Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Poop-Prodder... Please - DO Read-On!

So it begins... with a series of unusual symptoms that persisted for 2 + weeks leading up to a visit to the doc. Poor Myla. She's so young to have such necessary, extraordinary measures taken to ensure the proper health of her digestive system, don't you think? Well... I'm not entirely sure who this was more traumatic for... She, or I... OR - her FATHER - who did nothing more than convince the child to finally "poop in the bucket". Okay - wait. I do owe him credit for that. I was in the kitchen washing dishes - overhearing every wail emitted from our mini-drama-queen, along with the high-decibel conversation that ensued, which I'm sure the neighbors are storing to memory in case they are questioned later by child-protection-services personnel. But alas, the 'dirty-work' falls to me, yet again.
There was a need to collect a sample of the good stuff. Make that 3 samples - via 3 separate containers, 2 of which require immediate refrigeration. Say Whaaaaat? You want me to put WHAT, WHERE??? That is the part that makes it a bit on the traumatic-side for mommy. Undoubtedly, I could handle the prodding. But refrigeration? As in, placing this into the same unit that maintains an appropriate temp for the long-term storage of our FOOD? Thankfully, we have a fridge downstairs that is nary used for anything more than beer and pop. Now, we can add a second letter-"O" to the latter, and we have a refrigerator that has a story to tell. 
But there's more to this story. Yes, it gets better. After dad commenced his own 'prodding' - in getting the child to willingly release 3-days-worth of pent-up waste, due to her fear of "pooping in the bucket", I commenced the physical prodding of the goods to supply laboratory staff (you know - the ones who get PAID to prod), with enough to determine whether there should be any underlying concern. Of course, as it stands, the day after the doc-appointment, her symptoms miraculously disappeared... I actually considered tossing this lab-test by the wayside therefore, but family history deems it necessary to rule out some potential evils. Oh, the things a mother will do for the peace-of-mind in knowing her children are indeed healthy! However, I do believe that this propels me back into superhero territory! Far be it from daddy to disagree. In a matter of months, I've gone from being dubbed "Throw Up Girl", to losing my "Girl-Power" to natural causes, and back up the ranks again - to "The Poop-Prodder". Boy, am I proud. What can I say? I'm a woman of many talents. 
The story continues... As I'm diligently gathering one particular sample, necessitating a very precise amount of fecal matter to bring a source liquid inside of said container to an exact measurement pinpointed on the outside of the bottle, my sweet, sweet 5-year-old proceeds to inform me of something rather educational. "You're going to get dirty... You're going to have to wash your hands." "Thanks honey - I'll remember that." I'm pretty sure I'm going to feel the need to take an all-out shower if I can't get this liquid up to the damn line in an efficient amount of time, and perhaps buy a new refrigerator as well. But we'll see if the hand-cleansing will suffice.
While dad made his way wearily back into the vicinity of the bathroom to congratulate Myla for going through with it, I proceeded to talk myself into believing whole-heartedly that there was absolutely nothing on the outside of the outer bag containing this human digestive matter that might contaminate our beer and pop, to little avail. Now - I'm just mentally-blocking the fact that such matter resides in any refrigerator, anywhere. In the midst of my mind's ramblings, I began to laugh... as I found myself thinking my infamous last-words... "I feel a blog coming on!" 
Daddy did, by the way, congratulate me on another super-heroesque job... lovingly dubbing me "The Poop-Prodder". I'll hold that dear to my heart, forever. 

TIP: When in the throws of treacherous terrain, remind yourself how well you'll sleep when this too, passes - and you're peace-of-mind has been achieved. Ah yes - the end to the means. And - Don't eat yellow snow.... or anything out of that brown bag inside the refrigerator in our basement.
A QUOTE: "What? You pooped in the refrigerator? And you ate the whole... wheel of cheese? How'd you do that? Heck, I'm not even mad; that's amazing." ~Ron Burgundy, communicating with his dog in The Anchorman
WHIDFML: During my latest "MomME Day". I spent a great deal of time updating things on my online hot-spots, including FaceBook, which had been rather neglected for a series of months-on-end.


