The Beauty of the Rain

Rain on the deckIt’s raining.  It has rained all day, and I am more at peace today than I have been in weeks.  My work schedule is limited this summer, so in theory I’ve had time on my hands, except that I haven’t.  While I’m not at work, I’ve been cramming the days full with everything that I can because I know that summer is ending soon and next school year will begin.  My kids won’t be my own anymore.

Don’t get me wrong.  In some ways, I cannot wait to put them on the bus.

This is the soundtrack of my summer: No. Don’t.  Stop it.  Keep your hands to yourself.  Cut it out.  No screaming.

It’s on continuous loop.

But all that aside?  I enjoy their company.  And the school year is just so hard.   Getting home to put dinner on the table and sit the three of them down for homework is exhausting.  Soul crushing, really.  Trying to manage the bickering and cries of “I’m bored!” feels tame compared to the arguing and crying that occurs at homework time.

For now, there are still a few weeks left of summer.  Each day the sun shines, I feel compelled to wring all I can out of it, to soak up this time with my children before they outgrow me.  I imagined it relaxed and carefree.  It isn’t.  It’s frantic at best.  But not today.

Today there is no sun.  Just the quiet of the rain, and my family, relaxed and happy in pajamas at 4pm.


Peace and Love

Peace on EarthThe day after Christmas, I took the kids to a local diner for breakfast.  As we were wrapping up, I told them that I wanted to go to Target to pick up a few things for myself.

Mommy wants to get herself a couple of things for Christmas.

Buddy:  But mom, you got what you wanted most already!

I did?

Buddy: Yes, you got yourself some pieces.

Some what?

Buddy: Some peace? Peace.  You got yourself some peace.

Oh! Peace?

Buddy: Yes! And love, too!

I did?

Buddy: Yes! We are very peaceful when we play with our Kindles and we sure do love that you got them for us. That’s peace and love.

So it is, Buddy.  So it is.

And the Nerds Shall Inherit the Earth

These are cool specs.It is winter break.  My kids are enjoying their time off by brawling and screaming a lot.  Much of the day, I can barely hear myself think.  But in the quieter moments (It’s all relative), when I have the time and presence of mind to listen, these are the conversations that find the space to grow.

Buddy (6yo): Mom, (pause) why do people call kids with glasses “nerds”?

Me (Rehearsing an answer in my head, while recounting all the times he’s refused to wear his glasses recently): Because you’re smarter than they are and it’s intimidating, or more probably, their parents find smart people intimidating and taught their children to do the same.

No, no, no…. Don’t be part of the problem.  Try again.

Me (out loud): Because people poke fun at what they don’t understand, and it seems they don’t understand that your eyes are a little different and need glasses to help them see better. Did someone call you a nerd?

Buddy: Yeah… one of my best friends, and a couple other people.

Me (annoyed): “Nerd” is what people sometimes call smart people with or without glasses.

He nods, looking pensive, and there’s a pause… the pause that suggests this momma is stewing… I take a deep breath and begin…

Me (highly animated, picture enthusiastic hand gestures and a slight head waggle):  You know who’s a nerd, Buddy?  Do you?  Your momma is a nerd.  And you know what else? Your daddy is a nerd, too.

Buddy: Really? (pause, slow grin starting to form on his face)

Me: It’s true, you come from a nerd family.  And I’ll tell you something else… Nerds run the world.

Buddy: I didn’t know that. (more relaxed but still not sure he believes me)

The conversation turns to other random topics.  I don’t remember what they were.  Then, at the next lull in conversation, Buddy, who is completely obsessed with Minecraft, asks if people can really build islands “in real life.”

I immediately think of the Palm Islands in Dubai, and I answer, “Yes, they sure can.”

Buddy: Really?  How do they do that?

Me: Some nerds got together and figured out how to do it. So the next time someone calls you a “nerd”, you look that person straight in the eye and say, “Thank you!”

Buddy: And they won’t know what that really means… But I do!

