Friday, May 25, 2012

I've Done This

I have fallen asleep while playing a board game with my child.

One afternoon we were playing Guess Who on the living room floor.  The sun was streaming in through the windows and I had propped a pillow under my head for...ahem...comfort.  The next thing I know I'm hearing, faintly at first and then with growing intensity, "Mama!  Mama!  Mama!  It's your turn!  Mama!  It's YOUR TURN! MAMA!!!" 

I swear I snapped awake.  I was that asleep.  That's kind of a sucky thing to do to your child, right.

(It was kind of sucky that she woke me up from my nap too, right?)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Tulip Violet

Mama made good on her promise to give Tulip a plant of her own to celebrate the second best graduation ever.  Even though the idea of graduating from preschool seems a bit silly, I figure this is as good a milestone as any to give Tulip her very own plant to take for.

She's wearing a dress I found at Once Upon a Child the night before which I'm surprised she didn't ask to sleep in.  She's also wearing my bracelet which a friend bought for me in Paris a dozen years ago.

And of course she was so into her cap that when we got home, she drew a rainbow and a tulip on it.  I told her she should be a graduation cap designer when she grows up (which I think would suit her better than "princess" which is what her book about herself says she wants to be when she grows up...sigh).

Her diploma says Tulip June Saavedra which is so much better than Tulip Violet Saavedra.  (But if she decides that her princess name will be Tulip Violet Daisy Iris Chrysanthemum when she grows up, that will be just fine too.)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Second Best

Tulip looked through a kaleidoscope and spotted Wolfie's sunflower plant.

"Can I water it?" she asked.

I explained that it was Wolfie's special plant and then offered her this, "But maybe tomorrow for your preschool graduation you'll get a special plant all of your own..."

I had actually planned to do this.

She jumped into my lap and squealed, "This is going to be the second best graduation ever!"

"What was the first best graduation?" I wondered.

"Ummm...probably that time that you and I sat side by side and ate pudding at a picnic."

I looked at her smiling face through the kaleidoscope and her happiness spun out into a million pieces.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sandbox conversation

"Hey Mom..."  Tulip called to me.  When she says "Mom" I know that she is initiating some role play game where I am the mother character and she is a daughter character.  That's because my children all call me Mama.
"Oh?  What is it daughter?"  I respond to let Tulip know that I am in on her game.

We are playing in the sandbox and she eagerly whispers, "Do you want to play where you are the mother and your name is Clara and I'm your daughter and my name is Amy Amanda and we're going to make a sand garden and...I'm in college?"

Tulip will be five next week.

"Of course," I whisper back.

"Hey Mom, do you want to make a sand garden?"

"Sure Amy Amanda.  Hey, how's college going?"

"Great." She smooths out the sand and plants some leaves in it.  "Did you know that there are some toads that are as tall as humans?"

"Wow!  I didn't know that Amy Amanda.  Did you learn that in one of your college classes?"


"What's the name of that class?"

"Nature class."

Yup, this girl has got her whole life figured out...well, at least up through college.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

I scream, you scream, we all scream for Yonanas!

I'm not very politically active, but I'm ready to start a petition.  Ot a protest.  Or something.  If it were a protest, my children would wear t-shirts that say, "We Don't Carry Cash!" and our signs would read Keep Going! on one side and Don't Slow Down! on the other side.

This is aimed at the ice cream man.  And I'm sorry, I know he is doing his job.  But does his job have to include an absolute 1 1/2 mile per hour crawl around my court?  And, does his job have to include making deliberate eye contact with my children through our living room window?!  I think that crosses the line.

"The ice cream truck is coming!  I can hear it!  The ice cream man is in our court!" they scream with hysteria.

"We are having Yonanas for dessert," I nearly scream back with misdirected frustration that I am feeling towards this ice cream man because I really am wondering if he has come to a complete stop in front of my house and that intent gaze upon us through my window is a bit unnerving. 

He has finally left and Tulip says, "Did you know that a snow cone is actually ice with fruit flavored juice on it?!"

"Uh huh," I murmur.

"Well did you forget that I've never tried one?!" she asks with indignation.

Again, I nearly scream, "We.  Are.  Having.  Yonanas!  For.  Dessert."

My logic of, "We are not going to buy expensive sugary popsicles now because in approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes we will be making pure home-made fruit smoothies, i.e. Yonanas, for dessert..." is lost on them.  I may as well say, "No snow cones because that wall is green."

The kids play in the back yard after dinner.  They are wonderful children.  And they are smart.  And they need to remind us that they have not had neither snow cones nor Yonanas...yet.

Luna is crying.  She accidentally got hit in the head with the child-size picnic table umbrella.  I help fix the problem, then go back inside.

Tulip starts crying.  She accidentally got hit in the head with a plastic baseball bat.

Seriously?  They are going to hit themselves with objects until we serve the Yonanas?

