Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Awkward Mom vs. It-all

You may have noticed a lack of posts in these here parts. Again, you may not have, given that there are new television shows to watch, pumpkins to carve, and well, your life consisting of more than reading my random ramblings. But I have noticed a lack of posts. Now, there is certainly no lack of awkward around here. Recent shopping trips, Super Baby's energetic forays into solids, a major battle with the king of all head colds, and yesterday's field trip to the pumpkin patch just being some of them. Nope, awkward as ever.

Maybe more so. I feel out of sync these days; unable to finish my to-do lists, restless, always reacting, rarely creating. This is new. This is strange. And this totally coincides with the fact that someone is now crawling:

He's fast but not furious. 
Unless you prevent him from going fast. 

I can't keep up. With Super Baby, of course, but just in general. I can't keep up with all the paper that comes home from school. I can't keep up with if kale is still in. I can't keep up with which milestone I am supposed to be freaking out about for which child. I can't keep up with Halloween, Thanksgiving, or Christmas. I can't keep up with what my socially appropriate title is these days. (Is it still stay-at-home mom? Household CEO? Home parent? Is housewife still passe or are we trying to reclaim that one?) I can't keep up with developments in my past career field and wonder if I'll need to be totally retrained when I go back. If I go back. I can't keep up with politics, wars, diseases, the economy, natural disasters, or if it is supposed to rain tomorrow. I am only on season 1 of Arrow (no spoilers!) and one of these days we really need to start reading Harry Potter with the supers. I can't keep up with dinner. I can't keep up with exercise. I can't keep up with cleaning this house. I can't keep up with dinner prayers and evening prayers and God questions and explaining communion in a way that doesn't sound vampiric. I can't keep up with taking all the pictures that need to exist to prove that childhood wasn't just Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and the occasional Lego fight around here. I can't. I just can't keep up with it all.

So here's the thing: I'm giving up on it-all.

Look, we're women (for the most part; hi Dad and the maybe 3 dudes that read this), and we are modern women, at that. We have been raised from day 1 to want it all. To need it all. It-all is what we are supposed to go after, accomplish, process, explain, document, and tie up in a pretty bow with some artful overhead shots before posting it on Pinterest. The problem is that no one ever really defined what "it all" is. Is it a Career? Children? Children and a career? Clean Children? Climbing Career? Charm? Connected? Civility? Capability? Centered-ness? Cute? Cookies? I want it to be cookies. If it's cookies, then I have crushed it-all and we can all go home.

It-all doesn't exist. Know why? Because it's ridiculous, impossible, and fairly insulting to think that there is one sanctioned path to true womanhood when there are billions of unique, gloriously human, stunning women roaming the planet. Therefore, I am done seeking the one true it-all and focusing my limited energy on my own four it-alls from here on out.

Right now my it-alls are: singing Let It Go at the top of his lungs from a shower that is approaching its 20th minute, spinning in circles in the living room with Invisible Grandpa, 2 teddy bears, a stick, and an Ewok, hosting a tea party at the top of her outside-voice in the bedroom for another Ewok and a naked doll that has been colored on with a permanent marker and more than resembles a prop from some horror movie, and crawling straight toward the cat food.

You know what might help me tackle tonight's current it-all concerns? Cookies!

 Check it out!
My it-alls even fit nicely on the couch! 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Awkward Mom vs. Seatbelts

Super 1st. never got out of his seat-belt while we were driving. In fact, he used to never unbuckle himself at all. I had to teach him how when he was 5 years old because I was hugely pregnant with Super Baby and didn't want to climb into the back of the van anymore.

Super Preschooler got out of his seat-belt exactly once. It was epic, but it was only once.

Super Toddler gets out of her car-seat, and has been getting out of her car-seat for the past 6 months, while the car is moving, at least once a car trip. Every. Single. Time. Below is a partial list of the reasons Super Toddler has given for getting out of her car-seat while the car is moving:

1. It's fun.
2. I was too happy.
3. There was a bee.
4. I wanted the toy the boys had.
5. I was hungry and thought I saw a sausage under your seat.
6. I was bored.
7. I was tired.
8. I feels funny when you are standing.
9. I was hungry (this one comes up a lot).
10. I wanted to see the moon from Super Baby's side of the van.
11. I couldn't hear Frozen.
12. I needed a hug.
13. My feet wanted to run.
14. I needed that book.
15. I can.

