Bride Girls – A Poem

August 28, 2012 § Leave a comment

“When you were bride did you wear white?

Who picked out your dress? How did you know it was right?”

The questions came fast about ‘bride girls’ so named,

“Do they ever wear color? Do they all have long trains?”

“Brides can wear anything they choose for their day.

The rainbow’s their choice, their outfit their say.”

“Bride’s are pretty,” said Grace.

“They are happy,” said her sister.

And said I with a grin, “Cause they’re marrying their mister!”

To the stairs they ran fast, we were late for shoe shopping.

To the room where I sew they headed without stopping.

Grace came out with a ribbon placed atop of her head

Satin, ivory and long it trailed her up to her bed.

And she jumped up and down while Sophie implored,

“Get a clip! Get a clip from the hair dodad drawer!”

“On my head, on my head,” said Grace all a flutter.

“But first get dressed girls…

Norsdtrom waits! You are nutters!”

Once dressed and ready I took the clip,

Placed it tight on Grace’s head, let the ribbon fall and slip.

Down to the floor she walked like a bride,

Head held high to the store she would smile, we would ride.

She wore it on her head ’til her shoe love took hold.

The ribbon left crumpled, the Sketchers were sold.

The moment was gone they were making me crazy.

The memory of ‘bride girl’ soon would be hazy.

I’ve forgotten so much from timed feedings ’til now,

Will I miss it, these four year olds when that day comes around?

When they stand up the aisle with real veils to the ground,

Will I cry, will I laugh, will I feel hugely proud?

Said a lady in Whole Foods last week as she watched,

As I struggled and argued with the girls during lunch,

“It goes much too fast, time flies and you’ll see,

There will come a day when you’ll miss this terribly!”

So today as I watch, clean, cook, fold and we play,

From the mess to the laughs I’ll enjoy the array.

And despite my kerfuffle, my whining, my rants,

I know that I’m lucky to be wearing mommy pants.

One day they’ll be grown,

Strong, free, good and smart.

No one loves them like their mother,

Every inch of my heart.

Here comes the bride…

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Raising Little Ships

August 22, 2012 § 5 Comments

I read a great post over at the818 entitled, How Do You Know If You’re Raising An Asshole?

What a relief, I thought, to know I’m not the only one who wonders this very same thing.

My summer has been long. Much longer than any other summer in the history of my being.

Four year olds are not easy.

My constant admonition that “You are almost five!” said with the hope that five will be the magical age that they start acting like big girls, less like little shitballs, is like an elusive prayer.

It’s not as if they don’t have moments being lovely little people.

They can hug like champs, run to get band aids for a bleeding sister in need, bat their eyelashes so that you can see the sweet that they feel on the inside and make piles of toys to give to the children who might not have any.

Lovely little people!

But the yin to the yang is their much too often use of words like vagina, butt, butthole, stupid and I hate you (with emphasis on the hate). It’s gotten so bad that Sophie unconsciously sings butthole (with inflection on various notes) while concentrating on tasks like coloring pictures of her family or buttering a piece of toast.

They hit and they run.

Rather, they hit hard and run fast.

“Use your words!” I say.

“You butthole!” They say.

They make huge messes and then sprint in the opposite direction upon time to clean up.

The incessant and rampant whining and sobbing has gotten so, that in my exasperation I have gripped my own face to thwart my own screams.

It’s exhausting and worrisome and so like Megan at the818 I wonder if I am raising two little assholes; girls more like smoldering hot fire than sweetly spun sugar?

What’s a mom to do (besides endless time outs and positive motivators and tickle torture and bribery and go to your rooms and screaming her head off)?

In exactly thirteen days I’ll be dropping the girls at pre-school with Miss Shelley the Saint, at which time I will flee outside through the double doors like a four-year old who’s just walloped her sister. I might even whisper a cuss word (or two) in the car before calling my mother to whine (and maybe cry in relief) about the entire series of events called, “Me, My Girls and the Summer of 2012.”

Apple? Tree?

Oh God, it’s worse than I thought!

XOM

I admit that on occasion I have used the term, “You little shit.” To my delight Grace thinks I said, “You little ship.” What she doesn’t know won’t hurt her. Right?

Mothering, Co-Sleeping and Band-aids

August 7, 2012 § 12 Comments

Tomorrow is one of the biggest and most important days in the history of my mothering.

I am leaving my children and heading off to New York City for two full nights sans kids.

It might sound strange to equate leaving my children with mothering them, but every mother crosses the separation threshold at one point or another, I just happened to be a late bloomer in this department.

