Thursday, January 31, 2013

because I am old...

Signs that I am getting old:

  • I like to eat at 4:45 pm.
  • I wear $400 insoles in my shoes.
  • I love buffets.
  • I get positively giddy when it's time to use a q-tip in Scott's ears or use one of the curettes I stole from the children's hospital. I wear a head lamp and everything.
  • I say "sakes alive" and "goodness".
  • I liked Betty White in college (before she was trendy).
  • I just ordered two boxes of checks (Scott is convinced that me and 6 other people keep the check printing industry in business.)
  • I use a coupon even at my kids' book fair and ask for the member's discount of 10% on top of the 50% off the going out of business sale at the store.
  • I saved money before Dave Ramsey said it was cool.
  • Oswald Chambers is my BFF.
  • I watch Parenthood and identify with Christina, not Haddie.
  • Scott gave me this on our wedding day and my grandma got jealous:
  • I actually used the word "Tomcattin'" in reference to someone's behavior two days ago.
  • My oldest child can now roll her eyes at me, purposely.
  • I love the smell of baby powder.. On people, not baby bu*tts.
  • I know all of the verses to "Be Thou My Vision" by heart.
  • I show my love to people by sending them letters in the mail. You know, stamped letters.
  • I actually use those return address labels solicitors send.
  • My father's grandparents were first cousins. (oops, that doesn't mean I'm old, but it sure is funny.)
  • My husband now has the ability to throw his back out while retrieving a piece of paper FROM THE FLOOR.

I have had four play dates this week and am all exhausted-like, just like an old lady would be.

Next week is a "free week", as Asher says, though Baby Man is returning and so we will have 1, 2, 2, 5, and 7 year old children in the house.

That, my friends, is what people of my generation call "a passel".


my dad having lunch with us at Lucy's school
I hold little babies and no longer know what to do with them:


The upsides of getting older are:
  • caring less what people think or how they respond to me (even Scott noticed this!!! hoorah! but, wait! doesn't that mean I am happy about what Scott thinks of me? back to drawing board...)
  • having an excuse for not remembering anything
I promise I won't become one of those old ladies who collects foster kids. I made a pact with a friend yesterday that we would not become that woman.

Instead, I will knit scarves for children at the local hospital, sit and look out the window, and wonder what has become of the younger generation.

You know, the usual.


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Seattle Bound.

I am going to Seattle to visit friend and it will just be Fi and I.

I don't think I've ever been so excited in my life.

Eeeeeek!!!!!

What are your "musts" for airplane trace with little ones?

I'm not sure how I'll handle having one child instead of four for six days.

Something tells me it will be all right.

Can I get an "Amen?"

Also, I am selling random baby shoes on eBay. I will let you know of my success in this matter shortly.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Asher





























Dear Asher,

You are 6 now. You are sweet, and stubborn, and slow to process, and wise with your words when they do come out. You ask questions that I find a little bit advanced for a 6 year old, like "Mom? What happens to bugs when they die? Do they have a bug Jesus? Are there bug grandmas to take care of baby bugs?" and at the Chick-fil-A drive thru (where else??): "Mom? There are two lanes. How does the lady at the window know which car to give what food? That seems like it'd be confusing."

You still think that a tornado is not high-velocity winds, but a bad man we hide from in the basement.

You are slow and tentative and quiet in new friendships, but once they are made, you are fiercely loyal. You talk constantly about Isaiah, Wyatt and Trey. Your teacher says, however, that most recess times you can be found wandering around by yourself, and you don't seem to mind.

Sometimes you are so slow in processing a response to a question someone has asked you that I get uncomfortable and speak for you. I am trying to stop that!!!!!!!!!

You are always thinking things through: your mind is always processing. You see the world in black and white. "This is bad, that is good." I think it helps you sleep at night; knowing you've got relative morality and all that by the tail. You turn on your little night light turtle and drift off to slay dragons.

When your belly is full the "I love you's" start flying. During a warm dinner of pork roast and potatoes you yodeled around a mouthful of food, "Mama, I love you 154 times." It's times like those that my hurting back, the endless dishes, the bedtime routine, none of it matters because I hvae this amazing little person who is growing up to be somebody.

