Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Hmmm...which one should I get, mommy?

Let me begin by saying that I had decided that tonight would be a good night to go school supply shopping. It's early enough to beat the crowds that will be out en-mass the week before school starts, but not so early that he'll be begging me on a daily basis to 'please let me open my...'. This would only cause me to want to throw them all away so he'll stop asking, which would result in my having to go buy more, which would mean fighting those crowds that I was determined to avoid in the first place! You see, this is our first year of school supply shopping since he'll be starting Kindergarten in 3 weeks, and if tonight was any indication of what lies ahead, I think I'll make this my husband's annual contribution to pre-school preparation. Something that should have been as simple as 'going down the checklist provided by the school' turned into a 2 hour event! Actually, I think it was about an hour & a half, but I added the drive time and rounded up :) Even he was complaining toward the end that it was taking too long. But, I have a feeling that he was only focused on getting home so he could have his ice cream sandwich before heading to bed!

So, because I'd been pro-active and have previously scoped out the store, I knew exactly where I was headed. I figured that this knowledge would help to assure a quick trip. The aisles that we needed were, of course, in the very back, far corner of the store, right next to the toys. Hmmm, what genius decided to put it there? Could it be...no, it's just good marketing on their part, I guess. Anyway, we arrive, get our cart, and head straight back to the 'section' that we needed. When we arrive, Alex's eyes literrally bug out of his head. He get's a huge smile on his face and starts his shopping spree. We begin with the crayons. Glancing down at the list I note "Crayola Crayons 16 Ct. - 5". What? Five boxes of crayons? I can't imagine Alex going through 5 boxes in a single school year. But, he is a kindergartner and I guess they do allot of coloring, so I negotiate with the list and tell Alex to grab 3. "Three boxes? Are you sure mom? That's allot!". "Yes dear, it is allot, but I'm not going to buy as many as the list says, so just get 3 for now." "But mom, you should buy the right amount. If the list says more, we should get more". Ah, the reasoning of a 5 year old. "No honey, we're just going to get 3. If you need more later in the year, we'll come back and get more, ok?". "OK, mom". And, into the cart they go. Next? "Crayola Classic Big Markers - 1". "Mom, what is classic? Is this classic?" (he's holding a box of no-name brand markers that are the typical colors). "Yes, sweetie, those are the classic colors, but we should get these because they are a better brand" (I'm holding the aformentioned brand in hand). "Can I put them into the basket?" "Sure!". And, in they go. Next? "Elmer's School Glue, 4 oz. - 3" Hmmm. Again, I question the quantity, but since they are only 20 cents a piece I decide to throw caution to the wind and get all 3. Into the basket, and on to the next item on the list.

And so, this is how our shopping trip goes. Smooth as silk. No bumps to overcome, moving right along, then BAM! Our first obstacle...We can't locate the 'Beginner sized Pencils'. You remember those right? The big fat, tall pencils? Good grief! Everything is ruined now because we can't seem to locate this item. Time is ticking, I start walking in circles, determined to find the item that simply doesn't seem to exist. "Maybe I missed it over here. Nope. Maybe it's over there. Nope." I'm about ready to give up when Alex points to a cardboard bin at the bottom of the shelf and asks, "Mommy, is this what you're looking for?". And there they are! Relief. "Grab 2 of them honey". "Ok mommy. Wait which colors should I get?" "Oh, I don't know, pick. You've got 3 choices - red, blue & yellow". "I'll get 2 blue. No wait, one red & one blue. No wait, one yellow and one blue. No wait..." This goes on for about 10 seconds too long. I find myself tapping my foot and finally breaking my silence with, "Just pick 2 and let's move on!". He decides on one blue and one yellow. Into the basket, and we're off.

After finally completing the list with only a few more set-backs, we move onto the wall of backpacks. Now Alex's eyes are really glowing. I can see the wheels turning. So many choices, colors and styles. Some you carry on your back, others you pull behind you because they have a handle & wheels. Then, he spots them, at the very end, nearest the beginning of the toy department that I'm hoping he doesn't see! The 'character' backpacks - Batman, Spiderman, Darth Vadar, The Fantastic 4, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, etc. There they are, waiting to be chosen. Each one calling his name. "Mommy, which one should I get?". "Good question, sweetie. Why don't you look them all over and select the one you like the best". "Can I have this one?" "No, we don't like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, so select another one". "Ok, what about this one?" "No, not that one either. The Fantastic Four isn't exactly appropriate for a 5 year old". "Mommy, I'm 5 1/2!" "Oh yeah! Sorry. Hey, look at the super-cool Spiderman backpacks. There are 2 to choose from. Or, what about Star Wars?". "Ummmm, I just don't know!". "Ok, sweetie, I have an idea. Why don't we go look at the lunchboxes to see if you find one that you like. Then, you can get a backpack to match". "Good idea mommy". A minor victory for me :) And, we're off again!

