Posted in Children, Family, Love

Love in My Lap

IMG_2849.JPGThe clock is a kill-joy on mornings like today. Mornings when my baby girl is so warm and snuggled up against me, her breathing heavy and full, a half-snore.

Mornings come so early for us, and bedtimes don’t always come easily. It’s hard to rub the sleepies from our eyes some days, and this morning was no exception.

I am on the countdown to summer break, for both of us. Well for all of us. It wouldn’t surprise me a bit to find our cat marking X’s on the calendar, if she only had opposable thumbs. I think she’s on the countdown too. She knows that soon we can sit like this all morning if we want to. We probably will. I love her soothing purrs and EK’s half snores.

It’s no secret that my baby isn’t a baby anymore. But I will carry her from her bed to the recliner as long as she reaches her arms around my neck and snuggles her face into my neck each sleepy morning. I will carry her as long as I have strength to do so. I will hold her in my lap as long as she curls up in it. I will breathe in the smell of her hair and kiss her little head for as many days as possible.

I believe that the gift of being an older mom is knowing in my heart how fleeting the days are. I may not be young and hip. I may occasionally get mistaken for her grandmother. I may be old-fashioned and a bit of a stick in the mud. I may get tired soon after playing shadow tag, but I am sure of one thing. I am not foolish enough to believe that these moments will last.

When you get to a certain age, you start looking back. Here I am, halfway through life (not positive, but realistically yes, but gosh that’s hard to think about) and it went by in a blink. Life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer you get to the end, the faster it goes. I remember a younger time when it felt like days dragged on and waiting for something to come seemed to take an eternity. Like graduation or a wedding day. Even summer breaks felt long when I was a youngster. I remember a younger me full of goals and dreams, rushing through days, not living in the present but taking every day for granted, the next would come and I would wash and repeat. Can you relate?

Not anymore. Now me and J-Dub look at the clock in the evenings and can’t believe it’s 8 pm already. Where does all the time go? It flies. That’s the truth.

The clock that hangs on my wall was a gift from my dad. I remember my 25th birthday when he gave it to me. I remember the 25 year old who was cute and hip and took everyday for granted. She could probably play shadow tag for hours. The clock chimes on the hour. I try to have EK ready before 7 bells each day, but today we sat a little longer. I relished the seconds that passed. I attempted to slow down time. I did not want them to end. I felt such joy and love. But the clock chimed our reminder that time is passing; slowly for some, much more quickly for others.

I nudged her awake, stirred the cat, and began the day with a heart of pure gratitude for the love I hold in my lap each morning.

 

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Posted in life

My Grits, but please don’t kiss them

The other day at work, a couple of us started talking about grits. I was left out of the convo, because all I had to say was, “I’ve never had grits.” And, “what is a grit anyway?” The others began to tell me what I was missing out on, how they fixed theirs, and how often they ate them. Granted, I was curious.

That afternoon around 4:15 (my optimal binge eating time), which just so happened to be the day before Valentine’s day, I just so happened to be at The Walmarts getting all the things that I just so happened to have procrastinated buying earlier. Mom stuff. Party stuff.  Valentine’s stuff. Stuff like: party refreshments for EK’s Valentine party, Valentine cards for EK’s party, crafts for making EK’s Valentine box, candy for EK, candy for J-Dub, a card for J-Dub, and all the other things.  Do you see a pattern here?

A few things to note:
1) The Walmarts has recently been rearranged completely. So trying to find anything is enough to drive a sane person stark-raving, run-down-the-street-naked, pull-your-hair-out, crazy. Can I get an Amen?
2) The Walmarts before Valentine’s Day is probably second in crazy only to Black Friday shopping, especially the candy and card aisle; both of which I had to maneuver.
3) 4:15 is when I am really hungry . On the verge of Hangry. You’ve been warned.
4) I should never go to The Walmarts at 4:15 (during my optimal binge eating time) the day before Valentine’s Day. It’s a dumb idea. Neither should you.

You probably know where this is going. I’m at The Walmarts at 4:15 the Day before Valentine’s Day and I’m pulling everything off the shelf whether I need it or not, because this is basically a high stress time and I need to get the holy crap out of there with my life. I tried to remain calm; going within, thinking happy thoughts, humming. Instead of calming me down, I was only annoying myself more. The only thing that was going to make this better was buying food items I never buy because it’s 4:15 at The Walmarts on the Day before Valentine’s Day, and eating is my Xanax.

