Two-and-three-eighths

Today I am wondering about the ways Adam and Eve parented.

I wonder if the method of arbitrary counting started with them, since we all do it and it has perhaps existed since the beginning of Creation, or at least around Genesis 3.

The counting because I’m waiting.
I’m waiting for him to put on his shoes.
Waiting for him to bring his dishes to the sink.
Waiting for him to run upstairs and find a pair of socks.
Waiting for him to listen to me.
Waiting for him to make a better choice than the one it appears he’s about to make.
Waiting for him to come running to me at the park, because the two-minute warning is up.
Waiting for them to put on their seatbelts.
Waiting.

Arbitrary counting for arbitrary waiting.

Sometimes I count up, with no clear goal in sight. Just pressure. I’m counting and he’s hearing me and who knows what could happen when I reach the end of my numbers? Mass destruction and heads exploding. Or the confiscation of Legos.

(I know Legos is not a word. The plural of Lego is Lego. But that -s just seems to be something I can’t let go of.)

But the one that is particularly peculiar to me is when I count down, and then I add fractions of numbers because we’re getting closer and closer and ever-so-closer to zero and clearly I need to add two-and-a-half and then two-and-three-eighths and so on, in order to maintain any authority.

I wonder if started with the original A & E, if perhaps they decided to add a little pressure to the situation by counting aloud.

Capitalizing on Misfortune

“Mommy, one other girl was later to school than I was yesterday.”

“Sweet!  SCORE!”

“Yeah… she had to come late because her sister had to go to the hospital.”

So we were just ahead of the family with an emergency.  And I considered that growth and progress, for just a moment there.

Well done, Trish.

The Maiden Voyage of the Soft Start

Drum roll, please.

Our school hast implemented a Soft Start. This means families can arrive anywhere between 8:25-8:40, and children proceed to their classrooms to start the day gently and calmly. Rather than lining up outside, letting cars line up like the McDonald’s drive thru during the free McRib special, all to bring 500 kids into the building in a 5-minute time span.

It all just so brilliant that I wonder why we haven’t been doing this all along.  So we started the morning today with plans to leave at 8:20, allowing us a full 20 minute cushion for unexpected happenings.

I’ve declared a war on technology for 2014: none before school in the morning. All the supermoms are saying, “Well, yes of course, no technology in the mornings. TV and handheld video games wouldn’t mix well with the balanced breakfast of organic granola and protein.”

Even though I am not supermom, I recognize the inherent mistake in allowing their brains to slip into the vortex of the screen when we are on a time limit. So, starting today, no games before school. (I’ll tackle the after-school-do-your-homework-finish-your-dinner battle later today, I’m sure.)

I was prepared for a full on battle, and the morning did not disappoint. One child has lost his gaming system for the forseeable future, because it turns out, obedience means not arguing for the next 25 minutes about whether or not it’s fair for him to ‘just hold the case’ when he has no intention of playing the games before school. Right. Let’s not kid ourselves. Said gaming system will remain in visible storage until the new regime deems appropriate.

I made hot chocolate. Extra marshmallows. I gave them red velvet muffins for breakfast. I packed lunches. Complete with fruits, vegetables, peanut butter sandwich (cut into a star), and snacks for mid-learning breaks.

We could only find one shoe and 3 boots.

Murphy pooped on the floor. Murphy ate the poop. (I will never understand this.) Tucker gagged when Murphy licked him with his poop breath (this I can understand), and Tuck threw up red velvet cupcake onto my decorative pillows in the family room.
We talked about the difference between a gag reflex and the flu, and I let him know this small eruption did not in fact deem him contagious and he would hereto and hitherfore go to school.

Murphy peed on one child’s coat, which led me to recall the three dogs I have repurposed in new homes, and why I made those decisions. It is 7 degrees out, and my son’s coat is sprinkled with dog pee. And now, in addition to boots and shoes, we are in search of layers to pile on to my son, since even this mom (though she did consider it) would never, ever send her son to school in a coat that has been peed on.

I had now asked Tyler to put his shoes on, no less than 47 times. He was instead foraging through the refrigerator for Gogurts.

Tucker had gone out to the car, and I considered myself 1 for 2, so when he appeared inside I felt a sense of epic failure and snapped at him for appearing before me. He said, “I was just going to tell you that I’m going to take out the trash cans.” Yes, thank you, lovey. I’m sorry for yelling at you. And trash cans go out on Thursday night, not Monday morning. But thank you for being thorough.

