Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Awkward Mom vs. No Jeans

So, last night is Super 1st Christmas concert and the email notices where very clear that this is a dressy occasion and there were to be no jeans. It took me 3 emails and Awkward Dad asking "you're wearing that?" to realize that meant me as well. Oh crap.

I live in jeans. They are really all I wear. They're comfortable, durable, and dry spit-up comes right off them with a little water. They hide all manners of sins, even hips that have lived through 4 children. Jeans hold stuff in, and I have stuff to hold in. Jeans are great! You can dress 'em up with a cute top and some heels. You can dress 'em down with Awkward Dad's college sweatshirt and where the hell are my shoes anyway..... You mostly dress 'em down. But you don't dress them at all for the school Christmas program. You wear a dress and hold a baby in front of you at all times in case anyone happens to look at you too closely. Dresses don't hold stuff in. Spanx holds stuff in and I forgot to buy any because I thought I could wear jeans to the Christmas concert.

Anyway, the point is, I am wearing this dress and feeling all self-conscious and ugly and fat and whatever else, so my goal is to hide in this pew, behind Super Baby, occasionally peeking at Super 1st around this pillar and then escape at the intermission. Awkward Dad decides to foil my plan by taking the baby and saying "Can you take Super 1st to meet his class? I want to talk to the Wandering Glutton." (Blog is amazing! Check it, I'll wait.)

So, I am walking down the school hallway with Super 1st, trying to look invisible and not make eye contact with all the beautiful moms, catwalking about like they wear dresses for a living. Two middle school band members slip into the hallway behind me and this happens:

Middle School Girl: Everyone looks amazing! I wish I could wear a beautiful dress and heels.

Middle School Boy: Heels are dumb. You look fine.

Middle School Girl: But they are so pretty and they would make me super tall.

Middle School Boy: Heels are oppressive and make women walk funny because they are all pointed forward and off-balance.

Middle School Girl: You don't understand.

Middle School Boy: I understand fine. You don't need heels.

Middle School Girl: I guess. But still....

Middle School Boy: Stop it. You are pretty the way you are.

I sidestep to let them walk past me, but before I turn completely away, I manage to catch the Middle School Girl's eye. Her bandmate is right; she is totally pretty the way she is. She smiles at me and mouths "Your shoes are so amazing," while Band Guy isn't looking. I touch her arm, point at his retreating back, and whisper "Well, you should listen to your friend." Her eyes sparkle at me and her smile slips into a lopsided grin that makes her even more beautiful, before she winks at me and chases after him down the hallway.

I watch them for a minute, lost in some crystal-ball and navel gazing that makes me happy like I haven't been all night. Super 1st tugs me back to reality and we race over to his classroom, where I drop him off amid squeals and hugs and gushes about everyone's finery. I compliment several outfits myself and manage not to compliment-ninja away ones that I receive. It's all warm and festive and charming, and by the time I am walking back to the church to join my family, I stop pretending to be invisible and catwalk a little myself. Until I trip on the stairs.

Band Guy is right; heels are dumb. But Band Girl is right too; mine look amazing. As do I.

Well, they didn't specifically say "no overalls,"
now did they? 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Awkward Mom vs. Crazy

I have been parenting for almost 7 years now, and I am pretty into it. However, even with all that intense study, I have only discovered 5 parenting truths:

1. No one else knows what they are doing either.

2. You are never going to use that wipe-warmer.

3. The heart capacity on a fully functioning parent numbers in the infinities.

4. Buy the good wall paint.

5. Don't step out of your crazy.

We all have different crazy, but it's all crazy. Maybe yours involves getting up at 5am just to take a shower, doing the daycare/school road rally while you pump in the car, and trying to assure clients that the spit-up on your blazer is nothing to worry about but their fourth quarter earnings are.  Maybe your crazy is walking through the Lego minefield like a ninja, dodging half the toy missiles and catching the rest, only to hurl them into the toy box across the room for a string of 3-pointers not seen since the '92 Bulls. Maybe your crazy is playdate crazy, when you calmly assess the craft table and remind the visiting child that "No, Sweetie, confetti is not food." Maybe your crazy is making dinner with a 2-year-old on your leg and your mother in your ear and 899 thoughts in your head. Maybe your crazy is shopping with 4 children crazy or running the church nursery crazy or feeding the baby, answering emails, talking to your spouse, and encouraging your 4-year-old to not pick knives for his first juggling item crazy.

Whatever your crazy is, you are rocking the stuffing out of it. You are bobbing and weaving and reacting like a World War II flying ace. You are creative. You are quick. You are utterly fabulous at what you do. You are surfing this tsunami of crazy and you are amazing; Super Mom even. So, whatever you do: Don't step out of your crazy.

Let me repeat that: Do NOT step out of your crazy.

If you, for whatever reason, take a step back and actually look at the amount of crazy things you are required to do in a given day or actually count the toys on the floor or try to figure out how you do what you do every single day, all bets are suddenly off. Because you will then actually see the crazy. Crazy is like a forest; while you are in it, you are not remotely aware of the enormity of it. But if you see your crazy forest with someone else's eyes, it will suddenly be all vast and enormous, like on some topographical map,  and you will set off a very powerful energy vacuum that will sweep through the entirety of your body and render you completely exhausted and good for nothing except your bed and about 4 of your favorite movies.

