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Monday, August 30, 2010

What he calls himself

What's your name? I ask him.

Me! he says happily from where he sits on my lap.

What's my name? I ask.

Mama he answers.

What's your name? I ask again.

Me! he replies.

Me is how he thinks of himself. It's who he is. No other name seems necessary to him.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Treats

Take off the icing she says to me holding out her cupcake. Are you sure I ask, certain I must have heard her wrong. Take it off! she says again.

I take the cupcake from her and lick at the icing. All of it! she says. I pause. Then I scrape all the brown sugar icing off the top of the cupcake with the index finger of my right hand and hand the cupcake back to her.

I stand sheepishly nibbling the large dollop of icing off my finger. I glance around quickly to see if any of the other parents at the birthday party notice me. As I sweep my gaze around the park, I catch sight of the boy sitting at the blue metal picnic table across from his sister. He is eating his cupcake. More accurately, he is contemplating eating his cupcake. Before he spurns it in favour of the play structure he manages to rub some of the brown icing on his new blue shirt already stained with pizza sauce, chalk and sand.

I pause for a moment after he leaves his seat. Then I eat his cupcake.

*

Do you want to play? the girl asks. My girl stands mute, uncertain what to say. She isn't often asked to play at the park. She usually knows all the other kids and so they just play without questions.

Before my girl can answer the other girl has run across the park towards her mom. Back again she comes holding an inflatable beach ball and asks again Do you want to play? My girl nods and follows her new friend towards the empty wading pool where they throw and kick the ball together.

My four year old and her new six year old friend traverse the entire park in their play. They swing on swings. They hunt for treasure on the small play structure. They race back and forth across the pool. For close to an hour they play together. As I sit quietly watching the boy happily putter in the sand and the girl chase after her new friend I decide that she needs to play with more six year old girls. A six year old can keep the play moving and changing and fresh for a four year old with an endless amount of imagination. At least this six year old girl can anyway.

At one point the six year old tells my girl that it is time for a snack. She herds the girl, and eventually the boy too, over to the kid sized picnic table so she can share her snacks. The three of them sit in a row with their backs to the table as they dip their hands into a Ziploc bag of potato chips. I watch the girl and imagine how happy she must be.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thursday morning

A cool morning at the park. She wears an ocean blue halter sun dress with purple tropical flowers around the bottom. He wears long pants and a black and while striped zebra fleece. The hood is pulled up and the black ears point towards the overcast sky. I sit nearby thinking about my afternoon dentist appointment. She clutches the small tray of sushi we had bought at the corner store. We pass the time.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Baby birds

They come to me with their mouths open. Sitting at the computer eating my bowl of porridge I stop typing long enough to deposit bits of cold porridge in their mouths with a fork. The girl comes first, always first, and her brother waits patiently while she lifts her head towards me for her bite. When it is his turn I lower the fork to drop the cooked oatmeal on his tongue. Mouths full they turn and run back through the kitchen towards the front of the house.

Back and forth they run. To me and from me. Like little baby birds.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Fall

Fall has snuck up on me. One day it was hot and I was sitting by the edge of the wading pool watching the girl splash around and then the next day a cold wind had blown in and the pool was deserted. The sky was overcast and the rain smelled like the end of summer. Then the pool closed and that was that.

Every day is bringing us one day closer to Fall.

I have grown to love Fall. The cooler weather is so welcoming after the heat of the summer. The long sleeves feel cozy against the chilly days. The red leaves I see out the window make me smile.

I didn't used to love Fall. It meant the return to school and mixed emotions. Excitement about being in a higher grade. Nervousness about new teachers and what they might expect. Happiness at seeing old friends after a long summer. Wariness of frenemies and tension from last year. Joy at being one year older.

Now it's Fall again and I am filled with some of those same mixed emotions. Excitement about the girl starting kindergarten. Nervousness about how it will go and if she will like it. Happiness that she will have friends in her class and that she will make new ones. Wariness of the tensions and struggles that come along with friends. Joy that she is one year older. Sadness too.

I find myself looking at her sometimes and wondering who she is. Her tall, lean body. Her long face devoid of any babiness. Her vocabulary that she uses to cajole and explain and demand. Her pink backback worn constantly in anticipation of school.

