Friday, August 28, 2015

mobility

Fuzzy has just started to get his knees beneath him. We lay him on the ground, he rolls over and gets up on all fours before pushing himself forward and backward-- as if to gain momentum. First the only ground he was making was backwards. Birdie did the same thing-- I would put her on the ground in the den and walk out. When I came back a few minutes later, she would be under the footstool... stuck.

Fuzzy spends a lot of time on the floor these days. He rolls over to his stomach, eyes what he wants and army crawls to it. As I type-- laying on his floor while his sisters are at school-- he has skipped over all the land mines that are toys and made a direct line for my cell phone. What is it with kids and technology? Kinda love it; kinda hate it.

His favorite toy of recent? Oh, that would be my mini spatula that is perfect for very small things in the kitchen- or the mouth of a seven month old. When he isn't waving the mini spatula around casting spells and swatting imaginary flies, he's shaking his sterling rattle. We like to cover all of our bases here when it comes to toys.

I grew up in a tupperware cabinet.

Bennie was such the handful at the end of summer and beginning of school that she very quickly bought herself five days a week at Mother's Day Out. I told my mom today that I have to remember that she is a very different kid from her big sister. Birdie is so much more like me- even if she looks just like Husband's family. Bennie-- while looking just like my family-- is all Husband. She's busy. She does not have to sit still or be calm or relax.

For what it is worth, Bennie will potty train herself. I have tried several times... and failed... several times. I just chalk it up to "she's just not ready, we'll try again later." You know what that rascal did at school the other day? She went potty all by herself. She told her teacher she had to go, the teacher took her ... and she went. TWICE. Yesterday, the same thing happened. She does not need guidance. She's going to do it her own way.

Fuzzy is disagreeing with me being on the computer and not putting him down for a nap, so this will have to be cut short. Imagine that.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Horseback Riding


Birdie, because that's what I am calling her now, Birdie has been bugging us for about a year to take horseback riding lessons. I called a place... no return call. I went out to a place... no follow up. I kept telling "Birdie" that we were working on it. Mostly though, mostly I was hoping she'd forget.


But, she's stubborn and only remembers things that are important-- like where the cookies are and forgets things that are useless-- like where she hid her school shoes.

Finally, I went to google and googled it. Palmetto Stables was one of the four new places I called and Palmetto Stables was the only place to call me back. Little did I know what a great thing this would be.


I did not do much riding growing up. I took some lessons for a season and that was that. I do not have a lot of contacts in the riding world, so I am relying on nothing more than the internet and Yelp! for reviews of places.

According to the World Wide Web, Palmetto Stables came highly recommended.

Enter Leighton.



They say that music teachers have the most patience. I have learned that, yes, music teachers have the most patience. But horseback riding instructors for children-- those people? Those people would put Job to shame and are working on shining their halo.

Birdie asks a lot of questions. Birdie needs to be told several times to do things. Birdie likes to pet the cat. But, Birdie really, really likes horseback riding.



It's Monday and that's horseback riding day. I get in line at school at a ridiculously early hour to be first in line. An hour and a half before school lets out, I am in line- with my computer, water, and lists of things I need to do. Ten minutes after my car is in park, I am no longer the only one in line. Carline "A" ... it stands for Alpha-- Alpha Moms, that is. After picking her up, we drive straight out to Palmetto Stables, taking about thirty minutes, thanks to all the school traffic. She has a quick snack on the way and changes in the car.


BTW-- ain't nothing cheap about horseback riding... and we don't even own a horse! I enjoy how much she enjoys it, but to buy the helmet, the boots, the pants (that you will note she has already outgrown thanks to a growth spurt), and the lessons... not to mention the carrots for Tater and his girlfriend, Tot, every week... it can get pricy.


But, ohhhhh-- she loves it. And it is giving her such self confidence. And she is doing things I would never have dreamt she would ever do. Like ignore a fly buzzing around her instead of screaming and running in the other direction. Or putting her hands on a horse and cleaning his hooves.


