Monday, September 29, 2008

Flower Girls

There are days and then there are days. Or maybe I should say, “There are weekends…” As I write this aboard the 737 taking Mike, Logan, Riley and me home from our cousin Laura’s wedding, I am still reeling from a weekend chock full of proud parental moments and treasured memories.

Logan and Riley played their parts well; followed instructions and didn’t miss a beat. They stood at the altar through the whole service without major malfunction or even fidget and, thanks to a very kid-friendly minister, were even asked to sign the marriage certificate for the storybook couple, Laura and Paul. Everything I saw through my tear-filled eyes was perfect and I couldn’t be more proud. There’s certainly something rewarding when like 200 people make it a point to tell you how great your kids are. That doesn’t happen every day!

We ended the night at the reception, which was right out of the movies, dancing to an amazing five-singer Motown ensemble. They were incredible; I felt like was hearing all the classics in person. Man, could they hold some notes! The girls entered the dance floor at the second song and continued until the last, a rock-the-house version of Celebrate. They were beaming and twirling and on cloud nine. As I watched them and thought of how moved I felt during their ceremony entrance, I knew it was only a precursor for what is yet to come. I glanced at the bride and then her parents and had the slightest of clues about all the mixed up emotions of such a big day, but could feel the joy they all felt about the perfection of this most significant of life’s moments.

Riley just interrupted me to tell me, “Mom, I love you and (pause) right when it’s summer, we’re going to the pool, okay?” How lucky I am to have these two beautiful, amazing, unique, roll-with-it, sweet and different-from-each other daughters. How blessed I am to witness them making these memories to last a lifetime. How amazed I am to find out more and more who they are each day. And how glad I am that I don’t have to marry them off, just yet.

But when I do, we must have the flowers from last night. They were phenomenal!

All our love and wishes and gratitude to Laura and Paul!

(Photos to come once we fix a kid-induced camera malfunction.)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

life lessons over piggies

Last night I took the girls for their much anticipated and first-ever pedicure. I gave them an idea of what to expect, but it was like a sociological experiment watching the two of them absorb all the happenings around them. Their eyes darted back and forth to the women speaking an unknown language, the Paris Hilton-like snobby twenty-something next to Logan, the mom and her homecoming high schoolers and the kind-hearted African American mom of four, dangling her two-year old daughter in the foot bath while she relaxed. (I can’t imagine bringing Finn in there – ever!)

I won’t go back though, because although I’m not a connoisseur, it was the worst pedicure I’ve ever had. There were smudges all over my skin that I had to remove at home and that just seems silly. More significant though, was the event that took place with poor Logan, who couldn’t have been more excited about this first girly-girl experience.

Soon after sitting in the chair, the seemingly unhappy woman Logan had the unfortunate luck to get, asked her name. When she told her, the woman belted out for the whole shop to hear, “You have a boy’s name?” As Logan’s little face began to fall, the woman turned right to me, “She has a boy’s name?”

“No, she has a girl’s name,” I said.

“No. Logan is boy’s name. It is boy?” this ignoramus responded.

“What? Are you kidding me? She is a girl!” I said.

“No, I always say, “If I have baby boy, I will name him Logan,” she said.

“Look, it is a girl’s name because it is her name and she is a girl, okay?” I fumed. Logan perked up a bit. "It is a name that can go either way!" If my eyes could have burned a hole through her soul, they would have.

As if some force of nature arrived, every other woman in the shop immediately chimed in and raised my daughter's spirit.

“Yes, it’s a girl’s name!” the mom of four announced.

“If you name your son that, he’ll be teased – it’s a girl’s name,” another manicurist laughed.

“It’s a really pretty name!” Riley proudly proclaimed.

And it went on and was brushed over. Logan did great, but I squirmed and shuffled, just aching to get her away from that woman.

On the way home, I asked what they thought about their pedicures. “Awesome!” they both replied.

Then I asked Logan how that whole thing made her feel. “Bad,” she said with tears arriving to prove it.

Riley and I told her how beautiful her name is and I even said how stupid the woman was. I said I’d never go back because of how insensitive that one woman was. I said how great I thought all those other women were. I said I was sorry.

She poured over with energy as she told us how she felt, and ended with this:

“I love my name, because it came from God. He told you and Daddy to give it to me, so it’s perfect.”

She rocks. What a smarty. And I’m thankful for the experience they had of that band of women, strangers, circling Logan to protect her when they were needed. I’m so glad for the glimpse at what an amazing group they are a part of. We might not go back, but we certainly won’t regret it!

