Friday, December 20, 2013

Letter to Santa Claus

Dear Santa Claus,

It's been a while. Remember me?  Sara? American Girl doll Samantha circa 1993 that I never got?

But I digress.

I am now much, much older than I was in 1993.  In fact I am now in my 30s, if you haven't been keeping track.  I am Joshua's Mommy--I am sure you are familiar with Joshua, as he moves between your naughty and nice list on a moment by moment basis. In fact, I am sure you have an Elf dedicated specifically to keeping track of which list Josh is currently on.  And I am also Olivia's mommy, but she is only eighteen months old and a fixture on your nice list, unless she is stealing her brother's toys.

And I haven't written you a letter in a very long time, but I have a list this year, if you would be so kind.

#1)  I would like a bath.  Complete with bubbles, candles, and no children trying to strip their clothes off and climb in with me, all the while asking why we can't eat hot dogs in the bathroom.

#2)  I would like to go five minutes without someone asking me why or throwing a two hour long temper tantrum when I say no, we cannot build a snow bank and jump off the porch roof into it.

#3) I would love eight hours of uninterrupted sleep.  Between working overnights as a paramedic and the fact that my daughter still does not sleep through the night, I am about to lose my sanity to sleep deprivation.  If you can't accomplish this, could you at least make my children nap at the same time?

#4) Peace on Earth.  If this isn't doable, I will accept Peace in the Playroom.

#5) Could you make my wi-fi magically disappear whenever I start looking at all the pictures on facebook of all the neat and amazing crafts and games my friends are doing with their toddlers?  And remind me that their husbands don't work three or four 24 hour shifts a week, and most of them are stay-at-home moms with a little more breathing room than I have?

#6) Speaking of magic, is there anyway to make chicken fries into a well rounded, highly nutritive meal, since that is all my 3-year-old will eat these days?

And last but not least,

#7) On days like today, when my children are literally climbing the walls(and the furniture, and the stairs, and me), and cutting their hair with stolen scissors, and trying to run around naked; days like this when my children are perpetual motion and noise filled with dirt, could you make me always remember how extraordinarily blessed I am?  That these two beautiful, healthy, energetic children are mine, and I am so very fortunate to have them?  Remind me that the peanut butter sticky hands pressed onto my face are my treasure, and whenever I start to take them for granted, remind me that these two tiny faces are not going to be mine forever.  Remind me to take today, with the chaos and the mess and the sleep-deprivation and all, and enjoy every moment with them.  These babies are mine today, but they are not promised to me forever.

Remind me, Santa Claus, to enjoy every moment of this Christmas season this year, with two children who believe wholeheartedly in you, who are so excited with the magic of this Christmas.  Remind me to stop and enjoy these moments, because even though these days of toddlerhood are so long, the years will be so short.

Thank you.


p.s.  Please remember to eat the cookies and milk we will be setting out Christmas Eve. My son will be brokenhearted if you don't.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Things I have learned as a Mom

( I switched to Wordpress for a while, but it just doesn't seem to work well for me. So I'm back)

Here are some random things I have learned in my vast seven months as the mother of two small children:

 Toys are the fastest breeding creatures in the world. Much faster than rabbits. You can box up twenty toys and take them out to the trash or to the second hand shop, and when you come back home, there will be forty new toys sitting in your living room.

Playrooms are worthless. You will still step on matchbox cars littering your bedroom floor, you will still find crayons in the refrigerator, and you will still not have a clean living room. All you will have is another messy room in your house. If you're lucky, the playroom will have a door that you can close.

Your two-year-old will be perfectly happy, healthy, bouncing off the walls, and the moment you get him wrangled into a clean outfit and wash his face to go somewhere, he will immediately come down with the flu and start vomiting everywhere.

If your first child slept through the night at six weeks and never once woke up after that, your second child will not sleep through the night until high school.

The intensity of the temper tantrum is directly proportional to the length of your grocery list. The longer the grocery list, the louder the tantrum.

The earlier you have to be at work in the morning, the more often your children will wake up during the night.

No matter how sick you are, no matter how tired you are, no matter how recently you have had major surgery, you will not get a nap. Do not even consider it.

It doesn't matter that your toddler has insisted for the last three weeks that all he can possibly ever eat is peanut butter and jelly, the day that is all you have in the house for lunch he will decide he can only eat hot dogs.

No matter how crazy they drive you, at the end of the day, they really are the cutest, most wonderful kids ever.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

(easier to post to from my phone, so I switched)

Monday, January 30, 2012

It's a girl!

We are having a daughter.
Olivia Grace.  She looks perfect, delicate, cute on the ultrasound.  We watched her kick and squirm and suck her thumb, much we saw her brother doing two years ago.

In between the looking at the pink furry blankets, checking out the sweet baby dresses, and making lists of what I will need for her, I sometimes sneak a peek at my future--the older girl's clothing section.   And then I decide that my future, and Livie's future, does not involve the wearing of sweatpants with the word "Brat" emblazoned on the butt.  Or a skimpy two piece bathing suit at the age of seven.  Or anything having to do with Justin Bieber.

This is what frightens me about raising a girl.  The world is going to try to sell her so many lies, just because she is female.
It's going to tell her that she has to look a certain way in order to be pretty.
It's going to tell her that she can't be too smart or boys won't like her.
It's going to tell her that boys liking her is the most important thing ever.

And Mom is going to be home, telling her, you can do anything.  You can be anything.  You can be a stay at home mom and raise beautiful little grandchildren for me.  You can be a teacher, an engineer, you can work in any traditionally male field you want--even emergency medicine or firefighting.
Boys are not all that important, especially until you are at least 25 and maybe then you can notice them.
How you look is not nearly as important as how you behave, no matter what the world tells you.