You and your sister are either the best of friends or the worst of enemies. You are either playing like best friends or fighting like mortal enemies. There seems to be no middleland between you two. Sometimes I lament to your father, "When are they going to act a little more mature?"

***

Two nights ago we went to visit your great grandmother. She is 100 years old and has been continually saying, "I'm dying! I'm dying! I think I'm dying."

True to form, as soon as we opened the doors to the care center, you ran straight over to the junk food sitting on a table by sofa. You filled your pockets meticulously: Fig Newton in this one, Fig Newton in that, and one in your hand for the road. You tore open the first one and I wondered then if the only reason you're willing to come to see Grandma Bea is the free treats. Mothers wonder about children's character, you know.

We sat down with Grandma, and your little blond head in a baseball cap caught the eye of a woman sitting at Grandma's table. She was missing more than one tooth and had quite a few facial hairs, but, oh, her eyes lit up when she saw you.

She reached out a bony hand toward you, and I froze a little bit, wondering what you might do. I thought you might turn to me and tell me you wanted to go, or that you wanted ice cream, or some other little whim that children often have in times of crisis.

Wasn't I surprised when, left hand nervously on top of that little baseball cap, the right hand snuck over toward Ms. Olive's hand, so that she could reach it, and hold it, and remember not-so-long ago when her little boy looked just like you.

Yes, Asher. You are going to be somebody.

Somebody, indeed.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

grandmother is where you come from

The phone clicked and I sat in silence.

I'd just heard my  grandmother tell me from across the city, "Beautiful! That is so beautiful!" I heard my dad tell her, "That's your granddaughter Rachel singing to you." something muffled, and then, "Oh, it's just beautiful!"

My grandmother is struggling with pneumonia and refusing to eat. She's 100 years old.

She's the lady who had me over for countless sleepovers in her efficiency apartment. I was around 10 years old when she moved to our town, and there's one specific time I remember we walked the short walk to Osco Drug so I could get some quints dolls:



The apartment before that was across from a s*ex t*oy shop, and I KID YOU NOT PEOPLE WOULD WALK INTO THE SHOP WITH PAPER BAGS OVER THEIR HEADS. I woke up in the night once to get a glass of water, looked outside, and asked my grandmother what those people were doing. I honestly think she was as perplexed as I was!

My grandmother would feed you until your seams burst, and then, just like any good grandmother, she'd fill you full of cookies and more food. She'd roll you over to the tv set, turn it on, and as Law and Order: SVU comes on would say, "This looks like a lovely family show!"

Oh, grandma. Always there, and always predictable, and always saying she's 39, if you ask her. She can also list the names of her 11 brothers and sisters, forward and backwards...though tonight, she's telling my dad that she wants to "go and see Mama".

Her Mama has been dead for 75 years.

I guess maybe that's what I'm sitting here tonight thinking about. I'm thinking about those who told our stories before we had mouths to tell them, eyes to see the way the sun makes its way over plain old ordinary grass, lips to kiss and tell the ones we love that we love them.

Maybe in letting her go it's a letting go of the growing-up me, the a-little-unsure-on-my-feet me, the grandma-are-there-any-more-cookies-left me.

My grandma loved to drink a glass of orange juice a day and tell you it's what kept her healthy. I loved coming to her impossibly tidy apartment and I loved the way she smelled like molasses for days after making her trademark cookies.

Tomorrow I'm taking my family to go and see her. She usually thinks I'm a man, which is a total ego-killer, if I'm going to be honest, but to hear her not remember that her husband is gone and then go on to recite a 5-minute-long poem she learned in Norwegian when she was 7 makes the tears prick themselves in the corner of my eyes.

She's not perfect, my grandma, she's just like any of us, flawed and pieced back together, doing the best she can.

It's just...I guess it's just, well, the thing that puts a pause in me is that she's always BEEN There, living her life, every minute that I've been living mine, since before I was a thought in my father's mind, or before he was a thought in his father's. There's a continuity there that is so beautiful and it just feels wrong when it is coming to an end.

