Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Letter

Dear Princess #4,

I know that cutting 4 teeth by the time you were 4 months old was a bit unusual. And I understand that having a mouthful of 8 teeth by 8 months old is even moreso. I imagine it must feel very strange to you, to have these rock hard objects in your mouth at such a young age. I even refer to you sometimes as my little Renesmee.

Unlike your literary counterpart, however, your mama does not have marble hard skin, nor the pain tolerance to endure your experimentation with your razor-sharp teeth. So, although it may be a sign of endearment from your perspective, I have to kindly request that you


With all my love,
Your mama

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Queen Up

I loathe Play-doh. Really. It's the creative bane of my existence. It's the constant reminder that I am not nearly as creative, nor as fun a mommy as I should be. When the princesses drag it out, my first thought isn't "oh goody! We get to have a fun and entertaining afternoon using our imaginations to create interesting pieces of art from this pliable dough!". Oh no. It's "oh dear lord, here we go again. How long is it going to take me to dig the dry play-doh out of the blasted ice cream maker thingy this time?" Yes, it's true. I'm somewhat embarrassed by this revelation.

Today, Princess #3 got into the Play-doh before I could stop her. And yes, I would have tried to re-direct her had she asked. I'm mean like that. But anyway, she managed to get the bag of Play-doh tools, the ice cream maker thingy and 4 tubs of Play-doh out and on the kitchen table before I saw her. I was stuck. She played happily by herself for about, oh 30 seconds, before she started calling me to help her. Resigned, I headed into the kitchen and prepared myself for my sentence of snake-rolling, shape cutting and dry Play-doh digging.

We played together for about 30 minutes before she was done and ready to move on to something else. Since cleaning up the Play-doh is another reason I hate the stuff, I suggested that she help me put everything away before finding something else to do. And this is the moment when enduring the whole thing became worth it: She looked at me, obviously considering my suggestion carefully. And then with big wide eyes and that impish grin that makes the one dimple on her right cheek appear, she asked if we could sing a song. It caught me a little off-guard, seeming to come out of nowhere. So when I repeated her request back to her, it totally melted this mama heart when she replied, "sing the queen up song?". Ah, thank you Sunday School.

And sing the Clean Up Song we did. Over and over and over (there are only, like, 2 phrases in the whole song) while we cheerfully rolled the Play-doh into mounds to stuff back into their tubs, dug the stray Play-doh out of the ice cream maker thingy before it could dry into a rock, and swept the floor to keep us from stepping on it later. With that sweet little 2 year old voice singing "queen up, queen up" ringing in my ears, it was the best part of my morning. I have a new found love for Play-doh. It's almost enough to make me drag all the Play-doh out again myself someday soon.

Monday, October 26, 2009

'Tis the Season

Candy corn should come with a warning label:

"Caution.  The candy you are about to consume is ridiculously sweet and loaded with unknown highly addictive substances that will render you completely incapable of stopping your consumption of them once you begin.  Proceed with caution."

You have been warned.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Baby Crack

I ran across an interesting bit of news today that I thought was worth sharing because, well, I think it's hilarious. Apparently, Disney is offering refunds to parents who are dissatisfied and thus willing to return their purchased Baby Einstein videos. Dissatisfied how, you ask? Shockingly, Disney has admitted that having your baby watch these videos will not make them smarter. You can read information about it here and here.

Or you can just stay here and read my take.

OK, seriously? Allow me to let you in on a little secret: putting your baby in front of a TV will NEVER make them smart! It's comical to me to think that there are parents out there who not only purchased these DVD's under the impression that they were raising little Einsteins themselves, but also ones who are irritated enough because little Tommy can't spell his name by 9 months or isn't recognizing Van Gogh or Beethoven by a year old that they are actually willing to return the DVD's. It's a tragic, misguided error!

Parents of babies and young ones: Do not, I repeat, DO NOT return these movies! These movies ARE magic. But not in the sense that Disney intended. I like to refer to them as "Baby Crack". It may just be a screen shot of a black sheet with a plastic toy sitting on it, or some cheap little hand puppet, but as God is my witness - these movies are the only reason I've been able to get a shower in the last 7 years. I don't know what it is about these things, but I can plant a baby in a bouncy seat in front of a TV with Baby Einstein playing and I know I've got a golden 15-20 minutes to shower before boredom sets in. Is it the mesmerizing music? The contrasting colors? Shoot, for all I know they've got some hypnosis voodoo going on. Whatever it is, I don't really care.

I know, I know, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends NO screen time for children under the age of two. So tell me, is the AAP going to come sit at my house everyday so I can shower? I think not. There will always be some parent that proudly claims their child has never watched TV or they've never used a video to get something done around the house. And I'll say now - they are LYING. Let's just cut through that crap right now. We mommy's are hard enough on ourselves as it is without the added pressure of feeling like we're some sort of failure because we need a cheap video to occupy our kids so we don't stink.