She is four and starting kindergarten. She is just beginning her season of Fall.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Party in the park

The first year, the girl turned two. I was pregnant with the boy and my huge belly felt like it was strained under one of the few summer tops that still fit me. We invited lots of friends. We had lots of food. The kids were handed pails and shovels when they arrived and sent off to play. There was cake. I loved it and decided that this is what a party should be.

The next year, the girl was three and boy almost one. He wore his blue striped romper and walked around the park holding onto my two fingers. Our friends were there and so were the girl's. Most of our extended family were there. There was too much cake and lots of wasps.

This year, the party was small. Us. Old friends. New friends. Most of the kids were the girl's friends and their brothers, who are also the boy's friends. I was at the park early hiding cut out letters of the alphabet for our scavenger hunt. A friend helped me transport all our supplies to the park in our wagon. The husband frantically cleaned our messy house in case the rain didn't hold off until after the party and we needed to return home for cake.

The rain didn’t hold off. A light drizzle fell throughout the party but we all ignored it. The kids hunted for letters, decorated their snack bags and threw the sad looking piƱata we had made in the air like a basketball to break it open. There were healthy snacks and once again, too much cake.

There was walking hand in hand with friends, lots of hugs and impromptu picnics on the ground of snacks dumped out of snack bags. Like any good party there were tears. The husband took the boy home when his repeated crying told us it was nap time. I took the girl home when she started crying about not being passed the soccer ball.

The party broke up. Until next year.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Welcoming committee

I wasn't sure how things were going to go when the boy woke up from his nap shortly before two pm. I was expecting the babysitter to arrive any minute and worried that my quick departure would startle a still sleepy boy. Guess whose coming over? I finally said to him while he sat on my lap. Before I could answer the girl happily told him that her old preschool teacher would be coming over to babysit. He didn't say much, just snuggled his head deeper into my shoulder.

At five after two I thought I had better prepare him again. She's going to be here soon I said. Should we go to the front window and watch? Without answering he climbed off my lap and ran to the front window. Before I made it out of the kitchen I could hear him screaming though the open window Aaaaeee! Jooooo!

His sister soon joined him. They sat perched on the back of the couch, faces pressed against the screen, yelling for a good for ten minutes until she showed up. She was late, but I was amused so I didn't mind.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Presents in the mail

The package was already in the mailbox when we went to leave the house. I grabbed it before she noticed and threw it behind me as I closed the door. Good thing too, because it proved a useful distraction when we walked back in the front door from the park where I had denied her a bag of chips being sold at the park BBQ.

Look I said your birthday present came in the mail. And the boy's is upstairs. Should we open them.

Yes she said yanking the envelop out of my arms and heading for the stairs.

Sitting on the floor of my room I used a pair of scissors to open first her envelope and then the boy's box. What is it? she asked as she pulled the folded pink material free. It's your new backpack for school I said. It is your birthday present from Poppa Bruce and Mo. Ooo, she said and slipped her arms through the straps.

I helped the boy free his early birthday gift from the box and the wrapping. What is it? I asked him. May-ee he said hugging his favorite book character. The boy loves Maisy. He will always pick a Maisy mouse book over anything else.

The girl wore her backpack most of the afternoon. She even filled it with books. I told her she couldn't take it to the park with her. Even though she wanted to show it off to her friends, she relented. The boy carried Maisy around too, but he wasn't as attached to her as I thought he would be. When I put the doll on his bed at nap time he got irritated. Mine he said as he threw Maisy to the floor and climbed into his bed alone.

There was a discussion about these new gifts at bed time. The girl wanted to sleep with her backpack. We suggested she put in on the floor at the end of her bed, beside her bed, at the top of her bed. We countered with on her bed but at the foot of her bed. Finally we gave in with promises to each other to sneak in later and move it. She fell asleep with it tucked into the corner of the bed and the wall, right by her head for easy reach.

We asked the boy if he wanted to sleep with Maisy. Once again he threw her off his bed and onto the floor. Poor Maisy.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Interrogation

The room is dimly lit except for the bright spotlight shining on me. I sit hunched over with my head resting on the cold metal table, arms outstretched in front of me. Waiting.

The door opens and she walks in. I listen to the sound of her bare feet feet as she moves across the room. She pauses briefly in front of the two way mirror I had tried hopelessly to peer through earlier. When she reaches the table she scrapes back a chair and climbs up onto it.

