Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Mean Mom

I have recently come to terms with the fact that I am a if not, the, "mean mom."

We live in an awesome neighborhood--and when I say awesome...I mean everyone knows everyone, and everyone is friends with everyone.  It goes way beyond, borrowing a cup of sugar.  And, it is not uncommon to be at the neighbors house or gathering for neighborhood get-togethers every weekend.  We love it, and are lucky to have found such a great group of people to literally, surround ourselves with.

We have neighbors who love to visit with us as well as our children--and a nice mix of children in the neighborhood to keep our 2 kiddos in play-time heaven.   It is when they are playing with the other neighborhood kids, I have realized that I can come across like...oh, I don't know...my own mother?  My kids don't get to run to their hearts content all thru the neighborhood, they have to ask before they do anything, stay out of the street, ALWAYS use manners--you know...Be Perfect ;).

Physical limits of distance were easy to explain to the kids, although not always fun to enforce.  For example,  Jaxen went chasing his 2 little buddies down thru the backyards, I warned him to stop at his, "border."  He stopped, and looked at me, and then looked at his friends, still running ahead--and then hung his head and started to head towards me.  He was heart-broken to say the least.  You could see it written all over his cute little face--and I am pretty sure he was thinking--"oh, man-I never get to do anything!"  Afterall, that's what I would have said when I was age.  However, he didn't throw a fit, and he listened and came back immediately.  I may have been the mean mom--but, I was proud of my son, and I was keeping him safe.

My daughter knows her distance limits as well but, time limits were a little harder to explain. I know my parents, used to say--play til it gets dark, but it gets dark too late around here, and darkness is relative.  So, I had to think of something else. .  It seemed natural to me, that when she went to a neighbors house to play--that I set a time limit, or else she would be there ALL day!!  However, since she is only 4, and we are still working on telling time, it made sense to send her with a kitchen timer.  I would set it for 33 minutes-- 3 minutes for travel time, and 30 minutes to visit/play at a neighbors house.

The first time we tried this out--she went back out, with her timer in hand--looking for her friends.  But, they had moved locations--so, she frantically started searching for them, asking anyone she ran into--if they had seen them.  All the while, her time was ticking away and she was getting more and more frantic.  No one seemed to know where they went--but everyone took note of the mean mom's timer ;).  Time did run out, and we never found the other girls....so, Alexis didn't have a good first experience with the timer-but, I liked it.  And, the neighbors got a good laugh!

So, the next time, I watched as she went, with timer in hand to 2 houses over.  She and her brother had 30 minutes, to play at their house.  Just like clockwork, when that timer went off, the both started to head home -
The timer was a SUCCESS.

Now, I have been teased a little about the timer- and I have noticed that I seem to be the only one sometimes that makes her kids follow rules,  sit down to dinner, and so on.  I know this is not really true, but it does feel lonely sometimes to be the, "mean mom."  I have had to field a few questions of, "why can't we do this if they do this?  but, so and so is allowed to..."  But, they aren't anything I can't handle.  I just hope the questions don't get too much harder--because I don't know how long this, "mean-mom" attitude can last-- I guess when it starts to break, I can always say...


Thanks to my parents for not letting me do EVERYTHING I wanted, even though my friends did...thanks for being tough, when you had to- to keep me safe, and make me the SWEET GIRL I was, and the MEAN MOM, I am today.   I love you.

Boundaries and Limits = Love and Safety

Stain Fighter Superhero

I found the time, energy and I guess the want-to to clean the carpets yesterday-- I was a little proud of myself, considering I did this with 2 toddlers and a baby underfoot.  The wind was blowing yesterday, so I opened the windows--and the carpets dried super-fast.

This morning as I woke up to a chilly house, I turned on the fireplace, sat down with my coffee and thought about how clean and pretty my carpets looked.  It wasn't long before mommyhood called, and I was up and doing other things--while my coffee got cold, sitting by the chair.  I saw Jaxen walk towards the chair...and always being a step ahead of him, (because you have to) I said..."Jaxen, watch out for mommy's coffee."  "okay, mommy." he sweetly said.

Well you know as well as I, that if you don't move the coffee out of their reach, with newly cleaned carpets--it is inevitable--the coffee spilled all over the fresh carpets.  I know I said, "ugh..." as I grabbed the carpet cleaner.

Jaxen of course, said..."sorry, mommy..." and I knew he meant it.  Afterall, it's no use to cry over spilled coffee.

