Letting Go

I’ve caved. Seven years, I managed to hold out, but I finally gave in to the pressure. It’s not something I have ever had, or ever wanted, yet my poor, dear, hard-working husband had longed and yearned for one… so yes, my friends, we now have a TV in our bedroom.

A nice perk I hadn’t before considered- and of which we have already taken advantage, is family time. Granted, we are only on day three, but it is kind of nice to pop in a family DVD and snuggle with the kids on a cold morning. Of course, snuggling with the Monkeys always turns into blanket wars and wrestling, but still, it’s a nice way to wake up.

There’s a lot of things I have been a mule about with my dear husband- things I made issues that probably weren’t. Maybe my way isn’t always the best, and maybe I ought not to fight the DH so hard on keeping the status quo… Maybe I might be pleasantly surprised at what more of his ideas look like and what he does when I vanquish the control-freak and ride the whimsical side….

We’ll have to see how that goes… but I’m liking the idea of changes…

Images Long Overdue

While I usualy try and paint my pictures with words, occasionally a Kodak moment is warranted…. And now that we have broadband (Woo-HOOO!) I can actually post picures of my kids before they don’t look like that anymore..

So without further ado, here is Miss Abigail, and her brothers, The Monkeys:

AbbyThree Babies

Just look at the look on Beanies face- he has Scamp in his molecular make-up. Jeff is Buzz Lightyear, in his pleather suit and Abby is still clueless. I say IS buzz lightyear, because he, adamantly, is not just dressed up like BY, but actually IS the man himself. Beanie has a suit that matches, but he doesn’t live in it the way Jeff does- Beanie’s got too many clothes to rip off, binkies to find, monsters that live in his pants, butter to eat  and heads to break… 

(The suit also has big moon-boots, a helmet-like thing and wings to match… I wish I had one!)

Now let’s see if this works! (Holding breath…)

It’s Always Beanie…

Honestly, this child is going to give me a coronary.

He fell asleep in the car this afternoon, so I knew his regular bedtime was kaput. He needed some one-on-one time with me, so I packed him up, left Abby and Jeffrey with dad, and headed off to Fred Meyer.

My actual mission was to find a desk/computer hutch that wasn’t butt-ugly, made of particle board or cost our retirement fund. Since broadband is coming tomorrow (hooray!), we are moving the computer from my office to the family room. If the kids are going to be on it more, it needs to be in a centralized locale, n’est que pas?

Not much luck with that endeavor, by the way. But, as I was contemplating the hideous offerings of computer-desks (went to three different stores-they all looked like shopping carts, or were cardboard painted to look like wood…), I was evidently lost in thought for longer than my recently-turned-three year old thought necessary.

Honestly, I had my hand on the race-car cart the whole time, but when I snapped out of my furniture reverie and turned back to him, he was naked! Seriously, I gave a little shriek, because how on earth…? He actually still had his underwear on, but that was only by a miracle. Both shoes, both socks, his shirt, and his jeans. And, he was still sitting in the seat of the cart. Houdini reincarnate- if I believed in that.

“Mama! My naked!” pleased as punch, he was.

Why? What possessed him? Hey, mama’s not looking- I think I’ll just take all my clothes off right here in Fred Meyer! Maybe I should try that, eh? Next time I want some attention on the frozen food aisle? Just strip down, la la la lalaaa! This child is going to give me my gray hair, I know it. Although I have to confess- as I was tugging his little 501’s back on his cute stick-legs, I thought, “Oh man, I’m totally going to write about this…”! Bad mama.

Kindergarten Art Night(mare)

So last night, Jeff’s kindergarten class had a “Kindergarten community night of art” for all kindergartners and their parents to attend. What a nice idea, I thought! I love art, right? I love my Kindergartner, right? I get to meet other parents, right? The kids will have a ball, making stuff and creating, right? Cool! Let’s go!

Um, maybe I’m just not cut out for this whole “Kindergarten Community” thing. Categorically I am not a cynical person, but holy cow, at an “art night” shouldn’t the kids get to MAKE art??

In the school gym, they had 8 cafeteria tables set up with different projects at each table. There were parent/teacher volunteers at each table, to show the kids what to do and to supervise the chaos. At each table, there was a pile of materials and a sample of what could be made with the materials. All well and good.

