Thursday, May 14, 2009

Another Parental Top 10

I have written about how, as a parent, I say things that I never, in my wildest dreams, thought I would say. (Things like: "Child, quit biting the dog.")

I have come to realize recently that there are things I do as a parent, that I would never have envisioned doing. And, if I weren't a parent, you could not pay me any amount of money to do them.

I have compiled my "Top 10 Things I Have Done, That I Would Never Do, Except I Am A Parent" for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!

10. One morning we were busy getting ready for school/work, and Amy had a special performance. She put on her church clothes, and pretty sandals. As I was scurrying around, Amy asked if I would paint her toes, as they were chipped and not very attractive. I said, "Sure," and, without a second thought, dropped to my knees to begin painting her toes. Hubby walked in and was completely alarmed. His vision: he walked in to find his wife on her hands and knees, in her underwear, painting his daughter's toes.

9. I was driving down the road with the kids when Amy began shrieking. I, terribly alarmed, asked what in the world was the matter. She said, "Oh, nothing," as she smiled. I chastised her and explained she was never, ever to do that again. So, naturally, five minutes later, she did it again. I pulled over to the side of the road and told her to get out of the car. She did, and gave me the most pitiful look I've ever seen. I glared at her and allowed her back in the car.

8. I was chastised by my children for suggesting we eat Baskin Robbins ice cream for dinner. (Really. What's wrong with this picture?)

7. On several occasions, I have been known to try and "gently direct" my family to get ready for church. There is usually some fighting between the kids, some general piddling around by everyone, and at least one pretty good "melt down" at some point. By the time we get in the car to go to church, I am irate. I have been know to say something profound, like, "Now, everybody put on your seat belt, be quiet and let's go love Jesus!!!!!"

6. I was so very, very sick and tired. And hubby was out of town. And I had all the kids myself. I had to feed them something. They were hungry. The poor kids ate cereal for 48 hours straight.

5. When Keith was little, everything he did was completely miraculous and amazing. We took two hours of video tape of him swinging in his baby swing.

4. When Emma was little and potty training, she got into the habit of wanting to "potty" everywhere we went. It was incredibly annoying, not to mention, it completely wrecked my day's schedule. One day we were in Krogers grocery shopping. Naturally, we had to stop by the restroom. Fairly soon thereafter, we went to check out. Emma asked to go to the restroom again. I assumed she was just bored, and she had just gone to the restroom, so I told her "no." A minute later, a puddle of liquid was on the floor- except that the floor was not level. So it all rolled under the Coca Cola case at the end of the check out line.

3. When Keith was born, I sterilized anything that touched him. I was slightly less paranoid with Emma. By the time I got to Amy, I was pretty much over it. We were at the Fairgrounds one day at the Flea Market. I had brought sandwiches for my kids to eat, so I could make sure they were eating something at least a little healthy, and because Fair food is so outrageously expensive. As we were walking along, Keith dropped his sandwich on the ground. I picked it up, brushed it off and gave it back to him. My friend, a first time mom, just about died on the spot thinking of all the germs I had given him.

2. I have a diet coke instead of coffee. My kids used to ask if they could have one, too. I, of course, said no. Because I was a "grown up". (The irony...)

1. My youngest, Amy, came in to the bathroom while I was drying off from a shower. She looked at my tummy, poked it with her finger and announced it was squishy. Somehow, because I'm her parent and I love her, she has lived to tell the tale.

I'm certain there is more, and there will be much, much more to come. But for now, I'll stop.

For anyone who is also a parent, thank you for laughing WITH me. For anyone who is NOT a parent, don't laugh AT me-- what comes around goes around...

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Dinner Time...

For about the sixth time in the last three days my kids have turned their noses up at my meal plans. It has gotten so that I mention at least three meal choices before I actually tell them what my "real" plan is.

Tonight it started with the usual: "Mom, what's for dinner?" (First question out of Keith's mouth when he walked in the door.)

I began with, "How about sandwiches?"

"Ew," Amy said, squishing up her nose.

"Okay, how about left over lasagna?"

"No, we had that last night. And I don't like lasagna," Keith whined.

"Yes, I remember you telling me that last night," I sighed at his back as he wandered to the other room.

Going in for the kill: "I was thinking rocks & worms," I said casually, trying to pretend it was just another suggestion, but secretly planning that this was the one.

(FYI: Rocks & Worms are chicken & long, thin dumplings. We call them that so that the kids will eat them.)

The girls were excited. This is a family favorite.

