Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Bird of a Feather

The last, lonely goose left this fall ... named Lily

Last week, we had the lil' dude's conferences for PreK. I'm the Mom who forgot to complete our child development form to bring with though, it just slipped my mind. I promise my kid had clean underwear on that day, and ate some form of breakfast during our commute, I just forgot to do my homework.

Her teacher asked The Dad and I what word best describes our daughter. Without hesitation I said, "Determined. For better and for worse." Her teacher wholeheartedly agreed. She commended us for realizing her determination has its negativities. Oh, sing it. I know it does. Just that very week, my blonde Sagittarius split both of her palms wide open in angry blisters as she once and for all mastered those pesky monkey bars at school. Seriously, open, gaping wounds we had to dress and redress, the four-year-old wincing through the process, begging to skip the peroxide.

Who does that?

My daughter, that's who. I've always said she's the perfect storm, who looks like Daddy and acts like Mama.

Last year at both sets of conferences, we were told the lil' dude needed to work on the simple process of things- sharing, taking turns, encouraging others, being patient. Not hoarding all the damned stuffed puppies I knew she'd lose her mind over. Of course, I wanted to speak right up and say, "But she's an only child ..." when in reality, that doesn't even matter an ounce. Her birthright doesn't mean she's prone to acting like a miniature jerk, nor does it mean she's entitled to act like a miniature jerk. It simply means she's a contributing member of society who needs to act accordingly.

Last week, during our conference, her teacher- the same, dear, sweet woman she had last year, remarked how different the lil' dude is 12 months later. That she has calmed down (say what?) and changed for the better. She tries everything. Says hi to everything. Trusts the process- trusts she'll get her turn, her chance, her freedom to politely decline the everythings she doesn't love. Listening to the praise of my daughter, I straightened my spine. Smiled a genuine, unsmug smile. Pride burned in my chest. Her teacher went on to say how the lil' dude is bit of a trendsetter in class (hear that, Auntie SG?) and doesn't seem to notice or care what others are doing around her. One day, she decided to decorate her cubby, asking her teachers to politely leave all the taped-up art intact. The other children noticed after a few beats of routine, and began decorating their own cubbies in a new vision days later.

Dude. Duuuuuude, I love being a Mama. Hashtag; pride.

I want to inject this story and that example into my veins for when she's 13 and a carbon clone of her Besties- dressing, talking, participating the exact same way as her impressionists. I'll have the same conversation with her my own Mama and Grandma had with me. Do your own thing, girl. People will love it, hate it, or not even notice. Set trends. Ask for forgiveness instead of permission. People who love and support you will continue to do so.

And yes, I'll even concede a little on having clones ... I had (have) a group of girls I'm crazy-proud to be compared to, and even prouder to point out and celebrate all our separate idiosyncrasies knitted together over 20+ years of friendship and connectivity. So yes. Have your gaggles, your flocks, your murders, your rafters, your paddles. But make sure each of your plumes are a different color.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Wordless Wednesday- Sorta

Be still my heart ...
Two of my favorite things on this planet ...
Kid Rock & goats ...
He's officially on my Christmas list.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The PreK Diaries

Ask her how many sleeps it is until her 5th birthday, she'll tell you.
52 days.

This was the lil' dude a year ago as a newbie preschooler.

Here she is this year, as a seasoned veteran in PreK.

Shocking difference, right? She went from a baby-faced kid to a self-assured half-grown lady in the span of 12 months. It took my breath away, seeing her smiling face wrapped in cellophane in her cubby yesterday. We battled in true girl fashion over her wardrobe for picture day this year- she won. I constantly need to remind myself what my aunt- Mama to three awesome teenagers- told me when I commented on something my daughter was doing to make me crazy over the summer ... "major the major and minor the minor," which basically means choose your battles. Headbands are definitely not major.

Favorite food: Mac & cheese (just like her Mama's entire childhood)
Favorite movie: The Little Mermaid
Favorite song: Anything by Rihanna
Favorite color: purple
Best friend: E.
What she wants to be when she grows up: A basketball player
Favorite activity: Gymnastics
Favorite book: Spot Goes to School (because she can read/memory it to us!)
Favorite day: getting coffee, watching movies, wearing dresses, walking the Beagle
Favorite store: Fleet Farm for plastic animals
Favorite subject at school: Alone time at the easel

Routine before bed includes practicing her handstands for gymnastics, and reciting flashcards for spelling and reading. The way her wicked-powerful memory works ... she's beginning to memorize words which makes me realize I need to buy entirely new packs. On our way home last night, she spewed a made-up sentence to me and asked if it was Spanish. I told her, no. No bueno.

