Monday, August 23, 2010

ABC’s of the First Day of School

A – Adorable. My kids, they are.

B – Buzz Lightyear shoes that Cole insisted on wearing even though he complains they hurt his feet. But hey, they light up.

C – Car line pickup. It was a little bit like the apocalypse.

D – Daddy, who had to deliver Cole to his first day of preschool since I can’t be all places all the time.

E – Early wakeup. For me at least. The kids slept in, which is hysterical since they were up at 6am every day of the summer.

F – Fancy. What Cole called the plaid shorts I picked out for him and the reason for his refusal to wear them.

G – Gatorade. Our special after the gym after the first day of school drink from the gym vending machine.

H – Hectic. An honest description of what it’s like to have to deal with kids at two different schools.

I – Impressed. Mason’s teacher is amazing with how she speaks in this low, slow voice. Those kids listen. I could learn a thing or two from her.

J – Junk food. How every first day of school should end.

K – Kindergarten. Can’t believe it!

L – Lemonade served at the “Boo hoo” breakfast. Spilled by Lila all over the media center.

M – Memories to last a lifetime!

N – Nap for Lila. Oh wait, there wasn’t one.

O – Overwhelming. This entire day!

P – Playing outside. Cole’s favorite part of the day today. Although I don’t see how since it rained all day and he doesn’t seem soaking wet.

Q – Quiet. My house with the boys gone. It was also clean, which was bizarre.

R – Relaxing. What I’m going to do for the rest of the evening.

S – Sunbutter sandwiches. Good ol’ PB&J is banned from Cole’s school, so I passed off sunbutter to both of them hoping they won’t notice. So far, so good.

T – Technology time. Mason’s favorite part of the day today. Shocker.

U – Umbrella. It was a very rainy day, like most have been lately. I’m ready to build an ark.

V – Valium. I’m gonna need one.

W – Work. It takes a lot to get your kids to and from school.

X – Xanax. I’m gonna need one.

Y – Yoga class that I had to teach at 4:30, meaning Lila went to the gym kids club without a nap.
Z – Zzzzzzs. What I’m going to need a lot of tonight in hopes of making a full recovery!

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Many Faces of Cole

Cole is my free-spirited child. Almost always you can find him with a smile plastered on his face. It's fascinating to me that I have a child who's so busy soaking up life. (My general personality is that I'm too busy with life to soak it up, if you know what I mean.)

When I became pregnant with him, my firstborn was a whopping nine months old. So being as Mason was still very much in the baby stage and his newborn stage was still fresh in my mind, I sorta (unrealistically) expected my second to be just the same.

Couldn't be farther from the truth.

These two could not be more different, and I'm not just talking about Cole's blonde hair and blue eyes.

Mason's very interested in learned facts--numbers, letters, words, bookish stuff-- Cole wants to take crap apart and learn how it works. I call him the Evil Genius, if only he could use his powers for good.

Today Cole mentioned that we need to buy another dog so Mike has someone to play with. It'll be a cold day in hell before I bring another being into this house--the last thing I need is another mouth to feed and more crap to clean up.

So I laughed and said, "No, Mike doesn't need a friend."

Cole's response: "When is Jack going to come back to be Mike's friend."

Jack was our Jack Russell Terror, I mean Terrier who died four years ago (three days before Cole was born in fact). He was bit by a coral snake.

I said to him, "No Cole, Jack is in heaven so he won't be coming back."

Mason chimes in, "Yeah, Jack is in heaven with God."

Cole, after a pregnant pause said, "Well, can he come back down if he promises to stay away from snakes so he doesn't get bitten again?" Cole must have heard us tell the story to someone somewhere along the line.

This whole exchange went down in the car. Life's most important conversations happen in a minivan.

So I'm driving, stupefied, wondering what to say to this. Death is something so hard to understand, let alone explain in appropriate terms to a four year old.

Saved by Mason, the ever precocious child. "It doesn't work that way, Cole," he said.

"Oh, okay. Can we go have a playdate with Matthew?" was Cole's very accepting response.

I've been known to make problems more difficult than they need to be. I guess I'll leave the life lessons up to Mason from now on.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Seven Day Countdown

I had the best weekend.

It was just what I needed, being here at the end of summer (and therefore on the cusp of losing my sanity. Long story short, it involved my kids spending the night with their grandparents, celebrating a friend’s 21st (plus a few) birthday, sleeping in, a delicious breakfast, an indulgent take-your-time-and-don’t-worry-about-getting-paged-to-the-Kids-Club kind of workout, a trip to the beach with my friend (the first time I’ve been to the beach in many moons where I was able to pack one small, teeny bag to hold my stuff), an afternoon with a book, and an evening at the movies.


So here we are on Monday. At first glance it’s an ordinary Monday, but if you look a little closer at the calendar you’d notice it’s the last Monday before the kids start school. I wasn’t teaching any classes this morning so I really was enjoying my one of my last mornings of not having to rush kids off to school (I am teaching tomorrow and Wednesday, but repeat performances of this lazy morning will be held on Thursday and Friday).

Tomorrow is Cole’s open house, Wednesday we find out who Mason’s Kindergarten teacher is, and Friday is his open house. I am so excited for it all!

