Thursday, August 28, 2014

Word Worms

"Today in school we played a game with a gummy worm named Fred and two paperclips and we had to stretch Fred through..." a long story followed. I can't recall it because I wasn't fully listening anymore but I eventually tuned back in, "We did the best and we saved Fred so we got a prize. The prize was a gummy worm!"

"So, you celebrated rescuing the gummy worm by eating his brethren?" asked Big Kid.

"Did you just use the word brethren?" I thought I had misheard.

"Yes, is that weird? I think using a unique word can just make something sound so much better."

"Yeah, no, I don't disagree, that's why I like writing. I'm just impressed."

"It is a good word."

"Yes, it really is, I agree."

"So anyway! I saved Fred and got to eat a gummy worm..." little kid rightfully continued.

"That's awesome. That sounds like a really fun activity for school." I said.

"But it is weird that you celebrated saving a gummy worm by eating a gummy worm."

And it is weird that my 11-year-old can work the word "brethren" into a casual conversation.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Germ Warfare

Now Big Kid is home sick from school so I think it's safe to say that I will never spend another minute in my house alone ever again for the rest of my life. I will never know the sound of complete silence or the joy of wandering around in various states of undress able to watch anything from Lifetime movies to nearly pornographic HBO series while eating ice cream unashamedly for lunch.

My life as an individual is over forever because none of these people can or will go to their places.

PEOPLE, WE NEED TO GO TO OUR PLACES AND MY PLACE IS HERE.  YOUR PLACE IS DEFINITELY NOT HERE FROM MONDAY THROUGH FRIDAY BETWEEN THE HOURS OF 8:45AM AND 3PM.

It's like I'm going to have to rent a room somewhere or God forbid, get a job that requires shoes, in order to have a place that I belong again.

Get well soon, Big Kid, I need my office back.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Dear little kid,

Eight years! Eight whole years of looking into your sweet face and marveling that you are mine.

I have learned so much through the honor of being your mother. Your carefree love of life, your open mind, your loving heart, your playful nature, your quick sense of humor -- you are a true joy to behold, and the good fortune of having front row seats for the rest of your life is not lost on me.

You are openly affectionate and incredibly clever. You love people and animals, places and things with genuine warmth. You have an uncanny knack for understanding others and recognizing what they need, and a willingness to try to provide it for them.

At your birthday celebration, you were enchanted with a friend's baby. "Isn't she cute?" I asked, as you again reached down for her tiny hand. "She is God," you replied with a small smile on your face. You find the beauty in every small thing, everywhere.

And you bring beauty to so many of our life moments. You are the silly and the sweet that helps cement our family together. We would not be us without you.

Thank you for eight years of every day adventure, my little prince. You may be small, but you are a mighty and magnificent being and I can't wait to see where you take life.


I like you, I love you and I'll always protect you,
Mom.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Family Baker

little kid's birthday is this weekend and he's decided he ONLY wants a cake baked by his brother.

His brother has no specific specialty, experience or skills in baking but no other option will do.

Big Kid is quite pleased and I think it's very cute and very sweet but going to be a lot of work for me with a questionable outcome. I've been craving ice cream cake, not a red velvet cake vaguely in shape of some Minecraft thing (this is the plan, from what I understand).

But it's not my birthday.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Dear Husband,

It has recently come to my attention that I need to add an addendum to our wedding vows.

13 years ago, I promised all kinds of stuff (everything but the obey part, because, come on, who are we kidding?) including to love you in sickness and in health.

And I meant it.

However, I need to exclude the first week of back to school from the sickness portion of that agreement. I'm not trying to be unsympathetic here and I'm pretty sure that you haven't chosen to be sick. I feel for you, I really do, but I need my house back like a thirsty man in the desert needs rain. Like a budding flower needs sun. Like an angry toddler needs the red cup and not the blue cup. Like an after bedtime mom needs wine.

I will wither away and die without it. Maybe I won't even wither away, maybe I will explode into a fiery ball of destruction which would be extremely damaging and traumatic for everyone involved. No one wants that to happen.

When I lightly suggested that we priceline you a hotel room for quarantine, you gave a feeble laugh and I wasn't sure how to tell you that this was not a joke. Don't you want a hotel room? I want a hotel room.

And now, two days in...? I'm getting sick. Oh no worries, you think, hop your sick little self into your quiet little bed -- but wait, someone is in there. He's been in there, sweaty and groaning, stealing the coldness from the sheets for days.

I tried to escape to yoga because it's quiet there, but when you have the sniffles, you become the jerk ruining everyone else's quiet and no one wants to do that. No one should want to do that. People should care about other people's quiet time. Sick people should go somewhere else and that's what I did.

So, get well soon, my love. I really, really mean it. And let's have a vow renewal where we add in the part about not being sick the first week of school and maybe let's make some edits to that whole "for richer or poorer part" but mostly the poorer part. I also think the traditional vows are remiss in not pledging prompt home and car repair work so let's write our own this time and get it right.

But really, get well. Soon. Like yesterday.

Love in sickness 51 weeks out of the year and in health 52,
Ashley

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Debriefing

So, I guess middle school is going well.

I can only guess because every question, no matter how carefully worded, is somehow answered with fewer than 3 words. "It was good." "No, not really." "Yes, I think so." "I'm not sure." "Everyone is nice." "It seems long." That is the Cliff Notes to our entire middle school experience. I might have to resort to waterboarding in order to figure out what is actually going on.

