Monday, March 29, 2010

Sunday Walk

It's that time of year again. The time when we are aching to get outside and see the sun. We live for empty Sunday afternoons when we can take a family walk on the neighborhood path.

Today we looked for birds (a Cub Scout requirement for Jacob)...

collected rocks...

caught gnats...

and laughed at our own corny jokes.

Come on, Spring.

I can't wait to meet you.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Motherhood: Reality Check

{photo by my dad}

Today I went to the store to buy five toy gliders and a jar of peanut butter. (Cub Scouts.) Normally I avoid running errands with three or more children at all costs, but this time there was no choice. It had to be done.

After fortifying Grace with two breakfasts and a dose of Sesame Street, we set out. Things went relatively well at the first store. Isaac bought himself a cheap golf set he couldn't live without. We found the gliders and managed to get out of there with only minimal cries for candy, and some irritating kicking of the cart.

We ventured next door to a grocery store to fetch the peanut butter. There were no signs of impending doom as I loaded Abram into a shopping cart. I should have known it was too quiet. Not 60 seconds into the store, Grace completely lost it. This was no simple protest, no minor bout of independence. It was full-on, no-warning, falling to the floor and screaming as shrilly as humanly possible. She would not be comforted, cajoled, coaxed, or carried. (She probably would have been successfully bribed with chocolate, but I refuse to go there.) So I threw her over my shoulder and quickened my pace, pushing the cart with one hand.

The condiment aisle seemed unbelievably far away. As luck would have it, we passed the manager three times. Each time, he eyed us with a mixture of sympathy and terror.

I hastily grabbed the peanut butter and headed for the checkout line. Someone stepped in front of me at the last minute. For ten eternal minutes, we waited as the cashier made not one but two errors with the lady's purchases, requiring a call to the manager (who had understandably retreated to his office.) By this time I had long since removed Grace from the line and placed her some distance away where she would be safe but get the message that she couldn't act like that. She took it down about 80 decibels and resorted to sniffling and pretending to be an orphan to elicit sympathy from passersby.

The irritated cashier finally rang up my lone item and I counted out $2.30 in coins (which is surprisingly difficult to do when one eye is glued to your child.) I had to borrow a quarter from Isaac. By now the cashier probably thought I was not only a completely incompetent mother, but destitute as well. I finished the transaction while Isaac entertained Grace by showing her how to push the buttons on the lottery ticket machine. No, I didn't even try to stop them.

Having left my dignity in the peanut butter aisle, I trudged out the door, head down, car seat on one arm, frowny toddler trailing. Grace was somewhat pacified, having been offered the job of carrying the grocery sack. I silently vowed NEVER to enter that store again, and possibly never to enter ANY store with ANY child under 12 for the rest of my life.

As we made our way to the van, an elderly woman with a cheerful smile stopped to admire Abram. She cooed at him and he smiled on cue. He's good that way. She made some conversational comments like, "It's a boy, right? He looks like a boy." With pride in her eyes, she declared that her second great-child would be born soon and she was so excited. Then she said the last words I expected to hear on a day like this:

"Oh, I just love seeing motherhood."

She beamed at me, and disappeared behind the automatic doors.

Talk about uncanny timing. How I needed to hear that! Because it isn't always pretty, or clean, or socially acceptable. But it is motherhood. Even - maybe especially - on the difficult days.

I wonder how often Father in heaven looks down on me in my most frustrating moments - when I'm fumbling with a screaming baby and an overloaded diaper bag, or cleaning up the third cup of spilt milk in five minutes, or explaining AGAIN that we don't hit people - and says knowingly, "I just love seeing motherhood."

Monday, March 22, 2010

Dear Tooth Fairy

I have finally lost my first tooth.

I've been wiggling it incessantly for three months now.

I haven't been able to bite an apple since December.

But that is history.

My brother (well, his stuffed puppy to be exact) knocked it out yesterday.

Please come to my house and give me a dollar.

I've earned it.



Sunday, March 14, 2010

Abram Abridged

Current Stats:

6 months old

16 pounds

2 teeth (as of yesterday)

Nicknames: bugaboo, squiggly-wiggly, luva-luva.

Can: roll over, sleep through the night (finally!), grab hair and necklaces.

Likes: Mommy, Daddy, milk, being held, listening to the piano, bathtime, and chewing on things.

Dislikes: being put down.

Latest accomplishments: Had his first taste of solid food yesterday.
Behold, the introduction of rice cereal.

What kind of cruel trick is this...?Help! Mommy is torturing me!Wait a minute. Curious...
Okay, okay. I'll give it a try.
Hey, that's not half bad!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Three is the New Two

Last month, Grace turned three. Or "free," as she calls it. Or five, as she insisted for a few days....

So far she has bucked the trend among my children of age three being worse than the so-called terrible year of two. Yes, Grace definitely has her opinions about things - about everything, actually. But we are making progress at finding a middle ground she and I can both live with. And her communication skills are really blossoming now, which helps tremendously. Now she can explain why she needs to borrow thirty diapers, decorate her dresser with orange crayon, or spend an hour at a time in the bathtub. (When I try to take her out, she begs "Two more minutes, finish up, and one more time.")

Anyway, happy birthday precious girl. Live it up. You're only three once.

Maybe by age four she can learn to use a fork. :)

Monday, March 8, 2010

Love Is...

homemade valentines (at the special request of Isaac, who hinted every day leading up to a certain February holiday, "I hope you make me a valentine!),

and hot cinnamon rolls after church.

Incidentally, Isaac is still making valentines for family and friends. Yes, in March. Holidays seem to last a long time around here.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The New Math

We all know that children measure time differently than adults do. I remember when an hour seemed like an awfully long time, and summer vacation was literally forever. My kids live in this stretched-out time warp now. (What?! Dinner is in 30 minutes??!! We're going to starve to death!!!)

Yesterday, Isaac let me in on the secret formula:

"A week is half of a long time, and a day is a half of a quarter."

Thanks for the clarification, Isaac. I will try to plan accordingly.