nodded. I said, "remember how a few minutes ago when you were mad and you said you didn't love me? You don't really mean that and I want you to think about what you are saying when you are mad. It's not okay for you to think of every mean thing you can to try and make me sad, just because you are mad."

"I never said I didn't love you. I said I don't like you. And when I said it, I meaned it. I don't like you when you are mean to me. But I like you now."

Excuse me? How do you get off being more logical and articulate than me little lady!??

It was a huge realization for me. She doesn't really know how to say, "I don't like what you are doing right now and I'm really very mad!" So she says, "I don't like you." I always hear, "I've never liked you and I don't care how mad I am, you aren't worthy of my love anymore!"

I love having this new knowledge.

My friend told me last week she took Avee, Avee's friend, and her son to McDonald's. At the drive thru she asked, "Do you guys like fries?" They all said yes. When she got them home, not a one of them ate their fries. So she said, "I thought you guys said you wanted fries, why aren't you eating them?"
Avee said, "You asked if we liked fries, not if we wanted them. We said we like them."

I wonder how Avee manages dealing with us sloooooooow adults.

I lopped off all of little D's hair. He has the reddest hair of the three and it's terribly cute to me. I took him out somewhere yesterday and it was floppy and goofy looking, so I decided it was time. It was painful watching big chunks of his darling hair fall to the ground, but I know he's got hair like me so it will be back in full floppy form in no time. As the dust settled and the last buzz was made, Bo exclaimed, "He looks just like me!" Bo hears it all the time how much they look alike, but now with matching haircuts, it's undeniable.

Later when J got home from running a quick errand, Bo pointed him out and said, "Tell me that boy doesn't look just like me!" So many things about that statement crack me up. It is very very Smith, and since he seems so much like J, I love to see a little Smith peeking through like that.

Danyo says I can "finish dat mom" and then I need to go light a sparkler for him. So I better get back to my real job.

The end.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Blogging In The Easter Aftermath

For the last 2-3 weeks I've been meaning to sit down and write, but it just isn't coming naturally anymore. I'm kind of in mourning because I do love having documentation of my ever-fascinating life. But I guess more than "in mourning", I'm lazy. Because it just ain't happening.

Recently I took a road trip to Missouri with just the kids. Things have been really crazy for J at work and he could not get away. It was Spring Break and my kids live and breathe to be in Missouri with the relatives. Aunt S's house is like a wonderland for them and Uncle David is like the biggest, funniest, craziest, strongest kid they've ever played with. Plus there are doting grandparents and animals. None of which we offer up here in Iowa. I try to dote, but I'm not really sure how it's done.

On the way down, I had to stop FOUR times to go to the bathroom. I'm usually so annoyed by my children's fairly sturdy bladders, but this time, I was the weak link. Even Bo expressed his annoyance with me after stop 3. "Oh come ON!" said he. It really doesn't matter what he's expressing his exasperation with, I never get tired of hearing him say that.

While in the bathroom of a truck stop in Iowa, I overheard this:
"I heard they are going to make tanning beds illegal."
"Really? Wow!"
"Yeah, because of the 30 million people who use them, 1 million have gotten cancer."

Now, it's my belief that in most places, this would be said matter-of-factly, and maybe even with some disbelief that something so deliberate has caused so much cancer. But it was said disparagingly. Like for the 1 million that had cancer, it was a fluke, or the odds 1/30 were not that big of a deal. I stifled a laugh and rushed out without drying my hands. I ain't gonna mess with no Tanning Bed Iowa Woman. I know my limits.

We drove down on Avee's birthday. She could not get to Mah-zoe-wee fast enough. Within twenty minutes of our departure she was asking if we'd crossed the border yet. After two hours my "not yet" response was just getting ridiculous. At one point when I said we were still quite a ways away, she responded with a lot of inflection in her voice, but her face completely expressionless, "You gotta be kidding me!" I happened to see her face and thought the blank expression in her face with what she said was really funny. I made mention of it later and was reminded how very Napoleon Dynamite it was. Which, she happened to be watching at the time she said it. So yeah, that's Avee.

My little baby girl turned 5. I have every intention of backdating a love letter to her for her birthday. So don't be surprised if some random March post shows up in your news feed. Nothing to see, just chronicling so I have proof when she's older. Proof that I did love her and she isn't adopted. And that she is in fact smarter than me.

While in Missouri the kids got totally dirty every day. They fell into bed exhausted every night and were beyond happy. At first I laid down with them, thinking that they'd need me because it wasn't their norm. Of course they didn't object. But by day 3 I was tired of that and just left them to their own devices, with the lights out. I'm pretty sure they fell asleep faster that night and the next, than they did when I was in there. I don't know why I'm such a slow learner with that kind of thing.

Today is day 10 of Spring Break. Bo kept quoting his teacher about 10 days of Spring Break. The first time, I stopped and did the math. With weekends, it was 9 days. I just figured she was stretching it to 10 for a teaching purpose. I did find it a little odd that she did that. Bo kept telling everyone about his 10 day spring break. His Grandma expressed surprise to me that he got two full weeks off from school. I told her that they were just counting creatively, he only had one week.

So yeah. Turns out he has this Monday off. Why? I don't know. I'm beginning to think that the calendar setter for this school district likes to party on Sundays or something. We had a random Monday off at Christmas Break too. It's a good thing Bo's a persistent know-it-all or I would have needlessly gotten dressed and fed my kids this morning.

Let me see if I can come up with anymore mindless drivel for this post....

I guess that's all. Oh now, wait, wait, I just thought of something. The other day a commercial for the new Miley Cyrus movie came on. J was passing through the room and I said, "I heard that movie was really really good. Like, surprisingly good." J did what I LIVE for and he's done since we met. He stared at me, without responding. He searched my face for even the remotest indication that I was joking. He found nothing. He trusts me, and he's yet to see the depths my deadpanning abilities can go and so he responded, "Really? Huh. Wouldn't have thought that." That's all I want. Verbal confirmation that he believes me and then I can laugh and laugh about how funny I really really am. So I did. Strange thing is, he didn't think I was that funny. Whatever, must have been a fluke.