Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy Birthday, Mom!

My mom used to joke that nobody in the house needed to be worried about anything, because she took care of it for all of us. There's more truth in that statement than I should admit.

I bet she was hoping when she got me shooed out of the nest, she could unload some of that worrying she was doing on my behalf. That didn't happen. Maybe, she thought, when I became a mom I would start to worry for myself. Unfortunately for her, I don't think this has happened, either.

I was sitting around a few days ago, trying to remember the many times I called her this year with the opening line "do you have a few minutes to talk"? For reference, she should hang up when I do this. But she doesn't. Instead, she lets me interrupt whatever she is doing, and I unload on her about something that's happening in my life - almost always related to my kids. She tries to troubleshoot the situation with me, and I know there have been many times when she's silently thought about her schedule, wondering what she was going to miss or need to reschedule if she came out to DC - which she has done and I'm sure will do again.

And after every one of these calls, I stop worrying. It's amazing. And I know, of course, it's because she's worrying, and that worry will be passed along into the universe and then whatever issue vexes me will be solved. It's not fair to her, but I just can't seem to break the habit. That phone is just so close.

So this year, for my mom's birthday, I tried to say thank you in some teeny-tiny way, for she does for me, without ever making it seem like I'm putting her out. I purchased her a needle-felting kit to make pumpkins, which is something we did when she was visiting last Fall. She had thought about looking for supplies, but I was pretty certain she hadn't tracked everything down yet.

Helen presented the gift, and I do think my mom was both surprised and happy.

And then, just to seal the deal, and perhaps to serve as a reminder for all those calls that were related to Connor this year, Connor gave her a potholder that he had made the artwork for. He was extremely proud of this potholder, and I'm pretty sure my mom liked it.

Next year, I should present her with the gift of not asking her to worry about me, but I'm guessing I'll be calling her within a few weeks saying "do you have a few minutes?". And like always, she'll probably let me interrupt her, and she'll talk me through whatever happens to be going on.


P.S. If the pumpkins aren't finished by summer, I'll sit down and felt them with you.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

First Lost Tooth

Connor has been nursing a loose tooth since some time in October. When I first discovered it was loose, Connor was thrilled. Then, he was not so thrilled, as he learned that the tooth didn't just fall out with no effort the next day. He was even less thrilled when he discovered that messing around with the tooth could cause soreness. The boy does not like to inflict pain on himself, which makes sense, of course.

I was content to let it just get pushed out in its own time, until I noticed another tooth coming in BEHIND the loose tooth. At that point, I told him the loose one needed to go and make room for the other because I did not want to have to deal with having two teeth in one space. So for the past few days, I wiggled the tooth whenever I thought about it (once or twice a day).

Connor had asked me a few days ago if I could make an appointment for the dentist to pull it out - and I wa$ not in favor of thi$ at all.

We were out with friends last night, and I asked Ellen if she pulled teeth. This next thing I'm going to write is why I adore Ellen so much. "Oh yes I do!" she said, followed by "let me get a paper towel". The woman is pure action when it comes to these parenting milestones.

But despite Ellen's willingness and enthusiasm for the project, she didn't pull the tooth because her older daughter intervened on Connor's behalf, laying herself across the table pleading "no, mom, it's going to hurt". Which turned Connor from being excited to fearful. Ellen tried to get her daughter to keep her yap shut, but that was not happening. The truth must be known!

Last night, when it was time to brush teeth, I told Connor I was going to work on his tooth again. Taking my cue from Ellen, I grabbed a paper towel and yanked the little bugger. It took two tugs and the thing was out. Only Connor had no idea it was out, so he was greeting me with a chorus of "owowowow" until his tongue finally found the space where his tooth once held on tight, and then he looked like this:

We carefully brushed the tooth, because Connor didn't want the tooth fairy to have to see any blood. He made certain the drain was covered - he was not going to lose this precious booty.

And, just as I had predicted, the tooth fairy left Connor a note, a gem, and a dollar. He's taken great care of the gem and can't wait to see if he gets another gem the next time.

I have a pretty good feeling that he'll get exactly that!


Sunday, December 16, 2012

My Job...

Like most parents, I have a lot of jobs. Some jobs are formal assignments, and some are things that just happened along the way. For example, I do the laundry, excluding sheets and towels. I also schedule activities for Connor and Helen, make sure Connor's backpack gets packed daily, and check on homework. Some days, my job is to walk Connor to school and some days, I walk him home. Some days, I am responsible for dropping Helen off at her school, and each Friday I pick her up from that same school.

I feel responsible for making sure my children are tucked into their beds at night, that their night lights are turned on, and that there's a clear path for them to exit their room should they need to go to the bathroom at some point in the dark. Or, more often, find the need to visit me in the middle of the night.

I right ships that go astray, I stand in wonder at a million little daily happenings, and I hold them tight. I do all of these jobs daily.

I teach them math at the mixing bowl, describe sequences in the patterns of pine cones, and compose silly sentences using "robust vocabulary words", not a one of which has actually seemed that robust.

I play Foosball, bunny store, and baby hospital. And while I do all of these, I think about their futures, and sometimes get struck by the fact that if all goes according to plan, just as they will never know the beginning of my story, I'll never know the endings of theirs.

I really hope I never know the endings of their stories.

The most important thing I do each day, is establish a rhythm that holds my children all day long, so that even when I am not there, they know they are safe. They don't have to worry what will happen next because they already know. Tomorrow's Monday will proceed almost exactly the same way as last week's Monday and if we're lucky, next week's Monday as well.

