Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Detective Work

One day out of the blue, Emma called me to her room and said:

"Mom, so like the Easter bunny and the Easter baskets and all that stuff.....that is all you right?" I felt like a deer caught in headlights. Ben wasn't home and I didn't know how to react. Finally I just said "Well I don't want to lie to you so....Yes Honey. I do all those things". Thinking I was done I started to walk out of the room and then she said "AND Santa Clause...that's you too right?!" I looked at her face. She was so proud of herself for figuring it out. I asked her if someone at school told her or if she saw it on television but she said she just figured it out on her own. She was so happy so I told her the truth but also let her know that Christmas was special and that it was still fun and important to believe in the Christmas spirit.

Well, after that conversation I shouldn't have been surprised that when she lost her first tooth she said it again...."Mom, the Tooth Fairy - it's just like the Easter Bunny and Santa right?!" This smart little girl is growing up too fast. I love seeing her grow and although I get a little sad when I see her looking older with a missing tooth I also see what a beautiful intelligent girl she is growing up to be too. And well I'm just so proud of her!

Monday, August 8, 2011

First Days of School

Emma started 1st Grade! She didn't have many friends from last year in her class but I knew she would make new ones fast. And she did! She is also keeping in touch with some of her friends from last year so she has a great time seeing everyone at school. Her teacher is Mrs. Beattie and she seems very sweet. We will get to know her better as the year progresses. Emma started the school day at the bus stop with our neighbor Ashton. She had nothing but good reports for her first day. Her only complaint was that they didn't play outside. The heat has been so bad lately that outdoor activities are restricted until it cools off a bit. Or at least until the temperature is below 100!! Emma looked beatiful her first day, dressed in pink of course! Her favorite part of her outfit was her shoes that lit up when you walked. Emma started school on August 1st. Matthew started a week after. I was so extrememly nervous for Matthew to start school that I stayed home from work. That way I could take him to class and pick him up. And honestly how productive would I have been at the office thinking of my little man all day?!? Before he even left for school he had me in tears. Emma and I were leaving to catch her bus and she yelled so sweetly to her baby brother "Matthew have a good first day of school!" and he replied with love "Ok Emma, thanks! I will miss you!!" and then as we closed the door I heard him yell it again "I'm gonna miss you!". MY GOODNESS! How sweet my children can be to eachother. My heart just melted. Then we made it to school and Ben was helping him get settled. As I was sneaking out so he couldn't see me leave I stopped to make sure the teacher knew he was on medication - "yes, yes" Mrs. Mercy said. "We saw his file and know all about him". I know he is in good hands in Pre K. He has the same teachers Emma had and they are great. They remember him from 2 years ago and I think they even requested him in their class. I saw him grab a book and go sit on the circle in the middle of the class. He did not look afraid, he did not seem to even notice I had left. That is when the tears began again in my eyes. Wow - when did I turn into such a softie!

Emma was pretty proud of her little brother!

Matthew sitting down in the circle, ready for school!

Of course, they both survived their first days and were ready to return the next day!

Friday, August 5, 2011's a bi-polar experience.

I love this article from the Huffington Post! Everything it says and the charming way in which it says it. Wanted to post here so I could remember it.

The Best Parenting Advice I Never GotJD Roberto.Writer and TV Host, How To Get The Guy and Outback Jack

I got a lot of parenting advice before my first child came into the world. I think people feel obligated to bestow their wisdom on expecting parents and, overall, I guess that's a good thing. Still, the advice I got - though well meaning and thoughtful - was almost entirely useless once the actual odyssey of being a dad began. Phrases like "life changing" and "wonderful adventure" came up repeatedly, but no one bothered to tell me I should go see a movie. These days, going to a movie involves two weeks of planning and forty bucks worth of babysitter -- and that's before you pay fourteen bucks for a ticket and six bucks for some Twizzlers.

Sleep was high on the recommendation list. "Get as much sleep as you can!" is what they tell you, but that particular pearl of wisdom seems entirely backward to me. What you should really be doing is training yourself to function on less sleep or sleep that is frequently interrupted. I guess you could try to stockpile sleep but, trust me, when you're up all night with a sick four month old, knowing you got a solid nine hours back in June doesn't help.

A few times, kindly grandparents summed up their parenting philosophy with something along the lines of, "Just shower 'em with love!" It's a heartwarming sentiment but I have yet to figure out how an exhausted parent is supposed to apply such sage counsel when his two-year-old is howling, spread eagle in the grocery store because he won't buy a pair of Elmo shaped oven mitts.

The most common phrase I heard in the run up to parenthood was the seemingly benign, "It's a tough job but it's all worth it." This is both true and diabolically misleading at the same time. Something about "it's all worth it" suggests a proposition where some small majority of the time things will be blissful. "Yes," you're led to believe, "it's going to be tough forty-nine percent of the time, but don't worry because the other fifty-one percent it is great." Guess what, it's not. The ratio is frequently twenty percent enjoyable to eighty percent aggravating. Some days clock in at fifty-four percent bearable with thirty-five percent maddening rounded out by a dash of bewildering. I've been through entire weeks of eighty-seven percent exasperating, and experienced good-night cuddles that are one hundred percent ecstasy. It's not balanced, it's bipolar. It's worth it not because it's easy as often as it's difficult, but because the perfect moments are so overwhelmingly sublime, you somehow forget the maniacal pajama tantrum you endured the night before.

If I could go back and give myself some more practical advice it would look something like this:

1. When they nap, you nap. Don't send emails, don't catch up on work. Nap.

2. Travel with your children when they are very young. At six months old it's just as easy to keep them entertained in Cozumel as it is in Cleveland. You might as well get a tan out of the deal.

3. Buy a rechargeable, cordless hand vacuum. Your floors and cars will thank you.

4. It's perfectly acceptable to make an entire dinner in the microwave.

5. In every parent-child relationship someone has to be the grown up. Try to make sure that someone is you. A two-year-old has the right to act like a child, you do not.

6. Take everyone who volunteers to babysit up on the offer. Repeatedly.

7. Buy everything you can second-hand.

8. Make time for the other relationships in your life -- seeing you in the role of good friend or devoted spouse teaches your kids way more than a Baby Einstein marathon.

9. There's no such thing as using too many wipes.

10. There will be times when you're sure you are a terrible parent and, secretly, wonder why you ever had kids in the first place. This is normal. Forgive yourself these occasional moments of self-doubt and, from time to time, let yourself mourn your life pre-parenthood. Then have a healthy glass of wine, get some sleep and get back to work. After all, as you've no doubt heard, it's a tough job, but it's all worth it.

Oh, and go see a movie while you still can.