Sounds kind of like something out of a Rainbow Brite cartoon... Is it?? We're still trying to decipher this mystery. I may have, during one of those hectic moments while juggling 3 or 4 (or 12) various 'projects' at one time, been likely to utter something to this regard when complimenting a child's job-well-done...  You might think I would have a better recollection... But then again, loss of short-term memory is one of the side-effects of mothering, maintaining house, keeping children fed, clean & clothed & carted to and fro school - as well as out of trouble (usually), running a small business from home, taking on side work, and eating, sleeping, and you-know-whating in there somewhere too. (Yep. I think 12 projects on average, is a more accurate estimate.) And thus, I cannot definitely without question, determine the exact birth of the phrase "girl-power!" now being regularly employed, particularly by the 4-year-old. But I did learn something about this special magical superpower that I had not previously known. Apparently, the 4-year-old is the expert on this topic. To adequately convey this story, I must first admit to something that I unwittingly did to bring it about in the first place. Okay - here goes... I.... I passed gas. Okay?! There. I said it. I really don't get the big deal - we all do it. Everybody poops, right? Anyway - it was taboo for the oldest daughter for quite a long time (our Princess), and revered as a highly-amusing activity to both witness and partake in by the youngest daughter (our tom-boy). Seems things have abruptly, and unbeknownst to me, changed in that regard.
Upon releasing some pent-up air in the chamber this morning, Addie promptly informed me, "YOU don't have GIRL-power anymore... Acause princesses don't gas!" Well... I guess my superhero status has faltered.... 

TIP: We learned that suckers can be a really motivating tool for a 4-year-old child! She even lay there calmly and nicely - determined to be brave - for the fearful booster shots required at the last doctor visit... Knowing I had one in my purse - right there - for the very moment she completed her task-at-hand and overcame her fear of shots - to pacify her tears - made all the difference in the world. Thank you Trader Joe's - for making a delicious, organic, sugar-free, bad-stuff-free, all-natural, fruit-juice-flavored blend of colorful and soothing suckers. 
A QUOTE: "Even if I'm playing a superhero, it has to be steeped in reality." ~Michael Fassbender
WHIDFML: Planning on a little girls'-night-out of dancing with a very close gal-pal!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

'Tis Not Only Me!

Just found this fab read as posted on Facebook, and written by Glennon Melton. Brilliant! I couldn't have put it better myself. Kudos, Glennon. I hope you don't mind my sharing your brilliance - and copying here to re-read as life deems necessary. :) Don't Carpe Diem, by Glennon Melton
**The following are the words of Glennon Melton. I just NEED to be sure I won't be unable to locate this again 10 years down the road... and so, I'm pasting her words-O'-wisdom here as well:

Every time I'm out with my kids -- this seems to happen:
An older woman stops us, puts her hand over her heart and says something like, "Oh, Enjoy every moment. This time goes by so fast."
Everywhere I go, someone is telling me to seize the moment, raise my awareness, be happy, enjoy every second, etc, etc, etc.
I know that this message is right and good. But, I have finally allowed myself to admit that it just doesn't work for me. It bugs me. This CARPE DIEM message makes me paranoid and panicky. Especially during this phase of my life - while I'm raising young kids. Being told, in a million different ways to CARPE DIEM makes me worry that if I'm not in a constant state of intense gratitude and ecstasy, I'm doing something wrong.
I think parenting young children (and old ones, I've heard) is a little like climbing Mount Everest. Brave, adventurous souls try it because they've heard there's magic in the climb. They try because they believe that finishing, or even attempting the climb are impressive accomplishments. They try because during the climb, if they allow themselves to pause and lift their eyes and minds from the pain and drudgery, the views are breathtaking. They try because even though it hurts and it's hard, there are moments that make it worth the hard. These moments are so intense and unique that many people who reach the top start planning, almost immediately, to climb again. Even though any climber will tell you that most of the climb is treacherous, exhausting, killer. That they literally cried most of the way up.
And so I think that if there were people stationed, say, every thirty feet along Mount Everest yelling to the climbers -- "ARE YOU ENJOYING YOURSELF!? IF NOT, YOU SHOULD BE! ONE DAY YOU'LL BE SORRY YOU DIDN'T!" TRUST US!! IT'LL BE OVER TOO SOON! CARPE DIEM!" -- those well-meaning, nostalgic cheerleaders might be physically thrown from the mountain.
Now. I'm not suggesting that the sweet old ladies who tell me to ENJOY MYSELF be thrown from a mountain. These are wonderful ladies. Monkees, probably. But last week, a woman approached me in the Target line and said the following: "Sugar, I hope you are enjoying this. I loved every single second of parenting my two girls. Every single moment. These days go by so fast."