The day my kids were born I expected to be like every other mom and do the things that other moms did.

I expected to bring my babies home from the hospital and put them in their cribs. I expected to let them “cry it out” while standing outside their door completely confident in their ability to soothe themselves. I did not expect that I’d be co-sleeping almost five years later.

It turned out that I was so fiercely protective of my infants that I couldn’t bear to put them in their cribs (cages?). The thought of them halfway down the hall was unbearable and a pain (yes, my pain) that I couldn’t (wouldn’t, shouldn’t) allow.

Crying it out? I read the literature and I tried it. It was a half-hearted attempt, but I did. A few moments of hearing the cries from my less than five pounders (who couldn’t tell me what they needed in any other way) was enough for me to make my own decision on the matter. I viewed it as wrong and still don’t like the philosophy.

As my children near their fifth birthday, the hope for a night of peaceful sleep that doesn’t include Grace’s pokey feet in the small of my back and a heat generating Sophie (gosh, she runs hot) seems like a dream somewhere far away in my future.

I am not complaining, because I actually do enjoy the closeness and the bonding that co-sleeping has given us. I have realized, though, that it is time to change the direction of things and give the girls the freedom to be okay without me in their bed. Whether or not it’s selfish to be giving myself the same freedom is another blog post entirely.

At every point in mothering there comes a time for really big decisions. It’s the reason mothering is such an important job as those decisions are the things that shape and mold children into the people they’ll become.

My girls are not thrilled about the prospect of a night without me (Oh God, two nights!).

It makes me rethink all of those decisions I made so early on.

But part of being a mother is admitting that we have done the best that we could. In fact, I think part of becoming a woman is admitting that our mothers did the best they could, too.

And I have, I think. I’ve done my absolute best.

Tomorrow we are ripping off the band-aid and by Friday when I return new skin will have formed from underneath the cut.

Healing and growth will have happened in spite of itself.

When I see my girls again it will be the beginning of a new chapter.

We’ll be big girls, we three, with a new formed strength to remind us that we can (and will) do whatever needs to be done.

Wish us luck!

XOM.

Big girls taking a big leap.

Monday Morning Opportunities

June 4, 2012 § 4 Comments

My Grace awoke before four a.m.

She was quiet for a while and we both lay there thinking.

There’s a lot to think about that early in the morning waiting for a little person to go back to bed. I’m unsure of her thoughts, but here are some of mine…

How I am headed to my quarterly dermatologist appointment at 8:00 a.m. and how I hope there is no lidocaine involved with today’s visit.

How my babies are no longer babies, but when they’re asleep I take advantage of their slumber by holding hands and fingers that are still baby soft. It’s a quiet opportunity to relive that baby time, long since passed.

Or a few weeks ago when Grace was sick and fell asleep on the sofa and my mind said that she was still a baby and that I could carry her to her bed to sleep. But how I had neglected to recognize that she’s not a baby, rather a forty-four pounder.  It’s not as easy to move that kind of sleeping lump without tussling it awake.

How she and I were up until eleven that night prompting yet another blog post.

How Tara’s tumblr  photos of gratitude beads reminded me that I’m lacking in pink accessories. I had just been going through my jewelry mess and took note of that; lots of blue, but no pink.

My fantastic weekend begun with a five-mile run that turned into a nine mile run, reminding me how seriously strong I am despite less running as of late.

The outdoor yoga class I went to yesterday in the bright sunshine that made for a burning hot yoga mat cooled off with water poured from Starbucks cups.

How I really enjoy Elizabeth’s yoga style (straight forward, directionally clear, and always with a smile). Yesterday was my second class with her.

How I also like that she looks like a real woman; not stick thin, but healthy and beautiful.

The peace on the marriage front that proceeded the crazy making of Friday.

How Brian let me sleep until 9:15 on Sunday and then gave me time to wake up by letting me sip my coffee and driving the girls to Peachie’s himself.

And the absolutely beautiful weather; sunny, low humidity, warm with a cool breeze.

But too much cake. White frosted cupcakes and a coconut pie. Oh, they were good.

And how today is the sixth day of the green smoothie challenge, which makes me not feel as guilty about the cake gluttony that occurred.

At five Grace whined that she couldn’t sleep. I tried to coax her back down to no avail, so we grabbed her woobies and my phone and snuck downstairs in the dark.

I made coffee and looked at it as an opportunity to write, which wouldn’t have happened had I waited for the 6:20 bell tolling and the mad rush that would have transpired as I tried to gather the kids and myself for a speedy exit at 7:45.

