Monday, November 17, 2014

Awesome Mom Moment

Some people call this a Mom Fail. I get that term, but there are plenty of moments when I truly feel like a failure so I prefer to call it an Awesome Mom Moment--with sarcasm on the Awesome.

If there is lightning nearby, my daughter's school requires a signed note to release her to a parent to take responsibility for taking her out in the bad weather. Which makes a fun time carrying a baby in a carrier and dragging a toddler along with me in the pouring rain and then adding a five-year-old to the crazy train on the way back to the car. I leave home at about 2:50 to pick her up. Without fail, if there's going to be lightning, I hear it first at 2:45. Today was one of those days.

With the carrier and an umbrella the baby stays pretty dry. The toddler wears a raincoat and though it slips off her head a little, she loves the rain and doesn't seem to mind it. She often gets smiles from passersby because she's enjoying herself so much.

Today on the way back to the car, the two-year-old was not enjoying herself as much as usual. I was holding her hand and kept asking her if she was okay, but she didn't answer. I was a little concerned, but decided to just get to the car. As we walked through the parking lot, she was really slow and I kept pushing her to move faster to get out of the way of cars.

As soon as we got to the car, she looked up at me and said, "Mom, I'm underwear!"

Awesome. I pushed my daughter to move faster through the parking lot while she waddled along with her soggy pants around her ankles. The good news is her rain coat covered her backside so she wasn't actually exposed. The bad news is that I couldn't see that her pants were down. I'm an awesome mom.

This picture isn't from today, but as soon as we got home, the girls ran in the rain just like this. So I'm pretty sure I was forgiven quickly.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Missing the Cozy

I do not miss snow. Pictures of the first snow that family and friends post on Facebook make me nostalgic, but deep down I know how much I hate being cold and especially how terrified I am to drive on snow and ice.

But there is something about a cold and snowy outdoors that makes your house feel that much more cozy. When you come in from the extreme heat and humidity, you feel relief when you come indoors to the AC. You peel off as much clothes as is acceptable and sprawl out under the fan and hope that no one will touch you and get you all sweaty again.

When you come in from the cold and snow, you take off your coat and boots. You put on new, warm socks and curl up on the couch with a blanket. You hope that someone will cuddle with you to help warm you up. You eat soup and drink hot cocoa and look at the world outside and feel safe and warm.

I miss that feeling. It's finally cool enough to wear covers when we sleep (some nights) and every once in a while we need a jacket in the morning. But it's just not the same.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Lizard in the Living Room

My baby’s been a little sick lately, so I haven’t been getting much sleep. Then I started getting sick. Two nights this week I fell asleep before 8 p.m. So yesterday when the baby went down for a nap and didn’t scream when I set him down, I decided to rest on the couch.

My two-year-old was snuggled up against me and watching a show. Just as I was about to drift into sleep, she screamed and told me that there was a lizard on the wall.

 Lizards are common in Florida and it’s taken a while for my girls to get used to them. The two-year-old in particular still gets scared when she sees them on the sidewalk. And she really stresses out when they cling to the window screen outside. I was sure that she saw one on the window, but she knew better. “No, Mommy. It’s on the wall in the house!”

Sure enough, peeking from behind the curtain was a baby lizard. In my house. I’ve heard of this and dreaded it. I don’t care that they’re harmless or how many bugs they eat—I don’t want one in my house.

First I tried opening the door it was next in hope that it would choose the outdoors. The movement scared it into dashing behind our big foam-filled bag. I moved that and found it sitting in the corner. I tried to trap it with a Tupperware dropped over it, but those little buggers are fast and it ran behind the couch.

And then I couldn’t find it.

My daughter relaxed because “the stupid lizard” was gone. I freaked out because I had no idea where it was. I spent much of the rest of the afternoon searching for a tiny lizard and imagining all the places it could end up in the house and fearing finding it days or weeks later dead somewhere.

When my husband came home, he found it and with help from a friend who was over for dinner, eventually got it outside. But not before it lost its tail that wiggled around on the floor. I guess we’ve been initiated into being real Florida residents. But I did not handle it well and will likely freak out just as much next time.

The good news is we swept behind the couch.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Have a Gratitude Attitude

If you grew up on the Brite Ideas tapes (yes, cassette tapes), then you sang that title in your head.

November is an obvious time to focus on gratitude. I've had this quote on my mind lately:

"Perhaps focusing on what we are grateful for is the wrong approach. ... It is easy to be grateful for things when life seems to be going our way. But what then of those times when what we wish for seems to be far out of reach? Could I suggest that we see gratitude as a disposition, a way of life that stands independent of our current situation? In other words, I’m suggesting that instead of being thankful for things, we focus on being thankful in our circumstances—whatever they may be." - Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Yesterday was one of those days that was really hard to feel grateful. A sick screaming baby, not being able to shower till my husband came home, a daughter getting her toenail split open, dinner spilled all over the family room rug.