I started thawing the chicken and getting things together when Keith bopped back into the room.

"What's for dinner?" he asked.

"Rocks & Worms," I said, smiling, sure I had a keeper.

"Noooo," Keith yowled.

I looked up at him sharply. This little game of "What's for dinner?" was wearing thin.

"Mom... Can't we have sandwiches? I thought you said we were having sandwiches. I was thinking we could eat and watch a movie together," he whined.

I really wanted to throw things across my kitchen- really big, heavy, loud things. I held my breath and count to ten. A couple of times.

I went and pouted in the den and announced I was on strike.

Hubby said, "Honey, we don't treat children like that."

I glared at him. "Fine. You feed 'em," I retorted angrily.

"Honey," he tried chastising me again.

"Honey," I snipped back, "every single night- no every single meal- I argue with the kids about what we're going to eat. I'm tired of having this discussion! This is NOT a restaurant; it is a family kitchen. Keith doesn't want to help with the dishes. The girls don't want to help cook or set the table. But everyone wants to criticize: 'I don't like red food.' 'Does that have any nutritional value, mom? Because you know I only eat colored fat and refined sugar.' I don't see anyone complaining about your lawn care!"

He stood, hands on hips, looking at me, obviously gaging his next words carefully. He started to say something a few times, but basically just opened and closed his mouth.

Finally, he looked at the kids and said, "Okay, kids, what do you want?"

"Cereal," Keith sang.

"Me, too," Emma called.

"Can I have mine with milk?" Amy asked.

Hubby smiled victoriously. I wanted to bang my head against the wall.

The thawed out chicken went back in the refrigerator so that it can be rejected again tomorrow night. The kids ate their cereal cheerfully, and, just to rub salt in the wound, thanked hubby profusely.

The kids gave hugs to hubby and bounced up the stairs happy as little, full clams... Traitors!

Hubby was smirking from head to toe. "So, honey, what are the plans for tonight?" he asked.

I glared my best glare. "Well, I'm going to go blog about this funtabulous evening, so I don't have to kill anyone."

"Okay," he said. Was he patronizing me? That would be a bad idea.

"You know," I said, "I can kill you off in my blog." I smiled and looked off dreamily. "I'd cash out your life insurance policy..." I sighed.

"You'd miss me and you know it," he said, jutting out his chin.

"Okay, you're right," I said, very unconvincingly.

He looked sideways at me. I smiled.

"What are you doing?" he asked, as I got up from my seated position under my laptop computer.

"I'm fixing myself something to eat. And," I said, "by the way, I like my cooking..."

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Home-Grown Grumpies

The rain has inspired "The Grumpies" at my house. I can only be thankful we don't live somewhere in the North Eastern United States, or another country, where it rains more than it doesn't. Keith's Middle School hormones mixed in with "The Grumpies" has just about been my undoing.

This morning Amy managed to spill the cereal all over the kitchen. Now, I don't just mean a spot in the floor caught the brunt of a bag of cereal. I mean she dribbled little chocolate cereal balls from the bag of cereal all over the kitchen. She swears it was not on purpose. So one of my other alternatives is that she was too stupid to recognize the little "plink" that each ball made as it bounced and rolled around to its resting place.

Amy may be many things. But stupid is not one of them. Yet, I don't believe she purposefully poured cereal on my floor. She did not appear to enjoy it enough. I think she was so overcome with "The Grumpies" she simply did not notice.

Even level-headed Emma was up for picking a fight this morning. And with Keith, it never takes a lot of encouragement anyway. So the field was ripe for picking.

Emma said, "I think it will be fun to sing at graduation." That's it. That's all she said. It was a general comment made to no one in particular.

Somehow Keith decided this was some sort of personal attack.

"Yeah, well I'm a better artist than you are," he sneered. I was too stunned to even react.

Emma began to try and defend herself- why, I am not sure. But Keith charged on:

"Think about it. I'm older than you, which means I've been drawing longer than you have. I'm a better artist anyway. So since I'm better, and I've had more practice, I'm like a hundred times better than you," he reported.

Emma gave him a sideways glance. "I can draw," she said defensively.

"Yeah. But not as good as I can," he said.

Finally, good sense kicked back in and I was able to act.

"Keith, what on earth are you talking about? Emma is talking about singing. What does that have to do with drawing?" I asked, more out of amazement than anything else.

"Nothing. I'm just saying I'm a better artist than she is," he shrugged.

"Okay," I said slowly, still not completely clear on everything. "What do you have to wear to sing the Alma Mater at graduation?" I asked Amy and Emma.

