Tuesday’s ten things thankful

September 22, 2010 at 12:00 am (Gratitude, Parenthood, tens)

Ten things I love about my life right now, the kid-version (ignoring the myriad things I don’t):

§ My adventuresome eater Parker.  At a recent dinner with my Chinese American step-mother-in-law, he grubbed on cod cheeks, duck, scallops, and gigantic Hood Canal shrimp spicy-fried with the shell on.  You’ll notice a complete lack of vegetables.  My little carnivore.

§ Hugs in the morning.  I make a concerted effort to drop what I’m doing and greet each child as they wake up.  Pretty much the only time I drop everything for them all day.  I ask them how they slept, tell them I’m glad to see them and I’m glad to have them in our family.  I hope they remember this as adults.

§ That it turns out my boys don’t really want to live with my sister.  Recently they’d asked to move in with her.  They went on and on about how great it would be.  Mainly due to her recent purchase of a brand new SUV, but also due to the fun times had there, the good food, and the lively attention from their uncle.  I know, a mama has to grow thick skin.  But on the day this was mentioned, I was already vulnerable.  When Harry the Tarantula sheds her exoskeleton in favor of a larger skin, she hides in the back of her terrarium until she hardens.  That’s what I did that day.  Not only would any child insisting he wouldn’t miss you break any mama’s heart, but their choice of my sister hit me where it counts.  She’s always been what I long to be- vivacious, good at making friends, good at sports, generally popular.  Now add to this list financially-secure and seemingly handling motherhood with ease.  Basically, the boys unknowingly set off a tailspin of insecurities.  Now of course my sister has her own set of insecurities and probably (maybe, is it wrong to hope?) her child will one day ask to live at our house.  At bedtime that night, one of my boys was expressing thankfulness for something or other about the way we do things, and I asked, “So maybe you don’t really want to go live with Alison?”  “Huh?”  They did not even remember wishing aloud to move.  Molting process complete.

§ Kid logic.  Auden and Parker are working on a routine of homework folder out and lunch boxes to the counter directly after school.  I check out what has to get done this evening, and stash the folder sideways next to the pencils canister until homework time.  Last night Auden whined, “Mooooom, whyyyy do you always put my folder here where I can’t find it?”  Me: “Well, I need to counter space to cook dinner, and if it’s always here then you know where it is, right?”  A: “N0-0-0 (making it a full three syllables), I don’t like it there.”  Me: “OK, we need to have somewhere to always keep it so you can always find it.  You pick the spot.”  So Auden picked, and now we keep his homework folder across the kitchen, on top of the refrigerator, underneath all the layers of half-eaten bags of chips, bread, and anything random that I’m keeping away from little ones.  It requires a stool to get it for him.  Which he’ll also have to fetch across the kitchen first.  Seems a less worthy spot than next to the writing instrument he needs and reachable from the spot he sits to do it, but, it’s not my homework, so who am I to say?  And it might not be obvious, but I don’t mean that question sarcastically.

§ Choosing cuddles in the morning over TV.  Greta woke up and crawled into bed with Willa and I yesterday.  I let her know that her brothers were watching TV downstairs.  Instead of running down as I expected, she snuggled closer to me under the covers.  Morningtime is one of my favorite times with my children.  It’s before they wake up enough to fight with each other.  I’ve grown to love the smell of pee-filled diapers and binky breath in the morning.

§ Willa’s coos and early laughs.  And what she find laughable.

§ Discovering that swaddling consistently gets a 9pm to 4am stretch of sleep out of Willa.  Lest you hate me for this, I assure you I did my time.  The twins didn’t give me this respite until they were well over one year.  For months and months I survived mainly on one hour snippets of sleep.

§ Exploring the difference between real and pretend.  We gave Greta a play kitchen for her birthday.  Without me realizing, she filled up the sink with water to do the dishes.  Of course this involved ferrying water in cups between her room and the bathroom, sloshing a fair amount on the carpet in the process.  But why would she think that her kitchen had to have pretend water, when my kitchen gets to have real water?  The lack of true plumbing was apparently no clue to a three-year old.  Having the kitchen in her room has meant Greta is sometimes off playing alone in her room, and I think three is the right age for that.  But she often asks for company, so I was up there drinking my breakfast smoothie.  I had to explain why I do not want to re-blend it in her pretend blender that really spins.  Though it moves, it doesn’t actually blend.  Nor is it watertight, my dear.

§ When Auden plays waiter in Greta’s kitchen, he calls me “My Ma’am”.

§ That Greta, who can’t say the word, refers to the day of her birth as “Happy to Greta”.

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