Archive for October, 2010

Despite a small boy’s stomach growling at 5 am this morning and requiring him to tell his mother that only cereal would fill the void.  And despite being that mother who descended the stairs with one ungummed eye and returned with an apple, sliced and peeled.  And thus sat hunched on the bottom bunk while the same small boy whimpered directions for the whereabouts of the cereal that wasn’t brought up. 

Despite being that mother on this morning…Tuesday got off to a great start.

Because of this.

That is our dishwasher–sad as it is.  But beside it is the little girl who emptied it this morning.  Without being asked.  Who climbed up on the counters and put our assortment of dishes in the cupboards.  Who carefully placed our mis-matched mugs on the opposite counter because she did not want to break them.   And whose small feet I considered kissing.  But didn’t.

I was too busy walking on air.

This is our five a.m. riser who reached for my hand after preschool and said as if he could barely believe it himself, “I didn’t even cry.” 

Nevermind that he would also be the one in gym class this afternoon wearing the back pockets to his red shorts in front.  And not bothering with underwear at all.  God bless him.

But before that happened, here they were in the morning.  Completely happy.  And mostly normal.

Six or seven seconds later, here they are.  Completely normal.  And mostly happy.

I gotta believe it’s the small hallelujahs in the A.M.

Cause I’m still smiling in the P.M.


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Because the Candles are Tired

It would not matter if I straightened the Fall decorations on our coffee table twice an hour.  Or if I bothered to count the kernels in the carpet someone picked off the Indian corn.  Or if I paused at three, five and seven o’ clock to restock the cornucopia with its missing fake fruit.  Or pulled an orange candle out from behind the couch.

No…it would not matter.

Because at seven thirty, the Fall decorations go to bed.  They have no choice. “They’re tired,” my son tells me.  And I watch as he lines up each decoration–corn, candles, fruit–single file into his train blankie and then whips the cover over the top.

” Can I see them?” I ask.  And he hesitates before proudly peeling his blanket away.

Only I don’t know if the decorations have ever had it so good…

They’ve certainly never been loved quite like this.

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It was seven-fifteen, maybe earlier, when our naked tricylist pedaled down the hallway, a plastic jack-o-latern stuffed with decorative corn hanging from his handle bar and a TV cable dragging behind his seat.  I merely looked up.  And then down.  As the day appeared to have taken off without me.

This same child would sit down for breakfast without a stitch, complain two bites in that he was cold, dump his cereal where his underwear would’ve been and then blubber at a higher volume and with tears just how cold he really was. 

By which time he would allow me to stuff him into his clothes.

At the library, he would inform me about his drawers.  Mentioning off-hand that he had pooped in them.  Only I assume he used the word ‘poop’ because he is not yet familiar with the word ‘diarrhea’.  A thing no roll of paper towels should attempt to handle.  Unless of course it is all you have.  And well then, like me, you’re grateful.  For the paper towels.  Nevermind the working bowels.

At home he would dash down the driveway on his tricycle (in clothes this time), looking neither right nor left, and veer on a single back wheel into the road.  My neighbor would suck in her breath for both of us and on the exhale mention how tired I look.  Which I suppose is a compliment in comparison to looking dead or beaten up.  I took it as one.

My daughter in the meantime would operate in her own world.  One where reading right-side up is optional.


And where creating a map of our neighborhood would hold her attention for an hour.  And some.

I’m not sure how Monday will end.  Only my prayer is with two children in bed.  And myself soon to follow.

In the meantime, though…looks like I’ll be building more character.

It must be what I need today.

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Four Things

There was no snow on the ground this morning, as my children had hoped.  Just frost.  And a lot of sunshine. Which, when translated, still means it’s time for snow pants–minus the snow.  And which meant that anyone breathing outside certainly couldn’t do it in secret.  Not even the dog.  Who, this morning, stood at the back door, an inch from the glass pane and panted.  And who prompted a phrase I’d not heard before until my son said,  “Look at Heathrow’s clouds.”  And behold, there were clouds rising from the dog’s mouth and nose.  I’ll be darn.

