Sunday, September 27, 2009

No Better Praise

OK, I admit it. I'm not a planner. I'm more of a go-with-what-feels-right, see-what-comes-up kinda gal. That's all well and good until it's your kid's birthday and two weeks before, you still haven't figured out a party day, location or guest list.

Thankfully, this year the movie makers helped me out by turning one of Ben's favorite books into a movie, and then releasing it two weeks before his birthday.

Six kids, bottomless popcorn buckets, a family restaurant complete with games and gelato across the street, and a rainy Sunday turned out to the the perfect way to celebrate turning seven.

Hyped up on sugar, snacks and excitement, Ben was a bit beside himself when it was all over, and rather quiet during the car ride home. But after a few minutes of silence (which I realized later was quiet reflection on all the festivities), he said, "Today was a great day."


Next year I'll start planning earlier. Definitely.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Ben, in the bathroom: "Mom! I have something ksalhfgjfk."

Me: "You have what?"

Ben, walking out of bathroom: "I have something to free...Oops. It flew away."

Me: Sigh.

Bugs love our house. My husband is a huge fan of nature shows, and my boys are big fans of, well, bugs. If they do catch a bugger in the house, they take it to the nearest door and sing Born Free while releasing it. We don't even own a fly swatter, and I think word has gotten out in the insect world. "Cold? Head to Ben's house. Hungry? I know a great little place where you can eat without worry of being squished." We are, for nature-sensitive critters, a sanctuary.

The above was just the most recent of many similar exchanges that happen around here. I've given up, and just laugh about them now. And check my drink glasses before sipping from them.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Cherishing The Now

What a difference six years make. When I last had a newborn, I couldn't wait until he was sleeping through the night, because I was certain there was nothing worse than extended, indefinite, severe sleep deprivation. Then he got older and started sleeping (kinda) and I looked forward to his being old enough to play games with his big brother so they could enjoy each other's company and I could get something done around the house. This was at a time when I was sure there was nothing worse than playing with a preschooler while trying to entertain, feed and change a toddler from sun-up to sundown. When he reached that milestone, I was excited for my oldest to start school so I could spend some one-on-one time with my youngest, because I just knew there was nothing worse than shortchanging one child because of the needs of the other. When both boys were in school full time, I counted the days until summer when I could have them both home with me to read, play, go on adventures and enjoy some unstructured time together.

Well. Both boys have been home now for three full weeks. They fight, yell, cry, hit each other and generally can't wait until school starts. I'm trying to make the last days of summer fun, but it's hard. They're bored. And when they do spend time playing, there is one thing that puts me on edge: they are LOUD. Yes, I know, it's a surprise only to me. Did I mention I grew up under a rock? Boys are loud. Really frickin' loud. And they're loud all the time. Whether they're fighting, playing, laughing or just burning energy, they are CONSTANTLY, CONSISTENTLY, RELENTLESSLY, DEAFENINGLY L-O-U-D. For a writer, this is not a good thing. And when school doesn't start for another week, this is not a good thing for any of us. They're sick of each other. They're sick of me. And I'm sick of summer vacation. But mostly, I'm sick of the noise.

What brought this incredible realization into stark relief was spending a day with my cousin and her newborn. I should mention the newborn is a girl. She's very quiet. I realize this isn't only because she's a girl. But even when she cries, she's quiet. And she sleeps. A lot. As newborns tend to do. But of course, she does wake up every two hours or so to eat and change her clothes and diaper (as girls are also apt to do). All day and all night. And as a result, my cousin is constantly, completely, unendingly sleep deprived. The funny thing is, I am SO ENVIOUS of her that it makes me laugh.

I suppose what this whole experience has taught me is to enjoy the moment. Don't wallow in the negative, praying for the current situation to end so that things will get better. They will change, and some things will improve, but other things will go downhill. This is not unfair, nor does it mean we are doing something wrong as parents. This is life. Change is the only thing we can count on, and there will always be a mix of joy and frustration. Until, I suppose, the teen years when it's just a long, slow ride through hell.

I have a pen pal who ends every email with the line, "Cherish the now." I finally understand how right he is. And I'm glad I got it before it was too late.