Tuesday, November 18, 2008

“Crack” of dawn

This morning my daughter woke up at 6 am. I generally make my husband get out of bed because I’m evil. He’s a good sport. So he went to get her and I fell back asleep only to wake up ten minutes later and find her naked butt right in my face. These days after she has a little morning beverage she likes to get out of her pajamas and tickle her own toes with her stuffed rat’s whiskers. That’s her new thing. And since her early morning diaper weighs about ten pounds, it's usually next to go.

So here she was, in her post-bottle bliss, all toasty and soft like a giant butterball, wiggling around between me and my husband, ducking down under the covers and whispering kaboo (peekaboo). I mean I would so much rather that she slept another hour, but since it’s not something I can control, I’ll take the pre-dawn naked snuggling as a consolation.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Weird ideas that work

I tell you if I’m ever in a position to hire anybody and the job requires unlimited capacity to generate new ideas and problem-solve, 9 out of 10 times I’m hiring a mom because a day doesn’t go by when I don’t have to yank some crazy scheme or remedy or solution or explanation from my rumpus in an exhausting constant effort to love, protect and shape the small children that live in my house.

Here’s what is working lately.

I’ve been focusing a lot of my energy on smooth transitions (i.e. when I leave the house in the morning or when I drop the kids off at school) and my work seems to be paying off. Three days a week my husband takes the kids to school in the morning and I leave early so that I can then pick them up on the early side. It used to be that one or both of them would throw a fit when I left scarring me for the rest of the day. The kids were fine thirty seconds later of course but I was a hollowed by the ordeal. Now we do “bye bye from the window”. Every morning, no matter who’s leaving early, we say our goodbyes with the traditional hug and a kiss, high-five and thumbs up. Then the kids jump onto the sofa and watch for me (or my husband) out the window. I leave and quickly run around to the front of the house and do a silly dance and sometimes come all the way up to the window for high-fives at the window. The kids shout their goodbyes and wave and laugh and I can leave with my heart intact. This has been working for several months actually with only the occasional break-down.

On the days when I deliver the kids to school I’ve been trying a modified version of “bye bye from the window”. My son comes with me to drop off my daughter. In her classroom I kiss her goodbye and then do a “one-and-a-two-and-a-three” ali-yoop full-body swinging motion and land her in her teacher’s arms. Then her teacher does the same thing landing her in the middle of the room on the carpet next to various toys and distractions. She’s probably so dizzy she doesn’t notice I’ve gone. Then my son and I go over to his room and we do our hug and kiss routine. Then I say, “bye-bye from the window”. He runs to the window and I walk outside and over the window and we do our window high-five. Then he meanders over to his class and starts his day. No tears. No looks of despair. Drop-off perfection.

How I need to work on our nighttime ritual. “Night-night from the window” seems a little irresponsible. Goodnight kids! We’re going to the movies…

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Toddler Election

You’ll forgive me if I’m a little giddy. I’m still enjoying the post-election after-glow.

I’ve mentioned this before but it warrants repeating on this historical day following an outstanding presidential campaign and win by President elect Barack Obama. Using some tricky site metering magic I can see what terms people are searching for when they end up at my site. The most popular term by far is “toddler erection”. So I alternately feel thrilled to be able to offer some comfort to parents shocked by their little boys’ unpredictable wee wees and freaked out to think that maybe people without little boys are searching on this term for reasons I don’t even want to consider. A distant second to “toddler erection” is “toddler mariachi costume”. Odd, but true.

So where is she going with this…? I was mainly just free associating. Election. Erection. I actually intended to write about my experience watching as Brian Williams on NBC called the election last night at 8:00. I was sitting on the couch with my little boy. This was his second presidential election but we won’t count the first one since he was only a month old and we elected Bush. That one’s a throw-away. He took a little bit of interest in this election. In the last few weeks we’ve been talking a lot about Obama and McCain. Or rather, I’ve been brainwashing him to think like me.

Me: We like Obama
Him: We like McCain too.
Me: No, we only like Obama.
Him: Who likes McCain?
Me: Other people, but not us.
Him: We like Obama.
Me: Right.

And while we were waiting for Obama to take the stage my son got bored and wanted to go to sleep. So I read him his stories and tucked him in just in time for me to watch our new president make his acceptance speech. And what a speech. I especially loved when he channeled his inner preacher and got a little cadence going in his voice. Yes we can. And how he wove in the story of Ann Nixon Cooper. Yes we can. And conjured up the spirits of Lincoln and MLK Jr. Yes we can.

I mean the Republicans may have Joe the Plumber but darn it all if we don’t have our own Bob the Builder.

Can we fix it?
Yes we can.