Oh, and their piggies turned out pretty cute. Bubble gum pink with heart decals for Logan and bright red with yellow daisies for Riley.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Attachment Disorder

I think I’ll just mark September as Finn’s month. With all that’s been new an exciting in the girls’ lives, you’d think they’d have stolen the show. But no, this third kid refuses to get lost in the shuffle, leaving his mark on every moment of our existence.

Today was his second day of school. It started horribly, with an explosion of tears as soon as I crept into the parking lot. He was hysterical when they pulled him from the car and it was all I could do not to take him back. I am sure there are those who say I’m doing him wrong by sending him there once a week when he doesn’t want to go, but he’s so attached that I feel we need to get his mind on something else. I mean, the kid literally cries outside the bathroom door when I close it. This is a problem. I needed to stick with the school plan, and I did, guiltily.

I couldn’t have been happier when I arrived to find out that although he cried on and off all day, he had long periods of happiness and got so into playing at times that he even ditched his bear, “Whoa Whoa.” He was not crying when I arrived and seemed to be the happiest kid on Earth as he announced, “Mommy, me all done school!!!!”

Fast-forward to 2:30 when we left the house out of necessity, as I was about to lose my mind with this non-napping child. I took Finn and Riley to Claire’s to find a fancy bobby pin for Logan. (Logan and Riley will be flower girls this weekend for Mike’s cousin Laura in North Carolina.) We entered the store and I immediately enlisted the assistance of the sales girl in order to limit my time in this store full of trinkets ripe for destruction.

At one point, she glanced at Finn and said, “Oh, you look like you’ve been crying, have you been crying?” My jaw hits the floor when Mr. Social answers, “Yes, me cry at school.”

“Why?” the girl asked surprised at the conversation skills of my little man.

“Me cry school cuz me need my Mommy,” he answered.

We both laugh, but I realize that this attachment is deeper than I can imagine. The other day I said that Finn is more in love with me that Mike ever was and that I already married him so he’ll have to find his own woman. But I don’t think he has any intention of looking elsewhere these days. He’s all mine for now and most of the time, especially on days with naps, I’ll revel in it.

I promise a post on someone else next time!!

Friday, September 19, 2008

today in Finn's life...

Finn wakes up at 6 am in lieu of normal 7:30. He is starving and insists on immediate food. I give up my shower so he can eat.

Finn is very crabby, does not want to cooperate at all.

After preschool drop-off, Finn insists on getting in the shower with me. He won’t get out for forty minutes.

Finn chases a frog all over the back yard.

Finn spits chewed up raisins all over kitchen table.

Finn spills two soft drinks on floor and booth at Noodles and Company. One is not his drink. He eats entire bowl of penne pasta with one chopstick.

Finn refuses to nap. After an hour, I give up.

Finn is so tired that he is acting drunk. He gets injured over and over again.

Finn grabs Mike’s beard trimmer when I am not looking and removes large chunk of hair off his head.

Finn pumps a gallon of lotion during 30 second phone call and smears it all over bathroom cabinets and shower door.

Finn throws rock on kitchen floor, leaving several marks in the hardwood.

Finn stabs granite countertop with freshly sharpened pencil and finds the one place it will stick.

Finn continues to injure himself repeatedly.

Finn sits on counter eating apples from the fruit bowl.

Finn asks me to pick him up for the 1000th time today. Finn asks for a movie, but refuses to sit and watch it.

Finn has a crazy look in his eyes.

Every time I scold him, Finn asks “Why?” I make note that I must find one of those counter things so that I can click each time he says it and tally how many times a day I actually hear that word.

I beg Daddy to come home early and run out to do some work when he gets there. I drink Starbucks coffee while sitting in my car pirating WiFi from Panera’s parking lot. (Didn’t know Starbucks’ wasn’t available without money on a card and prior online registration – ugh!)

Mommy experiences a few minutes peace.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Finn's Girl

We took Finn (and the whole family) to a little girl’s birthday party on Sunday, a party that happened to be smack dab in the middle of nap time. His naps are wavering, but the hour of sleep he usually gets still does him a world of good. The birthday girl in question is the adorable daughter of Uncle Tom’s girlfriend, so we were going – nap or not!

It was a long, rainy weekend and his mood was already suffering a bit as we entered. It was alright though; we headed straight for the playroom and hid out there. Within twenty minutes though, “Bella” arrived, much to Finn’s chagrin. It was the funniest interaction I’ve seen in a long time – I guess one of the first I’ve seen of Finn as he really starts to play, or not, with other kids on his own.

Bella walked in and up to Finn like they were long lost pals. Six weeks his senior, she got right in his space and belted out a beaming “HI!” After a moment of shocked silence, he shyly turned to me and grumbled with a sweet smile, “Mommy, she’s talking to me!” We all laughed.