Jeff and I plopped down at a table and began to play- but immediately a teacher jumped in to “guide him”- and by “guide him” I mean control his every move and force him to make EXACTLY a copy of the sample. The teacher told him where to cut his paper, where to put the glue, how many of each cut-out to put on the paper, and where they should go- going to far to move his creation when he didn’t precisely follow the directions…

After about five minutes of trying to be patient and forgiving, I felt like I have a mouth full of shattered glass and had to speak out…  “Jeffrey, you can put the pieces wherever you want- and however you like them- remember, there are no mistakes in art…” as I gave my best conciliatory, proper (through gritted teeth) smile to the teacher.

Jeff finished his (sic) project at that table, and we moved on to the next- wildly hoping that was just an example of one teacher’s foibles… no such luck. It would seem that the entire district policy regarding art is- “Make what I show you how to make, and hurry up about it” My kid is not used to this idea, I am proud to say, and quickly lost interest in making institutionalized “art”.

Now, I’m not a hippy-dippy California free-lover, and while I understand the need to exercise some control over a group of forty 5-year-olds- why plan an “art” night at all? Wouldn’t it be better to just have a pot-luck and let the kids play?

Our little kids are so totally creative and open for such a short time- the world crowds in, they develop self-consciousness and begin to censure themselves- let’s don’t do it for them before that precious window closes on it’s own. Please?

Help Me… Can I Help You?

I have been trying, ALL DAY, to post, but life keeps getting totally in the way. The Internet is my enemy today, I cannot get a photo up for the life of me, I have HAD it with dial-up- (yes, we are still archaic here- all my posts to this point have been on s…l…ooooooooo…..w dial-up.) NO more, I say!

I called DH at work and asked him to call the broadband company and put in an order. I’ve had it. I can’t even send pictures of the kids to loved ones because it takes 7 (yes, that says SEVEN) minutes to upload a stinkin’ snapshot. I asked him to call, because I am so steamed and irritated I know I would have gotten mad at them when they told us it would be 3 weeks and they would be here between 7 am and 7 pm… I can be there, right? Now, I don’t actually know if it will take that long, because I haven’t talked to DH, but with my luck, or had I called, it would totally be that long.

It was just one of those days. Everything has been crappy or gone wrong, and I ought to just go crawl in a hole until it’s over.

I have a plea to great and mighty Internet: I need to set up a website for my business, and I don’t know what to do. Can you operate on one of the blogging sites, or is that taboo? How do I get a pay-pal account? And does anyone who has web-design skills want to do some sort of swap for time??  (Susan? Anyone?) I am short on tons of cash, but I got creative skillz coming out the eyeballs…. but technical skills are sadly limited… SO, anyone??? Anyone??

You can leave a comment or e-mail me at dandelionmama@gmail.com

And for Our Lesson…

Tonight before FHE, such as it was, I was riffling through the kids’ art drawers, and I came across a paper, with the following spelled out in crayon:

butthed terd shuttdup (sic)

As I contemplated the fine literary budding of my oldest son, I found myself tickled with his grasp of the phonetics of the English language, and giggling with glee at his covert, naughty musings.

Hmmm, I wondered aloud, who could have written this? His head perked up like a meerkat, and I could practically see his ears turning red…  Poor baby- he thought he was going to be in trouble, but DH and I were not even trying to contain our mirth, as we read his tome aloud.

He claims he was making a list of words we are not allowed to say in our house- just where he was going to post it, I can only imagine… and I find that totally acceptable. Wait till he discovers the unabridged Webster’s dictionary! Is there anyone who didn’t look up all the naughty words when they were a kid?? *sigh* another milestone… they grow up so fast.

(DH is taking the poem to work and pinning on the wall in his office… If I had an office, I would fight him for it!)

Who I Am

(Do you have the song in your head about being Rosemarry’s granddaughter… a spitting image of my father…? Me too.)

I’m actually Kathryn’s granddaughter, and I only have my father’s hair… thank heavens. But that’s not what this is about.

Today was a bad morning. The DH and Jeffrey went to church without Eric, Abby and I, and that was most certainly a good thing. The willpower and patience to deal with Beanie in church was something I simply did not possess; staying home, where Abs can nap, and Beanie can help me work on a photo album, was the better road to harmony.

