Posted on August 16, 2011
“You know what I mean jellybean,” I say to Bri a few weeks ago.
Immediately, she smirkly replies, “I know we’re very OUT jellybeans, Mom.”
I spend so much time trying to extract the positive from every situation that I sometimes neglect to see that I’m completely out. Mom’s aren’t unlike their kids, in a way. Just like a toddler trying to play with every toy and read ever book before nap-time, we’ll try to cram our day so full of to-do lists that by the end of the day we’re left wondering…#1, why we’re so crabby…and #2, why we wake up drooling on the couch dead asleep at 9:30pm. You’d think, in telling my little people every day how they need their rest I’d follow suite myself. Oh, so not so.
2 family weddings in to a 4 family wedding of a summer…with volunteer coaching for XC beginning, pre-school and ballerina school about to start…and 2 races left to get that sub 20 5K finish I’ve been dreaming about every morning run/workout…this last stretch of summer is looking to be a caffeine induced zombie fest. Hey! At least I’ll be naturally festive for Halloween this year…which around here starts in a couple of weeks thanks to how much money Cedar Point makes off of Halloweekends. I think it starts earlier every year. Even my 3 year old can feel it coming…she let ‘Skeleton Jack’ play on a continuous loop yesterday while the rain fell down.
Regardless of all of the activities I fill my life with, I seem to always find room to squeeze in an extra commitment. Like when I feel like I can’t do one more 400 repeat, but nevertheless seem to bust out one more. ‘No more jellybeans’ just isn’t built into my DNA. Always a will. Always a way.
So, what happens when the jellybeans undeniably run out? My kids fall asleep mid-stride. Floor. Lawn. Swing. Car. Couch. Necks cricked in the most awkwardly stiff ways…snoring in dreamland. Sometimes they flip out right before it happens. The other day my 3 year old started crying over how much she ‘very does not like’ when her little sister looks at her with a messy face. Yikes.
Moms? Well, when I’m tapped out beyond my knowledge I usually have a good cry (over nothing or something) or extra glass (or 2) of Merlot. But no one typically reaches out in sympathy or feels sorry for the crying, exhausted mom like they do the 3 year old. Just crazy looks…lots of crazy looks….except from other moms of 3 year old’s who relate.
It’s easy to remain positive about the number of jellybeans left in the jar. It’s much harder to come to grips with the fact that they’re aren’t any left. There are certain physical…and emotional…barriers that just eat up all the jellybeans sometimes. Some things simply require patience while we wait for the solution to reveal itself.
What I have learned this summer is that each time…in each area of my life…when the jellybeans run out…someone is there to put more back in the jar. The sunrise at the end of my street after a run each morning…jellybean. My family…jellybeans. My running partners-…jellybeans. Coaching…love those jellybeans. My friends…jellybean-heads. My daughters’ and their giggle attacks…jar full.
It seems that every time I’m in need of a jellybean there is someone there to hand one out. Through the ginormous task of being a stay at home mom, on top of the things I feel compelled to volunteer for and be involved in…I could not do it with out lots of jellybeans…and my morning cup of coffee….
Thank You, Jellybeans…
Happy Sugar Rush. 🙂
The Very First Birthday…Sprint to the Finish.
Posted on June 13, 2011
“Mom,” says my oldest, Brianne….”IT’S going to be LO LO’S VERY FIRST BIRTHDAY!!!!!” (Not sure why she adds the word ‘very’ to every phrase…but it’s too cute to correct.)
Well I’m out of babies…and hoping to stay that way through this next baby bug (people I know getting pregnant everywhere!!) All of you….keep that contagious baby fever away!!!! lol
As my 3 year old voluntarily fed her little sister spoonfuls of Cheerios this morning, I teared up reflecting on how fast it’s gone. Quickly snapped back to breakfast time with a loud and aggravated, “MOM!!!!! LO LO IS TOUCHING ME WITH HER VERY GROSS HANDS!!!”…Oh, how fast it goes.
I”m pretty sure I tacked a good minute on to my time just meandering around the congested start of the Kelley’s Island 5K yesterday to find my husband, Dad, and 2 little girls to wave to as the race began. As disappointed as I was in yesterday’s race time, I have to admit I cracked a smile out there more than once. It felt great to exchange the good luck hug with my Mom, who races 5K’s with me ever summer (and ran her best time in 2 years…go Mom!!!)