Loading my basket with red yarn, googly eyes, Kool Aid Jammers, Cap’n’Crunch, Chex Mix, Pink and Red cookies, and you guessed it… Instant Grits, I arrived home fully intact but a bit disheveled. J-Dub remarked about my interesting choice of foods I’d purchased. Well yes, it’s 4:15 at The Walmarts the Day before Valentine’s Day. Need I say more?

Today I prepared some grits. I understand that instant grits isn’t going to measure up to (whatever the opposite of instant is)…..slow grits? But I’m an amateur. I have to begin somewhere, and “instant” is usually where I like to begin. I read the directions, prepared them like instant oatmeal, and tried a taste.  I got the cheese grits, so I thought they would have a nice taste, not really needed any extra, but I can only imagine what the un-cheese grits taste like. I added salt, that didn’t help. I added milk, that kind of helped. I added sugar, that really helped. Still, I don’t think I’m a fan.

Truthfully, I’m lost about grits. I don’t  know whether Grits are a breakfast food or a supper food. I don’t even really know how a grit is different from corn meal. And I really don’t know what the term “kiss my grits” means for sure. Anyone remember Alice? Flo? Any help would be appreciated. If you’ve got the answers, I need them.

From this experience, here are my take-aways . Besides learning when not to go to The Walmarts—(4:15 on the Day before Valentine’s Day; if you’ve not been paying attention), I also learned the best way to fix grits:

 

 

******* Throw them out, and pour a bowl of Cap’n Crunch********

 

 

 

 

Posted in Children, Family, parenting

Emma’s 6th Birthday Party—emoji

I’m running so far behind, I’m not sure I’m coming or going.

Three weeks ago, we celebrated our little one’s sixth birthday and I have yet to document this momentous event with pictures.

This time, I did it differently. The first five of her birthdays, we have celebrated at home with friends in an old fashioned birthday party. I’m a bit old fashioned actually and I have learned that when having big parties and renting out places, serving 3 decker cakes, and having lots of hoopla, this only gets harder the older they get. So, we have celebrated at home, with homemade cupcakes and games.

And now here comes the BUT.

But this year…….

She wanted to have her party at the gymnastics center. If you’ve been paying any bit of attention, you’ll know that she is crazy about emojis right now. So of course, it had to be an emoji party. She has pined over other little girls’ fancy, two layer cakes and asked if she could have a big cake. So, I bit the bullet and went with it, no matter how much it went against my grain.

Who’s to say my grain’s going the right direction, anyway?

It was a ton of fun, very stress free for me, and dare I say…..easy.

The kids got to jump, run, swing, balance, and hang like monkeys.

I even did my part by making some “poop” cupcakes. Of course, Emma helped.

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Another birthday in the books.

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Posted in Children, parenting

On Your 6th Birthday

My dearest Emma,

You are now six years old.  This year has been a whirlwind.  Heck, your whole life has been a whirlwind. How is it that you were so tiny just a little bit ago? A little bundle. It seems so far away, and at the same time, it feels like yesterday.

You want to be so big. We have a measuring chart hanging in our house and sometimes you check to see if you’ve grown everyday. You got your first big girl haircut, cutting your  waist long hair up around your shoulders. You just lost your first tooth, and already have another one a’wigglin’.  You want your ears pierced so badly, but your daddy is hesitant, so we’re putting you off a while longer. Just slow down a bit, kiddo. It goes so fast. We have time. We have time. There’s one thing, though. You still let me hold you. Every morning, you sit in my lap and let the sleep fade away in the dark morning. I love it so much.

You are the smartest kid. I am constantly amazed at your reasoning. You are sensitive and logical, also a bit melodramatic at times.  I might add you have a tad bit of a little temper. It’s not a good thing to have. Learn to control it and you’ll save yourself a whole lot of trouble down the road. You are witty and funny. You love a good joke and you think practical jokes are the funniest! We often find our bathroom toiletries all rearranged or your dad will find something you’ve stuck in his boot. You act silly and dance around the house unashamedly moving and grooving.

