At my suggestion, my mother in law bought this for the princesses a couple of years ago. Cute, isn't it?
Yeah, like, a hundred microscopic pieces cute. Having (at the time) a pre-walking baby with a crumb and microscopic toy radar working in overdrive, this little collection of holiday cheer was packed away and forgotten about.... until today.
Princess #3 discovered it on the floor in hubby's closet. Why was it there? I'll never know. Maybe he's been spending his evenings recreating the holy moment? Hmmm...
Anyway, she begged to play with it and I agreed and my feet have been regretting it the rest of the day. Do these little suckers JUMP off the tables or something? It's like they beg to get in the way of my toes. Seriously.
But I had to laugh when I brought the princesses their dinner (on TV trays in the living room - movie night). A very elaborate story was taking place, complete with a baby (portrayed by Jesus, of course), a gray haired grandpa (most likely covered by a shepherd? He had a staff...) and a boy who had no name (I believe this was Joseph although it was hard to tell. These little dudes all look alike). There was at one point a flying fairy (the angel) and magical animals that talked. I *think* the baby was searching for a teddy bear, which is humorous considering that I missed the part of the nativity where a teddy bear was involved.
Oh look, there IS a teddy bear in the nativity. Learn something new every day.
So today at exactly 4:30 pm I ventured out to Target with my gaggle of princesses. We headed there for one reason and one reason only: coffee. We had quite unfortunately run out of coffee and I had no caffeine the whole day, which resulted in alot of me lazing around and feeling sorry for myself. I know that's pathetic. I'm ok with that.
Once we get to Target, I decide the heck with it. It's hot and I'm not interested in hauling my crew home to slave over a hot stove to fix them a dinner they'd probably hate. So, to the snack bar we go. Oh yes, we're talking high quality health food here. Pretzels, hotdogs, fountain drinks, the works. With the monstrous cart in tow (you know, the ones as long as limos that scream, "I Have More Kids Than I Can Handle! Move Out Of The Way!" - why would anyone with only one child ever use those things? I'm continually amazed by this phenomenon. But anyway, I digress...) we weave over to the counter to place our order and I struggle to maintain control of the princesses as we wait while the teenager who clearly does not want to be there gathers our food.
Now juggling 3 pretzels, one hotdog, and 4 cups, we weave over to Starbucks, which is on the other side of the cafe and the only place with tables big enough to fit all of us. As I'm situating the princesses at the table and passing out pretzels, I notice a young couple sitting opposite of us enjoying coffee and muffins. We exchange cordial smiles, mine weary and theirs wary. He is dressed in scrubs and she is dressed like she just modeled for Athleta. I return my attention to the princesses, snatching off a piece of pretzel to busy princess #4 who is still strapped into the cart and duck around the corner to fill the cups with drinks.
Filling 4 cups is no easy task and it takes longer than I prefer, with my princesses out of sight MUCH longer than I prefer (which is at all). Balancing the 3 little cups on top of each other in one hand and under my chin, and holding the 4th big cup in the other hand, I make my way back around the corner to the table, just in time to see Miss Athleta helping princess #4 sit back down in the cart. My baby was STANDING UP. Strapped in of course, but standing up nonetheless, looking ridiculously proud of herself. Totally mortified, I stumble out a rash of thank you's and teasingly chastise my baby. What else could I do? Feeling completely embarrassed and frazzled about being caught in a less than perfect parenting moment, I sit down at the table with my back to the couple, and try to pretend that they AREN'T thinking things about me at that moment.
A few minutes later a older man walks in, greets the young couple and sits down with them. At this point I'm totally eavesdropping. It soon becomes clear that the new arrival is a minister, and the young couple are planning their wedding. As they talk about vows and music choices, my thoughts turn rather self-absorbed in nature. Here is this couple, about to embark on a new journey. A beginning. Just starting out. And here am I. Out numbered and over extended, and most certainly NOT just starting out. And I find myself wondering, what do they see when they look at me?
What do most people see when they look at me? I mean, I'm not entirely self-centered enough to think that people actually have extended internal conversations with themselves on my behalf when they catch a glimpse of me with my crew, but surely they see something, right? And I just wonder, do they see someone barely keeping their head above water? Someone who looks like she'd give anything for an extra pair of hands... or a nap? Do they see a mom who's just about at the end of her rope, but dadgumit the milk is all gone and someone has to get out to buy it? Or do they see someone who's blessed beyond measure and knows it? Someone who might have to juggle a few things here and there, but does so with ease and confidence? A mom who finds joy in just spending time with her kids, even if it's at the grocery store?