I have gotten really good at staying calm, pulling over, and making sure we have lots and lots of books, toys, and sausages to occupy her, but the terror of realizing that she is not buckled into her seat never stops being as intense as it was the first time. Much like the constant terror of realizing that I need to get this fireball to adulthood in one piece. Which happens to be exactly as intense as the eternal joy of realizing that get to know this relentless, fearless, joyous, fabulous force of nature for the rest of my life.

I assume it will all even out in the end, but that period when she starts to drive herself is going to test the limits of terror like nothing ever has before. If someone could phase out cars and invent teleporters by then, I would be forever grateful!

Baby Girl, if it means you will stay in your car-seat, 
you can twirl your hair into a mass of knots
and I won't say a word. I promise! 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Awkward Mom vs. Judging

Dear Fellow Mom-

You have to admit it; that is one spectacular fit. When she did that spinning kicking move while totally on the ground, it looked just like a tiny toddler Curly shuffle. And her boneless move; well, that move is going to win awards, my Friend. Flawless. In the world arena of checkout lane fits, this one is definitely in the top ten; a true 10, out of the park homerun, touchdown, blaze of glory, and completely amazing to behold. And I don't blame her, M&Ms are my favorite too. But it is 9:25, so I don't blame you either. I wouldn't even blame you if you wanted to lay down next to her and throw a fit yourself; it is looking to be one of those days. And I know you think we are all staring at you and judging you. We're not.

OK, I might be staring, but it's with love, fellow Mom. The others? Well, the teens are texting, so you could be on Naboo for all they'll notice. That checker's seen it all and just wants her break and for the store to not already be playing Christmas music. That other mom, the perfect looking one in the skinny jeans and the Gucci purse? No judging there, her son pulled the same stunt earlier in the candy aisle so you missed it, just like you are missing the love she is shooting you between your daughter's screams. Those grandmas are judging nothing except maybe the cruel swiftness of time, as they restrain themselves from gathering the both of you up in their soft steely arms. I want to hug you too. Hug you tight and long and true, while I tell you the truth: You are doing a magnificent job, my dear fellow mom. Magnificent. Keep it up, we are all pulling for you. We love you. Even the teens; because if they bothered to look up, they would love you too. Who wouldn't love you? You're magnificent! We are not judging you. We are NOT judging you. We love you.

Love ya,
Awkward Mom

P.S. Still no judging if you buy those M&Ms and eat them all in the driver's seat after you strap her in and close all the car doors. Do what you gotta do.

No judging.
Just love. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Awkward Mom vs. Pasta

Hint: She isn't winning this battle. 

So, I miss seeing my friends and I don't have money to pay for babysitting, so I have decided to host weekly dinner parties, a la this. Who doesn't want to change her life with pasta? No one, that's who. Well, maybe the gluten intolerant, but the point is that Weekly Pasta Nights start here this coming Sunday. Now, the smart lady in the article capped her weekly guest list at 10, but that sounds like too much work so I am throwing mine open-house-style. Whoever shows up shows up. This means I could have 40-50 people in my house 4 days from now. And then 7 days from then. And 7 days from then. And so forth.....

Which is why I am painting my hallway this week. And just went shopping for tablecloths. And need to make about 100 meat balls sometime soon. But I also have a raging headache, which might be from painting in an enclosed space and forgetting to eat today. So, I am going to go lie down now, but if you want to head on over this coming Sunday, I should be up and serving up some delicious pasta. See you there!

Wrong Italian food there, Super Preschooler. 
But I like the enthusiasm. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Awkward Mom vs. Change

Dearest Daring Darlings-

Don't change.

Seriously, don't change a thing.

I don't think you are listening. I am speaking literally. Stop growing. I can't afford any more clothes and I like you this size. So, I don't know, start drinking coffee. Build a time machine. Learn to alter the time/space continuum. Whatever it takes, just get on it, OK?

No, not OK. I know you have to grow. I don't always like it, but I accept it. I didn't have you to cocoon you in this house with me, to delight me with your antics and genius for all time. I get you for a little second and the world gets you for the rest. I get that.

And with that in mind, I repeat; DON'T CHANGE.

Dear Super 1st, this is your 6-year-old self holding a stuffed turtle that we rescued from the bargain bin at the Reptile Zoo gift shop. His leg was "broken," so you insisted that he come home with us to rest. How was I going to say no; your charm and style could take a planet to fill. I am powerless before your guilelessness. Smart and borderline brilliant, you are just starting to navigate the wily world of school with grace and a demon-like quickness. You fly through your studies with ease, but more impressive is the swiftness of your kindness and your inclusiveness. You are boldly you in all things and you are confident enough to shift over a little to make room for one more. 

