Wednesday, January 25, 2012

five alive.

And so it goes. Happy Birthday to my beautiful girl.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


It is the eve of my girl's 5th birthday. I don't know how we ended up here. The Be Good Tanyas have a song called "It's Not Happening," and that one line keeps repeating itself in my head. Over and over and over and over again. I'm writing this post today because I am not entirely sure I'll be able to write it tomorrow. There's a part of me that anticipates needing a sedative and a bottle of Pinot Noir when the clock strikes midnight. I know that's not true because her excitement tomorrow will be intoxicating. I know that I'll put a candle on her banana bread in the morning, and we'll celebrate my girl all day, but I might need that bottle when 8pm comes and she's in bed and I realize that her fifth birthday actually happened whether I wanted it to or not. That's the thing about birthdays. They happen whether you want them to or not.

My almost five year old girl. What can I say about her?

I suppose I could start with: she's absolutely perfect even though she absolutely isn't. That's the thing about motherhood. You know how awful your kids are but think they're perfect anyway. I might want to strangle her a thousand times a day, but when I look at her, my heart is so full of love that it aches. When I watched her faceplant over and over last night at gymnastics, I just thought, "I love her. She's just perfect." I was able to think that she's perfect despite the fact that she is a spastic mess on a tumbling mat. And a balance beam. And uneven bars.

In reality, this girl of mine is wonderful. She is sensitive. She's got an absolutely huge heart. While I treasure this about her, I simultaneously want to help her grow a thicker skin because she's going to need one.

She's funny in a way that almost-five-year-olds are.

She's beautiful. Her naked eyelashes could be used in mascara ads, and when those dark eyelashes frame those big, blue eyes, I can look at her and know that those eyes will break hearts.

She is stubborn. We've finally convinced her that she may not marry her brother when they grow up. It's taken nine months, but she's finally realized that we may not be joking about the legality of it. She holds fast, however, to the assertion that even when she does get married, she's going to live here. When asked where her children will stay, she roundly informs us that she won't be having any. (I've heard that one before, Baby Girl, and I wouldn't be writing this post if I hadn't changed my tune.)

She is smart, and though I think she's positively brilliant, I don't have any expectation or desire for her to actually be brilliant. I want her to be smart, of course, but I want her to be happy first and foremost. I don't want her to be as hard on herself as her father and I are on ourselves.

She is a girl. A girly girl. I feared that God would give me a girly girl when I was pregnant with her, and that's just what He did. I can't really relate to that part of her, and that's fine. She, however, cannot comprehend why I don't want to play with dolls 24/7. When I told her that I've never liked playing with dolls (even as a child), I might as well have told her that we live on the moon. It didn't compute for her. It won't be the last time that we don't understand each other, and that's fine, too.

It's been an adventure these past five years, and I wouldn't trade a second of it because even the bad seconds are necessary. However, her brother and I made a deal yesterday whereby he will never do this to me. He's going to stay a baby forever.

Happy almost Birthday to my darling, perfectly imperfect angel/demon girl.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

so many thoughts, so little time.

M commented this morning about my recent lack of blogging, which I already knew about. I'm the blogger that's not been blogging after all. I told him, "I don't really have much to say right now." He told me that the mundane posts are the good ones. (For him at least as they act as little windows into home in the middle of his days...they are likely just mundane to the rest of you.)


Since that time (approximately 545am), I've had half a dozen things to blog about pop into my head. Here's one.

S's birthday is coming up soon. She'll be five, which is mind blowing. Five seems so much older than four. Four is a little kid. Five is a kid that goes to elementary school. I am simultaneously SOOO ready for S to go to kindergarten and so nowhere near ready for my precious angel baby girl to be gone from me five days a week. Before I ship her off to kindergarten, though, she has to have a birthday party.

She wants a snowflake party. Fine with me. Her requests are usually funny. Like when she tells me she wants a surprise party and goes on to plan it in minute detail. The requests that are constant and real and not to be ignored are simple. Chocolate cake, white frosting, silver sprinkles. Sandwiches. Bell peppers. Apple juice in silver cups. A snowflake pinata. Balloons.

When she decided on the snowflake-themed party, I did what all reasonable mamas of our age do. I got on the internet and started looking for ideas. Lots of ideas. Decor. Food. Favors. Activities. You name it.

Then I stopped myself. Why was I doing this? There are some things about parties that are amazing and memorable, but those things are rarely born of copious amounts of internet research. They tend to be more organic. They tend to be things your children actually ask for. You know what S has asked for? A pinata and balloons. So, that's what she's getting.

