Friday, August 29, 2008

Big D's First Days in Kindergarten (hence forth known as Mama Freak'n Losing her Mind)

Ok, I thought I was prepared to send my little guy off. After all, he's been in daycare since he was 18 months old with a year hiatus when his sister was born. So, old hat, right? I think I've been working myself up to a little tizzy for the last few weeks in anticipation and dragging Big D along for the ride . . . goes something like this.

This past weekend was full, yet again, with family, everyone of which commented on Big D going to a "big boy school" and all the ways he would now be a "big boy." There's got to be something a little unsettling about all the emphasis people were putting on this milestone. I had downplayed it as best I could knowing that he's a little timid with transitions. Pour little dude cried his eyes out the night before his last day at pre-k/daycare. So anyway, Big D and I went to a half-day session for parents and kiddos so that he could get acquainted with his teacher and meet some of his classmates. Initially he was glommed on to my leg but gradually loosened up to his typical silly self. This is when my mama anxiety began to spike. 

I worry about his silliness and tendency to follow suit when others are getting a little wound up. Like all mamas, I want to believe that my kid is going to be "perfect" or at least "normal." What the hell either of those words mean is beyond me except I'm pretty sure that roaring like a dinosaur in class is not either of them! Or it is and I've just got to CHILL. I was relieved when a gaggle of three little boys swarmed Big D and I as he was drawing a dinosaur and one began making mysterious wild noises and announced, "I'm a creature monster." Right on, dude. Please make friends with my son so that he's not the only nut job in the class!

Fast foward 24 hours to the first full day of kindergarten. Like most of the parents, I hung around in the room, took pictures and fussed over my kid. I left without any tears - his or mine and thought, "Alright. Cake walk." That night I got an email from the teacher making a general statement to all parents to tell their kids not to THROW ROCKS on the playground. Ah, crap. Marched my bum into Big D's room to discover that yes, mama, I did throw rocks and I have lots of good reasons why I did so and clearly it's not my fault and by the way, what will happen if I do it again? And so it begins . . . My child the kindergarten menace. I should at least add that he and several little boys were toss rocks off the playground structure and not actually at anyone. 

I called my BBF (that's right, right?) to commiserate as her 5 year old just started kindergarten as well. We swapped horror stories and I, at least, felt much better about things. I get that I'm neurotic and my job messes me up -- I begin to lose track of what's "normal" (there's that word again) and begin to have nightmares about my kid's behavior. AHH! It's like the pastor's kid that turns into a whino and prostitute. What do mental health therapists' kids turn into? I'll keep you posted on that one . . . 

Monday, August 11, 2008

Brilliant Big D and his Dang Dinosaur

The title is not simply an exercise in alliteration though it kinda tickles me that it worked out that way!

Have I posted before about my dino obsessed son? Oh. My. God. I don't know when it'll ever end. In fact, I'm not entirely sure when it started. I'm thinking YEARS ago. We roar and dinosaur stomp and generally make a dinosaur nuisance of ourselves as much as possible. I'm using the "royal we" but I really mean Big D. I would do away with all things dinosaur and settle on a more quiet obsession -- slugs, anyone? I literally asked him to be "softer" the other day after listening to endless lectures on the relative merits of the "meat eaters" -- his favorite is, of course, T Rex. So by "softer," I really meant, "Can't you talk about a gentler subject. Perhaps slugs?" He did not catch this subtle request and simply lowered the deadly roars a bit in volume. This past weekend, we made the five millioneth trip to the zoo where they have dinosaur exhibit this summer. I have to admit, I swell with parental pride when he plays the role of the little tour guide, naming the dinosaurs and whether they are a true "meat eater." For some reason this distinction is important to him and we're vegetarian -- what does that mean? My kid secretly fantasizes about eating the flesh of some critter? But anyway, that isn't really what I intended to write about.  No, it's the tale of the lost dinosaur . . . 

We had a lovely play date with a coworker and her children. Big D brought his newly favorite (as in, just rediscovered it that morning and now can't be parted from it) dinosaur. Couldn't possibly tell you what kind it is. He could. After a good time, we left for home for naps. And we discovered, gasp of horror, that the dinosaur had been left behind. You would have thought it was his lifeline, keeping him tethered to life itself! The tears, the wailing, the general conviction that unless this dinosaur was retrieved, the earth would cease to spin around the sun and  . . . you get the idea. Two whole awful days later, I finally brought it home after an 11 hour day at work. I wake Big D to hand him his long lost pal to be met with a grunt, "ok" and then back to sleep he went. So anticlimactic.  Guess I as looking for gushing gratitude, perhaps tears of joy, certainly effusive cuddles and loves would be in order. Alas. 

