Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Kindergarten Readiness

Wow- my baby girl is starting Kindergarten this year! It is hard to believe, that this time has already come. In the years of her life, I thought I had prepared it for this day. The next paragraph--may sound like bragging, so if you would like to skip it over it, you may.

Alexis has known how to spell and write her name since she was 2.
She has been able to count to 20 since she was 2.
She knows how to do simple addition and subtraction using more than one method. (counting fingers, counters, drawing dots, starting to count up).
She can identify every letter and tell you the sound they make with 90% accuracy (some letters make more than one sound, and some sounds are made by more than 1 letter).
She can sound out and spell most 3 and 4 letter words.
She uses imaginative spelling for longer words.
She has been exposed to many types of print--and several genres of literature.
She has been surrounded by books her whole life.
She has started to recognize fractions while we cook together.
She can explain in depth the life cycle of a butterfly.
She can recite the days of the week and the months of the year.
She knows her colors including the order of the rainbow.
She uses words like "blueprints" and "evidently," in her every day conversation.
She knows her address and her mother and father's names in case she is lost.
Plus, many other things she always seems to amaze us with---

Now,  of course, if you ask her--she learned all of these things from one person..."Dora." ;)

So, with a 4 year old, who knows ALL of this...why is it--that I can be made to feel so completely inadequate in teaching my daughter- when I go to Kindergarten Roundup, and I hear these words.

"In your packet, you will find a booklet of nursery rhymes--if your child does not know these, work on these this year. It has been shown that children who come to school with the knowledge of these nursery rhymes are better students."

WAIT?! WHAT?! Now, don't get me wrong--my daughter has heard the nursery rhymes at one point or another. Have we repeated them for memorization? Absolutely not. I thought--it would be better to stretch her imagination and literature experience by reading, "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe," "Kit Kittredge" chapter books...and so on.

I sat there, not thinking of all that my daughter knows--but, that I had somehow failed her by not teaching her these nursery rhymes. Could school readiness be that simple? Did I miss the boat, somehow? My daughter, who has never entered a school building (aside from helping me with cheerleading practices in Elementary School, when she was 2) can read/write/compute/reason/communicate efficiently --and I feel like it's not enough.

I guess tomorrow, we will start on learning nursery rhymes ;). If she learns them- great. If not, that's okay too-- because I know she will succeed in school, not because she knew her nursery rhymes, but because she is successful in everything she does. :)


Lately, I have been dreaming...more like daydreaming.  It is constantly in my thoughts and never far from my mind.

This daydream is of a baby girl.  She has a name, and she is ours.  It is a sister for Alexis and Jaxen--and I can't get her out of my mind.  I reason her away most days-- but, she sneaks in there whenever she gets the chance. 

I convince myself, even if we tried to have her--she'd probably not be a she, but a he.  Or, there'd be two of her--then what?  So, I guess fear of the unknown keeps me from chasing this daydream. 

Am I crazy?  Will I daydream of a baby for the rest of my life--would I be satisfied if this baby were born to us? 

More kids equal needing more room, and the money split between one more child.  More kids means starting over, from the baby stage.

The hardest part for me, is that she has a name this time....I can't get that name out of my mind....

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Despite our colds and lack of energy-- the kids have had lunch--(grandma brought them McDonalds) and they are now in their room playing...together...quietly...and getting along.  So, I thought I would take this rare opportunity to write a little :).

I am not feeling myself today, I actually feel like I have a hangover of some sort--but, there was no drinking involved.  I feel broken, alone and confused.  However, as I look for the words to write--I notice that my toes are a very shiny, bright pink--and that makes me happy.

I feel sad.  My daughter told me yesterday that she thought I was grouchy sometimes.  Although, I understood her childlike opinion, it still hurt a little.  When asked to explain, she said it was because I didn't let her watch tv at nap time.  That is true, and I will hold my ground on that one--but, I am sure at times I am grouchy with them...and they don't see a mom full of love 100% of the time...and that makes me so incredibly sad.  How can I not be show them love all of the time--how can that small sounding task be so exhausting?  Am I alone in feeling this way?  Is it truly simple for those of you out there that feel like they can always answer their child with a smile, and calm reactions?

I am lost in trying to find my balance this week.  I don't know if it is because I am sick or because my body is playing tricks on me-- but, I am not feeling much like the super-mom I expect myself to be.  I could come up with a list of ways I am fall short- and as I browse that mental list, it is like a bullet to the chest. 

Sure, I can look at my kids--and by default, they must have a decent mother because they are good kids.  But, instead I try to think of ways I could do better, be a better example, show them how much I love them better-- I always think I can be better, there is no best for me. 

