This year’s resolutions are not “less”, they’re more.
I’m not going to resolve to eat less or weigh less.
I’m going to resolve to write more, create more, be more patient, be more grateful, enjoy more of the moments given to me, exercise more, laugh more.
Oh, a couple lesses: Less stress, less anxiety, and less guilt.
More Fun. More Happy. More Good. That’s my motto for 2014.
Hope your year is filled with more good stuff than you can handle.
And please be safe this New Year’s Eve, so you can get to 2014 in one piece.
This year’s resolutions are not “less”, they’re more.
We adopted a puppy today. He’ll be coming to live with us permanently by January 1st.
So, will people be bringing us casseroles and presents like they did when we had Garrett? I’d like that. I just want you all to remember I’m gluten and dairy free. And if anyone wants to throw me a puppy shower, I’d be totally into that. He’s a boy, so nothing pink.
It was inevitable.
After eight glorious weeks of summer, filled with enormous amounts of fun, a heart-filling trip to Oregon, endless hugs and laughter and, yes some frustration, impatience and yelling… It finally came.
Kindergarten. The thing I have dreaded, fret over, lost sleep from, and worried about for over a year.
G started school with two teeth gone, and one waiting to fall. He started it bravely. So bravely that most of my own fears were assuaged; a relief considering what I thought was going to happen his first day. We were allowed to follow him to his class that day, and after his new teacher had them all sit on the multi-colored rug, she abruptly asked us to wave goodbye. G turned to me, the panic in his eyes only mirroring my own. I smiled at him and shrugged as if to say, “I guess this is it!” But he wouldn’t have it. He boldly asked his new teacher if he could run to give us hugs, and she incredibly kindly, and against her better judgement, said he could. He milked the next two minutes, going back and forth between Russ and I, hugging, kissing, hugging again. Then he looked toward the rug, saw his future, and told us he had to go. One last hug each, and out the door we went, leaving our little man to start his first steps on the road of education.
Or something like that.
He started on a Tuesday. They get out an hour early on Tuesdays. So I showed up at 1:19, waiting with the other parents, and with bated breath, to see how day one went.
The first words out of his mouth were, “I loved it so much, I wish I could stay longer.”
Relief doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt.
That night we sat down to do his homework together and immediately began fighting. My child just wants to know how to do everything without being shown. So I had to back off a bit and let him learn and flail and ultimately succeed. We made a deal that night that I would always sit with him, but only help if he asks. I’m not kidding when I tell you that homework time is one of my favorite times of day now.
Day two was the tough one. I was without Russ’ support, and I couldn’t follow G to class that day. I could only stand on the gray concrete where they line up, and watch him follow his already beloved teacher around the corner to his classroom. He was excited and happy. I was, too. And then, as soon as he was out of sight, I teared up. This was real now. No turning back.
Week two began with G wanting to run laps before school. They give the kids tickets for each lap they run and then they count the tickets up for each class. The classes with the most laps run in each grade get recognized at Monday morning assembly, and get a certificate to hang up in class. Somehow we are getting out of the house by 7:30 most days so that he can run and work up a real sweat before line up. At this morning’s assembly, they announced that his room was the winner last week with 130 laps. G ran 24 of those.
And there have been changes in me, too. I work out every day now, right after I drop him off. I’m going to bed earlier and waking up brighter. I am letting myself learn from him now, because he knows a lot of stuff about how to act and how to be patient and happy. I’m cherishing every moment even more than I was.
He lost his third tooth last week. He has made new friends. He thinks his teacher is beautiful and brilliant. He loves his music teacher. He was sad this morning just before the walk to class. It was an especially busy weekend and those are the hardest to come out of. But I have a feeling when I pick him up today he’ll say that things were great at school, and he’ll ask for a snack and he’ll want to know what fun thing we’re doing this afternoon. And I will look at him in complete awe, because I’m so amazed at how lovely this transition has been.
I spent over a year worrying about this time.
In just two weeks, he has proven to me that I worry too much.
