Monday, July 28, 2014

Weekend Edition


The kids were in fine drama form over the weekend. The handoff from their dad on Saturday was not smooth, setting the stage for uncomfortable feelings to creep out in unexpected ways for the rest of the day. At the end of an overdue visit with the grandparents Saturday night, the girls were mutinous with insistent demands for a sleepover on the spot, "The people don't want us to leave!"



What people? Grandma and Grandpa are moving . . . I'm going to be gone for most of the week. We're going home. TONIGHT.



There were lots of surly kid statements made on the drive home, and at first, I chewed them out, burnt from having to deflect the Spend the Night! argument 500 times.Violet announced she was just feeling really anxious . . . about Boys and Girls Club on Monday . . . about starting third grade in the fall . . . about her parents arguing in front of her earlier that day.



I shifted from the tired "you NEED to LISTEN to your mama!" refrain to explore the purpose of being on the planet. The point of struggle being how you respond to it - not that it exists. It's supposed to exist. The kids were engaged as the conversation meandered into related topics. At home, the kids asked if I had any books about spirit stuff.



I wasn't prepared to bring out the religious texts, so I handed my 8 year old a book about dreams and my 10 year old, The Secret, which I was surprised to spot on my bookshelf. With one chapter under her belt, Daisy adopted the phrase, "Like attracts like."



Maybe all that what goes around comes around, give and you shall receive talk inspired my special Sunday morning breakfast with reserved seating, lukewarm drip coffee, sunflower seeds, cold oatmeal, a chia seed snack my girls find slimy, and a meringue cookie. They talked about how long it took them to prepare it - and how the coffee was hot when they first made it. I truly appreciated their thoughtful efforts as I quietly put the food away and made a fresh cup of coffee.


















For our Sunday fun, I took the kids to visit the baby cows I'm currently obsessed with at my place of work.






We ran errands with some early back-to-school shopping.









All I wanted to do for the rest of the day was be at home and get things ready for a busy week. However, that sneak Violet insisted she call her dad because she was "worried about him," if worried means getting us invited to a barbecue she knew he was at that just happened to be teeming with boys her age. I took us to the barbecue. I'm a team player; Violet, not so much. When it was finally time for reading before lights out, Violet refused to read, brush her teeth, or get in bed. She declared ALL THE OTHER KIDS AT BOYS AND GIRLS CLUB STAY UP ALL NIGHT, AND THEY TALK ABOUT IT ALL DAY LONG.



I had lost my patience by the time Violet got to that ridiculous claim, but she didn't stop there. My tone became more and more uptight: IT IS TIME FOR BED. YOU'RE GOING TO BE TIRED IN THE MORNING IF YOU DON'T GO TO BED NOW. AFTER EVERYTHING I HAVE DONE FOR YOU THIS WEEKEND, YOU NEED TO LISTEN TO ME. YOU'RE ACTING LIKE A JERK . . . Daisy, my little Secret head,  reminded me helpfully from the other side of the room, "Like attracts like, Mom!"



Yeah, OK. It's not good parenting to tell your kid she's acting like a jerk and telling your kid you have done a lot for them is indiscernible white noise, but I had reached that trembling point past patience and logic.



My seething anger certainly wasn't having a positive effect on Violet who was throwing herself around the house. I remembered to hand her a box, an old anger management technique we had recently agreed to bring back.

















Violet's anger shifted to laughter as she shredded that box. She said she was sorry, and it wasn't long before both girls were fast asleep. There is no peace like the quiet of an evening that follows kid-frenzied bedtime.





Friday, July 11, 2014

What the Pug






The 4th of July celebration at the Bindy family home this year was attended by an eclectic bunch I didn't know well enough to ignore from catatonia in a nearby lounge chair. So, I noticed when the kids disappeared for a while. I found them behind closed door, engrossed in an enthusiastic debate around a piece of paper. They explained they were writing a song about their love for pugs.



Daisy had pulled me aside earlier to confide, "I will never say pug ugly EVER AGAIN. Bindy's pugs are aDORable!"



