Tuesday, March 24, 2009

That's all she wrote.


I think the time's come: I've seen the light at the end of the diaper pail and it's a good one.

I started this blog back in November of 2007 to promote THE LIGHT AT THE END OF THE DIAPER PAIL: INSPIRATION FOR NEW MOTHERHOOD. It was simply a way to reach out to new moms and spread the word about this sweet little book of mine. Instead, though, this blog has become an pretty accurate recording of the last year and half of our lives, the life of me and my dearest ones, and because of that, it's proven more valuable than I ever imagined. Moments I know I would have missed or forgotten are here now, forever proof to my family of my boundless love for them, along with my daily impatience, lack of exercise discipline, passion for chocolate and readiness for good humor at all times.

I had no idea how much writing these details of our lives would move me. And would touch others. I am incredibly grateful for this.

Reese and Finn are five and two now; we are rapidly moving away from the diaper pail and toward preschool and kindergarten, soccer and ballet. I can see a Sippy cup-free household in sight and it's a sad one and a sweet one as well. As much as I will miss the deliciousness of my babies and toddlers, I find actually being able to get to know these babies as people is the unexpected delightful gift. Both of them, as every mother I'm sure believes, are so amazingly special. Funny and open hearted. Warm and playful. They are each not to be underestimated.

This has also given me a place to praise my closest friend, the love of my life, Christopher. All I can say is that I must have done something good. Very good.

It's time to move on to the next project. The next phase of our lives. The light at the end of the preschool. One day, the prom night. Beginning our family with this blog has been so special and I will miss it tons. I look forward to what lies ahead of us and writing about that someday.

For now, as I look over the entries here, the theme of kindness reigns through and I still feel the way I did in my first post two Novembers ago; that we are raising kind people here. And for this, I am proud.

"At home, Finn sleeps and I eat and Rose pouts. I don’t notice it at first. She’s parked herself in our room, big black and white body on the carpet, sad muzzle on the cold bathroom floor, like a hairy teenager with a bad hangover. Hours pass, the rest of the family comes home and she remains unmoved. Maybe she’s sick? Depressed? Reese, my four-year-old strolls in while I’m assessing the situation; I tell her Rose was probably sad at Dog Camp. Without a word to me, Reese lays down on the floor next to Rose, her head inches from Rose’s, her feet aligned next to her paws. She takes one of Rose’s paws in her hand and starts talking in a low, kind voice, like the one I use when Reese is sad or sick or otherwise not herself. I hear her say, “you’re OK, Rosie, you didn’t like Dog Camp, but you’re OK, you’re home now, I love you, sweet Rose.” She makes these little sounds, these little comforting sounds to Rose, while stroking her snout with her stubby little four-year old fingers, fingers which, just months ago couldn’t find their way around a pen or a toothbrush. Her kindness overwhelms me; my heart is in my throat, savoring this victory, this evidence that no matter what failures we have in store for us as parents, no matter what fights, what cigarettes, sex, rock and roll and “you don’t understand me’s” lay before us, for this single moment a goal has been met; the kindness chip is in place and it’s functioning on all four cylinders."

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Flash Forward.

I'm never content to worry simply about what's in front of me. I like to borrow worry ahead of time. An acquaintance of mine calls this pre-worrying. It doesn't negate worrying later; there is no higher purpose, actually. It's just worry for worry's sake.

My recent bout of pre-worrying began as my babysitter began telling me about her little sister, who is in third grade, and how she is being teased by the other girls at her school. She, the little sister, doesn't understand why. They call her fat, they make fun of her clothes, they are in general the horrible girls that terrorized me once, years ago. Little girls like that don't grow up, I've decided, they just hang around the cafeteria, waiting for the next victim. Like ghosts of Elementary School Past. Some of those third graders are probably like 54.

This makes me fear for Reese, my soon to be Kindergartner. She is decidedly a ham at home, less so in public. She is definitely not the hanging from the chandeliers type. At least, not yet. She is smart and sweet. But interestingly, as middle of the road, no feathers ruffled type of girl that she is, she makes friends like nobody's business.

We go to dance class the other day and before we leave the building, she's been invited to a birthday party and is being hugged by Alicia, a girl she met twenty minutes ago. We go to a birthday party one weekend and before the cake is served, Reese is running off into the sunset, holding hands with her new best friend, Mia. We're looking at a map of the United States last night and Reese reminds me that her best friend in Hawaii lives there. The one she met on the beach on vacation last July, who glued herself to Reese's side like a cuddly starfish.

If we traveled like ever, this girl would have friends in all fifty states.

Always up for advice, I ask Reese how she makes friends so easily; I tell her she collects friends like other people collect stamps. She must wizen these girls, I guess. She does have an irresistable smile and dresses like Punky Brewster. Maybe the color combinations have a friendmaking effect.

"You're so silly Mama," she says to me, laughing, "it's so easy. They ask if I want to be friends and I say 'sure' and that's it. We're friends."

That's it, I ask.

"Yes, it's so easy to make friends," she says dancing off, probably to pick up another forty or so friends at the park. And I think, OK, maybe I shouldn't worry about her and the meanness of girls. Perhaps her sweetness, her kindness, her humor, her wardrobe has bulletproofed her from harm. This I pray.

Then I realize I'm probably not worrying about what I should be worrying about. Like the world class worrier I am, I scour my brain for new issues: teen pregnancy, drugs, dirty school drinking faucets, lockers slamming on fingers, teenage driving, girl scout cookie drives, BOYS, tampons, bras, periods, puberty, hormones, my hormones, her hating me, her never hating me, high school math.

OK, I think I'm good for today.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Eavesdropping.

I'm working in the bedroom. Chris is getting ready to brush the kids' teeth.

(SOUND OF REESE RUNNING DOWN HALLWAY): Owww. Owweee!!!!!!

CHRIS: What's wrong?

(NO ANSWER)

CHRIS: OK, I'm looking for a girl who went to a birthday party today...

REESE: Me! Wait! I need to pee really bad...

CHRIS (SINGING WITH VIGOR, CLAPPING): Here we go lubby loo, here we go lubby loo all on a Saturday..

REESE: Finn turn that water off!

CHRIS (SINGING): ...all on a Saturday night!

MORE CLAPPING AND WATER RUNNING FOLLOWED BY HORRIBLE DROPPING SOUND.

REESE SCREAMING LIKE SHE'S LOST A LIMB.

REESE: FINNNNNNNNNNNNN!!!! You made me all wet because of you!!

CHRIS (CALMLY) Reese, you're not that wet.

REESE: Yes I am! Just because of you FINNNNNNNNNNNNNNN!

UNDER HER BREATH BUT NOT REALLY: Finn is so mean!

CHRIS: Finn, what do say to your sister?

FINN (REMORSEFULLY): Sorree. THEN SPRIGHTLY: It happens!

EXPLOSION OF LAUGHTER FROM ALL THREE OF THEM.

FINN (SENSING A WINNER): It happens! It happens. Sorry Reese it happens!! (NOW DELIVERS THE LINE IN LOW TONES, HIGH TONES AND SINGING TONES, LOOKING FOR THE BIGGEST LAUGH)

LAUGHTER.

REESE: Finn, you're hilarious.

I have to write this down so on the days Finn says to Reese, "no look at Finn" and Reese says "mom, finn says I can't look at him" and I want to poke my own eye out with a ball point pen from the frustration of it all, from raising two "spirited" children, I will read this and thank heaven for them and the chaos they have transformed my life into, for the laughter, for the love of it all.