Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Preschool Diaries, Vol. 1

This is our first week without preschool. The lil' dude is OK. I couldn't love the stark difference in her first and last days of preschool this year, as indicated above, any more than I do. Day 1, so so SO pumped and Day 100, so so SO sad. What you don't know is, she was fine on her last day, her sadness actually emanated from it being Community Trash Day in our neighborhood, and when she looked to the curb, she saw her "favorite yellow mop" Daddy added to the garbage pile. You know, the broken, plastic mop that has been stowed in our rafters since 2004 ... the one she never set eyes on until that morning. She lost her shit. Now that is a great backstory, am I right? Moving on ....

We loved Preschool each step of the way. This is the little email note her teacher sent on beginnings and ends. I couldn't have written it better. We sent our baby to that school, and picked up our girl. There wasn't a single day she didn't want to go, even if there were days she stripped out of her hoodie when it was 8* out to be in her tiny camisole at pickup; days she would take off her shoes and sit backwards during circle time, and definitely days she refused to share. But, that is life and we all have days like that. She's just learning that early on. Life is about adapting when you think you can't, giving when you're spent, and trying to acknowledge the happy in-betweens.

The lil' dude loved seeing her parents at family day the final day of school. This is truly her excited face for everything in life. It reminds me of her infancy, how she'd always start gnawing on her chubby little hands when obviously excited. I love her classmates around her, in varying states of cooperation, shock, awe, composure. That's 20 four-year-olds for you.

This summer will slow down a bit for our family and I think everyone is ready for that. Less mornings trying to get someplace on time, remembering that flip-flops are not school appropriate, and if it's snack day for us or not. We're going to use each color sidewalk chalk down to its nubs, eat too many ice cream cones, hit all five parks in our neighborhood with regularity, swim 'til we're weary (and pruny!), visit Camp Grandma, bathe the Beagle with the garden hose, cut fresh rhubarb, welcome new "sisters" to our village, finish entire bottles of nail polish, fill up that brat club card at the meat market, and revel in spontaneity.

And try not to think about the Kindergarten that's not happening in September nor the bus that will not be picking her up for a whole other year.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Right in the Heart

A few weeks ago, my baby began showering by herself instead of taking baths at night.

I remember giving her her very first bath. In a hot-ass bathroom we steamed up before stripping her down in the middle of December, my own Mama guiding my nerves and incompetence. She screamed her tiny lungs out. I remember propping her up in that blue bathtub I got as a shower present and giving my infant rubber duckies to chew on. I remember as she learned to crawl, how she would book it for the bathroom when she heard the water running, signaling tub time. I remember the countless nights I perched at the edge of that bathtub, soaked to my elbows as my daughter splashed and choked and blinked and splashed some more. I remember how much taking baths, even at age four, soothed her little soul right down no matter the day.

And now she taking showers at her own volition. Her Bestie takes showers, naturally. The idea for her to take them, too, was all her own. At first- I had to facilitate the entire event. It was too much for my girl to handle, the downpour, keeping her eyes open but not full of water, opening shampoo and body wash bottles, and not spending 40 minutes singing. She asked if she could wear sunglasses in the first few times. But now, she's got it figured out. All I have to do is make sure the liner is tucked into the tub and hand her towel over.

That light pink, hooded butterfly towel her Fairy Godmother gave her when she was four weeks old. The one that used to envelope her four times, now stops just above her knobby, bruised, girl knees.

She's as self-sufficient as all get out. She crosses the street solo, requests to stay home when Daddy runs to the corner store for milk, picks out her own clothes, buckles herself into vehicles, and opens the Mac Book and finds her own websites to surf.

But this giving up on baths thing hit Mama where it hurts: right in the heart.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


Let's go to the beach, each
Let's go get away
They say, what they gonna say?

My paternal grandparents lived on North Long Lake in my hometown. Every April, as soon as the ice would thaw on their bay ... my two older cousins and I would die waiting for it to be warm enough to swim. I'm pretty sure our first submersion into North Long was in May, if not April, each spring. We couldn't wait. We couldn't feel our toes, or stop chattering our teeth, but there was something magical about that lake and summers spent on the peeling, redwood dock, drinking canned Shasta and eating panfried Sunnies Grandpa helped us catch with cane poles. So each April and May, my nostalgia points toward that beloved, sandy-bottomed lake and I crave the scent of suntan oil and outboard motor gas and beach bonfires and a pile of clean, scratchy Joe Camel swim towels stacked neatly in the boathouse. 

