Preschooler Stream of Conciousness

In our daily routine, my daughter and I play family. A lot. Everyday. Pretty much it’s the only thing she wants to play. If I have other things to do, it becomes ‘Doing-The-Dishes-Family’ or ‘Laundry-Folding-Family’. It’s fun for her as she loves to role-play, specifically when she gets to be in charge. Go figure.

This afternoon we were in the middle of ‘Church-Family’ when she decided that she was going to play our pastor from our church in Oak Harbor. “Let me go get my Bible!” she announced suddenly. With her Bible storybook in hand, she bounds back into the “church school”, aka my bedroom, to read me a story.

What ensued can only be described as a hilarious stream of consciousness.

“Hello class. (speaking to me and the dog) I’m Pastor Spencer. I’m going to read you a story today. This is church school. We learn about God here. And we go to school. ” (Her last preschool was at our church.)

“Let me see, where was I?” she asks as she flips through the glossy pages and rearranges the ribbon bookmark. “Oh! Yes! Chapter Oregano.” (Wait, wha–? Right! We’ve been cooking a lot lately.)

“God was on a ship. With Flamingos. They are pink which is my favorite color. And a snake. The snake wasn’t pink. And it ate a bunch of animals. Then they went to find a rainbow.” Turning the page she exclaims, “Yay! They found the rainbow!” Now breaking into song she sings, “Red-orange-yellow-green-and-blue-and-don’t-forget-purple-too!”

IMG_7961

“Then the pirates came and cleaned the ship. They were pirates on the ship, then they became human. God was there, too, but he fell out of the boat.”  The dog decides at that point to get up and lay back down in a more comfortable position. “Buck, you aren’t listening. You get a color change – you are on yellow!” (Her school has a behavior color change system; Green=good, Yellow=warning, Orange=Time Out, Red=Principal referral.) “No, Buck. This isn’t the time to play fetch!”

“Now where was I again?”

This girl seriously cracks me up. She has a crazy imagination and will talk to herself and all her menagerie of characters for hours. More often than not, I can gather what she’s really saying and identify exactly where in real life she’s pulling it from. Today? I am sure that our pastor, as well as her previous preschool teachers, never talked about God falling out of the Ark, a snake eating people, or chapters of the Bible being labeled as spices.

I can’t wait to see what happens at church tomorrow!

Advertisements

I Had No Idea

As a kid, you must have imagined what it was like to be an adult. Now that you’re a grownup (or becoming one), how far off was your idea of adult life?

This prompt from a few weeks ago made me laugh out loud. My vision was WAY off! My son recently exclaimed that when he becomes a grown-up, he will do whatever he wants to do, (like play iPad all day, everyday)! Didn’t we all think that being an adult was going to be the best? That we would have freedom and no one would tell us what to eat, when to go to bed, make us do homework and chores? That is the irony, I suppose, that when we have freedom, we don’t necessarily recognize it for what it is because at every stage of life, we have our worries. We are in our “big time” right then. Only in hindsight can we fully understand how we grow over time. Only then can we fully comprehend what freedom really looks like.

Recently, I wrote about what I do all day as a stay-at-home-parent. I, in no way, pictured this sort of life as a kid. I planned to work. Kids weren’t really on the horizon. I’ve worked since I was about 14, so it was always just a given. I think as a kid, I figured I would have kids and family life, but I never really considered it. I never contemplated should I stay home or work. Growing up my own mom worked, and it just was the way it was.

There is a picture of me as a 4-year-old at my parents’ house. It’s of me with four band-aids on my knees with a microphone in my hand singing with headphones over my ears. Not only did I want to be a singer (which would never happen as anyone who has heard me sing will attest.) I was pretending to “fly” like Super Grover and “flew” down the driveway, thus sustaining my scraped-knee injuries. I literally thought I could fly, that I could be like Super Grover. I wanted to be an actress on a soap opera. I wanted to live in New York. I wanted to be a dancer. I wanted to be a linguist or an interpreter. I wanted to ride horses. I wanted to be a vet (until I accompanied my cat to her check up and discovered how temperatures are taken.) I changed vocational passions every week or two.

