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: 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

Monday, September 8, 2014

Awkward Mom vs. Music Choice

Today I dropped off my baby girl at preschool for the first time ever. The feisty one, the daring darling, the firecracker who is most likely to break a bone before all the rest. It was traumatic; for me. She half-waved at me with a look that radiated "why haven't you left yet? I have trouble to cause." I'll blog more about it later, if I am feeling strong.

Point is, at 9:32 this morning, I had groceries to buy, an hour and a half to kill, and only 2 kids. I tucked those 2 into their car seats, got in my own seat, and turned the engine on. The Frozen soundtrack, that is on repeat in our van at all times, sprang to life and Elsa continued to bellow for me to let it go. I did and promptly burst into tears. And then this happened:

Super Preschooler: Hey Mom!
Me: Sniff, sniff. Yes?
Super P.: Since Super 1st and Super T. aren't with us this morning, do you think we could change this to something else?
Me: Sure, Honey.
Super P.: Don't tell them, but I really don't like Frozen.
Me: OK, that's cool. I don't really love it all the time either. What would you like?
Super P.: (whispered conversation with Super Baby)
Me: You guys decided?
Super P.: We would like something with a beat.
Me: A beat?
Super P.: Yes, we have some drumming to do.
Me: OK. (I turn on the radio and hear that Johnny would be working on the dock but the union's been on strike.)
Super P.: Yes, this will do, what is this?
Me: This, my love, is Bon Jovi.
Super P.: So much better than Frozen, Mom! So much better.

So much better.

Well, well. It looks like our Monday and Wednesday morning are gonna be rockin' from now on!
That should get me through missing Super Toddler just fine!
That face in the rearview isn't hurting things either.....

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Awkward Mom vs. 1st Grade

I thought I had this. I mean, after all, 1st grade is totally misnamed; Kindergarten is really the first year of school, right? And then, there is preschool, which, depending on how many days and hours you opt for, can really be just as intense. Right? Right? Back me up here, Readers. Right?

No. It's all just words. I don't care what year we are on because in my mind he was born yesterday and why am I sending my little baby boy off in this line of children? I was fine at home. All business and healthy breakfast. Backpacks and bopping around like we do this everyday. I even merrily took a picture:

That's a legit smile. Mine was too. 

But then, we got here. Here in the parking lot in front of the school. Here with all the neat chalk numbers showing the children exactly where to line up. Here with the swooping parents and humming mini-vans. Here with the early morning mist being burned away by sunlight that only hints at its future intensity. It's going to be a hot day. I feel flushed and uncomfortable already.

None of the other children are holding their parents' hands, so Super K. drops mine and goes to stand in line. He slips his hand out of mine so easily, so naturally, but the absence feels anything but natural. I don't know what to do with my hand, so I do what all these other parents are doing. I pull out my iPhone and I take his picture.

What's he thinking about? He looks so serious. 
He looks so grown up and yet he looks so tiny! 

I can't take this. Why can't I touch him? Why do all these other parents have to have such great restraint? Come on. Come on. Someone lose it and bear-hug your child so hard that everyone stares at you and won't notice me sneak in another quick kiss and hair tousle! 

But no one cracks. So I call him, softly. I don't want to mess up his reputation by being the clinging mom. Plus, I'm maybe 3 feet away, so yelling would be kinda overkill. He turns and gives me this:

That is NOT a legit smile. 

Then it hits me. He feels just like I do! He's nervous and excited and scared and happy and feeling tiny and big all at the same time. He wants to leave me and he doesn't want to leave me and probably wishes I would just go away so he could get on with the band-aid ripping already. But I don't leave because none of the other parents are leaving and plus I can't really move. I seem rooted to this little square of blacktop by a force far greater than the logical one that is telling me this would all feel a lot easier if I just went back to the van. Plus, no one would see me cry in there. But I stay. And I stay. And he avoids looking directly at me. And I stay. And he avoids me. And we hang like this forever. (It's about 2 minutes.)

Finally, the teacher starts to corral the kids and talk about going inside. Super K. turns and gives me this:

This seems a little more legit.

They shuffle a bunch, and then head off into the school. A swell of parents on iPhones moves and whirls around me but I stay rooted on my little square of blacktop and watch his blond head get smaller and smaller as they walk away. He does not look back once. They turn a corner and then he is gone.

I can feel the crash of tears coming, so I turn. And nearly collide with a fellow 1st grade mom. "Erin! How are you doing? Oh, why am I even asking? You look great and you have 3 more at home anyway!"

She leaves me and I continue to stand there for a minute. Wait. What? I have to do this 3 more times?!?!?!

We aren't doing a whole lot of shuffling around this year, Readers. Most of us are keeping our names. Super Baby, Super Toddler, and Super Preschooler are all still remaining the same. Super K. is going to become Super 1st grader, which we are shortening to Super 1st. As the oldest, we think he will appreciate this title greatly. I would just appreciate pick-up time coming quickly today. Tomorrow it can come when it likes, but today it needs to come fast.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Awkward Mom vs. Seasonal Good-byes

Awkward Grandma, who celebrated her hated August birthday with us this past weekend, also hates good-byes. So, she has developed a nifty little trick to avoid them. When we are standing around the car, awkwardly, hands-in pockets, kicking at the curb, not looking at each other directly lest we start to cry, she starts to loudly talk about the next planned visit. If there isn't one planned, she'll just make one up, right then. Everyone focuses on their calendars or just starts to plan the menu (food matters greatly to the Awkwards), and we all leave in cheer, with many waves and shouts about not forgetting the clam dip. Awkward Grandma is a genius.

Summer is over. It wasn't the greatest summer ever; it was kinda cool and rather too busy, but it was fun and now it is leaving. It's hard to say goodbye, but we must.

Good-bye Summer!
Shuffle, shuffle, sniffle, sniffle.
What is that over there on the horizon?
Could it be? I think it might be.
It is!


Stay tuned, lovely Readers! Super Kindergartner started 1st grade today, and that means we have name changes in the works!! Name changes and Awkward Mom freak-outs........always entertaining.