At that particular moment, Amma had arranged one of the new bras I was buying on top of her sweater and was sucking a lollipop that she must have found on the ground. She also had three shop-lifted clip-on neon feathers stuck in her hair. She looked exactly like a contestant from Toddlers and Tiaras. I couldn't find Chase anywhere, and Tish was grabbing the pen on the credit card swiper thing WHILE the woman in front of me was trying to use it. And so I just looked at the woman, smiled and said, "Thank you. Yes. Me too. I am enjoying every single moment. Especially this one. Yes. Thank you."
That's not exactly what I wanted to say, though.
There was a famous writer who, when asked if he loved writing, replied, "No. but I love having written." What I wanted to say to this sweet woman was, "Are you sure? Are you sure you don't mean you love having parented?"
I love having written. And I love having parented. My favorite part of each day is when the kids are put to sleep (to bed) and Craig and I sink into the couch to watch some quality TV, like Celebrity Wife Swap, and congratulate each other on a job well done. Or a job done, at least.
Every time I write a post like this, I get emails suggesting that I'm being negative. I have received this particular message four or five times -- G, if you can't handle the three you have, why do you want a fourth?

That one always stings, and I don't think it's quite fair. Parenting is hard. Just like lots of important jobs are hard. Why is it that the second a mother admits that it's hard, people feel the need to suggest that maybe she's not doing it right? Or that she certainly shouldn't add more to her load. Maybe the fact that it's so hard means she IS doing it her own way...and she happens to be honest.
Craig is a software salesman. It's a hard job in this economy. And he comes home each day and talks a little bit about how hard it is. And I don't ever feel the need to suggest that he's not doing it right, or that he's negative for noticing that it's hard, or that maybe he shouldn't even consider taking on more responsibility. And I doubt anybody comes by his office to make sure he's ENJOYING HIMSELF. I doubt his boss peeks in his office and says: "This career goes by so fast...ARE YOU ENJOYING EVERY MOMENT IN THERE, CRAIG???? CARPE DIEM, CRAIG!"

My point is this. I used to worry that not only was I failing to do a good enough job at parenting, but that I wasn't enjoying it enough. Double failure. I felt guilty because I wasn't in parental ecstasy every hour of every day and I wasn't MAKING THE MOST OF EVERY MOMENT like the mamas in the parenting magazines seemed to be doing. I felt guilty because honestly, I was tired and cranky and ready for the day to be over quite often. And because I knew that one day, I'd wake up and the kids would be gone, and I'd be the old lady in the grocery store with my hand over my heart. Would I be able to say I enjoyed every moment? No.
But the fact remains that I will be that nostalgic lady. I just hope to be one with a clear memory. And here's what I hope to say to the younger mama gritting her teeth in line:
"It's helluva hard, isn't it? You're a good mom, I can tell. And I like your kids, especially that one peeing in the corner. She's my favorite. Carry on, warrior. Six hours till bedtime." And hopefully, every once in a while, I'll add -- "Let me pick up that grocery bill for ya, sister. Go put those kids in the van and pull on up -- I'll have them bring your groceries out."