Opportunities must be taken when they appear.

Good Morning?

Indeed.

Kindness Continued

June 2, 2012 § 5 Comments

I had trouble sleeping last night. I woke at midnight and then again at two and when I heard the bells tolling on my phone at 5:20 this morning I decided to be kind to myself and hit the snooze.

It was also my effort to be kind to the hubs who was tired himself from the past few weeks of Saturday morning early wake up calls so that I could leave to meet my running group.

When I woke again to the bright overhead light and little girls playing fairy (wings and all) it was 6:55 a.m.

The WannaBeasts were surely all lined up and ready to go. I had a pang of envy, but overall I knew that I needed the rest, especially after yesterday and what turned out to be the Princess Party from h-e-double hockey sticks.

My girls were so excited to wear their Cinderella dresses that Santa Claus had brought for them at Christmas. We had just read Fancy Nancy’s Tea Party book and were up to date on the proper etiquette that big girls demonstrate when being invited to such occasions.

The moment we walked in the door past the balloons and into an unfamiliar room full of other little Princesses, my girls turned into cling-ons and I had to drag them through the house like barnacles attached to my white Hudsons.

They wouldn’t speak or play or eat or participate. They declined the tiaras and the magic wands and looked at me like they were about to get shots or be left with a witch or forced to wear pants with buttons.

To no avail, I tried to get them to join the others at the tea-table set with circular peanut butter sandwiches and Goldfish and bright pink frosted cupcakes. I ended up sitting between them and had nice conversations with the other little girls brave enough to stay at the party without their moms.

The moms that had stayed looked at me with pity. I could imagine what they were thinking, but they were kind. I was embarrassed.

I unwrapped cupcakes for W and the little one next to me whose name I didn’t know. She felt safe enough next to me to ask for help once her cupcake had split in two. I told her to pick a side and eat it first and that eventually the other side would meet up in her belly. I wiped W’s pink face with a wet paper towel and spoke to L about her darling haircut (her first).

When Rapunzel showed up at the door and all the children went to dance in the living room, my two were busy pitching a major fit in the dining room.

I grabbed my keys, said, “Happy Birthday,” to K and left after allowing the hostess to give the girls a party favor, which was promptly removed from their possession once in the car.

I strapped them into their booster seats and in my most stern mommy voice told them of my disappointment and unhappiness with their behavior. We went home and I cooked dinner. They were sent to their room for a major time out.

I spent the next while thinking about my goal to be kind and wondered how I’d been so in this situation.

Small acts of kindness are easy; smiling at a stranger, holding the door for a mom with baby carrier, saying, “Happy Birthday and Thank You,” to the hostess of a party.

Kindness with your kids (or husband or parents or friends) in the midst of temper tantrums is more difficult to do.

As hard as it was to hear them sobbing in their room and trying to manipulate their way out, the kind thing (the right thing) was to set the limits to give them structure for their behavior.

Hopefully the next time we’ll do better.

It’s the best we can do.

Old picture. They couldn’t find their glass slippers yesterday, so they wore their Crocs. I love a party dress with a more casual shoe!

White Hudsons with the triangle back pockets. They look great from the back, which cannot be said for all white jeans. Did I mention that I ended up covered in the bright pink frosting? Kindness tested….

Bright Pink Frosted Cupcakes

These cupcakes are from thecupckaeblog.com. The ones at the party yesterday looked just like the bright pink ones in the front.

Free Bird Anxiety

May 20, 2012 § 14 Comments

Today I need to escape my kids, my husband, my house, my routine, and the repetition of the life I’ve created.

My head tells me that it’s a good thing.

Sunday morning yoga class is always good.

A trip to the toy store for a birthday present without my four-year olds in tow is great.

I’ll pick up the wrapped end of year teacher gifts without having to rush.

I want to sit at Starbucks where I’ll drink an iced Venti unsweetened green tea and get some undisturbed work done.

I don’t know on what. Maybe I could make sense of the Adsense craziness that is a new blog issue? Maybe I’d finish up my yoga article? Maybe complete the cover letters to publishers?

My heart tells me to stay; that it’s selfish to leave.

I shouldn’t be this eager to leave.

Maybe it’s my own fault for the way it’s been set up?

I’ve never gone out for girls night.

I’ve never left my kids overnight.

I co-sleep.

I am the one in charge of the children and I don’t have control over whether or not they are stimulated and played with and loved while I am gone.

And upon my return will the house still be standing or am I setting myself up for an afternoon of double duty; double kitchen cleaning, double toy putting away, double the mess removal?