Surrender she says.

Never! I cry as I throw back my head and look her in the eye.

You'll never defeat me she continues. I will wear you down until you are begging me for mercy. Give up now and it will all be over so quickly, she coos softly to me.

No! I shout with as much conviction as I can muster. I am the mother and I will stay strong.

Really? she asks me. How much longer can you hold out? Hmm. let's see, shall we she says as she grins at me.

Mum, mum, mum! she whines at me from across the table I'm hungry! No, I don't want to eat an apple. No, I don't want a cracker. I'm hungry for something else. I want something different. Something new. Something good. I want ice cream. No I haven't had ice cream in a really, really long time. I'll have it today and then I'll never ever have it again. I promise. Yes, it is good for me to have ice cream! Mum, mum, mum!

Stop I whimper as I cover my ears.

Mama! Mama! I want to paint. Now! I want to paint now. I don't want to have a bath, I want to paint. I know, I know. How about this. This is a good idea. How about I paint and you have a bath. Because painting is funner then a bath. How about I paint for ten minutes and then have a bath. But ten minutes isn't a long time. I can paint really fast. Or we could skip a bath and have one tomorrow. Mama! Mama!

I cringe as her words wash over me. Be strong I tell myself, be strong. Inhaling deeply I think of all the mothers that have come before me. I will be strong for them.

I stare her in the eye.  I will always be your mother. You will listen to me. You will respect me. You will stop whining and making demands and negotiating every simple request I make of you. You will, I continue as my voice rises, listen when I ask you to go upstairs and use the toilet instead of peeing in the training potty in the living room!

My forceful declaration exhausts me and I lean back in my chair. Let's stop all this I say. Nothing you do will break me. 

Oh, really she asks with a smile. Let's see shall we.

With that she turns her head to the door. Confused, I follow her glance and am surprised to see the door open. In walks a smaller, male version of her. He runs across the room and flings himself onto the seat of the chair before pulling himself up to sitting.

Oh no, I think bracing myself for whatever is coming next, there are two of them.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Rain

He wore her red ladybug rain coat, the sleeves rolled up, and her hand-me-down yellow rain boots. She wore her too small pink polka dot rain coat and blue buckle shoes. They peddled their bikes across the basketball court in the rain.

She rode her two-wheeled pink bike with training wheels that don't both touch the ground. He sat and pushed his feet to propel his multi-coloured tricycle forward. He can reach the peddles, but he prefers not to try.

I stand and watch them. Feeling tired from the boy's 4:30 am morning risings. Feeling guilty that while I wake, I usually go back to sleep while the husband heads downstairs with the boy. Feeling overwhelmed.

I was thinking about what you said the husband told me. It is all about the moments. I nodded. Waiting for the next moment. 

*

I can hear the rain outside the bedroom window. I brush her wet hair while she sits in front of me on her bed. The husband discusses pajama options with the boy. I give her kisses once the two French braids are finished and tuck her into bed. I pretend to kiss the boy and he squeals in delight.

Same kids. Same me. Different moment.

Friday, August 13, 2010

FOUR

I went away for a few days and when I came back you were different. Not bigger. Well, maybe just a little. Not taller. No more then an inch anyway. Not older. How could you be, I was only gone for five nights. But different.

You were all those things already but I just couldn't see them with my arms wrapped around you day after day. Only when I blinked for a moment did my eyes readjust to see the girl you are.

Remember when you were my baby? I do. We brought you home from the hospital and I was terrified I was going to break you. I lay you against my chest, you head resting on my shoulder, and I worried about all the ways I could mess up your life or you could hate me even as I gazed lovingly at you. You were beautiful. People would stop me as I walked down the street just to tell me I had a beautiful baby. But I already knew. I knew as soon as I looked into those deep blues eyes that never seemed to close, not even to sleep. And why would they when there was so much life to be lived.

Remember when you were a toddler? You finally let go of the one finger you liked to clutch as you walked when you were fourteen months old. It was Thanksgiving weekend and I laughed so hard to see you walk; almost as much as I laughed when we taught you to crawl by moving a chocolate milkshake back and forth across the room. You went from crawling to walking to running. Usually with a smile on your face, except when you decided that a deep scowl would be more appropriate. But even that face made me laugh.