Anyway. Clearly, Carpe Diem doesn't work for me. I can't even carpe fifteen minutes in a row, so a whole diem is out of the question.
Here's what does work for me:
There are two different types of time. Chronos time is what we live in. It's regular time, it's one minute at a time, it's staring down the clock till bedtime time, it's ten excruciating minutes in the Target line time, it's four screaming minutes in time out time, it's two hours till daddy gets home time. Chronos is the hard, slow passing time we parents often live in.
Then there's Kairos time. Kairos is God's time. It's time outside of time. It's metaphysical time. It's those magical moments in which time stands still. I have a few of those moments each day. And I cherish them.
Like when I actually stop what I'm doing and really look at Tish. I notice how perfectly smooth and brownish her skin is. I notice the perfect curves of her teeny elf mouth and her asianish brown eyes, and I breathe in her soft Tishy smell. In these moments, I see that her mouth is moving but I can't hear her because all I can think is -- This is the first time I've really seen Tish all day, and my God -- she is so beautiful. Kairos.
Like when I'm stuck in chronos time in the grocery line and I'm haggard and annoyed and angry at the slow check-out clerk. And then I look at my cart and I'm transported out of chronos. And suddenly I notice the piles and piles of healthy food I'll feed my children to grow their bodies and minds and I remember that most of the world's mamas would kill for this opportunity. This chance to stand in a grocery line with enough money to pay. And I just stare at my cart. At the abundance. The bounty. Thank you, God. Kairos.
Or when I curl up in my cozy bed with Theo asleep at my feet and Craig asleep by my side and I listen to them both breathing. And for a moment, I think- how did a girl like me get so lucky? To go to bed each night surrounded by this breath, this love, this peace, this warmth? Kairos.
These kairos moments leave as fast as they come- but I mark them. I say the word kairos in my head each time I leave chronos. And at the end of the day, I don't remember exactly what my kairos moments were, but I remember I had them. And that makes the pain of the daily parenting climb worth it.
If I had a couple Kairos moments during the day, I call it a success.
Carpe a couple of Kairoses a day.
Good enough for me.
~Glennon Melton, Momastry

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Traditions = Making One's Life, One's OWN...

 K, y'all, don't get me wrong. I have much love for my fams (both sides). I know some traditions should live on... But some of them... It's just time, you know?!
Take for instance, the New Year's Eve we had this year. I mean, it went well, and we had over 24 hours of kidless time to ourselves. That says something right there. However, we were cramming WAAAAY too much into too few hours, der. Running off to the casino around 10am, returning near 3:30ish... eating cake and leaving there 'round 4:30ish... Stopping at 2 stores for the last ingredients for our home-made sushi-feast.... MAKING Maki rolls (hello - takes mucho time!)... shoveling the aforementioned grub into our faces to make it DT in time for the comedy club... and all the while - wishing we had planned better. Time flies as it is. It REALLY flies when you're havin' fun - that's no joke. And when you as a couple receive the glorious gesture from beloved family to care for your kids, freeing you for spontaneity and what should be non-schedule-having time... you take advantage of said quality coupledom! I kinda felt like, it simply wasn't coming together the way I'd envisioned... and so did J. So - we vowed not to let our NYE be enveloped by the plans of others any longer. I likey! 
Thankfully - the comedians were so freakin' hilarious, I cried [from laughter] (and snorted, but that's between us) at least 2 dozen times throughout the show! Gotta love that! No better way to ring in the new year than with oodles of from-the-gut, true belly-laughter. That helped, but leading up to it - I started to realize I was being tested. You know... she can talk the talk, but can she walk the walk?? She's always 'preaching' about all this "happiness comes from within" crap... Let's see if that flies now... C'mon fate. Let's see if we can get her to break! I CAN walk the walk, and I WILL - yo! So der. I showed fate who's boss. I'm in charge (well, somewhat.) See - I saw it for what it was. I let out some of my frustration over the matters that were no longer in my 'control'. (Sometimes 'control' is perceived, you see...) I figured out some issues. (Here's the thing. I already was housing some pent-up crabbies over various occurrences recently.) Once I got it out... I decidedly made the most of our time, with J's help, and we went out and had a blast! Then, we wanted to kick something off my bucket list that eve... I wanted to be out at the stroke of midnight. (I know, weird that I never have.) I've been with friends, we've been "in" celebrating in various ways over the years... but I've never actually been out somewhere to hear the cheering and the kazoos, and watch the confetti fly. So - I wanted to just be there during that. Turns out, we didn't plan well for that either. We took a lovely river-drive (best enjoyed without whining tots in the backseat), and found ourselves having a drink at a local spot - that has now completely gone all hipster on us. (CAN I be clear? There is a difference between hippies, and hipSTERS. Thank you. I know I'm a peace-lovin' freaky-deek... but I'm no hipster! I truly don't have a problem with these folks, but I don't quite fit the bill, and I knew this wasn't our 'venue' for ringing in the fresh set of 365. That's all.) So we couldn't figure out WHERE to go. Jeeshe. I guess we're getting old - we don't even know where to head for a loud new year count-down. Ha! Must laugh that one off... We are parents now, ya know.... So the frustration kind of ensued, but we made the most of it, knowing that a new year rolls around EVERY year... right? So next year - we will plan accordingly! 
But bottom line? We had fun! We laughed. We danced (at home). We goofed around. We made the most of our night together. In spite of it all. IN your face, fate! That's what this blog is all about, really. Recording the joy, and making light of the craziness, that is parenting... er - LIFE. 