Birdie goes into Taters stall, brings him to the place where he gets his hooves cleaned, and she both blankets and saddles him. After leading him to the ring, Leighton works with her on walking, trotting, posture, and a bunch of other things I don't know. After about twenty minutes of riding, she returns Tater to clean his hooves, brush his tail, and pet his nose.


Birdie comes out of the barn hot and sweaty. Hot, sweaty, and the biggest-- sweetest-- smile on her face. On the way home, she tells me all about Tater and what he did. She tells me about his girlfriend, Tot, and how funny it is that their names are "Tater" and "Tot." Yammer... yammer... yammer.... we yammer on and on about Tater and how much fun it is to ride horses.


I mentioned to a friend that we were starting Birdie on horseback riding lessons. She was emphatic about how wonderful it will be for her. She will learn how to muck stalls, gain discipline, and responsibility. She went on and on about it and it helped me realize that, while expensive, it is a great opportunity for her. Just because I want her to be a ballerina, does not mean she will be. We have to encourage her to do the things that she wants.





Friday, August 21, 2015

Pete- Meet Repeat.

Bennie, stop.
Bennie, quit.
Bennie, don't.
Don't, Bennie.
Bennie, please stop.
Bennie, get out of there.
Bennie, get out of that.
Bennie, that's not yours.
Quit that, Bennie.
NO! Bennie! NO!
Please, Bennie--  Please don't do that.
Bennie, don't.
Bennie, sit down.
Bennie, don't pick up your brother.
Let go, Bennie.
Be sweet, Bennie.
Don't hit, Bennie.
Stop, Bennie.
Share, Bennie.
No biting, Bennie.
Don't lick your brother, Bennie.
Bennie, get out of his face.
Bennie, quit.
Bennie, don't throw that.
Bennie, don't throw it at your brother.
Gentle, Bennie.
No, Bennie.
Bennie, no.
Close the fridge, Bennie.
Close the drawer, Bennie.
Close the cabinet, Bennie.
Get out of the silver chest, Bennie.
Don't bang the plate, Bennie.
Be friendly, Bennie.
Close the door,  Bennie.
Don't mess with the locks, Bennie.
Bennie, don't.
STOP, Bennie!
Please be sweet, Bennie.
Eat your lunch, Bennie.
Don't throw your food, Bennie.
Drink your drink, Bennie.
Don't spit your drink, Bennie.
Get off the counter, Bennie.
Don't stand on the chair, Bennie.
Don't dance on the chair, Bennie.
Close Daddy's medicine drawer, Bennie.
Bennie, get out of Mommy's cabinet.
Bennie, don't play in the dirty clothes.
Bennie, don't.
Don't snatch, Bennie.
Please don't color on yourself, Bennie.
Quit playing in the sink, Bennie.
Get out of the toilet, Bennie.
Don't hide the brush, Bennie.
Bennie, please don't.
Keep the door open, Bennie.
Don't bang on the window, Bennie.
Don't pull on the drawer, Bennie.
Bennie, stay out of your sister's room.
Bennie, get out of your brother's crib.
Bennie, stop that.
No lollipops, Bennie.
Get out of my purse, Bennie.
My wedding ring is not a toy, Bennie.
Bennie, please don't unwind the tape.
Bennie, get the tape off your hand.
Don't put the tape on your brother, Bennie.
Bennie, get the tape off your brother.
Bennie, throw the tape away.
The trashcan is not something to play with, Bennie.
Bennie, don't.

I love you, Bennie.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

First Day of First Grade

The last week of summer was, ahem... intense. The kids were hot and tired. Hot and tired and all kinds of un-kind adjectives. They are my kids, I can say these things. But, it was a busy summer and by the end-- they were tired.