I really blew up at my boys this morning- they were not listening, which is nothing new, but when they got in my china cabinet and knocked over a bunch of our wedding china, (used all of three times) I pretty much lost it. Hindsight being 20/20 and all, it was an accident, and I know I really got more angry at myself than I was at them, but like most melt downs, it got all over everyone.

Jeffrey and DH managed to get out the door and off to church, and I sat stewing in the chair, holding Beanie in my lap, and comtemplating the morning. Why was I really so mad? What was really happening, here? And it dawned on, quite suddenly, that I was really angry at myself for not being the perfect mother. How dumb is that? But it’s true.  And while I would be the first in line to give my friends pep-talks about how no such woman existed, I wasn’t allowing myself the same mercy.

My kids are tough. They are strong-willed, hard-headed, curious, very busy and often into oodles of mischief. If I turn my back for a minute, things are liable to break, weather that be china or heads. Because of this, I have developed coping mechanisms- I try not to care too much about the little things, I try and give them latitude to explore and make being busy boys an OK thing to be… and intellectually, I believe those are good policies for my family. But sub-consciously and emotionally, I haven’t allowed how I mother to reallybe OK with me. It’s kind of shocking and sad.

This morning, contemplating these things, I realized I really don’t have to live up to anyone else’s model of motherhood. Only mine- but I damn well better be OK with mine, or I’m in trouble. I don’t have to be perfect, and here is the kicker, if I am OK with myself, I won’t feel the need to be defensive about who I am. I only have to be good enough- not perfect, not up to anyone else’s idea of what ‘ good mother’ means. I simply have to live up to MY OWN potential, and that will be good enough.

I am a mother. But unlike any idealized model, I’m other things, too, besides “mother”- I’m an artist, with a dire need to create, and sometimes I neglect taking my children to the park, and sometimes I let them watch too many DVD’s because I am busy making stuff. I am a wife, and sometimes their dad has to come first. I am  a woman, a good cook,  and a slave to whimsy…. and about a million other things.

I am a grapefruit in the fruit-bowl of life, and I will be big, and tart and messy, and some people love me, and others won’t. I’ve got to stop trying to stuff myself in the socially-acceptable “apple” suit. I’ll never be the “apple”. And hopefully my kids will understand that, and I will be good enough.

Go to Your Studio and Make Stuff!

When I hear the birds start chirping, I know I’ve stayed up a tad too late for my current starring role as a mama. *sigh* I can’t help it- all my life I have preferred the solitude and quiet and productivity of the wee hours.

Between ten and three, the amount I get accomplished is astonishing. Those also tend to be the hours my creativity, ideas and pondering peaks. It must be the quiet. The dear, sweet, rare, lovely quiet so scarce to a mama of young children. Time to stare at the paint, if I so chose. Time to let the cogs of my whirling brain wind down. Time to sit with myself, hear myself breathe, and to remember who I am- besides a human napkin.

Time to go to my studio and make stuff. Never chores, never housework. Wasting my precious solitude on dishes only happens when the dishes are crawling from the sink by themselves. And even then, it’s a quick once-over and on to bigger and brighter things. This is a fundamental need for me… to be alone. To be in quiet, and most importantly, to have the experience of no one needing me. Everyone else is settled in, kissed, tucked, watered, and off to the Land of Nod. The only person who needs me right now, is me. *deep…sigh*

Having this time, I firmly believe, helps me be a better mama. Oh, sure, I’m tired when the Monkeys bound out of bed at 6:30- but I would be a real wreak if I didn’t have anything that was just mine. I don’t stay up so late every night- I would be a wreak then, too. But once or twice a week, being tired the next day is a price I’m more than willing to pay. And Friday nights, sweet, sweet Friday… when I know my lovely, wonderful husband will take care of the kids in the morning, and I can actually take my time, and get to sleep in.

So here I sit, 2:15 a.m., fresh from my studio- covered in threads and fibers (my kids call it mom-fuzz, and it trails me wherever I go), my fingers stained with ink, back burning a bit from bending over my cutting table all night, pencils and paintbrushes stuck in my messy knot of hair (it works great), and my heart is content.

That, and hearing the soft breathing of my sleeping babies on the monitor… Life is perfect.