Tomorrow I'll go and see my grandma, and hug her and love on her for a little while, and then come back to my busy little house where things don't ever seem to stand still long enough for me to think about these things.

Life is such a mystery, isn't it?


Thursday, January 17, 2013

killing it

So. Phoebe has been sick SO much this winter. Funny that my healthiest baby at birth has been the sickliest afterward. You'd think it'd be the oldest with all of the health problems, but she seems to be healthier than a horse!

The social worker just emailed me, asking about T being sick. Her question was, "Is it contagious?" and "How did she get it?"

These questions immediately made me laugh out loud.

I'm skipping the first one and going right to the second:

"How did she get it?"

I had to check the ip address to make sure it was legit, and not coming from some email like "socialworker@socialworkerschool999.com before I continued. But, here goes...


Considering that every public surface is a human petri dish of germs and that both of our older children are in public school and that Teapot's daily itinerary is as follows:

get out of bed
play with shoes
sing a song about Granny and Santa Claus
stick hands in back of pull up
play in bathroom sink
stick hands in back of Phoebe's diaper
wipe snot away from face
give Asher hug
eat a Cheerio from the floor
open-mouth kiss to unsuspecting foster mother
sneeze on wall

Once you've had a few kids you're no longer swayed by sickness. I mean, you don't consider it a big deal. It's just a matter of fact. It's just a part of being a parent, and you realize you can't keep your kids from getting sick or plan when their sicknesses will be any more than you can fart in the wind and plan who smells it.

I also think it's funny how freaked out I was about Lucy getting sick when she was a baby. I remember my cousin, (whose own newborn was being body slammed in the back ground by her 2 year old) said, "You'll get over that pretty quickly."

My favorite event of yesterday was when I had a new foster mom friend over after I had told her the girls were coming down with something. Her response was, "Can't keep them locked away!" ... and I knew she was my kind of people, especially after she brought some gourmet cupcakes she had, you know, just WHIPPED UP for Asher's 6th birthday.

Watching people with their first child and then with their third or fourth is hysterical. With the first, they're sanitizing the baby wipes. With the fourth, they're hoping the dog saliva thoroughly sanitized the pacifier, if they even use one...



"How did she get it?"

let's continue the itinerary:

rub grapes on floor
eat grapes
go to Target
lick the shopping cart handle
feed Phoebe something she finds on floor
find Goldfish in seat
hug all of Lucy's friends at school

nap

I want Scott to invent some sort of germ tracker with his nerd mind so I can answer such questions with, "Well, on Thursday the 22nd at 3:45 pm she came into contact with an unidentified foreign body in the NorthWest corner of the school playground. Lattitude, 14576, 32879  Longitude, 18242, 2948214

I imagine I just plotted some coordinates near Australia, which is a whole different post, but you get the picture.

Now, for my next feat of the day: Opening a candy cane for Asher without breaking it.

Anyone placing bets?

I am killing it as a mother.

Monday, January 14, 2013

the reason for sleep

I remember wond4ering, as a kid, why I had to sleep.

Now, I realize that sleep is for the parents...so they get a break.

The only time I get a break is when my kids are sleeping. I'm not complaining, it's just a fact.

Last night Phoebe and I went to the doctor and we both have the flu. Scott NEVER gets sick. Never ever. Lucy, little miss 6 surgeries and other issues when born? NEVER. We were told she may get sick more often because of her "issues" (the buzz word in today's society), but she is as healthy as a horse.

Pheebs is still in her reindeer jammies and I'm going to try to convince her that she'd like to go back to sleep.

Teapot is just raring to go, and most likely won't take kindly to being put in bed.

Asher will probably play some video games.

By the way, do you feel guilty when you let your kids watch tv/ play video games so you can get a break?

Sometimes I wish we lived out on a farm and the kids could run around, catching gophers and juicing the oranges they grow organically on the back lot of the farm.

Growing up, whenever we visited my grandparents' farm my brothers would make a sport out of shooting the cows with low-powered B.B. guns and making elaborate traps for gophers.

In other news, Asher is 6 on Wednesdsay.

6?!

Friday, January 11, 2013

I was at a dear friend's house earlier today and Fi came down with a fever. I've been cuddling her here at home while the older two play.

