As we were walking across the parking lot to the theater the other day (with other theater patrons fore and aft) Johnny broke into song. Not an unusual occurrence; this time it was “Moves Like Jagger” by Maroon 5.
Now, I have some doubts and a good dose of parental guilt about letting my children listen to this song in the first place. So, to assuage said guilt and make me look a little less like Ms. Trailer Park 2011, he could’ve gone for the innocuous second verse: “Maybe it’s hard when you feel like you’re broken and scarred – nothing feels right. But when you’re with me I’ll make you believe that I’ve got the key.”
But did he?
Instead dear John busted out with the chorus, that old standard lullaby that every 8-year-old knows:
“Take me by the tongue and I”ll know you.* Kiss me till you’re drunk and I’ll show you all the moves like Jagger, I’ve got the moves like Jagger….”
*(I’m pretty sure Adam means this in the Biblical sense.)
So either my family is ultra-liberal and wildly, painfully hip, or I should be wearing ass-revealing denim cutoffs, no bra under my Harley Davidson tank top and no shoes, chain-smoking while a baby (clad only in a diaper) crawls around on the ground playing with empty beer cans.
All part of our mystique, I guess.
I just told JZ that I’m not building any more Lego kits and that if he can’t put the thing together without crying then we needed to put it up until his father gets home (Friday).
I HAAAAATE building stuff like that, but I could suck it up and deal if the child was actually enjoying himself. But he isn’t. He gets frustrated about 1/4 of the way in and wailing, moaning, and crying ensue (and JZ doesn’t behave much better *rimshot*). Now, I understand it’s disheartening to try to assemble a bunch of little pieces into a specific, recognizable form when you just aren’t understanding the directions….but it’s also kind of not my problem. He’s the one who keeps picking out these kits. I’m not foisting them upon him as a form of psychological torture. I’d be happy never to see another bloody box of Legos come through my front door. They are all suggested for 7-12 years old and JZ’s only 6 (and not over-endowed in the fine motor skills department). Yet even though he has a hard time, every time, he still insists on buying them – even though he must remember how much trouble he had with the last one.
Anyway, I figure I get a pass on at least one subject of my choosing. I do everything for these kids, all week long; not just day-to-day maintenance but putting up with t.v. shows and activities I don’t personally enjoy but allow because they like them. I think I should be allowed to recuse myself from participation in one pastime that I loathe. I’m simply not a model-building sort of person. It’s a bit too much like putting together jigsaw puzzles – another activity I’ve never liked.
I’ve also explained to Johnny that Legos are supposed to be fun and that if he isn’t having fun he should put it up for a while. I don’t mean he should be a quitter and abandon a project because it’s hard; I’m simply talking about taking a break and picking it up again at another time when he’s not so wound up. For some reason he doesn’t quite seem to get that and soldiers on for entirely too long, gushing angst the whole way. And so it continues. Someone really should have informed the Bush administration that all that waterboarding was unnecessary. All they really needed to do was place their suspects in a room with a melodramatic six-year-old who couldn’t figure out his Lego castle and they’d have confessed to anything just to get the kid removed.
I love this picture. And, no, not in the “I took it and it’s so awesome” sense; nor in the “I was playing around with it at Picnik and it turned out cool” sense.
No, what I love about it is how it sums up my daughter’s attitude in a single snapshot. It’s youthful enthusiasm captured and preserved digitally for posterity. This is Eliza, outside the church on her first day of preschool for the year. She had her “packpack”, her shoes and her “pretty” (dress) and she was ready to conquer the world. Oh, and see her friends, especially her favorite, Matthew (who she was smooching on later in the week at the football game, but we won’t talk about that).
Just think — when was the last time YOU were this enthusiastic about, well, anything? I highly doubt that many of you out there feel this way about your jobs. Even if you like your profession I can’t imagine you go running up the sidewalk every morning with your arms flung wide to the universe (and, if you do, I’d like some of what you’re smoking).
No, we sit here worrying about this, worrying about that (mostly stuff we can’t even control, anyway). We think, “I’ll be happy….when this, this and this happen” or “I’ll take the time to enjoy the little things later – I’m too busy right now.” But who knows what tomorrow holds? Maybe we’ll never get the chance to do all the things we think we’re going to do “later.”
Then there’s Liza. She’s got a roof over her head, she’s feeling good, she has food in her belly and she’s got family and friends. And she’s happy. It’s actually pretty simple, when you think about it.
I never thought I’d be someone to feel strange not having my kids around. Content and relaxed, yes. Overjoyed — some days. But off-kilter? Never. Until today.
Today is Eliza’s first day of preschool for the year, which translates to “the first day all three kids are gone all day on a weekday.” Last year Eliza attended preschool but she only went for two-and-a-half hours. By the time I got home from dropping her off, had a shower and ate some breakfast it was almost time to turn around and go back to get her!
This year, however, she’ll be staying all day. From 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., two days a week, I am a free woman. And, for the moment, it’s slightly disconcerting. When I headed upstairs with my breakfast a little while ago I found myself thinking, “Okay, I’ll just set this down and then put up the baby gate…..Oh.”
I wouldn’t say it’s unpleasant, this feeling. It’s just….different. It’s been two-and-a-half years since I’ve had entire weekdays all to myself at home. When Robert is home he helps out a lot by taking the kids places but they usually are only gone for a few hours and I know they could be home at any time. With them all being at school I now have two days a week when they leave in the morning and I know I have until 3:00 to do what I like – or what I need (it comes very handy for me being that I’m on my own most of the week and sometimes have a hard time getting things like appointments and errands done).
I was sitting here thinking, earlier, about how I really wish we lived in an area where there was more for me to do. There just isn’t much going on around here, and while I won’t be bored staying at home, I do feel like it’s a shame to waste the opportunity to get out and do some things. If only we lived in an area with museums and libraries and neat hang-out spots I would be taking full advantage of those.
That said, however, the bottom line is I am grateful for the short respite and intend to use it not only for practical endeavors but also to recharge and remind myself I’m more than just MomBot 3000.
Now if only I can break myself of the habit of opening the van door when I get home to unbuckle Eliza when she’s not even there.
Madalyn (8), today, in response to my discovery of a large (accidental) scratch along her brother’s chin: “My fingernails are devastating.”
John-Zachary (barely 6), today, after eating a grape which he was pretending was a person: “The brave knight is dead. Rip.”
(You know…..rip. Like they write on dead people’s gravestones.)
The fun never ends in California.
We stopped at Dollar General tonight for something I needed and I let the kids pick out a coloring book each (Eliza also got a board book). The kids chattered excitedly all the way home about which pages they were going to color and they are now coloring away happily, singing as they do (their last number was “Come and Get It” by Badfinger). The grand total for all this fun? $7.
Some day, folks, I will not only realize but continue to remember and embrace that less is sometimes more.
(Incidentally, the coloring book choices were as follows: Eliza – Sesame Street (“Elmo!!!!”), John-Zachary – Littlest Pet Shop, Madalyn – generic cats & dogs.)
The kids and I are all tucked up in the upstairs living room right now. JZ has staged some elaborate make-believe scene with toys on the couch next to me, and the two girls are playing together. Eliza just ran through her repertoire of animal imitations and is just generally happy and having a good time with her sister. I absolutely love, LOVE times like this when the t.v. is off and everyone is getting along and being sweet and funny. Madalyn really should have been in bed at least fifteen minutes ago because she has to be up for her last day of summer G&T class tomorrow, but I just can’t end the evening yet. These are the times I look forward to. This is the stuff I’m going to miss when they are all grown up and moved away.