Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Failed Attempt

My two oldest girls start school tomorrow - 4th grade and 1st grade. Today, our last summer day together, got off to a rocky start. I was trying to do some things on the computer. They were whiny and needy. We'd had two meltdowns by 10:30 and I could feel my own meltdown coming on strong. I decided that this was NOT the way I wanted to spend my final day of summer vacation with my girls, so I offered to take them to our local science center. They all agreed, we ate an early lunch, and then we were on our way.

Well, it didn't quite go as well as I had hoped. For starters, the little one has never been super fond of animals, but has also never been scared of them - until today. When we saw snakes, lobsters, and tiny sharks - all very safely contained, of course - she screamed and clung to me like saran wrap. Then we headed out to see the outdoor animals. However, by 1:00, cooler temperatures and the pleasant breeze from earlier had completely disintegrated. It was a very sunny, somewhere in the 90's, walk around the outdoor animal exhibits. The little one whined and cried the e-n-t-i-r-e time. The older two actually attempted to study the animals, but, of course, 75% of them were hiding from the heat and could barely be seen.

Less than two hours after arriving (and $30 in admission down the drain) we were all ready to leave. I tried to salvage the intended fun by stopping for ice cream, but even that seemed a rather anti-climatic.

There is a one small benefit that I can glean from today's failed attempt at quality time, though. My memory of this day may not be stellar, but it will make me a little more thankful when I hear the alarm clock early tomorrow morning signaling the start of another new school year!! :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Sisterly Advice

This is a conversation I overheard in our minivan yesterday between Megan and Emily. I'm not sure what sparked their exchange and I don't think there is any additional commentary I could add! :)

Megan:  Emily, let's pretend that, when you are at preschool, one of your friends comes to you and tells you to go tell your teacher her outfit looks stupid.  Would you do it?

Emily: No.

Megan:  That's right.  You shouldn't do that because that would be a bad choice.  What should you do instead?

Emily:  I don't know.

Megan:  You should tell your friend "No, I'm not going to do that because that is a bad choice."  OR you could say to your friend "O.K.", but when you go to your teacher you don't say, "Your outfit looks stupid."  Instead, you tell her that she looks pretty.  Usually it is not nice to trick people, but if you did it this way, your friend wouldn't get mad and you wouldn't get in trouble.  Do you understand??

Emily: Uh-huh.

Megan:  O.K.  Now, Emily, do you like to beat things?

Emily:  Ummmmm......

Megan:  It's o.k.  Just answer the truth.  You won't get in trouble I promise.  Do you like to beat things?

Emily:  Yes.

Megan:  O.K.  So make two fists with your hands.  Let's pretend this hand is the good choice and the other is the bad choice.  Which choice should we always make?

Emily:  Ummmmm. . . .

Megan:  The good choice, right?  So let's take this hand that has the bad choice and let's just beat that bad choice away.  (She pounds one fist on the palm of the other hand and Emily imitates.)  Doesn't that feel good, Emily, to just beat that bad choice away?!?

Emily:  (just giggles)

Megan:  O.K.  Emily, so what did you learn??  If your friend tells you to do something that is wrong like telling your teacher her outfit is stupid, what are you going to do??

Emily:  Beat them up like this!  (Pounds her fist against her palm as Megan demonstrated earlier.)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Rachel's Birthday - Part 2

As I mentioned in an earlier blog post Rachel's birthday was August 9th and she had two birthday requests: to have her room painted and to get her ears pierced.

Well, the second of those two requests was very difficult for me.  She actually asked for the ear piercing last year and we I decided against it.  You see, letting her get her ears pierced - even at 9 years old - goes against every fiber of my being.  Here's why:

First of all, it is just not the way I was raised.  I probably wouldn't have been allowed to get my ears pierced until I was at least 12.  As it happened, I didn't actually want to get them pierced until I was 16.  Even then, it was more about finding jewelry to match my prom dress than it was about anything else.

Secondly, have you met Rachel???  This is the child who required me and two nurses to pry her from tornado drill position and hold her down on the exam table just to administer a simple flu shot.  She then left the doctor's office limping dramatically and loudly proclaiming what a terrible family she had and how much they all must hate her.  This is also the child for which it took Novocaine three times longer than normal to take effect due to the crying and wailing.  Now they just have the nitrous ready and waiting anytime we show up - no questions asked.  She also despises having her hair washed, cut, or even brushed and complains profusely anytime I catch a tangle.   I could go on, but you probably get my point by now.