TIP: Rolling with it is good. Planning is good. A little of both... is VERY good.
A QUOTE (or 2!): 
~ “Anyone who says sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain” ~Unkown
~ "The bad news is, time flies. The good news is, you're the pilot." ~Michael Altshuler
WHIDFML: Joel and I made a 'resolution' to plan our future New Year's Eve the way we wish - without cramming it all into one day. I mean - a whole new year is upon us, after all.... the plans surrounding another unnamed event shall ensue on another date in future years, so as to include the children, and avoid the chaotic rush. Cheers!

Happy New Year.... I Think??

Where does a 5-year-old come UP with this stuff?? It took a solid hour to get the girl settled down enough to fall asleep... as she wailed about the fact that she was certain that she didn't want to be "a mom" anymore - after seeing some woman screaming in pain while giving birth on TV. (Thanks, grandparents...) Couple this drama with the fact that she's sure she doesn't want to grow up now, as growing up means 'getting old', and 'dying'. Deep thoughts, anyone? 
Her little sister chimed in with an exuberant, "Ooooh - My WANT to die, so I can go to heaven and see Jesus!" WOW. Okay - wait a minute. How does a parent walk this tight-rope without falling?? Yeah - let's see... we must assure one child that dying is a part of life, but that we hope to live a long, healthy life on earth first, and accomplish all of our goals... AND, stress to the other child the part about the 'long healthy life of accomplishing goals' BEFORE looking forward (??) to death, and that it's part of God's plan - and we don't choose when we die... OY! Where is that damn parent-manual again?? I thought there was something about this under chapter "Aw shit. Now What?!" 
After much (attempted) comforting, prayer, assurances about things like, say, epidurals, and relating the fact that we all "go home to heaven one day"- followed by how we should take the opportunity to live life in a way that's meaningful to us - and set all kinds of goals (i.e. Disneyland, playing at the park, going camping, fishing, seeing fireworks.... etc. Only the important things, of course!) FINALLY - she began to calm down (somewhat.) She was still a bit tearful, and her little sis, sleeping below her in the bunk, made this request: "Mommy... My don't want my sister to be crying....(pause) Or dying... (another pause) or getting old!" I assured her that she was not currently dying, nor getting 'old' - but that I couldn't promise she would stop crying - at least not just yet. KIDS!
I had to hand it to Joel and myself... we handled it pretty well, if I do say so... This is what we get for allowing them to stay up later than the norm for the holidays... It adds up, I tell you. That missing sleep leads to some craziness that you just don't think should exist!

TIP: When they are afraid - you know - of monsters in the closet, or spooky sounds made by the wind.... or when your barely-old-enough-to-know-what-dying-even-means-yet child starts fearing 'old age' (6 or 7?!) and dying one day... Reminding them to focus on the fun and exciting adventures they want to experience while here does seem to help. Give 'em something good to think about. Then, RUN! (Kidding about the "run" part!)
A QUOTE: "It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped." ~Tony Robbins
WHIDFML: Made a batch of new gluten-free CHOCOLATE cookies, thanks to a good friendy!! Woot!