28 April 2009

Beautiful

It's April in our house, which means we are in the thick of Garden Tour mania. Each year, we participate in a local, wonderful tour of native plant gardens. It's been incredibly busy around here as we prepare four of Rick's gardens (gardens he designed and installed) to be showcased this coming Sunday. It's nutty. I'm even busier than usual, and that, my friends, is saying somethin'.

I have many posts rattling around in my head, including:

  • Easter Sunday or How We Ended Up in the ER with Our Six-Year Old and Almost Lost Our Two-Year Old

  • The Cynic in Me

  • Musings on Youth Sports

But there is no time; these ideas will have to wait. What I DO have time for is a little anecdote about beauty.

I am raising three daughters. I want them to grow up knowing a few things about beauty: that they are beautiful and that beauty is so much more than what the culture tells us it is, that they are beautiful because of who they are, not because they fit some external definition of what is attractive. We talk about beauty quite a bit -- beauty in nature, beauty in a photograph of Mother Theresa's gnarled hands, beauty in a small girl playing in the mud with tangles in her hair and laughter spilling from her.

So it's no surprise to me that my 4-year old has been thinking about beauty. It was, however, a bit of surprise when today she pulled down her underwear, gave me an eyeful, and said "Mom, is my vagina beautiful?"

It's absolutely wonderful that she is asking these questions and exploring these ideas. But she is such an extrovert that I must admit to being a wee bit frightened for her teen and young adult years.

Oh my.

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24 April 2009

Play With Your Food

It's an age-old parental rule: Don't play with your food. But when art ensues, how exactly do you enforce that?

This was my four-year old's respond to dinner the other night:



Had to give her props for that one.

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Just Another Car Ride Question

Do you get the most compelling questions from your kids while driving in the car? We seem to. This week's:

Spoken by an older kid, of a younger kid:

"She (or he, I'm not telling) wants to know if S-E-X is a good thing or a bad thing!"

Said older child and said younger child were apparently discussing the topic of sex, and the younger child was wanting to ask some questions, but also NOT wanting to ask some questions. Said younger child was furiously trying to shush the older child during this little exchange. To which, by the way, I gave a brief response: "IT'S A GOOD THING!"

I could sense the palpable relief from the back seat that I did not pursue the matter anymore than that. I wonder if they could feel that same relief undulating backwards from the front seat...

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17 April 2009

It's Building

I am starting to resent my family because they are seriously cutting into my blogging time.

Someone explain to me again why I need to feed them everyday. And why the 2 year old can't just teach herself to use the toilet.

And clean underwear: necessity?

A ride to practice: Can't he walk himself the whole 5 miles?

That little thing? I'm sure that doesn't need a bandaid; just apply pressure, keep your head beneath your heart, and breath very, very slowly. It will stop before Prom, I'm sure. I know you're 6. That's a good thing because your skin has extra elasticity and likes to heal on its own.

And again with the food? I'm sure I fed you a few days ago. Go look in the couch cushions: I saw Tallulah eating pizza there last night and I'm nearly certain she stashed half of it under the left one.

If they could only raise themselves, I'm sure I would be a published author by now.

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15 April 2009

Gotta a Minivan? Watch This!

I don't know about you other minivan moms out there, but I loathe my minivan. It is a torture chamber. A smelly one. I dream of the day I can zip around in a two-seater, with no sports equipment, shoes, or trash sliding back and forth around curves in the road.

But today, I have YouTube to thank for giving me something to laugh about in this life of mine. A friend forwarded this clip to me, along with the following caveat: Be warned, the other recommended videos that are pulled up when you click on this have titles with lots of swear words (beyond "crap") & the comments are filled with curse words too, so you might want to be sure the kids aren't around when you pull it up.

That said, enjoy:



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08 April 2009

Around the World in 80 Clicks

or

What I Love About Being A Mother


I done got tagged, by Nee-cole over at deliajude. And since this one is part of a larger project to see how many places we bloggers can go in 80 clicks, I'm playing along. I got a kick out of reading the post by the originator of Around the World in 80 Clicks; her story about not so much loving the trappings and institution of motherhood (but of course, loving her own children) made me smile.

Because it can be trite to say "Don't you just love being a mom?" I do love being a mom, but not the way I love, say, eating paella or listening to the Beatles. Those things are enjoyment and only enjoyment. I do love being a mom, but I've heard women ask other women that same question, and it always makes me cringe; I imagine that what they really want to say is "Criky, this sucks and why didn't anyone ever tell me how hard this would be?" Loving being a mother is the truest kind of love: messy, difficult, rewarding, expanding, and always surprising.

That said, here are the five things I love about being a mom:

1. I love the sense of absolute power I have over my kids. I am she-who-must-be-obeyed. I love having this much power over other human beings so much that sometimes I make them do things just because I can. "Go stand out in the pouring rain and sing the Brazilian national anthem!" Stuff like that.

2. I love never sleeping. It keeps me on my toes, and helps balance that powerful feeling from #1 with a humbling I'm-falling-apart-and-won't-ever-go-back-together feeling. Standing on the precipice of disaster, where one lives with not enough sleep, is exhilarating.

3. I love repeating myself. My kids give me endless chances to hear the sound of my own mellifluous voice, since they kindly do not do my bidding until I've asked them three or four times, getting louder each time. They are so thoughtful.

4. I love cooking for ingrates. More ingredients for humble pie. Enough said.

5. I love changing diapers, cleaning up vomit, wiping noses, applying ointment to poison oak, being spit upon, cleaning jelly off of the walls, mopping up mud, digging french fries out of the car's upholstery and generally being the one to handle messes of all kinds. It builds my character, and I need all the character building I can get.

