Wednesday, March 14, 2012

When the Egg teaches the Chicken

I have, and am, learning a great deal from my children.  Permit me to share a few lessons from the past six years.

1.  Its OK to cry.  Sometimes.

2.  Mud is just awesome.

3.  Being forgiven feels good.

4.  Sleep is just awesome.

5.  There are a few really good kids' books out there.  A few.

6.  If you're shy, let Gavin do the talking.

7.  Don't panic if the smoke alarm goes off; check to see if Mommy's in the kitchen, then wave vigorously at it until the smoke goes away and the baby calms down.  Works every time.  

8.  There's not much a piece of candy - or chocolate - and a cuddle can't heal.

9.  Grandmas are just awesome.

10. Greet the day with relish.  Don't spread relish on the walls.

11. Waking up early means more time to do important stuff.  Read, eat, and wrestle.

12. Schedules make unpredictable life more manageable.

13. Sticks are the best toys.  Cardboard boxes are a close second.

14. Pray regularly for your washer and dryer.  And thank God for running water.

15. Snuggling a baby calms you both down.

16. Chocolate milk and crackers can help reconcile a crummy afternoon, whether you are 3 or 30.

17. Sometimes it takes more than one time to learn a lesson.

18. Practice makes better.

19. Folks under at least four years old cannot lie or practice deceit successfully.  That is a blessing and an honor, and we should all wish for that kind of innocence.

20. Being a mommy is just awesome.  

Thursday, March 8, 2012

2 be or not 2 be

A day in the life of my two year old boy.

Its 6:45 am.  I can't tell time.  I just hear the garbage truck outside and know that means it must be time to get up.
"Mom!  Mom!"  I command.  Get me out of this crib so I can get to the window.  Time is of the essence!
The baby hears me.  He agrees.  Now my big brothers in the bunk beds across the room hear me sounding the alarm.  All hands on deck!  This only happens once a week; don't miss the garbage truck!

Mom finally trudges in, still in her pjs.  Our friendly welcoming chorus greets her.
"Open the curtain!"  My brother fusses.
"Get me!  Get me up!" I tell her.
"Wahhh!" Agrees the baby.
She complies, but too slowly.  We stand at the window, enraptured.  All too soon, the truck has disappeared down the street.  First order of business over; now on to the next.
"I want milk!"  I remember.  The baby agrees.
We trundle downstairs.  The floor is cold, but near the wood stove is warm.  Somebody already poured us each a cup.  Mine's blue.
Mom nurses the baby and drinks her coffee.  She is slow today.  I am hungry.  I take the toy garbage truck from my brother because I'm two, and hungry.  She tells me to give it back.  She doesn't understand.  I glower at her until she returns me a look that makes my backside tingle.  Hmm.  I don't really want the truck anyway.
Finally we have breakfast.  Eggs?  I'd rather have candy.  Maybe if I go to the bathroom she will give me candy.  Potty training is great.
One measly gummy candy?  And I have to wear underwear?  I'm not sure if this is worth it.  Buzz Lightyear does look really good on my backside though.

They start their school stuff.  I love homeschool.  I'm working steadily through the crayon box.  Almost half the wrappers have been picked off.  Not bad.  Today I'll do mauve and dandelion.  They look better without that paper.  I'll keep them in my pocket for later; never know when you'll need to make something dandelion colored.
Its quiet upstairs.  Maybe I left my car near my bed.  Why is the door closed?  Oh, I found the baby in his bed.  Is he sleeping?  I'll poke him to find out.  Nope.  Not sleeping.  "Mom! He's awake!"

I see the fridge.  I must be hungry.  This stool will hold the door open.  There's a yogurt on the top shelf.  Got it.  There should be some scissors in the drawer that I can use to open the cover.  Ugh, they're so dull.  Maybe there's something else I can cut.  Hmm.  That's a pretty book.  My favorite.  I can cut that page out...
Mom is so mean.  I don't like her.  This discipline thing is much more tolerable when Shiloh is getting it.

Finally, lunch time.  Wait.  Sandwiches?  I don't like sandwiches.  The jelly is pretty tasty though.  But its hidden on the inside.  The bread needs a hole so we can see the jelly.  Mmm.  Tasty hole.  It needs another hole.  So sticky.  I'll put those crusty parts on the baby's high chair tray.  Sticky hands.  I need to wipe them on something.  There's the chalkboard.  That will do.    Mom can't catch me with that cold cloth to wipe me off.  I'm fast.  Oh, she got my right hand wiped on that pass.  I'll do another lap though the house.  Oh, the other hand!  I think she's been practicing.  A few more laps will feel good.  I love to run!  Gavin's chasing me.  Even better!  Oh, caught!  Ouch!  Hey, who gave you permission to run, anyway?  I'm just allowed, because I'm two.

Why does Mommy tell me its nap time when I take Shiloh's truck?  Its the same story every day.  Just when life starts to really seem unfair, she says I have to sleep.  I'm not sleepy.  Not sleepy at all.  I do like my pillow though, so soft and covered with beautiful race car pictures.  Ahh.  It makes me want to suck my thumb...