And that’s when the biggest dimpled grin spread across his beautiful bespectacled face.

The Sir Axelrod Revelation

Have you ever watched a movie so many times that you could recite it almost word for word?  Have your kids ever watched a movie so many times that you know every word even though you don’t remember specifically ever sitting down to properly watch it?  It’s absorbed by some sort of osmosis as you come in and out of the room doing various chores and tasks. (Don’t start with the “I never use the TV as a babysitter” nonsense… I call bullsh*t.  Sometimes it’s the only way dinner gets on the table.)

Certainly, if the kids have watched it that many times, they must know all the words and every detail of the plot, too, right?  I would think so.  But it seems that all of this time, I’ve given my children’s observational skills too much credit.

(Spoilers follow, so if you’re one if the 15 people who haven’t yet seen Cars 2, you may wish to avert your gaze.)

It was on the way home from a recent trip, during the 150th viewing of Cars 2 that Buddy screamed from the back of the Swagger Wagon:

Wait! Sir Axelrod put the bomb on Mater?!?! That’s crazy!!

In case of booger emergency…

A box of Scotties tissues

A box of Scotties tissues (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Goose and Bear suffer from seasonal allergies, as so many people do.  They are non-stop itching their noses and sneezing.  We go through a ludicrous amount of tissues.  I am equal parts “Cover that sneeze! With your elbow not your hand!” and “Bless you.”

You would think that this mother of 3, who has survived cold season many times and has 2 kids with allergies, would be prepared for spontaneous mucus expulsion.  You would think that, because she always has a complete change of clothes or two for each child in the Swagger Wagon, and an emergency potty, and enough snacks on board to keep the family fed for a week if we were ever to become stranded.  You would think that something as simple as a pocket full of tissues would be a piece of cake.

Then why, oh why, do I find myself digging through my giant 40 pound purse for a tissue, napkin or anything that passes as a tissue in the face of a child sporting a snot web from nose to chin (or worse- nose to chest- ick.)  Why can’t I bring myself to use a sleeve?  Why can’t I just remember to keep tissues handy?  Why have I resorted (on more than one occasion, sadly) to using a panty-liner as a tissue?

And what must passers-by think??

Just kidding… I don’t care.

Career Prospects of an Under Acheiver

I realized today that I have no marketable skills.

I was updating my résumé, as I  do every 5-10 years (I know I’m supposed to review it every year, but really… who does that?), and I didn’t have any idea what to put on it.  So I thought about my strongest qualities, and started constructing a list to see what could be worked into a résumé.

  • Sarcasm (Who, me?)
  • Cynicism (Well, you know that won’t last.)
  • Professional meddling (And I would have gotten away with it, too!  If it hadn’t been for that professional meddler!)
  • Starting (I am an amazing starter.  If you need something started, call me!  Just don’t expect me to finish it.  Ever.  I haven’t finished a single thing since my children were born, unless bottles of wine and pints of ice cream count.)
  • Video game proficiency (Is there a market for 30-something, mommy, beta testers?  Sims FreePlay, all over it.  Nothing better than tending the hunger, sleep and hygiene needs of virtual people.)
  • Uninhibited truth-telling and complete lack of tact (My husband calls these “conditions” that I have, like diseases.  I call them “virtues”.)

These are not resume material, obviously.  I moved on to accomplishments.  Do I have any achievements that are resume worthy?

  • Birthed 3 children (Not very marketable, as I have no intention of repeating the performance.)
  • Laundry (Ongoing…. and hardly accomplished, as I’m always waist deep in it and never sort by color or whatever.)
  • Quirky cupcake construction (You know, cupcakes shaped like aliens and robots are gratifying to look at, ok to eat, and a veritable time suck to create.)
  • 3-4x a week showers (This is an accomplishment.  I’m up from once a week when my offspring were younger. Go me.)
  • Kindergarten homework x2 (It was an all-nighter, but I nailed it!)
  • All living things in my care still thriving

Well, the last one is something; although I don’t know that it belongs under “Professional Experience”…. maybe it’s better suited for “Objective”.