Flash forward to 37, two kids, a dog and a hubby and it is not at all what I would have thought my life would be like. When you have little-to-no life experience, you don’t know what’s out there. I had no idea I would marry a man in the military. I had no idea I would stay home full time to raise a family. I had no idea. About anything.

I had no idea that I would love my kids so fiercely. And be willing to fight for them like nothing else.

I had no idea that I could be so dang tired.

I had no idea that living in different places would grow me as a person, stretch my comfort zones, but most of all, lead me to all sorts of wonderful people I am lucky enough to call friends.

I had no idea that unloading the dishwasher, stepping on a misplaced Lego, or repeating myself fifty thousand times would make me want to tear my hair out.

I had no clue about noise. How much of it kids make, and how much I would bask in silence when it occurs.

I had no idea that having children would drastically change the way I saw my husband, how watching him become a parent with me would deepen our relationship in ways I couldn’t imagine.

I had no idea that I would fall in love with a dog. That I wouldn’t mind scooping poop.

I had no idea that I would actually hold out my hands to “catch” when my children show signs of vomiting. (And it wouldn’t make me sympathy-vomit.)

I had no idea how much I would value my alone time. Time to just think, pray, reflect and just be me, outside of my role in the family.

I had no idea how much I would come to crave really good chocolate. And wine.

I always thought of myself as a suburban girl, preferring a city with lots of things to do and places to go. I had no idea how much I would crave living in wide open spaces.

I had no idea that motherhood would be simultaneously the hardest, and best, thing I’ve ever done.

I just had no idea.

This life is not anything I could have dreamt, but in so many ways it’s more than I deserve, more than I could’ve asked for, and far richer than I could’ve imagined.

Perhaps my son is on to something. This being a grown-up thing is pretty darn cool.

Lemons, Lemonade and other Crap

Ever have the kind of life where everything goes smoothly in ALL areas? Yeah, me neither.

First the good stuff! My daughter was first on the wait list at her PreK and was able to get in class this week! This means I have 3 hours ALONE! To do with as I choose! Yahoo! Do you hear that? Listen really close….
Yeah, it’s quiet! I LOVE that sound!

Having these hours to myself has been just what I’ve needed. For the first time in nearly 6 years, I have a regular time that I am alone. As an introvert, I need this time like I need air. I’ve mainly been using it as exercise time.

The three hours to myself during the week allows me to refocus my goals. One is to be a “streaker” like my niece (you can read her awesome blog here!) and run at least a mile a day consecutively for 100+ days. The other is to complete my yearly mileage goal of 500 miles. This goal was set based on The Proclaimers’ song, I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles). I’ve reached a yearly goal of 300 before, and I thought 500 sounded good and, well, I just really like that song. And I plan to play it all day long come January 1st! I love going for a solo run…it really is my therapy.

I also use this time to pick up groceries, clean up around the house or do the little stuff that is just so much easier sans minions.  I also play fetch with Buck. A lot. I cherish these few hours.

As for the lemons, it’s been a regular orchard around here this week. After begging to go to school for the past 5 weeks, my daughter has cried and said she doesn’t want to go every. single. day. At pick up, she’s all smiles and laughter and non-stop diarrhea-mouth about how much fun she’s had and what her day entailed. In the morning she seems to suffer from amnesia as it’s tears watching the clock tick down to class time. I know I’m doing the right thing, and we are gentle with our encouragement, but man is it hard on the parental heart to see that lip quiver as she walks away from me.

My son is learning what to do and not to do with our family pet. Poor Buck. The dog has had blankets thrown on him, been chased, chased the kids (Go BUCK!), dodged clumsy legs that weren’t watching where they were going, got too close to mom’s feet in the kitchen, and even taken a tennis ball to the face. On purpose. If Buck the dog were a horse, he would be bombproof. I got the chance to make friends with a lizard as it impaled itself into my legs trying to escape the rain as I let the dog out. That involved the usual squeals and general freak outs. The dog looked at me as if I were insane. I probably aged a decade.

