Mama Needs to Rally

Do you ever just feel like giving in to this chaos?  Like you are walking around in circles and into walls all day long?  Yeah?  Well join the club.  There are many wonderful things about motherhood.  And I do so adore my children.  And sometimes I want to throw them through the wall.  The whining is what’s been getting to me the most lately.  And with the end of the school year, I am feeling like I just don’t give a shit anymore.  Cub went to school twice this week with a jelly sandwich for lunch and guess what he’s having tomorrow… Sorry little dude.  Although he looks at this like a treat, I’m still feeling shitty about it.  I wonder what those lunch ladies think when the see what the kids have to eat at this time of year… Who else sorta gave up on packing a lunch encompassing the different food groups?  C’mon.  Where’s my slacker Mamas at?

The truth is I’m just tired.  Husband forgot to grab a key item required for dinner tonight so Mama had to stop at the store on the way home from work- along with 40,000 other Mamas whose husbands forgot shit too.  Do you switch lines when the competency level of the cashier is revealed or when you notice a handful of coupons in the customer’s hands in front of you?  Normally, I am not a switcher but my anxiety about getting home, dinner, showers and the bullshit that would greet me at the door got the better of me.  I made two bad switches before I realized it made no difference.  I was stuck in a suck line behind a suck customer and a suck cashier.  Great.  My husband calls while I am pulling out of the parking lot.  I can hear screaming in the background.  Shit.  The high point of my day came when my dear friend texted me to inform me that (thankfully her children are nearly as screwed up as mine or I’m not sure we could be friends) her son told another child at daycare that she smelled like a penis.  Boys. Rock.  And that actually gave me some of my energy back and lightened my mood a bit.

When I pulled in the driveway, I could hear the screaming of the “chase game” from the driveway.  Rally.  Dinner was nuts.  Zook is crying.  Why is he crying?  He wants a spoon.  Wait he wants a fork.  Wait he wants ice cream.  With a fork.  Ugh.  Unload dishwasher, load dishwasher, pick up the corn and rice off the floor.  At this point, I actually almost started to cry.  I think because I realized that there wasn’t a clean kitchen towel in the drawer.  And I knew there wasn’t one in the basket upstairs either.  And yes, it sounds trivial but the absence of the kitchen towel midst the crying and demands of Zook, the whining and arguing of Mooch and Cub and the fact that I still had so far, so far to go before the calm could set in, really, really started to get to me.  Suck it up Mama.  Rally.  Showers, screaming , soap in eyes (it’s the tearless kind for God’s sake!) clip 60 (yes, 60) nails.  Read an Elmo book.  God I hate Elmo.  Quiet.  Snuggling my babies with warm soft hands on my cheeks.  Almost there.  Lights out and done.  Breathe.  And good news folks!  We get to do it all over again in 24 hours!

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There are just not enough hours in the day- so cliche right?  So true.  I am barely getting by here.  Summer has got to come.  No more homework, no more projects, no more searching for library books or forgetting sneakers on gym day.  No more hunting for the perfect item for Share Day.  Oh sweet summer.  I think I am craving the serenity more than my kids.

Rally.  That’s what I feel like most of my life has come to lately.  I am so tired.  Stretched to the point of exhaustion.  And I know that’s the reason I yell and have a lack of patience.  I know it’s me and not them.  But (I am about to admit something terrible here) sometimes I feel like I just don’t want to care anymore.  Like I am just done trying.  I know I shouldn’t yell and sometimes in the moment, I even think Why am I yelling right now?  Stop!  Stop it, Mama!  But no.  I yell and spend the next hour feeling like shit.  That’s more the cycle I speak of.  More than the chores and endless whining from the kids.  It’s me.  Mamas (and the Papas) reading this who have toddlers and babies… I used to be like you.  Said I wasn’t going to yell.  Said I wasn’t going to lose my temper.  Read all those Zen parenting books and blogs.  And then my kids could talk back.  And that all went out the window.  This is a judgement-free zone.

