Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wiggle Room

In a rare moment when both children are napping, I find myself drawn to the idea of change. How life changes, how it has already changed and how it will yet again and again and again. And so I went to QuoteGarden and looked at quotes on change and found the one I've posted in the margin. true, it is. Each major change I have gone through, even the improvements...the positive changes, have involved a bit of grief. Some more than others. Some less.

Right now, I'm pondering the change our entire family has recently begun...Ari starting preschool. What was initially "not such a big deal" in Sascha's and my eyes had morphed into a "let's rethink this whole thing" once Ari began his first full week at school. The entire family's schedule changed...Sascha, of course, was the least effected...Ari the most...with Ally and I left spinning in his wake.

For two years, well, since Ari could make himself understood, he has begun his day with this question: "We going now?" or "Where we going, Mommy?" The kid had an itch to go, to get out, to meet and greet and discover. Every day. If we didn't leave the house by 11 am, I faced retribution in the form of tantrums, whining or a boycotted nap. So, Sascha and I understandably assumed that preschool would be a boon for him. Imagine! A place to go every day!" But, it didn't turn out like that. As most things in life, there would be a breaking-in period...a period we, idiotically, were not expecting. Ari cried at drop off, clinging to my hand and begging me to sit on the steps with him. Or he would sit on the couch in the morning, crying that he didn't want to go to school today. He would refuse to get dressed, refuse to leave the house and take inordinate amounts of time picking out a toy(s) to bring with him in the car. Diversionary tactics, all. So we started thinking that this was too much. Too many days a week. Too soon for him to be away from Mom. I started talking to the teachers about decreasing his days. I started to doubt myself and my choices for our son.

As for me, I did in fact long for Ari to begin school. And then, the week before the blessed event, I started feeling sad. Sad that we wouldn't have time during the week to go to the beach, the zoo or to have morning park time, although each of these things involved a bit of planning now with a baby in tow. I had to grieve the stay-at-home-kid time that had passed for Ari and me, even though it had been such a huge challenge while it existed. It surprised me, this grieving. And Ari's simultaneous grieving surprised me even more.

And then, one day out of the blue, he brightly bid me "'bye!" over his shoulder and skipped in the door without a backward glance. He stopped fussing over his clothes and crying on the couch. The morning toy selection still takes a while but it now happens cheerfully instead of desperately. And a couple days ago he told me, "I love my school. I have fun at my school."

Ah, how one wiggles into a new role. Rolling, nudging, turning around until it feels snug and comfortable once again. For some, apparently, this happens easier than others.

Change. With each big change, several smaller changes trail behind. You would think that, after having so much change occur in my life, I'd be a bit more savvy to all it entails (more savvy than, say, a three year old). That I shouldn't be surprised by the peaks and troughs so much anymore. That in fact, I should be expecting them. But each time, I flounder through, learning as I go and trying not to berate myself for not having it more together. Slowly, I'm finding that forgiveness must walk hand-in-hand with change.

The changes will keep on coming. May grace and forgiveness follow alongside.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Bam, Bam, Bam!

Ari's newest favorite activity involves the bottom half of a white turkey baster (which he calls his "white thing"). He carries this around the house, aiming it at various objects and/or beings and shouts out "bam, bam, bam, bam!" with a vicious little battle face.

He is playing "guns".

He is three years old.

Being a pacifist and also knowing and loving someone who very nearly lost his life to gun violence, I am strongly unthrilled with this new development. But every time I express displeasure and disapproval and try to explain "why we don't shoot at people with turkey basters or anything else", it only seems to ignite his passion as he merrily proclaims, "Yes we do! Yes we do! I like it!". What am I to do? This kid has a vicious streak that no one but his parents seem to notice. The parents of all his little cronies think he's "so sweet, so cute" while I know there's a tiny little anarchist inside him, busy exercising his second amendment rights and honing his skills of argument. Sometimes I'm at a loss for how to guide him at home without the use of a firm hand on the backside...and how could that help as that, itself, is violence?

Sascha believes that guns are an unavoidable essence of boyhood (cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians, etc.) and, while he doesn't encourage the behavior, he also does not discourage it. Although, I take that back as, just today, I heard Sascha exclaim, "bam bam bam" in response to Ari's turkey baster report. So, no help from that quarter.

I staunchly disagree that guns are innate to boys. And even if it were, for God's sake he's three. He's been on this earth all of thirty-six months. I doubt that's enough time for his little gun-totin' chromosomes to kick in. So that begs the question, in a gun-free, non-hunting, non-ghetto-urban household, where did he learn that "guns are fun"?

