Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Only the Lonely

Luna is goofy and silly and funny.  And loud.  This afternoon our neighbors came over and she and her 5-year-old buddy boy were tearing through the house and yard playing tag and squealing with delight.  Oh, and you may have heard, she was part of a real theater for the summer and engaged in an awful lot of "Poke! Now Try To Catch Me" with brand new people.

I wouldn't really characterize her as shy.

So.  Here's my husband's report from today.

He went to the Y so Luna hung out in the child watch area (we call it the play room).  But when he picked her up, the caregiver told him that Luna didn't play with anyone and he found her in the corner sucking her thumb.

This is such a pitiful little image for me to picture.

I did some role plays with her at bedtime.  I asked her if she knows how to make a new friend.  She said no.  I said that she should talk to a new person and be friendly and say, "Hi, do you want to play with me?"  and she said, "...and be my friend?"  Then we practiced.  I played the role of the new child and Luna played herself.  All she had to do was say "hi" to me so I could say "hi" back and she could practice saying her friendly thing.  But whenever I said "hi" back to her she cracked up.  Apparently, the image of me as a three-year-old is hilarious.

I can't wait to hear the next report.  Maybe the caregiver will say that Luna approached the other children, said "hi" and then laughed at them.  Sigh.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Summer lunch

I'm going to miss these summer lunches.  The kids ate lunch at this picnic table almost every day.  Today we were able to sneak in a morning of swimming and a picnic lunch before the rain.

I was eating some seaweed salad.  I shared with Tulip.  "Mermaids eat this," I whispered to her.  She nodded knowingly.

"Do you know who is a mermaid in this family?" I asked.  She pointed to me, then to herself.

"I was a mermaid when I was a baby," she said.

"You were?  How do you know that?" I asked.

"I was swimming under water," she replied, grinning, while making a swimming motion with her arms.

Tulip was born underwater, you know.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

more on OP kids

We were at a hotel and Luna was not enjoying the swimming pool so she and Papa went back to the room to watch cable TV cartoons - huge treat.  I stayed in the pool with Wolfie and Tulip and when I say "in the pool" I guess I mean in the pool room because I actually sat in a chair and watched them swim and play.

Then a boy showed up, Sam.  He was unattended by an adult.  I mean, he was 8 and there are signs everywhere in that pool room that dictate that children must be accompanied by an adult, no lifeguard on duty, no one is allowed to be in the pool alone, etc.

No biggie.  Surely Sam's mom or dad or other adult would show up shortly.

No one showed up for Sam.  I got the impression after about 10 minutes that Sam gets to go places by himself.  At the modest age of 8, he seemed rather worldly.  I mean, he had a long blond pony-tail and the beginnings of some dreadlocks.

I can be the adult for my kids and OP kids (OP is other people, by the way, whom I wrote about in a previous blog entry).

But then!  I! Had! To! Poop!

Let's take a moment here to check in with reality.  As much as all of you delicate mamas would like the world to think that you do not poop, you do.  And you know that sometimes the urge comes on with extreme ferocity.  As was the case with me in the pool.  Well, pool room.

I tried to ignore it but mamas, the urge was calling to me something fierce.  Like I started to get chills and my shins were getting kind of shaky.  I was shifting around in my pool side chair like crazy.

So what do I do?  I tell all the kids to get out of the pool and sit together at a table and talk because I have to go to the bathroom and children are not allowed to be in the pool without an adult.

There.  The truth.

And then comes the moment of truth when you attempt the first negotiation with an OP kid who has unintentionally become your charge.

"Well, I can go in the pool by myself."  Really, Sam?  "Really, I can."  Because he is reading my mind.

Moment of truth.  Truth is, I'm a mom.  And even an OP kid has got to recognize that.  And the truth makes sense to all kids, OP or you own.

"Well, Sam, my kids are definitely not allowed to go in the pool without me here.  And even though you're probably a better swimmer than both of them, I would like you to join them at this table while I'm in the bathroom."

More truth, a little flattery, and a truth conclusion.

"Well, you're probably right," says Sam.

