March 23, 2015

Learning to love this age

I'm not sure how my children got to be school age so quickly.  On Saturday, we went to the zoo and they ran everywhere.  We were practically the only family without a wagon or stroller.  Part of me missed those days--portability and a place to stash my purse.  I looked at my children and realized, not only aren't they babies anymore, but they're not preschoolers either.  At just six and eight they're not packing for college yet but they seem to be taking the steps toward independence two at a time.  With each young family we passed, I found myself longing for the good old days of diaper bags and sippy cups.

One thing other parents have taught me is that the years will fly by whether I enjoy the days or not.  And there is so much to enjoy.  My boys and I have wise and witty conversations, punctuated by their innocence and optimism.   They watch Pokemon battles on dvd while snuggled under their favorite blankets holding stuffed animals.  They are too "cool" to say a word when I drop them off at school in the morning but run into my arms when I pick them up in the afternoon.  They beg for Minecraft but happily spend hours watching Mickey Mouse cartoons in their pajamas.

Speaking of pajamas, the other day while I was folding laundry and he was getting ready for bed, Henry announced, "Mom--in two years I'll be a tween."  I caught my breath in shock and agreement.  I didn't dare say a word.  Then, as he slipped one leg into his footie pajamas, he asked "What's a tween?"  I explained and then watched for a full five minutes as he struggled valiantly to right the inside-out sleeves of his dinosaur fleece jammies.  The sleeves flapped behind him; he pivoted to catch one and then the other, pulling his long skinny arms through.  Exhausted, he gave up when it came to the sticky zipper.  With his tween comment still ringing in my years,  I was glad to help. As I pulled the zipper to his chin he thanked me then ran upstairs trailing his beloved Superman blanket behind him.

What's not to love?  As someone once said, "The great thing about getting older is that you don't lose all the other ages you've been."  Thank goodness.

March 16, 2015

If You Can't Be Kind, Be Quiet

Originally I was going to title this post, "People Are Annoying".  Isn't that the truth.  Last week I had a troubling conversation with someone as I was getting ready to head home for the weekend.  This person, we'll call her Charlotte, is an acquaintance with whom I occasionally exchange greetings and comments about the weather.

A friend and I were speaking of motherhood when Charlotte joined us launching into a sermon about why women over 35 should not become mothers.  "They just don't have the energy to properly raise a child.  A women in her fifties cannot parent a teenager.  It's physically impossible.  What seems like a good idea at first, is definitely not because her body will just give out and leave the child fending for himself while she is on the couch trying to survive menopause."

Huh.  Talk about taking all the air out of the room.  There wasn't much to say in response to her strong feelings.  Maybe she speaks from experience but I hate to think that her words are gospel.  Of course I'm tired much of the time.  I attribute that to working full time AND being a full time mom without a nanny/housekeeper--not to being a mom who had her children after the age of 35.  For heaven's sake, people over fifty run marathons, Fortune 500 companies and the country.  It may take better nutrition, regular exercise and salon treatments but then isn't that best practice for anyone, regardless of their age?
People who say it can't be done, should not interrupt people who are doing it. 
-George Bernard Shaw
But wait, there's more.  In a defensive moment, I whipped out my phone and started showing photos of the hands-on activities I do with my boys.  Charlotte made a comment about how big my sons are getting and then asked, "Do they have the same father?"

What is that sound when someone yanks the tape out of a recorder?  That's what I need to type here.
 Did I mention that Charlotte and I are simply acquaintances and have never even shared a one to one chat over coffee?

Who looks at a mom's photos and then asks if her children have the same father? What an incredibly tacky question to ask.  It's not less rude because I conceived my children via a medical procedure.  Since Charlotte is clearly not of childbearing age, she's not asking for information while on her own family-building journey.  She's simply being nosy.

I was so shocked at this woman's effrontery, I simply nodded my head to answer her inquiry.  If I could rewind the tape (you know, the one I yanked out earlier) I would explain that my children do not have a father.  The same genetic donor made each of their lives possible.  I have never pretended anything else.  Beginning, middle and end of story.