This is who he is today. Two months from six-years-old, a pre-school graduate, eight weeks away from starting kindergarten. He wouldn’t think of not dressing up to graduate. He is obsessed with anything having to do with the creatures who live in the ocean, especially Giant Squid and Sperm Whales. He still has all of his baby teeth, but three of them are “wobbly”, as he likes to say. He is polite, saying “Excuse me” whenever he has a question for an adult. He can’t walk by a dog without petting it. He loves to show younger kids the ropes. He loves to look at older girls. He is so into Big Time Rush music that it’s all we listen to in the car. He still says “mine” instead of my… As in, “This is mine book about sea creatures.” He is so proud of the trophy he got for completing his t-ball season. He hugs his friends with all of his might. He hugs and kisses me all the time. He yells, “I love you” and “air hug” and “remember to say I love you in your head today” any time we say goodbye. He can’t stand making mistakes, he loves to draw, he’s an incredibly fast runner, and he’s got a “great arm”. If you ask him what he wants to be when he grows up he’ll say, “I want to study Whales and Squids and get to see them battle in the deep, deep ocean”, or “A paleontologist”. He doesn’t like vegetables, except for carrots. He loves any kind of fruit you put in front of him. His favorite foods are pizza and burgers… And anything made with sugar. He wants a sibling. He is joyful and stubborn and incredibly smart and funny.
This is who he is… Today.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned since Garrett was born, it’s to expect constant change. Phases that last for a year, that I think will never end, end with a whisper. Obsessions change in the blink of an eye.
For nearly a year, G couldn’t go to sleep without a song called “No Dreams Garrett”. It was accompanied by a hand gesture that indicated a magic spell and sips of his water that turned into a potion. One night he didn’t want the song. And that was that.
For about six months last year, G was having anxiety. (Probably because I was having anxiety too.) Every day he asked if he was going to throw up. Then one day he stopped.
For nearly two years, we couldn’t pass any major landmark in our lives… The school, the diner, the store… Without G (and us) yelling out loud what we were passing. We don’t really do that anymore.
One thing that never changed was our goodbye ritual at school. For three years of preschool, G and I hugged, kissed, hugged and kissed again, then had an elaborate waving ritual with him at the window, and me walking toward the car. The windows changed as he got older, but not the goodbyes. “I love you”, “Air hug”, “See you at three” was paired with thumbs-up, waves, salutes, air hugs, and one final wave after rounding the corner then popping back around. Tuesday was our last one of those. I know next year “Real School” starts, and that won’t happen again.
I know these “endings” are harder for me than they are for him. They stab at my heart with a sharp edge, but the pain fades as the new beginnings start. And as much as I know the changes are as inevitable as my pride in seeing him grow, I pray that some things last forever:
I pray that his joyous nature will not change. I pray he will always be kind and mindful of others. I pray that he makes fast friends who are true and good, and have his best interests at heart. I pray that he has an adventurous spirit but stays cautious. I pray that we remain close. I pray he isn’t afraid to talk to me about anything, ever. I pray that he marries a partner worthy of him, that he is happy in his work, that he is confident and brave and unafraid to love.
I pray that in the years before he becomes an adult, his days are filled with fun and laughter and that his childhood is a memorable one for only good reasons.
I pray we can keep up with all of his constant changes.
I love who my kid is today. And I can’t wait to see who he is tomorrow.
Last week was one of the most exhausting weeks of my lice. I mean life. It’s not that I don’t lice doing laundry, I mean LIKE doing laundry. It’s just that I don’t like doing 45 loads in four days. Luckily, there was a lice, I mean LIGHT at the end of the tunnel, but it seemed very far away. And I still haven’t totally recovered. It wasn’t just the laundry. It was the vacuuming, wiping down, scrubbing, and cleaning things that didn’t even need to be cleaned. There’s a fine lice between cleaning and cleaning OBSESSIVELY. And itching non-stop. I mean line. There’s a fine line.