And when that rhythm gets disrupted, my job is to keep the world looking just as normal as possible. Because last Friday? That was an anomaly. And it's not going to change anything about how I do my job.

Friday, December 14, 2012

{this moment}

From SouleMama: {this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. Share your own moment in the comments or at

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Instructions for Santa

Helen and Connor have been poring over the toy catalogs for a few weeks now. Recently, Helen demanded that I cut a particular picture out of one of them so that she could give it to Santa. You see, last year, she requested a "baby nursery". And although she seemed pleased with her booty at the time, he didn't quite get it right.

She's requesting another baby nursery (how much baby crap does one kid need?) and she has a specific item in mind. It's a one-piece set-up that includes a changing table and baby bathtub. Luckily, she seemed equally excited about the possibility of another gift, and I have a strong feeling that other gift might be the one under the tree this year.

In any case, last year, I described Helen's present in this manner:

"For Helen, he purchased some more supplies for her illegal daycare, as she had requested a "baby nursery" from Santa - whatever the heck that is. (In case your child ever asks for this, Helen seemed pleased with some baby bunk beds, a baby bathtub, and some plastic feeding supplies). Dagger through my Waldorf heart those gifts were."

When I asked Helen why Santa needed the photo she responded "because last year he got me all this random baby stuff - he must not have known what a baby nursery was".

I almost fell over laughing when she said this.

Poor Santa. He just didn't know.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Man Time and Geocaching

Ed and Connor are now geocachers.

Last weekend, Helen and I went to a puppet show version of the Nutcracker. Connor opted to stay home and have some "man time" with Ed. As part of their adventures, they went in search of two geocaches. They discovered both of them.

Geocaches are hidden treasures, locatable with a GPS. The ones Ed and Connor found were mini-geocaches, where finders sign their name to a log, take the treasure that has been left for them, and leave a treasure in its place. Connor found a quarter and a penny. He left two glass gems.

Yesterday, the boys included Helen in their adventures. Sadly, they came up 0 - 2. But, Helen wasn't the least bit disappointed because even though she didn't find a treasure, she found a friend! Apparently the second location was a park and Connor and Helen met two children about their same ages.

Ed's and Connor's lifetime geocaching score is now 2 - 2.

Better luck next time!

Saturday, December 8, 2012


On our walk to school Friday morning, Connor and I had the unfortunate experience of walking behind a car spewing white exhaust. This prompted Connor to comment "I don't really like the smell of gas when it's being burned in a car engine. But I really, really like it when it's fresh. Sometimes, I walk into Dad's shed just so I can get a little smell of it".

I mentioned to Connor that it's not really good to sniff gas, and it can be hard on our bodies.

He clearly wasn't convinced and thought I was crazy.

Would it be going too far to ask Ed to install an exhaust fan in the shed?


Friday, December 7, 2012

{this moment}

From SouleMama: {this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. Share your own moment in the comments or at


Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Guinea Pigs Move On

A year and a half ago, Connor and Helen gave me guinea pigs for my birthday. They named them "Sparkle" and "Pussy" but thankfully, Pussy's name changed to Ella. Despite their initial enthusiasm for a pet, the excitement quickly faded, and probably for the last year, they've been a maintenance issue that offers no actual up-side.

Connor and Helen only notice the guinea pigs when they have a friend over, and then all the kids will play with the guinea pigs for about fifteen minutes before moving onto the next thing. Ed did the lion's share of pig maintenance (a condition of my approval in the first place), but I was regularly annoyed by bedding that escaped their house, or the smell that lingered at the top of the stairs when it was time to change the bedding.

Finally, I decided we were done with the guinea pigs. I told Connor and Helen I was getting rid of the guinea pigs, and Connor did feign sadness for a few minutes. This was easily appeased by agreeing to a fish, instead. Hopefully he'll forget about this, but even if he doesn't, I'd rather a tiny fish that will likely die within a couple of years than a guinea pig. Connor's main argument for why he ignored them most of the time was because he didn't have time. I agreed. We do not have enough time to play with the guinea pigs. He was right.

I advertised the pigs on a list I'm on, and there were no takers. Then I begged my friends to take them, and even one who adores guinea pigs refused.

I was starting to lose hope, so my friend and I started a campaign to convince another friend to take them. She did not fall for our clever claims of homework help and potty training assistance.

And then I advertised on another parenting list and 3 people wanted my pigs. THREE! Oh, how to choose the best home? I chose the one where there was an adult interested in having them. I figured that would make the maintenance tasks less tedious. Also, this family had a 5 year old kid, which Connor and Helen found appealing.

On their last night in our home, we played with the guinea pigs and took photographs. Connor and Helen were interested in them for about 20 minutes. I haven't heard a word about them since then.

Farewell, guinea pigs.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

St. Nicholas Day

This evening, Helen and Connor set out shoes with carrots in them, in the hopes that St. Nicholas would pass by our home. As it turns out, he did. Helen has been gifted some fancy chocolates and a small wooden sleigh driven by a snail. Connor has been gifted some chocolate kisses and a yo-yo, and our babysitter has also been gifted some fancy chocolates.

Tomorrow, Helen will likely receive a golden walnut at school, and Connor reports that St. Nicholas will drop a kiss off in his shoes while he's at P.E. Never mind that he doesn't actually have P.E. tomorrow!

St. Nicholas Day is a special day in my house, because it's also my sister's birthday. Strangely, her present is already wrapped and sitting under the Christmas tree. Now...should I mail it or just bring it home at Christmas. I have one other item to drop at the post office so maybe, just maybe, this will be the year she gets a gift on time - or just a little bit late.