It is hard to believe that the boy is almost the same age you were when he was born. You seemed so old to me then. Now I look and you and I look at him and he seems so young. From the beginning you loved him like I hoped you would. Being a big sister can be hard sometimes, but I always think how lucky he is to have you. While I have seen you use your birth order to your advantage, you always look out for him. He repays you with complete and utter love. How lucky you are to have him.

Remember when you were a preschooler? I do. I am holding onto this last few moments as hard as I can. Kindergarten starts in a few weeks and while I anticipate that you will be nervous and scared those first few days, your excitement now is contagious. You make me wish I was four so I could take your hand and walk with you into your classroom and this new part of your life.

Instead I will watch from the front stoop as you climb the steps of the school bus and drive off without me. I will watch as you become bigger and taller and older. I will remember all those yous from before, the ones that you might want to dismiss as childish or silly as you get older. But those yous will be with me always. Even as you stand in front of me at four I still see my baby.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Freedom

I overlooked the boy reaching his hand into the freshly flushed toilet bowl and then licking his fingers. I washed him off and tried to keep going. It was when he reached those wet hands into the sand used to hold cigarette butts at the front door of the field house that I snapped.

We are going home I said as I grabbed the boy and marched over to our pile of bags and towels spread out on the grass. I bundled everything up and got us home. As quick as you can get home with two kids, two bikes, armfuls of stuff and an angry mom.

Home hadn't been that much better earlier, which was why we ended up at the park. The girl and I had been fighting on and off all afternoon as she insisted we go to a further away park and I said no because I was too tired. I yelled. She yelled. We both cried.

I am finding it hard to be back home. The euphoria of seeing the kids quickly faded as I was pulled back into the day to day life of a stay-at-home mom. Hours after our plane landed I was starting to wonder if I could keep doing this. If maybe I shouldn't go back to work after all. It had to be easier then this I found myself thinking.

For the first time in a long time I had a taste of freedom. It tasted sweet. Like chocolate cake. Like new love. Like who I used to be. You know, that girl who had so much time on her hands that she didn't know what to do with it and so she squandered it carelessly. Oh the things I would tell that girl if I could.

I am just readjusting I tell myself. In a few days I will have settled back into a familiar pattern and it will be easier. I will remember why I do this. I will forget that sweet taste of freedom. And it will be easier.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Home

I saw the decorations on the door as soon as the cab pulled up to the house. Primary coloured paper hearts strung from string taped to the window and paper chain loops. I knew just who had made them.

When we opened the door the house was quiet. Then I saw my sister pop out from the kitchen at the end of the hallway. Look who's here I heard her say. Who asked the girl, as if she was slightly annoyed to be receiving unexpected guests. Mom and dad replied my sister. Oh said the girl and she ran down the hall into my arms where I was kneeling waiting for her. The boy made his way towards me to, but then walked right past to look at the pile of luggage we had dumped in the hall.

I hadn't really missed them. Not at first anyway. I was too busy reveling in being alone, being with friends, being the master of my own time. I had needed that break almost too much to be missing them. It wasn't until the husband joined joined me in New York that I started to think about them. Knowing they weren't with him I started to wonder how they were. Only occasionally though. A brief thought until I was easily distracted by food or a pretty building.

A email from the mom of a boy whose birthday party the kids were to attend on Saturday brought an end to my relaxed attitude. You have probably already heard, she wrote, that the girl didn't want to join the pirate ship and so they left. My heart stopped when I read that the girl had been very upset. All of a sudden the fact that I wasn't there to comfort her and wipe away her tears had me crying.

Sometimes I think it is better not to know.

I managed to talk myself through it. I walked myself through it as we traipsed across the island of Manhattan making our way down towards the Brooklyn Bridge. But when I woke up the next morning all I could think about was getting back and being with them. The break was over, and if I had to return to the real world I wanted to do it now. Like pulling off a band aid, I wanted the trip home to be over with quickly.

There were delays of course, but when we made it home we saw that everything was fine. A long sheet of brown paper taped to the hallway wall recorded all the highlights of the past few days. The kids weren't traumatised or heartbroken. While they likely missed us, I have a feeling the missing was probably offset by the spoiling they received from my sister and grandma. There are new books and new toys and, I am predicting, new things the girl will inform me that she is now allowed to do.