“Damn,” I thought, “Does it feel good NOT to be pregnant…
Then to see my little about-to-be-one year old, held up high by her Daddy so she can see Mommy, start to wiggle and giggle and clap as she connects gazes with me out their running… And my oldest, now 3, approaching a clearly disappointed post-race Mommy motioning for me to bend down to her level for something important. Important, indeed….a giant hug (big squeezes, as they’re called in the Bucher house.) and an enthusiastic…
“You know what Mommy? You’re the BEST Mommy EVER. BEST MOMMY EVER.”…totally awesome.
Finding me in the race yesterday is only one of a ton of connections little Lo has started to make in the past couple of weeks leading up to her ‘Very First Birthday’. Lauren (nicknamed Lo Lo), the baby of the family, is just not a baby anymore. First came her first…and still only…tooth. Then came the pig tails in place of the ‘growing-out-in-a-very-weird-way baby hair that I refuse to cut. Then she decided sitting in the sand to play with toys…and sticks…and rocks…then try to eat the rocks…and the sticks…and the sand…. was now boring. I should be relieved I’m off “what’s in her mouth, now” retrieval duty…however she’s now making laps around my lounge chair and toddling back and forth between the chair and her stroller…testing out her balance and finding new and more interesting things to gum.
2 weeks ago she wanted nothing to do with cold water…meaning anything slightly cooler than the air. This past week…she wants in. It doesn’t matter if it’s hose water on the slip and slide (which happens to be a bigger hit with her than her older sister)…she wants in it…and she wants to drink it all. Lake, Chlorine, Hose,Bath…no preference. And today…she sucked down Icee right out of the straw. (Ha! I knew you knew how to do that! Anyone know how to make milk taste like Icee???)
Ugh…and the first steps…I mean…YAY… the first steps!!! I forgot that The Very First Birthday means the all elusive Very First Step. Let the back pains begin….again.
It dawned on me how similar my sprint to the finish of a race mirrors my kid’s mentality with milestones. They just want to figure it out so they can be more independent. I just want them to figure it out so I can move on to a new kind of back pain and give the current situation it’s well deserved respite. However, with the second kid…it’s a “Did she just do that already?!?!?…” string full of reactions. Sit up, crawl, stand, walk…soon I’ll be chasing down 2…most likely taking off in 2 different directions. Like I said…different kind of pain.
As fast as I want to finish my races, it’s the body of work in the previous 3 miles that I’m most proud of. Same with my kiddos. Lo will finally get it…that first belly crawl (backwards in Lo’s case), the first day I came in to get her in the morning to find her standing in her crib (St. Patty’s Day), and her first little steps that are happening right now…and then immediately look to me to share in her excitement. High fives all around.
Quickly, that first year full of baby milestones turned into it’s own sprint to the finish. Look at you, Lo. You’re not a baby, anymore. Her one toothed-pig tails sticking straight up- wobbly legged- smile say’s it all. “Look at me, Mom. I’m not a baby anymore.” (Or, maybe she just smiles that big because the little hair she has is pulled very tight to accomplish pig tails….) I’m glad I choose to make a scrapbook for her first year…going through the entire process memory by memory reaffirms how quickly my Baby Lo has changed since she joined us last Father’s Day…and I’m most proud of that body of work…and ready to sit back and watch the calamity for as long as I’m blessed to.
I do want to watch little Lo Lo sprint to the finish one day…but for right now I just want her to be 1.
Happy Birthday, Lo Lo.
Happy Milestones, Everyone.
(I’m so tearing up right now…bye-bye baby stage…smile/tear.)
Posted on June 9, 2011
“Eat your Cheerio’s before they get soggy.”
After a brisk morning run, that’s how my day begins …every day.
We all endure tests throughout life. They shape our character and reflect all the repeated quotations that have stuck to and motivated us throughout our lives.
“Be a leader.” “Don’t Worry.” “Just Run.” “Don’t judge.” “Be Happy.”
We accumulate all this knowledge and then start scheming on how to get our kids to catch on to it faster than we did. And then the kids arrive…and everything we ‘planned’ to do becomes comical when blasted in the scope of reality. Things that were once fun now take so long to get ready and unready for that it swallows up the fun and spits it out into a poopy diaper. Where’s the inspirational quote to deal with that?
Life’s beautifully challenging.
My latest? Dinner. And how to get my kid to eat it. How about that one? Isn’t there a famous mom somewhere that has a motivational quote to get your 3 year old to eat? Bah. ha. ha.
