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Just Another Day

Leaving the house any day, any time – for me – is a challenge.  Well, I take that back.  ‘Leaving’ isn’t the problem.  It’s all the other stuff that goes with it that’s the problem.  The bags, books, shoes, purse, wallet (I know, one might think the wallet was IN the purse, right?), various coupons, jackets, sports equipment, etc.  I mean really, how is ANYONE supposed to remember all this stuff?  It’s not unusual for me to get somewhere and discover one of my children is not wearing shoes (shoes?  Really?).  And I have been known to execute a perfect three point turn three times in the same trip to go back for something we forgot.

Last week Calen and I were on our way out.  I let him go ahead into the garage as I scurried around picking up various things that I needed for the day.  I went into the garage and slapped the garage door opener – not realizing that Calen was holding on to the inside handle of the garage door.

Up went the door – and up went Calen.

Now the smart thing to do of course would have been to hit the button again, stopping the door.  But oh no.  That would have been far too logical for my scattered, half-functioning, swiss cheese brain.  Instead, I run towards the front of the garage yelling, “Calen!  Let go!  LET GO!”  Of course, after a point – as he continued his journey to the ceiling – that changed to, “HOLD ON!  HOLD ON!”  As my 3 year old dangled 8 feet above the ground, he had the nerve to grin at me.  “Ha, ha, look at ME!” he says with glee, completely delighted.

Oh yes, ha ha.  Hilarious.

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If you give a Mom 5 minutes, she’ll probably fall asleep.

After she falls asleep, she will wake in a dead panic because she forgot to pick up the kids from school.

On the way out the door, she’ll realize that…it’s Sunday.

Which means that tomorrow the cub scout popcorn order is due.

So she’ll rush inside to dress her son in his uniform and she’ll see that she forgot to sew on one of his patches.  So she’ll haul out the sewing machine.

When she tries to plug it in, she’ll remember that her husband has rewired the house and the outlet no longer works.

While looking for another outlet, she’ll step in a pile of cat barf.

So she’ll go to get a rag to clean it up.

Looking for a rag will remind her that she needs to do the laundry.  So she’ll throw in the whites.

Which will remind her that she was going to strip the beds.

And looking at the beds will remind her that…she’s tired.

So she’ll sit down for 5 minutes to rest.

And chances are, if she sits down for 5 minutes, she’ll probably fall asleep.

My Inner Child

I am happy to say that the kitchen renovation is coming to an end.  The sink, cooktop and wall oven are all in and functioning.  Yay!  Time to start cooking!

Boo.

I have forgotten how much I truly dislike to cook.  On top of that, as I have not used a frying pan for 2 1/2 years, I have also forgotten the little I did know about frying, browning or saute-ing.  Add in a gas cooktop rather than the electric that came before, and, well, there’s really no hope, is there?  Even worse, every mother has a basic repertoire of family meals, things that she can make with her eyes shut while bouncing a baby on a hip, that uses pantry staples and requires little chopping, that is relatively nutritious and (most importantly) that everyone will actually eat.

Standing at my beautiful new counter, spatula and fry pan at the ready, I realize that I have forgotten them all.

In an adventurous spirit I decide to comb through my treasure trove of cook books and – old repertoire be damned – I will come up with a new list of things to make.  Bigger, better, yummier things that would put my old list to shame.  I flip through my books with gusto, skimming ingredient lists and reading snippets of instructions.

And I realize that the person who put together these recipes has moved on.  In my hand I have an entire binder of recipes ripped willy-nilly out of magazines intending to one day harness my inner Child: one for a white wine reduction sauce (really? and waste all that wine?); another with a 50 minute preparation time that uses 4 skillets, a blender and a glass baking dish (oh the horror! the clean up alone gives me nightmares); others that require obscure ingredients – escarole, liverwurst, and chanterelles (as if).  It is obvious to me that these recipes were collected in my other life, the one before children, before the answer to, “What’s for dinner?” was, “I’m not telling you”, in order to put off the inevitable complaints.

I wonder how much you could piece together of a life simply by looking at the recipes collected in a book.

Hugs

It’s the end of summer.  I’m not sure where it all went, but it’s gone.  Monday was the first day of school, the first day of Kindergarten for Liam and 3rd grade for Jackson.  The night before we tried to get to bed early.

Tried.

The kids had been going to bed late all summer and they were excited about school and thus sleep was hard to come by.  Even after they were out Liam was up twice in the night for a bad dream, Calen was up once because he had kicked off his covers, and Jack was up at 4:45 saying he couldn’t sleep anymore and could he please get up?

Needless to say that night at dinner we were all tired, especially me.

“Okay guys,” I say, “tonight we are all going to have GOOD sleeps!  There will be no bad dreams, no waking Mommy up because you’re cold, no getting up at o’dark-thirty because you think you’re not tired, okay?”

“And no hugs, Mommy?” says Calen.  “No waking up Mommys for hugs?”