The directional pulls to go or to stay fight me as I type.

Time has ticked too long and I know if I don’t move now I won’t go.

I’m off to shower to get ready for this day.

Still, I can’t help but wonder, do free birds really feel free when they are let out of their cage or do they fly around in circles waiting to get locked back inside where they know that they’re safe in the familiarity of home?

Wish me luck.

freedom

Caged Bird by Laura Hughes.

Wild Horses Wild Time

May 6, 2012 § 13 Comments

The timing of our little vacation was perfect.

The place we chose, six miles past a paved road in the land of wild horses made it easy to forget the outside world. We four by foured it all along the sandy dunes to get to civilized land, since the roads aren’t paved that far down the Barrier Islands of North Carolina’s coast.

I spent my days sitting on the beach watching the girls play, giving me a chance to read a real book with real pages (as opposed to the audio versions), while Brian manned his fishing pole.

It’s funny how a break from reality lifts the doldrums (monotony you don’t even realize until you escape) and everyone is so much more peaceful.

The wild horses have added to the mystique and magic of the place.

They’ve been living along the shores of the Outer Banks since the 1500’s, descendents of the Spanish. We know this because we read up from books lining the rentals’ shelves. They had been pushed off Spanish ships that were sinking and their tough stocky bodies mixed with determination to live gave them power to swim to land.

The horses have survived longer than the Colonies and Blackbeard the Pirate and now roam the beaches, heads down nibbling sea grass. Every morning we would watch to see them coming up over the sandy hills and at dinner time we’d crane our necks to catch a glimpse as they’d disappear through the trees to where they’d sleep.

I managed to run one day, despite a nagging pain in my left calf. I probably should have given myself a few more days to nurse the leg (sore for a week already), but I couldn’t resist a beach run with the horses.

Beach running, I’d forgotten, is much tougher than running on nicely paved streets. My attempt at five miles turned into three with a half mile walk up the dunes back to the house. When I returned I was dripping with sweat, but stuck my legs in the hot tub anyway, hoping the heat would loosen the pull.

Amazingly, it felt much better the next day and tomorrow I will attempt a street run as soon as the kids are dropped off at school.

Yesterday, Brian’s old friend Uncle Al drove up from Raleigh and it was great to see him playing on the beach with the girls and their dad.

I watched from my chair while the boys got my daughters started with drippy sand castles, which kept them occupied for long enough that I was able to get all the way to page two hundred fifty in my book. Have I mentioned how much I’m loving The Help? It’s about a writer and a story she must tell and I’m delighted by the surprise (I can relate more than a little).

Last night I left the guys to party it up with Crown Royal and Coke and only had to come up once to tell them to turn down the music. They were having a good time, but I chose to  spend my evening in a wicker chair next to my sleeping girls, while putting the finishing touches on the piece I sent to GeniusMoms.com.

The piece I was working on, entitled Infertility, Hope and Mother’s Day, turned out fine. It was a difficult one to write, but sometimes I need to be reminded of how much I wanted my monstrous monsters. If it doesn’t get published there, I’ll post in Mommyland.

It was early when we got up this morning and not at all a beach day. I attempted to get something posted, but the 10:00 check out time made it impossible.

We are home now. I’m back in my writing chair.

Back in the saddle tomorrow in regard to my diet and my running, school for the girls and work for their dad.

The saddle. It’s a good fit, but sometimes I wish we were more like those horses we left trolling the sandy dunes; wild, free, with nothing to do but laze and graze. Those horseys have no idea they’re on a permanent vacation.

They were so excited their feet left the ground!

Mommy hearts S+G. G was on the cusp of a temper fit. Notice her stomping out my letters. Four year olds!

When the horses got closer we’d back away and let them pass. This time was special because there was a pony in the pack. You can see him right against his mother.

After the beach. Trying to be like my awesome bloggy friends who take pictures of themselves to document their fab fashion finds. Loved my Kayce Hughes Tunic, but I’m afraid I’m hopeless in the self-photographing department.

Lesson to mom’s with smallish children. Avoid teaching them how to take pictures using your iPhone. You will spend precious time erasing two hundred plus pictures of Chi Chi and Chi Chi and rental house mermaids.

Sweet Sandy Soph.

Grace. She throws a mean tantrum, but most of the time she’s a real lovey.

Usborne Activities Fairies Sticker Book. These things are an absolute lifesaver for children on vacation. The girls would work on them for hours. The Ballerinas, Sports and Pirates books are great, too!

Heading Home Happy.

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