Friday, August 31, 2012

Project 52 {35}

My favorite thing about you is:
You get back up again.

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This whole "learning-to-ride-a-two-wheel-bike" thing?  It's kind of tricky. Your sister got it when she was four and a half.  Mmmhmm... blah, blah, blah, don't compare your kids, they do things when they're ready and all of that, but here's the thing, he is ready.  He's doing it.  Well, except for that whole steering thing - he can pedal, he can balance, but dang if he can't look where he's going and point the front wheel that way.  Its frustrating, but sooo a lesson in "there-are-some-things-you-just-can't-do-for-your-kids" ("Hyphenated-things-in-quotes" that's the theme for this post).  But as a parent, that's got to be one of the hardest lessons to learn.  By no means are we helicopter parents - you know the kind: they hover hover hover over their kids and get their hands/head/feelings all up in the kids' business so much so that the kid can't really function on their own without their parent swooping in to rescue them.  That's just not us - see detachment parenting.  But we are good parents who want our kids to succeed at the things they try.  Sometimes, especially when they're smaller and perhaps they're just not mentally/physically developed enough to do some things, we jump in to help - it's a confidence builder.  Bike riding?  Not one of those things.  There's only one seat (and it's not even a banana style), one set of pedals and one set of handle bars.  There will be no jumping in to build their confidence on this skill.  Know what that means?  They fall.  A lot.  Sure, Jeff chases them, holds onto the back of their bike till he's sure they have it, but he's in flip-flops and they're little and on a bike.  Did you know that there are two speeds to a kid at this stage?  Yep, so slow they have to constantly adjust the steering lest they just tip right over to the side, and lightning fast - so fast that you're sure they'd get road rash something fierce if/when they fall.    

Here's the thing about growing up - especially in the summer when they spend tons of time outside - kids fall.  They get banged up.  Heck, Haley spent the greater part of the summer with scrapes on her nose from swimming too close to the bottom of the pool (seriously... and she wore goggles like they were surgically attached to her face so it wasn't like she didn't see it coming).  I take pride in my kids' scrapes.  They're out there exploring and trying new things.  Pushing their limits (and mine), and doing the things they're supposed to in order to figure out how their body works in this world.  And I'm keeping myself out of it (as much as general safety allows).  Sure there are tears after a fall (as pictured above, he drove his bike into Daddy's truck - thank God for helmets - why did I never wear one as a kid?).  The key is being there.  Letting them know they're loved and safe when they fall, but that after a bit, it's time to shake it off, get back up and keep going.  And BOOM!  There's your little life lesson for this week, go read those last few sentences one more time.  You're welcome.

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Friday, August 24, 2012

Project 52 {34}

My favorite thing about you:
Is that you're off to Kindergarten!

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A quick observation, having now gone through two first days of kindergarten:  The book "The Kissing Hand" was written for the express purpose of being read on the first day of kindergarten, in front of the parents to make the poor emotionally fragile mothers cry.  It's fact.  

I have a kindergartner.  Am I old enough for that?  Yeah, probably.  Seeing as how I'm a few years older than my mom was when I started, and if you've ever watched MTV, then you'd know that you can be far younger than I, and have a kindergartner.  But still.  My first baby, my smart little girl, is (officially) starting her educational career.  How have 5 and a half years already gone by?  I swear she's going to be running the world next week (though, if you know Haley, you'd know that starting kindergarten or not, that's still a completely viable possibility).  13 years till I send her off to college. 

Long, long ago, we parents here in Colorado Springs, began planning our children's schooling (or at least those of us living in District 49) as though where they head off to Kindergarten determines whether they matriculate to an ivy league college (or at least a nice service academy - wink, wink).  Here in Colorado Springs, we have good neighborhood schools, but we also have charter schools.  Charter schools that you need to get on the wait list for pretty much at birth (okay, so Kale got on at 9 months, but still...).  Haley was number 700 something.  They take 250 kids.  We were kind of a long shot.  However, we got the e-mail that she'd received a spot in this school the afternoon after her first day at the neighborhood school.  