This morning I whispered my Mama things to her as I dropped her off. You know, a typical Tuesday mantra of have fun, be kind, try hard, help your people. This morning, she turned to me and whispered her mantra to me. Mama, you go to the library today to find Spanish books so we can learn that, OK? Please, Mama? 

"Sí, querida niña. Te lo prometo."

Never a dull day at our house, and how typical of my caped crusader of a kid- from zero to 60 in 5.2 ... she's learning to read in English and now wants to learn how to call to her dog in a second language. She's the Michael Phelps of life, this kid.

Never a dull day.

Word {from} Your Mama

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

You Are My Sunshine; My Only Sunshine

Three years ago this month, Daddy and I began a new chapter in our lives, and that chapter, we assumed, would be the short and sweet story of how we made you a big sister. Three years ago this month, you were a darling 22-month old who finally learned how to say thank you and sported the tiniest of ponytails. I had this to say about you, then:

You were the center of our universe as you still are. We were about to enter the third year of your life as we planned your second birthday party. Plan, plan, plan- your Mama is good at that. Some days, I feel like I majored in planning. Except I forgot to take the final and all that test included was how to plan for failure. How to accept planning to unplan. I never got around to planning for that.

So now, three years later, you are my sunshine. My only sunshine. You'll forever be an only child. I've begun telling you that now, more forceful than ever before and you seem to understand and accept it, too. It doesn't mean you don't cry or whine at the acceptance, when the frank reality of it seems so damn unfair, as I do at times, too. It doesn't mean you don't ask me one hundred questions of why. But you know the truth. You know our little birdie of hope has finally flown the nest, and this fall, he's flying south to never return.

And we're fine. My favorite four-letter F word. Fine. But we are. And in most ways, we're way better than fine. We're healthy and happy and have a gorgeous home in a sweet neighborhood in a village that's beyond anything we could ask for. We eat fresh food we handpick, we seek doctors we trust, we sleep on bedding of thread counts higher than we need. There's money for music, coffee, and the future; there's insurance to cover the unexpected, and 47 text messages from people who love the shit out of us. There's freedom to go to school and church and vote as we damn well please. There's guidance and acceptance and forgiveness and celebration every single day.

I wrote above that you're the reason and the answer to everything. That we're so delighted to have you in our lives- the same is still true three years later. Even more so, now. It's a powerful feeling to so brightly see the path you've lit in our world, what your true role on this earth would be. Think about it! What you have given to your parents and who you made them, will forever be unrivaled. Unparalleled by another human. That's pretty cool- I promise. It's a big deal. You're the only human being with the title of Our Child. Celebrate it!

With that title, I know there comes responsibility. As you get older, you'll likely feel it more and more. I want to apologize in advance for any burden you have to bear simply because of semantics. I mean, with the knowledge that I'll never, ever give birth again, I could simply go bat-shit crazy. I could quit my job and pull you out of PreK and daycare and never let you out of my sight. I could deny you the opportunity to ever sleep somewhere other than right beside me. I could hover and suffocate and squeeze the life out of you. I could, and hell, I maybe even want to. But I won't. There is your Daddy and your Aunties and maybe a therapist and definitely several bottles of Shiraz that will see to it that I don't. But ... give me a break once in a while and cut me some slack. I promise to only ever do the best I can as your Mama. If you want to go to college on the East coast, fine. If you want to go home with your roommate your first Thanksgiving break, fine. If you want to stop vacationing with your parents someday, fine. You're lucky I am allergic to cats otherwise I might have ended up with a farmhouse full of them someday, named after all the Disney princesses you loved so much as a child.

You're lucky.

There. The post of a lifetime, full of truth and hurt and heart. I promised to always tell you the truth, and I intend to continue doing so. Just this morning, you asked me what gray wolves eat and I told you, small woodland creatures, and you started to cry. Well, it's true. They are carnivores. Sorry honey.

And no, wolves don't eat little girls. You're not a small woodland creature.

I love you to the moon ... to Starbucks and back. I love you bigger than the sky and deeper than the ocean. I love you more than you have stuffed animals or I have lipgloss.

My only sunshine. We are lucky ladies, indeed.

Mama loves.

Word {from} Your Mama