Lunchbox Heaven! Again, so many to choose from, what's a 5 year old to do? I immediately decide that this is a bad idea and maybe we should forego the lunchbox & backpack until another night. But, no, he's off and running already. To save time (mainly yours) I'll cut to the end...after rumaging through countless lunchboxes, he finally decides that he like the Spiderman lunchbox the best :) Yea! A decision at last. Now, it's back to the wall of backpacks. He goes straight to the 2 Spiderman backpacks and starts rumaging through them. He decides that he likes the one with all of the pockets on the front. But, after careful inspection on mommy's part, I have decided that this one isn't the most logical choice for a kindergartner. It has a pocket for a cell phone, one for pens, pencils and who knows what else. Another pouch that isn't big enough for anything I can think of, and finally, a bonus "write-on/wipe-off" board and marker. Nope, this isn't the best choice. So I say to my sweet 5 year old, "Honey, why don't you go with this one? It's got 3 big pockets so there's lots of room for extra clothes (a must for a 5 year old), there's a big pouch for your lunch box, and still another pouch for your homework". Ooops! I just said homework. This sends him off on a totally different tanget. "What? I don't do homework? What's homework mommy? Is it fun? Is it hard? Will I always have homework?" The questions persist for at least 2 minutes non-stop. Ok, gotta get him to re-focus. "Sweetie, we can discuss homework later. Right now, we need to make a decision. Mommy is getting tired of standing here and it's getting late." It takes another few minutes of coaxing, but he finally agrees that he likes the backpack that mommy likes :) Hurray! A victory for mommy, at last!!! The deciding factor? The bonus Spiderman wallet.

So, we've made our way passed the toys with little fanfare and have gotten back to the front of the store. After standing in the check-out line for over 10 mintues, it's finally our turn! I can see the doors and the darkness that lies beyond. Ah! I can feel the hot blasts of air coming through the automatic door every time another customer leaves the store. Hurry up! I'm ready to leave. Then it happens, "Mommy, why are you taking so long? I'm really tired and ready to leave this place!"


Monday, July 18, 2005

I'm in Trouble...

I guess when a 2 year old little girl feels compelled to find the pretty colored markers, that's one thing. She doesn't like black or brown...it's usually the red or pink or purple marker that she selects when coloring a pretty picture. But, when she selects the 'pretty' marker, then proceeds to draw on her lips (like lipstick) and each & every fingernail & toenail (like polish), I'm guessing this means that I'm in some serious trouble when she reaches her teenage years?!?! This is what she's done every morning for the last 3 days!!! It used to be my makeup, but, thank God, she's given up that idea - I think the spankings she got probably helped her make that very wise decision.

I guess it's safe to say that I absolutely got the 'Girlie Girl' that I had prayed for when I found out that I was pregnant for the 2nd time. She loves to dress up, have her toenails polished, fix her hair into 'big pigtails', and wear her pretty dress-up shoes. And, on occassion, when we have no place to go, I will oblige her and put on a bit of makeup. However, it's never anything more than the 'left-overs' on my blush brush, powder brush or eye shadow applicator. But, it appears that my doing so has created a monster. She loves to play dress-up, and I guess the 'look' isn't complete without a touch of color :)

Oh yes. Did I mention that she's currently walking around with 2 tatoos? One on each arm, to be exact! Guess I should thank my lucky stars that one is all roses, the other is a pretty pink butterfly - courtesy of her Aunt :) Seems harmless enough considering she's only 2. Kids can get away with that kind of cute stuff! But, now that I think about it, I wonder if this is just going to encourage her to get a REAL pretty tatoo when she's older, like my putting on pretend makeup has encouraged her to embellish her appearance on her own? Oh no!! What have I done?