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So where do we go from here?  We start over.  Tomorrow the sun will rise again.  The cycle might start again.  Or it might not.  I am not in control of their behavior.  But I need to be fully in control of my own.  And of my responses to their behavior.  Breathe.  Tomorrow I’ll be back on the wagon.  It won’t be perfect but as long as I keep trying to make things better.  As long as I keep giving a shit.  I can do better.  I owe it to them (and myself) to be better.  And that’s all I can do.  Rally.

Peace, Mamas.

Lunch Love Notes

Do your children miss you?  I didn’t realize quite how much mine did until this week.

When I was little, my Mama often sent love notes along with my lunch.  The notes wouldn’t be long lists of the ways I pleased her or why she loved me better than my sisters (sorry, girls), the notes were more an indication that she thought and cared about me when I was not with her.  And even though my mom hasn’t been packing my lunch for over two decades, she still let’s me know she’s thinking of me.  Be it texts, emails or dropping a quick dime, she let’s me know I have been on her mind.  And it still feels good.

I write notes to my kids along with their lunches.  Usually quick things like, Hope you have a super day!  or I can’t wait to see you this afternoon!  But they always end with I love you, Mama.  Always.  Sometimes, I try to hide the note in with their lunch and make them search it out.  Sometimes, I toss it in at the last minute.  And sometimes, I forget.  Earlier this week, Mooch asked me if I would sign his Lunch Love Note from our entire family so he would be reminded of all of us during the day.  I asked Cub if he read the notes I sent.  He said yes and that his friends always tried to snatch the note from him to read it.  Timidly, I asked if it embarrassed him that I sent the notes…  (Say no, say no, say no…)  Yes, he said.  Do you want me to stop sending them with you?  No, he grinned.  [One of those Mama Moments]

Cub and I decided that I could try to write his Lunch Love Notes in code using a Lord of the Rings Lego decoder…  Well, I am truly a Mama of three boys.  So we are going to work on the decoder so I can tell him I Love You without anyone knowing.  But for now (until I learn to be a better Mama of three boys), we are going with this:

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The next morning, just as he had asked, I included a note with Mooch’s lunch which read: Dear Mooch, I hope you have a wonderful day and I can’t wait to hear about all the new things you learned and friends you played with!  We love you, Mama, Daddy, Cub and Zook.  XOXO.  I hid it inside his cloth sandwich bag and Velcroed it shut.  At dinner that night, I asked him if he had gotten the note.  He said he had found it and asked his teacher to read it to him.  Then I snuggled it when I had my nap time so I wouldn’t miss you as much.  [Mama Moment]  Sure enough, I found the Lunch Love Note crumpled up in his slipper.  Have I mentioned lately that I adore these children?  Maybe not enough.  Read on.

It’s reminding me that all too often, we Mamas spend hours per day critiquing our children.  Helping them get something right, giving out pointers, requests, advice.  We instruct, we make demands, we provide feedback.  These are all important things for sure but I wonder if the times per day we tell them we love them or miss them match these critiques.  Should it?  Now that I spend some time thinking about it, we do spend a great deal of energy on correcting our children and pointing out (kindly, of course) when they have made a mistake.  I am confident I tell them I love them at least… Twice… Shit.  It’s a simple thing.  It’s just that there are many other things that I need to say.  But what could be more important than I Love You…?  I think we all know the answer to that.

Now I am not talking about just saying it for the sake of saying it.  I love you I love you I love you.  See?  Meaningless.  But what about, The smile you had when you got off the bus today made my whole day better.  Or, I love your hugs.  Or better still, Can I have an extra hug so when I am missing you later today I remember how it feels to hold you?  These deeper, more meaningful expressions of love are just that: Deeper and more meaningful.  Which is exactly what I think kids need.  We need to quantify love for them- otherwise they may get lost in the vastness of it.  One of my favorite things to say to my kids is I love you more than all the leaves on all the trees in the whole entire world.  Then I point out a tree and ask him to try to count all the leaves.  I can’t- there’s too many, Mama.  Yup.  That’s right kiddo.  That’s right.