Regardless of what food I feed her, it takes a minimum of an hour and 45 minutes for her to eat dinner. Every single night I bother, ignore her, bribe her, threaten her to get her to eat her mother loving dinner. I cannot follow the advice of the parenting magazines and let her go hungry …or offer her an alternative to make herself. Please… Not. Going. To. Happen.
In light of her older sister’s poor example, my 11 month old (who started to refuse to eat mashed up food at 7 months) continues to eat everything I cut up into pieces for her …with one tooth.
My latest tactic is ‘The Take Away.” No dinner? No blanket. No dinner? No ballet. Which at the moment is crushing for her …she dances all over the house in tutu’s and grass skirts and hasn’t even taken a class yet.
In the midst of the chaos I try to relax the situation with some conversation, and ask her if she dreams of being a ballerina one day. (…because I’m a mom, and inside I am dying to encourage her to follow her dreams …which she’ll most likely read as me being too pushy …it’ll be awesome.) She just looked at me puzzled, trying to pull the literal answer out of her butt …or her nose. Then she broke out into giggles as her little sister spiked her hair up with spaghetti sauce. Her reaction made me think back a few months ago, when she told her then 9 month old sister to “Stop looking at me.”
Chill out, mom.
“Stop looking at me.” Isn’t that how we all feel, sometimes?
But lately when I feel that way it’s causing me to stop and look harder. To sit back, calm down, and relish in the moment. Just as fast as 11 years have gone by since I stepped on the track to do a workout (which I did this week …streak over …legs sore.), soon my daughters will be dating, graduating, leaving, and the quiet will cause me to take on such a fury of hobbies I’ll most likely go insane. Maybe it’s just time to bump wine time up a little bit, sit back and let the madness unfold. So what if dinnertime is 2 hours of minuscule bites, giggle breakouts between sisters, 15 spill disasters, and anything but eating…
I will miss this.
Ok, so now my babies are eleven and nine …Brianne still dreams of and lives for ballet. Lo is still biggest crack up we’ve ever known. Dinnertime is still obnoxious and now we have a dog who’s paws up on the table just waiting for someone to sneak her a bit that’s too chewy or crunchy. Most mornings I’m up before everyone else for coffee and QUIET. This momma is NOT doing track workouts, but did run a half marathon last fall. (I’m averaging a year of rest into between races to pay homage to all the injuries that occur in my oldness. Shhh -It’s fine.) I’m savoring every crazy minute of all of it. It’s going fast. We’ve got a junior high kid in the house this year. Both my girls are beautiful, fierce and brilliant which terrifies their dad into complete denial as the boys start to notice. Life is not easy, hardly ever, but always worth it. Soggy Cherrios and everything.
Posted on June 5, 2011
As a parent, what do you do when time out just doesn’t work anymore? Can you ground a toddler? Where to? To play with her toys in her room? That would be her ideal situation. Spank? GASP. Never…
Never say never, right? When faced between leaving the toddler in charge of their world or take back control. Well, I choose control, and after yet another episode of ‘let’s hide in the clothes racks at Target because its freaking hilarious,’ I calmly checked out, took the kids out to the car, and delivered a smack to my toddlers right butt cheek. She was so appalled (I’d never spanked her before, or anything of the sort.), that I didn’t know whether to laugh or feel guilty at her reaction.
Eyeballs popping out of her little head in surprise, I calmly buckled her into her car seat, explained why she got what she got, and headed to the back of the van to let out a hysterical bit of laughter. (C’mon, it was only one little smack.) Usually a mom that tears up at the thought of yelling at or punishing my child, I took spectacular delight in how well that worked. She “I’m sorry Mommy’ed’ me for the rest of the day…priceless.
Since the pilot episode, I have only had to actually break out a little slap a couple of times…the thought of it is what scares her into submission. It’s reserved for safety issues. Running away in the store, parking lots, streets…pretty much the long list of hazards toddlers find their way to I guess.
What finally broke me? Seeing other parents do it. Yep, I followed their lead. Gasp again. Usually a ‘do it my own way’ type, I conceded after too many headaches caused solely by uselessly repeating punishments that just didn’t work. I had to up my game.
Now, if I could only figure out a way to get her to eat her dinner in less than 2 hours…
Happy Disciplining, Parents!
Yo no hablo español…somebody is going to kill you, Mom.
Posted on May 4, 2011
There I was, sitting in a Caribbean paradise, wishing I had paid a little closer attention to Handy Manny, Dora, and Diego. Yep, I said it…and really wished it. What’s worse in the eyes of a foreign country…that you butcher their language trying to say something…or opt to be lazy and just speak English because you know they most likely understand it? I opted for the second, in lieu of ordering puke on a stick or something on vacation in Mexico.
