Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the PTA Meeting

Here's what happens when you stay up too late painting a poster for the PTA meeting.  First, you have to make sure your lettering is evenly spaced.  How do you do this?  With a yard stick, pencil, and measuring tape, of course--to 1/4 inch. 

Then you raid your kids' washable poster paints and begin the painstaking process of copying over each letter one at a time.  Then you realize that the words aren't dark enough, so yet again, your paint brush dips into the glossy, gooey poster paint mess, drips across the page, and makes those letters indelible.  Everyone in the drive through can see this poster, you betcha.  And you deserve the kudos, 'cause you worked hard, and you care about your kids' education, so you give of your time, and who cares if your laundry is piling up.

Then, once you step back to admire your work,

the unthinkable happens. 

No, it can't be.  Is that the dog walking this way?  Noooooo. DON'T WALK ON THE POSTER.....  oops. Too late.  But wait, your knight in shining armor steps in and gallantly saves the day by dragging the vicious beast away. 

Alas, now you are left with a smeared superintendent's name. "We can fix it," your knight says.  Tiny dots of white paint made with the fine hairs of the smallest brush you have over the course of the next hour should make it good as new.  That should look good on the drive through.  Imagine Mr. Superintendent's face when he arrives on campus and sees the wonderful attention you took to ensure that his name stood out!  You'll be the talk of the town.

By the way, here is said beast.  Notice his devil eyes.  I'm just sayin'.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Joy in the Green Glow of the TV Light

I'm folding clothes the other night with the family while we're all watching TV.  It's interesting that I am always busy with my hands doing something--I never just sit and "watch" TV--but they do, and I rarely notice them as I'm busy making my clothing piles.  But this night, I glance back and see my family in the glow of the TV light.  The house is warm, it is raining outside, and the sweet, soothing smells of home on a Sunday night are permeating the air.  DG in the center is bookended by twins on either side.  T1 holds his hand; T2 has her head on his shoulder.  They're all covered with the same blanket.  It's the sweetest sight I've ever seen.

My heart is so overwhelmed by the sight that a little tear comes to my eye.  How did I get so lucky?  How do I deserve this?  My hopes for a family dwindled and all but died in my 30s, but somehow, here I am.

I want to remember this picture in my head, especially when they kids are yelling at each other or I'm frustrated because I have to go in and clean the kitchen after my husband "cleans" the kitchen.  It's a small price to pay for the big joy that family brings to my life.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Discipline--Part 2 or "this bird's gotta sing a different tune"

This is what I heard coming from T2's room today:

"Give it to me!  GIVE IT TO ME!!!  GIVE IT TOOOOOO MEEEEEEE!!!!!"

Each time the screech was more shrill than the previous one.  An eagle was after my young in that room.


Despite her very vocal and LOUD demands, T1 grabbed the piece of s*** toy treasure that she insisted he not touch.  Soon after this --  "MOMMMMMMM!!"

When I arrived in the room, both kids raised their voices in a kind of song of explanation that was both strangely melodic and ear splitting at the same time.  I don't know about you, but I've become very adept at discerning one voice from the other when they're both yelling at me at the same time.  I knew my job in this moment.  I needed to stop the screaming and restore the blissful play that was ensuing before the "CAW, CAW" of the mynah bird in protest. I needed to hear both of them out and decide how to fairly (oh how that word permeates the world of twins or multiple-child families) resolve the situation.

The resultant action is not important (I separated the little buggers and gave them a minute to cool off before T2 decided it was okay for him to touch it after all).  What is important is that I need to somehow teach my little dictator how to compassionately share the activity while still maintaining her sense of truth to herself.

She's a "strong-willed" child.  Her teacher says she's hugely competitive and often tells the teacher how she thinks the day should go.  I kind of like this leadership quality.  I think, and I've been told many times, that this quality is a good one for young women needing to prove themselves in life.  A strong female will lead and not be a push over when she does not believe in the course of action in her life.  Case in point:  my friend's daughter, now grown, told her junior high friends that she couldn't watch a PG-13 movie until she was 13.  That was her mother's rule, and she stuck by it, no matter what all her friends were doing.  I definitely want T2 to hold her own and call on her values when her friends say, "everyone's putting up slutty photos on MySpace; you should do it too."  Likewise, my niece, one of the most compassionate people I know, was extremely insistent about getting her way as a child.  Now 19, she's winning awards from the ACLU for her civil rights work.  There's hope for T2, me thinks.

In the meantime, I have reinstated the zero-tolerance for violence action of a time out for an infraction.  I believe this has to include the verbal lashings that T2's brother gets on a regular basis.  Maybe, over time, she'll begin to see that she can sweetly manipulate compromise and still maintain her sense of self.  I know I'll appreciate the sweet trills of the songbird over the shrieking bird of prey.

Monday, January 4, 2010

As Time Goes By, the Future Glints on the Horizon

Between 2000 and 2010, so many life-altering things happened in my life.  And while 10 years seems like a really long time, as I put together more decades, I am ever more cognizant of how short those 10 years can be.  In the past 10 years, I got married, became a homeowner, had 2 children--at the same time--, moved to the suburbs, and became a tenured professor in my job.  Those are pretty big things, and of most of them, I am extraordinarily proud and extremely ecstatic.  I can't believe that my life has gone in the direction it has; in 1997, I thought my life was over.  I had given up the idea of the bucolic, serene life with a family and the white picket fence, but now I actually have that, and I am overjoyed at my good fortune.

Don't get me wrong; you all know how life with kids can be.  It's hectic, messy--hell, I won't even think about buying a nice rug or furniture until sometime in the next decade.  Oy, and if I think about the stress of keeping them safe, or making sure that they grow up learning how to be polite and generous, or making sure that their elementary school experience ensures they get into a good college, I'm as agitated as a a 16-year-old whose cell phone battery just went out while waiting in line for his license at the DMV.

But I think the next decade holds some magic for me too.  I have things that I can't wait for and things that I certainly could live without, but I know are coming in the next 10 years.

In the next 10 years,

I will turn 50

My children will be teenagers

DG's range of motion will lessen with the RA

I will probably get a new dog (which means my beloved Jack will move on--he's already 13 for God's sake)

It will finally be time for new, adult, not hand-me-down furniture

The kids will stop wanting to hang out with me

My sister and I will grow closer

I might lose my mother and/or father

DG and I can have date night without having to hire a babysitter

My metabolism will slow even further and I will probably gain weight

I will go through menopause

I'll bet my style will change; I'll no longer try to get away with some curvy-girl version of skinny jeans

I'll be able to renovate the back yard, pool area, and actually want to spend time out there

DG and I might be able to take a vacation longer than 1 week

I'll probably go to Disneyland a hundred more times

One thing I hope happens is that I'll be more accepting of who I am as I grow older.  I hope to no longer be as concerned about what people think of me as I've been in the past.  I hope to grow in wisdom garnered from my vast life experience (insert sarcastic tone here) and be happy with life as it comes each day.

While balancing all the facets of my life, I am excited about the prospect of what the future holds.  I hope to look back in another 10 years and write about all the good friends I made, wonderful experiences I had, food I tasted, places I visited.  In the future, I'll still be spinning plates, and they'll still be holding steady.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Reflections of the past decade coming, but first....

Anticipation, Christmas Eve style...

Anticipation--Christmas morning style......

Day after Christmas shopping--trying to fend off boredom style.....

Happy New Year to all---Here's to more musings in 2010!