About 10  minutes later, we sat down to watch, Diego, when a commercial came on.  I heard Alexis, talking to herself out loud-- and she was saying..."hmmm...maybe, I should get that for mommy, for Christmas."  I hadn't been paying attention to the commercial- so, I asked her what it was.  And, with an excited, solve-all-your-problems kind of face, she told me it was a, "stain-fighter."  The way she explained told me that she believed this superhero-fighter could help me with all of my little boy stains! She had come to the perfect solution, and would save her money to buy me my very own STAIN FIGHTER for Christmas.

It was this innocent idea, that lead me to start daydreaming about a real-life stain-fighter hero that could follow Jaxen around all day long!  That would be nice wouldn't it?  But, since I realized long ago--there are no superheroes, I guess I will stick to Resolve.

What stain-fighters do you use?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Words to Pray

My sweet, son- excels in so many ways- but, sometimes cannot find the words to express where he is at, or what he wants to say.  He tries desperately, to get his point across- but, sometimes becomes frustrated when I don't understand him.

I love to see him communicate, and the light shine in his eyes, when he knows that the listener has understood him!  He sees the point in talking, he sees the effectiveness of words--and I couldn't be happier for him.

What I had failed to realize, as his vocabulary and speech was growing--that there was someone who could ALWAYS understand him, and know exactly what he was trying to communicate.

Jaxen has been very excited to say the dinner prayer, as we sit around the table in the evenings.  He has listened to his big sister pray for months and months--and he finally wants his turn.  At the beginning of August, he began by repeating a "recited" prayer.  I would say a line, and he would repeat it.  Although, we encourage our children to pray in their own words-- this was a way for him to not struggle with finding the words, yet feel like he was doing his part in Thanking God.

As we sat down to dinner a couple of nights ago--we were rushed with the day's activity--and Jaxen sat there, spoon propped in hand.  He quietly, said..."GOD...." and when noone helped...he said, "GOD...." again.  It took me just a second to realize what he was doing--he was beginning his prayer, whether we were going to remember or not.  It was the sweetest thing to see him, want to Thank God, with the limited words he has.  But, the awesome thing is--he didn't have to, "SPEAK," any words--God already knew his heart.

So, I chose not to give him "memorized," prayer lines that night.  Instead, I let him fill in the blanks.  Thank you for_______. He Thanked God that night for his mommy, and his daddy, his sissy, the food and Buzz Lightyear.  Who could ask for a better, more heartfelt prayer from a 2 year old-  Jaxen always knew what he was thankful for, he just didn't have the words to say it.

So, I will tonight's blog--with my thanks.
Thank you God for my sweet, precious family, and our perfect-for-us life, for granting me grace every day, for listening to me when I can't find the words.  Thank you for a family  and friends who show my children love, who accept me despite my flaws.  Thank you for morning snuggles, just woke-up grins, butterfly and nose kisses, the opportunity to be a mother, and finally for the reminding me daily, of the important things in life.

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Wine Tasting Party

This past weekend, my dh and I were able to host a wine-tasting party.  We had never been to one of these, or hosted one, but we were very excited.  We invited, cooked/baked, dusted, and were ready to entertain.

We had every guest or couple bring a bottle of wine wrapped up, so no one could see what kind of wine it was.  The table was set with tons of h'ourderves, and we began, "tasting".   The types of appetizers we had available were chocolate truffles, several different types of cheese and crackers, quiche, warm crab and shrimp dip, stuffed mushrooms, veggie and Hawaiian bread dip, etc) We numbered the bottles as they came in the door--so everyone would know exactly what number they were drinking.  We had a mix of reds and whites.

 Since, the guests were a mixed group, some knowing little about wine and some knowing more--we decided that the score sheets would be however they could remember which bottle was the best for them.  It was simply numbered 1-10, and they were allowed to write whatever they thought would help them make a decision at the end.   Although, we only judged 10 wines, we drank 21 bottles or so of wine.  The bottles ranged from $8-$60 a bottle.

We talked, laughed, and just enjoyed ourselves, while tasting the wines when each one of us was ready.  It was not long before we had rosy cheeks and noses!! The boys kind of went their own way, and the girls theirs.  At the end, it was mainly the women who voted on the best wine. 

The winner of our wine contest was a wine by a local winery,  Jasper Winery.  It is part of their Winemaker's Series, and is called Bed Head Red.   They describe it as A fun and easily drinkable sweet red wine, Bed Head Red has spicy aromas and deep fruit flavors of black cherry and wild berry, with a hint of vanilla, for $10.  

It is pictured on the left hand side, with the bright blue top.

The winner received handmade truffles and wine glass charms.  If you are a fan of wine, you should consider having a small get-together for a wine-tasting party.  If not, at least pick up a bottle of Bed Head Red, and try a glass or two!  