So, maybe Baby Einstein isn't going to make your kid an Einstein. That's OK. Get over it. You shouldn't be relying on TV to make your kid smart anyway. BUT, do think twice before sending your DVD's back to Disney in a huff. You may need to get your shower in tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Preschool Pick-up

Preschool pick up is the bane of my existence. Not only do most parents not understand how to drive through the pick up line properly, it is also at the worst possible time and inevitably I have to wake Princess #4 up from her morning nap. Does not make me a happy mama.

Today I stood at Princess #4's crib, watching her sleep, silently cursing preschool pickup a little too long I guess. I arrived at the school to see NO cars in the pick up line. I checked the clock, 11:30 on the dot. Panic starts to sear through my stomach, I am a "worst-case scenario" person afterall. I park the car and unload Princess #3 and #4, and haul them into the building with me. I burst into the office, to find Princess #2 sitting quietly against the wall, waiting for me along with 3 other preschoolers who apparently were waiting on their delinquent mothers. The clock in the office read 11:35. So, my clock was a few minutes off and miraculously, all parents driving through the car pick up line managed to do it right today and all kids were picked up in record time. Except mine, that is. Of course.

Oh and today WOULD be the day that I didn't get to shower, nor change out of my pj's before preschool pick up. I'm sure the office ladies were totally jealous of my hoodie, pj's pants and Ugg ensemble. I rock it.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Mom

I've been sitting on this blog entry for awhile. Sometimes I have so much circling inside my head that I can't seem to get it out coherently. I start so many entries that never see the light of day. This one I've been mulling over and over for several days now. I'm still not certain that it will make sense or resonate with anyone but myself, but that's ok.

Sometimes, I wish I wasn't The Mom. Don't get me wrong, I love being A Mom. I adore my princesses. There is a unique joy and peace that comes in watching your own children, created in love, grow and learn and experience life. Being A Mom is fulfilling. Being A Mom is rewarding. But that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about being The Mom. The One that has to make the hard decisions. The One that has to teach the hard lessons. The One that carries the burden, The One that worries endlessly, The One that is never really sure that what she is doing is enough.

When I spoke of this burden to a group of mothers, one of my dear friends, J, put it so eloquently. I couldn't say it better, so I'll quote her here:

And still I wonder and worry. It's so hard to make these decisions with no ability to see the future. And it seems to get harder and harder the bigger *their* world gets outside of me. I used to be able to control so many factors and I feel like I've got more of them and their worlds are getting bigger...and sometimes I feel like all these issues are slipping right through my fingers. Sometimes I just want to be the nanny. And leave the tough stuff to someone else.

This is exactly where I am right now. The burden at times almost seems unbearable. I have a fabulous, supportive husband. He loves his princesses more than life it's self. When it comes to major decisions concerning any of our children, we are a team, we make a joint decision. And yet, it's me as The Mom, that comes to the table with all the research, all the knowledge, all the possible scenarios that could play out as a result of our decision. I obsess over it. When a big decision is looming it's all I can think about. And God forbid that something bad should happen as a result of my actions as The Mom. I know that has to be every mother's worst fear. It can be immobilizing.

And yet, we can't stay immobilized, can we? Choices have to be made. At some point you have to go with your gut, if you have nothing else to stand on. I sometimes look at motherhood and find it to be the most exasperating job on the planet. Here we are, given the responsibility of care and upbringing of our most precious people. There is no rule book, no magic formula for making all the right decisions, often nothing but the seat of our pants as we grab on and hold on tight for the ride. And essentially, our job as The Mom, is to teach our children to fly. As my friend J put it, their world eventually grows bigger and bigger and our control over it grows smaller and smaller. Isn't that when we try to hold on tighter?

I have to believe that at some point, it all will make sense. That I'll see it come full circle, as my princesses grow. My prayer is that I'll be able to slowly let go of the very things that cause me to cling to the control. Although the burden is great, I know that within me God has instilled the instinct and the knowledge to make the right decisions for my princesses and also the courage to know when it's time to let go. I have no doubt that my days of wishing I could just be the nanny and leave the hard stuff to someone else are far but over. But I also know that with the hard stuff comes the greater reward. Right now, in the face of a big decision, I wish I wasn't The Mom. But I am so, so very grateful that I am A Mom.

18 again

Today I was in the grocery store, buying baby food for Princess #4.  While I was filling up my cart, an employee walked by and started chatting with me about baby food, etc.  At one point, she commented that I surely didn't have a baby at home for all that food.  To which I replied that I actually had FOUR!  Her jaw dropped and disbelievingly asked how old I was.  When I told her 32 (ack), she shook her head and said that she thought I was only 18, at the most.

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