Peace, Mamas.

Twenty-Four Hours as a Mama

Wednesday

5:00pm- Husband calls: Cub has (another) migraine and is going to skip lacrosse.  Again.

5:15pm- Mama arrives home, takes dinner (prepared last night) out of the oven.

5:20pm- Cub vomits.

5:30pm- Mama tucks Cub in bed with Tylenol and bucket, ensures that towels are covering every square inch of carpet surrounding his bed.

5:40pm- Mama sits down to dinner.

5:45pm- Mooch complains of stomach ache.  Shit.

6:00pm- Mooch goes to bed.

6:15pm- Mama cleans up kitchen.

7:00pm- Mama brings Zook up to bed, which is shared with Mooch– Who is now moaning.

7:15pm- Mama nearly loses her shit and Husband comes up for relief.  Did I mention I appreciate this man?

8:00pm- Mooch, moaning again.  Shit.  It’s coming.

8:02pm- Mooch vomits.  Mama is a little slow with the bucket.  Mama brings Mooch downstairs to bathroom, cleans him up, changes his shirt.  Husband attempts clean up.  With Mama’s bath towel.  Never mind the last bit about appreciating him.

8:15pm- Mooch goes back to bed.  Mama finishes clean up.

8:30pm- Quiet.

9:30pm- Mama goes to bed.

9:45pm- Moaning.  Mooch vomits again.

10:15pm- Mama tucks Mooch back into bed.

11:30pm- Mooch vomits.

Thursday

1:40am- Mooch vomits.

3:35am- Mooch vomits.

4:30am- Cub comes in.  He’s awake now.

5:00am- Husband gets up to shower.  Mooch and Zook are up now too.  Ugh.  Mama hides.

6:00am- Mama is up.

8:30am- Mama arrives at work and gets to close the door to pee and eat snacks without running defense for the last bite.  Amazing.

5:35pm- Mama arrives home from work.  Husband has dinner on the table.  Appreciating him again.

5:45pm- Mama remembers Mooch has Open House at preschool.  At 6:00pm.

6:05pm- Open House.

6:45pm- Home.  Mama scarfs down the rest of dinner.

7:00pm- Husband tucks kids in bed.

7:35pm- Quiet.

8:02pm- Zook has to pee.  Ugh.

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M&Ms really pair better with red…  Cheers, Mamas!

Mama is Fed the F*ck Up

I don’t know how I got here but I am really struggling.  Patience are none existent.  Rationality has been exhausted.  My last nerve has been on extended leave.  What the hell is going on?  Well, I’ll tell ya.  My two year old has made a liar out of me.  Up until now, I never believed in the Terrible Twos.  Three was the worst in our house.  Three was the age of talking back, and fierce independence.  I thought the Terrible Twos were a load of shit.  Until I met Zook.

His whining has become the soundtrack to my life.  I swear, the crying and wallowing haunts me in my sleep.  He wants to help with everything.  Which is fine.  Takes a few extra minutes but I can deal with that.  If that was it.  But helping doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of my frustration with this child as of late.

Tonight was taco night.  Zook wanted a soft shell with shredded cheese.  Rolled inside.  Wait, on the side.  On the side of the plate.  Actually on the plate.  Yes, on the plate with sour cream to dip it in.  No, sour cream on the tortilla.  Okay, cheese on the side with sour cream in the taco.  Got it.  Nope, change of plans.  Sour cream out of the tortilla.  With cheese on the side.  What?  There’s still sour cream on the tortilla?  I can’t get it all out.  Now the tortilla is on the floor.  Now he wants a new tortilla.  With cheese.  And sour cream.  And tomatoes.  What. The. Fuck.

