Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Meeting the Need

Perhaps it is the sugar, the change in sleep habits and just the energy of the holiday excitement but my kiddos are out of whack the last several days. I am too I suppose, we have been nestled in the house for several days watching snow and playing games – which is wonderful but it hasn’t exactly allowed for any energy release. So here we are not quite through the holiday season and we are all a bit antsy and irritable. So today we are working to rebalance our home. Hubs went to the office, I am cleaning and doing laundry, the kids are snacking on healthful foods, playing with toys and napping, and of course the TV and radio are off.

Yet, even as I work to get our energy aligned again I am still hearing loads of whining and fussing and find myself getting irritated and in my head saying (ok, yelling), “WHAT!? What is it!??” While the kids were napping I was reading up on Nonviolent Communication and was reminded that as humans (and especially in children) everything one expresses is in search of having a need met. It may be something basic like food, rest or exercise or something deeper like attention, validation, praise, direction, reassurance…you get the idea. I had to remind myself that my children (although bright as can be and excellent little communicators) still struggle to share their needs. In part because it is often difficult for them to even know what exactly it is that is bothering them, let alone what they need to make them feel better. A child of four cannot express feelings of hyper-anxiety from too much sugar and not enough rest; they simply act out with undesirable behavior. I am reminded that it is my job as mother to not just listen, but to feel the needs of my kids. By paying attention to their rhythms and responses I have the ability and the duty to respond to their needs. Some days it feels a little like a long process of elimination to get to the “Ah! That’s what you needed!” moment, but it is always worth it when I do.

I think because children come with such obvious noise and chatter it gets a easy at times to shut the noise out; to ignore the cries and the pleas (and the arguing!) but all that type of parenting seems to lead to is a wrecked kid and an angry parent (typically both shouting), never any good for anyone.

I wish I were more patient and calm than I am. I must remember my journey of motherhood is just that, a journey. I worry about my parenting mistakes but am also amazed at the resiliency, forgiveness and desire for love and peace that is always present between my children and I. For this, I am grateful.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Did you win?

For those of you who bet against me that I would not actually return the shit toys from target, you win.

Damn. It.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Thank God it wasn’t Maracas!

Although we stayed cozy here in Missouri this Christmas, we have family who were celebrating in Michigan. Last year we were together (Itty Bitty had just been born) and it was great. This year even though we were not together the family shipped gifts down, giving us a bit of Michigan Christmas love.

Keurig Coffee Pot (Limited Edition!) for the hubs and I. Sounds wonderful except we are now having a throw down as to where it will go; here at home or at the hubs office. I have to admit, if I still had an office I would want one of these bad boys sitting on my credenza too! I will let you know who wins…

Homemade strawberry jam (among other things) for Rock Star; of which we all participated in eating this morning. As we all sat around the table gobbling down the delicious jam we endured glares from Rock Star letting us know that if he had to eat a PB&J with smuckers jelly anytime in the near future we would pay dearly.

Itty Bitty was given a doll that she loves but has me completely freaked. Can’t exactly put my finger on it, but there is just something about this thing that makes me feel like I need to watch over my shoulder…? The baby also has one of those bottles that looks like the milk disappears when you tip it, leaving Itty Bitty pissed that she is unable to enjoy any of the milk. Rock Star keeps telling her, “It’s M-A-G-I-C” like she is supposed to suddenly understand and be cool with the bottle that gives her nothing.

So here we are the day after enjoying coffee and jam, playing hide the weird baby doll from the baby. Gotta love the holidays.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Toys Suck.

Warning: You are about to read lots of naughty words. Sorry Grandma.

So the hubs and I went to Target today to buy gifts for the kids. I am pretty restrictive when it comes to birthday and holiday gift giving where my family is concerned. As a family we are aggressively working to be more consumption conscious while teaching our children happiness, joy and entertainment do not need to come from things. That being said, we buy our children three gifts for Christmas: one small item for their stocking (plus fruit and nuts), one gift from us and one from Santa. The hubs and I no longer exchange gifts and I have a rule that you only get a gift from our family if we are celebrating together, I do not ship stuff. I will however send homemade gifts of the heart. So my point is…we have very little shopping to do. One quick trip to Target and we are done.