I know I'd certainly prefer that people see the latter when they look at me. But all too often I fear it's the former that's most dominant. And you know what bothers me most about this revelation? If other people, perfect strangers, see that in me, then my princesses do too. That's not good. I'm not talking about putting on a mask or holding up a facade, to appear perfect. Appearances mean nothing. But what is truly exuding from my spirit, it's a reflection of what I think of myself as a mother, a wife, a person. And I know this is something I need to work on. I'm ok with being a little frazzled around the edges. I've got 4 princesses under the age of 7, frazzled comes with the territory. But beyond that, I've got 4 beautiful reasons to emote joy, 4 wonderful reasons to smile, 4 enthusiastic reasons to not apologize for appearing slightly scattered. I hope, the next time I run across a Mr. Scrubs and Miss Athleta, that that is what they see. And even moreso, I hope that that is what my princesses see every day.
Do you know how freaking expensive summer can be? Swim lessons, dance camps, trips to the pool, movies, the blasted ice cream truck, mindless trips to Target that result in $100 bills for some strange reason...
I was trying to remember what I did all summer as a kid. Because I sure as heck know that my parents didn't spend a fortune each summer trying to keep me entertained. I don't remember just sitting in front of the TV all day long either. I think I mostly was out and about on my bike. I used to ride around the neighborhood with a couple of friends of mine, scoping out the houses of the boys we liked, daring each other to ride past and try to see in the windows.
There won't be any of THAT going on at Planet Pink this summer (ahem), so I've got to try to come up with some things to pass the time. I'm sorta dreading summer and looking forward to it at the same time. I love the change. The relaxed feeling of having no plans. Wanna spend all day out by the pool? Sure! Decide last minute to throw some burgers on the grill for dinner? You bet! It's just nice to have a break from the monotony that day in day out school brings.
But along with the laissez faire atmosphere there is also the constant undercurrent of "I'm booooooooooooored!". Oh, if a phrase could be banned from the English language...
I hate feeling like I've let my kids down. It's an inevitable part of parenthood I suppose. No one is perfect and I do feel that it is an integral part of being a parent. Kids need to see us make mistakes and own up to them and make them right. But that doesn't make it any easier.
Of course, it doesn't help that I beat myself up over it too, long after the affront has been forgotten by the princesses. My word for the year keeps hanging over my head. If I'm teaching my kids that I'm human and am going to make mistakes at times, I need to be better about allowing myself that grace as well, right?
Today, it was something small. Well, it felt big in the moment, but years from now it won't even matter. Shoot, for all I know it doesn't even matter now. And yet still, I hate that I screwed up. Why is that?
My theory? Everyone has "a thing". Something they're passionate about. The environment, politics, social justice... and those are just the biggies. There are a bazillion other little things that we choose to be passionate about, to research, promote, to devote our lives to or sometimes just a season of our lives. Right now, my life is defined by my actions as a parent. I live, eat and breathe parenthood. Everything in my world, everything revolves around my family. Even carving time out for myself still depends on my family's needs and current situations. My thing IS family. And no one likes to fail at "their thing". No one likes to make a mistake while doing "their thing". So when I make a boo boo, even a little one, it stings a bit.
The problem lies in the fact that because my "thing" is essentially life - day in and day out, mistakes are bound to happen. So I'm thinking it's time to not put all my eggs in one basket. Diversify so to speak. I want to rock parenthood, for sure. That will always be my top "thing". But there's more to me. And I want to know that even if I biff it in one area of my life one day, I've got other parts of me that are successful and meaningful. I want to be a well rounded person. I want my girls to grow up and see me passionate about things outside the 4 walls of our home. I want them to see me devote time not only to our family, but to myself and my personal interests as well. Because if I take time for myself and to pursue my passions I believe it sends a message to my girls that I'm worth that time and energy - and they are too, and deserve that in life as well.
So we'll see where this leaves me. I wrote a month or so ago about taking a big jump. And I did. Only I've been treading water ever since. It's time to get my snorkel on and dive a little deeper I think. I've got passions calling my name, and little girls that need to see their mama pursue (and achieve) a dream.
The tooth we thought was lost (the first time, not the second time) was found this morning - in the very spot I thought I had left it. So, the dumpster diving hubby did was all for nothing.