Its time to get up already?  I just lay down for a minute!  I smell popcorn downstairs.  Good.  They have my snack ready.  Let's go, Mommy.  Cocoa?  The boys are drinking cocoa without me?  How dare they not wait.  I bet they ate all the marshmallows.  Oh, Mommy has mine.  No, I want to mix it.  Slower?  Why would anyone want to do it slower?  Fast is always better.
"Mommy, I spilled!"
Mmm, that powder tastes good.  I'll lick the rest off the table.  I'm like a kitty.  Hey, boys, lets play kitties and wrestle.  I can take you.  I am two.  Watch.  Ow!  "Mommeee! Gavin hit me!"
It is so satisfying to watch the older boys get scolded.  Ugh, my hands are covered in sticky chocolate powder.  Those piles of folded clothes look handy.  I'll just wipe my fingers on them.  And my nose.  That's a bit better.  Repeat.
C'mon, Shi.  Get your boots on.  I just dug out a good dump truck and the snow piles are calling our names.  Well, calling mine, at least.  But you may as well come along for someone to talk to.  Mittens?   I don't need mittens, Mom.  Those are for sissies.  It is so much harder to drive trucks with mittens.  Fine, if you insist, but I'm taking them off as soon as I get out there.
Brrrr.  How could Mom make me go out here?  My hands hurt, they're so cold.  Especially after I've wiped my nose on them a few times.  Ow.  I'll go kick the door until someone lets me in.  Barbarians, leaving me out here to freeze my fingers off.
Ahh, thawing out.  Hmm, That sofa looks inviting, warm with blankets.  We should watch a movie.  Shi will help me get it on.  Here, Shi, help me dig though the box of movies.  Just dump those on the floor; we don't need them; Mom won't mind.  Can you reach that bottom one?  Mighty Machines.  A true classic.
Good job, Shiloh, you got it in the movie player.  Can you make it go?  Oooh, Mom heard it.  Why would I want to go to the bathroom at a time like this, Mom?!? Such a hassle.  I'll go if Gav and Shiloh go too.  But I want to flush!
Movie's done.  Where's dinner?  Not ready?  I'll go get a monkey juice myself.  Drinkable yogurt, what a great invention.  The monkey on the packaging just makes me want more.  I guess monkeys like this stuff too.  No blue straws?  Really?  I'll dump the rest out just to make sure.  None.  Then I'll just poke two into the drink, pink and yellow.  Two's always better than one.  In fact, I'll get another monkey juice, that was good.
No?  "Mom, I'm hungry!"  Why would you stand between a kid and his monkey juice?  Your supper isn't ready and I don't want mashed potatoes anyway.  I'll pout and stay here, wedged in the fridge.  You can't make me leave.
You made me leave.  I'm mad at you, Mom.  Discipline makes me grumpy.  Now I'll go grab Gavin's ninja toys and run.  That will be vindication.  And fun.
"Mom, he hurt me!"
Ugh. No sympathy.  What is this house coming to?
Finally, food!
I don't want chicken and mashed potatoes.  Beans?  Carrots?  Again?  Can you at least make a hole in the potatoes and fill it with gravy?  It looks neat on Gavin's plate.  No, I have no plans to eat either the potatoes or the gravy.  But I can play with the gravy puddle.  All the carrots will stick straight up if I plunge them into the potatoes.  I'll peel the green beans open and dump all the beans in the gravy.  That is a spectacular masterpiece.  Well, no, not to eat.  That would be gross.
Freed from the table, finally.  I'll take off my shirt and put on my super cape.  I can wrestle now.  C'mon, boys.  See my muscles?  (You call them fists.)  I am flexing my knuckles.  Be afraid.

This is sweaty work, beating you boys up.  Bath time!  I love bath time.  Lightning McQueen can get a ride on the little tugboat.  Ugh, it got full of water.  I'll dump it out on Shiloh's head.
"Ow, Shi hit me, Mom!"
So I have to get out?  That is so unfair.  Well, I want the blue towel then.  No, don't wrap it around me; spread it flat so I can drive Lightning McQueen on the trim.  I'm so cold!
Firetruck pajamas are good.  But they'd look better with my super cape.  No, I don't want to read a book; I'm busy flying.  Dining room, living room, kitchen.  Repeat the loop. Again.  Again.  A few more laps and I'll have clocked 2 miles.
Bedtime?  I'm just getting warmed up!  Ugh, OK, I'll brush my teeth if the boys are.  But I want more toothpaste!  I want to put it on myself!  Mmm, tasty.  At least the back of my throat will smell minty fresh.  If you want to brush my teeth, you'll have to catch me.  I'm going to hide on the top bunk bed. Fly me into my bed!
Bed.  Thomas the train pillowcase?  Check.  Cookie monster to cuddle?  Check.  Lightning McQueen to hold?  Check.  Is each brother in his bed?  Check.  No, I don't want the blanket on.  Prayer, lights out.  OK, goodnight, Mommy.  Close the door.  Ahhh, quiet.
Wait 2 minutes.  Now.
"Mommeeee!  Cuddle me!"
There you are, Mommy.  I'm ready for my blanket now.  And Ben's crying again.  He was good until I called you back in.  Can you make him be quiet?  I'm trying to sleep now.  Thanks.  I love to suck my thumb and dream about candy....  Its a good life.  Can't wait till tomorrow.