My daughter inherited a lot of things from me- her love and need of bodies of water being one. It's delightful. So it comes as no surprise that as soon as the Robins showed up and the sun stretched into 6pm, and 7pm ... making it bright at 8pm, she assumed summer was here to stay and started wearing her bathing suit on the daily. Fill up my pool! she would chant as I poured coffee, bleary-eyed, at dawn, Fill up my pool! she would chant as I tucked her in at dusk. 

Her pool, the cheap, plastic ribbed-bottomed kind from KMart is still stowed in the shed. The fill up my pool! chant is still omnipresent. So what would any logical four-year-old do but use what resources she had to make her own pool? Filling up Daddy's retro snow sled with freezing cold hose water? In early May?

Yes, baby girl. I know exactly why you couldn't wait.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


A very special Happy 60th Birthday to Grandma S. today! Surprise, surprise. We gotcha good!

To the woman who loves lunches with her girlfriends, popcorn, Hot Tamales, her namesake granddaughter, the color purple, margaritas, her family, and the holidays .... happy birthday, we love you!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

I Never

I never knew the words to every single song on the Mamma Mia! soundtrack.
I never pressed repeat on Take a Chance on Me 47 times in one evening.
I never asked a pharmacist at Target- the really handsome one- where Miralax is kept.
I never took days off work for zoo fieldtrips.
I never found sequins and glitter stuck to most everything I own.
I never went to three separate grocery stores looking for Cars II Cheez-Its.
I never willingly gave up the whipped cream off my mochas.
I never stopped the car to watch horses run in the pasture, rendering me late for everything.
I never cried when my friends announced pregnancies.
I never wrote Kraft Mac & Cheese on the menu board twice in one week.
I never wrangled such small dresses onto even tinier plastic princesses.
I never knew I couldn't fall asleep without placing a hand on a beating chest.
I never did laundry late at night so I could sneak an important blanket in and out of bed.
I never knew pride actually made your chest swell and eyes water.
I never knew the importance of sour cream at each and every meal.
I never thought the best Fridays nights were Target runs, pizza, and sidewalk chalk.
I never knew the most important thing in my handbag would always be baby wipes.
I never knew fear.
Hope. Challenge. Purpose. Forgiveness. Contentment.
Until you made me a Mama.
Today I celebrate Mother's Day with the reason why.
With coffee, whipped cream, CMT, and gifted ceramic birds.
I love you, sweet girl.
You're my everything.
Thank you for making me a Mama.
Thank you, thank you.
Mama loves.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Miss Lippy

Don't let the adorableness fool you; this sweet face knows sass ... and how to apply it properly.
Right now, my own Mama is laughing all alone somewhere. She mentioned on the lil' dude's 4th birthday just how difficult four would prove to be. I laughed. Surely not.

Oh hindsight. How dare you.

A few Sundays ago, I woke up my sleeping daughter so we could go to Sunday school while Daddy golfed. She fluttered her eyelids and said, I don't wanna go to Sunday school. But you can take me to breakfast for stickies.

Stickies are French toast with sausage. I obliged her and we headed to our favorite local diner.

Since we were looking for a breakfast spot during the Sunday rush, we had to settle for spaces at the counter. The lil' dude thought that rocked- think of all the attention that little face above garnered front and center of a busy diner!

Nearing the end of our meal, the owner, Jean, said to her, "Now I know you look familiar sweetheart. What's your name?"

Without skipping a beat my Miss Lippy responded with, It's the same as it was the last time I was here and you asked me.

Oh yes she did.

Those in earshot burst out in laughter. The lil' dude held her steady gaze, licking syrup off her fork.

Jean, once composed said, "I know honey. I remember you're named after your Grandma, and that it's Norwegian. I just don't remember your name!"

The lil' dude said her name aloud and finished her breakfast. And Jean kept chuckling promising she'd never forget her name again. I assure you, 49 people in that diner will never forget her name.

When I mentioned this story to my parents, my Dad simply nodded. He said the lil' dude was simply processing logic during the transaction. That logically, she knew Jean knew her name from the last visit. She wasn't being bratty or rude; she was processing.

Leave it to Papa to come to the rescue of his one and only granddaughter!