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


3/23/11

Magical Creatures

I have had a crisis of conscience recently. I have had to ask myself, am I lying or simply being creative?

There have been 3 incidents which have sparked this debate in my mind.

1. St. Patrick's Day: When the kids entered the kitchen I informed them that the Leprechauns had been at it again this year. Pulling clear cups from the cabinet (carefully shielding the base of the cups with my hand), I poured in white milk, and voila! - The glass was magically filled with green milk! The same with the eggs I cracked into the bowl (high atop the counter). Eggs went in yellow but after some stirring, suddenly they, too, were green. Even the butter on the toast turned green. How? Why Leprechaun magic, of course! This was a tradition in my home when I was growing up...until the day I moved out.

2. The Easter bunny blunder: The kids spied the chocolate bunnies at the grocery store, informing me of which kind they hoped the Easter bunny would place in their baskets. I was ever so sly in getting the bulky packages into the cart and van. I even slid them into the third row after the kids were buckled securely, should they ask to help me unload the trunk (where the other groceries had been placed). Then I promptly forgot all about the chocolate surprises. The next day, as the kids climbed into their seats, what should they see in the the back, but chocolate bunnies! "Mom! Mom!" Parker exclaimed, his eyes wide as saucers. "Do you know what the Easter bunny left in the van for us?! Chocolate bunnies! Just like the ones we wanted!" Oh dear. I smiled and calmly replied, "Oh that silly bunny! He must be confused! Easter isn't for weeks. Here, hand them to me, and I'll put them on the kitchen table. We'll let him know they're here, and maybe when we come home, he'll have left some other candy in their place." Sheesh! We re-entered the house, and I shooed Parker out the door. As he skipped back to the van, I shoved those smirking little rabbits onto the highest shelf in the pantry and fished around for some kind of replacement. Thank heavens for left-over Halloween candy - Smarties!

3. Fairies: They frequent the Rausch household. The Sippy Cup Fairy was the first. She came when it was time for Parker to share his treasured bottles with all the babies of the world [read: his sister who would arrive in a few months] who really needed them. In return for the bag of bottles left on the porch, there was a bag of new sippy cups and some candy, all surrounded by glittery evidence the fairy had come.

The cleaning fairy visits nearly every day during nap. The tooth fairy will be here in no time.

I hadn't realized how pervasive these myths had become until I recently overheard Parker talking to his sister: "Maddie, when I turn four, I won't be using straw cups anymore. Then you can have all of my straw cups, and you can give all of your sippy cups to the Sippy Cup Fairy."

Should I be concerned? What happens when they figure it all out? Will they be angry, disenchanted, embittered toward their lying, er, creative mommy? I sure hope not. I don't know at what age I discovered the secret of the green food coloring on St. Patrick's Day, but I do know that while I rolled my eyes as a teenager when my mom fixed green eggs and ham, I was secretly pleased. I was glad she made the effort to carry on fun traditions, to keep the magic alive in our house. I hope my kids will feel the same way...

3/20/11

Funny Stuff

Time to record some of the funny things the kids have been doing/saying lately....

Maddie loves to sing. It doesn't bother her that she doesn't know the words to a particular song. In fact, she will sing her own version so many times that when she hears the correct version, she becomes angry, insisting her way is best. Don't know where she gets that....

"Deezus wuvs me, dis I know. For dat Deezus tells me so!"

"Whoa, whoa, whoa yo boat, gentwy down the stweet. Mehwuhwee, mehwuhwee, mehwuhwee, mehwuhwee, like a but a dweam!"

Parker has also been pretty amusing lately. Today, as he was strolling through Bass Pro Shop with his dad, they came across some mannequins in camouflage. Glancing at them, Parker informed Aaron, "That would be a good look for you, dad." Walking a few feet more, Parker said, "Do you know what else would be a good look for you? That one!" Apparently Aaron should be a camouflage model.

We have really cracked down on Parker's nighttime routine. He may not come downstairs after he's been put to bed for any reason (that he knows of...of course we would make exceptions for bed-wetting, nightmares, etc.). Ever the strategist, he has developed a new stall tactic. Just as we are shutting the door, he will innocently ask, "Mommy, would you like a little cuddle time?" Seriously?! What would be the correct response to that question? Inevitably, he finagles a few extra minutes of mommy/daddy time. I think that kids is going to make a great lawyer...or used car salesman.

3/5/11

Do-Over

During college I worked as a secretary at a mental health agency. I had a very wise mentor, Tim Schladand, whose advice still rings in my ears today. One of the most useful things Tim ever taught me was that I could start my day or week over whenever I chose. If the start of the day was just terrible, I could simply reset it, and decide my day was just beginning. That way whenever anyone asked me what kind of day or week I was having, I could always answer [truthfully] "wonderful!"

I use this technique in our house all the time. Parker is not a happy camper in the morning. He's often whiny and grumpy. This behavior often leads to a whiny, grumpy mama. Inevitably, I find us cuddling on the couch mid-morning, Parker with tear-stained cheeks, me with clenched teeth. Parker will look up at me with his big blue eyes and say, "Momma, can we please start our day over?" It usually works pretty well.

Yesterday was one of those days. Only this time, Parker was not the one who awoke wearing his grumpy pants. The minute my eyes opened, a to-do list a mile long attacked my brain. We were having my cousin, her husband, and her daughter over that evening for dinner, and I hadn't even bought the food yet. My poor kids just wanted to play with me, and I [repeatedly] made the poor choice to do housework instead. I tried to engage them in activities where we could be in the same room (e.g. I clean the toy room while they paint). But then disaster would strike...

Mommy's two-minute dash to the bathroom with the specific instructions the kids were to stay at the table resulted in finger-painted walls (as Maddie tried to steady herself going up the stairs). Monster-mommy reared her ugly head.

Both kids insisting on getting help with their puzzles while I try to clean up the lunch time mess. Mommy donned her grumpy pants.

Picture-hanging in Parker's room while they were to play trains resulted in the dumping out of the 300+ piece Lincoln Log set. Psycho-mom made an appearance.

All day, it was just plain ugly. Not it...I. I was just plain ugly. As I tearfully reflected upon my behavior, I wondered why I never tried to start my day over.

As it turned out, we had a wonderful visit with my cousin and her family. I relaxed and enjoyed the kids for the first time that day. I was starting to feel okay again until...

Aaron informed me he'd be going out all the next day [Saturday] with his step-father. What?! After the day I'd just had? I counted on him on Saturdays. I needed him.

Then I realized Saturday (today) could be my do-over day. I have done nothing but enjoy the kids all day. We started out at Home Depot Kids' Workshop building wooden cars. We ran around the store and rode on all the tractors. Then on to Barnes and Noble for story time. What a blast! They sang and danced and laughed out loud. Then we read our own books and played with the trains. Finally, we ended up at Five Guys where they devoured burgers and fries. With nary a piece of fruit or vegetable in sight, the kids couldn't believe their luck.

On the way home, I decided to try my luck and run an errand. Time to do something nice for daddy, whose ill-timed day off was actually a huge blessing. We picked up his dry-cleaning. Only this time was completely different from any other time we'd done it. I didn't rush the kids at all. We ran around on the sidewalk in front of the store until they were so tired, they both sat down on the concrete to rest. Only then I asked them if they were ready to head home.

What a wonderful, do-over day!