Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Winning isn't everything

It's finally gotten warm enough that when Lee kicks and screams and rolls away when trying to dress him Dan and I simply let him roll and run around naked for a while. I know it's dangerous to let a small child run without a diaper, but all of my children have enjoyed nakie time so much I can't help but let them have a bit of it.  Plus also the other two have independently decided that nakie time is no longer for them.  Good move on their parts, but sad because I miss the joy that it brings into the home.

The last sunny non-windy day was ages ago (last week) and during that day he ran onto the deck fully naked and basked in the glow of the late afternoon sun on his little body.  He splashed in the small tub of water put out for him and generally took joy in all that his body can feel and do.

That led me to the question at what point do we stop taking joy in how our bodies feel and all they can do and start to see what they can't do and how they look?  At what point do we stop running because its fun to run with the wind and start running to beat someone else?  Or stop all together because we can't beat someone else?  At what point do we start to notice how we look instead of how we feel?

Charlotte is going to start violin lessons soon in the Suzuki method and so I've been reading a few books written about the method and applying it to my children.  There has been one line of one of the books that has truly stuck with me.  That in Suzuki you try to teach the children that the world isn't full of people you need to compete with but with people that you can cooperate with.  Somehow that idea has just stuck in my brain.  Not that I'm against competition, there is certainly a place for it.  Not everyone can have every job.  But the competition that I see as best is the one you have with yourself that propels you to being a better you.  Additionally I think there are very few times when
competition in life is necessary and music truly isn't one of them.  Yes there can only be one first
chair, but that one person can't make the music by themselves.  The beauty and joy from life come from working with and enjoying the music from any seat.  All the people are valuable.  There are so very many times we end up pushing our children to win. Win! Win! Win! Yes, winning is fun, but if what you're doing isn't fun unless you win then maybe you should try something else.

Like running in the wind or feeling the sun on your face or splashing in the tub of water.  I hear those things are excellent.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Unexpected Reaction

This week was apparently a non-fiction week for my kids at the library.  When we came in Greg decided he wanted some books on astronomy. Then Charlotte told me she wanted a book on Machu Pichu.  While Charlotte and I were trying to find an age appropriate book for her Greg came up to me wanting a book about 9/11.  I told you, non-fiction day.

Friday was a beautifully sunny day and the perfect time to bring back out the outside blanket for outside story time.  We were making our way through the books and then came along to the book about 9/11.

The book really had way too many words for the kids.  A bit over their heads, but I read through the first page that summarized what happened that day.  Then I just ready the photo captions.  To my complete and total shock I started crying when I read about it.  The kids were confused as to why I could possibly be crying and I didn't know how to articulate it.  I simply told them because something sad happened. Then I pulled it together and finished the book.  I don't think the kids will be having me read it again anytime soon.

I haven't really thought about that day in I'd say a decade maybe? I remember only parts of it.  Only emotions really.  I remember getting to school for my class that started an hour before the rest of the school and turning to the TV and watching explosions and smoke.  I remember shock and sadness, but mostly I remember being wholly confused at initial reactions around me.  Through the day our teachers led us in talking about it and I heard so many, so very many express not just anger, but really truly hateful things at people we don't know on behalf of people we didn't know.  Those reactions more than anything else stuck with me.  The confusion at those reactions.

But like I said, I didn't know anyone involved, and it never really hit close to home so at the time I moved on.  So then why, I asked myself, did I break down reading it to my kids?  I think I know part of the answer.  Because now I am a mother I feel a whole lot more connected to strangers.  Because those strangers are somebody's cherished babies.  Somebody's proud parent.  And also I know because the confusion and loss hasn't ended.  There are places in the world right now that somebody is loosing someone that they cherish all too soon.  There I was on that warm blanket sitting in the sun reading books with my kids in safety and I know that isn't the reality for so many.

I dont have an end to this post. Maybe because I'm not the most articulate writer, but also perhaps because this topic hasn't ended because life hasn't ended.  I just hope to teach my children love and kindness because those are the things I hope will win in the end.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Taking Care of the Inbetween

So I asked whose turn it would be for me to worry about next on the last post, but lets be honest, I already knew.  I already knew because the concern was there bubbling just below the other one so when the top one popped there was the other worry confidently located just below.

