Monthly Archives: May 2013

So I’m forming a commune…who’s in?

Found out Wednesday night that my husband had a last minute work commitment pop up for Thursday morning, which meant he couldn’t take E to school…

Already knew that he had work early Friday morning (a busy week!), which meant I was on duty for school drop-off two mornings in a row…

I always miss my husband when he’s gone, but I never miss him more than at 7am when I am waking up sleeping siblings to load 4 kids in the car and get E to school on time.

I have considered other options:

(1) letting her ride the bus those mornings…However, the reality is that E doesn’t love the bus.  She really helps our family by riding the bus home every afternoon during her brothers’ naps, and we try to help her by driving her to school in the morning.  We are especially committed to this, since the bus gets to school so early that E would have to sit silently in the cafeteria until they let her in the classroom, something she asked to avoid when we originally made our grand-scheme, first-grade transportation plans.

(2) letting her carpool with a friend…and we have done this at least 3 times, but they haven’t needed us to return the favor and I was trying to avoid leaning on them again.

(3) letting her be late, which I did once when a sibling was ill, only to end up feeling horrible because (what are the chances?) she missed morning announcements on the one day they played the video of her doing a book review…three days before they were supposed to play it, by the way.  Irritation, and mommy guilt overdrive (alleviated only slightly when E’s student teacher arranged for the announcements to be played again just for E…thank you, Ms. S!)

So Thursday, I was prepared to wake and load everyone, then pleasantly surprised when all the siblings were unexpectedly up and ready to go on their own…10 minutes before we actually needed to leave!  Knowing disaster (or a poop, or a scraped knee, or traffic, or a meltdown…) could strike at any moment, I went ahead and put everyone into the car.

Well, we arrived a few minutes before they opened the classrooms, and knowing E didn’t like sitting in the cafeteria, I simply circled the parking lot a few times (keeping the car moving so H wouldn’t scream) waiting until the moment when I could drop her off knowing she could walk right into her room.

E was confused (I mean, we are rarely early!  I’m sure it was disorienting for everyone!),  and she asked why we were circling.  When I explained, she said, “Oh!  You can let me out now!  They started reading stories to the cafeteria kids, and I don’t mind sitting and listening.”

“Are you sure?” I asked her.  “I can easily park for a minute, or circle a few more times.  The classrooms will be open in less than 5 minutes.”

“I’m sure”, she told me.  And I let her go in.

E didn’t mention anything about her morning experience during our “how was school” conversation yesterday, and I didn’t think any more about it until this (Friday) morning, when I knew I would need to load everyone up again.

This (Friday) morning was different than Thursday.  Everyone was sleeping late, and I was dreading getting them all up and into the car.  T had been up all night.  And I mean up to the point that at 1:30am, I finally put my computer in his room and played a Dora video so I could nurse H and get myself ready for bed.  Short version: I knew he needed to sleep and was loathe to wake him up, along with S & H who were also still sleeping at 7am.

So I got E ready very quickly and at 7:05, I asked her the million dollar question.  All her siblings were asleep.  I didn’t want to wake them.  It was too last-minute to arrange a carpool.  And being late wasn’t an option, because her class was going on a field trip to the Science Museum.  So, I asked her, “E, how would you feel about riding the bus this morning and letting everyone else sleep in?  You could listen to the stories in the cafeteria just like you did yesterday.”

“I don’t want to, mom.  Please drive me.”

So I did.

We had 10 extra minutes before we had to wake everyone, and we spent it on the couch, with her reading me a story.  I felt good about that, and then felt horrible as I woke up the siblings to load everyone in.

Well, don’t you just love it when that bad feeling gets so much worse?  Because as we pulled into the parking lot, E asked me, “Are we early again, mom?”

“No.  Right on time today.  You should walk down to your classroom.”

“Good”, she said.

“Why?” I asked her, “Did you not enjoy being in the cafeteria yesterday while they were reading the stories?”

“No.  A bad thing happened.”

“What?!  What happened?”

“I don’t want to talk about it.”

“Are you sure?  I’m so sorry something bad happened.  Are you sure you don’t want to tell me?  Is it something I can help with, because I can park the car and we can all go in?”

“No.  I don’t want to talk about what happened.  I accidentally went in to the gym yesterday instead of the cafeteria, and that’s where the older kids [grades 2-5]  wait for their classrooms to open.”

My heart totally sank for E.  And I fought my desire to know every detail so I could offer every comfort because (1) she didn’t want to talk about it, and (2) I didn’t want to make her relive a bad moment, and get upset, right as she was about to walk back into the school.

So at this point, I still have no idea what happened.  Was the bad thing that she went into the wrong room and was embarrassed about that?  Or did something bad happen in the room…maybe an older kid teasing her about something else?  I don’t know how much to push her to talk about it.  If it’s something I can help her sort through or offer comfort about, then maybe pushing is worth it?  But she said very clearly that she didn’t want to talk about it (at least right then).