"I don't know. I'll ask the teacher," Amy replied.

"You know everyone in the school gets picked to sing for graduation one time," Keith said.

"What?" I asked.

"Everyone gets to sing for graduation one time. They didn't get chosen because they are good singers. It's just their turn," Keith said.

"Okay. It's still an honor," I said.

"It's not like their art got chosen for an art show like mine did," he continued, oblivious to anything I had just said.

"Keith, what is with you?" I asked. "Why are you trying so hard to be 'right' and be the 'winner'?"

"Well, I am right," he replied, with that pre-teen smugness that made me want to jump up and down on his head.

Emma rolled her eyes. "Whatever, Keith," she said, effectively cutting him off at the knees.

"No, not 'whatever'," he pressed. "I'm right. I am a better artist. You all sound like awful singing Hannah Montanna and Taylor Swift."

"Keith, that is enough! I do not know what your problem is this morning, but you need to stop it now," I demanded.

"Whatever," he said, rolling his eyes at me.

Finally, the horn of my sister-in-law's car was heard honking to signal she was there to pick them up. I sighed, relieved to have a break from this ridiculous conversation.

We will undoubtedly have a conversation equally as annoying, crazy and angering on the way home from school when I pick them up. But by then I will have at least had some caffeine, and will be awake enough to try to manage it better.

We are expected to have more rain over the next several days. In my house, I can assume that means more "Grumpies." Hopefully, we will all live to see the sun sometime next week.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Home Grown

When my eldest was in Kindergarten, I remember thinking, "Look how big those kids are! Surely Keith is not old enough to be with them."

Last night I watched Kindergartners, next to first through fifth graders, in a program at school. The Kindergartners looked so tiny, I hardly believed I could have ever thought them to be so small.

My children looked so mature, so old. They were leaders in their respective classes. And they were well-liked by their peers, the faculty and other parents.

My son, now in Middle School, came with us to watch. Keith could not have looked less like the Kindergartner of yester-year, had he tried.

His adult-sized teeth have braces. When he was five, his teeth were smaller than the nail on my pinkie finger.

He is almost as tall as I am, and wears the same size shoes as I. When he was five, he had to reach up to squeeze around my waist.

When he was in Kindergarten, he wore a short, hair cut that didn't need any brushing, since he wouldn't sit still long enough for me to brush it. Now he sports a hair cut with bangs that swoop down into his eyes, except he works to keep it out- Not by brushing it, or by pushing it out of his way with his hand. He, and his peers, swing their heads in short sideways nods that make their hair fall to the side. (Usually this is accompanied by hands shoved down in jean pockets and a cool head jerk in some else's direction as way of greeting.)

At the program, there were a few high schoolers dotting the crowd. They seemed huge compared to my kids. But I stopped myself short before I dismissed them as "so much older." After all, it was not that long ago that my young Kindergartners seemed huge.

I'm not ready for them to be that big. Shoot, I'm not ready for them to be as big as they are. But I am looking forward to watching them grow every step of the way!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

He Shoots, He Scores!

Tomorrow Keith tries out for Basketball at the Middle School. He is so nervous. I am nervous for him.

It has made me completely nastalgic, having my oldest in Middle School. First it takes me back to how young he really is, even if he seems older. He can wear my shoes now. But I try to discourage it, because it stretches them out, and he is taller than me in heels.

The second way I feel nostalgic is I can remember vividly making the jump from Elementary to Middle School. I went from being a part of a classroom to wandering the halls to and from several classrooms. I went from nothing before or after school, to being on the pom pon squad and several other school clubs. And I was introduced to the world of "Boys."

I remember that fluttery feeling when a cute boy smiled at me. I didn't want to actually speak to them; what in the world would I say?

Keith has dived into the waters of "Girls," but seems to be navigating just fine. He has a friend who is a girl, who seems very level-headed, and not caught up in the catty girl stuff that Middle School seems to bring out in spades.

In fact, in many ways, he seems to be taking Middle School much more in stride than I did. I'm proud of him for trying out for Basketball. I ran the opposite direction of anything that smacked of competition. I guess I still do.

I admire his guts, his ability to take life in stride. I'm so proud of him.

I wish him the very best tomorrow. Mostly because he wants to also try out for the football team, and I would much rather him be dribbling a ball on the court than dribbling in a cup from the ball- hitting him, along with a bunch of other really big guys.

Hopefully, he'll become the next big basket ball star. That way he'll be happy, feel like he fits in, and stay off the football field!