Finally, and if I am being honest, it is a sign of her growing up.  It is just one step closer to more jewelry, make-up, and high heels.  She is my oldest, but she is still a baby to me.  I am not ready to let her grow up.

So why did I "give in?"  Like the room painting, I realized that this was something of great importance to Rachel and I made a deal with her a couple of months ago.  Her end of the bargain was that she had to prove her maturity by taking care of her braces (which she got in April) and fully cooperating with a routine check-up at the pediatrician's office.  We had several detailed discussions about the ear piercing process and the importance of taking care of her ears after they are pierced.  I also set some very clear limits about what kind of earrings are and are not appropriate.  Well, she kept up her end of the bargain.  She did it with flying colors, in fact.  So, I had to keep my promise as well.

I am sure there are some people who disagree with my decision and others who are asking "What's the big deal?"  I have friends and relatives on both sides of that fence.  Personally, I still have some reservations, but Rachel is thrilled.  The day we got them pierced she couldn't stop smiling and talking about it.  

The fact is, she is growing up and I can't stop it.  Hopefully, though, I can keep it from happening too terribly fast and still see that beautiful Rachel smile many more times along the way!  


Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Baby That Made Me a Legend

As I mentioned in an earlier post, this week is a birthday blitz in our house.  In my last post, I reminisced about the day Rachel was born nine years ago.  Now, I am taking a moment to remember when Emily was born - 4 years ago today.

I will always be indebted to Emily because, through her birth, I became a legend.  Only for a day or two and only in a very small circle of people, but still, a legend.  You see, Emily was obviously born in August and August is pretty hot, humid, and torturous here in North Carolina (even if you are not hugely pregnant and responsible for two other children who were, at the time, 2 and teetering on 5).  I was terribly uncomfortable and, really,  just plain miserable.  I was more than ready to have my third and final child. So, once again, we headed to the hospital one Saturday morning to be induced four days past my due date.  My labor was fairly easy (thank you sweet epidural) and quick.  At 5:05 pm, Emily was born.

Immediately, the medical staff and my husband started commenting on how big she was.  To me, she just looked like a beautiful newborn baby girl, especially since my other two were not small potatoes either.  My husband went with her to the nursery where they weighed and bathed her.  When he returned to the delivery room where the nurses were still working with me, he had a smirk on his face and said to everyone, "Guess how much she weighs."  Some guesses were made, mostly in the 9 pound range.  Everyone was amazed when he announced the answer: 10 pounds 2 ounces!  Yep  - 10.2 pounds - that is not a typo!

She was the biggest baby anyone remembers being born on either side of my family.  As far as I know, none of my friends have had a baby that big.  In fact, she was the biggest baby the nurses remembered being born at that hospital in quite some time.  The next day, a nurse actually came into my hospital room and asked to check my incision, assuming I'd had a C-section.  She couldn't believe I hadn't.  One or two others came in just to take a peek at the baby that had everyone talking.  Friends and family went on and on about her size.  And I, the mother who gave birth to her, became a legend (albeit briefly and mostly in my own mind!).

 Emily came home from the hospital in size 1 diapers and size 3-6 month clothes.  The first thing I had to do was remove all the tiny newborn clothes I had so carefully placed in her nursery furniture drawers and replace them with larger items.  Here we are four years later and Emily is still too big for her britches!!!  She has a huge personality that commands attention.  She is the baby of the family - she knows it and uses it to her advantage whenever possible.  She keeps us on our toes and makes us laugh.  She gives out hugs and kisses like they are going out of style.  I am certain that her size at birth was simply an indication from above that she is destined for big things in her life.  I look forward to seeing what is in her future; I just hope it doesn't all go by as fast as the last four years have gone!

We love you so much, Emily!!  Happy Happy 4th Birthday!!!!


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Nine Years Ago . . .

Nine years ago today, I woke up early after a restless night, ate a big fat peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and headed to the hospital where doctors induced my labor because the baby I was carrying had actually been due almost two weeks earlier.  After about twelve hours of labor, we finally met our first beautiful baby girl, Rachel.  It is hard to believe she is now nine years old!