I am back. I am here. I am trying to figure out where to go next.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Sitting in Starbucks

Oh baby baby it's a wild world plays over the speakers while I sit at a table in a 7th Avenue Starbucks. A big bag of shopping purchased at a Goodwill store a few blocks away sits in a chair across from me. The bag makes me happy. It is filled with fun finds, including my first pair of ridiculously high heeled black pumps that I fell in love with on sight. I had quickly slipped off my Birkenstocks and teetered around the store with a grin on my face.

We have been walking the streets after a quiet and lazy morning in the hotel room. My first such morning in a long time. These past few days have been filled with everything but rest, and while I have loved them, I am tired.

Tired and ready for nothing more then walking the streets hand in hand with him. Talking and eating and remembering who we are together without our kids.

The last time we were in New York together was almost six years ago. This was before the girl and the boy and us as parents. Back then we spent our time walking the streets and talking and eating. We sat for hours in a Starbucks on the Upper West Side dreaming about all the things we wanted for our future.

And here we are.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

BlogHer moments

Lying in a warm bed waiting for the clock to read 4am so I can finally justify climbing out.
Sitting in the back of a taxi as we drive through dark streets on the way to the airport.
Waiting in the lounge with a friend for the plane to board while drinking coffee and laughing excitedly.
Cursing in my head as the shuttle drives back and forth between terminals for half an hour picking up passengers until the van is full and I feel car sick.
Standing in Times Square with a camera in one hand and a smile on my face.
Glimpsing her walk down the stairs into the darkened room and rushing to hug the person behind the words.
Driving through the streets of New York City on the top deck of a double decker bus in the heat of the day and wishing I hadn't forgotten my hat.
Seeing us all together in a city other then our home.
Watching a friend giddy with happiness over meeting the person she most wanted to meet.
Lounging in a pinkly lit room as the music pulsated and women posed with plastic umbrellas.
Walking past horse drawn carriages stopped in front of Central Park and smelling the horse poo as the night descends upon us.
Waking with a jolt at an unreasonable hour as the excitement of the day to come overwhelms me.
Making plans for next year before the day had barely begun.
Listening to the words I have come to believe I needed to hear.
Starting to type as the words I hear fill me with inspiration.
Continuing to type as thanks filter in for the words I am tweeting.
Talking with women just like me while we eat and share our lives as mothers.
Thinking about community and blogging and how they have come to mean the same thing for me.
Admiring all the women I hear speak about their loves and passions and lives.
Trying not to cry, crying and but also laughing as the speakers proudly read their words at the front of the room.
Swearing as much as I want to just because I can.
Packing and storing my many bags with friends until I can retrieve them later.
Checking out, for now.
Deciding to be both a better blogger and a better writer.
Feeling like time is moving too fast.
Believing that small blogs are beautiful and stats aren't the only measure of success.
Wishing I could be less afraid of talking to people I don't know but accepting that is who I am.
Resolving to try harder next year.
Checking in, again, but this time with the husband who has arrived only hours ago to be with me.
Missing the kids less then I would have thought.
Realizing just how much I need this time away and feeling grateful for it.
Eating good food at a full table of friends in a small Italian restaurant.
Dressing up in new clothes I would never wear at home.
Retreating to the hallway with a friend I had wanted to meet so we could share with each other away from the loud noise of the parties.
Crying over the kind words of a woman I admire as I wait for the elevator to take me back to my room and bed.
Loving all the people I had met, the things I had done and the ideas I had learnt.
Wanting to do it all over again.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Flashback: Scissors, paint and glue.

I am having a great time. I am almost too busy to miss the kids. But of coarse I am missing the kids. Missing the things about them that I love. The things that drive me crazy. Things like this from last September.

On the way home from playgroup at the children's garden this morning we stopped at a friend's house. They had been away for the joint birthday party and the girl's friend wanted to give her a gift. It was a thoughtful gift. A gift that reflected the girl's love of drawing and colouring and crafting. A gift that is now hidden on top of our refrigerator.

The gift was a large carrying case full of Crayola crayons, pencil crayons, paint tubes, stamp markers, glittery glue sticks and scissors. The girl wanted to open everything immediately once she received it. She didn't care that we were standing in the middle of a residential street. She wanted it open and she wanted to draw. I made her wait until we got home.