Don't change. The world needs your brave sweetness and your bold acceptance.

My lovely Super Preschooler, this is you at four. Your hair heralds your wild dreaminess. It is untameable and impossible to control. It is also impossible to resist. You aren't sitting on a slide. I mean, it looks like a slide to me, but you have just informed me that it is a magic beanstalk that you grew with some beans Invisible Grandpa gave you. I should have known. You have eyes with diamond facets in them and sometimes they look like letters. I think the secrets of the universe are written there. 

Don't change. The world needs your eternal hopefulness and your fierce creativity.

My wonderful Super Toddler, you got on this horse by yourself. Put the penny in yourself, held the reins yourself, leaned back yourself, and allowed me to take your picture. I think you wold have done that yourself but you wanted to make sure the horse was in the frame. You also picked out that outfit yourself, down to the red Darth Vader shirt underneath it. You plowed through the store like a princess on strike, smiling at and simultaneously shoving everything in your path. Your 2 and a half years are not enough to house you, but I think we would need a new universe for that. You are a mostly good natured force of nature that does not have time for any interruptions in your steady and sure conquering of the entire planet. 

Don't change. The world needs your casual fearlessness and your unapologetic hunger. 

My precious Super Baby, you are 7 months old and you crawled for the first time today. Under the couch. You got stuck because I was dealing with your siblings and their enormous needs. That was fine with you; you rooted around down there for lord knows how long before I found you, or rather the back half of you, and pulled you free. You had discovered a forgotten graham cracker and made short work of it, despite no real knowledge of solids and no actual teeth. You are resourceful and patient. You are gentle and understanding. You are surprised by nothing and your ageless eyes have seen it all. And the all you see is good. 

Never change. The world needs your kind resistance and your messy optimism. 

By all means, grow. Grow strong and grow tall. OK, well, as tall as my genes are gonna let you. But grow. And grow those gorgeous natural qualities of yours right on with you. There is no need to change them, they are prefect as they are. They just need to grow and go with you when you forge forth into the world. So grow too big for my arms if you must, but never change. You'll never be too big for my heart anyway. That grows as well, as big as you need it to be. 

Never change, my loves. Never change. 

I love you,
Awkward Mom 

P.S. If you wanna give that time machine a go, that's cool. You can use the garage. Just say the word. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Awkward Mom vs. School Sick

There's regular sick and then there is stay-home-from-school sick. Moms are supposed to know the difference. Supposed to.

So, I am watching Super 1st closely this morning. He is trying to put his left shoe on his right foot. Over his right shoe.

The thing is he has the cold that half his class has and he didn't sleep well. He never sleeps well, if truth be told, so this shoe issue isn't quite as alarming as it could be. But he is coughing. No fever. Coughing. Sleepy. He's sick. But is he stay-home-from-school sick? Not sure.

My queries to him are no help. My "do you want to stay home from school?" is met with the dreaded "I don't know. What do you think?" Ugh. I don't know what I think! I'm barely keeping stuff going over here. I am thinking "can you be stay-home-from-school sick this early in the school year?" "Maybe he is mostly tired." "What if it is that virus thingie they say is sweeping the Midwest?" "How would him staying home affect the others today? We have preschool for one, a playdate for the other, and I really wanted to get some writing done." "What would my mother do?"

Well, my mother would have kept him home and that is what I should have done. If I was gonna do it; fast and quick, like ripping off a bandaid. But that wasn't what I did. No, I settled for something much more awkward.

I take him to school. I line him up in his line with all his coughing classmates. And when his teacher comes out, I embarrass the heck out of him because that's good, right? Embarrass a cold, starve a fever, I tell her that he has been feeling sick, not fever-gross-bathroom-plague-stuff that they want you to keep them home for, just cold-sick. I am hugging and kissing his head during all of this. She crouches down and asks him how he feels. All eyes in the line, parents and kids, turn to him. He turns bright red, tears up, and whispers that he is fine; this makes him look anything but fine. Now he looks full-on stay-home-from-school sick. I ask him if he wants to go, he looks around at all those eyes, and says, "I don't know." Should have pull him right there, but I didn't. I look at the teacher. She looks at me. Then, she says, "Hey, why don't you stop by during snack? That's around when you drop Super Preschooler off anyway. See how he is doing then." I grab this delay with glee; I am nothing if not a true procrastinator. Super 1st can feel the eyes leaving him, so he relaxes and heads into school.