When did a child's birthday become a reason to stress out beyond all reason and spend a mortgage payment?

When S and her friends have birthday parties, I don't think the children have ever noticed the decor or lack thereof. They want to play, and they want to eat cake. S and her friends also want to swing sticks at pinatas, which is fine with me. I think parents go hog wild on the parties for themselves and to impress other people. Don't get me wrong, I love to throw a party, and I love to do cute stuff (especially involving my little peanuts), and it's totally cool to go hog wild if you want to, but I'm making an effort this year to just have a nice, relaxed time with my girl for her birthday. I'm going to have the food she's asked for. I'm going to work on making her day about her, not about making marshmallow snowmen with a bunch of kids that are all jacked up on sugar.

What do you think? Were your birthday parties memorable as a child? What made them memorable?

Friday, January 06, 2012

storage wars.

Do you have kids? Do you? Do you have lots of microscopic pieces of plastic and wood all over the place? Because I do. Now that the wee one has his own toys out to play with, I feel like I'm staring at toys 99.9% of the time. T got his fair share of trucks and balls and books for Christmas, and he lugs them around and gnaws on them constantly, but they are everywhere, and S's basket isn't big enough for everything. Thus, M said to me the other day, "I think it's time we talk about a toy box."

Kill me.

My head was instantly filled with an image of a plastic toy box by Little Tikes that my brother's babysitter had when he was little. Then I started thinking about wooden toy boxes with heinous jungle scenes lovingly painted on them. Or large boxes meant to look like John Deere tractors. I wanted to cry.

Naturally, I got on the internet.
I was coocoo for Cocoa Puffs when I saw these, but M said no. He's right of course, it would take many of these baskets, and then there would be multiple baskets littering the family room.

He suggested a box with a lid so that we could shut the lid on the chaos, but, we're Ouisers, so the box needed safety hinges and it needed to be made of actual wood. Also, I had to be able to bear looking at it in my family room for the next several years. For a few hundred bucks, I could solve all of our problems. But I wasn't happy with the options. I just wasn't. I know that old adage about not having anything in your house that you don't find beautiful or useful, and all of the toy box options were useful. They were just not something I wanted to look at. At all. I had a couple of small anxiety attacks worrying about this. Then I'd laugh at myself for being so monumentally silly.
I decided on these. I think we'll be really happy. They are not hideous. When I started the search, I thought that some sort of chest would be great because we could repurpose it later. Blanket storage in the guest room or something. Then I realized that meant I was looking for two different things really. When I chose these, I knew I was choosing something to contain our children's toys. They might someday hold sports equipment in the garage or some random stuff in the garage, but I think, in this instance, I was making a simple choice based on our actual needs and that felt good.

How have you dealt with having children's toys in communal spaces?

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

to market, to market.

I'll begin with this: Happy New Year.

Then this: I know I've got a lot of catching up to do: Advent-ures, Christmas, that kind of stuff. I've been busy with a sick Granddaddy, though, so that must wait.

For now: S decided this morning that she needs a new American Girl doll. She decided this whilst looking through one of her Kirsten books. When she said she wanted Molly, I told her that Molly cost a lot of money, and she took her money pouch off the fridge and asked me to count how much she had.


Me: You have ten dollars.

S: How much does Molly cost?

Me: One hundred dollars, but if you'll save half the money, Daddy and I will pay for the rest.

S: Okay. I need to make some money.

Me: How are you going to do that?

S: I'm going to sell some of my baby stuff.

Me: Like what?

S: Probably that Little Bo Peep rhyming book. (A seriously tattered board book.)

Me (giggling in my head): Really? How much do you think that book will sell for?

S (without hesitation): Seven dollars.

Me: (guffawing in my head): That's a start.


Inevitably, the new American Girl catalog came this afternoon. I had been thrilled to know that Kanani, last year's Girl of the Year doll, would be gone from my life forever. Hopefully, with all mention of S's desire to have Kanani's Shaved Ice Stand gone with her. Alas, I should be careful what I wish for. This year's Girl of the Year is McKenna, a gymnast. As S takes gymnastics, she feels that the new American Girl doll is sent from Heaven to be hers. Shoot me. She's in the other room poring over the catalog, dreaming of McKenna and matching leotards and uneven bars. I hate American Girl. It is the root of all evil. Not really, but it's close behind Disney and exercising. Those are really the co-roots of evil.