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

A First Class Circus Act

So, I guess the biggest test for any mommy is her ability to juggle? To have 1 child crying because it is time to eat, 1 child crying because they no longer want to be in the baby pool that you just spent 10 minutes scrubbing with Comet (so as not to expose them to any bacteria or dead creatures) then re-filling with fresh water, and 1 child crying because they want to be outside in the pool, but not by themselves. Hmmm...what's a mommy to do? Run & hide was the first thing that came to mind :( Ok, let's think logically here for just a moment. There must be a way to stop this crying frenzy to the satisfaction of all. "So what did you do?" you ask.

I told the 2 year old to stay outside with the 5 year old for 10 more minutes so mommy could feed the baby. I told the 5 year old to stop crying because the 2 year old would stay out there for a little while longer. And I quickly grabbed 2 jars of strained food and a baggie of Cheerios and started stuffing the food into the baby's open mouth as quickly as possible so he'd stop crying too!

I'm sure that many of you mommies might be apalled that I would force my children to stay outside against their will, but you'd have to understand that that's about the only way my children see the light of day! They would prefer to stay inside, probably in front of the TV, with a snack in 1 hand, juice or water in the other. That is their idea of a perfect afternoon. As hard as I try to keep this from occurring, I'm sad to say, this does happen from time to time. But only on those days when my sanity hangs by a very fragile thread. I often think of my friends and what they might do with their children - you know, reading a story, doing an art project, drawing on them :) And, believe it or not, I do these things with them regularly so as to enhance the creative side of their brains (well, except for drawing on them). But, there are just some days that mommy doesn't have the energy to be a 'good' mommy, and I'm forced to either throw them outside and tell them they have to be out there for at least 30 minutes, or I allow the TV to become the nanny for a few hours. I am happy to report that I am careful with the things they watch - Between the Lions, Adventures in the Book of Virtues, and Dora the Explorer are our favorites - so they do get some form of education while sitting mindlessly in front of what my mother called "The Boob Tube". There are just some days that I don't have it in me. But, then there are days that my mind is full ideas, and my 'super-mommy' strength is back and I can take just about anything these little monkies can dish out!

I guess that, upon reflection, the 'circus' that I call my home and the performers that are my family, all rely on me to keep the show moving. The main attraction? Let's see how many balls mommy can keep in the air before they all come crashing down :) That, my friends, is always the question of the day!!!

Wednesday, July 06, 2005


So, I guess I should start this particular entry by saying that I'm probably going to 'wax philosophical'. I just have so many things happening in my life right now - lots of uncertainties, lots of questions, lots of worry! As hard as I've tried to not let discouragement get the best of me, it's happening, and I feel like there's not a whole lot I can do about it. I greatly dislike having to wait around for something to happen - I'd prefer to just take control and to make it happen when I want it to. But, I do not have control of things! God has control of how things are going to happen in my life (and the life of my family), so I am forced to just sit and wait...

I guess I'll just share some of the thoughts that have been running through my mind, as of late...maybe they can be of some encouragement to you.

Last night, after a typically noisy dinner, I was standing in the kitchen, murmuring under my breath about how much I hate to wash the dishes, and how very tired I am of always having to 'clean' the kitchen. But then, a very small voice reminded me that I should be thankful that I have dishes to wash - that means we had food to eat. Then the voice said that I should remember that standing at the kitchen sink is a blessing - that means I have a house to live in, running water to clean with, and a safe haven for my family. Then, as I stood there feeling 'guilty' for complaining, the sounds of 'Neiner, Neiner, Neiner' came drifting into my thought pattern. Neiner, Neiner, Neiner??? Wait! Certainly that can't be the same small voice, could it?!?!

Nope, that was the sound of my kiddos and my husband, playing dodge ball in the living room. Not to worry though! It was a soft, inflatable ball. Yes, my deep thoughts were shattered by the sounds of laughter in the next room. Michael was playing with the kids before bedtime - a nightly ritual in this house - and tonight, the game of choice was dodge ball. As they ran round & round (passing through the living room, entry way, office, dining room, kitchen, and back into the living room) I was struck with the realization that the only thing I should worry about right now is my family. It is my responsibility to take care of them; to nurture them; to keep them from feeling the burdens of financial strain & frustration, and the general uncertainties of life. And, with my husband's help, they were having the time of their lives...right then...at that very moment...the only thing that mattered was that they not be the one to get 'slammed' by the ball, and that, with some teamwork, they 'get daddy'!

Hmmmm...maybe I should try that...maybe playing a bit more & worrying a bit less is the lesson that a certain Someone was trying to get across to me. Not to say that I shouldn't think about or pray about situations, but that maybe I should be having the time of my life, right now, this very moment!