On the first day he came home and announced that his day was great but that he wasn't particularly interested in doing it again tomorrow.

He seems content though and determined to get it right. He takes special care with packing his backpack and coming up with a plan for locker visits for the day. He does well with collared shirts and combination locks and homework. He reports that he still gets lost occasionally, but he doesn't seem bothered by this. He seems to sit wherever at lunch, eating mostly alone which causes a little concern but only for me -- I've stopped asking about it because I don't want to make it weird if it's not.

"You should set some social goals now that you're getting settled in!" I offer.

"You know, I will. That's a good idea," he agrees, probably to shut me up.

I know he's an introvert and I know I should shut up about it but as a mother, it's like I just can't shut up about anything. I hear things I'm saying at the same time I'm thinking that it's annoying that I'm saying those things. He saw all kinds of kids at orientation that were clearly happy to see him, and he was fine with that. Not overly excited to reunite, not anxious or awkward, just cool about it. He does have friends and people he hangs out with socially. Also, it's the third day. So I guess it's fine.

I've just realized this is probably why he doesn't tell me anything. It's the third day! And I'm being this annoying already.

I'm going to have to completely re-work my interrogation tactics.

Monday, August 18, 2014

My First Day Back

So, for me, the first day has gone well.

I didn't cry.

Some salty water kind of spilled out onto my cheeks as I left Big Kid's school, but I'm not even counting that.

I watched South Park and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. I caught up on a ton of work. I ate stuff without sharing. I cleaned the house as I chatted with a friend on the phone for an hour. I did some more work. I've sat in complete silence.

It has been quite nice!

But now I'm done and I'm ready for everyone to come home and tell me about their day. I want that far more than I want the additional hour to myself. I miss them already.

Another First

Today was it.

The big day.

The first day.

little kid was fine. He always is. He was a little nervous and sad to see summer end, but he got on the bus without a hitch and headed for 3rd grade:


Then it was Big Kid's turn. His first day of middle school. It had been a frantic weekend of finding the rest of the school supplies, picking first day outfits and practicing on a substitute combination lock, and now the big day was here.

We have always started school days by snuggling in my bed and he was sad to wake up and realize that with little kid already gone for the day, that routine may have to change. I offered to get back into bed and we did. It was nice and I found myself relieved that the tradition continues with both boys.

"Mom?" he said softly as I rubbed his back.

"Yes?"

"Thanks for getting this for me."

"Getting what?"

"Middle school. You know, highlighting my map and practicing my lock with me and making sure I know what I'm doing."

HOW IS THIS KID SO AMAZING? No, really, how? I don't think I can take credit. I assured him that stuff was included in my job description and that I loved doing it for him.

As we drove into the car rider line loop, he said, "I'm scared. I'm really scared."

Me too.

But instead I said, "You know something I heard in yoga that stuck with me? Fear and excitement have the exact same physical symptoms! They make you feel the same way, but your brain is just more accepting of excitement. So now when I feel scared, I try to decide if I'm in danger or not, and if I'm not, I try to look at it as excitement."

He considered that quietly while we waited.

As we pulled up to the last curve, he said, "I'm excited, mom."

"I'm excited for you."

And I am. In every sense of the word.


Good luck in 6th grade, my love, and you're welcome...for everything forever.  

Friday, August 15, 2014

Stuck in the Middle School Fears

My two fears for Big Kid starting middle school, in order of importance:

1.) Lockers: the combination, the logistics, the timing...it's not promising. We tried the combination lock at least a dozen times and I think he got it once. It's not the numbers that are the problem, it's the spinning. The spinning. Not even what direction to spin how many times...the physical act of spinning seems to be the major complication. We're going to practice on a spare lock.

2.) Polo shirts: collared shirts are truly a confusing situation for this child. He often gets them inside out and occasionally argues with me about whether or not they are inside out. And I know. I know they are inside out. I'm really good at collared shirts. I have no idea what's going on when he starts talking about Einstein's theories of relativity but I do know collared shirts. His uniform consists of collared shirts. Last year's did too but they had the school logo on them, which immediately ended inside out arguments. Can we do it with a blank shirt? I don't know. (And I know you're thinking "But what about the tag?" I know you're thinking that because I think it too. Every single time. The tag is not a clear indicator for Big Kid.)

Surprising fears, right?

He's brilliant, attractive, kind and funny. He will find his people. I don't know what kind of people that will be, but I don't care, they're not my people. As long as they're nice, we're good. I'm saying all of this because I have a feeling they might be nerds because we visited an arcade in Miami and he mentioned that he felt like he found his people. I felt like I found central casting's nerd waiting room but that's okay. Great, actually. I hope he finds his people everywhere he goes, I love his people.

But looks and charm aren't going to open a locker. Friends might but if he does find his people, they might not be good at locks either.

Are rolling backpacks allowed?

What's inside? We will never know.
Despite orientation being a total shit show in my opinion (chaotic, bizarre building layout, classes spread all over, locker failure), he left saying he feels "accomplished and confident."

Accomplished and confident makes my heart sing!

We've got this! Maybe not the lockers or the collared shirts but the rest of it, we've got it.

Maybe.

Probably.

I hope.