Anyway, we did get some quality family time this afternoon.  We surprised E by picking her up from school (no bus today!) and taking her to cash in the “free coke” coupon she won recently.  We also picked up the pottery piece she painted with Grammy during her visit last week (held at the store for glazing…E was so excited to get it today…thank you so much Grammy!), and checked the bike store for the third time in two weeks to see if any good used girls bikes had come in (and one had!  we currently have it for a trial period, but I think it’s going to be perfect…)

(And lest you think the other kids were neglected, there were a few fun things thrown in for them too – suckers at the pharmacy where we picked up E’s asthma medicine, ice cream cones after dinner, a set of used bases for family T-ball games from the sports store, etc.)

Nothing uber-fancy…all things we were going to do at some point…but today seemed like good timing…a fun post-school pick-up for the girl that has done the post-school bus ride for the rest of us all year.

And a distraction for the mama that wants the schoolyear to end so she can put her kids back into the little bubble – for just a little while – that is our family.

Not that we don’t have our moments…but at least I know most of what happens, who needs to say sorry, what my kids are feeling (and why and when).

Anyone want to throw all the “we need to stop micromanaging our kids’ lives” articles into the garbage and form a helicopter-parenting commune where everyone is required to be nice to everyone else all the time?  (Kidding, with just a hint of wistfulness…)

Love you, E.

So much.

(and if anyone out there actually runs with the idea of a non-creepy commune of niceness, our family is in : )

Quotes of the Day

I don’t even know which one of these counts as yesterday’s “quote of the day”:

Quote 1:

T, after earning the first sticker for his “patient” chart (our latest attempt at teaching our beloved 2 year old to wait without whining)

photo-22 copy

“I got a sticker for my patient chart!  I want another one RIGHT NOW!”

Quote 2:

Overhearing S telling T,

“It just makes sense!  Girls and boys get married and they have some kids.  So if two girls got married they could have lots of kids.  And if two boys got married they would have no kids.  Because girls are the ones who have babies.”

Did I mention she is 5 years old?  And explaining things to her 2 year old brother?  Any volunteers to field the follow-up to this conversation?

Quote 3:

Me, greeting the other parents at the bus stop at 2:30pm, with my three pre-school aged children in tow:

“Can I get away with pretending that we are all in pajamas because we are ready for afternoon naps?  Or is it obvious that we just never got dressed today?”

I mean, honestly, at what hour do you decide it’s pointless to dress them?  If we haven’t gotten around to it by 3pm, then truly it’s counterproductive, right?

So which do you think is the true “quote of the day”?   I just couldn’t decide…

Everyday moments

Behind on blogging, so I’m posting a few photos to catch up.

Here’s a photo from our spring break “staycation”.

family outing

Honestly, it is one of my favorite family photos ever because it is completely unstaged.

The backstory:  On a random Saturday afternoon over spring break, we decided it would be fun to let the kids ride their bikes and scooters over to our community courts to play basketball and tennis.  We saddled everybody up, slung the baby bjorn, tennis rackets, water bottles, and a bag full of tennis and basketballs over the stroller handles and headed out.  En route, we paused at an intersection where a friend just happened to be driving by in her car with her husband and three kids.  She leaned out the window and said, “y’all look like you’re headed out for a fun afternoon…let me take a picture of you with my cell phone so you can have a record of it!”  She snapped the photo, and viola, an everyday moment captured.

(and unlike me, the person who lets photos languish on her cellphone forever, she was amazing and e-mailed it to me the next day…I know, she is incredible!  She later told me that, as a mother, she knew exactly how much work had gone into getting everyone and all that gear organized and couldn’t resist letting me see, from a different perspective, how smiley we all were about our outing)

Don’t you just love pictures that capture those precious everyday moments?  Just a Saturday afternoon, out for some good family fun.

Things to remember

Today is my birthday!  Two years ago today, my husband asked me what I wanted for my birthday, and I said “three hours in a coffee shop by myself to write something other than a to-do list”.  He granted my wish, and I emerged three hours later with an essay about my Grandma J and an idea to start a blog.

I haven’t been great about writing recently…I could write an entire entry that was just a list of excuses and explanations (and I might write it soon!), but today, I just want to spend an hour on my birthday making a list of things I don’t want to forget about the last few months.

(1) My grandmother/G.G.  She passed away recently, and I don’t want to forget what an amazing person she was.  Future blog posts need to include how she insisted I keep looking for the right guy…”one who will dance with you, K” (a long story, not a judgment on guys who don’t dance : ), how she struck a deal with that right guy when he came along…”I’ll tell the family I like you if you’ll tell them I’m a good driver”…and how she taught me much about life and cards.  In the meantime, here she is pictured holding H during her one time meeting him and my last time seeing her.  This photo was taken at my sister’s baby shower, where there were lots of friends present.  GG, in the nicest way possible, said to one of them who was sitting between us, “Could you sit back while you talk?  I’m trying to look at that baby!”  Ha!  Love you GG!

