Thursday, April 26, 2012

Hey commercials, I'm still awesome

I had the TV on the other night and this commercial came on - okay - let me interrupt myself here to remind all of you how much I dislike commercials.  I do not care for the way commercialism assumes I am lazy, dumb, insecure, gluttonous or easy.  That said, when I see an ad for a new type of lip gloss I find myself obsessing over getting some new lip gloss.  So, yes, I am easy but I don't like it that the commercial industry has figured that out.

So this commercial comes on and since I'm not going to endorse the product this commercial was promoting, I'll just call it the Dunk Your Doughnut store.  Okay?  So in this commercial, a grown man is delivered a bagel sandwich at his job by his mother.  He says, as if he is in 5th grade, "You made me a sandwich for lunch?" and the mom says, "No, the Dunk Your Doughnuts store made it but I wrote the note." and then do you know what I think?

Crud!  I totally have been forgetting to write Wolfie notes and putting them in his lunchbox!  I so wanted to be the mom that did that and I did, for about two weeks, when Wolfie started 1st grade.

Seriously?  The Dunk Your Doughnuts store commercial made me feel like a crummy mom?  Usually commercials make me feel like an awesome mom!  I'll see a commercial for baby formula and think, "I'm still nursing my 35 month old - suckers!"  Or I'll see a commercial for one of 6,000 types of over the counter or prescription drugs and I'll think, "I just ate a spoonful of honey, rubbed some eucalyptus on my neck and taped a clove of garlic in my ear - suckers!"

Now, if I write a note to Wolfie and slip it into his lunchbox, the lunch time helper mom is going to think I got the idea from that dumb Dunk Your Doughnuts store commercial.  She probably has better lip gloss than me too.

I think I'll fold up an origami crane which will flap it's wings if you gently pull on it's tail and put that in his lunchbox instead.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Star Wars vs. Unicorns

To say that Star Wars fever has invaded my home would be an understatement.  Actually, the fever includes Star Wars and Clone Wars.

Last night at dinner, my husband busted out a Yoda impression.  My husband.  Yoda!  Even Luna can do a Jar Jar Binks impression.  "Me-sa have a question!" she chirps.  Wolfie and Tulip engage in these really animated and poignant discussions about the movies and the characters.  Today at lunch Wolfie was holding a baby carrot.  He showed it to Tulip and illustrated how the way he held the carrot in his hand made the whole thing look like a Gungan.  Obsessed much?

It makes sense that Wolfie likes Star Wars.  He's seven.  Tulip?  Well, in her special Tulip manner she has found a way to enjoy Star Wars and Clone Wars movies.  She looks for the cute stuff.  And she has found it - baby Ewoks, cute aliens, baby aliens.  

I was ready for this.  I mean, I saw those Star Wars movies in the 70's when I was a kid.  So, I totally know all those movies.  Right?  Um...not so much.  Apparently there is a big difference between watching those movies as a kid and being the adult involved in the life of the kid watching those movies for the first time and becoming totally immersed in the thrill of discovery this whole new galaxy far far away.

Well maybe I'm being a little too hard on myself.  I can talk about the movies with my children.  There are some pretty big important themes there, and because of my job I'm pretty good at talking about themes and character relationships.

But here's the thing I can't do well.  DRAW Star Wars.  And I can totally draw!  You plop a still life in front of me and I can render it beautifully.

Wolfie has been drawing these:
He has about 8 of these large posters lying around the house.  He draws on both sides!  He draws scenes from the movies and other scenes he has made up.  He drew Darth Vader's surprise birthday party - I'm serious.

Below is a detail of one of his drawings.  I think this is a clone building factory.  Apparently that is a Geonosian in the upper right watching over the process.  See, I know my Star Wars.  (Or Clone Wars - see, now I'm getting confused)

So Wolfie will ask me to draw Star Wars with him.  He'll say I should draw the Death Star or the Millenium Falcon.  I'll tell him that I don't really know what they look like; I'll need to look at a picture from one of his books.  He gets a little exasperated and says, "How about you draw something a little more easy, like a Droideka."  I'll tell him that I don't know what that looks like either and he'll say, "Don't you recognize it from the movie?"  I want to say, "Just because you have extremely vivid images of every single scene from Star Wars and Clone Wars rolling through your memory 24/7 doesn't mean I do." But I don't say that of course.