Yes, our family was struck. This was the third time this year the little buggers came to visit our school. And, since we completely missed it the other two times, I was confident we would msis it again. We didn’t. WE didn’t. Did you get that part? WE. G and I. Me and G.
Luckily, we got to it early. It started Tuesday morning. Russ had taken G to school and I had just gotten on my “walking Bogie” clothes when the phone rang. Russ gave the phone to G who sweetly said he was coming home because he had lice. They arrived home moments later and then it began. I called the Lice Lady, (Yes, there’s a Lice Lady), got on line to do research, and started my day. Lice Lady arrived about 90 minutes later and combed through G’s hair for an hour. Then I insisted she comb through mine. I had it. Barely. But that’s like being a little pregnant.
When she left, I went into action. I stripped the beds, took the blankets off the couches, and put all of G’s stuffed animals in garbage bags, tied them tight and put them into the garage. I put every article of clothing we could have possibly worn in the last several days into the laundry baskets and left them all outside. I vacuumed the 2 carpeted rooms and the rug in the living room. I vacuumed the matresses, I wiped down the couches, I soaked my brushes in alcohol, poured boiling water over them, and put them in the freezer to sit for 72 hours. Then I started doing laundry. I did laundry until 11:00 PM that night. I promise I’ve done at least (and I think I’m being very conservative here) 60 loads of laundry in 10 days.
We took G to get his hair buzzed that day. I bought a lice comb, lice prevention spray, and tons of treats for G being so patient and good. We went to the laundromat to get eight loads done at once, just to shave off some hours of washing. That night I sobbed from exhaustion and stress. But at least I waited until G went to sleep!
Since then, several other kids have been sent home. It’s been like a revolving door of lice at our school. I check G’s head every morning, wash his hair with Tea Tree Oil shampoo nightly, and put the lice prevention spray on him daily. I also put it on myself and try to convince myself that tea tree oil, mint, and rosemary is a sexy scent on me. I use the lice comb on myself every other night, just to be sure I’m okay. I even went to a lice-specialty salon Monday night to have myself checked again. I was asking the owner a ton of questions and she literally told me I needed to chill out. She said, “You’ve done everything right. Neither of you have it anymore. You’re done. Chill out.” I asked if I should buy the carpet spray from her and she said, “Stop. You’re okay now.” I told her I was sure crazier people than me had been in there. She said yes, but I’m not sure she meant it.
I can’t stop cleaning or doing laundry. I can’t stop vacuuming. I can’t stop checking for lice. Yesterday I had the lice salon people come to our school. They combed through everyone whose parents were willing to pay. One more person got sent for treatment. I think we might have conquered everyone now.
So there you go. You’re probably itching by now. That’s what happens. I just wanted to share my experience with you so that you know what to expect if you get it. And I was also hoping to kind of make the whole stigma disappear. It’s not a disease. It doesn’t happen to dirty people. It’s not shameful. Kids get it all the time, and pass it on and bring it home. I hope we never have to deal with it again and I hope you don’t have to either. But mostly us.
At least my house is clean! Really, really clean. And that’s lice. I mean nice.
I am getting worried about not being “hip” or “with-it”.
I picture myself every time my mom talks about ANYTHING current, and I’m rolling my eyes. I’m always rolling my eyes in those moments. I’m a 41-year-old woman rolling my eyes at my MOM! This does not bode well for me and I think it’s going to start happening SOON!
The thing is, I’ve never been “with-it”. Truly, I never have. I didn’t really know what Coachella was until three days ago. I figured it was a Woodstock-kind-of-event, but you’d think I’d have a more current thing to compare it to since I wasn’t even ALIVE when Woodstock was happening. I’ve never been a real concert-goer. I happily went to see Duran Duran in 7th grade and appropriately cried during “Save a Prayer”. But I know my love for them stemmed from my friends’ love for them. Don’t get me wrong. I was a HUGE fan, but I didn’t come to it on my own. The same with Prince and Madonna. For me, it was always Billy Joel and The Eagles. Even then, I wasn’t “hip”. Oh, and I knew every lyric to “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat”, so that was helpful.