So.  Like I mentioned last week, Haley is on her second first day of Kindergarten.  As you can see, the new school has uniforms (although according to a Charlie & Lola book, and thus Haley too, they're Schooliforms).  I love this, the type A in me that lives for organizational systems, had a hay day.  Sunday night I ironed and hung up all of her outfits.  I hole punched a gallon size ziplock, to hang on her hanger to include all of her accessories:  socks, undershirt, hair accessory and shoe card (a laminated picture of the shoes she's supposed to wear with the outfit).  Each bag is labeled with the day of the week and what "special" she has for the day.  The night before school, we hang it on her hook and there's absolutely no discussion about what she's wearing for the day; she just puts the outfit on.  Perfect!  One week of school down, and the system is working out quite nicely. Ask me about it in December.  

Here's the thing.  At this new school, since we were lucky to get a spot, beggars couldn't be choosers.  We're afternoon kindergarten.  If you know one thing about my kids it's that they're morning people, and they still take naps.  Yes, my 5 1/2 year old still takes a nap.  This is a wrench in our routine to say the least.  But we're making it work.  Kale seems to be napping about 2 of the 4 days that she's at school (quiet time the other 2), and Haley has dropped them all together (oh, she's so tired by 7:00).  Does this mean she's sleeping in?  Nope, not a chance.  I still see her bright and early at 6:00. Morning people, I'm telling you.  I need to teach them how to make Mommy's coffee.  But I digress (again).  

Haley's new school is a great fit for her.  Each day she gets in the car is the BEST. DAY. EVER! And that makes me happy.  I loved school, and I pray that my kids do too.  So far, I have no reason to think otherwise and the little boy who brought in Red Velvet cupcakes for his birthday on the 2nd day certainly boosted my cause.  

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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Project 52 {33}

My favorite thing about you:
You're constantly saying "I love you".

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A couple of weeks ago this was a conversation I had:
Kale:  Mommy, I still love you.
Me:  Thanks Buddy, I still love you too.
Kale:  Even when I'm bad, you still love me.
Me:  I will always love you.  

Moms, say it with me:  I may not always like you, but I'll always love you.  My mom used to tell me this all the time.  It's another one of those things that you have to be a mom (or, possibly a spouse) to truly understand.  Like when you're at the third store trying to pick up last minute school supplies that are impossible to find.  Seriously?!  Unscented disinfectant wipe refills?  2 gallon zipper top Hefty bags?! Sometimes I think they put these things on supply lists as a joke.  Do you really believe that I have all the time in the world to play into your twisted little scavenger hunt?  It's the end of summer and I just want them to go to school.  I don't believe there is a difference between the Westcott and Fisker brands of blunt tip scissors.  That said, I will always buy Crayola - there's totally a difference there. But I digress.  This is supposed to be about how, at the first store the kids lost control, I had to get these things, and by store number three, I really didn't like them much.  Anyone to blame for their lack of decent behavior at the stores besides me?  Nah.  They're my kids and I take responsibility for that.  But when the man at Office Max told me they had a corral we could throw the kids in while I shopped in peace, I almost kissed him.  He was messing with me.  I almost cried.  

This week Haley started Kindergarten the first time.  There will be a second time on Monday, but more about that next week.  They read a story and were sent over to say their goodbyes with little heart shaped stickers to remind us while they were away that our little kindergartners still loved us.  I held it together, but only just barely - I really thought I'd be okay, but it was definitely emotional.  I did keep it together though, which is more than I can say about some moms in there who totally lost their shit stuff (as in: the background sound of the video of their kids' first day of school is going to have profuse and loud sniffling - not coming from a kid or a cold).  I proudly wore my sticker all morning, and last I checked it was on the corner of my bed.  My kids are always telling us that they love us.  And it's great.  It's one of those things I feel like I can pat myself on the back about.  If their behavior is any indication of what they're seeing modeled before them, then I'm not a total mom fail all the time.  If they know one thing, it's that we love them (even when we don't like them).  And that is worth a giant high five!

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Friday, August 10, 2012

Project 52 {32}

My favorite thing about you:
Is your temper.

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I can hear you now. 

"What?!  You love their tempers?!  What mother in her right mind would love their kid to have a temper?!"

Why do you have to keep emphasizing the word love?  What, I'm having a one way conversation with myself, asking rhetorical questions?  Judge me! I'm entertaining and we know it.  And you were thinking it. 

Okay, so this week was tricky, it was just the three of us for most of it, and if that weren't trying enough, Kale was sick.  Again.  Yes, again.  We kicked it last week, only to go get shots when we probably weren't entirely in the clear and it came back with a vengeance.  At 3am.  All over my room.  Motherhood, Yeah!