I am very far from being thankful in my circumstances. But to try to get there, I'm going to find something specific I'm grateful for in the moment each day this month.

I can't say that I'm grateful that my daughter hurt her toe, but bad situations can bring reminders of things we're grateful for. I'm grateful for a husband who handles those situations calmly. He used to be an EMT and teaches First Aid, so little things like bloody toes don't freak him out. I'm also very grateful that he was there when it happened so he could take care of it.

How do  you stay thankful in your circumstances? This is something I need to work on.

Friday, October 17, 2014

First Time Kindergarten Mom

What I Wish I'd Known:

Call Ahead:
When signing your child up for Kindergarten, you'll need about a hundred different papers and the website won't tell you what to bring beforehand. They'll assume everyone knows what's going on. But you won't so you'll have to drag your kids back and forth from school to home and back again trying to get everything in order. And you still won't have all the paperwork you need because you forgot where you stashed her last medical check up paperwork and she won't have had all her immunizations yet because she turns five over the summer. And everyone else you see will appear to know what they're doing and have no problems whatsoever.

Buy More:
On the huge list of school supplies, they will request that you buy approximately 16 thousand glue sticks. Buy a couple thousand more because Kindergarten homework will need glue sticks. And you'll be really frustrated that you didn't buy more and when you go to Target you won't be able to find glue sticks because all the back to school stuff is gone. You'll be able to buy Christmas ornaments in October, but it will take you ten minutes to find a glue stick among all the office supply stuff.

Don't Throw It Out:
You will finally throw out all those old magazines. And then your child will come home with an assignment to make a collage. So you'll dig the magazines out of the recycling bin and you'll cut out pictures of things that start with the letter "T." But you won't think about the fact that there are 25 more letters in the alphabet and you'll probably be making collages for each one, so when you're done with "T," you'll put the magazines back in the recycling and it will be taken to the recycling center before the next collage assignment. Just keep them. Don't throw anything out. Even toilet paper rolls because those will be needed to build a house for Hansel and Gretel at some point.

Don't Blink:
Your five-year-old will suddenly seem all grown up and responsible and will be spending so much of her day away from you. But she'll also look impossibly small as she skips into the school with her sparkly blue backpack, lunch box and pony tail swinging, and you'll want to run after her and hug her and never let her go. But you can't do that; you have to let her go. She'll come back at the end of the day with math homework that they manage to make confusing for you because of new terminology they use this year but will probably be changed by the time your next child is in Kindergarten.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Things I Never Thought I'd Say...

...In Just One Day

"Stop licking your brother!"

"Don't step in your poop!"

"Stop tracking pasta into the family room."

"Spit out that sticker."

"Your trains have to find a new home."

Having a two-year-old is hilarious and makes you say the strangest things, because they do things you could have never imagined.


"No matter how calmly you try to referee, parenting will eventually produce bizarre behavior, and I'm not talking about the kids. Their behavior is always normal." -Bill Cosby

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

STEM vs. The Arts

We have an annual pass to our local science center. The kids love it, it's much cheaper than a theme park, and it's something to do on days that are too hot to be outside (of which Florida has far too many). They especially love the travelling exhibits. Curious George just left and my two-year-old was very upset and wanted to know where he went. She figured it out though--he went into the TV.

The Orange County Science Center sent me a survey asking about how often we visit, how often we go to other museums, etc. Their last batch of questions was about how important STEM is versus the Arts and Humanities. (STEM, for those who draw a blank as my mind often does lately, stands for Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics. We hear a lot about pregnancy brain, but I think breastfeeding brain is a thing. Or maybe it's just mom with a baby brain.)

I hear more and more about STEM. Those fields of study are not my strong suit. Okay, I hated most of them. But I enjoyed Geology in college. I know that they are terribly important in today's world. Can you even get a job anymore without a good STEM foundation? But I fear that they could crowd out the Arts and Humanities, which are important for another reason entirely.

This all comes from a former English major who took Art History and Political Science classes for fun. But I believe that the Arts and Humanities teach us, well, how to be human. How to communicate, how to interact, how to reconcile our place in the world. They teach about beauty and tragedy and empathy. What use is a good job if you don't know how to be a decent human being?

Why does it have to be either or? (I just read an article about how there is less time for PE in school but physical activity helps you think better which would help you in school...) Well, balance is always the question. And that balancing act was on my mind.

Sorry for two philosophical posts in a row. I promise my next one will be about something trivial, like the fact that my laundry yesterday included pooped on clothes from all three of my children. (And today's included chunks of puke. The joys of sharing a stomach bug.)