Thursday, June 30, 2011

Sun and Green

It's been a rough week. Everyone in my family has been sick but is now much better except me; I've gotten worse.  Today I feel about 87% which is pretty good.  I contribute my turn for the better to positive mental attitude and sun.  There is no denying it - the sunshine makes me feel great.

We have been having some be-a-u-tiful weather this week.  My awesome nieces Rachel and Alyssa came over Tuesday and we went to Butterfly Park and then Valpo Velvet.  Oh yeah, PMA, sunshine and ice cream makes me feel great.

Today was also a beautiful day.  I set up the slip and slide for the kids and heard my husband say, "Take it easy..."  Well I certainly wasn't going to fling myself around on that slip and slide.  I was just going to sit in the green grass and be still.  But my husband knows me too well.  I can't sit still in the grass.  Maybe in someone else's yard I could but not in mine.  I have to get my hands in the dirt.  I love to pull weeds.  My husband doesn't get it but that's okay.  He does stuff that I think is weird, like laugh out loud at the names of lunch meat at Wiseway ("old fashioned loaf" in case you are wondering).  I was sitting in a new spot in the yard.  We fenced in our backyard last year so now there is this whole new area that is inviting for play and reclining.  So I'm sitting under the maple tree and I notice not the weeds, but the dozens, no hundreds, maybe gazillions, of maple tree seedlings popping up all over the lawn.  I get very excited because this is just the sort of thing I can do and still "take it easy".  I plop down in the grass and begin to pluck dozens upon dozens of little baby maple trees out of the ground.  The soundtrack playing during this task is chirping birds and the squeals of delight from my children as they play in the sun and the wet.

And as I pluck a seedling out of the grass and see the little helicopter seed still attached, I have this thought.  This is how the maple tree gives birth.  I look up at that beautiful tree and see a great big wise mother and it makes me feel right at home in the grass with my hands in the dirt.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I Am From Garbage

My son told me, "You are made of garbage."

First, a disclaimer on my son's use of the word garbage.  When Wolfie was 4, the word "coconuts" was his funny word.  It's the word he said all the time to be funny, sound funny, or as a punchline to a joke.  Then he went to Kindergarten and discovered these words are funny:

Now, I will admit I'm pretty easy when it comes to using these words.  I mean, when I overhear my kids playing pirates and my son says, "My island is made of poo.  It has giant poo rocks on it," 1) I secretly giggle a little at the visual, and 2) I think at least they are playing pirates which is more creative than generic good guys and bad guys with weapons and much better than playing any sort of licensed Disney character story reenactment.

However, we have some rules about using these words...of course!  They cannot be used at the table at mealtime and you cannot call another person one of these names.

My son has made some pretty clever substitutions.  Stinky cheese is a favorite.  Actually, anything stinky is a good substitute.  And "garbage".

Now back to the garbage story.

So we were finishing up our bedtime stories and Wolfie was firing off a bunch of "Look out, there's a toilet falling on your head.  It's full of poo.  Etc.  Etc."  Then he said I was made of....garbage.  Good thing the kid knows he would really be crossing the line if he told his mother she was made of poo.  (Although, as I type this I have to admit it's pretty hysterical to tell someone she is made of poo.  I mean, poo.  Those three letters and the sound of the word spoken is pretty funny.  But not everyone shares my sense of humor.)

My response, since I'm an easy going mama with a terrific sense of 6-year old humor, was, "Wolfie.  I am your mother.  I gave birth to you and love you every day of your life.  I take care of you.  Out of all the gazillion things in the world you could tell me I'm made of...your choice is poo?"

He totally gets it.  He can't help but grin in spite of himself at hearing his mama say "poo".

He says, "Okay, how about this.  Mama, you are made of millions of beautiful hearts.  And all of them have pictures of me inside of them."

Yeah, he totally gets me.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Evil Town

This afternoon, my husband offered to take the girls with him to Wiseway.  This is a generous offer.  Anyone with multiple children knows how quickly a parent can get overwhelmed and outnumbered.  All day the "Mama, I need...", "Mama, I want...", and "Mama, (do this)..."  was doubled.  Tripled even!  Wolfie quickly realized what an awesome deal this was too.  He would get coveted Mama-only time.  For me, the 1:1 ratio was very appealing because if there is only one child in the house, and said child were to occupy him/herself for just a few minutes, I might actually be able to complete a project from start to finish.  A project like, say, taking the folded clothes out of the laundry basket and putting them away without sixteen interruptions.

No sooner did the door close behind his sisters and Papa, did Wolfie exclaim, "Mama, do you want to create an Evil Town with me?"  Heck yeah. 

Sooner or later I began fantasizing about what project I could drift off to once Wolfie was fully engrossed with creating Evil Town.  I glanced over at the kids's craft table.  It's covered in marker, crayon and sticker residue.  Boy, that thing sure could use a good wipe down.  And some razor blade scraping - how satisfying could that be.  I was absent-mindedly picking off some extra glue stuck to the bottom of some train track pieces while daydreaming.  (We recently dismantled the train table Gabe had built and saved some track pieces that were salvageable.  Earlier that day, Wolfie and I chiseled the glue off some of the more stubborn pieces.  We used a screwdriver and a hammer; it was a big job.)

Then Wolfie interrupts my preoccupied glue-picking and says, "Mama, don't be a person that just does jobs.  Come on, let's play."  Yes, of course.