And then there’s my girl Lila. When the boys depart on Monday I’m sure I will have my share of sadness and bittersweet moments. But I am really, really looking forward to spending some time alone with my girl. It’s been nice having the boys around all summer but I miss my mornings of last spring, where it was just me and Lila. She’s my sidekick. She’s really good at it too! I’ve discovered lately that I’m a bit lost when I’m without all of the kids, so at least I still have one to keep me company. And this might sound really strange, but I've never had one-on-one time with a two year old. When Mason was two, Cole was six months old, when Cole was two, Lila was a newborn. I have really learned to appreciate alone time with my children.

The summer has ended with a bang. The boys did a little set of swim classes last week and were proud to get diplomas at the end. (***Dislclaimer: All photos are craptastic iPhone photos. I forgot my camera. Hey, no one's perfect.)

They learned the backstroke and the freestyle stroke, and Mason has proven to be a wicked fast freestyle swimmer. His only (and quite significant) downfall is that he forgets to pick his head up and breathe. But watching him tear across that water freestyle is some kind of amazing. Cole is more interested in diving to the bottom to retrieve things off the pool floor. The kid is a solid hunk of very heavy muscle. Buonacy is not his forte. They both have taken to jumping off the diving board, something that looks so freaky I don't even know if *I* would be brave enough to attempt it. But that's little boys for ya.

On the last day all the kids were allowed to go down the waterslides twice, which is a huge deal because typically you need to be 48 inches or taller to go down them during park hours. On one hand this is cool because they were excited and had so much fun. On the other hand when we go there on our own to visit it’s going to be tough to explain to them that they’re not tall enough to go down the slides when they can clearly remember that exception being made.

Excluded from swim lessons due to the broken collar bone of the Summer of '10, is Lila. Still as cute as ever.

At the end of the school year I had decided to keep the kids home all summer, mostly due to Mason’s increasingly more vocal request that he was getting burnt out of school. Truth was he’d been attending almost nonstop since he turned three. I am proud to say that with the exception of one week of vacation bible school, they have been my constant companions. Let’s just say that next summer a little bit more scheduled activities will be involved. As much as I enjoyed the low key nature of most days, my sanity is on the line here. Plus Mason in particular has been requesting me to enroll him in a different activity every five minutes. Soccer, tennis, basketball, bowling, more swim lessons… you name it, he wants to do it. What’s summer for if not to explore some interests?

So here I sit, on the cusp of major changes with my family. I am bad with change. Extremely. But time waits for no (wo)man, and Change it is a comin’.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Mother Age

I’m under the mistaken impression that I am still young.

It has recently come to my attention that I am not.

Even though I am still (for a few more weeks at least) in my 20’s, I have three kids. The first one ages you three years, the second one ages you four more, and the third one ages you five years on top of that.

So just like we used to have “weighted” GPAs in high school, my Mother Age is somewhere around 42. Which 42 is not “old” per se, but when you’re an honorary 42 year old who doesn’t sleep enough and eats a nutritionally void diet that is mostly consumed while standing at the kitchen counter, it’s a little rough.

And then, you get the bright idea to consumer bottles, yes bottles of wine with your friends and stay out until midnight on a Wednesday night.

Wednesday night is half price wine bottle night at The Pub, for those of you who are interested. So my cohorts and I headed out to take advantage of this. And then, about 30 minutes in, this drunk 24 year old kid came over to hit on us, three married ladies. Kara asked him how old he is and his answer was something to the effect of “I’m younger than you, of course.”

This, coupled with the fact that he had (at 8pm) already consumed so much beer that he couldn’t open his eyes all the way, should have been a warning.

The night lumbered on and he started tell us how his sister (who I went to high school with) is a whore because she got pregnant and had a abortion at 17. What kind of wacko calls his sister a whore to perfect strangers?? That was just the tip of the iceberg, but I won’t go into details here. Let’s just say it was highly disturbing, and he repeatedly tried to get Keri to leave with him because he deemed by some method his puny little brain created that she had the least happy marriage out of the three of us and was the likeliest to commit adultery. Like I said, he was a super individual.

So we ended up next door at the pizza place to let some of the wine to wear off. And when I say pizza place, I’m talking like gourmet, fancy pizza. It was delicious. So there we are, at 11pm or something, eating our delicious pizza with wonderfully spicy pepperoni, and the owner of the place comes over to chat. He’s a legit Italian guy named Fabio. He ends up pouring us some champagne and discussing how American men only work out their upper bodies and never their legs, therefore making them look like birds. His point is an excellent one. Anyway, he was a super nice guy, and like I said, his place makes the most lovely, flavorful pizza I’ve had in some time. But in the back of my mind I keep thinking, who do we think we are? Young people with no kids? This is going to hurt in the morning.

And, uh yeah, it hurts. I woke up thirsty, hungry, thirsty, hungry some more, and tired. The kids were up at 6:30, and I had no time to acclimate before I picked myself up by the boot straps and headed out to swim lessons.

So, I think that when you and two friends consume two bottles of wine plus some champagne, get insulted by a guy in a bar who is only five years younger than you but behaves worse than your toddler, and stay out so late that it’s the next day when you make it home, you can add 15 years to your already adjusted Mother Age. Which makes me 57 today.

That feels about right. I must have some grandchildren running around here somewhere.