I opened the door to bring us all outside in one fell swoop, and Murphy slipped between our feet and through the garage and out into the driveway, which he does everyday, because he believes he is in control over whether or not he will ride along in the morning to take his boys to school. He is not in charge, and yet here I was, chasing a dog who’s doing laps around the car, in, around and under. It does seem like he’s maybe a ittle bit in charge.

I barked at Tyler for not being in the car. This startled him and he dropped his backpack in a puddle. I closed the car door before he was ready, and he dropped his backpack in a puddle. Awesome. I threw Murphy into the laundry room. I got a text from my checking account telling me my balance, which is fine but could use some replenishing and I’ll take care of that just please not right this minute.

We began the drive to school. We prayed for teachers and friends and leadership and the opportunities to serve others. And one child started to cry because he’s not sure if he should obey the teacher or serve others, so I clarified that obeying the teacher IS serving others. Trust me, kiddo. I was a teacher. When you follow directions, you’re helping her out in crazy, important ways.

And then we happened onto the intersection of all intersections, the precipice of whether or not we will turn left and move onward, Christian soliders. I waited for seven minutes to turn left. Seven minutes. I kid you not: I was timing it all.

I can only imagine the maiden voyage of the Soft Start was a tremendous success, as the sidewalks and parking lot were clear by the time we arrived.

At 8:57.

Happy Monday and Happy New Year, my friends. We are off to a soaring start.

The Morning Mom Told The Truth

See, the thing is, the moment was perfect. I was poised and ready, perfectly positioned to blow Santa’s cover.

“Mommy, can you tell me why the box in your room said ‘To Tucker, from Santa,’ when it wasn’t even Christmas morning yet and Santa hadn’t been here yet?”

And here it is. My moment in time to kick the red punk in the shins and take the glory for myself. I gathered my cherubs around me for a moment we would all remember, the morning Mom Told The Truth.

I said, “Let’s talk about things that aren’t real. Like… Big Bird. Is he real?”

They laugh knowingly. “No, of course Big Bird isn’t real. And neither is Elmo.”

But we’ve never actually talked about how Elmo and Big Bird function and exist if they are not in fact real. And suddenly we were teetering a little too close to my own moral code of magic undefined.

I didn’t know where to take the conversation. Next in line would be Mickey and Minnie, and they are woven into our family fabric. Disney princesses… no, no. Cinderella is my own personal fantasy. And for that matter, so is Princess Anna. The tooth fairy? She may be forgetful, but she gives courage for all that wiggling and loosening and bleeding.

“But it’s fun for children to believe in them, Mommy.  If you ask, like, a two-year-old or a four-year-old, she would say, ‘Oh yes!  Elmo is real!'”

In that moment, I knew that if I showed them the wizard behind the curtain, I would alter their view of the entire world. They would question it all, all the fun of pretending and the joy of not knowing for sure.

Once you know, you know. You can’t give back the knowing.

So, I said, “Well, that tag was on that gift because… well, I was just helping Santa out.”

“That was nice of you, Mommy.”

“Yes. Well, you know. It’s what moms do.”

I bailed.  Santa lives to see another year.

Too Much Charm

We are ice skating.

Well, they are.

I’m just coming off a sledding injury, if you might recall.  So I’m on the sidelines today, tightening laces and calling out words of encouragement. This I can do with minimal risk to myself.

So many of these skaters remind me of Gumby; their arms and legs stretch impossibly far as they lunge toward or away from the handrails.  Half the parents are wearing shoes instead of skates. Equally as many are skating with iPhones in their hands.

There’s a startling number of little girls in Christmas dresses, all fluffy and perfect except for the soggy knees of their tights. I can’t really imagine the scenario from my childhood that might have prompted my parents to take me directly from a dress-worthy event to the skating rink.

There is a gaggle of girls all dressed alike, in Coumbia fleeces and black leggings, scarves and straight hair that I couldn’t maintain even in zero humidity. I want to whisper to them, “You all look exactly the same in your differences; you know that, right? It’s okay. It’s part of the life stage. You work so hard to look different that you look impeccably the same.”

It’s 57 degrees outside. My children are happy and warm, skating with no jackets.

The only thing that could make this any better is if someone could think of a reason to turn on those white lights overhead, even though it’s the middle of the day. But that give this whole scene just too much charm.

We better leave everything as it is.

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