And the pièce de résistance of the week was the call I got from the principal of my dear son’s school. She called to inform me of an “incident” involving both my son and another student. The kid kicked my son, Jacob tripped him and “accidentally” bit him on the nose. How the heck does one “accidentally” bite another? Perhaps we should ask Mike Tyson. Oy.

Yeah, I know. When life hands you lemons…Ugh. It’s so easy to say trite things that we *think* are helpful, but in reality the opposite is true. It’s not helpful. I don’t want lemonade, dammit.  Gimme that glass of wine!

What about your week? Lemonade or wine?

New

Everything.

Everything has changed in the last two months. New city, new state, different climate, new house, new bigger bugs, routines – all of it.

And, my first started kindergarten this week.

As I sit snuggled with him in our rocking chair, feeling the steady rise and fall of his breath, I smell his washed-last-night hair. Everyone tells us how fast it goes. I just want to inhale this moment and press pause. Savor it.

The first day was rough, coming home from school telling us how he didn’t like school, it was too long, he didn’t make any friends, etc. (It didn’t help that a scheduling fiasco at Hannah’s school made me late to pick up Jake, prompting all sorts of chaos.)

I had to learn the intricate child pickup route, and that if I don’t go early enough, both Jake and I get to wait an additional 40 minutes.
I learned that after just 2 days, my son has “got it, mom!” and to just leave him at the door. He didn’t want Hannah and I to walk him into class anymore. I learned how to swallow the catch in my throat and the sting in my eye and simply wish him a good day.

I learned that my son didn’t speak up for three days when he didn’t get milk for his lunch – even after I’d set up money for it. By the end of the week he asked the teacher and they showed him how to go in and just buy milk by telling the lady his name.

He’s learning so much every day. He’s sleeping like a rock at night, completely wiped out from the day.

He’s learning the true value of the weekend.

New stuff is scary. Transitions are exciting, but unsettling. As the cardboard sea around us begins to diminish, we are getting used to the new. Though a rough couple of days, they are adapting. We are adapting.

It’s all new. And every little thing’s gonna be alright.

What I Do All Day

Oh boy. Here we go.

Before I fan the flames of the so-called mommy-wars (which is the most ridiculous moniker), let me preface  by saying it is not my intention to say working moms are better/worse than work from home moms, or vice versa. Being a mom is hard, period, regardless of how one goes about it. Note: I use the term “work from home mom” because being a mom is WORK, even if you don’t cash a paycheck. 

When my first (and at the time only) child was around 4 months old, conversations were happening all around me about what moms do all day. Those that chose to work outside of the home felt strongly that they would be bored, or that they just weren’t cut out to do the at-home thing. In abundance were assumptions like, “My house would be so clean!” and other such nonsense. On the flip side, those that chose to be at home couldn’t fathom how to fit in punching a time clock. About the same time, I remember seeing a letter to Dear Abby from a working mom who was ticked off that a friend now didn’t seem to have time for her after having a baby. “What does she do all day?” the letter writer mused.

Today I took stock of everything I did. I wrote it all down. Just so I could see what exactly it is I do all day.