Then…completely unrelated and possibly as unimportant, I’d not previously known what a near-theme park experience our van could be.  Say, if you spend an hour and a half running around in it before actually leaving for grandma’s house–another three hours away.  But my son knows.  I came out to the garage with another suitcase to load in, and to clean out a dog’s dream worth of snacks from the floor, and there he was deep in the glove compartment, completely satisfied with his discovery of the bandaid box.  He was only four bandaids in, having peeled and wrapped them around each finger.  And, well, I do not know what happened once I went back inside.  I could barely think.

On the road, the same child who hung his right leg over onto his sister’s lap 43 times and poked her with his finger until she’d nearly bitten it off.  And who had talked of potties and diapers and all things closely related ’til he couldn’t laugh anymore.  His sister either.  That child.

That child…then had a sniffing contest with his sister.  By which time my husband chirped, “gee, I wonder where they get that from.”  (Only he says that because he also wishes he could smell when a fly perspires in the next room).  Acute olfactory senses here, people.  But anyway, there were our kids displaying another proud moment in the van, sniffing each other ’til they couldn’t breathe.  Two minutes.  Maybe five.

Then despite successfully peeing in the toilet at our potty stop in Cle Elum, our son would find it unnecessary to find the toilet at grandma’s house.  And…would…consequently pee in his orange sweats.  Twice.  Which I hadn’t thought possible either.

But it’s been a learning day for me.  I think I’ll spare you the rest.

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Van Church

I don’t know what prompted the Sunday school lesson in the backseat of  the van today.  Or if it really was one.  But we were hardly on Meridian St. heading south from the Y, when my six year old held her brother’s hand and spoke in this calm teacher-like voice. “You’re perfect, bud.  Your skin is perfect.  Your body is perfect.  And,” she breathed,  “you’re perfect because you’re a child of God.”

Only he was quick to blurt his offense. “I’m not a child, ” he said.  But she aptly answered, “Yes, you are.”  And then continued, “we’re both children.  We’re children of God.”

“I’m not a child,” he insisted again, clearly missing the finer points of the sermon.

And so she asked,”then what are you?” 

And he answered as one putting the matter to rest, “I’m an ice cream cone.”

“Then are you made of ice cream,” she asked?

“No,” he said, as he laughed at her ridiculous question.  “I’m made of people.”

By which time she bust a gut.  And I pulled into our driveway.  Completely enlightened.

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Me Likey Your Soul Patch

It wasn’t that dinner was completely lame or that we had nothing to talk about.  It’s just that this stack of yellow post-it notes was also on the table.  And well, if one person can tear out a mustache and a soul patch.  Ain’t no reason we all can’t.

Only the notion of each of us in our staches does strange things.  We are no longer ourselves.  We speak new languages.  Or the same one with a crummy accent.

“Jefe’, would you say there are a plethora of post-it notes on the table?”

“Si, El Guapo.  There are a plethora of post-it notes on the table and the floor.”

“Jefe’, would you say it’s bed time for the small ones in beards?”

“Si, El Guapo.  And I would add that your new mustache is looking less guapo all the time.”

And then a soul patch or two would unstick itself or fly off in mid-run to the mirror.  Or someone would tear themselves out new accessories.  Or we’d realize we’d torn up a whole stack of post-it notes for, uh, entertainment.

Only *shrug* it wouldn’t matter in the least.  We’ve certainly paid more to laugh less.  Just not tonight.

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Peeing the Straight and Narrow

“Mommeee.”  His voice was quivery.  “Right here.” I answered.  And then asked, “You all right?”  I was just inches away, but the blue door between us made it difficult to see anything but his bare buns and his underwear at his ankles. And that was squinting through the crack.  He shuffled to the lock and let me in.  And then he pointed to the wall behind the toilet and cried. “I peed there.”  He was right. Dripping down the wall, coating the flusher and most of the seat was a potty stream only another male could be proud of.   And though I wanted to blurt, “um… how did you manage that,” I leaned his head on my leg instead.  “It’s okay, bud,” I heard myself say.  “You worry about your drawers there, and I’ll clean this up.”  Then armed with half-ply toilet paper and half a smile, I dabbed away. 

The third stall at the YMCA would need a little more TLC, say with gloves and a sponge.  But my little guy’s conscience was clean.

And well, I could live with that.

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