Monthly Archives: July 2012

pearls of wisdom…

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“Mom, guess what Mary said to me…? The doll asked me.  “What?”  I replied.  “Mary said  she thought I was going through early puberty…” “Like she would know…” I scoffed back to her.  “That’s what I said to her too.  How would she even know…?  “Doll, your cousin most likely overheard some adults talking about something else, then your name came up and she threw the two together.”  “You’re probably right” the doll agreed.

Last night I had a great talk with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while.  One of the topics that came up was the above conversation I had with the doll.  Since she’s going into fifth grade this year, she will begin noticing all the changes happening not only to herself, but also the girls in her class.  In some ways she already has.  As her parent, I was lamenting the “change” that’s coming, basically because my baby is growing up. “I was told by her doctor to expect her first cycle to arrive within the next year and a half” I said shaking my head in my hands.  “Well that’s not bad, I was in third grade and so was my daughter.”

After picking my jaw up off the ground I said, “Wha?  Third Grade!!  You were only eight years old?”  I was flabbergasted. “All the girls in my family started in and around third grade.” she added.  Can you imagine?  “O’ My God! Your daughter had the ability to get pregnant at eight years of age.” I said incredulously.  “Nowadays, they  give girls medication that halts the early onset of puberty.  But back then, it was perfectly normal.” She replied.

I sat there in complete disaray.  “Normal for whom?”  For the past two years, I’ve been stressing–trying to wrap my head around the kids upcoming and arriving puberty.  I remember when I was going through it myself I thought “This isn’t the big deal everyone says it is…” but as I look back and cringe, I know differently.  My children are physically changing as are their attitudes and mannerisms.  Soon my nice, sweet little “hanger-onner” doll will want nothing to do with me–and it all begins with puberty!  Yet here sat my friend,  alieveating my fears simply because her family’s biology produced early puberty; in a sense telling me not to worry and stress.  Then our conversation moved onto the next topic and (more) laughter ensued as we filled one another in on what’s been happening in our lives.

When I arrived home two hours later, the hubby said, “Wow, that was a long walk you went on…” Smiling I replied, “Not nearly long enough… but exactly what I needed.”

TYJNPP!

start, stop…start all over again…

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As the nature of things at my house goes, any time we start a project, we shouldn’t stop until we reach the endpoint right? When you throw  two relaxed distractact-able  adults in with a boy who would prefer to watch TV, play on his DS or just about anything that doesn’t involve physically moving and a doll who  is eager to help; you have the current state of home repairs at my house….aka: not completely finished.

Last week we began painting the boy’s bedroom with a bold new color; that is until we put some paint on the wall and decided the bold color wasn’t the best choice. “That’s the color I chose, I think it’s fine” said the boy. “Aren’t you afraid you’ll mistake the wall for the door?” his father replied.  “Dad, like that would happen” the boy argued.  “Considering you don’t pay attention to most things, I can definitely see that happen.” His dad retorted.   Needless to say, we stopped, rethought, repurchased new paint and hope to restart on Tuesday.  The boy had little say in the new color, though I was nice enough to show him how it would look, prior to the purchase.  Oh, and he found his first quote to decorate his wall….”Oh Bother!”  Kind of ironic, don’t ya think?

While purchasing paint for the boy’s room, we also decided to splurge and buy enough for two stairwells, up and down.  The upstairs hasn’t been painted since we remodeled, prior to the boy’s birth.  The back stairwell I think was painted shortly after the house was built.  As you can see, us relaxed, distract-able adults are really procrastinators at heart.

“When do you want to get started with all this?” Hubby asked as we wandered in with our newly purchased paints.  “Next year sound good to you?” I said sarcastically in return.  “Seriously…” He remarked, ignoring my reply.  “Tuesday.  I have Tuesday off this week.”  “Alright, that sounds about right”. “Um, honey….when are you going to restart and finish the kitchen?” I thought I’d pose to him since we seemed to be in a house remodel kind of mood.  “Next year sound good to you?” he mimicked my previous answer.