The boy was asleep by the time I pulled the stroller up in front of our house. I unloaded the girl and all our gear before bringing the boy inside. I even got the girl upstairs and left her as she headed to her room with the open bucket of Crayola goods. Much to her dismay I left without opening each of the individual packages. I thought she would be happy with the box of crayons that I knew she could open herself. No. Just as I settled the boy into his crib I heard her yelling like a banshee for me to come and open it up!

I did. I opened up everything. She was so excited and wanted to start drawing on her construction paper right away. I was smart enough to take away the paint and glue since I didn't want it to get on her bed. I should have just hidden them right then. Unfortunately I did leave her with the scissors.

Not that I realized anything was amiss at first. I should have. She was much too quiet. I had the opportunity to clean the kitchen a bit and grab a snack before she started yelling for me to come and get her from her room. Right away I noticed the cut up purple construction paper on her bed. I did not notice that she had cut her hair until we sat together on the couch a few hours later. "Did you cut your hair?" I asked. "Yes" she said.

My guess is that she picked up the scissors in her right hand and then cut a chunk of hair out of the top of her right pigtail. At first I thought that some of her hair must not have been pulled through the elastic all the way and that was why it was sticking up near her head. It looked like a tiny bundle of straw.

I decided to leave it there, sticking out of her pigtail. I was partly too nervous to take out the elastic and see exactly how much hair had been cut away. The other part of me wanted the husband to see it. Even though I took a picture, I still wanted him to witness it for himself. It would have been smarter to have removed the hair immediately. By bath time raspberry juice and melted Popsicle made it impossible to remove the cut hair that was now matted down and clumped with the rest of her blond hair. We had to take the scissors to it ourselves in order to cut away the clump.

The discovery of the cut hair happened after I had left her on the floor of the sunroom happily playing with her gift. She was fascinated by the five paint tubes. When I looked over at her after a little more kitchen cleaning (with two kids there is always kitchen cleaning) she had squeezed multiple colours of paint all up and down her legs. Even her feet were decorated. There was much sighing on my part and protesting on her part that she wouldn't do it again. I still tided up all the art supplies and put them back in the container. I wiped off as much of the paint as I could. We moved on to other things.

Except that later I needed to keep her occupied while I dealt with a dirty diaper. And I was sure that she wouldn't dare paint her legs again. Not after the talk we had had. True to her word she didn't. When I came back in the room she had decorated her legs and arms with the coloured, glittery glue.

More sighing, more protesting. Everything went back in the container and the container went on top of the fridge. The girl assured me that it wouldn't happen again. I do believe her. I don't think she will cut her hair, paint her legs or try to adorn herself with glittery glue for awhile. I'm not worried about that. I'm worried about what else she could possibly do.

Scissors, paint and glue.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Flashback: Pillow

Right now I am probably exhausted and wandering the streets of New York looking for coffee. Wishing I had a pillow. So here is a post I wrote January 6th, 2010.

He screamed. I could hear him through the wall. Despite the husband holding him, rocking him, walking with him nothing would stop the ear shattering yells that sounded as if he was being tortured by a thousand rabid monkeys.

Teething? Maybe. Something else? Maybe that too.

I took him to bed with me. I nursed him. Two things that I haven't been doing anymore at night. But I was desperate. I was sick and I was tired. The husband was worn out and tired too.

When he was done, he didn't fall asleep. Instead, he sat up and looked at me and started screaming. Laying next to him on the bed I frantically tried to think of some way to get him to sleep.

Would you like some blanket? I asked.

Yee-ah he said and lay down so I could lay some blanket over his legs. He looked at me. He screamed some more.

Do you want some pillow too? I asked, surprised.

Yee-ah he said.

I shuffled the pillow over towards him. He sat up and then lay down with half of his body on the pillow. He closed his eyes and his breathing deepened. I lay my down on the pillow next to him.

He let out one short yell before lifting his left hand off the pillow and smacking me in the face with it. Then he pushed me off my pillow.

Shocked, I lay with my head on the mattress at the edge of the bed. I listened to his breathing slow until he fell asleep. I moved him off of the pillow and onto the mattress. I reclaimed my pillow.