I believe the answer is three-fold: the older and very crazy boys he hung out with this summer; the video games they taught him to play; and Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, The Adventure Begins. Damn that movie and the fact that we bought it for him, I had no idea...

So what's a mom to do with a son who shoots at her and then argues and yells when she tries to explain about not hurting people? Well, she says, "Don't shoot at me, I don't like it" quite a bit. She would like to move, preferably to Switzerland. She plans on hiding or chucking that damned Buzz Lightyear movie and his turkey baster. And finally, she is wondering if three years old is too young for a talk about death and how shooting people makes them go away forever.

Any thoughts?

Friday, September 25, 2009

she's got a hat

The Things We Say, Revisited

You may bring one toy with you. One. I said one. No, one. One or none. One or none. Oh, okay, none then. ... ah, that's what I thought.

You have five minutes left before we turn off the TV and get in the car. Four minutes. Three minutes. Two minutes left, babe. One minute. Okay, I'm turning the TV off now. Ari, I gave you five minutes. No, the five minutes are now over, you don't get five more minutes. You may walk to the car or I can carry you. Well then use your legs to get off the couch and walk if you don't want me to carry you. Okay then.

No, don't eat the napkin! (to the baby)

No, I don't want to play right now. It's my quiet time. It's your quiet time too.

Do you have a poop? You're still working on it? Remember if we wait too long it gets ouchie. Okay, you have five minutes to finish up what you're doing and then we change the diaper. Four minutes...etc. Time to change the diaper! Yes. Yes. It's time. You can walk or I can carry you. Well, I told you it would get ouchie if we waited. We have to clean it. I KNOW it's ouchie. I have to clean your penis, there's poop all over it. No, it's not naked time.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Things We Say

As I was perusing my friends' blogs (and laughing my ass off), I was inspired to share here some of the things I've been saying lately:

Get your fingers out of your butt. Does it itch? Well then put on some big boy underpants and then scratch it. Because there's poop in your butt. I know you wiped but there's still poop in there. Yes, even though you can't see it. No! Wash your hands before you eat that! Because you were touching your butt.

Please stop touching your penis. Yes. Okay, then please go to your room and do it. Because that's a private thing that you do alone. ... Okay, time for clothes.

No more naked. You're getting too old to be naked all the time. Okay, 5 more minutes of naked. ... Okay, naked time is over. Big boy underpants or diaper? Yes. Please pick one. Shall I pick for you?

Now what's the rule when you're wearing underpants? That's right. And where do we pee and poop instead? That's right.

Let's have a potty break! What do you mean "no"? It's time to try the potty. So you don't pee in your underpants. They'll get wet and icky. Remember, we pee in the potty when we wear underpants. Okay. 5 more minutes. ... What do you mean you peed on the floor? Oh, now you're skating in it.

We're at the park. Please get your hands out of your pants.

...You see a theme are some more, off-theme:

Please don't chase Mo. Don't shine the flashlight in his eyes, he doesn't like that. Well, he's probably running away because he's scared. He doesn't know you want to pet him, the last time you followed him you shined a flashlight in his eyes. Please speak gently to Mo. No, you don't need to yell. He's just being a cat. He's not being bad for running away from you.

Leave the spider alone. Watch it wi
th your eyes, not your fingers. No,
we're not going to "shmack" it...or catch it. What did I just say!! It doesn't matter that you used a cup and not your fingers. We leave spiders alone. Wait a minute...that's a...that's a black widow...let's just go inside now.

What is that?!

Please come here. I have something to show you. You see how there's poop in your chair? That's why we wear a diaper when we eat. No more naked eating. Let's go wash hands.

Friday, September 11, 2009


"Time is passing. Yet, for the United States of America,
there will be no forgetting September the 11th.
We will remember every rescuer who died in honor.
We will remember every family that lives in grief.
We will remember the fire and ash, the last phone calls,
the funerals of the children."

~George W. Bush

A Thousand Words..

Sascha's unofficial summer project has been to get one of those sweet father-daughter shots.

Ally has been less than cooperative.

I could have so much fun captioning each of the below but I think they're better off speaking for themselves. View and enjoy...and Sascha, I love you, my good sport :).

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Baby in a Barf Bucket

Remember the family barf bucket from your elementary school days? You know the one. We all had one, whether you called it the barf bucket, puke pail, or vomit can. I have a few non-dear memories of staring into our own dear barf bucket's ringed bottom and feeling the panicky rise of something not-so-pleasant.

Being the practical folks that they are, my parents have saved the barf bucket because it has myriad uses aside from its sordid past. Below, I share a picture. Yes, 25 years later, we're washing the baby in it.