Lately I have just been TIRED! Phoebe has been getting up at night and all four kids are nonstop during the day. The other night I was changing a diaper and Scott said, "I bet you've changed tens of thousands of diapers in the last 8 years."

YES. I am so done with diapers it is not funny. I want to simultaneously potty train Fi and Ti but we all know that will not happen Any time soon! Kids follow their own schedule as far as potty training goes. I tried everything in the book with Asher and he did not use the restroom for anything other than making turd eggs in the bathtub until he was just over 3 years old.

The other day I was feeling nauseous and the first thought was, "What if I'm pregnant?"

The next feeling was abject dread until I remembered that I cannot be and I inwardly cheered.

Phoebe points to her crotch and tells, "peep!" after she goes. Maybe she IS ready? 18 months just seems a little on the young side.

I wonder what we will spend our diaper money on when we are no longer buying diapers.

Massages.
Wine.
A new couch.

Oh, the possibilities.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Mexican drug cartels can ruin a vacation if you let them

my friend Shana. the best gloves EVER. read her blog and you will snort. promise.
Last night Lucy was reading me her Christmas book from her teacher and I was sniffing her delicious little pre-tween head and I thought to myself, "This would be a really cute picture for Instagram! I wonder where my iPod is?" and then I reminded myself to live in the moment and I didn't need to take a photograph of everything, and that's just one less damn bell to answer as Burt Bacharach says:




The last month of 2012 was a stretcher for me. I had some conversations that were hard for me; I stood up for myself in new ways that I never had tried before, and I felt a little bit more self-assurance seeping into, well, myself.

I had an epiphany a few days ago that my people-pleasing ways are ending because

1. I have four kids and don't have the energy I used to to aquiesce to outsider's demands and

2. I don't want my kids learning my behavior and

3. I just don't care as much as I used to and,

3a. I don't need to apologize for someone else's discomfort or annoyance with me...it's OK for them to be uncomfortable...(yes, it took me 33 years to figure this out)

4. the BIG one, PEOPLE-PLEASING IS ACTUALLY A FORM OF PRIDE. Yes, you heard that right. Pleasing other people/making them happy is my attempt at control, or controlling what others think of me. Sounds silly, right? It is. I can not control what someone thinks of me, and I have finally gotten to the point in life where I will just live with the anxiety that someone could be upset and let it dissipate.

5. Being my friend is a privelege. Didn't you know? I don't have to grovel or put up with bad behavior on the part of others in order to keep flailing friendships.

Yes. this is  all new to me. Sort of sad.

My anxiety is generally very high after I have a run-in with someone (or what I perceive as a run-in; usually it's just me expressing my point of view or telling someone what I can or cannot do - or maybe it's me just offering to buy them Donuts and I'm totally off base), and sitting there with it is hard.

The more often I just speak my mind and cut someone off at the pass the less often I am feeling the anxiety.

So, that is what I have been working on lately.

I've lost 3 pounds! I will post a picture soon. I'm sure you are just dying for it! I also have no teeth because I used all of my Weight Watchers points on Christmas candy. I bought a winter coat today at Target that I can't zip up properly. It's a men's size Small but a girl can dream.

Scott and I are going to go somewhere tropical for our TENTH anniversary in March. I can hardly wait! Any suggestions, places to look? the caveats are:

1. Scott is afraid of the water in other countries
2. Scott does not want to be abducted by a Mexican drug cartel and shot in the head and left for dead in the desert

3. Scott is cheap

Do you know that sometimes when I am watching a show I will randomly Google the character's name and "stillborn baby" or "pancreatic cancer"?

Is that weird?

Sometimes I just want those dumb shows to understand that real life actually happens, not just to...well, people in real life. I am pleased when I get a "hit" and I feel justified in continuing to watch the show.

I am off to get the older kids ready for AN OVERNIGHT WITH THE GRANDPARENTS! We will sit and drink wine and watch Army Wives and make fun of Roland and his one-dimensional personality, and also feel sorry for the penis-less men who have to return every week to tape more of a bad show...that we apparently can't stop watching because we are on season 4.