Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Winding Down

When summer began it seemed like endless stretches of time open to us and now I ready to start back to school shopping. Of course I am filled with the "I've been jipped!" feeling that you get when something that you have been waiting for for so long is over.

I have had a perfectly lovely summer, so I don't know why I feel so discontented. Maybe I need a recap?

We went to Busch Gardens over the fourth of July and had a great time! The highlight was dinner with Elmo. Lily was so excited. The characters spent so much time with the kids, they even let them get up on stage and dance with them. there was none of the "rock star" aura that the characters at Disney seem to have. I was very charmed by Ernie, he was so sweet and kept "booping" Lily's nose. I think Caroline enjoyed Cookie Monster ( he was the entertaining "drunk uncle" of the crew).

Lily spent a lot of time with her new fixations: Cats, dancing, Mr. Mistoffles, her doll Susan, butterfly watching, Madeline, Fancy Nancy, and Eloise books, and learning to swim in a strange writhing mermaid manner. there was also a fair bit of dress up of her favorite characters.

Caroline spent a great deal of time texting and requesting to see her friends. I complied with her request and have had a rotating number of girls going with us to the pool. I took her and a friend to see Eclipse ( truly dreadful series, but I'll spare you the rant). I had to sit far away from them like some sort of 40 something freak who would go to see Eclipse by herself. They of course had a wonderful time. She is currently obsessed with the series Lost and has been watching it every possible night. Of course she is deep in a few different series of books. There have also been drum lessons.

Me? Well I have read like a starving woman. I do believe that I have read about 20 books so far, but have not had the time to keep the lists that I used to. This is really a pain when I go to find a book by an author that I enjoyed, but can't remember the name. I did find a new favorite author Carol Goodman who write literary type mysteries. Perfect summer reading and it uses some of my English degree which is a bonus. I just stumbled upon her when I picked up one of her books In The Night villa and read the review on the back. The gist of it was: entertaining enough for the beach, but intellectual enough to be seen with at the Hamptons. So I think "Oooh, the Hamptons, I've always wanted to be like the Barefoot Countessa!" I know no logic, but I found the most addictive and awesome books. They are the kind of books you stay up to 2am reading. I also started cross stitching again. I really wanted to make a present for my future sister in law and I'm almost done. I've been going to Yoga or Pilates 2-3 times a week. I haven't lost any weight (damn pie), but I feel better and want to keep up the classes during the school year.

As a unit we've gone to a few movies: Toy Story for Rob and Lily, Eclipse for Caroline and Me, Grown Ups for Rob and I, Despicable me for all four of us (very cute movie), and Sorcerer's Apprentice for Caroline Ellen and I. We also took Ellen bowling while she was visiting and had a few trips out for ice cream. Of course, there has been lots and lots of pool time.

We still have a trip to CT and want to go see Ramona and Beezus. Really all in all it has been a very nice summer. I guess I'm just sad to see it go.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Grace Under Pressure

Anytime that I feel that I have the most unruly children in the world, I need to go back and read this post. Sure potty humor, whining, and arguing reign supreme on a daily basis here, but when the going gets tough, I have the most remarkable daughters.

On Sunday, our friends from college came to visit with their daughters. Their visits are always my favorite. They girls run around happy and giggling and we exchange stories from the trenches of working parentdom. Usually, Rob is pretty goofy. He alternates between wrestling on the floor and when the kids go upstairs he lapses into the adults only humor he's known for. This time, though, he was quiet and at one point almost feel asleep on the couch. He hasn't been feeling well lately and I've been pushing him into exercising with us more. Honestly, I thought he was being a bit of a brat and ignored him during most of the visit.

That night, after everyone had left and we'd cleaned up, Rob called me over to him and explained that he'd been having chest pains all day and he thought we should go to the hospital. I quickly explained the situation to Caroline and she jumped into action, gathering sweat shirts and books to take with us. I scooped my poor little Lily out of bed and plunked her in the car. On the way, Rob tried to cut the silence by joking that we'd finally found a way to get the girls to sit in the back without arguing.

