One amusement park.
and one big can of whoop-ass.
Beta boy is beginning the transition to –
excuse me while I breathe into this paper bag –
Some of you may be thinking “Isn’t Beta Boy a wee bit young for middle school?”, and to you I would say “YES!”. However, here on our island IN Rhode Island, the elementary school goes from Pre-K to fourth grade, middle school is fifth to eighth, and then the kids go off island for high school.
Have you seen a fifth grader recently? How about an eighth grader? There’s about four years, forty swear words, experience in at least three “bases” and a smattering of facial hair that separate the two.
It’s not that I think he’ll come home from his first day suddenly a foot taller and a heap surlier, it’s just that it puts the next step of his growing up into motion.
We’re still in the years where, while I know that there’s a whole feeder stream of information he gets from his buds, he still has an innocence about him.
Take this conversation we had yesterday, for example:
Beta Boy: “Mom, I think I know what I want my new e-mail address to be.”
Beta Mom: “Oh?”
Beta Boy: “Yup. Stud Boy @…….”
Beta Mom: “Really? Do you know what a stud is?”
Beta Boy: “Duh. (editor’s note – I’m pretty sure he didn’t say “duh”, but I’m positive it was implied.) It’s what they call the lego piece that other things are built on.”
mmm-hmmm. I will spare you the part where I delicately tried to explain what the LESSER known use of the word might be, and how people who saw the e-mail address “stud boy” might not come looking to him for building advice.
I’m not ready for the whole “let him fly and find his wings, blah blah blah” thing. I think I’d much rather keep in the nest, feed him regurgitated worms and run anyone over anyone who bothers him with my car, thank you very much.
Overkill? perhaps. Feeding my neurosis here is the fact that both Beta Dad and I work in education. We KNOW too much. We’ve SEEN too much. We’ve SMELLED too much. Of course, we’ve also seen the range of parenting that accompanies such behaviors, and while we know that there are no guarantees, we feel like we’re ahead of the game most of the time.
Well, we’re at least in the game. I think the secret is to just keep making up new rules as they come along, and take all in stride.
me and stud boy.
Update – Well, I DID in fact get off my duff and help prepare for yesterday’s road trip. Beta Dad, like a champ, awoke to find himself in the midst of a preparatory whirlwind, and gamely stepped in to help. Between the two of us, we laundered, packed, cleaned, and prepped. We were a dynamic duo of organization.
And then our trip got cancelled.
Our friends called about mid-day to let us know that a stomach bug had set up camp at their house, and as much as we love them, we don’t love them enough to share their germs. Beta Boy and Beta Girl were heartbroken, and Beta Dad and I were mighty disappointed as well. We will reschedule and go another time.
However, that did leave us with an entire pitcher of Sangria and a whole night to ourselves. 🙂
I think you know what I mean.
And what I mean is we got tipsy, watched tv and fell asleep at 9:30.
We’re planning a short car trip this weekend out to Albany to see old friends. I have a list of 27 things I need to do before I go to work for a bit – Beta Dad and the kids will pick me up and we’ll drive straight from there.
I ride the organizational pendulum to both extremes. I’m usually uber-prepared for such an adventure, or not at all. Beta Boy and I went on a school field trip to Ellis Island last week, and the night before I stayed up pressing and putting out our clothes, prepping the coffee maker, pre-slicing our bagels and stocking my backpack with every item needed for entertainment and the unforeseen emergency. If someone had a sore throat – I had a lozenge. Car sickness? Dramamine. Bored? Mad Libs. Cut? Band Aid. Hungry? Thirsty? Dyslexic? Anemic? I was a machine ready for anything.
Today, not so much. I’ve been up for an hour, and so far I’ve spent most of my time pondering my next move in several VERY CLOSE Facebook scrabulous games, staring at the open fridge for a few minutes considering the nutritional value of left-over macaroni and cheese, and writing this very entry.
It’s not to say I’m totally unprepared. I DID spent about an hour last night making Sangrias to take with us. This particular recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of fresh ginger juice. (For those of you taking notes, ginger is not terribly juicy). So….clean underwear? No, not really. Drinks to die for? I’m all over it.
Here’s my plan – while everyone sleeps, I’ll goof off. In about a half an hour, I’ll rush into our room looking very busy and overwhelmed, wake up Beta Dad, and say, “Look I JUST CAN’T get ready for this trip all by myself!”. If all goes according to plan, and he wakes up the same generous human being he went to bed as, he’ll say “You don’t have to do it all, what can I do to help?”
“Well, I hate to ask, I mean, there’s not even that much left to do, but since you INSIST, could you clean the house, pack, finish up the dishes, organize the car, charge the computer, pick a movie and confirm with the dog sitter?”
But only because he INSISTED!
But I’d rather go with “‘s’up?”.
I’m setting up a new house. I used to play on Blogger Street, but then all the cool kids moved to WordPress Avenue, and I was the geek left playing all alone talking to the squirrels and eating paste. So here I go.
Will I write on a regular basis? Who knows. I do know that, contrary to popular belief, Practice does not make perfect. It does, however, make permanent.