GG & Hudson

(2) My excitement over the arrival of my new nieces and nephew!  Oh what joy to be an aunt, and to such precious bundles.  Can’t wait to spoil you cousins O and J and G!   And happy early mother’s day to their mamas!   I will think of you as we’re all up at 3am feeding babies!

(3) How my own kids are growing and changing.

– Precious moments like E lying on the ground one day curled in a tiny ball and looking around.  My question, “What are you doing, E?”  Her response, “Pretending to be an ant!  I was just thinking about how the world must look to them from our sidewalk…”   Love that…

Also love this Valentine’s essay E submitted to her teacher.

E's Valentine essay 2013

If you can’t see the words in the photo, it reads

“Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day!  I love my family.  I love tem because taye are so nis to me.  My mom is so nis because she makes diner for me.  My babby brother dosn’t spit up on me.  Taye are so nis because I am nis to tame.”

I especially love this because E references the fact that H spits up on everyone, something that is such a regular part of our routine but that I will likely forget down the road.   Honestly, it is the kids in my life that get the brunt of it, since they stand near my legs while I’m holding H, putting them right in the line of fire. I hadn’t realized until I read this that E has not only emerged unscathed, but has also taken it as a sign of great affection from her youngest brother.  May you always feel the love, E!

– S becoming such a big girl…after a lot of love and work as she struggled with some separation issues (wanting mama all the time), seeing her happily heading into school and playdates.  I cannot emphasize how huge this is in our world…or how that big smile warms my heart.

S riding carousel 2013

I’m always here if you need me, S.  But I love watching you embrace the world too.   (As a side note, S enters the world with her favorite lovey – her “Angie” doll – always in her backpack.  That doll makes S so happy that I love Angie too.  Honestly, it sounds silly, but I have spent years caring for and protecting Angie…you would too if she were your ticket to sleep-filled nights and happy-child days!…Anyway, I didn’t realize how much it had affected me until I recently saw a different “Angie” doll in a ziploc bag on a table at a consignment sale.  Honestly, I had to restrain myself from tearing the bag open so Angie could breathe!  How’s that for a visceral reaction to a doll that has been big in the life of my child?!  I wanted to buy that doll so badly, but stopped myself because (1) we have over a dozen backups at our house already and (2) I kept thinking about the little girl who might come along next and be delighted  to take her home and love her.   I realize this story makes me sound sappy, or crazy, or both, by the way.  What can I say?  I pray that all of my kids will find a real life “Angie” that will bring them as much comfort and happiness as this doll brings S!

– T becoming such a big boy…potty training and transitioning out of his nap (heaven help me!)  I love the pride he takes in his accomplishments…proudly giving everyone in the family a marshmellow after a successful trip to the bathroom (“this is for you, daddy, because I went in the potty!”)  And speaking of pride in accomplishments, check out my boy after he defeated Donald Duck in arm wrestling : )  (more on our trip to see Donald in a future blog post!)

T defeats D Duck

– H growing at warp speed, but still in that precious baby stage.  He’s not even close to sleeping through the night, but will fall asleep in his crib as long as I rub his head and hold his hand.  I managed to snap one photo of him holding my hand while he was in his carseat.  Note the tiny grip on my thumb in the lower right corner of the photo…

.  .photo

Oh what a fleeting phase of life, when holding mama’s hand makes it all better.  Wish I could comfort all my kids so easily forever!

(4) Lots of other things to remember too…maybe someday I’ll write about our “staycation” during spring break, our week playing “hookie” when we pulled all the kids out of school and went on a road trip, Grammy and Grandpa’s amazing presence as they joined us on our last minute travels, my technological craziness (as my computer and phone both recently died), our constant barrage of minor health issues (fine, as long as the big issues stay away, please!), and so many other everyday life moments I want to remember….

but in the meantime, I’ll simply say that it’s nice to have a few minutes to type : )

Hugs,

K

I didn’t put these ads on my blog

Just logged onto my own blog for the first time in a few weeks (life has been crazy busy!) and there’s an ad there.  I clicked on the “detail” button and it says it’s there because I’m either

(1) trying to make money by having readers click on ads (I assure you, I’m not…and I had no idea ads were being placed there) or

(2) I didn’t pay for the upgrade ($30 a year) to keep my blog ad free.

Is anyone familiar with any of this?  Each time I log on I am offered an opportunity to buy the domain name “lotsofjoyfulnoise.com” at $18 per year, and I never have because why spend the $18 and lose the user-friendly wordpress   system, but now I’d have to pay $30 a year to keep the ads off?  And contacting the wordpress folks is tricky because (in my quick research) they don’t have a phone number, claim that they don’t offer customer service via e-mail “because you can’t help large numbers of people that way”, and want me to post a question on a user-forum if I need help.

If you’re reading, do you know anything about any of this?  Do the ads bother you?  For fellow bloggers, any similar experiences or suggested resolutions?  I am hesitant to start the blog over on another site because I’m lazy (she said with the utmost honesty : )

Leaving this aside and off to write the post I meant to start an hour ago…  Thanks for any feedback!