Friday, May 21, 2010

You Said What?

Changes sneak up on you, even when you know they are coming.  Little ones start to give as good as they take, and big ones twist things perversely until your words turn into a mangled web of barbed wire in their minds.  I am amused and perplexed at the things children pick up. I'm even more amused about the innocent things they say that just sound so wrong.  For instance, we have three roosters that keep pecking the feathers off of the hens backs.  My four year old keeps calling them "nasty peckers".  I'd ignore it, as he means peckers as in they peck.  My oldest, however, is in middle school and notices everything having to do with any body part.  I never even knew he knew what a pecker was until I heard him in his room laughing hysterically as my son was yelling at the roosters.  He is the first of four boys.  It's all downhill from here:)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Here is to us

Why is it that my younger ones follow the actions of my preteen and ignore my incessant guidance pertaining to their behavior.  I can understand the lackluster look in the eyes of my oldest as I give him the rundown for the day.  It's just too soon for the younger ones to take that route.  They haven't paid their dues yet.  They haven't gone through the good years of listening and doing what their told.  They haven't had a chance to let their sweetness take over.  Nope, they have gone straight to the attitude of one many years their major.

My snotty attitude is now thrown back at me and so is that look.  You know the look, the one that the parent gives the child just before they lose their mind.  Well, it's not so amusing when the kid gives it back to you.  It is way too easy to focus on all the things that, as a parent, you feel you need to change or improve upon. 

Today, I am choosing to look past the attitude at the way that manners show up unexpectedly in public, since they seem to have gone missing at home.  There is the way that help is offered before it is asked for with no begging or pleading or repeating of any kind.  It is nice to know that to the public, I have nice, well-behaved children (unless they are with me).  Doors are held open, politeness wins the battle over annoyance, and I am the best parent ever.  Home, however, is a whole other animal.  It makes me wonder just how much of what I say makes it through the thick skulls and seemingly deaf ears.  I can only hope that my words will linger during times of doubt or peer pressure, and that in my words will be found a moment of clarity.  They have shown me that they know right from wrong.  

At this point, I soak in the praise of others.  I let my kids go to their friends house more often, because I always get that wonderful call, the one that showers me with praise, the one that tells me what a fabulous job I am doing raising my children, the praise I only get when my kids are not with me. Yes, I get second hand info about my perfect little children.  First hand, I get little tornadoes that rip through the house ignoring my pleas for tranquility and neatness. 

I don't mother my children in order to get praise.  However, it is really wonderful to hear that out of all the things that you do wrong, someone else can see something that you're doing right.  Children try one's patience more than anything I have ever come across.  Your best side doesn't always show.  Your wits end is often exposed and it is just too easy to focus on the mother you wish you were instead of the merits of the mother you actually are.  

So, here is to all the real mothers with real limits to their patience, to the mothers who sacrifice daily without the kids realizing it at all.  Here is to all the mothers who would stop being so hard on themselves if only they would get a Thank You.  You are all doing a wonderful job!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Timing is Everything

Usually the afternoons go pretty smoothly. Yesterday, however, there was a small hiccup in the flow of things.  I didn't really think anything of it.  The baby is having a bout of diaper rash and screams to be changed immediately.  So, I looked at the clock and determined that since the bus for my Kindergartener  doesn't get to the corner for another five minutes, I could change the diaper before I left.  There is nothing worse than listening to your child scream in pain.  I did a quick diaper change and left the house four minutes later than usual.  The bus stop is at the corner of my yard, it's not like it's down the street.  When I walked outside, there was a veritable traffic jam at the corner.  I ran to the bus and explained what happened.  The five cars behind the bus were honking at me.  As I began to walk to the house, I heard the kids on the bus calling for the other boy who uses the bus stop.  Apparently they sent him to knock on my front door, but I walked out the back.  So I had to gather the neighbor kid before I could take my boy home.  All the while, my son is yelling at me, "Ma, next time just bring the baby to the bus stop naked.  She (the bus driver) is allowed to see him naked.  It's OK.  So next time you have to do that".  It would have been cute had the entire neighborhood not been honking at me.  

I had no idea that they wouldn't let him off the bus if I wasn't there.  What do they do when a parent isn't there at all?  I've never been late before and I don't plan on being late again.  I think I'll change the baby in plenty of time from now on.  Of course it's just my luck that the one day I take a few minutes, is the one day she gets there early.

I plan to erase the event from my memory.  Y'see, I am not a thin woman.  Since I realized I was running low on time, I didn't have a chance to put on my other shirt.  So, I ran all jiggly like to the bus stop in a tank top (with no over shirt) shorts and flip flops.  I suppose it would have been fine had it not been a tank with a built in and very useless bra.  I was flopping around like water balloons.  That's about all the work out I can stand by the way.

So, as I said, I will swiftly rewind and erase the moment my entire neighborhood was exasperated and watched me flop myself in virtual slow motion to the bus stop to pick up my kid who demanded that I drag my naked screaming one to the bus anyway in order to never be late again.  

The joys of parenting never cease.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Relief Is Just a Phone Call Away

As an adult, interactions with my family (parents and siblings) results in some adverse symptomatology.  We all love each other very much.  Unfortunately, that love is laced with a good deal of stress and excitement.  Thus the weirdness ensues.  See, whenever we get on the phone with each other, one or all of us have to run to the restroom.  Yes, we are there for each other in times of need or irregularity.  My sister jokes that I should call her "Les-Lax".  She's right too.  Who needs Activia when we've got each other.  Regrettably, this phenomenon has made the use of cell phones in public places a bit precarious.  It's pretty much answer at your own risk.  At least there is no denying the love.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Be Careful What You Wish For

I have decided that God is trying to tell me something.  He is kicking me in my lazy butt and telling me to get over myself.  I know this, because, when it comes to me and my family, He has a twisted sense of humor though this really isn't funny.  I suppose that after all these years of me being unmotivated and a reluctant housekeeper, he decided to give me perspective.  Granted, I needed perspective.  It had to be something that I could not deny, and something profound, and it was. 