In recent times, my kids' dad might have suggested we consider the term pug ugly as a defensive strategy against Bin's general bad attitude toward the dogs that run in our reorganized family pack. Bin's and my dog grudge match started several years ago, when my dog Sadie occasionally bit a member of Bin's family. I would characterize the incidents as more herding nips than bites and it never happened with anyone else's family, but Bindy might tell a different story. All I can say is I didn't see Bin's family acting naughty, but I trust Sadie to know who's out of line.



So when I adopted my rescued dog Scout a while back, I wasn't surprised when Bindy said he's not cute. She also doesn't believe that Scout is a designer breed, as I was thrilled to discover on the internet. I am certain that Scout is a Border Collie by Corgi, aka Borgi.



But here's where it starts to get personal - Bindy claims that Scout isn't even a long dog, which is madness because the dog is shaped like a corndog. I can't tell you how many times I've discussed the issue of whether Scout is a long dog with friends and family, and everyone always says my dog is long. Because I never waste my time arguing about things that don't matter . . . got that, Bindy?



Anyway, going back to last weekend, the kids finally rejoined Bindy's 4th of July party and asked me to get everyone in the same room for their performance. I wasn't completely comfortable in that role but the kids were singing a song they wrote, and by god, there would be an audience.



People were polite but the room wasn't filled with warm fuzzies at the end of the performance. I compensated by declaring, "That was GREEAAT . . ." while snorting loudly. I made eye contact with one person before exiting the room. The kids later told me it was perfect because pugs snort too. I think I'll take that one.



And here's What the Pug. The lyrics really aren't bad.







Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Happy Independence


One moment I found what I thought was a small patch of damp carpet, and then this happened.




My kids are gone this week. I was looking forward to flying free like the independent spirit I was meant to be. Instead, I burdened my parents. My father was over here for hours helping me with this today. Maybe he thought he'd be flying free in his sixties.



Speaking of dependence, Bindy and I were mostly surrounded by children last weekend. However, we found our freedom in the form of an OK motel with a great view and pool, meals out, chardonnay, and a stack of magazines as tall as a miniature pony, which isn't that tall but it is when you think of magazines.






I hid my tower o mags when I arrived to the motel. Didn't want to make Bin think I was going to ignore her or anything. She even joked about how when I was a new mom I would leave her with my child to entertain, feed, and clothe; ignoring everyone and everything except the magazine in front of my face and whoever I was playing Scrabble with. I smiled at her memory, leaning over from my lounge chair to hand her two magazines from my secret stash, pointing to my empty wine glass, and asking her about when the kids should get out of the pool for dinner . . . what are the kids having for dinner anyway? Things have totally changed.






But how can you relish freedom without responsibility? Loving some people is setting them free and loving other people is keeping them close, even in moments when setting them free sounds like it could be refreshing.















Tuesday, July 1, 2014

June


How is June over? It was the first day of June and the kids and I were rocking out at Music Fest, and then it's July. Before another month drops away, stop. dniweR.



Let's start with yesterday. As I rolled away from work, I noticed the Service Past Due 328 miles ago message on my dashboard that I've been noticing for about 300 miles. Remembering the 4th of July road trip to Bindy's on Thursday, I made the car appointment with the unexpected now timeslot, picked up the kids, picked up the dogs, dropped off the dogs, and dropped off the car. Somewhere along the way, Daisy spoke nervously about wanting to look for clip-on earrings. Many of her friends have pierced ears and she talks about it INCESSANTLY, but she's terrified of anything shot-esque.



Riding on the crest of getting things done, I announced we were walking to the mall while our car was in the shop. Daisy, if you talk about it this much, let's get it over now before you have time to go over it one more time in your mind. In typical little sister mode, Violet countered that it wasn't fair: ALL her friends had their ears . . . I stopped her before she got to pierced. Then get your ears pierced too. Done and done.



As I suspected, Violet was in before she took it back, in again, and out fo sho, all as Daisy solemnly faced the ear piercer. I wasn't entirely sure Daisy would get through it either, with visions of her in the not so distant past trying to kick and hit her way out of shots in true streetfighter fashion.














But there I go again getting stuck on a moment. This Daisy will face her fear of shots in the name of style.




I consoled Violet: your time to be brave for earrings will come. No rushing necessary.



June to be continued . . .