I suppose her late arrival should have been a clue to her future personality.  She does things her way and on her terms.  She is not easily persuaded into doing anything she doesn't want to.  I once said that she is the most confident, determined, and self assured kid I have ever met.  That is still very true.  She is unique and wonderful!!

Happy Happy Birthday Rachel!!!  We love you so very much!!!!

Confident and Creative
Heart of gold
Extremely Intelligent
Loves Animals

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Happy Birthday DW!

Today begins our annual August week of birthday insanity.  Three of the "Spoons" have birthdays in the coming week - Rachel is on the 9th, Emily is on the 11th, and DW's birthday is today!  He is turning 40 and I am sure I could list at least 40 things I love about him, but none of you have the time or the desire to read all that.  So, I'll narrow it down to the top four reasons I love my hubby.

1)  He makes me laugh.  They say laughter is the best medicine.  If that's true, then I will live a long and happy life with DW.  He makes me laugh every day - even when I don't want to; even on the worst days.  The fact is, I am just plain happier when he is around.  

2) He is very smart.  Not just book smart either, but worldly smart.  He has traveled to so many different places and he talks to people from all around the world everyday.  He often teaches me something new or helps me make sense of the things going on around us.  He has a perspective that I just don't and he is always willing to share his insight.  He also knows anything and everything about computers.  He can fix pretty much anything around the house, too.

3)  He is a great dad.  I'm sure he never envisioned himself with three daughters any more than I did.  But, he loves being our "provider" and the man of the house.  He has high expectations for our girls and believes they can do anything.  He gets frustrated with them just like I do from time to time, but they know he loves them unconditionally and they love him right back.  There are few things in life more precious than the sight of a little girl and her Daddy!

4) He completes me.  I know - that is the cheesiest and most overused movie line ever, but a) I love that movie and b) it's true!  When DW is by my side, I am calmer and happier; more adventurous and spontaneous.  He is absolutely my best friend in the whole wide world.

So, HAPPY BIRTHDAY DW!!!!  I look forward to celebrating the next 40 with you!!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Grass Isn't Greener

DW travels for work - a lot.  Admittedly, there have been many times when I have felt downright jealous of him.  His days often seem so much more glamorous than mine.  Here's a comparison:

My typical day -
get the kids up and ready to go; drive them here, there, and everywhere; laundry; more laundry;  feed them mac and cheese or spaghetti o's for dinner; baths; put them to bed and hope everyone sleeps peacefully through the night; prepare for the next day; stagger to bed; get up and do it all again.  (All this is, of course, continuously interrupted by whining, fighting, and complaining.)

His typical day -
Get up and dressed in nice clothes; hop on a plane and fly to a different city; meet new people (adults, mind you); go out to a nice restaurant for dinner with these new people; spend the night in a plush hotel room ALONE; do it again the next day.

This past weekend, I went on a trip to Chicago with DW - just the two of us - for a weekend getaway.  He squeezed in a business meeting on Monday morning and I went along with him.  Through it all, I came to this realization:

Yes - Children fight and cry; laundry and dishes have to be done (over and over and over); mac and cheese gets rather redundant; and sometimes kids have nightmares.

Flights get delayed; hotels are sterile; restaurants aren't always good; and I definitely do not intend to go traipsing through an airport in heels again anytime soon!

Now don't get me wrong - I had a fabulous time over the weekend.  I truly enjoyed being relaxed and not worrying about schedules.  I loved having the opportunity to see a new place.  We had some fantastic food and met some new people along the way.  It was wonderful - FOR A WEEKEND!  However, I don't think I could do it all the time.

I guess the grass isn't always greener on the other side of the fence.  My job has plenty of pitfalls AND joys.  So does DW's.  So does everyone's.  What it boils down to for us as a family is doing the jobs that make us the happiest collectively.

DW definitely misses us when he is away.  He enjoys the travel, though.  He also enjoys the sale and he is really good at his job.  He would completely suffocate if we changed places.

I, on the other hand, enjoy traveling for pleasure on occasion - not constantly.  I probably couldn't sell popsicles at Disney World on the hottest day of the year.  But, I am a good mom (most of the time) and I know in my heart that I am doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing.

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