So here we go again. It’s messy. It’s funny. It’s frustrating. And it’s all good enough.
As you may have grasped from my last post, I have gladly said goodbye to the clumsy confines of infancy and welcome with open arms the delightful “middle age” of our children. Just young enough not to have attitude, old enough to hold up their end of a fantastic conversation. Young enough to still bend to our will, old enough to use the bathroom on their own. Young enough to still sneak in a good snuggle, old enough to see movies we actually like.
However, I have found myself, as of late, feeling some sadness and nostalgia as the last bits of their early childhood slip away. There are things I am truly sorry to see go. Rocking my kids to sleep. Splashing at bath time. Sippy cups and little Ziploc bags of cheerios.
One of the favorite things I will miss is the simple idiosyncrasy of our children’s speech. Our son has outgrown his sweet lisp, which shined magnificently as he rocked out to his favorite song, “Hey now, you’re a rock thtar” by that band, Thmathmouth.
In the case of our daughter, all of her “K” sounds would come out as the letter “t”. “Goin’ to the park to fly a tite” “Gonna have some birthday take” etc. etc.
What would bring us and anyone within earshot to tears is when she would get on a rant about her absolute favorite subject.
“We have two titties in our house.”
“Do you have any titties?
“My mommy had an orange titty, but it died.”
“My titties names are Ella and Dizzy.”
“Ooh, I like your titties.”
“Can I pet your titty?”
Quite frankly, I’m not that comfortable typing any more examples, but let me tell you there’s no better way to get to know a stranger than to have your youngster engage them in a conversation about the friendliness of their titties.
And I will miss it.
We celebrated Beta Boy’s tenth birthday this past week. He spent the day reflecting on his “first decade” and contemplating life in the “double digits”. (He then went down to the club to play bridge with Marty and Sol; they hit the early bird and called it a day.)
I’ve been looking back and thinking about how daunting his first few months were. I had no idea at the time how common my fears and insecurities were. I was not a graceful new mom. I wore motherhood like a wool sweater that had gone through the dryer. It didn’t fit right, it was itchy and uncomfortable, and I felt as though I was always struggling with it.
The worst for me were the grocery store visits.
Grocery store visits with my newborn had to be timed with the precision and skill of a military manuever, as he was nursing every hour and a half or so. And if the bar wasn’t open when he was thirsty, well he was going to raise holy hell, and I would have to suffer the angry glares of other shoppers, who clearly had NEVER HAD CHILDREN. Oh no, that would not do.
So I would feed him.
One hour, thirty minutes to go.
Then change him.
Then get him in the forty-seven layers he had to wear because it was winter.
One hour, fifteen minutes.
Then he’d poop.
Undo layers, change diaper, redo layers.
One hour, five minutes.
Run to bathroom and pee (knowing that this might be my only chance for the remainder of the day). No poop for mommy. No time. Make a mental note – remember to poop when baby’s older.
One hour to go.
Untangle straps on baby carrier. Strap baby in.
Take precious minute weighing the pros and cons of letting him stay in his poop.
Conscience wins, take baby out, undo layers, change diaper, redo layers, strap baby in.
Fifty minutes to go.
Grab diaper bag, make sure it has the following contents:
Diapers (the need for which I think we’ve already demonstrated)
Wipes (good god, are there ever enough?)
Binky – take extra five minutes looking for a binky. We DO NOT leave the house without a binky.
“What to Expect The First Year”– should my baby come down with cradle cap, whooping cough or thrush during our shopping expedition.
A change of clothes – in case we are invited to dine with the captain at his table and we need something more appropriate for evening. Or if his diaper leaks.
AT LEAST five different developmentally stimulating baby toys.
Forty minutes to go.
Put carrier in car and drive to store. (Let’s not even think about how I look in my Winnie the pooh sweatpants, glasses, sneakers and baseball cap.)
Arrive at store – take carrier and bag out of car, find a cart, spend a good couple of minutes trying to figure out how exactly the carries fits into cart.
Thirty minutes to go.
Try to remember what it was we needed. Wading through sleep deprivation, looking for clarity. I think I started a list. Where was the list? What was on the list? Food. Yes, there was food. What food? What to cook? How to cook? We need meat, yes meat. Look, there’s some pepperoni – that’s meat! More protein. A dairy product. Look how pretty the Wispride Cheese Spread is, all orange and yellow and pink. Perfect. Oh, how proud Beta Dad will be that I am shopping. I am AWESOME. What else? Vegetables – we need vegetables.
Baby gets restless – my heart starts to race – must go faster. Twenty minutes to go.
Where was I? Vegetables. Oh, look, there’s a whole end cap with canned olives. Olives – plants – vegetables, right. Good. What else?
And so forth and so on. Baby fusses. Lactation begins. Time runs out.
I race my cart full of pepperoni, cheese spread, canned olives, not to mention cool aid, taco seasoning, macadamia nuts, and applesauce through the check-out and race home.
Un-strap screaming baby. Leave groceries in car. Feed screaming baby. Change diaper. Remember that there were groceries in the car. Get groceries. Wonder what to make out of pepperoni, taco seasoning, olives, Wispride and apple sauce.