That to me is the hardest thing about becoming a mother-- I can't be the BEST.  I can't get that A+ on my paper-- I can't reach perfection.  I can only try-- and I am not handling that well.  I want that A+, I want a trophy.  Okay, maybe not a trophy, but I want to know I am doing the job perfectly.  Except in motherhood- there is no PERFECT. 

I do know this- I can't dwell on my imperfections-- because I am wasting precious time with my children.  So, I will end this for now- and go back to being mommy.  Afterall, how can I miss out on them-- I just heard my son say to my daughter, "you are the best sissy ever in the whole world."

I love them SO much!  <3

Friday, March 19, 2010

Another lesson in Mommyhood

As a mother, I have learned not to have the following lying around the house: Markers, Stickers, Liquid Soap.  Noone ever told me this rule, I have just learned by experience--horrible, messy experience ;).

At first, I wanted to be the "fun" mom--I wanted my kids to have all these creative utensils at their disposal.  But, now-- I stick to crayons, pencils and paper-- and even some of those are put out of reach.  Yes, I tried the magic markers that only color on special paper-- along w/ the same paintbrushes, crayons, and paints.  They are very gunky and dry out quickly...and we have gone thru many sets.   But, let's face it--they just aren't the same.

A few months ago, I gave in and purchased small whiteboards and dry erase markers for learning time with the kids.  As a "retired," teacher, I knew the convenience and learning benefits for reading and writing with whiteboard activities.  So, the teacher in me, overrode the mom in me--

This worked out okay for awile, and then I realized my son was trying to experiment with the markers.  So, up on the top of the refrigerator they went--far out of reach of any little hands.  Or, so I thought.  Our son got bigger and more daring.  And, one day as I was getting ready for the day, he made his way to the top of the refrigerator (who would have thought bar-height chairs was a bad idea?). 

I came down to a son covered in dry erase marker as well as a carpet full of red, green and black lines.  I guess he didn't bother to get the blue marker.  I freaked out a little-- okay, maybe a lot.  But, as a mother I have learned never to attempt to remove a stain without first doing a little research, because you could just make it worse.

So, I quickly googled dry-erase marker on carpet and what do you know?  Other mothers with the same kind of  "accident."  I learned that rubbing alcohol would take it out with lots and lots of blotting.  So, I grabbed my bottle of rubbing alcohol and away I went.  As I blotted for an eternity, I ran out of rubbing alchohol and frantically texted neighbors for their rubbing alcohol.  Thankfully, my good neighbor Wendy, had a bottle.

So, 2 bottles of rubbing alcohol and a house smelling like a hospital later- the stains were completely out of my light tan carpet.  I opened up the windows to air out the heavy alcohol smell, and thought better of starting up the fireplace to counteract all the cold air coming in.  That could have made the situation MUCH worse!  Now onto the boy--

I asked him why he drew all over himself, and he explained to me matter-of-factly, that he was a "transformer."   Of course, how could I have not known?  Actually as I looked at him-- he did look a little like Optimus Prime.  Thankfully, it just took a little soap and water to get most of the marker off of him!
See, with a girl-- I didn't have this problem.  She didn't like to climb on things, especially not on the refrigerator.  She didn't try to look like a transformer-- Boys can be challenging in their own little ornery but cute way!

Don't get me wrong, I know girls are challenging in their own way--with a fashion diva as a daughter (not to mention her mouthy mother...wait, did I say that?)... I am very aware of their challenging behaviors.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

May the Force be with You

I am not a fan of Star Wars, by any means--or was that Star Trek ;).  Anyway, this quote came to mind, as I was thinking today that mothers must have some sort of magnetic force within us.  Which sounds amazing, right?

I realized that I had this magnetic power ther other day as I slid my hand ever so slightly, towards my daughter's hand -- and, her hand automatically, without thinking about it,  slid towards mine. 

This happens with both of my children... no matter what we are doing or where we are.  We can be walking, snuggling, sitting at a table or playing.  All I have to do, is simply and slightly move my hand in their direction--and it's like a force within me, that is so strong, sucks their hands to mine--and doesn't let go. 

This also can happen in a full-body kind of way when we see each other after a "pause," from one another.  This pause could be a mommy-only shopping trip, a mommy and daddy date night, a night of sleep, a nap, or a trip to the bathroom.  When their little bodies see me--my magnetic force, pulls them to me and into a hug.  This is usually accompanied by a sqeal of, "Mommeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!"

You would think, by reading this that this is the most wonderful gift a mother could ask for-- but, it has it's faults.  For instance, my magnetic force somehow loses its strength when we are outdoors at a fun place (park, pool, etc).  It also seems to lose its strength when their are friends around, or when it it time to clean up. 