You are strong. You are smart. You matter.

But those are hard messages to get across in a world of Bratz and Disney Princesses waiting to be rescued.  It's a hard message to get across in a world where little girls are sexualized in beauty pageants and the tween aisle at Walmart.  I have hope, though, because I know Olivia's world will be filled with strong, solid female role models.  I know she will see the women in her life making choices that are not always traditional, but are right for them.  I trust that she will grow into a strong, capable woman who does not rely on peer pressure and modern culture to tell her what she must be.

But until then, no, there will be no emblazoned-across-the-butt sweatpants in this house.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A day in the life of Josh

Once upon a time, there was a little boy.
His name was Josh.
Josh had more energy than six little boys all put together, and he loved to play in the toilet, climb in the dishwasher, and ride on the kitty--all when his Mommy wasn't looking, of course.  Josh made his Mommy very tired.
Josh had the blondest hair you've ever seen, and dark, dark blue eyes.  He was very beautiful, even if his Daddy says that boys are handsome, not beautiful.
His Mommy knew the truth--that her little boy was beautiful.
 Josh loved his Mommy, and his Daddy, and his Poppies and his Mimis, and he always wanted to go see his Mimis, because they read him stories and gave him cookies and didn't tell him "no" all the time like his Mommy did.
Josh also
loved his blankie.  Sometimes he would even put his
thumb in his mouth and hold onto his blankie and pretend to sleep.  Once he convinced his Mommy he was asleep and that she could sleep, too, Josh would wake up and go on the greatest adventures with the kitty.  Mostly they went out to the kitchen and checked out the fridge, and Josh would try to get a drink of milk. Mostly it ended up on his clothes.  Then they would climb into the shower and try to turn the water on to clean up, but that never worked really well, either.  If Mommy hadn't discovered him by then, Josh and the kitty would go into the bathroom where the coolest toy ever--the toilet--lived.  And Josh would find everything he could and try to flush it down the toilet, because that was really, really cool.
And usually by then, Mommy would wake up and find him, and she would sigh and say, "Who told you that you could play in here?"  And Josh would look at the kitty and say, "Kitty did!"
And then Josh would have to get his clothes changed and his hands and face washed, all of which he hated, and then Mommy would clean up the milk in the kitchen and give him a drink.

The End.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


There are certain non-negotiables when it comes to my children.
You may not feed them sugar before bedtime, unless you are willing for them to spend the night at your house.
You may not allow Josh to watch all the Thomas the Tank Engine he wants.
You must be an appropriate adult role model, exhibiting appropriate adult behavior, at all times, regardless of your relationship to my children or how you are related to them.  I'm not saying you can't lose your temper once in a while, but you need to show how to get it back under control, and then explain that it was wrong of you do so.

We do not yell in my house.  We do not throw things. We do not swear(well, at least usually).  We do not kick things when we get mad.  We do not hit.  
These are not just my expectations for Joshua and my other future children, but my expectations for anyone who comes through the door.
These are my expectations for Josh's father and I.

Fortunately, it's rarely been an issue.  Only once have I told someone that they were acting inappropriately in front my child, and there was the door until they could learn to act like a responsible adult.

Yes. I am kind of a nasty person sometimes.  When it comes to my kids, I really, really do not care.(Okay. Honestly. I don't care anyway.)

I think...I hope...this will, over time, teach certain things to my children.
Such as, I expect them to be kind, considerate, and respectful of others at all times.
Such as, you can be all of that, and firm at the same time.  You can draw the line.  You can stand up for yourself, and your family, and say, "This is not acceptable behavior.  You are choosing to not be a part of our lives by acting this way. You know where we are when you make different choices."  I hope this teaches them that excusing someone else's bad behavior isn't acceptable.  That if that bad behavior just continues, that they need to simply walk away.
I hope that teaches my children that walking away is perfectly fine. 

Is that rude?  I don't know.  I honestly, frankly, just really don't care.  Eventually my children will be old enough that we can discuss why people choose to act the way that they do, and that there is no justification, ever, to treat someone else badly.  But my children aren't there yet, and until then, I consider it my job to simply say, No. This is not how you are allowed to act in front of my kids.
And I stick to it.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


I went to see Peter Pan tonight, an off Broadway traveling professional group.  It was good and I enjoyed it, but I spent the evening thinking how much fun I will have when my kids are old enough for plays.  And I realized--this is why I want to homeschool.  So I can fill their childhood with music, art, theater.  So we can snuggle on the couch and read good, classic children's literature on snowy mornings.  So we can do science experiments and I can watch their eyes when they finally understand a mathematical concept.  So we can go to a Spanish immersion class, and swim lessons, and professional quality plays in the afternoon.

I want to homeschool so my little boys can run and jump and play in mud and catch frogs.  I don't want them worrying about meeting state standards or chained to a desk at too young an age.  I actually don't want them to know what desk is for a long, long time.  I want to read fairytales and do puzzles and make music and do crafts.  I want to allow for my son's need for movement and spontaneity.   I want to instill a love for learning, real learning.  I'm not interested in textbooks, but learning through doing.  I don't want them to be isolated, but a valuable part of a community.  I want them to know the world beyond our home and family, but not be dependent on a peer group.  There are exhibits and lessons and sports and places to explore, and I think homeschooling will give us the chance to do all that.

Academics, of course, are a huge part of my life.  My children, most assuredly, will not suffer academically.  Standards, though, can be high without overly focusing on tests and textbooks.  There is a time and a place for that, and my children will be well prepared for college, and expected to go.  But there is an individual path there, and it will be different for every family.  I look forward to finding ours.