They need structure. (read: Mama needs a break)

After a few trips to the Woody's beach house, one to the farm, visiting cousins in Atlanta and having cousins visit us here, some swim lessons, a mountain trip and days on end in the water of any pool... we were mentally tapped and ready to get back to the routine of life.

On Monday, Leenie started back to school as a BIG first grader. I woke up to feed Fuzzy as the alarm buzzed, still full of the cobwebs from summer.

I looked up from his room to see Husband help Leenie brush her teeth...



Bennie spent the night at my parent's house so we could take our first born to school without having to wrangle the second one. As we sat down at the table for breakfast, Husband looked off and said, "Leenie, I think it is raining on your first day of school."

I turned around and, sure enough, it was raining. We wanted it to rain all summer, so of course it rained on the first day back. When else would it?

The rain started as a drizzle and steadily increased until the bottom dropped out of the sky and the heavens opened up...




It came out of nowhere and it came hard and fast. There was nothing we could do but put on our rain coats and head out the door. There are no mulligans on the first day of school.

She didn't mind. She was excited to see her friends and meet her new teacher. Her kindergarten teacher was three doors down and when Leenie ran in to give her a hug, she hugged her right back-- one of those big strong hugs that only kindergarten teachers can give.



There was a separation of church and state... Cas and Leenie are in different classes. Cas' mother and I have discussed this and think it will be fun to see what kind of adventures these two can have in their own worlds. Cas has the new teacher. While her room is a little barren- she seems incredibly nice and I am looking forward to seeing what she can do as I know that Cas will give her a run for her money!


Because of the rain, the flag raising ceremony was held in the gym. It was a little less climatic than last year, but sweet- just the same.



Same Priest... same National Anthem... same principal... new year... new beginning.


I love the principal that we have. He knows all the kids by name and most of the parents, too. One thing he said at the Primary Welcome Night was to let the past be the past. He asked that all teacher forget what they heard about whichever kid is in their class and let every kid have the fresh start they deserve. A lot of things happen over the summer and everyone comes back different. He asked the parents the same thing-- to remember that these teachers have been vetted and hired by both other teachers and parents. No matter what we have heard about our teacher, to come in with a fresh mind and a clear slate.

I thought that was really cool, because how many times did we hear that Mrs. Whatever was super mean? Or that Little Jimmy was sooooooo bad? I've heard it; I've even said it. But, he was absolutely right-- the summer is what ever kid gets so that they can have a fresh start.

As he talked, one of the substitute teachers and fellow mother came and sat down beside us. She eyed Fuzzy and played with his toes. I unhooked him and she scooped that baby into her arms-- she played with him and loved him as if he was her own. It is something I love about this school- the camaraderie of the fact that we are all families, we all have children, we all need to support one another. Spare uniforms are tossed amongst families, extra shoes are passed around like small babies and lunch boxes. It cannot be explained, but rather-- felt. And appreciated.


After we kissed our eldest good-bye, Husband went to work and I picked up Bennie from my mom's house. The first order of business? Dance Party...

Another school year is off to a fast start and I am already running late for car line. We have our Hello Kitty book bag and we are off to first grade!



Saturday, July 25, 2015

The windows shattered

The house is ready. It was ready at exactly 2:29 yesterday. I texted Husband and said, "The house is (almost) ready. Huge sigh of relief." I invited a friend and her daughters over for the afternoon, as renovations are noisy and her kids were sick of hearing the nail gun.

We sat and chatted in the kitchen as I unloaded the dishwasher. It was a quiet day, a nice and lovely moment in time-- a homemaker enjoying the company of another and the kids doing the same. Susie the realtor came by to inspect the house.

We were ready.

Sans Leenie's room- the girls were quarantined within her purple walls accompanied by only the toys that they could reach. And they could reach a lot of toys. Apparently... Little Miss Leenie, who has been getting paid 25 cents a day to clean her room, has been stuffing them under her bed.

Child labor is not what it used to be.

And, yes, I do pay her exactly twenty five cents. No judgement.