Teething? Maybe. But I think the screaming maybe be something more. I think it may very well be his new favorite way of communicating. Lucky me.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Flashback: Uniform

I am leaving for New York early in the morning. It is another world there. I will shower everyday, no one will wipe their hands on me and I will wear nice, clean, new clothes. Yes, I splurged on fancy tops and an actual dress (gasp) so I could go forth and walk among other adult. But don't worry, as soon as I get home I will be back in my uniform.

The morning sunlight filters through the window. I listen to the sounds of the husband corralling the kids into their coats and boots downstairs. I enjoy my moment alone.

I pick up my black yoga pants from their spot on the floor near the bed. I ignore the yogurt and porridge stains from the day before. I put them on, along with a pair of clean underwear. I pick up yesterday's t-shirt and throw it in the overflowing laundry basket. I grab a clean t-shirt from the drawer. I pull on the pink hooded sweatshirt I have worn everyday this week. I rifle through the black socks lying on the floor until I find two of mine without stickers stuck to them. I don't bother checking to see if they match.

I glance in the mirror. I contemplate brushing the hair I washed yesterday. Instead I pull it back into a ponytail and pin my bangs back with a bobby pin.

The husband has started herding the kids out the door and into the stroller parked on the porch. That's okay. I'm ready.

Go away

I am going away. I am pretty much beyond excited. This trip is coming at the perfect time. In fact, it couldn't have come soon enough.

I am looking forward to being with myself, being with friends, being in New York City. I am eager for BlogHer'10 and all the fun it will bring. I want to learn, to meet other bloggers, to party.

I am not sure how often I will blog while I am away. Maybe everyday. Maybe twice a day. Maybe not at all. In case I'm not here and you are missing me I will be re-posting some of my favorite blog posts. You know, just in case you haven't read them yet.

If you are going to be at BlogHer'10 too, please say hello. Tap me on the shoulder and introduce yourself. I will probably blush and get embarrassed that you know who I am. But then again, maybe not. I may be the one tapping you on the shoulder.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Awesome

It came about one night while we sat around the dinner table. It had been one of those days. Patience was short. The day had been long. Yet, I was trying. Trying to see the positive, find the silver lining, look on the bright side.

Let's talk about how daddy is awesome I said, feeling thankful for the husband swooping in after work and taking over the care of the kids. I started to sing.

Daddy is so awesome,
awesome, awesome,
Daddy is so awesome
because......

he made dinner, changed the boy's diaper, told the girl a story, let me go hide upstairs.

The song is sung often. We change the name of the person the song is about. We change why they are awesome. The boy and girl both love it when we sing about them, but they also love to sing about each other.

It doesn't always make the day better. The hardness is still there. But it makes me smile. And reminds me how awesome my family is.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Fate?

Do you believe in fate? I asked him as we sat at a table in the bar of a theater in Brixton on our unofficial first date. No, he said, I don't believe in fate. I believe in chance.

I knew he was wrong. Already, I knew he was wrong. Here we were, sitting across from each other on the other side of the world from home. So much in common, so much to start from. Was that chance? No.

Chance. As if our meeting was random. Accidental.

We had met on the street. Brought together by a series of planned circumstances and impulsive decisions. Anything different and we may not have met. But we did.

This post was based on the Writing Workshop prompt Fate over at Sleep is for the Weak.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Polite

I'm not always polite. I try. But sometimes I am curt, withdrawn, unintentionally rude.

Here's the thing. It's not you, it's me. Really.

There are days, afternoons, moments when I just don't have any more energy to be polite. The politeness is all gone, spilled out of me in gushes or spurts. Some of the reasons may be obvious, some you probably can't see.

I'm tired.
I'm exhausted.
I went to bed too late.
I got up too early.
The kids have been whining and yelling at me all day.
I have been whining and yelled at the kids all day.
I am overwhelmed.
My kids keep running off in different directions.
No one is listening to me.
I am going to scream if I have to clean one more puddle of pee off the floor.
All my requests have become negotiations.
The kids are tired, she won't nap and his nap was short.
It's all I can do to be polite to my own children.
I want to be alone so badly, to sit by myself and not talk.

I do try. You just might not see it that way. All I ask is that you cut me some slack. I promise I will do the same for you.