  • Woken up by 3-year-old at 4:40am. Soothed her back to sleep. In her sleep she clings to my back, nudging me ever closer to falling off the bed. She is a heater and I am now sweaty and hot.
  • 5:15am: Son joins us in bed as husband hits the shower. I become a mom sandwich.
  • 6:30am: Am poked in the face by grinning 3-year-old daughter. She announces that it’s time to go downstairs.
  • 6:35am: Heading downstairs, I am hollered at to “WAIT! Mommy! I HAVE to hold your hand when we go down!” Silly me, I forgot. I have but two things on my mind: breakfast and coffee.
  • 6:36am: Turn on kettle for coffee and contemplate breakfast options. Hmmmm, scramble? Pray that we have bacon.
  • 6:45am: Hubby leaves for work. Kids beg him to stay home and play. Every. Single. Day. I again remind them that Daddy going to work means we have food to eat.
  • 6:46-7:00am: Put away last night’s dishes, reminding myself to do them tonight so I don’t have to start tomorrow already ‘behind’. Start breakfast. Suddenly remember that the laundry I started last night is still in the wash and will likely need to be re-washed to eliminate musty smell from sitting wet. The laundry room is by the garage, which is also where our freezer is located. Mental note: pull something out for dinner tonight. While sniffing clothes for evidence of mold, debate whether to put them in the dryer and let the bounce fabric softener take care of it or just rewash. Check dryer and there is a load of clothes in there. Not wanting to fold, I restart the washer AND the dryer. Dryer = ironing. Yay! Look at me I’m multitasking! Washing AND drying at the same time.
  • 7:00am: Pry minions off of the T.V. or whatever else they are doing and hit the table. Remind them that this is breakfast – if they are hungry they need to eat now, and to please refrain from asking for waffles as we are driving to preschool. (Sometimes I wonder if they think I have a mini fridge in the car.)
  • 7:30-8:30am: Assemble workout gear. Wrestle sports bra, burning calories before I even workout! Get myself dressed. Play “Rain down clothes on my head” aka: throwing the kids’ clothes over the bannister while they run back and forth trying to avoid getting beaned in the head by socks and shirts. Luckily for them, my timing stinks! (Makes my day when I nail ’em, though!)
  • 8:30-8:45am: Time to head to school! Find shoes, coats, and school bags and get in the car. Sometimes I start this process at 8:20 because it takes that long to get in the car. Who knew it could take 20 minutes to put on shoes, walk 10 feet and buckle up?!
  • 8:45-9:00am: Drive to preschool, playing “I spy” and “Slugbug” on the way. We spy the same things every. single. day. And I know where all the parked Volkswagens are located on our route.
  • 9:01am: Sigh of relief as 2.5 hours just opened up. This feels like the clouds of heaven parting for the singing of angels.
  • 9:15-10:30am: Workout with the neighborhood ladies. (So fun!)
  • 10:30-10:45am: 15 minute window to cram in 1 errand that is preferable to do sans kids. Usually it’s the post office or a quick grocery run.
  • 10:45-11:15am: Race home, wrestle sports bra back off (which is now sweaty and much more of a challenge), hop in and out of the shower, find clothes that don’t look like I picked them up out the floordrobe. (Foor + wardrobe = floordrobe. That’s the pile of clothes that isn’t dirty, but I’m too lazy to put away.) Throw goo in the fro and off I go to pick up the minions.
  • 11:30am: Pick up minions. They insist on running around the grassy area at school for at least 15-30 minutes. Cool. Wear yourself out!
  • Noon: Back at home, we clean up dishes and prepare for lunch. While lunch is in the works, I remember forgotten laundry and promptly switch loads. Finally remember to take out of the freezer what will become dinner. Fold a load of clothes, but don’t have time to put away just yet. Throw ingredients into machine to make bread. Lunch is ready!
  • 12:30pm: Hear all about school day and whether minions had any time outs. May also be entertained by random preschool song. Decide what needs to be done between now and dinner.
  • 1pm: Head outside to play (ignoring what needs to be done) because it is finally sunny out. Promptly get blown away by crazy windy Whidbey weather. Oy. 5-year-old suggests frisbee. In the wind it should be called boomerang. Play tag instead.
  • 2pm: Kids watch a show, play play dough, ask for a snack, build with legos and/or draw. Then puzzles or games. I am still determining what we will have for dinner. Put away some laundry while playing “get your booty” up the stairs. (That’s me pretending I’m going to pinch their rears as they run away squealing.) Put all the laundry away while we are playing hide and seek. I hide in a good spot to catch a quick nap.
  • 2:01: Damn. They found me.
  • 3pm: Get serious and start picking up. Laundry, vacuum, scrub a toilet or two, inevitably making it a game for the kids who beg to help, thus making the task take twice as long, and do some writing. Mow the lawn if it’s getting too shaggy. Finalize dinner plans, do any prep work/marinating etc.
  • 4:30-5pm: Hubby arrives home. Round 2 of angel chorus singing. Catch up on the details of the day while kids exclaim “Hooray! Daddy’s home!” Daddy retreats to mental man cave to decompress from the day. Hide and seek doesn’t work for him either. Minions are becoming stealthy. They find him.
  • 6pm: Dinner makes it to the table. We eat and then clean up. This time, I do all the dishes so tomorrow I can come down to a sparkly kitchen.
  • 6:45pm: Bath, teeth, stories, bed.
  • 7:15-8:45pm: Live the real life version of the beloved children’s book, “Seriously, Just Go to Sleep”. They are finally out. Round 3 of angel chorus singing.
  • 8:45-10pm: Everything that didn’t get done is crammed into this time slot before we hit the hay. Mail, bills, laundry, mopping floors, writing for work, designing workouts, internet research, television date nights, and more singing of angels.
  • 10:01pm: Coma.