Sometimes playing with Wolfie is reduced to watching him play.  He has very good ideas.  I, apparently, have lame ideas so playing with him means that I get to do about 20% of what I want to do.  For example, I found an orange bracelet and suggested it be a ring of fire in Evil Town.  Wolfie's eyes lit up and he told me that was a great idea.  Score!  Then, since I was on a roll, I noticed a blue bracelet and suggested that it be a ring of ice.  That idea was shot down.

I love playing with my kids.  On the floor.  Playing.  And as much as I was itching to sneak off to the laundry basket, or over to that crusty craft table, I was coveting my 1:1 ration.  I had Wolfie all to myself.  He's very easy-going and has an amazing and delightful imagination.  And, after a while, he decided that Evil Town needed a ring of ice after all.

*image BRIO Network and Virus train set series

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Urge to Purge

As you may know, we took down the crib.  I cried.  And once I was done crying I perked up at the idea of purging more unnecessary linens from my remarkably narrow and shallow linen closet.  All that crib bedding could go!  I love purging.  But I am also sentimental and hold on to too much stuff.  As I folded up the crib mattress sheet, I thought, "Oh, I need to save this for my first grandchild."

I mean, no more crib in my home is a big deal.  I need to find a sentimental connection.  But then I thought...really?  Would my son or daughter really want me to give them some 30-year old faded and stained piece of fabric when they welcome their first child into the world?  Now that both of my baby girls have bunk beds, what if my mother gave me my old bedding from my childhood.  I am picturing that yellow, orange and brown plaid sunflower pattern on my bedspread right now.  Eeew.  If my mother sent that to me in a box with a note saying "I saved this for your children!" I would be less than thrilled.  If it was retro-cool then I'd be all over it.  But instead it would feel like some crispy 30-year old piece of fabric.  And yellow, orange and brown plaid sunflowers is not retro; it's ugly.  (Sorry mom)  Therefore, I made my decision and put the bedding in a Goodwill bag.

Then my mother called.  She had to tell me how she finally took her cuckoo clock to a clock repair shop (this would have been the perfect time to fess up and tell her that guy I briefly dated in high school actually broke the clock chain - but I didn't.  I mean, it's been 24 years.  Does she really need to know this?).  It costs $250 to repair a cuckoo clock!?!  Anyway, she told me that one thing led to another and she uncovered some boxes she had never unpacked since moving 5 years ago.  Stuff of mine.  Stuff she saved for me - cards and some other junk.  She said that she put them aside to bring to me when she sees me next.  Thanks mom.  I'll find the perfect spot for all that sentimental stuff in my linen closet.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


My children are moving into separate bedrooms.  It's a milestone, really.  And as such, I'm having some conflicted feelings about it.

When we moved into this house, my son was only 6 months old.  We created his nursery; we painted the walls green with big leaves on the ceiling.  When he turned 2, we got him a mattress.  We had to, his baby sister was on the way and she needed the crib.  We slapped some flower stickers on the wall to make the room co-gender.  When she turned 2, my husband built them bunk beds.  He had to, the baby was on her way and the TV room, the third bedroom, became the play room.  Now that the baby is 2, she's ready for a bed but there is no other baby on the way.  That's it.  The youngest will get older and there will be no starting over with any more babies.  The crib is obsolete. 

My sister in law gave us furniture.  Totally great furniture which is serving as a catalyst for all this change.  I mean, do you know how great it is to not have to buy furniture?  My son gets to keep his room and the girls are moving into the play room which we conveniently painted purple (excuse me, "Berries Galore") when we changed it over from the TV room two years ago.  Okay, so I knew this day was coming. 

My husband has three sisters.  He has been telling me that it will soon be very important for our son to have his own space.  I, on the other hand, grew up as an only child and it is very important to me that my children experience a ton of togetherness so they can appreciate the fact that they have each other.  I'd like to see them share a room until they are 18, 16 and 14.  Okay, so I know that's not going to happen either.

Here are the issues I'm having with the split:

1. No more crib.
I totally cried when it was time to take it down.  (You did too - or you will when your time comes.)
2.  More gender specifying of toys, decor, etc.
This is kind of hard for me because we have been diligent on teaching the kids that their toys are everyone's toys.  And I try really hard to steer clear of using phrases like "that's for boys" or "those are for girls".
3.  "Big girl" talk. 
As in telling the baby that she has a "big girl" bed now.  Why is this an issue?  She's LITTLE!
4.  My bragging rights are gone.
Okay, I admit it.  I took a sense of pride telling people that my three children, one boy and two girls, share a room.  They are awesome siblings.  The love each other.  They can handle the most intimate of sharing because they are so awesome.
5.  Increased independence.
When my second daughter was born, we proposed the idea to my then 4-year old son that we make a room for the girls.  He adamantly said no.  He wanted a triple bunk bed.  He said he wanted everyone to sleep in his room, Mama and Papa included.  Now, he's totally excited to have his own room.  He's got a new desk with drawers in which he can put very important things (Star Wars action figures).

But here's what keeping me from having any more tears about the whole ordeal (I'm telling you; taking down the crib for good is the worst).  I overheard my son tell his sister that she can go up into his bed and play whenever she wants.   Mmmm...siblings.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

What I'm About

I was fortunate to be in a show, Listen To Your Mother, this past May.  It was a terrific experience and much of the process (writing, auditioning, sharing my writing) has inspired this here it is.

Monday, June 13, 2011


Do you hear that?  I just cracked open my new laptop and a box of wine.  Welcome to my blog debut party.  I have been gently urged to blog so here I am...venturing into uncharted territory just like parenting.