That other worry is Greg.  And it isn't a worry about him so much as it is about me.  I worry that he gets overlooked.  He isn't the first so I sort of know when something turned out to not be a big deal last time and he isn't last so he doesn't need me as much as Lee.  I never saw the middle child predicament before, but lately I worry that poor kid is slipping through the cracks. He is such an amazing kid and I want him to know he has a valued place in our family.

So here's the question for everyone, how do you make sure that your "middlest" child gets the attention they want and need?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Because it was her turn

After I had already moved out of the house my mom got a call one day from her mom.  Grandma asked her about how she was doing and where she was driving for work and about all the details of her life that you can't see when you live states apart.  The questions must have been more probative than usual because Mom asked why Grandma was asking so many and Grandma said she was worried about her.  Mom had no big worries going on in her life so she was confused as to why her mom would be worried about her.  So when Mom questioned her why she was worried Grandma said, "because it was just your turn."

We all worry about our kids sometimes and this past three weeks its been Charlotte's turn.  Remember when I told you about her breathing, well it never got better.  It just stayed.  She would try to run with her friend to school in the morning and have to stop in a fit of coughing.  I could hear her down in her bed at all hours of the night waking up to cough.  You could always tellshe was inthe room with you because of the rattle and wheeze coming out of her chest.  She had no energy as a result and seemed quite unhappy.  So I worried.

I worried enough to get Dan's attention, which is saying something. Yesterday while gardening I hit my ankle on a large decorative rock and it hurt soooo bad.  When I told Dan I was needing sympathy for it, knowing it was minor and didn't "need" anything, what did he do?  He took the ankle and pushed hard on the bruised spot!  That is the opposite of sympathy I tell you.  So anyway, Charlotte's state finally got his attention he decided to try putting her on Claritin.

We tried Claritin and Zyrtec for a total of a little over a week with zero change in anything.  It was very frustrating.  So then he decided that the next step they would do in her doctor's office would be to try a short term inhaler plus short term anti-inflamitories.  At this point I became his worst nightmare type of patient parent.  You know the kind that is super worried, wants the answers to their kid's problems NOW, but then second guess whatever the doctor says?  I mean I want the problems to stop but do we really need to put her on steriods?  I warned Dan this was happening and that it wasn't about him it was just my turn to worry about Charlotte and he seemed to deal with me just fine.

We started her on everything Monday night and by Tuesday morning she seemed totally fine!  Like miracle fine.  Zero rattle in her chest, renewed energy from a full night of sleep, and getting ready for school Tuesday morning was more pleasant than it had been in weeks.  

So apparently the diagnosis of allergy induced asthma that we had been trying to avoid for years now was the correct one.  Today I am so grateful for effective medications you have no idea!  It is no longer Charlotte's turn to be worried about.  I wonder who will be next.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mother's Day

It's a little dark, but this is probably my favorite Mother's Day gift this year.  The poem says
Mom mom I love
You I do I do
When I feel 
Down you
Cheer me
Right up
Love Charlotte 
She is getting to be such a thoughtful person.  She also got the chance to go to the Mother's Day store at school this year and pick out a gift for me all by herself.  She said, "I knew you were looking for new fancy pillows so I got you one."  It is fancy.  Hot pink and orange and in the shape of a flip flop.  

Greg made me a treasure hunt that had no map.  He was the treasure finder, complete with "night vision" binoculars with a flashlight attached thanks to great g-ma/pa for his birthday Saturday, and I had to follow him.  Unfortunately he could only remember where one of the three pieces of treasure were.  It was a great sticker page he made for me out of Cars stickers.  This year I told him about how he was born the day before Mother's Day and he was the best present I ever got.  He kept asking/reminding me all day that he was the best present of all.  I think he was tickled by the idea.