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I just can’t win with this kid.  I am certainly not a rookie Mama but lately, I am feeling like I am flailing through my interactions with this child.  I have no clue what is going to piss him off.  A dribble of milk spills next to his cereal bowl.  He wants cake.  In bed.  He wants me to fit the baseball through the egg-sized hole.  He doesn’t wait to sit in his carseat.  His shirt has a picky part.  His sock has an itchy part.  He wants to crush every Lego ship in the save-spot.  Please don’t hit Mama with the hammer.  Please, Mama!  Hit Mama, please!  Are you kidding me, kid?!

Being a Mama is so hard right now.  Tonight I literally felt like I could have shaken him.  Can they still get shaken baby syndrome at age two?!  I didn’t… But I could have.  I feel like I am on edge.  Like I have some kind of sick mental illness where I try to anticipate things that will piss him off and prevent them so I can alter the future.  You really don’t want to flush the toilet this time?  Really?  But you really like to do it.  Are you sure because if I flush we can’t have a do over.  Okay…  Maybe we’ll leave it for a minute if you change your mind…  What is my problem?  Am I enabling this?

I feel like I am failing him and myself.  And it’s really not fair to my other two.  I get that.  I feel like I used to be so much better at negotiating this kind of stuff but I am really sucking.  Exhausted, depleted, defeated.  Mama is tired of trying.  Tired of the whining, begging, screaming.  Tired of the meltdowns (his and mine).  Beyond tired of the struggle.  When is this going to get better?  I know this is a phase.  But honestly, the next person who says that to me should guard their throat because I’m not sure I can control the urge to punch.  It is a phase but we’ve been in this fucking phase for months now and it’s not really getting better.  I need an intervention.  (Self-medicating with alcohol has proved to be only marginally effective…)

We will overcome.  We will get through this.  The silence tonight is my therapy.  I need peace so that I can convince myself tomorrow will be better; that I will have more patience; that we can make it through this.  I need to hear  all of these things to convince myself I really don’t need to pack that bag and sneak out in the night.  I need to look in on his sleeping sweet face.  I adore this child…  Why does he have to be so fricken adorable?!  They really are cuter when they’re sleeping, huh?

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Peace Mamas.

Celebrate the Differences… With Cake

*Disclaimer: Yes, this post is about cake.  Yes, you will want to eat some.  So maybe before you start reading, you should run and grab those M&M’s, that pack of fruit snacks, the jar of PB and the bag of chocolate chips (c’mon, I know that’s your go-to when you’ve got nothing else), or maybe you were able to score something good at the grocery store and managed to get it in the cabinet covertly.  Ah, the luxuries of Mamahood.

Sometimes I wonder who made these children.  I am relatively sure I am their mother but…  How could the offspring of two people be so different?  Sure there are some similarities but the ways in which they are unique seem to far outweigh their sameness.  My oldest, Cub, is thoughtful, intellectual and timid.  He’s filled with pride which provides a daily struggle with adhering to boundaries.  He has a hard time with change and finds comfort in routine.  He’s habitual and nervous.   Mooch is my middle.  He’s soft and loving; gentle and empathetic; wise beyond his years.  Provides endless affection, hugs and back rubs.  He’s sensitive, loyal and playful.  My youngest, Zook, is a wild child.  He sobs constantly and it’s effective because his shrieks force this Mama to cave.  He’s stingy with his love and has a temper which runs through him like a deep valley, jagged and unpredictable.  His sense of humor is rich and hearty and his helpful nature will take him miles someday.

Providing such brief descriptions is a bit of a struggle.  I know them better than I know myself at times.  I am able to calculate their responses to situations, interactions, conflict and personalities.  Still at times I am shocked by their uniqueness.  It was ever more apparent to me this weekend when we celebrated Mooch’s fifth birthday for what seems like the fifth fucking time in the last week.  We hosted some friends from his class for cupcake decorating- which was a fabulous party plan!  We were able to hold the entire party outside and clean-up was a cakewalk  (pun totally intended).

