A Good Kid

My daughter is a good kid.  She has a genuinely kind heart.  I’ve known this for a long time but her kindness was highlighted for me recently one afternoon as we talked.

Kiki came home from school and declared that she wanted to make a card for a boy in her class named Raymond.  Let me tell you a bit about Raymond.  When Kiki first started school this year I asked her about all of her classmates.  When I asked her about Raymond, she told me that she didn’t really like him too much.  She said that he didn’t share his toys and that he didn’t do a great job listening to the teacher.  She told me that he would just go right up and take other kids’ toys and so she didn’t think that was very nice.  So when I was asked to help in Kiki’s class one day when they were short-staffed, I was interested to observe Raymond for myself.

I noticed that Raymond had an assigned seat beside the teacher in circle time and that he needed a lot of extra direction from the teacher.  He had a lot of trouble sitting still and waiting his turn to do things.  He would speak out of turn and had difficulty sharing toys.  His challenges went beyond normal 4 year-old struggles with sharing.  Kiki’s teacher commented to me, “you’ve probably noticed that Raymond has some behavior challenges and some impulse control issues that we are trying to manage”.

So back to Kiki’s recent request.  She told me that she wanted to make a card for Raymond.

Me:  That’s nice.  Is it his birthday?

Kiki:  No.  I just want to make him a card.

Me:  Ok.  Why?

Kiki:  I want to make him a card that says, “Raymond, you can be any way you want to be and I don’t care.”

Me:  That sounds really nice.  Were you guys talking about people’s differences today?

Kiki:  No.  It’s just something I’ve been thinking about.

Oh sweet girl.  I hope that your heart is always as purely and unabashedly kind as it is right now.

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Toys

I’m sitting here at 5:15pm, smack in the middle of the worst part of my day (4pm to 7pm in case you were wondering…) and listening to my kids dump bins of toys out onto the floor and laugh with utter glee.  It’s not quite late enough for me to be in the kitchen putting the rice on for dinner (since that only takes 20 minutes) and I’ve already let them watch their fair share of television for today.  So I’m sitting here listening to the mess being made and thinking about how I am going to have to spend my time (and worsen my back pains) later picking up all those toys.

Yes, yes, yes we make them “help” clean up.  That’s so ridiculous to even say.  You all know that you do at least 85% of the work, maybe more.  My general rule is to let them play all morning and not pick anything up, and then we “clean up” before lunch.  The same thing applies in the afternoon and we have a large, whole family cleaning frenzy before the bedtime routine starts.  Every night.  Every damn night.  Many of these nights, I am the only adult in the house since my husband works A LOT, and so I pick up so many toys.  Oh so many toys.  And I have for four and a half years.

I’ll admit to being a bit of a control freak and a very orderly, neat, clean person and so I like things the way I like them.  That boils down to me literally not being able to handle the toys being halfheartedly picked up by the kids or my husband.  Which means that I clean up many more toys than a mom who is more laid back than I.  I wish I could be that way, but it’s just not in my DNA.  So, when I hear the dumping sound of toys, it makes my skin crawl because I know I’m going to be hunched over in the very near future picking up the colossal mess.

I need to find a mom who is a massage therapist so that I can babysit for free for her so she can give me free massages in return because, let me tell you, four and a half years of picking up toys has really taken it’s toll on my back.  And I see no end in sight.  Any takers?

Flying Time

Time literally feels like it is flying.  LM turned 4 and we celebrated in classic over-the-top, all-in-good-fun, she-deserves-it-because-she’s-such-a-good-kid Crim fashion.  Thanks to all who joined us by wishing her a Happy Birthday, calling, sending a note or gift, and/or coming to one of two parties 😉  Now that she’s four, and LMJ is a full-blown toddler, time seems like it’s slipping away.  In an effort to control this passage of time I come up with creative ways to slow time down (What if I stop working?  What if I pull LM out of daycare? What if I just give them something that will keep them this age forever but also give me the joy and privilege of watching them grow?)  None of these, of course, is a real possibility.  I love my job.  LM thrives in daycare.  And I’m fairly certain the existence of the aforementioned pill does not exist.  So, I apologize for my brevity, but I have to join my daughter running and dancing around the living room while watching Jake and the Neverland Pirates because I have to indulge these moments now.  Have a great week

Conversations with my 4 Year-Old: Entry #3

Around Christmas time in the car when we spot a decorated tree in our town square….

Me:  See that ribbon on the top?  Isn’t it pretty?

Kiki:  Yeah but why don’t they have a star?

Me: Some people put stars on top, some put ribbons, and some put angels on top.

Kiki:  Angels?

Me:  Yep, when I was little Nana had a angel for the top of our tree.

Kiki:  Was I there?

Me:  Nope.  It was before you were born.

Kiki:  Was I in your belly?

Me:  Nope it was before you were even in my belly because it’s when I was really little.

Kiki:  How does the baby get out of your belly?

Uh oh.

Me:  Um.  Well they just come out when they’re ready.

Kiki:  Yeah, but how?  I mean your belly is made of bones and stuff so how does the baby get out?

Me:  Well…(totally stalling while I try to decide how to respond).

Kiki:  Does it come out of your mouth?

Me:  No.  You know that opening in your lady parts (yes, I call it her lady parts)?

Kiki:  Yeah.

Me:  That’s where the baby comes out.

Kiki:  Does it come out when you go potty?