Now, I think you should take to your bed with 4 of your favorite movies on occasion, just as a preventative measure, but you and I both know that you can't be doing that every day. There is crazy to deal with. Therefore, keep your head in the game, Dear Reader, and don't step out of your crazy. Stay right in there and rock it out. You can do it!

Christmas Crazy is a whole other level; 
Don't step out of it unless you are ready to take to your bed 
with enough cookies to get you through 6 movies.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Super 1st. vs. Church

Yes, yes, I have a Disney post for you guys. Somewhere. It was right here, mixed in with all these slightly sticky mouseketeer ears and pirate eye-patches and Rapunzel wigs. Where is it? Oh well, it can keep. Much like the laundry that I still have to finish. I'm here to tell you about Super 1st's battle of the day.

OK, so here is the back-story: Super 1st's class was in charge of the school mass today. Not alone, mind you, although a mass completely planned by 6-year-olds would be pretty interesting. No, they were paired with their 8th grade buddies and all given parts of the mass to participate in. Super 1st's job was to read one of the petitions. The first petition to be exact. Now, we have only been home from Disney 3 days and aware of this for 2. Someone forgot to check the homework folder until Wednesday morning, and no, I will not tell you who. Therefore, he has been practicing like a mad hatter (mad petitioner?) for those 2 days. And this is no easy petition, folks. It has big words in it; words like community and intensify. Words that become common, commodity, and communion or industry, itunes, and tension when he gets nervous. But he got it down and done and was super ready to petition when he left the house this morning.

OK, even further back back-story: Before Thanksgiving, Super 1st's class decided to have a fundraiser so they could purchase some of the items off the giving tree. They collected cans and bottles, which, if you live here in Michigan with us, you know carry with them a .10 deposit fee. They collected these recyclables for weeks and took them all to Meijer on Wednesday to turn them in. We sent in 2 bags of cans, but better mothers than I helped load them all into the machines, helped the children buy their giving tree items, and generally taught 30+ children about the true meaning of Christmas. They raised over $700 dollars toward their gifts and a real Christmas tree for a family in need. Today, at mass, they were going to bring up their wrapped gifts and put them under the giving tree.

OK, so, here is where these back-stories collide: I'm not there. Super Toddler attempts to re-baptise herself every time we take her to adult church, so Awkward Dad took some time off to attend and listen to Super 1st petition. Oh wait, I mean, the word of God manifest in the sacredness of the Catholic mass. I am lazing at home, not listening to the word of God, but Bo on the Go with the little Supers when I get this picture texted to me from one of the sweetest moms in the class:

And I think, oh, that's cute, he's so tiny that the principal has to help him up to the mic. And then, this one arrives:

And I think, wait, why is the principal up there with him? She isn't supposed to be. Did he get too scared to say it? Did he get nervous and ask for commodities and tension? Then, this shows up:

And I happen to look at the time and I think, unless the priest gave the longest homily in history, they should be way past the petitions. This is 12 years of Catholic school and 4 years of Jesuit college talking here, Readers. What is going on? Then, the phone rings and it is Awkward Dad. This happens:

Awkward Dad: Hey.

Me: What happened?! Why is he up there with the principal? Did he get scared?

Awkward Dad: Are you here? Where are you?

Me: I'm at home. How's Super 1st?

Awkward Dad: Slow down. How do you know what happened like 5 minutes ago? You are freaking me out.

Me: Sweet Mom just sent me 3 pictures of Super 1st. 5 minutes ago? Are you calling me from the middle of mass?!

Awkward Dad: No! It's over. I'm in the car. Here's what happened: the whole class brought up the gifts for the giving tree right before the petitions but then they all marched back to the rear of the church, so when the petitions started, he wasn't up there. His was first, so his 8th grade buddy kinda panicked and read it himself. The other buddies waited for the kids to come up and read theirs. Super 1st went up but his was already read so he started to cry. He pretty much cried all through communion, so the teacher and the principal arranged it so that he could read his at the end of mass. Of course, she basically had to hold him up because he is so short, but he was happy to be reading it. He was as loud as could be and I can promise you God hear every part of that petition. As did most of Ann Arbor.

Me: Is he OK now?

Awkward Dad: Sure. And he got every word right, even intensify.

Me: Well, I suppose it is to be expected.

Awkward Dad: What is?

Me: You know us. We always bring the...

Me and Awkward Dad: awkwardness.

Awkward Dad: Jinx!

Me: Go to work.

Awkward Dad: You're just mad you didn't jinx first.

Me: I did. In my head.

Awkward Dad: Love you!

It's true. That poor little boy is jinxed with shortness and awkwardness and a host of other nesses via me and his wonderful father. But his sensitive sweetness and ability to make it happen, no matter what, well, that's all him.

All his super little intense self. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Awkward Mom vs. Disney World

Yes, it's true. Better get to packing the big guns. 