Of course, Princess #2 still lost her tooth (which was technically Princess #1's tooth - are you keeping up?) at school, so we're still down one. I have a feeling that one's gonna stay lost. Probably sucked up into the abyss of an industrial vacuum cleaner by now...
Princess #2 lost her first tooth yesterday! It has been wiggly, and wiggly and was getting close to that really disgusting stage where it's just hanging by a thread. Well, during lunch yesterday, while taking a bite out of her sandwich, princess #2 joined the ranks of gap grins. Ever grateful for a "non" eventful tooth losing (unlike Princess #1's first tooth drama), I took the tooth and with excitement building over gap-gazing and tooth fairy stories, I stuck it in a ziploc baggie and put it (I think) on the kitchen counter.
Fast forward to yesterday evening. We had had a very busy evening and the Princesses were getting off to bed late. Princess #2 requested her tooth to put under her pillow for the tooth fairy, but when I went to retrieve it from the kitchen counter, it was no where to be found. Unfortunately, we had guests over that night. Well, THAT wasn't unfortunate, but the cleaning that ensued prior to their arrival was. I could only guess that in my attempt to clear the clutter from the kitchen, I grabbed what appeared to be an empty baggie off the counter and in a true brain fart moment, threw it in the trash.
Being the rockstar daddy that hubby is, he actually went through our kitchen trash piece by piece (no, I am NOT kidding), looking for the baggie with the missing tooth. When an open, empty baggie turned up, we could only guess that the tooth had fallen into the trash can solo. He went through that mess with a fine tooth comb and found nothing. Poor Princess #2 was so sad, and I was feeling pretty badly about the whole thing. Darn obsessive need to have the house clean when people come over!
Continuing to save the day, hubby explained to a concerned Princess #2 that the Tooth Fairy now carries an iPhone on her, and she gets an instant notification complete with GPS tracking when anyone loses a tooth. So never fear, she would find Princess #2 anyway, tooth or no tooth. We got a satisfied Princess off to bed and as soon as she was asleep I tucked a one dollar bill under her pillow.
The next morning Princess #2 came to me all distraught. The Tooth Fairy didn't come! Puzzled, I followed her into her bedroom and looked all around her bed. No dollar. Seriously? First the tooth, now the money? We looked and looked all morning, under the bed, behind the bed, under the bedding, between the mattress and the bed. Finally, just as I was about to pony up yet another dollar, the lost bill emerged from the abyss between the wall and the bed. Whew.
With the mystery of the money solved, Princess #2 began to mourn the fact that she had no tooth to show her class that day. Mommy guilt hit me full force. In a last ditch effort to make things right, I snuck away while the princesses were getting ready for school and took one of Princess #1's lost teeth (yes, I've saved them. Today I was glad I did!). I put it in a little baggie and in a moment that I can't decide if I'm proud of or ashamed of, I passed it off to Princess #2 as her lost tooth. She was overjoyed at the sight of "her" tooth, and couldn't wait to get to school to show it to her friends and teacher.
Still feeling a bit uneasy about that little white lie, I picked up Princess #2 3 hours later from preschool. She got into the van without her usual bounce, and her face was all forlorn. After alot of questioning and prying she finally told me what was making her sad. SHE HAD LOST HER TOOTH AT SCHOOL!! She had it out to show her teacher, had stuck it on her backpack, then got distracted and left, only to return and not see it anywhere. I very nearly busted out laughing right there. I think maybe I shouldn't have been so grateful for the non-drama tooth losing, because the post-losing tooth drama was almost more draining. After many reassurances that we didn't really need "her" tooth, since the Tooth Fairy had already come, we left school and headed to Target to spend her tooth money at the Dollar Spot. The irony? She chose to spend her one dollar on candy - taffy to be exact.
Looks like there's going to be alot more tooth drama in the future.
I'm sorry I've been completely MIA. I am having a garage sale this weekend (AKA, Why Do I Enjoy Torturing Myself?) and am in pricing, well... let's just say a not very nice place.
7 years worth of baby toys, baby gear, clothes, books, crap nice stuff.
I'm gonna cry if no one shows...
and will be in good company since Princess #4 has decided this week that she hates everybody and punctuates that opinion with crying. Alot.
But at the end of the day, this stuff with be GONE, one way or another. My house will be free of this much clutter and some baby somewhere will have new toys to play with. And that is a Good Thing. Crying or no crying. But I'd rather not cry.