Shaking her head slightly, Charlotte went on to make the unoriginal comment "it is a different world today."  Yes.  Yes it is.  I won't be the last person she meets whose family came together in a new and different way.  She needs to know that the nontraditional structure of a family does not give near strangers the right to ask impertinent questions.

But wait, there's even more.  Would you be terribly surprised to learn that during this very awkward interaction, Charlotte also made a Vince Vaughn comment?  As in that Dreamworks' masterpiece I wrote about here.  Let me tell you, once someone goes there, they have lost any and all credibility in my eyes.  Mentally I just cut them off.  They don't exist for me anymore.  It's not worth my time to sink to their level.  Because that would be exhausting.

March 9, 2015

Do you hear what I hear?

It must be spring!  The birds are singing and the sap is running.  We found out firsthand this weekend with a visit to the forest.  Well worth the 1/2 hour drive, we found ourselves appreciating the forty degree temperatures while we sat on logs around a campfire.  We learned a Native American legend about maple trees and marveled at how hard the early settlers worked to make syrup.  The boys drilled holes into trees and saw the various collection methods.  We watched the sap boil so the water would evaporate leaving maple syrup at the bottom of a giant pot after eight hours. (It takes 40 gallons of sugar maple sap to make one gallon of syrup.)  Everyone sipped the sweet amber liquid before we left the little cabin in the woods.  It was delicious, but possibly an acquired taste as Liam quickly handed his sample to me.

This was my favorite Saturday of 2015 so far.  

Can't wait to find more signs of spring!

March 2, 2015

And now back to our regularly scheduled weekends!

The holidays last forever around here.   They start mid-October with Halloween preparations (costumes and treat bags for the boys' classmates), continue with the most dramatic of all family get togethers--Thanksgiving, roll into Christmas (candy canes and treat bags for the boys' classmates) , skate through the New Year, the Superbowl and Valentine's Day (cards and treat bags for the boys' classmates).  FINALLY we arrive at the February birthdays (candles and treat bags for the boys' classmates).  I'm tired of celebrating.  There I said it.

But you know what? It's still fun to look at the pictures.

forgot the candles

Second Grade treats

filling party bags
make sure this one has a balloon

remembered the candles

birthday morning

party cake, party smile

One morning in a flurry of last minute preparations, Liam pointed to his drawing of me--the one that's been displayed on the kitchen cabinet since September.  "That's you today, Mommy."  

Even without a mirror nearby, I'm certain that's what I looked like at seven am on Henry's birthday.  Celebrating is hard work--who has time to comb their hair?

February 23, 2015

Birthday Bashes Begin...

I have no idea how someone with so little maternal wisdom can possibly have children approaching six and eight years of age.  I mean, I'm clueless when it comes to mothering.  There's no way I've had 8 years of on-the-job training.  If that were the case, I'd be much, much better at this.

Let's face it.  I make rookie mistakes daily.  But now the calendar says I'm no longer a rookie.  My babies have grown into school-age children with  minds of their own.  We fumble, stumble and mumble over each other as we do life in our tiny house.

Although I don't believe the math, the calendar says celebrate, so celebrate we will.  There are the actual birth date (school night) celebrations.  There are special restaurant lunches with singing waitstaff.  There are individually wrapped, classroom treats and goody bags from the dollar store. (Not to be confused with the previous week's Valentine treat bags.)  Lastly, there's the big weekend bash--rented party room, entertainer, two cakes and four pizzas.

February may be the shortest month, but around here it's really long on fun.

having lunch on the right side of the tracks

This week Henry will celebrate his actual birthday with his class and then see his friends on the weekend for his Silly Science party.  I still have some work to do to finish his classroom treat, order the cakes and pizza for the weekend and assemble the goody bags.  Tomorrow both boys have to return to school in the evening for their Knowledge Fair and they have choir practice on Wednesday night.   I'm not sure how I'm going to fit everything in.  Luckily, I've already wrapped Henry's presents.  Now if I can just remember where I hid them...