Thanksgiving is always awkward, even for you nice normal people out there. There is just too much food, family, and flag football for someone not to trip; it's inevitable. So, imagine trying to pull off a nice normal Thanksgiving when you are awkward. Yeah, doesn't happen. I mean, this is how things look around here on a good day.

Now, picture that at Disney World. 
With thousands and thousands of people. 
And me. Probably lost. And hungry. 
And deeply deeply awkward.

OK. Stop laughing. Got it? Come on, stop laughing. Alright, keep laughing. By the time you have stopped laughing, in a week and a half, I'll be back with tales of epic awkwardness. Probably from the spinning teacups.

P.S. Advice is very welcome, Readers, so bring it on. And yes, we do have one of those backpack leashes for Super Toddler.

I am sure she'll get out of it 2 minutes after we arrive, 
but it's existance is helping me sleeping at night. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Awkward Mom vs. Super Toddler

Dear Super Toddler-

I love November. November has always been special; solidly set in the school year, yet bordering the wild abandon of December. The fall isn't brand new anymore, the colors a little brownish, and yet, the energy in the air feels like the first day of school. I met your father in a November; that exciting fall my first year out of college when I sat poised on the edge of my future, all ready for things to start. And start they did, as we sat in my first car and talked and talked and watched the sunrise through the fogged-up windows. (Wow, I am really glad you are not old enough to read this, and the innuendo I inadvertently layered that sentence with. Time for that soon enough.) I also married your father in November; it was a busy fall, full of weddings and change, when the first snow of the season flurried down as we scrambled into the church, giddy and slightly crazy. But I think the best November to date was that one 3 years ago, when you entered our lives with the doctor's shout that we had a "girl" and an even louder shout from you that you were far more than your gender.

Who are you calling a girl?
I prefer Wonder Woman, thank you.

I struggle to find words to describe you. The words that work are larger than life and hard to believe. You are exuberant. You are transcendent. You are effervescent. You are tremendous. You are wondrous and astounding and magnificent and outrageous and surprising and dazzling and bewitching and resplendent. People doubt your greatness until they meet you. Then, they just stare because there is really nothing else to do when faced with your amazing self.

You are so very breath-taking. 

You are the one they write songs about. You are the one they dedicate plays to. You are the one they name buildings after. You are the one that gets fleets of ships launched. No, wait, I stand corrected; you are the one sailing fleets of ships.

Although, you really prefer to ride into battle. 

My point is, you are one to change things. You are one that will be remembered. When I look at the great characters in the books I so love, I admire them deeply, but I don't join them. I am solidly a witness, a fan. Perhaps a chronicler or a friend. I know me; I'm a Watson. Meg March, Diana Berry. I'm Jane Bennet on my good days and Mary Bennet on my bad days. I'm Horatio, Sancho, Samwise, and some unnamed kid-wizard hanging out in the background somewhere at Hogwarts. That's totally fine, please don't pity me, my darling. Not all of us were meant to be in the front.

Or ruling the galaxy, as the case may be.

But you, my precious, precious one; you are Sherlock Holmes. Harry Potter. Jo. Elizabeth. Anne. You were born to rule. You were born to stand out. You were born to total and unadulterated autonomy. 

 Basically, you were born to stand on tables.

I often wonder what it was like to be Eleanor Roosevelt's mother. Or Susan B. Anthony's. Or Marie Curie's. Cleopatra's. Ella Baker's. Aphra Behn's. Can you imagine? "Eleanor, another ripped dress?" "Marie, don't touch that!" "Quiet, Susan!" "Hush, Ella.""Quit stealing my pens, Aphra!"  "Cleo, can't you find a nice normal guy? And what are you doing with that rug?" It couldn't have been easy to parent women who were born to stand on tables, but I have a feeling that it is even harder to be a little girl when you know you are really a woman born to stand on a table. 

Yes, this one goes to 11. Why?

I want you to stand. And stand tall. I want you to be the woman of strength, intelligence, and beauty that you are meant to be, but sometimes getting you there feels like trying to tame a tornado. Your little body is an uncomfortable fit for all that power and you seem to only have one speed; record-breaking. I think that is why you eat so much sausage; the energy you house in there is astronomical. So, keep eating that sausage. Keep running. Keep challenging the rules and walls around you. I am gonna hang on and try to keep you from rocketing into the street. That's really all you can do with rockets in the end; hang on and have the ride of your life. 

Happy November, my breath-taking daughter. A birthday wouldn't do for you; you require an entire month. 

I love you,
Awkward Mom

 P.S. I know you asked for a pony again this year, but Grandma (who is the expert in these matters) says that a little girl should ask for a horse for at least 10 years before she gets one. 8 more to go! 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Out Being Awkward!

We're out being Awkward! 
Or in, binge-watching Arrow. 
Either way, enjoy these photos of the Supers 
and check back soon. 

Or check us out on Facebook.
We might be too busy 
(OK, lazy) 
To write a whole blog post right now, 
but we are never too busy for pithy little jokes on Facebook! 

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!