Well, I say Target but what I really mean is the mother-fucking toy shithole of the world. I wanted to get the kids some gentle quiet toys that would allow them to use their imaginations and not be reliant on batteries, lights and noise. No such fucking luck. Nothing. Nothing at all. I could not find anything that did not talk, light-up, blink, sing, or generally rot the small brains it is intended to entertain. Shit.

December 22 and I am a bust. Hmm…could this be the year we give up Santa and tell the kids our family gift will be a day of board games together??? Here I walk the thin line between beautiful, wholesome mommy who will broaden the minds of my children and mommy the crazy bitch who robs my babies of Christmas to serve my own belief system. Damn. Buy toys I must.

I caved, somewhat.

1. Sleds – actually happy with this one given we are supposed to be getting nailed with a snowstorm Christmas Eve.
2. Little People figurines and Schoolhouse – unfortunately plastic. Here love, have a little C-A-N-C-E-R with that toy…
3. Lightening McQueen GeoTrax System. Gag. Loud, batteries required and I guarantee you it will lose it’s luster within 3 days.

Not happy. Toys suck. I have already started knitting next year’s gifts.


I wrote the above last night then forgot to post it. Today I went to Pottery Barn for Kids and was able to score some wonderful wooden toys for the Rock Star (a HUGE Pirate Ship with figurines) and a barn made of corduroy with fabric animals for Itty Bitty. Sigh. Feeling much better.

BTW – the other shit is getting returned.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Open Letter to Glitter

Dear Sparkly Crafty Glitter,

I give. I break. You win. You seem oh-so-innocent sitting there on the Hobby Lobby shelf. Looking beautiful and fun, begging to be bought and given to the smiling faces of my children. You seem so harmless and wonderful. Everyone loves you, right? You inspire me to create and to allow the creativity to flow out of my kids.

Then I took you out of the freaking package. What have you done to me? Why do you conspire with glue to do such damage to our lovely home? How did you get in my hair and between my boobs!? Your sparkly beauty is now a sheet of migraine inducing scum on my floor, kitchen table and my children.

I would also love to know exactly how you remain completely resistant to the broom, my vacuum and every Swiffer product created? Damn you to hell Glitter. You are killing me softly. I am becoming obsessed, I cannot forget about you hanging out in my kitchen and dining room. I thought about you while running errands today and thought I had a plan to delete you from my life once and for all (can you say lint roller? I know, genius huh?) and then…while cleaning the last remaining scrapes from this morning art event I saw it: The most wonderfully shiny, sparkly, beautifully happy glittered snowman ever created. He took my breath away.

Glitter Snowman will hang for the next several weeks and each day I will gladly attempt in vain to clean the fairy dust droppings you will leave. The hubs has been right all these years; want me to get over being pissed? Just dangle something shiny in my direction.

Thank you Glitter, for the smiles you have brought into our home. Thank you from the bottom of my glue and glitter incrusted socks.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Things my kids have made me say (that I never thought I would)

-Please stop licking the remote
-Don’t pee on that again
-Well, you ate it hopefully you will poop it out.
-What is that horrific smell!? Oh shit, it’s me.
-It’s not that old, you can still eat it.
-Where did this poop come from?
-No. Stop. You may not eat your brother’s toes.
-I am just pooping, nothing you need to watch.
-Uh, honey, we need to go back home. I forgot to put a bra on.
-I just peed my pants a little.
-If I can get at least three hours of sleep I am fine.
-Come here, let me pick it and see what happens.
-Use your sleeve…
-She/he had it first (872 times in one day!)
-What do you mean you don’t have a diaper changing station? Ok, well I will just use your lobby then. (said of course with my middle finger tone)
-Friday night? Sure, we will just need to be home by 6:30.
-Just spit it in my hand.
-Where are your pants and underware? (to a child coming in from playing outside!); You pooped WHERE?
-I know Survivor Man eats bugs, but it is still not a good idea for you to do it.

I am dying to tell...