Now, I am thinking that I'll just pop over to the school office after dropping Super Preschooler off (Super Preschooler's class is near but in a different building), they'll let me go to his class, I'll peek in and catch his teacher's eye, she'll wink that he is fine, and I'll slip away. Perfect. Because suddenly I am Perfect Mom. Right......

Nope. I show up and buzz the door and they want to know what I want. I don't want to explain the whole long thing to a buzzing box, so I just say "Umm. I have a 1st grader here." They buzz me in. I walk in the office and the secretary (who is more than a little intimidating on a good day) glares at me and looks behind me.

Intimidating Secretary: Where is your 1st grader?

Me: Umm...in his class.

Intimidating Secretary: Well, then why did you say you had one?

Me: Well, I do have one. I just don't have him with me.

Intimidating Secretary: I see. (She doesn't see.) Well, what do you need?

I explain the whole saga and she questions me intently,

I.S.: Does he have a fever?

Me: No.

I.S.: Did he throw up?

Me: No.

I.S.: Diarrhea?

Me: No.

I.S.: Just a cold.

Me: Yes, but he was acting funny.

I.S.: Funny?

Me:  Not himself.

I.S.: Oh, I see. (She doesn't see.) Well, I will call the classroom and have him sent here.

Me: Oh, is that necessary? I could just pop down there.....

I.S.: I will call his teacher. (End of discussion.)

So, it's horrid. She has some sort of intercom that blasts into Super 1st's classroom that Super 1st Grader (actually his entire alias is spoken) is to come to the office at once. He shows up, clearly terrified that he is in trouble and I can see that he has spilled some of his fruit cup snack down his shirt, probably in alarm of being called to the office. He slips in, trying to be invisible, but to no avail. Both secretaries, the principal, and I stare at him. Then, everyone stares at me. Guess I am the cause of this, so I start.

Me: Hey, baby, how do you feel?

Super 1st.: Fine.

I.S.: *Glare at me.*

Me: Think you are well enough to stay at school?

Super 1st.: I guess.

Principal: It's OK if you want to go home, Super 1st. Do you feel sick?

Super 1st.: A little.

Me: Wanna go home?

Super 1st.: I don't know. (only it's not an I-don't-know, it's an angry why-are-we-still-talking-about-this.)

I.S.: I see.

Yeah, me too. I see. Finally. I'm the mom. I have to make this decision. All these I don't knows are just Super 1st. saying what I should have known in the first place. "You're the mom, keep me safe. You're the mom; stop being indecisive. Stop over-thinking. Stop worrying about anything but the needs of me, your child. Stop. You're the mom; trust that you are the mom." So, I do. I look one more time in his eyes and see that steely resolve that makes him captain of the Supers. I kiss him once on the forehead, mostly to check one more time for the dreaded fever, but also because who is going resist being able to love on their 6-year-old in the middle of a school day? No fever. He'll be fine and he was always going to be fine. So, I send him back to class and turn to smile my thanks to the secretaries and principal. I get 2 smiles back.

That's OK. I'm the mom, I can handle it.

When I am stay-home-from-school sick, you are gonna know it.
No, I don't knows from this camp. 
Fair warning. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Awkward Mom vs. Little Things

Dearest Pearls-

You're probably gonna do big things. I can see it in your eyes and the way that gravity has trouble holding you. That's cool. They're your lives and I want you to do whatever you want with them. But could you maybe consider doing the little things too? Could you please:

Be polite to your friends as well as their parents.

Smile at strangers. (not the candy-wielding alley-dwelling ones with creepy vans; those you can kick in the shins)

Remember birthdays.

Forget stupid stuff people say when they are angry or hungry.

Grow some plants.

Be kind to all the animals you have the pleasure to share the earth with.

Learn to spell.

Listen to different types of music with an open mind.

Read all of the books. Even the big boring ones with no dust jackets; gems are everywhere.

Try it at least once. (It being anything, except hanging with the aforementioned alley candy givers)

Get the big box of popcorn.

Always celebrate Halloween, Christmas, and an occasional unbirthday.

Call Grandma.

Take up yoga.

Keep a journal.

And make your bed; it just makes the room look put together.

You are all so unique. And not that lameo everyone-is-special-so-no-one-is-really-special unique. And not Elsa-on-a-mountaintop-angry-singing-all-alone-because-no-one-understands unique either. You are full of gifts and you are surrounded by people who understand; you are loved and cherished. Be unique in the middle of all of it and share your specialness with everyone around you. Your mere presence makes the world a better place to live in, so make sure that you stay in it as long as possible. You can do big things and little things because you are everything. You're my everything but you're also just plain old everything too. Go be everything.

I adore you,
Awkward Mom