Dan got me a bird feeder.  A while back I made bird feeders with the kids that didn't turn out.  Well I had a huge bag of birdseed leftover and it was just sitting around so Dan thought I would like a bird feeder.  I do love to watch birds (must be from my parents and grandparents who always have a million birds around).  This is nearly an industrial size bird feeder so once they figure out there's food in it I'm sure they'll realize they hit the mother load.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

A Rocky Morning

Yesterday was a "vacation" day.  We played in the sun and had a great time.  The kids had baths before bed because they were covered in sand.  I passed out at 9 because I was so tired. Great day.

At 1 am I woke up with a sore throat.  Yuck.  When I got up this morning the sore throat was still there but it was sunny and I wasn't going to let that drag me down.  Though it is hard because I feel all draggy and droopy.

I tried getting Lee dressed in Greg's hand me down summer clothes.  Guess what isn't so easy.  Using hand me downs when the two kids had completely different sizing.  All of Greg's summer clothing is size 18 months.  Even the few size 12 months I found are super huge on Lee.  The shorts keep falling down.

Charlotte and her neighbor friend have spent the morning being upset with each other.  And Greg has managed to need help with everything he has tried.

Yesterday I bought paint for the bathroom and was going to do it after the kids went down or this morning before they got up, but then Dan informed me we aren't ready for paint.

So there's my morning so far.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Here comes the Sun

With the season changes and the ever increasing light a few things of my rhythm are off.  The first one is dinner.  I can never seem to get dinner at the right time.  Every day it's all the sudden six o'clock and I have nothing started, I have nothing planned, I have (practically) nothing in the cupboards either.  Well that last part isn't true, it's just that the stuff I have will take time to make. We've been eating a lot of eggs lately.  But who doesn't love a good egg am I right?  Hmm, maybe I need to rethink my approach there.

The other change is that I seem to be waking up with the sunrise.  I have no reason to be up at or before 6 am, but my body says it must.  So here I am.  It is quiet and beautiful.  Just about every morning (aside from that awful two days of snow last week) has a great sunrise. I make my bed and creep about the hour careful to not make a noise.

 I love the quiet and I would just sit here as long as I could except for my day keeps calling to me.  Get a move on, it says.  You need to get somethings done before the kids get up!  Breakfast! Laundry! Backpack! Grocery list!  Don't forget all the bills you have to pay!  You should do that with this little episode of quiet!

But instead I take a minute to sit and be still.  I love my minute (or 15 or 20) of stillness.  I used to get that time of stillness and quiet with my kids.  They would come and pile into bed with me and we'd slowly wake up together.  Pretty soon there was wiggling and squirming and then we'd read and sing and then, after all that we'd get up and start our days together.  I'm pretty sure kindergarten killed that one.

I don't have that golden moment anymore.  But I do have this one.  This moment of stillness and peace before the baby starts to cry and before Greg's "quiet" trip to the bathroom that I can hear throughout the house.  This moment is where I am reminded that the day is so beautiful (even if it isn't) and to go and enjoy it.

This photo has nothing to do with anything. I just liked to watch her from  the kitchen.  She looks ready to capture all the good I the world and I love it.

Sunday, May 05, 2013

What's Happening

It's been so long since I've written anything I feel a bit silly to try to pick back up.  Regardless, I feel like perhaps I need it.  So to kick things off I thought I'd post a few photos of our spring break.  It wasn't very spring like weather, but we sure did have fun.  We went to Lark Toys and rode on the all wooden carousel.  The next day we got back in the car and drove to the National Eagle center.
Do you see that eagle behind the kids?  That's a real eagle without any glass or partition or anything in between it and the kids.  We also got to watch an eagle eat rabbit parts which was equal parts amazing and disgusting.

Also we went to the red barn learning farm.  Lee loved the ride on tractors and the kids petted the baby animals and climbed on the huge tires and just had a lot of fun in general.

I don't feel like I have much to say at the moment, but I do love the kids so much.

One thing that's been troubling.  Charlotte has again started her yearly continual cold that nobody else in the house seems to get.  She's wheezy, and coughs a lot and it always gets worse after play time outside.  I'm not sure what to make of it, but time will tell.  Either it'll get better and there is nothing to worry about or she'll get worse and then we'll have something to deal with.