Let me give you some background.  I am married with four children.  There is always laundry to do and something to clean.  Dishes seem to be used by an army as I wash them repeatedly just to find them dirty when I need them.  My goal has never been to keep a spotless house.  If it were, I would fail miserably.  My house looks lived in.  Sometimes it's messy, and others not so much.  If I have more of the latter than the former I am happy.  See, I'm pretty easy when it comes to my house.  I learned a long time ago that if I strive for perfection, I would just give myself an ulcer.  Now, I don't worry so much...unless I'm expecting company, then I am a crazy cleaning lunatic. 

Okay, so for the past few months, I really haven't been motivated to scrub much of anything.  I clean and do what needs doing, but no more, no less.  I kept wondering how all these Moms keep such clean houses all the time.  Well, I know one who is always spotless, everyone else is normal...clean but still lived in.  Lately, I have slowly been buried by a to do list of seemingly simple tasks.  Simple is always complicated when there is a baby demanding attention and a 4 year old who needs equal time or feels left out.  The little things slowly add up to a gargantuan amount of work that there really isn't any time for.  Enter the powers that be.

My 5 year old, who will be 6 in a few days, has had a runny nose for years.  He has trouble sleeping and snores a lot.  I knew he had mild allergies and he was on Claritin as per the doctor.  After an influx of pollen, he had a severe reaction.  They put him on Zyrtec and eye drops and nighttime allergy meds all of which took a week to make a real difference.  So, I finally took him to get tested for allergies.  I dreaded this because I knew he would be in pain.  After having to hold him down as he writhed on the table as they were doing the scratch test (52 total), I then had to hold him still and try to calm him down when the itching was so bad afterward.  Well, he is allergic to so many things.  He is allergic to everything except for our cats, practically.  He is now on a morning regimen of Zyrtec, nasal wash, nasonex, and eye drops.  $200 a month on medicine that I pray works.  He will need two surgeries in the summer and then a four year regimen of allergy shots.

I'm not complaining really.  All I can think of is how lucky we are that it's just allergies.  It could be so much worse.  Allergies are manageable, for now.  It's a little scary to think that he's allergic to so many things from trees, to bugs, to grass, to dust.  At least he doesn't have food allergies, but the doctor warned me that allergies usually get worse or new ones many start in the coming years.  That isn't a good feeling at all.  So the shots are in hopes of preventing the allergies from escalating. 

So, I've gone from kind of cleaning, to having to steam and vacuum the beds and furniture on a regular basis.  I have to steam everything and try to keep it spotless.  I have to dust everything every other day and not have the dust go into the air, (I see a yard sale in my near future). I have to dehumidify a house,in Florida, where it is almost always above 70% humid this time of year, and I can't even get rid of the cats.  This will take some time to get into a routine.  I'm still working on trying to irrigate the nostrils of a five year old.  He stresses and is unable to relax and let the saline drip out of the opposite nostril.  I've done it, it sucks when you know what you're doing.  Hopefully he'll get the hang of it soon, because it's killing me to make him so miserable.

I asked for a little motivation.  There's nothing like your child's health to motivate you.  "Be careful what you wish for", is absolutely right.  I am officially motivated.  Now if my body will work as long as I need it to before my arthritis stops me in my tracks, it'll be great.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Is it really that good to be so popular?

Is it possible?  Could everyone be losing their minds at the same time?  Could there really be something in the water?  Something's going on around here.  Lives, whether yours, mine, or anyone else's, go around in cycles.  They ebb and flow sometimes in a beautiful fluid dance with the lives around them, and sometimes in great conflict.  In between those conflicted moments can be moments of peace and clarity, at least to some degree.  It's beginning to feel like things have gone haywire. 

The last two months, or so, have been interesting.  Chaos, inbound from all directions.  This one had a heart thing, not really an attack but she almost died.  That one is getting divorced because she went to dinner with an old friend, even the the husband has had a girlfriend for two years.  That one has a classes teenager who treats her like crap in public.  Yet another is having to take in distant nieces that she's never met because her cousin she doesn't know got thrown in jail for drugs.  Whew, breathe.  Talk about drama.

So, I have become the "go to" girl for people to vent.  I am honored to be held in such high esteem, to be trusted with the details of their personal lives.  Unfortunately, my emotions tend to act like a sponge.  The spew forth, and I soak it up.  It isn't intentional, but I get drained and snippy and mean just from listening to all this stuff. 

I have decided, for the sake of my sanity and that of my family, that I will do a much better job of screening my calls.  I will only deal with so many crises a day, no exceptions.  I will not go in search of drama or ask any probing questions.  I will bite my tongue and let them speak without offering any advice.  I will be an ear and a shoulder and move on.  I care for these people, but I cannot ride their rollercoasters and think that I will not get sick when it's time to ride my own.

Besides, it's funny how I'm always there when someone needs me, yet the few time I actually ask for help, they all run for the hills.  Not liking that part at all, yet can't really start acting petty while they're going through some serious stuff.  I can hear the settling in of resentment, and it too is making me sick.