If you were to say I had a short fuse, you'd be correct.  Having a bedroom that has smelled like puke since Monday, no matter what products you put on the floor shy of a bleach and acid combination that I'm sure would add a skylight to the family room below, will do that to you.  Stain no, stench f-yeah!  But this week marks the end of the summer for us, officially.  Believe it Washington friends, and I'll be sure to let you know when our summer starts.  I'm ready for school to go back.  Because they drive me nuts!  Because we need a break from each other and a concrete routine.  We (all three of us) get grouchy without one, and grouchyness leads to tempers.  

Bringing me back to the beginning, I love their tempers.  Mostly because, it's self expression.  They never have been ones to sit back and let things happen around them, they're participants 90% of the time and observers the other 10%.  If something makes them angry, they screw up their faces and will tell you in the most passionate of voices that they're angry.  Actually it goes more like this "I'm ain-gree" (it's a precisely enunciated two syllable word.  Duh.).  They're passionate people - and that's a good thing.  But it leads to passionate reactions and thus the temper is born, cultivated, and released into the wild that is our house.  

I'd love to be one of those mothers that has a calm and even keel reaction to my kids all the time.  But it's just not me.  I want it to be, I work on it, but dang it.  I'm humanly imperfect (shhh... don't tell anyone).  I shout, I loose my shit and get ain-gree.  Incredible Hulk angry.  But we use our words, express our feelings (passionately) and solve things (never name-calling, or accusing).  We all clearly know the feelings of the others in the house (and the neighbors might as well) and that's a healthy thing.  I deal with a heap of mom guilt over this one.  If I could snap my fingers and be a zen mother, I would in a heartbeat. But I come from a loud family.  You should listen to a conversation between me and my dad.  On cell phones.  Actually, you probably have.  In Nebraska.  We're loud.  I was a lifeguard, who never had to strengthen her voice. You get the point.  

This house may be loud, passionate, and imperfect, but we communicate.  Well and clearly.  And someday they'll learn the art of sarcasm, and we'll be darn entertaining too.  Like a sideshow. 

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Friday, August 3, 2012

Project 52 {31}

My favorite thing about you is:
Your tongue.  
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Both of you.  It's how I know you're concentrating and from what I understand, the bigger of the two of you have been doing it since you were the size of the smaller of the two of you.  Thinking, focusing, figuring things out, surfing, running, playing baseball, it's always right there.  Sometimes the girl gets in on it too.  None of them know they're doing it and (as far as I know) you didn't one day sit down and have some kind of lesson (though, that would be the one thing that would stick after a single talking to).  

This past weekend was Kale's last day of a four-class-long Bambino Baseball instruction held at our gym.  Kale missed the cut off for city t-ball this year by 20 days.  He was bummed, it's the one sport that he really loves (to be fair, he enjoys most sports, but he definitely shows preference for baseball).  For more than a couple of years now he's been throwing the ball straight into the air and hits it with his bat, no tee required.  He comes by it naturally - between Jeff, and the long history of baseball by a number of members on my side of the family, I don't know if he could escape it if he wanted to, so I guess it's a good thing he's embraced it.  He brought me many proud moments, smacking the ball, knowing how to run the bases, and pretty much just being full of awesome.  I loved sitting on the grass watching him play, and I really look forward to (what I'm sure will be) many evening spent at the baseball fields.  Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks and call me a proud happy mama!  

I'm not sure I can explain the pride in your kids when they can physically accomplish something that they practice at.  Haley and her swimming and Kale with his baseball, they just get it and it comes naturally to them.  I'm glad we've found something that fits them (for now at least).  And weeks like this with the (SUMMER!!) Olympics in full swing, I think every parent feels such happiness for and perhaps a bit of connection with the parents who are lucky enough to be sitting in the stands watching their kids compete at such a level.  My kids don't have to achieve that level of physical accomplishment for me to know how proud those parents feel.  Previous Olympics I would watch and wish to be one of those athletes (too bad I suffer from inability to practice...), this year it's different, I don't want to be the athlete, I want to be the parent screaming her brains out in the stands as my kids make good all of their hard work (and lets be realistic, my time and $$$).  And I don't even need to be screaming my brains out in the Olympic stands, I just want the pride of watching my kids do something that will make themselves proud.  

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