The strength is also hightened at other times...For instance, the magnetic force is at an all-time high, when Mommy is on the phone, with company, in the shower, or going potty herself.  At these times, it does not matter where, when or how fast I go, or where I try to hide--the magnetic force will pull the kids to me-- IT NEVER FAILS.  Actually, this anomaly is what inspired the name for my blog.  Finding Myself Before the Kids Find Me....I just didn't mention that the kids would find me by magnetic force.

So, yes, I am thankful for my Mommy Magnetism, because there is nothing sweeter than holding your child's tiny little hand in yours. I am also thankful for my brief just mommy-moments (because let's be honest,  showering becomes a little more difficult, with a kid hanging onto your leg) 

Although, It would be nice to figure out how to reverse my polarity--so I could have the best of both worlds--anyone figure that out?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Monster Spray

Our 4 year old daughter, has been struggling with sleeping at night.  She seems to think there are monsters in her room--although, she can't describe what these monsters are--she just knows she does not like to be in the dark with them.
(note: this guy kinda creeps me out--I think I know where she gets her fear of monsters from ;)

After many sleepless nights as the mom, I thought we could solve the problem, with some "Monster Spray."  You can buy at Bath and Body Works, it smells like fruit or flowers and when sprayed it wards of Monsters.  ;) ;)

I explained the Monster Spray to my daughter--rather vaguely- because I didn't want us to be stuck with this spray for years.  She thought the idea of it was amazing-- I sprayed the normal monster hiding spots-- under the bed, behind the door, in the closet, etc.  Then I handed her the spray.  I told her that if she saw or heard something, that all she had to do was spray the Monster Spray in the general direction.  And, because my kids were never satisfied with simply asking why--but only satisfied after they dug much, much deeper--The rest of the conversation went like this:

"So, what happens to the monster then...?"
"It disappers?"
"So, where does its wax go?" (I am thoroughly puzzled by this)
"What wax?"
"The pile of wax he turns into." (Oh, of course--why didn't I think of this)
"Oh, no honey--there won't be wax, he will evaporate into the air."
"Oh, he'll disolve?"

Okay, problem solved- kisses given, blankets tucked--and I am walk out the door, only making it down 3 steps when I hear a frantic cry from our daughter.

"MOOOOMMM" (grrr...I thought we solved this with a miracle, magical monster solution)
"yes, honey..."
"I acidentally sprayed myself w/ the Monster Spray!!! Am I going to EVAPORATE??!?!"

I sigh, because with Alexis, nothing is ever plain and easy-- she overthinks EVERYTHING-- so, most of the time I am left wondering if I am doing more harm than good.

"No, honey-- you will not evaporate- it ONLY works on monsters." (a conclusion, not as obvious as one might think--although, there have been times both of my children have acted like monsters--hmmm...maybe it will work on them....)

Crisis averted, and everyone in the house got a good night's sleep.
Unfortunately, this magical solution did not last very long--before she realized the silliness of it :/.  Oh well, I guess I should feel blessed she is so smart--but it sure makes things challenging!

So, if any of you have any ideas on how to rid a 4 year olds bedroom of monsters-- let me know, because our sleep is depending on it! 

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Today, I woke up with the crazy idea--to take the kids and ourselves on our very first geocaching trip.  If you are unfamiliar with geocaching,  geocaching is described as:

"...a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online. Geocaching is enjoyed by people from all age groups, with a strong sense of community and support for the environment."

I downloaded a geocaching app on my phone last night, and after our time change this morning, we were ready to go!  There were several within a mile of our home- but, since we can't cut straight thru--they were within 2 miles.  Anyway, the whole way I was hoping that we would be able to find the cache and that it had not been compromised....and also, that there would be something that would excited our 2 children, who had brought their own things to leave behind. 

After a long walk, on one of our first beautiful days-- we arrived at the coordinates.  We looked and looked around--not knowing exactly what we were looking for.  Then, "daddy," spotted the cache-- and we looked inside.  Jaxen found a very cool Sheriff's badge and a pencil sharpener.  Alexis found a fairy and a pencil sharpener.  To a 3 year old and a 4 year old, these were treasures beyond measure.  They left the treasures that they brought--and we headed back home. 

The kids loved the treasure hunt, and are looking forward to our next one.  I think Daddy had a good time too-- what guy doesn't like to go on a treasure hunt?  Of course, after the long walk and all of the adventure--the kids and daddy were wiped out!  They fell asleep together, on the chair in the living room.  :)

If you are interested in trying geocaching on your own, go to http://www.geocaching.com/ for more information and to find caches in your area.  And, if you have a smartphone, no need for a gps, just use your phone!
Did you ever know that mothers have superpowers?  I know I have convinced my kids of this, but I didn't fully believe it myself until I thought about it today...