Monday, September 21, 2009

My son, Buzz

I have my very own superhero, living in my house--sure, he isn't even 2 feet tall--but he will come to my rescue at the slightest elevation in my voice. He looks a lot like my son, but his voice is deeper, he has a button that expands his green wings, and he calls himself Buzz Lightyear. He flies through my house, only transforming back into my son, when it is time to eat.

I have used this superhero alter-ego to my advantage. I find myself saying, "well, Buzz Lightyear goes potty like a big boy....and Buzz Lightyear would eat all of his veggies..."

It is fun to see my sweet little boy, so into a character- that he won't even change out of his Buzz Lightyear pajamas. I am literally going to have to peel them off of him. Luckily, we live in a neighborhood where this type of behavior is accepted and entertained. So, I don't have to worry as he runs out the front door--still clad in his pajamas for the second day in a row--

I just yell after him, "Where are you going, bud?" and he hollers back to me, in that deep Buzz voice of his, "To infin-it-y and be-yond!" And, without a moment of hesitation--I say back to him, "okay, as long as you stay in the yard, Buzz."

Friday, September 11, 2009

Sweet Spot

My kids did not have a "woobie," a "safety blanket," or anything of the sort--instead, they found the comfort and tranquility with a touch. At first came my daughter, who soothed herself with the gentle stroke of her mother's arm. I remember vividly, answering the question on a form: Does your child cling to an object when she is upset? and I literally wrote, "my arm."

This calming action, got to the point where she would be trying to fall asleep, and she would ask for, "your arm, your arm." She knew at such a small age, what it took for her to feel safe, cared for and loved.

My son, did not ever learn that the skin of my arm could offer peace, but he found his own placidity within the hollow of my neck. He found he could bury his tiny hand in between my chin and chest, letting the warmth and the thump of my heartbeat ease him into sleep.

Although, Alexis has grown out of this habit; Jaxen holds tight to the ritual. When he gets himself worked up, he knows that he needs to be held at an angle where his hand can find the valley of my neck. His hand is not as tiny, but he knows that size doesn't matter when it comes to finding a sanctuary of safety and love.

In a way, it is as if, these two very different children, were hard-wired to seek out a tangible love--one they can reach for, touch and hold in their precious little hands. How amazing is it, that with the simple allowance of a touch--that a child can find all that they are looking for in this world? With that caress of their mother's skin, they find love, understanding, grace, acceptance, a feeling of security, a feeling of importance and peace.

It saddens me to know that Alexis has outgrown, such an endearing and tender mannerism, and that it is only a matter of time before Jaxen will also outgrow his very own, distinctive touch. Will I be able to communicate the same amount of feeling, they could get from a simple touch, with words and actions? I am not sure, but I will try every single day-- and pray that they feel that peace within themselves, that I once could give, just by being their mom.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


I have come to realize, that my son will never stay clean-faced, clean-clothed, or clean-anywhere for that matter. I have thought back upon, my new-mommy days often--remembering how over-excited I was to wipe my daughter's face/hands/chair/toys/everything every 5 seconds or so...
We kept her pretty clean most of the time, and her clothes were immaculate enough to be sold in second-hand stores--

and then there was a BOY!

Sure, some of it was also that he was the 2ND baby--and mommy was wiped out (pun intended). I could not and still canNOT keep up with the dirt this boy attracts. His face is like a magnet for dirt and grime--and his FEET--even worse! The biggest difference is, that it does not bother him in the least. His sister, always had to wash her hands and face, and still does to this day- Was that because I was a psychotic mother wiping her face every time there was a speck on it? Who knows--but, I do know that I have given up on keeping my SON clean...

I know that I am being forced to eat my words in a sense-- because, I was one of those "know-everything-about-parenting-but-have-never-really-done-it" kind of people at one time. (I know you know these type)
I stood in stores, with frazzled moms in front of me, with dirt on their children's faces, and thought-"ugh-my child will never have a dirty face like that," with my nose just slightly in the air ;).
And....now, I am that frazzled mom, trying to keep my son from climbing out of the cart, while digging for my debit card, that I swear I put in my purse--but for some reason, can only find suckers, baby wipes (unused, because my kids face is still dirty, remember?), half-eaten cookies, a shoe?....not daring to glance around me to see that snotty, little used-to-be-me, lady who is saying to herself--"my child will NEVER have a dirty face like that...."

And, do you know why-- I don't turn around to see that snotty lady, and give her a look of--"oh, honey--if you only knew..." because I am too busy looking at my snotty-faced son, wondering how long he has been holding my debit card!!

Then I remember, not even the cruelest, snottiest women in the world could scare me--because I am the mother of a TODDLER BOY!