It only took a few attempts by Bella to continue the conversation and Finn, who was just fine doing his own boy things, began to grab both sides of his face and repeat, “Don’t talk to me! Stop!” She took this as her cue to really ramp things up and started hugging and kissing him and continually tapping him on the shoulder whenever he was in reach. His push back ensued, literally, but just like the little woman she appears to be, she would not take no for an answer.

I don’t think he even knew what to make of her – his little world is filled with big kids from end to end. I’m so excited to get the little man in school – tomorrow will finally be the day as his hand, foot and mouth outbreak is completely gone. He is over-the-top attached to me – more than ever – but I know we need to do this. It will be so good for him to socialize with other kids his age and start to make some little buddies.

Bella lost interest by mid-party, when she, intentionally or not, sat on my lap. Finn saw this and didn’t like it much at all and entered “I need a nap” behavior full throttle from that point on. She moved on to other things. Smart woman. Maybe he’ll be more interested next year!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Lessons Learned

A little time away can be very educational. After three peaceful days with two wonderful friends, there are a few tidbits I’d like to hold onto until my next trip. (Which, if based on past experience, could be in 2011!)

If I leave for a few days, everything will still get done. For as much as I fretted about school and lunch and schedules and routines, there wasn’t even one snafu – everyone survived.

There shouldn’t be any guilt associated with “me time.” The pay off of this time away from my regular gig was so great; it was worth the tears and cries that I had to hear upon leaving. I am a better mom, more patient, more creative, and more relaxed than I’ve been in years, all because of three little days.

When in doubt – buy the smaller size. After hours of outlet mall shopping, I finally submitted to the constant battering of my good friends, who convinced me that I should not be wearing my clothes so big. It’s not that I like the baggy look; I just thought I was buying the right size. Apparently I have to travel a thousand miles to see myself in the mirror. (Or not have three kids with me in the dressing room!)

Travel without an agenda. I don’t think that I have ever had such a relaxed time. With eleven kids between us, Tiffany and Susan and I were looking for the same experience out of our trip and I’m certain we all found it. It was heavenly to do nothing but read, sleep, shop, watch movies and have uninterrupted meals and conversations. For three days, I felt like I could do whatever I wanted and that may be what’s left me the most refreshed of all.

Be prepared for re-entry. Now, I know better than to think it was going to be all daisies and rainbows when I arrived, but reality was still a harsh awakening. I’ve spent the last three days dealing with hand, foot and mouth disease, a continually busting-at-the-seams fall schedule and kids whose behavior might be considered “punishment” for me since I decided to travel. Not only that, but I had an adverse reaction to an antibiotic yesterday morning and ended up throwing up during bus stop time with Finn hanging over me yelling “Yucky Mommy!”, Riley screaming out the window to Logan and all the neighbors that I was puking my guts out and the man working on the drywall in our house wondering what the hell was going on. I received three emails from neighbors asking if I was pregnant. It was out of a sit-com for sure!

So lastly, I need to remember that you don’t get away Scott free. It all evens out in the end and I’d say I’ve gotten pay back for my brief respite. Even still, I’ll do it again and more importantly, plan a time to go somewhere with Mike soon. It was so needed, so appreciated and so good for me – we need that as a couple, too.

Thanks so much to Susan and Tiffany for helping me to feel like me again! I couldn’t have had a better time. Nor can I think of a better subject for my 100th post on this blog. Everyone needs to screw their head on straight every once in awhlile. I'm so greatful that I've got friends, family and a wonderful husband to help do the job.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

On Her Way

What a busy week and weekend we've had - with the most noteable event being Logan's leap into 1st grade and full day school. Challenged only by the cold that just won't let go of her, she gladly went and loves it. She's not nearly as tired as I thought she'd be.... guess she was undeniably ready!

Two funny stories:

I have been leaving notes in Logan's lunch box every day. One day, while waiting for the bus to take her home, my note blew out of her box and was confiscated by the neighborhood third grade jokster, who promptly began making fun of Logan for my note. She told me that two older neighbor girls quickly got him to stop, and she crumpled the note up and put it in her bag. I asked her if she didn't want me to write them anymore and she said, "No, I do, but could you PLEASE tape them in my lunch box!" Nice to know that she still wants to hear from me and that she weathered the teasing just fine.

On Friday, I bought Logan a pair of shoes while she was at school and gave them to her when she got home. Her reaction was over-the-top, full of "I love you's" and "Thank you's". She finally added, "I love them so much. They are so cool and do you know why?"

"Why?" I asked.

"Because everyone has them!" she exclaimed.

So just as Logan begins to care about brands and style and being like everyone else, I can rest assure that my dormant mom style is still in line with 1st graders on playgrounds everywhere.