Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mama's Day

At exactly 9:30 this morning I was asleep. Not that I was sleeping in per se with Violet waking me up again and again for a few hours, setting a bowl of instant gluten-free apple cinnamon oatmeal, a plate of sourdough toast with vegan butter, and a small glass of Good Belly next to her sister’s bed, where I was sleeping.


I don’t know if it was the repeated wake-ups or what, but I woke up annoyed. Too annoyed to appreciate my 7-year-old trying to serve me breakfast in bed. Maybe it was the broken bowl in the kitchen I was jolted out of bed to clean, the sisters arguing loudly about their Mother’s Day plans, and the constant reminders to eat my (reheated) oatmeal, as precious as all that really is.


But at 9:30 a.m. my phone buzzed and I realized my middle bro and Mathilda were facetiming from Germany – with I-man, my lovely baby nephew. I leapt out of bed and ran toward my children, announcing: BABY I-MAN!!!


My brother asked if I had assembled my bed yet in the condo, which was strangely reassuring because we're not in touch as often as I'd like. He’s totally right: it’s time to sleep in my own room on my own floor like a big girl. When the kids aren’t with me, I sleep in their beds and when they’re with me, I sleep on the couch or on the edge of their beds, a relic from our tiny apartment days.


After the call with my brother, Mother’s Day tanked in our household. I discovered Daisy had gone on my laptop and somehow deleted about three hours of work. Both kids did everything they could to get out of cleaning their room, which wasn’t in a good state, and I continued to direct them back to it while redoing the lost work. There was shouting all around and threats to call daddy to be picked up. Daisy ripped up my Mother’s Day gift – twice, before carefully reassembling the crinkled up tissue flowers with tape. My parents couldn’t make it at the last minute, and Violet sobbed. It was the soap opera of Mother’s Days for us.


Realizing it was just us, the girls and I made our tentative peace before going out for lunch. We relaxed in the bright warm sun on the quiet restaurant patio, layers of rich emerald and spring green on the distant hills.


After we returned home, after Scout-dog got loose and Violet landed on her cheek in the sand while swinging at the playground and Daisy showed me something on her belly that looks like early chicken pox and I looked up the symptoms for these weird red raised lines that have been showing up on my legs and face for a few days (oh, how crossing the 40-year threshold enriches your life – I mean, the anatomy lessons alone = priceless).


Then I read my Mother’s Day cards, and seriously, I remembered how lucky and happy life can be.


And yes, I like whales very much. Thanks for asking!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Epically Awesome

This was The Week of Violet's 7th Birthday, an occasion Violet herself has been literally counting down to since February, often wondering, "Does today COUNT, Mom? Does it include with the days?" Despite the frequent reminders, the invites for Saturday’s pottery painting party went out Wednesday. But first, there was Violet's actual birthday, a school day.

I was excited to be able to take Violet's birthday off work and had asked her what treat she wanted me to bring to her classroom. Her claim was everyone's doing donuts this year and the kids love Capri Suns because of what they can do with the foilpacks before they throw them away, basically the wrong choice for multiple reasons. I was on it.

I called in the donut order but when I got to my local Ferrell's, it was closed. It remains a mystery as to who took my phone order for three dozen donuts last Thursday afternoon. Maintaining my cool, I ran to the neighboring auto repair shop to confront a waiting room full of people, "Is this the only donut shop in the area? WHERE IS THE CLOSEST DONUT SHOP?!"

Wait, don't answer that, slow-answering random guy in the auto repair waiting room; I remembered and was off. About 15 minutes before the time Violet’s teacher had asked me to arrive to the classroom, I was sweating, in a line of cars, a block from the donut shop. Zipping around traffic in the bike lane, I pulled into the parking lot, realizing a Capri Sun stop was officially out of the question. The lady inside loaded me up with 36 donuts, 18 milks, and 10 apple juices.

Lucky for me, I didn’t miss a moment of Violet’s school birthday, which involved singing happy birthday the regular way, the rowdy way, and whatever way the birthday girl wanted. There was also the ritual monkey spanking. And about 30 kids fighting over 10 apple juices.

After school, on the walk back to the car with my kids, I felt an inner glow from the successful donut delivery, school celebration, and knowledge that my daughter’s presents were wrapped in cute paper, waiting at home next to an actual birthday card, already signed. In the thick of the afternoon heat and post-donut haze, Violet interrupted my feel-good revelry, “Mom! This is just like a reguwar day. It’s not even special!” Right. Maybe she changed her mind later after the presents and steak dinner her dad took us out to that night. Hard to tell.

Saturday morning was go time again. Of course, I was running late to meet the kids and their dad after picking up bagels and dealing with last minute ice cream cake, but it was all good.

I surprised Violet with an afterparty playdate with our good friends, sisters BFF and Wowo. It was our first hosted playdate since moving to the condo last fall.

The first order of playdateness was to go swimming at the condo pool and my kid companions cleared out about three quick-to-be-annoyed families from the pool area with their loudness and cannonball splashes. After having a talk with Daisy about verbally harassing boys in the pool, I decided to show the girls what other fun things could be done in a pool besides annoying people. I generously demonstrated some of my rad childhood pool tricks, such as tandem underwater somersaults - Violet was my helpful assistant. The rest of the kids didn’t say much except, “Awkward,” but at least the boys at large could swim in peace.

On an after-swimming high, we extended our playdate into a slumber party.

The girls and I walked to our favorite local taco shop, stopping at Goodwill to become “shopper girls,” as BFF declared. Our shopping trip was so successful that we ended up walking our stuff home, me wrestling with a piece of furniture, before returning on our journey to what we thought was going to be a simple dinner. None of us knew what was waiting for us there.

At the end of my impromptu Cinco de Mayo celebration with four kids, Daisy asked to try the dunking machine. I said NO. I knew exactly what would happen – it would all seem hilarious, until they were wet, and then they would all meltdown and I would be walking four very crabby and uncomfortable girls home.

And that’s pretty much what happened except when we walked through the park on the way home, which was crowded, Daisy decided to proclaim her victory, arms shoved upwards in a V, “I DID IT, PEOPLE. I DID THE DUNK MACHINE AT SALSA’S! THERE IS A DUNK MACHINE AT SALSA’S, PEEPS, AND I DID IT!” As people turned around to give us the once over, I pleaded with Daisy to stop yelling at strangers. All four kids took that as their cue to run off and roll in the playground sand, without any apparent care of what happens when you mix wet clothes with sand.

More luck. Found princess piƱata at the playground. Does a slumber party get any better? I don’t think so and neither did the kids, “This slumber party is epically awesome, Mom!”

Though no worries about me getting a big head or anything because every other word that came out of those kids' mouths was either epic or awesome. Still, we had a good time.

The feedback wasn’t as positive around midnight, when the kids crashed. Violet sobbed in her bed, “No more slumber parties, Mom! Not ever. Not even at Dad’s!!!” It wouldn’t be a slumber party if you didn't hate it by morning.