As a mother, you immediately know your child's cry- you can pick your child's cry out of 100 babies cries, I suppose.  I know this is immediate, because when we had Alexis, the nurses took her to the nursery under the strict orders not to give her any formula or pacifiers.  So, she came back from the nursery often-- as did other babies.

But, as we sat in our room, and Alexis was being wheeled down the long corridor, I knew EVERY single time when it was her--because I could hear her identifiable cry.  Kyle and I would look at each other and just know-- that our Alexis Faith would be there within a minute or so. 

This ability continues as the child grows--and I can still pick out my kids' cries over other kids--but with that I am also able to note the kind of cry it is...a pretend-we're-playing-house-cry, an I-stubbed-by-toe-or-other-insignificant-incident-cry, a my-sibling-is-being-mean-to-me-cry, the I-am-scared-cry, the I-am-tired-cry and the I-am-REALLY-hurt-cry. 

I am not tooting my own horn, because I am pretty sure every mother has this superpower, if you will. 
I am gratefull that most of my children's cries fall in the first 5 kinds of cries.  But, there are those moments-like today that you hear that I-am-REALLY-hurt-cry, and no matter where you are, how far away you are, what you are wearing or doing, you stop instantly and go to the side of your child.  See, it is much like a superpower. 

Today, I was getting out of the shower, just wrapped the towel around myself-when I heard our daughter yell in pain.  I think I leapt to her side at the bottom of the stairs, as her dad did from a different direction.  She had fallen from the middle of the stairs, and landed straight on her back, knocking the wind out of her.  Was she okay, for the most part- yes, thankfully.  But, it was a nice reminder to the superpowers God has given us as parents, to take care of our children to the best of our ability.  

I will hear her when she cries, I will be able to kiss away her tears, I will be able to make everything better- Not because I googled it, or because I researched it in a book (this is what I do for everything else in life, however)...but because I am a mother. 

Mothers are modern-day Superheroes.  I dare anyone to prove me wrong ;)

The mother of a B-O-Y

Being a mother of a first-born daughter, I didn't realize how very different it would be to raise a boy.  I never thought I would have to say for the 50th time that day, "please, put your clothes back on!" 
Other things, I thought I would never be saying are:
"hands don't go in your underpants."
"you cannot bake with mommy, while you are naked." 
"Where are your underwear?"
"Please put that away."
"You can't answer the door without clothes on."
"Where have these salad tongs been...?"

Okay, I will let you figure out what our son has discovered in the last few weeks......waiting....(light bulb comes on)....okay...now, I will continue.

I never, in my wildest dreams, could have even scratched the surface of what to expect with raising a boy.  I tell my stories to those around me, with sons--and they just shake their heads...uh, huh....they've been there, done that.

So, if they have all been there and done that--where was my warning?  Where was my copy of  "What to expect, when Raising Boys" ?? 

I am so glad, I am for the most part a calm mother- because I barely flinched when our darling son figured out his "peanuts" can be different sizes-- Sure, I asked myself how this could possibly happen to a newly 3 year old...and I giggled under my breath as he breathed a sigh of relief when it was back to its "widdle" size.

Nor, do I flinch as he often peeks inside to gauge its status.  I do feel bad that he is stuck home with a sister and a mother--during this time of self-discovery.  And, I am seeing a pattern of him, finding humor in his anatomy and the reactions he gets --ahh....boys!

How can this girly, mother raise a boy in this tender time of boyhood?  I have no idea, but I will stumble through-- and I will do my best- and pray that by school-time he is more interested in a pencil and paper than his, "peanuts."

(Jaxen, my dear son...when you read this one day- whether I am here or not-- please know that I love you more than you will ever know.  You are my sunshine, and I cannot imagine life without you.  You have challenged me in the best of ways, and I look forward to every single day with you, as you teach me about motherhood and life.  I love you, Jaxen)

I'm still here

Wow- it's been awhile since I have written. 
I have thought about writing often, but I never seem to have the thoughts flowing when I sit down at the computer.  (Okay, I don't really sit down at a computer--I lounge on the couch with the laptop balanced between my legs and tummy). 

Whichever way the computer is connected to me, my fingers always levitate above the keys--without the slightest movement...until, I mouse over to my favorite time-waster, Facebook or Online Shopping :).

So, to prevent my kids from thinking that there was a void in our existance from feb-march 2010- I will attempt a quick recap of our lives.