You are a pure joy. We have so many laughs and so many good times together. My favorite is when you say “I love you so much! You’re the best mommy in the world.” You have no idea how much I love you, Emma. You’re the best girl in the whole wide world!

XOXO,

Mama

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, standing and indoor

 

Posted in Children, parenting

1st Lost Tooth Chronicles

I’m almost certain my daughter’s front bottom tooth was flopping around in her mouth longer than 5 year old’s teeth are supposed to flop. Seriously, I lost track of time, but it began to wiggle weeks ago, months even. We predicted when it would come out, yet all predictions, Thanksgiving, and Christmas passed. Still the tooth hung in. Lingering.

At Christmas time, her uncle peered in and noticed her new tooth was growing in behind it. “Let’s pull it.” We pleaded. “No!” she protested.

Days passed, weeks passed, still it hung in. She hung tight. We hung on.

Worry reared its head. What if something is wrong?

I had to search The Google, as this was unlike anything I’d heard of.  Of course, I was reassured that it is common for a tooth to grow behind, and is coined shark teeth. I was reassured that the tooth will come out, and only in some cases, a dentist visit would be required.

“Let’s pull it,” we pleaded. “No!” she protested.

Days and weeks passed. I noticed she started taking bites with her side teeth rather than her front. The tooth began to flop. It noticeably moved when she talked. A gap began to grow.

Tuesday, she ran to the car from the bus stop yelling about how she lost her tooth. Around her neck was a string and a plastic tooth that unhinged and opened up. A tooth locket. The school had given her this necklace to store her treasured tooth. However, she literally lost her tooth. She said it’s somewhere in the gym. Naturally, she had a bit of a crying jag at school about it, but she was going to write the tooth fairy a note, to make sure she knew.

She said she hoped the tooth fairy gives her a dollar and 3 pennies. I said that was a pretty good deal, considering there’s no real tooth for the fairy to have.

These are the memories I will cherish. Gappy smiles. Snaggle-toothed grins. Tooth fairy magic. Wonderment. Innocence and a buck o three.

 

Posted in parenting

Halloween 2017

My 5 year old had her heart set on a Halloween costume that she found in a catalog chock full of high end costumes that she had discovered from my mom’s house.  The costume was a leopard with all the fanciness you can handle with a full twirly black skirt, faux fur gloves to the elbow, and  spotted ears. Of course, it cost a small fortune. I dare wager a kidney transplant might be cheaper. I kicked my honed parenting skills into high gear and attempted a persuasion technique where I could distract her by finding a much cheaper version of pretty much the same costume. I’m dealing with a five year old, this shouldn’t be hard.

I failed.

No other leopard costume that we searched out would suffice. It had to be this one and only this one. I might have to take out a loan, but by gosh this was the costume.  I dragged my feet for a couple of days. By the time I logged back in to place the order, lo and behold, it was sold out.

What to do, what to do? Surely another costume will work since there’s just no way around this problem, so I tried my persuasion technique again, searching the inter web high and low for suitable substitutions to no avail. I was only greeted with crocodile tears and a stubborn streak a mile wide. Nothing else would do. No other costume on the planet was as good as that one. She only ever wanted to be this leopard. Only this one with the full twirly black skirt, faux fur gloves to the elbow, and  spotted ears. So I did everything in my power.

I contacted the company: Will you be getting item #34756389 in stock in a size 5 before Halloween?
The answer was no.

What to do? What to do? She would just have to face the music. The costume was not to be had. Disappointments are part of life, she had better learn to deal with them now, right? When she was told we would have to find another costume, more tears ensued.
At this point, I was a bit exasperated. I advanced my parenting skills from persuasion to guilt. It sounded something like, Do you have any idea how ungrateful you’re being? Do you know there are children out there who would love to get a new costume? Or to even get to go trick or treating?  To dress up as anything even remotely interesting? And here you are, with a play room full of princess dresses, and various and a sundry other accessories and yet all you want is this one and only danged old leopard costume. Do you see how spoiled your acting? 

Tears and more tears. No other costume would do, it was decided. It was this costume. It had to be this costume. The one that was sold out and wasn’t coming back.
What to do, what to do? I’m no rookie. At this point, I upped my ante of parenting skills and decided to throw in a little reverse psychology. It sounded something like, Well then fine, you can just not go trick or treating. You can just stay home and hand out candy.