“A**hole” I replied.

the traveller…

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The other day, while hanging out with Mary Alice, my cell phone rang.   I noticed the call was coming from home and answered.  “Hello” I said into the receiver.  “MOOOOOOMMM!” came a disjointed and very upset doll.  “Doll?  What’s wrong?  Calm down!” I said into the phone.  She was hysterically crying, almost inconsolable over the line. I  heard her feeble attempt at taking a deep breath before she continued.  “MOOOM, I AN’T ND HER…SHE’S MISS….”  “Honey, I don’t understand what you’re saying.  Calm down, come on, breath and say it again.” I replied.  “Mom, this morning when I woke up (the doll and her brother have invaded my living room to sleep in front of the window air conditioners) I watched a little TV before I realized I haven’t seen “Brownie” (Hamster number 2) for a while and so I got up and went to check on her…”  “Oh no…will I need another defective merchandise box?” I wonder, before she continued.  “But when I went to look in her cage, I realized she had gotten out because she ate a hole in her food bag and now I can’t find HER!!” With her exclamation on “HER” a fresh bout of tears and hyperventilating began.

Understand, I’m at work and cannot leave. Meanwhile there is a large rodent wandering around my house.  I think if anyone should be allowed to cry and hyperventilate, it’s me.

“CALM DOWN!! I said into the phone.  “Crying and carrying on will not help you find it”. “Mom, brownie is not an “it” she’s a girl”.  “Dear God, this is not the time correct my use of semantics!” I think. “Did you see the rodent before you went to bed last night?” I asked.  “Yes”.  “Well then, she couldn’t have gotten far. I bet she’s still in your room somewhere” I said to her, but wonder, whom I’m trying to convince: the doll or me?  “Well the boy is in my room right now looking for her” the doll informed.  “Good. Listen, if the dog had found the rodent, she would have brought it over to you to play fetch with, right?”  “uh huh” she agreed.  “So odds are it’s wandering around your room.  Go in and help the boy” I finished.  “Okay, mom, I call you if we find her”.

I hang up the phone and can’t decide which outcome I’d prefer…the dog finding the rodent or the doll.

Two minutes later my cell phone rings and once again the doll is on the other end.  “Did you find your rodent?”  I asked.  “Mom, you’ll never guess in a million years where we found Brownie!!”  “Where?” I ask.  “Well, you know, yesterday I took both cages (the rodent lives in 2 adjoining cages) apart so I could clean them out.  Well the red cage is easy to dry so that’s the one I put Brownie in and I left the other one on the bathroom floor to dry.”  “Doll, what’s this got to do with finding your rodent?” I ask, perplexed, but not surprised, by her long explanation.  “Well, Brownie usually sleeps in the wheel of the green cage.  That’s where we found her…in the wheel of the green cage, on the floor in the bathroom.”  “You have got to be kidding me!” I replied, dumbfounded that a dumb rodent, upset over its living condition, forced its way out of one cage to go in search of the other.”

“Your rodent is a goofball” I said back to her.  “That may be true, but at least we found her safe and sound” the doll replied with a laugh.  True…

Sigh, I guess that defective merchandise box will have to wait for another day…

Summer things….

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I received a call the other day from a mom, frantically searching for someone who could print up the school supply list for the upcoming school year for her.  “Seriously?” I thought.  “It’s only mid July.”   Last night I printed up the list for the boy and doll and it appears, I’m one of the last one’s to do so.  All over my Facebook page are names of stores where I can find the best bang for the school supply buck.  We’re not even out of July and I’m already screwed.  Never did I believe my July summer would be filled with school supply shopping…but here we are.  If there is one positive for school supply shopping in July, it’s that most stores are air conditioned–which in oppressive heat, is a good thing.