So, when I come to your door with my petition, understand that I am not actually trying to put the ice cream man out of work.  I am trying to save myself a trip to the emergency room because as fate would have it, if that were to happen, I'd be stuck in traffic behind the ice cream man driving 1 1/2 miles per hour.

Monday, May 14, 2012

That moment

"Are you nervous?"

One of my students asked me this Thursday afternoon.  He was, of course, referring to the sold out Listen To Your Mother show that I was to perform in that evening.  He's a sweet kid, and a musician and as it turns out he and I have performed together in an annual Blues concert at school where I am the MC.  So he and I have been on stage, together, before and he knows what it's like to be nervous.  And excited.  Or nervous-excited.  Or excited-nervous.  And I was all those and I bet he knew it.

I was nervous that my aunts weren't going to get their tickets.  Then I was nervous that I was going to pee in my pants (dress?) because it totally felt like I was going to.  I was nervous because I was cold so I was shaking, or at least I felt like I was shaking, so I thought I would be shaking on the stage.  Shaking and peeing.  Lovely.  And I was nervous because some of my colleagues were coming to see the show and that's different than when your friends or family come to see the show.  Family and friends know all sides of you but colleagues...well, they might only know some sides of you.  Hopefully colleagues know the non-shaking and non-peeing in my pants (dress?) side of me.

Then there was the nervousness that comes with being on a stage, sharing something personal, and hoping that the audience gets it.  Um, a sold out audience.  And for me, that was funny.  Not that I think a sold out audience is funny.  What I was planning to share with the audience was funny; or, at least I thought so.  That was my plan.

We had been getting terrific coaching advice from Stephanie.  She told us all to be ourselves.  She told us to take a moment, even if on the stage, if we needed it.  She reminded us that if we got choked up during our piece, the audience would be supportive.  In fact, she said, the audience would love it because it would be so real for them because it's so real for us.  (Um, my piece is supposed to be funny so thanks for the "go ahead and cry on stage" advice, sheesh.)

But then the thing happened.  That great thing that comes with being on stage and knowing that for the next 5-61/2 minutes you are going to own it.  Because, after all, Listen To Your Mother is about sharing a story and connecting with someone in the audience.  Someone in the audience would think that shaking and peeing in my pants would be funny.  Aunt Betty certainly.  But when Stephanie began to introduce me, and I got a chuckle from my introduction (which I wrote and meant to be a little bit funny) I instantly warmed up and my urge to pee left.  I approached the stage - and here I have to again applaud Stephanie and all her direction - and I felt such a surge of supportive energy from those front two rows.  My women.  My LTYM cast mates.  By the time I approached the microphone I knew it was going to be fun.  You know, people, it's really fun for me to be on stage.  My student who asked me earlier if I was nervous knows that about me.  I'm sure of it.  It's fun for him too.  That's why we have that bond.

And guess what?  I had a "moment" on stage.  I did.  No, I didn't cry.  My piece was funny!  And there was this moment where I delivered a punch line and the audience was laughing.  Really taken by surprise laughing and I was engaged in my "pause" to let them finish their laughter so I could follow up with my next remark and really be heard.  And I let myself go.  I laughed at myself.  On stage.  And in that moment I heard whoops.  I'm pretty sure some of the whoops were from my LTYM cast mates.  They got it.

Because if a mom can't laugh at herself, how will she ever deal with the inevitable moment where she really does pee in her pants (dress!)?  And now I know that because of LTYM, and the mission of LTYM to share something personal with an audience in which someone will connect with your piece, I could pee in my pants and some mama would turn to her neighbor and whisper, "I've done that."

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Joey Ant

Joey Ant was a great concept while it lasted.

Like all parents, we have values which we want to instill into our children.  Appreciate the earth.  Respect nature.  Be kind to living creatures.  And don't be afraid of bugs.  And don't become the type of kid that steps on bugs for fun.

When Wolfie was a toddler, he noticed a large black ant crawling across our carpet.  Seizing the opportunity to teach all those values at once, I scooped up the ant and brought it outside.  Somehow, throughout the process, Wolfie named the ant Joey and so from then on whenever he saw an ant he would talk to it as if it were Joey Ant, his old friend.

This went on for years.

Then one day a relative gave us a small basket of dried fruit and I left it on the counter while we went out for the day.  When we returned, there was a whole happy colony of ants crawling all over that basket. 

I smashed a bunch of ants.  And I'm pretty sure my kids saw.  And then I dropped the act because, really, I'd rather smash those crappy ants for crawling around inside my house than to pretend that I scoop up every one of them to bring outside.

Well, my children pretty much appreciate the earth, respect nature, and are kind to living creatures.  They don't scream at the sight of bugs like some children do.  And they don't smash bugs for fun like some children do.  They alert me to the sight of ants in our house and I do the smashing.