Have I ever mentioned that we live in a very populated area? Well, a good portion of that population seemed to be in the ER . Once Rob had a EKG, they let him come sit with us in the waiting room. I figured that if he were having a heart attack, that wouldn't have happened, so I set about trying to assure the girls. I pulled out my cross stitch (I needed something to keep my hands busy otherwise, I would start flapping and hovering around Rob). I sat there like Ma Walton and chatted with the girls. I can't even tell you what I was blathering about. I do know that I had the constant battle in my head, one part was mad at Rob for not taking better care of himself, and of course, the inner mommy was so proud of Caroline and Lily.

Over the next three hours, Rob would go back for one test or another and then come back to wait with us. I figured that if it were an emergency, he would have been put in a room. By then it was 1:00 am and the girls really needed to go to bed (I was also getting very tired of the three obnoxious boys who were running laps around and past their sick grandmother). I talked to Rob and we decided that I should take the girls home and he'd call me. Once we got home, I tucked them in and went downstairs to watch TV and wait. I watched The World According to Garp (prob. not the best choice when your waiting for your sick husband). Rob finally called me at 5:00 am. He had a pulled muscle in his chest, but was otherwise fine. I have so many things to be thankful for.

Friday, July 9, 2010

For the Love of It

It is no secret that I have quirky kids. They aren't quirky in that precocious, "they must listen to NPR with their parents and have fascinating conversations way." My children are random in their quirkiness. Case in point: picture a play date with my friend (the former psychologist who does not believe in corn syrup or TV) and her adorable two year old boy. He is telling me about Mt Vesuvius meanwhile, three year old Caroline is spinning in circle with a bucket on her head singing "chickety China, the Chinese chicken." Flash forward to a year later when she tells her friend's dad that Vincent Van Gogh cut off part of his ear because "his brain was not working quiet right."

Now I am raising the second round of quirky. This time it is amplified. It is vivacious. It is Lily. There is no doubt that she is smart. She's witty, she's unique, her vocabulary is out of this world and she cannot be bothered to do any of the conventional things that we associate with smart. I would like to teach her to read. I have talked to quiet a few friends whose children are Lily's age and reading. All of the sudden all of my "no mommy pissing contest" rules are out and I want her to read NOW. I want her to do some tricks that aren't mortifying. What does she want to do? Laugh at me, giggle, taunt me with glee through every reading lesson. It is like she knows I want her to do this and the whole thing is just so droll.

So far she has spent her summer dancing, singing, and talking about everything and anything to do with Cats. Her grandma took her to see it and she is hooked. My child wants to be on stage and she wants it NOW. She started dance lessons this week and the crazy mama in me is looking for signs of a prodigy, but I don't tell anyone, especially her. That is the surest way to get her to quit. Lily dancing is pure joy. Her entire body lights up with it. I wish that I could lose myself like that. I wish Caroline and Rob could lose themselves like that. Heck, I wish the whole world could feel the way she looks when she is dancing.

Why am I so competitive? Just because I don't tell anyone about it, doesn't mean the green eyed monster is not there. I think it is all about my insecurities. I struggled in school and had so many labels put on me as "not quiet right." I would look longingly at the smart kids, the ones who got to make neat projects and go to neat places, and wish that I could be them. Rob was one of those kids. He assures me that I missed nothing. I think the beauty of it all was wasted on him (just kidding, honey). I want that for my kids. And if we are being honest here, I want the bragging rights of having given birth to one of them. What would it feel like to say "well last night Lily and I were discussing War and Peace while Caroline was talking with her father about a revolutionary idea for world peace." Instead I can explain how Lily tap danced all the way through the Hair Cuttery while pulling things out of her purse for prop comedy breaks (for example she asks if anyone has seen her nose, then pull out a huge plastic one, stick to her face and declare I smell peanut butter before collapsing in giggles). Or I can explain that she named one of her favorite stuffed bears Bear Butt because he has a tushy.

What I can really do is chill out and enjoy her. She's going to enjoy life with or without me. I think that it would be fun to be her side kick and see where she goes. Learning how to read, swim, or ride a bike is thrilling. When she is thrilled she jokes, she giggles, she bounces. Why shouldn't she enjoy it? Isn't life better when you are having fun? I am reminded yet again that Lily is here to make me (and the rest of the world) lighten up.
PS I am experimenting with adding picutres. Be paitient with me, please.