If you are in the market for a person with my hardly unique skill-set, please contact me for an interview.

What I did on my spring vacation…

Remember last year, when we went on vacation?
Right. Well, we did it again.
Don’t worry. It was much less dramatic than it was last year. It was mild.
But an entertaining story nonetheless.

So, we pile three kids, a mountain of snacks, and a fresh batch of Potette liners into the swagger wagon for our drive to South Carolina. The drive was blissfully uneventful.

And then… we went to the beach.  It really wasn’t warm enough to be in the ocean, but it’s not possible to explain that to 2 eager four-year-old children.  Buddy and Goose are playing and splashing in the surf.  I notice about half a dozen police officers strolling toward us slowly, eyes trained on the water.  I turn and see the source of the problem.  There’s a naked man in the water.  He’s drunk… or something and also headed in our general direction.  Though he was not super-close, we bring the kids up the beach to play in the sand so as to not interfere with law enforcement.

The gentleman in the water was clearly off his rocker and eventually comes up on the beach, a struggle ensues, followed by a squeal and the nudie crumples into a heap on the sand for a moment before they cuff him and take him away.  To be fair, I didn’t actually see a Taser, but I assume that’s what happened, as I have never seen anyone take a fall quite like that before.  It was spectacular.

What about the kids, you ask?  Are they traumatized?

No.  They couldn’t have cared less that the man was in his birthday suit.  Naked guy… big deal.

Police officers? No lights on. Again, unfazed.

Were they bent that they weren’t allowed in the water?

Yes, yes they were.

Buddy yelled repeatedly to the officers, “Can we go back in the water yet?…. What about now?”

Seriously, all they gave a dang about was getting back into the frigid water for more wave splashing.

Fast forward two days…

I am putting the kids down for a nap.  I cover them up, one at a time, starting with Goose…. Bear…. Buddy…. as I’m backing out of the door, Goose sits upright, acts like she’s trying to pull a piece of hair or fuzz out of her mouth.  She looks worried.

Me: Goosie, what’s the matter?  Got fuzz in your mouth?

Goose: No… *pause*… my money is gone.

Me: What money?

Goose: My gray money.

Me: Ok, where did it go? Let’s check your bed.

Goose: Nooooo… *starts crying*

Me: What’s wrong?

Goose: I ate it! *cries harder*

Me: (thought bubble) I’m soooo not getting a nap today. Crap. And where on earth did she get a coin?

Me: (Actual words) Ok, can you breathe?

Without relaying the entire conversation: she could breathe and swallow.  I wasn’t much worried.  It’s small enough to pass.  No big thang…. except she kept insisting that it was stuck in her throat…. hmmmm….should probably have that addressed.

To the ER we go.  Ever wonder what a quarter might look like in a 4 year old’s stomach?

I got cash.

This is what a quarter looks like inside a pre-schooler.

As I suspected, the doctor told us that the quarter would exit on its own eventually and would likely go unnoticed as it would be wrapped in a package and flushed away.

The next day, we are out and about when we come upon some sort of craft fair and some bounce houses.  Naturally, the kids beg to go bouncing.

Me: Now, hold on guys.  Let me find out how much it costs.  I don’t know that I have any cash.

Goose: I got cash. *rubs tummy*

Does a 4 year old understand irony?  Indeed, she does.

I spent the next several days standing nearby the toilet hoping to hear a clink but it never happened.  I really wanted to see it, but I wasn’t willing to dig for it for obvious reasons.

It was a Mississippi quarter, if you were wondering.

The rest of the trip was much less theatrical and therefore, not worth rehashing.

It was really a fun trip, we enjoyed family time immensely, and I was exhausted and glad to be home when we returned.  That was nearly two weeks ago and I still haven’t unpacked, so if anyone would like to come over, unpack, do all of my laundry, and finish the 7 other blog posts that I’ve started and not finished… be my guest.