And that’s my day! No daytime TV or bon bons for this mama! (What is a bon bon anyway?)

What is the best part of your day?

It’s Happened…

It has officially happened.

I woke up this morning and realized: I am a parent. Beyond simply giving birth and raising a family, I’ve become that parent. You know what I’m talking about. Driving my minivan, crumbs all over the floor from breakfast on the way to school, and on our way to (drum roll please) t-ball practice!

I drive a minivan and cart my kids to sporting activities.

Yep, I’ve officially arrived. Card-carrying parent. I did in fact have my mom camera handy, too. If you catch me wearing mom-jeans outside of Halloween, please, please for the love of all that is good and holy, schedule an intervention!

In the mean time, enjoy the pics I snapped of my kid’s first practice!

IMG_5153 IMG_5143 IMG_5145 IMG_5153

It should also be noted that my husband is now a Dad. As in that Dad. He’s the assistant coach of the Dragons. (Given Jake’s love of all things fire-breathing, he was thrilled when we told him the team name!) They practiced throwing the ball and learned where all the bases were.  We learned that if there are a pile of white  whiffle balls with one red one in the pile, all the kids will fight over the red one.

Yay team Dragons! Yay parenthood!

On Transitions

I don’t like transitions. Point A is fine. Point B is great. The messiness of the in between is scary and uncertain. I don’t like the messiness. At all. And for me, this applies to multiple areas of my life.

In potty training my daughter, the convenience of Pull-Ups is great. But, I am overjoyed at the idea of being a diaper-free family. Getting from Pull-Ups to being completely diaper free: messy. Literally. Who knew you needed an ENTIRE roll of toilet paper for one visit to the bathroom. Apparently my daughter believes this as we have clogged the toilet not once, but multiple times.

Messy.

While training for my first triathlon, I’m excited about each individual portion (swim, bike, and run), but the transitions leave me feeling nervous and scared that I’m going to forget something I’ll need, or that it’ll take me too long and I’ll be dead last. (Horror of 1st world horrors, I know!)  Yes, cognitively I understand that it’s my first time doing this and there’s bound to be a learning curve, but I like to “know it before I know it”, as my mother says. I keep telling myself that if I can just make it through the swim portion (and not drown) and get on the bike, it’ll be fine! And it will.

Uncertain.

The two week period before the hubbs goes on deployment – MESSY. And sometimes ugly. We are both separating emotionally and it’s just rough. We both know it’s coming, so as a defense mechanism we pick little fights and push each other away as if that will make parting easier. Every military family goes through this transition. The first day of the deployment is better than any day within this two week transition period!

And the transition back to family life after a deployment: MESSY! (But fun, too!)

I like knowing. I like concreteness. It’s comforting.

Faith isn’t concrete, yet it’s comforting. We don’t concretely see the wind, but we feel it and know that it’s there. As much as I don’t like transitions and the uncertainty and messiness they can bring, they are necessary. Often it’s only after I’ve arrived at point B that I can look back with 20/20 vision and see just how the “messiness” of the transition served a bigger purpose than just getting to the destination. That whole “life being a journey” and all that.

While I don’t know if I’ll ever LOVE being in the messy and uncertain, I can say that I understand it’s value. Enough to grit my teeth, smile and fake it ’till I make it!  And learn to enjoy it along the way, even when I can’t see with that hindsight vision just yet.

IMG_2537