Thanks, OP kid.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Costco and strangers

We went to Costco and Luna has been in this climbing phase.  The freezers are on top of a cement step, a curb if you will, which naturally beckons to Luna.  She was climbing along, using the handles of the freezer doors to aid her in her climbing.  Probably imagining she was climbing a great rocky cliff...


I told her to get down.  Twice.  I mean, Costco is crowded and it doesn't need to be her playground.

So then I was looking at some rain boots and she climbed right on top of some man's flat screen TV.  It was in the box on a flat bed cart but still - she climbed on top of his TV!

"No, no, no. Get down," the man said to Luna.

She hustled over to me and looked mortified.  Now, this was a grandpa-man and he used a mild tone of voice and all things considered this stranger disciplining my child was all right by me.  In fact, it was terrific timing.  I crouched down to Luna's level and began, in my own mild tone, to explain that there is a reason why I tell her not to climb on things.  There is a reason for my rules.  This was a perfect example.  "You can't climb on top of that man's box."

I guess the man felt guilty or thought he may have scared Luna (which I really believe he didn't; she was truly remorseful for having made the mistake) so he came over to her and was really really gentle in saying, "I didn't mean to holler at you.  I just wanted you to get off the box so you wouldn't break anything.  Okay?" and then he rambled on a little bit more, making sure this toddler understood that he was not a big ol' meanie.  He even threw in a little "Hello sweetie, how are you?" to Tulip for good measure.

Once he left, Luna scrambled up into my arms and sincerely, oh so sincerely, said, "Mama, I'm really sorry I do that."  I wanted to cry over any chance that her feelings were hurt but actually I was really proud.  And, I admit, kind of psyched that this chance encounter happened and, I'll admit again, I kind of milked it with further reinforcing dialogue about why I have rules and why it's important to follow those rules, etc. and etc.

And I told her how proud I was that she said those good words to me.  And I reminded her that she's only three and it's okay to make mistakes.  She really didn't want to leave my arms.  I guess it was like the man's over-rambling to make sure we all understood that he wasn't a meanie; Luna really wanted me to know that she was sorry she do that.  And that she's three.  And that it was a mistake.

Then five minutes later some totally random grandma-lady stranger calls over to me with enough emphasis to make sure my children are paying attention to her, while reaching into her purse, "Mommy - can I give your children some candies?"

"No."  Enough said.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

August so far

Tulip picks clover and then plucks the petals apart and presents these green heart-shaped tokens of her affection to me with a big smile and her hands clasped together under her chin.  She also has a "cocoon" collection.  She has found four hollowed out cicada shells and has them tucked into what I would call one of my prettiest household accessories - a handmade, blue beaded bowl one would reserve for potpourri or a collection of shiny things.  Tulip keeps bug carcasses in this bowl.  They are nestled on a leaf.

I took the girls miniature golfing and it was Luna's very first time.  We came home an hour past bedtime but she immediately made cards for everyone in the family.  As she presented us each with a card we had to ask her to translate her purposeful scribble.  The cards were inscribed as follows:
To Mama: Thank you for taking me to Zao Island.
To Tulip: Thank you for taking me to Zao Island.
To Wolfie: Thank you for staying home when I went to Zao Island.
To Papa: Thank you for staying home with Wolfie when I went to Zao Island.
To Luna (herself): I went to Zao Island and I love it!

Tulip had her first soccer game of the season this morning and Wolfie, who is no longer playing soccer, told me he wanted to wear one of his old soccer shirts to Tulip's game.  Out of the six shirts we have collected over the years, I only saved the most recent one which happens to be maroon - the same color as Tulip's team.  They were thrilled to match.  At her game, at the start of it, Wolfie called out, "Have a good time, Tulip!"

At home there were two bright yellow finches right outside our window nibbling on the echinacea.  Just inches away!  "Look!" I pointed.  Luna let out a loud sound because she couldn't form the important words fast enough and had to say something.  Wolfie said, "Oh, wow" in his soft contemplative voice.  Tulip simply gasped, her breath genuinely taken away.

Oh my, oh my children truly take my own breath away.