In the spirit of holding onto summer until the last possible moment…. I thought today’s blog could be an ode as to what we did on our (short) summer vacation….  If you guess “Spent loads of time in and around the pool” you would be correct.

childhoods applied…

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Believe it or not the kids go back to school in three weeks.  THREE WEEKS!!!!  “Mom, that’s just not fair!” the doll tells me repeatedly.  I smile and think, “Fair to whom?  Sounds fair to me….”  But I digress.  Yesterday she handed me the Humane society pamphlet hoping I’d say yes to another workshop.  If the workshops were free, she could have spent her summer there.  Unfortunately, I have to find other interests for her and the boy, say like….finishing their summer reading assignment and subsequent book report.  Neither one is particularly thrilled about doing them.

The doll told me the other day that my childhood was much more fun than hers….  “What makes you believe that?” I asked.  “Well first of all, you didn’t have the boy as your brother…” she said with a smirk.  “True, but I had your Uncle Danny.  I think you win!”  Unconvinced, she continued… “You could go anywhere you wanted…” “I was not allowed to cross the street unless I asked for permission.  If I did cross the street and got caught, I was grounded and sent to my room or spanked.”  “Really?”  “Yup” I confirmed.  “Well you had a swimming pool!” The doll added, I think more as a way of convincing herself.

Considering the fact we were in my dad’s swimming pool while this conversation was taking place didn’t seem to make a difference to the doll. Nor did the fact that 9 times out of 10, we are the only ones who swim at the pool on most days.  If a pool was her bone of contention, then she’s clearly suffering from Diva wanna be status.  For that, she’ll just have to make do with what we have.

“Um the pool didn’t arrive until I was in high school.  We also didn’t have central air conditioning and in the summer time, after I was dressed and fed for the day, I was kicked out of the house until lunch time, then kicked out again until dinner.”  I let those last statements sink in for a moment before adding, “I had a great childhood doll, no doubt, but your childhood is right on par, if not better than mine…” “How do you figure that? she asked.  “Hmm, let’s see, the only vacations we ever really took were to seminars so my dad could keep his license up to date.  That meant we sat, bored in a hotel room most of the day waiting for him to come back.  Plus you have to remember, this was long before iPods, cellphones and video games and the TV only had three stations.”

She fell silent for a few minutes, swimming around the pool before she finally said, “You know what mom?” “What’s that doll?”  I think you had a childhood that was good for when you grew up and I’m having a childhood that’s good for when I’m growing up.”  Smiling back I added, “I couldn’t agree with you more…”

Brave…doll….

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When I was a kid, Nazareth Hall  in Grand Rapids, Ohio, was a boys military academy run by the Ursuline Nuns during the school year.  But during the summertime, the campus opened up to become Camp Lady Glen; an all girls camp.  My dad, a Podiatrist, treated all the religious in our area for free; so the Ursuline nuns in turn offered the summer camp to my family as a way of repayment.  My older sisters were blessed with the opportunity to attend from the time they were five up through their sophomore year in high school.  I however only attended until I was ten, as the Ursuline nuns could no longer afford to keep the site open.

What I remember most about the camp was the campus the main building sat upon.  Four acres of fun that afforded us girls the chance to go horse back riding, camping and boating upon the Maumee river; among many other activities.   But the one activity from my camping days which brought on a large wave of nostalgia last week was archery.

left eye dominant doll…

The doll’s girl scout troop traveled to Bass Pro’s extravaganza shop and had a lesson in archery, complete with target practice in their archer room.  As the instructor explained, the popularity in archery among girls has skyrocketed recently due to the Hunger Game books in addition to the Disney movie Brave.  Mary, the troop’s leader smiled and said, “I can’t believe how excited the girls are to learn something ‘old school’–it’s so cool”.  She was correct in her assessment.  I’ve never seen the girls listen so intently.

After testing if the girls were right or left eye dominant (the doll, like her mother, is left eye and right-handed, which meant we shot left-handed), the instructor led us into the archer room and allowed the girls to shoot five arrows–three with help, two on their own.  Once all the girls finished, the instructor opened it up to any parents who chose to stay.   Though the bow was modernized next to the one I had at camp, as the instructor handed me the arrow and bow, all the smells and excitement of my summer camp came flooding back to me.  For a brief moment, I was the same age as my doll at summer camp.