* * *

OH WAIT! There are five other things I love even more about being a mother! Can I go again? I think I can; although the word "things" does not really apply. Here goes:

1. Samuel. Kind, sensitive, with a passion for Shakespeare, Calvin and Hobbes, music, baseball, soccer (especially Ronaldinho), and his friends. Knows more stats about international soccer players than seems reasonable or possible. He is loyal through and through. He will teach me to be patient.

2. Vincenzo. Hilarious, artistic, thoughtful, a capacity for being peaceful, and a curiousity about how things work. Loves spaghetti with a crazy kind of love. He is the quiet one who is watching everything, everywhere, all the time. He will teach me to pay attention to my own curiosity.

3. Lola. Lovely from the inside out, goofy, funny, sweet, "mother-ish" with her sisters, gleeful with a soccer ball at her feet. I'd put money on her being the one to care for us in our old age. She will teach me to be faithful.

4. Elizabeth. Extroverted in the extreme, zesty, a bit of the wild-child about her, a sweet streak a mile wide, a spirit of great generosity. She'll opt for asking for forgiveness instead of asking for permission. I'd put money on her being the one to come home with tattoes and body piercings. She will teach me to be hopeful.

5. Tallulah. The baby. Stubborn, mean, a terrorist basically. But so adorable! And musical (she sings a lot). And fearless. Free with the "I love yous" and her hugs and kisses. A nightly cuddler, which I am supposed to cure her of but which I secretly love. She will teach me to be brave.

And now, to keep the momentum going, I will tag five more people.

First, bloggers I know of:
A Proud Mom To Many
Diagnosis: Urine
Momo-Fali
Fat Gold Watch

and in a random search for a blogger not from the United States, I came across JFromIreland -- so I'm taggin' her.

How wide will the circle go?

* * *

Cute No More

Remember those lovely early days of motherhood, when everything was adorable, each new discovery a joy, each new experience one to be relished?

OK, aside from the worry and sleep deprivation, I mean.

I do remember when I was uber-enthusiastic about playing with the kids, trying new things them, or doing things that were fun and creative and watching their obvious delight. The problem with childhood delight is that it lasts WAY longer than grown up delight. Like when the two-year old repeats MORE every time she is swung around and never ever tires of it, while the parent is over the fun after about three swings.

And now, 10 years on, I have a growing list of things that I used to think were cute, or creative, or fun, or cool, that I am so very sick and tired of and ready to be done with.

1. Coloring Page Printables from the Internet. In my early mom days, I loved searching the internet for new and interesting coloring pages for the kids. We would google whatever they were interested in a viola! Coloring pages and merriment would ensue. Now, it's a nightmare, with all of them crowding around me, touching my computer screen, screeching for a barbie page or a soccer page or a princess page or a puppy page. It's awful. It's like a set-up for "let's-see-how-long-it-takes-to-make-mom-wish-she-lived-in-a-convent-far-far-away." Not long would be the answer.

2. Applesauce with food coloring. Once upon a time, I thought this would be a fun way to jazz up applesauce, and get the picky eaters to eat it. It worked. The little darlings would swirl the colors around, try different combinations, and then gobble it up. Who knew I was creating a tribe of people who will not eat applesauce without colors? And now they are "old enough" to squirt the colors themselves, and those color stain things, like my wooden floor. Sigh.

3. Swings at the park. I am so over swings at the park. If I had known how mind-numbingly boring it can be to swing a child with an endless appetite for the swinging-sensation, I would have had fewer children.

Tell me: what are you tired of doing for the kiddos?

I know parenting is for the long haul. I know this is what I signed on for. I just like to bitch about it every now and then.

* * *

Terms of Endearment

"Get a job and buy your own."

Uttered by one of the parents in this house, unwilling to share a glass of orange juice with a 4 year old.

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06 April 2009

To Be Three, and Running

Remember how much joy could be found simply in running through green grass?


Remember when a sunny day was all it took to make you happy?


Remember being this free?


The greatest gift a child gives is the chance to see the world through her eyes, to see what she sees. And this kid? She sees excitement, opportunity, people she wants to talk with, places she wants to conquer, and mountains she will climb. She sees pure joy; it's written in her wide smile and in her rare moments of quiet contemplation.


My job? Don't screw up. Don't stand in the way of her boundless optimism. Learn a thing or two about hope along the way.

* * *

05 April 2009

Forget About Giving Peace a Chance

Parenthood: It's really all out warfare between parents and children. Our only hope is to band together at all costs, wear flack jackets, arm ourselves to the teeth and always, always watch each others' back. That, and hold on tight and hope we get them before they get us.

Signed,

one battle weary mama

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03 April 2009

Two Ways to Enjoy a Beverage

There are (at least) two ways to enjoy a beverage.

One can, when daunted by the sheer number of dishes there are to clean, pour oneself a nice dark stout (or better yet, have one's husband pour it), push up one's sleeve, and get to work, pausing every few dishes to take a sip, thereby making a rather unpleasant task much more bearable and enjoyable..



Or, one can blow off the messy kitchen and sit down on the couch and enjoy the drink in relative peace and quiet.



I started with the former, put quickly recognized the wisdom of the latter.

Damn if those dishes weren't still there when I was finished, though!

* * *

01 April 2009

The Fam.

Here we are!


For the record, I am not taller than my spouse. I just loom large in the child's imagination. As I should.

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