Her room was a disaster, but they were enjoying the process of making the mess. I was enjoying the company of their mother. Totally worth it.

Until....

Wynn came to the kitchen to tell her mom she was ready to go home.

Normally, we have to tear the girls apart. I'm not talking about saying, "Okay, one more hug and then we need to get in the car." I am talking about picking up a screaming kid and saying something along the lines of, "If you ever want to see her again, you will stop this right now..." as she scurries under the bed a little further. Not under Leenie's bed, it's full of toys.

We found it odd and I asked her if she wanted a snack.

"Yes, M'am."

As she turns to head in the pantry, Homemaker gasps a gurgle of a gasp and whispers, "I think there has been a haircut."

Maybe I was pious. Maybe I was ignorant. Maybe I should have checked under the bed.

"No-- no she didn't get a haircut. Leenie knows better. And, besides, even if she doesn't- I don't allow scissors out of the bowl on the fridge."

It's a fail-proof system. The scissors are stored higher than they can reach. With a chair... higher than they can reach on a chair with a stool on their tippy toes and Bennie on Leenie's shoulders. The scissors are that high.

Because I know that Leenie knows better than to use scissors for things other than paper.

Wynn came back around the corner and there was a snippet of hair missing.

I am wide-eyed, mortified, and certain that my friend will never return to our house. Certainly, how can I blame her? Her daughter got a hair cut by hand of a six year old. MY six year old.

Standing in my kitchen and at the top of my lungs, I calmly enunciate," EILEENCAGLEGETUPHERETHISINSTANT."

Wynn hid under her mother.
The windows shattered.
The pitter patter of six year old feet pittered around the corner and tears were in here eyes.

Perhaps I was a little loud.

"Wynn start..."

"BEFORE YOU SAY ONE WORD. ONE WORD. I WANT TO REMIND YOU THAT YOU WILL NEVER EVER GET IN TROUBLE WHEN YOU TELL ME THE TRUTH, BUT YOU WILL ALWAYS BE IN TROUBLE IF YOU LIE."

The humor in the moment is starting to erupt and dwindle out my anger.

My kid has bangs.

My kid has bangs and ringlets of hair all over her shirt.

Bennie has also came around the corner in this moment and her hair has also been snipped. She jumps in front of the live grenade and says, "Look Mommy! Look! Hair-- alllllll GONE! Bye bye hair! So pretty!"

I close my eyes and try to focus on not laughing.

[ dead grandparents. do not laugh. David Hasselhoff. - wait, he's funny. packing boxes. Roseanne Barr in a bikini. 10,000 spoons. do not laugh. non-alcoholic wine. c-sections. traffic lights. Deliverance. Ebola. Alanis Morsette. ]

I am quivering, trying with all my might to find something in this moment to maintain my parentage.

Don't look at the other adult in the room. Wynn continues to shake in fear. The more she shakes, the more hair falls on the floor beneath her mother.

Two of the three children are sobbing, knowing they did something really wrong.

Setting aside the obvious, they had a haircut, and not really caring who did it-- they were both guilty on some level-- I beg the obvious question: Where did the scissors come from?

I walk back to her room and it looked like the Hair Club for Men Outlet store.

There were locks of blonde curls everywhere. Straight pieces, curly pieces, it looked like a wig factory got caught in a wind storm. I was speechless. The scissors that caused the damage? Oh, they were barely two inches big.

After Homemaker left-- almost a skinny second after we discovered the Summer Scissor Incident of 2015-- I texted Lyndsey, who does my hair:


Lyndsey's at the beach. Leenie got shipped off to Moultrie the next day so Cookie, a barber by trade, could take care of this little fiasco.

And if I heard it one time from one person, I heard it 17 times from 17 grandparent age people-- "Every little kid does it at least once."

"Mama, I don't remember ever getting a hold of scissors," I said to my mom.

"You were the exception."

Yes, yes I was.