Today the girls were helping me in the garden and we searched for bugs.  We found some grubs, worms, saw two spiders with huge egg sacs, and found tons of roly polys.  Everyone was fascinated.

Tulip then says to me, "Mama, sometimes when I see an ant in our house and there is no grown up around, I find something hard and I smash it and then to be sure I smash it's head again to destroy its brains."  My sweet darling nature-loving flower girl said this.

"Oh," was just about all I could say.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Sports mom fail

I'm not a jock mom.  That's okay.  I'm another type of mama and I do that well. I didn't expect to be the type of family that has children enrolled in tons of "activities", shuttling children back and forth, juggling a calendar of weekly events leaving us breathless with one foot in or out of the door at any given moment.  And, okay, we're not really there, we just have a couple things going on but this weekend I haven't handled the business very well.

Wolfie is playing  basketball on Friday nights.  I thought his game was at 5:00.  We all went; we showed up at 5:00.  Wolfie's shirt is blue.  There were red and yellow shirts there at 5:00.  I checked the schedule posted on the bulletin board and sure enough, Wolfie's team was playing at 7.  We went to Burger King. 

Tulip had not only a soccer game, but pictures on Saturday.  Her game was at 11:30 so pictures were at 11:00.  At 10:39 I am hustling the whole family to get their shoes on and then, just for good measure, I check the calendar.  1:30.  Her game is at 1:30 and pictures are at 1:00.

"Wait!" I holler because some people are beginning to board the van.  "We have two hours."  We didn't go to Burger King or anywhere else fabulous.  We stayed home and had left-over mac and cheese for lunch.

Fast forward to 1:00.  Well, 12:50 actually.  We are cruising through the parking lot at the soccer park.  We typically park on the other side of the soccer fields, but today we decided to park in the actual lot which is completely packed. The kids are not used to us cruising the parking lot.

"Do you know where you are going?  Are we here at the right time?  Are we supposed to be driving here?  Is this the right place to be?"  The kids pepper us with questions, no interrogations, from the backseat.  I have completely lost credibility with them.

But we make it to pictures on time and everything is fine.  Tulip's soccer game starts promptly at 1:30.

Luna wants to play in the playground.  This is frustrating because I want to watch Tulip play soccer and the playground is far from her field.  Luna wants to swing on the regular swing, not the baby swing.  I push her.

She falls off.

Yes, I pushed her right off the swing. 

"I want to go see Papa!" she wails, as I hold her in my arms.

I sit down next to Papa in our folding chairs, holding Luna in my lap.  She's tired, she's missed her nap, and I just made her fall off a swing.

"I want Mama milk!!!" she wails.  She's covered with mulch.  "I.  Want.  Mama.  Miiiiiilk!" she wails again.

Yup, I'm that mama.  I nurse an almost three-year-old.  I nursed her, and got to watch Tulip play the rest of her soccer game.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Flipper, the Thrower and the Wiper

I love toddler's emerging language.  I loved how Wolfie leaned to say his sister Tulip's name when she was born and he was just over two years old.  He called her "Baby", then "Baby Girl", then "Tubik" and finally "Tulip". 

I love the way Tulip would enunciate the word "actually" like this: AT-uwalleeeee

Luna will be 3 in one month and three days.  She will no longer be a toddler.  She will be a pre-schooler and that is a child.  Not a baby any longer, but a child.  (Let's not tell her, okay?)

In the meantime, I am going to enjoy some of her two-year-old idioms.

1.  The Flipper
I have a large, light-weigh solar-powered calculator.  It has big enough buttons that make a subtle "click" sound when pressed.  Luna calls this toy the Flipper.

2.  The Thrower
Somehow, my family has come to acquire an 18-inch diameter Whoopee Cushion.  It's enormous.  One night, we were having a dance party.  The kids were taking turns dancing and when it was Luna's turn, she incorporated the Whoopee Cushion in her routine.  It was deflated, and she sort of twirled it around like a lasso while she ran in a circle.  Sure, two-year-olds call this dancing.  Who am I to argue?  But ever since that dance, she has referred to the Whoopee Cushion as her Thrower.

3.  The Wiper
Right now, as in this week and very much so this minute, Luna has a snotty nose.  It's just running like a faucet.  Gabe and I are armed with handkerchiefs in our pockets and there is at least one handkerchief stashed strategically in each room of the house.  Two nights ago I gave Luna a little handkerchief to keep next to her pillow so she could wipe her own nose.  She thought this was awesome.  I guess, as a two-year-old it is a rite of passage to be awarded your own personal handkerchief, or Nose Wiper.

As I write this, Luna approaches me and I notice a wet streak under her nose.  I tell her to come close so I can wipe her nose and I reach for my back pocket.  She says, matter-of-factly, and with the slightest air of annoyance, "Mama, I have a Nose Wiper in my bed.  I have a Nose Wiper in my bed all day."

How soon to three?  Too soon.