Me:  No, it…

Kiki:  Ha!  Just kidding.  I know a baby doesn’t come out when you pee.  That would be weird.

Me:  You usually have a baby at the hospital with a doctor to help.  You were born in a hospital.

Kiki:  Was I scared in the hospital?

Me:  No, probably not.  You were too little to really understand what was going on.

Kiki:  Oh.  Ok.  Can I have a snack?

Deep breath.

A Morning in the Life. A Morning in the Life… A Morning….IN.THE. LIFE. DAMMIT.

Please get up honey it’s time for school.  Please get up.  Get up please.  It’s time to get up.  You need to get up NOW. What would you like for breakfast?  Are you hungry, what would you like for breakfast?  For Breakfast, to EAT.  What do you WANT?  Are you listening to me at all?  Cereal, fruit, toast, oatmeal or toast.  Cereal, fruit, toast, oatmeal or toast.  The same three cereals we had yesterday.  Do you really need to see the boxes?  Here are the boxes.  Fruit, toast and oatmeal.  FRUIT.  TOAST.  OATMEAL.  Excellent choice of cereal.  We are out of strawberries.  Because we don’t have any.  Because you ate them all.  No you cannot have a treat, it’s time to get dressed for school.  Can you put your clothes on like a big girl?   Your clothes, please put them on.  Please put on your clothes.  What should you be doing by now?  That’s right, your clothes.  Yes I can help you with your socks.  Please put on your shoes.  Please get your shoes and put them on.  Why are you not putting on your shoes yet?  No ballet shoes are not good shoes for school in the winter time.  Because they are fancy shoes.  Because it’s cold and wet outside.  Please get different shoes.  Please.  Now please.  Yes, those are the right feet.  Good job.  Yes you have to wear a hat.  Because it’s cold and wet outside.  No you cannot have a treat right now.  I don’t want to talk about potential treats later in the day.  Because that’s ridiculous.  If you ask about treats again there will be no more treats for the rest of your life.  Never mind, that wasn’t important, Daddy’s just tired because your sister was up a lot last night. I know all babies cry, thank you.  Please pick a lovey and we can go to school.  No you can’t bring three lovey’s.  Because that’s the rule.  The school’s rule.  Because it is.  A lovey.  Please pick one.  ONE.  Playdough is not a lovey.  Because it isn’t. I’m sure there will be treats for “insert child’s name here” birthday tomorrow.  Because there usually are.  Do you have a lovey yet?  Ok let’s go to school.

I need some space, Mom

“No kisses.”

“Leave me alone.”

“I need some space, Mom.”

These are phrases that my 4 year-old has been saying more and more lately.  She’s 4, not 14.  How are we here already?  Ugh.  I guess this is what I get for raising a fiercely independent little girl.

Kiki is not the best night-time sleeper, but she does often sleep late.  So it is pretty common for me to have to get her up so we can make it to school on time.  It used to be that when I would go in to wake her up, I’d sit on her bed and gently stroke her hair and rub her back until she woke up.  When she’d finally wake up, she would crawl into my lap and lay there letting me continue to stroke her hair.  Ah.  It was so sweet.

Here’s how the same scenario plays out now.  I go in to wake her up.  I sit down on her bed and gently stroke her hair and rub her back, admiring my sweet little girl.  Then she wakes up and immediately wiggles away from me and says, with her eyes still closed,  “Mommy, get off my bed!”  Ugh.  Arrow to the heart.

I’m trying my best to respect her request for space.  But it’s really hard.  I just love her so much.  And her skin is so intoxicatingly soft that I always want to touch her hand or her face.  It  has obviously started driving her nuts though.  And I can sympathize.  My mother is super touchy-feely and it totally creeps me out.  But come on.  It should be different for me.   My daughter should be fiercely independent but should still be totally ok with holding her mommy’s hand.

Fortunately Kiki does throw me some bones.  She’ll cuddle with me while we watch tv or while I read her a book.  And sometimes she’ll still hold my hand while we are walking somewhere.  And this morning she wanted to sit in my lap during breakfast.  Granted it was because she wanted to share my cereal, but I still call that a win.

I do know one thing.  If I’m having this hard of time accepting the fact that my daughter doesn’t want me to kiss her, then how am I ever going to deal with it when she’s 15 and doesn’t even want me to talk to her?

To Work or Not to Work

To work or not to work – that is the question.  There doesn’t seem to be any right answer or a good balance of any kind.  I love my work.  It feels meaningful and satisfying.  I am good at what I do.  I say that not to toot my own horn but to demonstrate that my work gives me confidence.  I am good at what I do because I am thoughtful, I studied hard, I do my research and I take good enough care of myself to be able to take good care of others.  This sounds fabulous, right?  And, it is.  So, what’s the problem?  The problem is that recently, I miss my kids.  I hate leaving them in the morning and think about them all day.  Right now, LM is getting sick and I want to be the one staying home with her tomorrow – bringing her water, giving her hugs and determining whether or not it’s time for Tylenol.  All of a sudden their childhood seems to be flying by and I don’t want to miss it – I don’t want to miss them.

On the other hand – work gives me the opportunity to miss my kids.  I run in the door on Monday nights looking forward to bath and bedtime when I can spend a few quiet moments with them at the end of the day.  I like being a role model of a working woman to my girls.  I think what I do is important and helping others is a value I can teach them by doing it.

At the end of the day I have made the decision to work part-time.  This also allows me to be home part-time as well.  While this may seem like the perfect solution – absolutely nothing is perfect.