Ahhh yes, but as an adult, these moments were fleeting.  I shot poorly, though I did manage to hit a deer in the leg and obtain a bruise on my right forearm from the bow’s recoil.   All the girls were gracious in their appraisal and clapped once the lesson was complete.  Afterward, the doll and the rest of the girls were happy about the homemade ice cream they received as a treat, following the lesson.   But the real winner that night was me.  I vividly recalled my fun days at summer camp through my daughter’s own experiences.

sentiment given, sentiment lost…

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The boy sat down at the kitchen table the other day, across from where I was typing.  I had just come home from work and was checking email among other duties.  “Mom, we need to have a serious talk about the doll” he said.  Peering up over my laptop I asked, “What about?” Taking a deep breath he said, “She has a serious superiority complex when it comes to me”.  Smiling I asked, “Oh you mean how she bosses you around to do chores around the house?”  “Yes!” he replied.  I laughed.  I couldn’t help it.  “Well boy, listen, you gave up the right to being the responsible one a long time ago.  Until you decide to be in charge-which means getting the jobs/chores done, then she is the one I’m going to put in charge….”.  Sitting in silence he looked back at me and then said, “Well alright, she can be in charge…but she doesn’t have to be so mean about it.”

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When the boy was two years old, he informed us he was no longer the boy…he was Kitty Voman.  Huh?  After a month of trying to figure out what he was saying, we realized he was saying he was Christopher Robin…

The boy is the most sentimental creature on the planet.  He comes by it honestly, as his parents tend to find sentiment in everything.  He does not like change at all…so we tend to plant seeds with him, so over time he can be ready when the time comes.  Last March I said, “I think it’s time to update your bedroom.”  He looked around and said “But I like my room the way it is.” “I know baby, but the walls haven’t been painted since your dad and I bought the house. It’s time to update this room. How about we write quotes from your favorite books on the wall, as decoration?”  This seemed to go over well as he contemplated the change.

Over the course of the months,  had asked him to begin boxing up his books, clearing away the clutter so we could begin the process.  He dug his heals in and wouldn’t cooperate.  Last week I began clearing out his room.  Six packing boxes filled with books later, all that was left to do was remove a Winnie the Pooh border that snaked across the middle of his room.  “Can’t you just leave pooh bear?” he asked.  “I’ll” make you a deal.  How about we take a portion and frame it?”  This seemed like a good compromise for him and we began the process of removing the border.

The first couple pieces ripped and tore.  I looked over at the boy, he was in tears.  “Buddy, relax, we have this whole section over here yet to do.  We’ll be able to salvage something…” I said, but he was not reassured. He ran into the kitchen and got his dad to enter the fray. Hubby entered the room and took charge carefully removing the last of the paper.  As we stood there and watched I turned and looked at the boy and doll.  Reddened eyes gave way to tears falling on his cheeks.  The doll, ever the caretaker for her brother, hugged and hung onto him as tears made their way down her face as well.  Trying to be stoic, I couldn’t help keeping my tears from falling too. “Mom, how long has that border been up?” the boy asked.  “Your Uncle Donny put it up.  It was a Monday and I was out to here (using my hands, I indicated how large my belly was at the time) pregnant with you.  My sisters came over and helped me ready the nursery for the impending arrival of you.”  As I recalled the event, a wave of nostalgia struck me hard;  only yesterday I had this tiny thing in my arms and now here he is standing next to me, taller than me.  When dad removed the last piece of border, intact, he turned and handed it to the boy, as small tears rained down his face too. 

Perhaps it’s that last chapter of Winnie the Pooh, by A. A. Milne; the one about Christopher Robin growing up and leaving the hundred acre woods.  I still haven’t been able to read that without crying.  Painting and updating the boy’s room to accommodate a teenager is tantamount to him leaving the woods.  Funny thing, my boy doesn’t want to leave…and I can’t say as I blame him.