Isn’t there an app for that? There might be, but you have to pay a ga-zillion dollars while you’re out of the country to use your smart-phone. No kids and no iPhone. I almost relaxed permanently into my beach chair. Still, it would have been nice to know a little Spanish. I’m inspired to learn. Not only for the authentic Mexican experience next vacation, but to ‘one up’ my three year old and her sassiness.
Seriously…my toddler takes the most random lines from the most random places and smashes them together into something so disturbing I fear that if she blurts it out in public I’m going to end up having some serious explaining to do. They may be angels shopping at Target, but Mom get’s all the good stuff at home. Her new favorite word is ‘never.’ No, actually…it’s ‘NEVER!!!!!’ All day long, in response to the simplest of tasks, that is her response.
“Brianne, can you please put your arm through your sleeve?”
“Brianne, can you please eat your dinner?”
“Brianne, can you please come here so that I can put your coat on?”
“Brianne! (as she does the ’30 seconds left till I pee my pants’ potty dance) Get to the bathroom before it’s too late!”
“MOM! I DO NOT HAVE TO GO TO THE POTTY! NEVER!”
“Brianne, can you please be quiet so you don’t wake your peacefully napping little sister up?”
“NO, MOM! NEVER! EVER! NEVER! I WILL NEVER BE QUIET! EVER!”
No matter how many deep breaths I take, or how hard I run in the morning, some days I can’t welcome that day-ending glass of Merlot soon enough.
So, the latest addition to the ‘NEVER’s’ came about a week and a half ago. She was mad because she had to sit in time out. And, as usual, there was an outpouring of ‘I’m sorry’s’ and ‘you hurt my feelings’ as she protested all the way to her corner. This time, she topped it off with, “Mom, if you don’t be nice to me, someone’s going to come and kill you.”
(Ahhh…This is why I wasn’t bawling when I left her with Great Grandma and headed to Mexico.)
Mind racing trying to figure out where this came from, and take quick stock on whether it seemed she understood what she was saying…I decided not to react to it, instead just setting the oven timer for 2 minutes…and walking away.
She repeated it the next time out…then the next (mind you…a three year old can go through quite a few time outs on a ‘bad’ day)…then she started whipping it out just to test me…obviously sensing I was trying to use the ‘ignore it and she’ll stop saying it’ technique. One week in, after wracking my brain to try and come up with how she got exposed to ‘kill,’ she said it again in the tub.
“Mom, if you hurt my feelings again (which is her take on getting in trouble for misbehaving) someone’s gonna come and kill you.” Meanest look ever.
I swung her around in the tub and looked her right in the eyes…demanding to know where she heard it from. She clearly couldn’t remember, so she just started rattling off different family member’s names. When I told her (in toddler terms) what that meant, her eyes welled up with tears and her arms reached out to hug me. Clearly, the full scope of the phrase had escaped her. I mean, the kid slept with our picture while we were gone for 3 days…I doubt she wants me to get ‘killed.’
Next morning rolls around. I fix her breakfast and she asks to watch ‘A Bug’s Life’ while she eats her Cherrios. 20 mins or so into the movie, I hear Hopper the Grasshopper tell his brother, “If I wouldn’t have promised Mother I wouldn’t kill you…I’d kill you!!!”
I should just let her watch Conan…the heck with it. At times, she conceptually understands some things about as much as I know how to order a beer in Mexico.
A Bug’s Life…I would have NEVER EVER NEVER guessed that. What kind of crap did we say when we were little? Shoot…we grew up watching Elmer Fudd wanting to kill Bugs Bunny so bad he had a frigging meltdown every Saturday morning. Here I am listing ‘so I can say she didn’t hear it from me’ as a benefit to learning Spanish…and she’s picking the crap up from kids cartoons anyway.
Big lesson in ‘can’t control the child.’ It’s more comical to look back and laugh about the mistakes she made rather than stress out about preventing them. I gave her life to live it, right? Not orchestrate it. That’s got to come in handy down the quick line to 18 and ‘I hate you, Mom…” Maybe I should have just ordered in Spanish and wished for the best. Nah…I don’t know what they are saying while smiling so giant that a whole burrito could fit in one bite…but I don’t think it’s ‘Awww…how cute… that little American is trying to speak Spanish.’
Otra cerveza, por favor 🙂