Keeping up with this whole Santa thing is exhausting. Rock Star is four and the questions are relentless. I am now having trouble keeping up with my own answers. We went to the Mayors Christmas tree lighting last week, where of course Santa arrived via a bus converted into a sled on wheels. Rock Star anxiously waited in line to see Santa but upon climbing onto his lap he immediately started nailing Santa with questions…

Why did you drive that bus?
Where are your Reindeer?
How do you fit all the presents on your sled? Because the world is big you know.
What is your house like?
Where are the elves?
Do you have lights on your house?

By this time Santa is clearly getting annoyed as Rock Star is not letting him get a word in and is being completely non-responsive to Santa’s questions, Have you been a good boy? and What do you want for Christmas? It was freaking hysterical, all the other children gladly hopped up and rattled off what they wanted, snap-snap a picture and they went excitedly on their way. Not my kid. No, no…my kid wants to debate Santa and pick the scab of practical reality.

As I am dragging Rock Star away, still shouting questions at Santa…and Santa completely trying to pretend my child isn’t still there, I found myself desperately trying to convince him how wonderful it was to see Santa. “Wasn’t that g-r-e-a-t!? Isn’t Santa nice? You really, really got to see him! How exciting!”

He wasn’t having any of it. He crawled into his sister stroller and under a blanket and just kept glaring with this total “that dude is full of bullshit” look on his face. Now, his belief in Santa hasn’t been shaken – he still believes. He just thinks Santa is a little off his rocker.

And here is my other issue: I hate teaching my kids that if you are good you get presents and if you are bad you don’t. I just think the association to a holiday about the gift of Christ and Gods love and grace which is ever present regardless of how “naughty” is way too much of a contradiction. Additionally, we work all year to teach our children to not be greedy and to consume less. As a family we are aggressively working toward simpler living…then here comes Christmas and wham! Stuff, stuff, and more stuff. Lists of “I wants” and believing that the mailman exists only to bring packages from out-of-town family. I am dry-heaving a little as I write this.

I am so close to telling. Oddly enough the only thing holding me back is the wrath I would most certainly endure from other parents when my child announces to their child that Santa isn’t real…ouch!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

We have a turtle

…of sorts. So my sweet little Itty Bitty in all her tiny daintiness is a farter. A big farter. She farts often and loud. In addition to all the farts, she laughs. Yes, she thinks her farts are utterly hilarious. So whenever there is a fart heard in the house we all joke and laugh trying to guess if the culprit is Rock Star or Itty Bitty. Rock Star loves this game. He loves blaming his farts on his sister. However, Itty Bitty isn’t always available to blame.

Scene: Rock Star’s BFF love, QT Patootie is over and they are practicing jumping from the end table onto the couch (yes that’s right they were jumping on the furniture and I did not stop them – get over it…) and he farts, she giggles; and this conversation takes place:

QT: Rock Star! You farted! (laugh, laugh, laugh)
Rock Star: No I didn’t.
QT: Yes you did, I heard it.
Rock Star: That wasn’t me. (okay, at this point I am trying to figure out how he is going to blame Itty Bitty when she is nowhere in sight)
QT: Then who was it? Because, it wasn’t me!
Rock Star: It was my turtle.
(Yeah, that’s right, he is now blaming an imaginary TURTLE?!?)
QT: You have a turtle!?
Rock Star: Yeah! He is green and really small.
QT: Where is he?
Rock Star: I think he is under the couch cushions.

So for the next hour Rock Star led QT all through the house (tearing it apart I might add) looking for the farting turtle. I don’t know what was more perplexing; the fact that QT so blindly believed him and so eagerly went turtle hunting or the fact that the more they looked for it, the more it seemed Rock Star seemed to believe he too was looking for a farting turtle.

So it has been several days now and we are still being haunted by the farting turtle, or so we all choose to believe.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Too Good for Words

Some moments in life are so good there are simply no words for them.

-A long hot shower after a hard day’s work outside
-Waking up to the first snow of the year
-The first intentional hugs my babys are able to squeeze around my neck
-Coffee with my love on a Saturday morning while the kids are still sleeping
-A note in the mail from friend on the day I am crying my eyes out
-The sight of a couple so in love after all their children and grandchildren are grown they almost melt into one being
-The sight of a child’s free spirit in flight
…and my personal favorite, my kids falling asleep snuggled up in my arms.
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