Saturday, June 27, 2009

Happy Birthday, dear MC!

Today, Middle Child turns 15. She planned a giant shindig to mark the occasion, lots of activities and a ton of junk food… sadly, we’re an hour past party time and only 2 of the 15 invited guests have made it. Hopefully that will NOT mean a nervous breakdown later… I’m keeping my hopes up.

Middle Child is Queen of the breakdown. I capitalize Queen, because it really is amazing, her capacity for dramatic meltdown action. She shrieks, she stomps, she says utterly nonsensical things, she cries…

But I digress. My point is, she’s 15 today, and so far, today has been a pretty good day. It’s really hard to believe that these sweet little pumpkins:


Have grown into these lovely young adults:

bigkids2.jpg picture by amariecurtis

It’s a reminder to me to relish every moment of Small One’s childhood, to not make the mistake of rushing through the inconvenient parts, to really take the time to hear her and see her, before she ceases to want to spend that time with me.

I hope Middle Child’s birthday is a happy one, whether there are 2 guests or 20, and I’m glad to have her back home.

(Remember to ask me after she goes back to school, whether I’m STILL glad.)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Cherries and Childhood

The last day at the mountain house, we sit on the back porch, the Small One and I, and eat cherries. The sun is low on the mountains, and it’s the time of day when the world seems benevolent and warm. I bite the cherries in half, being careful to take the seed in my half, so I can give her a seedless chunk. She’s impatient for more, but I relish the time, watching the cherry stains spread across her face and fingers.

I suddenly have the thought that this is the way I want parenting to be, but it rarely is- I always want to hand them pieces of life from which I’ve stripped the obstacles and rotten parts, and watch them enjoy themselves. The cherries I bite are sometimes not sweet, and when they’re not I throw them off the deck, so she only gets the choicest pieces. I tell her we’re throwing away the yucky cherries, and she looks at me with her trusting, not quite three year old face, and nods agreement. “We don’t like yucky cherries,” she says, “because they’re not so yummy.”

Looking into the serious eyes above the cherry stains, I have a flash of the years to come. I’m all too familiar with the difficulties ahead, having raised two other children almost to adulthood, and I want to hold her right where she is, while she still trusts me completely and loves me without reservation. I want to sit with her and listen to her say that she loves cherries because they’re red, and red is her favorite color. I want to know her favorite color. I don’t want to fight with her about tattoos and piercing and curfews, I don’t want her to assume I’m setting rules because I hate her, I don’t want to look into her face and see a hostile stranger.

I’m thinking this as she hops off her rocking chair and stubs her toe. She yelps, and I hand her a cherry half. She examines it for a minute, then looks at me and brightens up. “Thank you, Mom,” she says, “that will make me feel better.”

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Downtime up in the Hills

Being married to a photographer has its perks, not the least of which is all the beautiful photos that exist of my children. One of the rarer treats, though, is the occasional vacation barter- someone has someplace fabulous they want photographed, and they're willing to let us stay there in exchange for the Man working his magic.

This weekend, this lovely mountain retreat was the scene of such a trade-off:

It was even prettier inside
We invited friends

There was laughter
There were fancy beverages

There were opportunities for the Small One to pose prettily for her Daddy

There was a hot tub, in which Middle Child spent most of the weekend, taking somewhat racy photos with her friend. {sigh}

And there were sunsets! Such sunsets!

And time for exploringA local told me the house was "typical for the area". I have fantasies in which this sort of place is typical in my life.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Domestic Tranquility

In retrospect, it’s all because I washed the area rugs. There’s nothing the Fates hate more than seeing clean area rugs in my home. Of course, having two cats and a dog doesn’t help matters, either.

6:00 am, we are jolted awake by the dog SCREAMING in his kennel. The Man, kindly remembering I’ve been under the weather this week, assures me he’ll handle it, and leaves the sanctuary of our bedroom.

6:37 am, he returns, looking world weary. The dog has pooped in his kennel, and the Man has had to clean kennel, dog, etc. He goes back to bed.

6:45 am, I’m still lying there, debating getting up and hour and 1/2 earlier than necessary, and I decide I’ll get up to use the restroom and then make the decision. I slip on my crocs, step into the hallway, and WHOOSH! Slip in vomit. Good times! Half on the tile, half on the rug, and now, some on my shoe. I sit in the bathroom, cleaning my shoes (and thanking God that I always slip on crocs in the morning), before going back out to clean the floor and take the rug to the laundry room.

7am, I’m back in bed, and by 7:10, I’m unconscious. So is the man, and I guess we didn’t hear Small One on the monitor until the alarm went off.

7:40am, the alarm goes off, and the Man leaves the room.

7:50am, I hear a ruckus in the bathroom, and go to investigate. Small One is sitting on the toilet, whining that she doesn’t WANT to be on the potty any more. The Man is on his hands and knees, scrubbing at the area rug with a Clorox wipe. “I didn’t realize,” he says, “that she already had some poop in her Pull-Up when I picked her up. I guess I didn’t hear her calling us until I got up, and by then it was too late.”

I survey the situation. Apparently, extricating a 2 year old from a somewhat messy Pull-Up AND footy pajamas has proved too complicated a task for the Man. There is poop on the rug, on the cabinet, on the floor, and on the child’s feet. In addition, she’s continued her process on the toilet, and needs attention. I tell the Man to go get ready for work, I’ll handle it.

8am, I’m washing Small One’s hands in a clean bathroom, and thinking about the old military commercial and how I’ve cleaned more bodily substances before 8am than most people do all day, when I hear a yelp from the other end of the house.

”Ugh!” yells the Man, “Someone has stomach issues!”

”Vomit?” I ask, almost hopefully.

”Nope,” he answers, “wrong end. But it’s not solid. What should I do with the area rug?”

”THROW IT AWAY!!!” I call back. (Because…seriously.)

A little while later, in the kitchen, we’re pouring our coffee, when the Man remarks, “We lead a charmed life, don’t we?”

”Oh, what a beautiful moooooorrrrrniiing!” I sing, in reply. “Actually, I guess you and I just didn’t get the memo that it’s ’cover the house in disgusting substances’ day. Before you leave for work, can you please pee in the living room? I’ll wipe my nose on the drapes.”

He laughs, then says “I bought a plastic water bottle, but it leaks.”

I’ve moved into the laundry room by this time, so I respond with “Sorry, honey. I did a run of darks last night, but they’re still not dry.”

”We’re fascinating people,” the Man says, “and we tell good stories. It’s a wonder no one wants to do a reality show about our lives.”

Do you think these are the sorts of conversations Brad and Angelina have?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

My day

Actual snippet from my day today: I’m sitting at the table with Small One, who is eating oatmeal, which she calls “olameal”. She picks up her sister’s ring and asks, “What’s this?”

”It’s your sister’s ring,” I say, “put it back down.”

She drops it into her oatmeal.

”No!” I say, “Don’t drop it in your oatmeal!”

”Please?!? Please can I drop it in my olameal?”


”Why I can’t drop it in my olameal?” (crying)

”Because it’s yucky!” I say, retrieving it to go rinse it off.

Behind me, I hear a small and sulky voice. “I need MORE olameal.”

(Which is clearly true- that bowl somehow got RING all over it.)