This technique blew up right in my face when through her big old tears, she said that was just fine with her.

I should have quit right there. I should have waved the white flag. But she comes by her stubborn streak honestly. I couldn’t in good conscience allow her to stay home and not trick or treat when she is only five years old! They grow up so fast. Trick or treating and costumes are such a blink in time. The mommy guilt reared it’s ugly head full force. I took a deep breath, let some days pass, and suggested we should look on Pinterest for a costume idea. Good ol’ Pinterest. She agreed to this idea. We pulled up Halloween costumes and she found one she wanted. The Poop Emoji.

Yes, poop. My dear little, beautiful, darling daughter wanted to dress up as a pile of crap. I said how about a smiley? How about a winkie face? How about a unicorn? No. None of those would do. It was this costume. It had to be this costume. It had to be a poop emoji.

It took some doing, but we got it done. A shirt, a little brown tulle, and wa-lah! She was the gosh darned cutest turd I’ve ever seen. She won second place in her school’s costume contest for most original Costume and she was a hit among those who were savvy enough to know what she was. We trunk or treated and trick or treated until she said she’d had enough. We turned on the light and she handed out candy for a few straggling kids.

I held her in my lap when the day was done, candy wrappers strewn, costume in a wad on the floor, chocolate on her face. You’ve had a good day. I told her. You had a great costume too. And wasn’t it better than that danged old Leopard costume?

She looked at me and said, “I had forgotten all about that!!”

That’s when I cried.  Tears and more tears.

She’s already decided on next year’s costume. And it’s not a dangled old Leopard either.  So make sure you stop by my house, because after this experience, this little turd will be home handing out candy.

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Posted in Family, parenting

1 year down, 13 more to go

My baby girl, my only child has completed her Pre-K year. I couldn’t be more proud of her.

I know, I know, it’s a little silly when you think about being proud of completing pre-k, right? It’s not like she wrote research papers or received an associate degree while taking high school classes or worked a part-time job and maintained the A Honor Roll, or that she’s off to some Ivy League School. Like what did she really do that I should be so proud? Well, I’ll tell you what she did first and foremost. She blossomed! She blossomed and learned in so many different areas! That’s why I’m proud.

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Just look at those pictures!  Just look at them.

You might not be able to tell, but she grew an inch and gained 5 pounds too!

The little buttercup went from being mostly shy and timid to outgoing and confident. Granted, she still gets a little nervous talking to people, but at least she’s not hiding behind my legs anymore. As much, anyway.  That’s why I’m proud.

Of course she learned lots of academic type of things. She can read several words and a few little books, she has great number sense, and a lot of common sense as well. She tries her best at everything she does and wants to succeed. She is responsible and superb! That’s why I’m proud.

She also did big 5-year-old things this year, like learning to tie her shoes and fix her own hair, which might look a fright most of the time, but she does it herself and her independence and self-confidence is more important in the big scheme of things than a perfect hair-do.  She also decided that she can put herself to bed and sleep alone. But every 4th night, I can still sleep with her. She’s growing up independent and confident. That’s why I’m proud.

She worked so hard in both her dance and gymnastics classes and more importantly had fun doing it. She can swing herself on the swings with just one push to get her started, and cross the monkey bars by herself. She is learning that hard work pays off and  practice does make almost-perfect. She is learning that things may be hard at first, but not to give up, keep on trying and eventually you’ll get there. That’s why I’m proud.

She is good and kind and thoughtful which is the most important aspects I would like her to develop in her years of learning.  I want her to know that it is better to be a friend to someone who needs one, than to fit in with the “in-crowd”. I want her to know that not everything is going to come easy, but she’ll never be disappointed in herself for knowing she gave it her all. She learned more this year of the important stuff than she might learn her entire academic career. Her foundation is laid.

These next 13 years are going to fly by. I know that all too well. It may be that some day she’ll be off to an Ivy League School, or maybe she’ll backpack across Europe. As long as she stays true to herself and discovers happiness in her journeys is my heart’s desire for her. It may seem silly to you that I write these milestones down, but I know my memories won’t always be as clear and I want to remember it all: every little accomplishment, every single stepping stone on her path to wherever she is heading.

She is such a joy, and I am so very proud to call her mine.