I draw a space ship.  I just make it up.  When I sit back from the paper and look at my space ship I realize that I haven't drawn anything at all in the style of Lucasfilm.  I have drawn a rocket ship.  I might as well have written NASA on the side of it, it's so lame.  Wolfie says, "Oooookaaay..." trying to spare my feelings.  He's so considerate.

Tulip asks me to draw a unicorn.  YES!  I shout it before she even finishes saying "unicorn".  I can totally draw unicorns.  I've been drawing unicorns since I was seven.  I can draw a unicorn walking, galloping, standing still - I can even draw a unicorn flying.  I can draw a unicorn with its tail flickering this way or that.  I can draw a unicorn's mane blowing in the breeze.  I can draw flowers in the unicorn's mane and, most importantly, I can toss a rainbow in the background.

She's impressed.  For about three minutes.  Then she says to Wolfie, "Wolfie, did you ever notice that the baby Ewoks don't have to fight in the battles?  They get to stay home."

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

To Have a Sister

I didn't have a sister growing up.  I didn't know what I was missing. 

A while back, Luna started talking in gibberish more often than not.  Or she would just make noises.  Wolfie and Tulip started answering for her.  I'd ask her a question and while she spoke gibberish (which I suppose she thought was funny or charming or whatever), the big kids would speak on her behalf.

"I think Luna wants..." 

I had to tell them not to speak for Luna.  "We have to let Luna use words."

Now over that phase, the other day Luna said something to me and I couldn't understand some of her words.  She wasn't speaking gibberish; I just couldn't understand.

"I want fwabba fwabba raspberries."  Yes, I could clearly understand raspberries as she loves them and is determined to articulate this delicious word clearly.

"You want a bowl of raspberries?"  I asked.

"No, I want a fwabba bowl of raspberries."  Okay, so I was getting 'bowl of raspberries' so what was the problem?

"I want a fwabba bowl of raspberries," she implored.  What the heck was I missing?

I looked to Tulip for clarification.  Yes, I needed her to speak for Luna.  I needed her to translate.

"Oh!  She wants a flower bowl of raspberries," Tulip realized.  "That's something only I can do for her."

Luna nodded emphatically.

Tulip got a little bowl out of the cupboard and arranged a handful of raspberries in such a way where there was one in the middle and several others forming a ring around it.

A flower design.  Made out of raspberries.

How lucky they are to have each other.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Why get out of bed when this could happen...

Some mornings, I am so tired and I really don't want to get out of bed.  The children don't understand this so I have to invent games to play with them that will allow me to continue laying in bed.

The first game we played Sunday morning was hide and go seek.  I hid under the cover I was already hiding under.  Lame, I know.  But not lamer than telling the children, "Leave me alone.  I want to lay in bed for 3 more hours."

The next game we played was Cave.  In order to lay in bed, I invited the girls under the covers with me.  Oooh, this was exciting for them.  Perfect.  They ran and got their light up dolls.  Even more perfect.  (They left me alone, in my bed, for 8 seconds while they retrieved their dolls.)

Then we told ghost stories under the covers.  This was Tulip's story:

Once upon a time there was a ghost called...............Gobblin' Gobbler.  (dramatic pause followed by dramatic voice)  He gobbled up.............garbage.  There was a princess and she was camping and then Gobblin' Gobbler captured her.  He was eating................soda and flaming hot Doritoes!  The princess ate veggie chips and then escaped.  The end.