And for that dear boy, I posted the above pic. A mother's revenge. This is my "too smart for his own good" child with his baseball cap in a most interesting pose. He actually held this for me so I could snap a few pics and then said, "My nose hurts." Duh! Gotta love 'em.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Roses Under Cover

Our neighbor has a beautiful rose garden and when it gets really warm, she covers them with parasols. It creates a wonderfully unique image -- a dozen or so crisp white parasols dancing over bright, dainty flowers. The photo doesn't do it justice. I have a rose . . . just the one. No parasol for it. It's lucky to get a bit of water here and there and a few well wishes as we hurry through the yard. So every time I drive by this particular yard, I slow and drool. Flower envy. 

Monday, August 4, 2008

Artsie Fartsie Moment

Long, long ago, like maybe Sunday, I took this pic with the intent of writing a blog entry on my idea of a perfect morning. So here it is. Still fantasizing about a quiet morning with amble time for a leisure coffee and blog browsing/composing. 

Manic Monday

It's been one of those days. In fact, it's been one of those WEEKENDS! My parents were in town . . . for some of you, I could probably end my post there and you'd understand why my head is splitting, I'm begging my children to keep napping and I dread looking past my keyboard at the clean up awaiting me. But those of you blessed by non-chaotic family visits and uncomplicated family relationships, I'll be a bit more detailed.

It has been go, go, go around here for weeks and promises to continue being so until the end of August. I feel like a sprinter, goal in sight, but barely sucking oxygen. It's all burn, baby. My mom arrived late Wednesday night and my dad followed suit on Thursday night. We shopped for school clothes, cooked, picnicked, went to the zoo, etc. The kids had a blast and subsequently, were nasty little pills! It's one of the ironies of parenting -- do something fun and special and be rewarded by tired, grumpy and demanding tots. Kinda makes you want to limit activities to only the dull and boring in order to save yourself the trouble of deprogramming them when the fun and games are over. 

I'm not even sure where to begin with all the ways that this weekend was exhausting -- how about a few sound bites:
1. "He's so manipulative and conniving. Don't get me wrong, he just so smart." Um, ok, mom. Kinda hard to take that in a kind way . . . Big D is a very smart 5 year old and yes, he is limit testing and no, I don't want you to notice! Unless it's to say that I'm a fabulously patient and totally with it mom who is not going to ruin her children. 
2. "Well, guess we know who's in control" -- this in response to my fully thought out (and totally desperate) decision to give Hannah milk after an hour power struggle at bed time. The kid is whacked out on chocolate (thanks, Nana. This will apparently be her drug of choice), over stimulated and fatigued (did I mention SHE'S TWO). 
3. Many helpful observations about better deck stain choices (already stained, thanks), my weed whacking technique and advice on how to better manage my life (it's all in the "chunking").
4. Ongoing commentary on the relative "fattiness" or healthfulness of various foods and others' physical attributes (generally related to "fattiness"). 
5. On the spot questions where the answer has been presupposed. Like, "How could young women/mothers defile their bodies with piercing and tattoos?" Kinda makes me want to run out and die something an unnatural color or suggest that I could be in the market for breast implants.

Here's the thing, I love my mom and would NEVER say these things to her. See what wonderful tool this blogs is for catharsis!  Of late, after my mom's visits I begin hearing her voice and seeing her mannerisms in me. And I think, "My God, it's happening! I'm morphing into my mother." I've dreaded it most of my life and now I can actually see and hear it happening. So what do I dread exactly? That I will one day decide that I "know" how things should be done or what's best and that I'll feel not just free to share these opinions but a moral obligation to do so. That my own thinking will become rigid and fixed. That what I consider now to be a more progressive and open perspective will one day be as embarrassing and uncomfortable for my daughter as my mother's can be to me . . . 

My own sweet girl had an EEG today to see if they could detect any irregularities that would explain the seizure she had a week and a half ago. Despite being kept up two hours past bed time last night and then woken two hours early this morning, she was angelic! It was a bit rough in the car on the way to the hospital (via the airport to drop Nana off) but once there, she was cooperative and sweet. When she is dropping off to sleep, she twists her hair and sucks on her bink. She would have loved to have gone to sleep during the test but she could not get to her hair as there were 28 electrodes stuck all over her head . . . so she played with my hair. She lay very still, holding my hand and occasionally opening her eyes to grin at me. Recently she has been very mom-needy and I'm eating it up. She's unbelievably precious to me.

Perhaps this is what makes my own relationship with my mother so bitter sweet at times. I fear being duped into believing that I know my daughter when perhaps, like me, she feels as if she and I are on different planets. 

I feel some what guilty about my mom-critiquing so let me end on this note. I made a damn list and chunked all my damn stuff. The damn is to help me feel better about saying . . .  Turns out that's a pretty damn good idea.