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Now before you jump up to raid your candy stash (I warned you), I want to get back to the uniqueness of my children.  I would like for you to get to know my children by the manner in which they chose to decorate their cupcakes.  One of my children went for precision.  One went for the shock-and-awe (I think?).   And one I could not capture as it was devoured at a rate which rivals my own speed of cake consumption- which for those of you who don’t know me personally is smokin’.  

In case you hadn’t guessed, Cub went for structure and balance.  The perfect ratio of frosting to sprinkles to toppings.  It was exquisite.

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Zook went for… Excess.  Quantity over quality.  Drama over practicality.  Impact over tasteful (again with the pun).

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Mooch.  The tasty confection was consumed in record time.  He then chugged off to run and laugh with his mates.

It’s not that surprising that I would choose to dedicate an entire post to cake- and I’m sure this won’t be the last- but it’s a new means by which to learn about my children.  And for me to attempt to express the awesomeness they possess.  The fullness, richness, sweetness they add to my life.  Eat more cake.

Peace Mamas.

Mama Gets Bus Chucked

Last week, part of celebrating the fifth birthday of my Mooch included a trip to the pediatrician.

Dr. Land: What is your favorite thing to play?

Mooch: Video games.

Dr. Land: What is your favorite food?

Mooch: Donuts.

Dr. Land: Do you wear your seat belt every time you are in the car?

Mooch: Yup.  But sometimes I just have to remind my mom.

Oh shit.  Kid chucked Mama under the bus.

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Breaking Up With the Breast

It’s happening.  This is really happening.  And just when I said self-weaning was bullshit.  Don’t worry, this isn’t turning into a breastfeeding blog, because that’s coming abruptly to an end.  For the second consecutive night, my little guy sheepishly crawled in with a brother and snuggled in.  Without me. Without me.  Without his Mama.

This moment has been on my mind all day.  It was my first thought this morning, consumed my commute to work, filled the spaces in my mind during meetings, brought on an ache in my throat after lunch.  I was distracted as I watched my oldest play lacrosse tonight, at dinner and in the yard.  As I watched that sweet boy run and throw his head back in laughter, rolling in the grass, flashing me that toothy, goofy smile, I knew bedtime was coming.  We brushed teeth, I held my breath.  Climbed the stairs, put jammies on.  Stomach tightening, Are you going to sleep with your brother again tonight?  Yes.

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And all of a sudden, this became a story about a Mama losing her baby.  If reading that doesn’t signal the pierce of a tear, the sting of your nose, or your breath to catch, I can tell you that as a Mama, short of tragedy, there may be no greater loss.  So here is the raw truth: We want our children to grow, learn, become.  But the instances when they start to leave us are both the most heart-breaking and heart-filling moments we may ever experience.  A child turning from what was once the only comfort he knew, while causing undeniable pain, is a Mama’s greatest accomplishment.  We raise our children to leave us.  But the moment it actually happens is nothing we could have fathomed before that point.

This is also the story of a baby growing into a child.  He’s not leaving his Mama, he just needs her a little less.  We need to learn to bond in a different way.  I am beyond thankful that he is choosing this path on his own will.  I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I’d wondered if it was time or thought about how we would do this.  He’s taken the guesswork out of the process.  I’m trying not to let this break my heart.  Trying so hard to accept his choice.  I never, in my whole life, thought I’d grow so attached to nursing.  It’s not the act of nursing, it’s the connection we share at the end of the day.  Correction: It’s the connected we shared at the end of the day.

My heart feels heavy and light tonight, if that’s possible.  So much of Mamahood is filled with experiences which are both the best and worst thing all at once.  I’m living in the moment; documenting these moments, pouring my guts out because I need to not feel alone in this.  I know I’m not.  I know there are a many of Mamas nodding their heads right now.  Thank you Mamas.  I know there maybe some who are not Mamas reading too- and hopefully now you get it.  Now you get a peek into this world of being a Mama.  The struggle, the success, the pain, the bliss.  The Love.

Peace Mamas.