Monday, April 9, 2012

on purpose

I came home from running an errand and my eyes flashed to a white wall with orange crayon squiggled on it.  And while I said, "Who did this" there was no real upset to my voice.  I mean, we have a 2 year old.  Well, she's almost 3 and I guess I thought she was done writing on the walls.  And the carpets and the couch and the table and her toys and the windows.  I mean, we're pretty laid back about it because it somehow became okay.  Not acceptable but okay.  No real harm done.

But I took a closer look at this orange line and noticed that there was a circle, then a squiggly line, and then an X.  This was a treasure map and that is far too conceptual for Luna to scribble on the wall.  Tulip stepped forth and admitted to it.

Tulip did this!

It was so surprising.  I kind of laughed, you know, that surprised type of laugh.  It has been years since she has written on a wall.

Here's the thing about Tulip - this was so unlike her.  There's nothing troubling her.  She's not destructive.  She's not acting out in any way.  She doesn't seem to be enacting any sort of outrageous attention-seeking behaviors.  She does not make mistakes like this.  I think she honestly was so inspired to make a treasure map and the wall and orange crayon filled her desire.  But it was a mistake so we had to remind her of that and she was so so remorseful.  Big round eyes and a very sincere, "I'm sorry."  Yes, no big deal.

I was ready to drop it.  Crayon on the wall.  No Big Deal.  But there was an opportunity there.  It sprang from my lips.  I called the children to me for a family meeting and I explained:

When Mama has to clean extra messes, I am putting extra time and extra energy to cleaning messes instead of playing with you guys, or doing something I like to do.  (I was on a roll)  Look around the room.  See all the toys all over the place.  I'm going to pick up all this stuff and put away all this stuff and do all these extra chores and that will take away my time to be with you and play with you and read books to you.  (I was really on a roll now)  So when our house gets messy, and there are extra chores for Mama to do, we are all going to stop playing.  When Mama has to do extra chores, everyone is going to pause their activities and do chores too.  Then we can all play together when we're done.

I'm telling you, it made sense to everyone.  Especially me.  Especially them.  How many times do they ask me to do something and I tell them, "In a minute."  How many times am I on my way to a room where one of my kids is waiting for me because I promised to play and I have to make 4 pit stops along the way to clean up something, pick up something and put away something?  I mean, I know that's never going to change but it can diminish.

No one was in trouble, though in their childhood innocent hearts they knew it was a mistake.  And what happens when we make a mistake?  We admit we made a mistake and we make it right.  Tulip and Wolfie hustled and hustled to help clean up the place.  I didn't have to ask twice.  I hardly had to offer direction, they were all over the place finding things to put away.

So, while Tulip certainly didn't do it on purpose, there ended up being a purpose to her orange treasure map.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

To clarify

According to my husband's recent Facebook status update, "Stars Wars fever is running rampant in our house" right now.  Star Wars fever has affected only a few of the children (and one of the non-children) in my home.  And so, on this Easter morning, I announced that the Ewok Bunny had visited our front and back yards.

Yes, I meant Easter Bunny, but Ewok Bunny seemed more appropriate and exciting and no one corrected me.

When Wolfie was three, I announced the Easter Bunny had visited our front yard and Wolfie corrected me.  "It's the Easter Bird, mama.  A bird laid those eggs in our yard."  Yes, of course.  That would make sense.  So our family tradition, until this year, had been to search for eggs hidden (or laid) by the Easter Bird.  Now we have the Ewok Bunny.

Since we are on the subject of correcting, or not correcting, I would like to make a request.  Actually, a few requests.

1.  When Tulip and Luna pretend they are fishing with their fishing wands, please do not tell them that they are fishing rods.

2.  When Wolfie declares that he needs a handkershift, just let it go.  I'm so thankful that he wants to use a handkerchief, he can call it whatever he wants.

3.  When Wolfie and Tulip say "beard" or "root beard", please do not tell them it is "beer".  Really, I think "I do not drink beard" has the right effect, don't you?

4.  Finally, it is okay with me that Luna calls my breasts my "milks".  It's even better that she calls my bra my "breasts".