I never know the hottest restaurant or the coolest club. I like to stay in my own little bubble, I pretty much always have, so I’m very unaware of what’s going on downtown, in the heart of Hollywood, or beyond.
I try to stay up-to-date with pop culture, but even that seems difficult for me. Someone will mention that so and so is breaking up with what’s his face and I’m like, “I didn’t even know they were together!!” And movies are the worst. My husband and I have been to maybe five movies since G was born. We just can’t seem to get there. We got a TON of screeners last year and only managed to watch a few of THOSE!
Needless to say, I’m nervous. I’m okay with being the dork in the room at a party or event with adults, but I’m not looking forward to my son and his friends looking at me and thinking I’m pathetic.
Here are my options:
1. Set aside an hour or so a day to scour the internet for stories about celebs. Try to fit in a 10 minute viewing of important TV like The Real Housewives or Duck Dynasty. Listen to some music that I am not familiar with. (Although in this case I might be okay. G’s affinity for 80′s Hair Metal means I have little research to do.) Find some age-appropriate clothes that still say, “I know what’s going on in the world of fashion!”
2. Dye my hair gray, buy some housecoats, and get REALLY good at baking cookies. Be the mom that embraces old age, so no one ever EXPECTS me to chime in on any current conversations. Pop in every once in a while with a slice of pumpkin bread and say, “Is anyone hungry? You look like you’re having fun talking about that Jason Beeter”. Everyone laughs because of the quaintness of my mistake, and spends the next ten minutes talking about the pumpkin bread and how it’s the best they’ve ever had.
3. Stay exactly how I am and suffer the slings and arrows of my son’s disappointment with me as a completely lame mom.
4. See number 3 but add fake boobs, a tummy tuck and a whole lot of injectables. Wow all of my son’s friends with my overwhelming beauty and inappropriate clothing so that none of them care what I know, and G is forever blushing in shame.
I consider all of these to be viable options. I’ll probably stick with number 3 because of my extreme laziness, but in a few years I might lean a little more toward 2 or 4. I’ll ask G what he thinks. I’m looking forward to the eye-roll.
This was a bad ass spring break. I mean seriously, it was magical for me and I hope it was at least as magical for G-Man.
We had tons of play dates. We went to the Aquarium of the Pacific. We went begrudgingly to the beach and ended up having a spectacular day. We ate fun food, we spent time with family, we danced, we laughed, we yelled at each other…
On the way to school today I told G how much I loved my time with him and he said he loved his break. I told him we have many years of these breaks together and I hoped they would all be as much fun. He asked when Summer is coming and I said it’s in about 10 weeks…
Then I realized it’s the last summer before Kindergarten. And even though things will be almost exactly the same in terms of how long he goes to school and what our days look like… It’ll be Real School. And that means no “taking the day off” because I feel like having him home with me. It means his butt needs to be in his seat by 7:55 AM or he gets a tardy. (Tardy. Worst word ever.) It means big kids and a much bigger school. It means, in short, my little boy is growing up and it’s just happening too damn fast.
But we had a magical Spring Break. And I am grateful beyond words for the little man (and the big one who looks just like him) in my house who are my family.
By the way, I’m trying to invent something to slow time down a little. Boredom does that, doesn’t it? Hmmm… Maybe I need to rethink these breaks!
This was one of those mornings.
G got up at 6:00 and would not let me sleep another second.
There was not a lot of good listening going on.
I was impatient because I was tired.
Then, on the way to school, G wrote I LOVE YOU on his portable drawing-thingy.
I said, I love you too buddy. Even when we have hard mornings I love you so much.
He said he knows.
Then we raced from the car to school, gave extra big hugs and kisses, and a few extra air hugs too.
That little man makes it impossible to have a completely bad morning. But I feel like complaining, so I’m aiming for a particularly shitty afternoon.