Um…crap.  As much as I’d like to sleep through the night sometime in the near future, I know that there will be a time not much later when hugs are hard to come by.  In the meantime I am reminded by my smallest son to try to appreciate my blessings, to wake with a smile in the dark of the night, knowing there were just too many hugs to fit into the day to keep little boys in bed where they belong.

Beach

Every year we take a family holiday, just the 5 of us, to the beach.  The boys are finally comfortable with the crash and pull of the ocean and have moved from sandcastling to boogie-boarding.  This year one particularly rumbly wave managed to catch Liam’s board and smash him face first onto the bottom.  He popped up crying, with a bloody nose, but undeterred continued to chase the perfect wave that would ride him all the way to shore.

That afternooon, as I was reading, he walked by me saying, “I’m going to look at my bust.”

Hm…”Sorry?  You going to do what?”

“My bust!”  He is already in the bathroom, examining.

His bust.  This should be interesting.

He comes back out, shirt on, with a fairly satisfied look on his face.

“Tell me again?”  I am still confused.

“MY BUST, MOM!  You know,” (points to his nose), “my bust?  Where I busted my face?”

Oh yes, of course, that bust.  I don’t know what I was thinking.

Making ‘potion’ is a favourite outdoor activity at my house.  Any container becomes a vessel, any small anything – ingredients!  Dirt, weeds, leaves, gravel, all get mixed in with a little bit of water covertly stolen from my rain barrel.  Sticks, plastic spoons, pieces of bark become stirrers or ladles.  My Nandina have been stripped of their berries, my flowers their blooms, my tupperware stash depleted.  But the years of joy (and hours of peace) that have resulted from all these concoctions has been worth every ruined, mud caked bucket-full of mysterious nastiness.

Dumping out the remnents at the end of the day sometimes leads to surprises, of course.  How could it not?  Yesterday I found a frog, half dead and grateful to be released from his noctious prison-slash-home (depending on who you asked).  Not very long ago I dumped a bucket only to find it had a familiar, revolting odor.  “BOYYYYS!”

Three sets of dirty feet come running.  Three sets of eyes come to rest on the smelly pile in the flower bed and the empty bucket in my hand.

“Did you put dog poop in here?”

Calen is the first to come clean.  “But MOM!  Iss our POTION!”  He is very pleased that he is now big enough to take part in the potion-making deliciousness.

“Do NOT use dog poop in your potions,”  I say.  “I’m going to be very angry if you do that again.”  Three little heads bob up and down.  I wonder for how long I will have to remind them when they go outside not to play with dog excrement.  I wonder if I am the only mother in the WORLD who has to remind her children that dog poop is not a toy.

Yesterday Liam came inside complaining that he had something in his eye.  He had been out playing with his loyal sidekick, his best friend for the whole of his life who – just to make things complicated – is also named Liam. They had been potion-making.

“What is it?” I ask, and as I get closer the reek from his clothes is overpowering.  “GASOLINE?”  I am incredulous.  “You have been playing with GASOLINE?”

I storm to the back yard where other-Liam jumps up, pointing to the small, supposedly-childproof container that holds the gasoline for our lawnmower.  “He got it out of there!”  (So much for loyalty).

This is not the first time we have had potion-problems with the Liams.  The last time involved a large bottle of mouth wash, a box of Ajax and an entire container of liquid hand soap – all dumped into the toilet and stirred with a plunger.  At least THAT potion wasn’t flammable.

This time, I send other-Liam to the playroom to chill while I go upstairs to deal with my-Liam.  Coming back down I am assaulted with the stench of gas.  Other-Liam, sitting very quietly on the couch, also had ‘potion’ slopped onto his shirt and shoes and was now stinking up my house.  Resigned, he too goes upstairs and into the tub.

All things considered, I think I’d rather have the dead frog and the dog poop.

Needs

Until recently the whole boy/girl thing has pretty much escaped my sons.  Jackson has his following, girls who chase him at recess and giggle at him across the lunch table, but aside from scooching down in his chair so as to be hidden by his strategically placed lunch box there have been no issues.   Liam however, is my Casanova.  He has recently become completely besotted with a little girl in his class.  The other day he asked me if he was getting big, and I told him, “Of course!  You are getting huge!  In fact, I can’t believe that in a few short years I will have three huge, dirty, smelly boys in my house eating everything in my refrigerator!”  To which he replied, “Except for me, right Mom?  I’m going to be living with Anna.”

This, of course, provides (yet another) source endless amount of teasing from Jack, 2 years older.  Yesterday at the dinner table Jack was at it again.  In his best sing song voice, he torments his brother.  “Yoooo have a girlfriend!”

“Yeah, so?” says my oh-s0-confident 5 year old.

I don’t have a girlfriend,” says Jack.

“Well, you’re gonna NEED one,” says Liam.

Oh boys!  I wish for you open-minded, adventurous partners who make you laugh, who love you and respect you and put the joy in your days.  And while technically you don’t NEED one, it sure makes everything a little brighter.