Goodnight Without the Boob

Well that’s exactly what it was.  For the first time.  Ever.  In case you missed my earlier post, I am an extended nurser.  I tend to stay away from saying extended breastfeeder because that seems to freak people out a little more.  Makes it more graphic, I don’t know.  My son will be 30 months old this week  (for those of you who are still dividing by twelve, that’s two and a half years old).  And we still boob (how’s that for graphic?).  Lately, I have been considering, pondering the idea that maybe this should all be over.  It has been a long time.  There is little to no nutrition going on, I’d like my own boobs back (even though they are a train wreck) and he is two and a half…

Today was a wonderful day.  My baby had his first playdate with an adorable little fella and was totally exhausted tonight after trading his nap for a chauffeured tour of his buddy’s driveway in a hot pink Barbie Jeep (it was really quite something).  At bedtime tonight, we got jammies on, brushed teeth and went up to choose books.  Just as the argument began over which book to read, my little guy says Sleep. Here.  And pointed to his brother’s bed.  I asked him again what he said, confused- maybe hoping I’d heard him wrong.  Sleep. Here.  And he pointed again.  Okay, I said, knowing this would never last.  He popped in bed next to his brother and laid down.  You want to sleep in here tonight?  Grin.  Nod.  Okay.  Love you…  And I walked out. Now he’s sleeping up there as cute as can be next to his brother.  Wow.

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I’m honestly experiencing a swirl of emotions right now.  I’m so relieved that it could possibly be this easy.  That there really could be no tears.  I’m proud that my littlest babe can find his way to dreamland peacefully- and quite frankly adorably- next to his older brother without Mama.  Without Mama.  And that’s where the warm fuzzies end.  Did he not need me?  Did he not need to press his sweet face against my breast, look into my eyes, and rub his soft fleshy fingers into my warm skin?  Does he no longer require my arms around him, calming and secure, strong and reassuring?  I’m feeling a little lost.  A little hallow.  

I read about women who refer to nursing as a journey and I never quite understood that so clearly as I do tonight- for tonight I am quite honestly fearful that our journey has come to its end.  I remember back to the nights, alone with him, the feeling of elation at the sounds of his swallows in the dark. His warm belly against mine, still swollen from where he was housed just days before.  That feeling, those nights, will never be matched.  It’s been a mutual love affair until this evening and now I have been dumped.  Kicked to the curb like yesterday’s news.  He broke up with me for his brother.  Ouch.

He’s our last child.  There will be no more babies.  No more births, no more first teeth, no more first rolls, steps or even diapers for that matter.  All that is done.  I am aware that there will be many more firsts (day of school lost tooth, bikes, soccer games…) but I’m talking about The Firsts.  Why is it so hard to leave that part behind?  I can almost watch it happening.

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As I write tonight, I am living in the moment- maybe more than I ever have in my life. As I watch our relationship morph, I am aware that it’s not about me.   Our journey has been guided fully by his will and I’m not about to interfere with his method but it doesn’t ease the ache in my chest, the longing in my soul for my children to stay babies forever.  Sappy and stupid, I know- but Real.  Tonight it is so Real.  So what will tomorrow bring…  I’m curious to discover how our bedtime routine will change.  And if this is the end.  Cue throat lump…  Is this over?

Peace Mamas.

Sunday Reset: The Hike

This weekend, the weather in Vermont was amazing!  Gorgeous, warm and bright.  As I eluded to in a previous post, we live in a very old farm house, built in 1870.  When we moved in, as stupid young homeowners, we thought we’d have it looking just the way we envisioned within a matter of months.  Ha.  So six years, three kids, two ER visits, and thousands of dollars later our house is finally the way we envisioned.  Many sacrifices have been made along the way but the compromises I feel most shame about are the missed family moments.  Time we should have spent with the kids was spent hemorrhaging funds our home.  Last weekend, we finished the last project… Which meant this weekend was long-overdue family time.

