When your daily activities are in concert with your highest priorities, you have a credible claim to inner peace. – Hyrum Smith


2/28/11

I saw your socks...and I'm sorry.

Dear Mother or Parker's Preschool Buddy,

Thank you for having us all over to dinner a few months ago when you had a newborn. Thank you for coming over after we had to reschedule 3 times due to my kids' various illnesses. Thank you for taking off your shoes and your sons' shoes when you came in.

When you left, I saw your socks...and I'm sorry. I noticed them when you arrived. They were glowing white. Did you see me cringe? You didn't know I had to make some tough choices that morning. Wash the dishes, wipe down the counters and bathrooms, make the beds...or do the floors. I rationalized you wouldn't even notice the floors. (By the way, I noticed them at your house. How exactly was it possible for them to be clean enough to eat off of when your baby was less than 2 months old? I convinced myself you must have a cleaning person, but I cannot ask you directly for fear that you might not and are just a naturally immaculate person with an immaculate home.)

I saw the fleeting look of horror on your face when you nearly laid your baby on my living room rug before you quickly snatched him back up. Yes, I know we don't have animals. No, I don't know how my carpet gets so dirty. I hastily laid down a blanket for him, but it was too late. I tried to shrug it off and apologized for my filthy floors. I was dying inside. I saw you glance at your socks when you sat next to him on the carpet. I consoled myself with the thought that your cleaning person could benefit from the new rags.

Despite my embarrassment, I had a nice time. Our older boys had a great time playing together. I hope you'll come back. Just next time, please keep your shoes on.

2/22/11

Bilingual

I don't mean to brag or anything, but it just so happens my three year old is able to speak another language. Guess those 2 half days of preschool a week are really paying off...

Yesterday, we had a playdate with Parker's friend, Parker. The boys were running around, having a great time, while Parker's mother, Joni, and I chatted. Suddenly, my Parker raced over to me and asked breathlessly, "Mom! Mom! What does idealuhful mean?"

Me: Ideal-uh-ful?
Parker: Yeah!
Me: Um, I don't know, honey. I've never heard that word before.
Parker: Eye...deal...uh...ful (repeating it to me as if I were slow).

Oh! Idealuhful! Yeah. I got nothing.

Me: I'm sorry, Parker. I don't know.

He pointed frantically over his shoulder. I asked if he was using the word to describe something.

Parker: Yeah! I told Parker the steering wheel was idealuhful.
Me: Did you make up the word?
Parker [slightly annoyed at my ignorance]: Yeah!
Me: Oh, well then it can mean anything you want it to. What does it mean?
Parker [dissmissively]: Oh, I don't know. It's Japanese.

2/18/11

The Toy Nazi

That's right. I have officially graduated from Toy Librarian to Toy Nazi. One day I just snapped. I transformed from the keeper of the toys to the hater of the toys. Surely the toys were the root of all evil or at least of all that was awry in our otherwise orderly [ha, ha] home.

That morning when I awoke they were everywhere. They had invaded every nook and cranny in every room. In my bed, under the couch, on the kitchen table, in the bathroom drawers, on the steps. Unacceptable! Jobs I once viewed as mundane, such as separating the Thomas train tracks from wooden puzzle pieces, were now viewed as despicable wastes of time. Detailed information about the toys slowly sucked away my brain's ability to function. (For example, that red, plastic purse that one might assume belonged to the dolls in Maddie's dollhouse given it's shape and size actually belonged to the Mrs. Potato Head at Grammy's house! Ughhh! Who cared?!)

I went on a rampage. I announced that whatever the kids didn't help me pick up would be donated to charity...tomorrow! That motivated them for all of two minutes (when they became distracted by walkie-talkies and fake fruit). I had had it.

Phase I - At nap time I attacked the toy room. Armed with trash bags I ruthlessly pitched tiny plastic pieces and broken toys. I separated the other toys into the remaining trash bags: too old (complicated puzzles, etc.) , too young (baby toys), and rotate (still good but not used much). When I was finished, the room looked, well, sparse. I assured myself it was okay. They would certainly get more toys on their birthdays and at Christmas, right? (Bwahahahaha! Not if Phase III was accomplished! But I'm getting ahead of myself...)

Phase II - New house rules were established. All toys were to stay in the playroom or the kids' rooms. They could get one out and carry it around the house, assuming they returned it to the proper place before retrieving another. Too strict? Too stringent? The Toy Nazi thought not.
This phase didn't go over so well. Many toys took up residence in a green plastic basket on our first floor, waiting to be put away. At least they were all in one spot.

Phase III - Ask friends and family refrain from giving toys on birthdays/holidays. Gifts could include books, money designated for higher education, clothes, etc.
Ha! It was during the creation of this phase that the Toy Nazi realized she had perhaps gone too far. This battle could not be won, and from a moral standpoint, it probably should not even be attempted.

I'm afraid the invasion of the toys is far from over. However, I've decided I don't want to be a Toy Nazi anymore. I want the kids to enjoy their toys. I want their friends and family to be able to give as freely as they choose. Time to look for some neutral ground...

2/10/11

Be My Valentine

It has been a crazy month. Aaron was out of town for five days, I took the kids to Indianapolis to visit friends and the awesome children's museum, and some out of town guests stayed at our house as they were passing through on their way from St. Louis to Virginia.

I didn't even look at my planner or calendar until the 8th. When I did, I nearly had a heart attack. Parker's school Valentine's Day party was in 2 days! I was the "room mom" who is supposed to help organize all of the other parents who had signed up to volunteer. I quickly shot out a million emails and prayed it would magically work out.

Prayers answered: another mom had already taken over, and everything was ready to go. Whew.

Then last night, I sat up in bed, my heart thudding in my ears. Valentine's Day cards! Hadn't Parker mentioned making his own personal mailbox at school? What kind of [room] mom was I? No Valentine cards to pass out?? That simply wouldn't do!

I tossed and turned until Maddie woke up puking at 5:30AM. What a lovely way to start the day. The kids and I were dressed and in the van by 7:50 and trudging into Walmart at the ungodly hour of 8AM to find Spiderman Valentines. I hurriedly wrote Parker's classmates' names on them, attached the super-cool pencil, and passed them to Parker to affix a heart-shaped sticker on each. Parker and his Valentines were delivered at 8:45AM. Super-mom status restored.

Until...I picked him up and glanced in the "mailbox." Seriously? When do these parents have time to create such elaborate Valentines??? Precious cards, neatly sealed in sucker-adorned envelopes, and filled with little candies. What the heck?!

Parker "read" one to me. "Dear Parker, Thank you for playing with me. I would like you to come over to my house. Love, Nathan."
"Oh wow," I replied, "May I see it?"

In reality, it was a Toy Story Valentine with a picture of Buzz Lightyear and the words: Valentine's Day is on approach. Only Parker's name and Nathan's name were hand-written.

It was then I realized Parker and I had much in common...We were both delusional and making way too much out of these silly Valentine's Day cards!