We decided today was the perfect day for a hike.  Frequently in the warm months, we climb the trail to the top of Mount Philo.  Barely a mountain, it boasts what I believe to be one of the best scenic views in our beautiful state.

Along the way, we took note of our surroundings.  My oldest was excited to record his observations in his journal (which of course I was carrying, along with the snacks, drinks, etc.).

Once at the top, he quickly began working away in his journal.  I spent a great deal of time watching his steady pencil strokes, his even lines and the concentration which spread across his face was inspiring.  This child has so many gifts.

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This hike was significant as it was the first trek my youngest made on his own two legs.  He reveled in the landscape and though it took us a little longer as he needed to inspect holes, roots, rocks and bark, it was he who was more proud than I when we reached the top.  Unfortunately, he quickly had an accident.  And though I had many (many, many) items in the pack on my back, a change of clothes was not among them.  Ugh.  Luckily, his older brother was wearing boxer briefs and had no hesitation about loaning them.  And even luckier still, my youngest was delighted to wear nothing but his brother’s unders for our journey down the mountain.  Crisis averted.

Photo1 (9)Spending this time as a family felt refreshing and filled my heart with love, my veins with patience which will hopefully last through the week.  Being active, in nature, hearing their excitement about new surroundings made me breathe in their curiosity along with the fresh air.  A day I will remember for long time.  My children are outside all the time and I am with them… But so much of the time I watch them.  Observe them.  But to experience the outdoors alongside them was a treat (for both of us) I don’t normally indulge.  I feel that it made a difference for them as well.  There was no whining (really!) and such powerful enthusiasm.  The good moods and possitivity followed us all through the day.  Get out with your kids.  Experience nature together!  Peace Mamas!

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Little Boys are Murderers

Sweeping the mudroom this morning, I stumbled across a mass grave.  Of ants.  Let me start by saying that it may come as a surprise that although we live in a 143 year old farm house in a small Vermont town, we have never had a problem with insects (mice, of course but no bugs).  Until we updated our kitchen and uncovered some kind of colony of black ants.  For the last couple of months, we have used ant cups, gel cups and spray.  But to no avail.  The little suckers just keep coming back.  Our plan is to hire an exterminator to bomb the creepy bastards once it’s warm enough to open the windows without wearing our snowsuits- which in Vermont is typically June.  In the mean time, I have children to keep the problem somewhat under control.

Their method of extermination consists of picking each ant up and pinching its wriggling body between their fingers.  Most of the legs stop moving before they toss it back down.  Sometimes the legs continue to spasm for a few seconds but by this time, the boys have lost interest in their suffering victim and moved on to the next.  Of course the corpse is left behind (or tossed into the mudroom, thus the mass grave) with zip remorse.  Zip.

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Now all of this is gross, cringe-worthy and there’s nothing sanitary about it.  But what’s most disturbing about is sometimes they smile while doing performing the execution.  Even my two-year-old.  And once I started thinking about this, I was comforted by the realization that all boys are murderers.  This insecticidal ideation seems to be ingrained in their minds from a very young age- or as I believe, at birth- because surely this is not a result from my parenting.  Surely.  Nope.  I even remember my cousins (four boys- bless you Aunt Kay!) seeking out and murdering anything from insect to arachnids to small reptiles- well except for the nature-loving one who wore moccasins, purples Umbros and toted a stuffed kitty around until he was… well never mind.   But the rest were murderous.

Further distressing is that my husband seems to almost encourage this savage behavior.  He at least suggests the carcasses be disposed of outside (most of the time) but he doesn’t tell them to cease this beahvior.  I think I am the only one who cares.  And this is another reason I stand by my claim: This isn’t my fault.  This happens because boys are torturous, head-hunting babarians.  This uncivilized streak seems to be limited to bug-squishing so as long as I can count on table manners, I think I can overlook this.  But for God-sake, can’t they drag the bodies to the side of our property, dig some shallow unmarked graves and dump them there instead of the mudroom?  Having said that, I’m confident I am raising upstanding, contributing members of society.  I think.

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