Thursday, July 12, 2012

this plus that

On our weekly library trips, Puddin' and I have a routine. She picks out books with recognizable characters - Dora, Blue, Ms. Frizzle, etc. - and I find an equal number of picture books from the stacks. Often, she focuses her attention on the series books and ignores my choices. She'll let us read one as a bedtime story but they aren't her daytime playtime books. Every once in a while, though, I find one that captures her attention. this plus that is one of those books. Here's the trailer:

(Since when do books have trailers? It's an odd world we live in.)

Reading this book with Puddin' this morning I came across the words "good days + bad days = real life" and "once upon a time + happily ever after = pretend." Honestly, we all know that, right? This shouldn't be news but some days I need a reminder. Today, those words smacked me upside the head. Today, whether it's a nine-scoop-ice-cream-cone day or a trip-and-the-scoops-scatter day, it's going to be ok, because it's real.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Crazy Wins

Crazy keeps popping out all over the place, especially in my life. I'm starting to wonder if crazy is normal and sane is aberrant. Neatly controlled utopia is an obvious myth but is it possible to even get close?

I've spent a lot of energy in the past 6 months trying to fight the crazy. It's not going well. The more I fight, the more my routines and relationships are out of sync. There's so much crazy, I just can't handle cleaning. There's so much crazy, I can't be held accountable for what I eat. There's so much crazy, I don't have time for a run. There's so much crazy, I'd better not try to write. I've been so afraid of the crazy - both inside and out - that I stood stock still and let it invade. I've become a crazy zombie, feeding on sane brains, passing on the crazy with each passing day.

You know what? Crazy wins. I give in. Maybe by giving in and admitting that I've gone crazy I can reset the norms and use crazy for good. It's got to be possible, right? Crazy can be good. Crazy can be whimsical and fun. Crazy can be creative. Crazy can be inventive. Crazy can provide new ideas.

So that's my new goal. I'm giving in to the crazy but I'm not giving up. There will be crazy amounts of good in our family life again, as soon as I figure out how  to corral the stuff.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Thanks, Doc.

We had a well-check at the pediatrician today. They called us back almost on time, the nurse did her thing, and we were told the doctor would be right with us. After a long wait, I started to get annoyed - not really annoyed but just enough to wonder whether this is a doctor we want to continue seeing. We finally gave in and started eating our snack. Almost immediately, we heard the knock on the door. "I'm sorry for your long wait. The patient before you presented with a couple issues. He was born with his intestines on the outside."

I stopped chewing for a moment and pondered. The doctor continued, quickly but with attention to detail. He remarked frequently on how polite, well-behaved, and healthy Puddin' was. Our Dear Doctor seemed to find comfort in the unremarkable normality of his current patient. As for me, the assertive, independent behavior that had driven me crazy all morning was shining brilliantly in the glow of normal human development.

I'll never know him, but that unnamed kid was definitely worth thirty minutes of my time. Blessings to you, little guy. I hope you grow up well. With compassionate folks like Dear Doctor looking after you, you've got a good chance.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Joyful Noise

While waiting not-quite-patiently for her favorite show to come on, Puddin' asked me to play "concert" with her. She claimed the keyboard and I brought out my djembe. We ran through a song straight out of Puddin's imagination and then she started ordering me around.

"I'm the leader of this church." (Stan and I are both highly involved in music at our church so that's the context Puddin' knows for live music.)
"Puddin, I want to make decisions about the music too."
"Well, we can both be the leaders."

Puddin' tried a wide variety of keyboard sounds while I banged away on the djembe. Puddin' told me I was probably going to hurt my drum but was pleasantly surprised to hear me say that drums are meant for hitting and loud noises. From that point on, Puddin' drummed.

We tried every percussion instrument in our collection, including the vintage marching drum that lives at our house, courtesy of Papa.

Eventually, I moved to guitar when Puddin' started requesting recognizable songs. When we got to "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star," the key I played was higher than Puddin' is used to singing. She sang in her usual range, then cocked her head to the side and tried a different key. She tried yet another and gave me a quizzical look. I modeled the correct key and she joined in merrily, keeping time with the shakers all the while.

As a musical mama, I love seeing my darling take chances with music. As a proud mama, I'm creating mental pictures of what her career in music will look like. Mostly, though, I'm grateful for company in my drum circle today. Thanks for playing with me today, smooch. And thanks to all of you, for letting me brag just a little. Sometimes it's hard to hold all the wonderful inside.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Sick Mama Blues

She's got a fever
and a raspy cough.
Her family did leave her
but there's no day off.

No preschool panties
means she must wash and fold.
The bunnies all roam free,
dust uncontrolled

Who's gonna help out?
She's got the sick mama blues.

This ain't no play date,
an uncommon cold.
She just wants to sleep late
let them do as they're told.

Nature class has let out,
we missed all the fun.
Can't quite stand up right,
but got errands to run.

There's no rest for the weary.
She's got the sick mama blues.

Went out to the food store,
exhausted but done.
Other trips cancelled,
she moves for no one.

Back from the doctor,
infection for sure.
It's not pneumonia,
and drugs bring a cure.

Thank god, hallelujah!
Goodbye sick mama blues.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Wide Open Outer Petals

Once upon a time, back in my college days, some friends and I were sitting around being deep. We sat in an urban garden, looking at early signs of spring while wrapped up tight against the New England cold. We took turns sharing what we found revealed in the world around us. That kind of introspection isn't as easy anymore, what with the noise and the busyness of family life, but the insight of that day still comes back to me each spring.

What I saw that day was a daffodil. The warm colors draw me in and invite me to stop. The wide open petals of the outer layer hold arms wide open, calling out a welcome to anyone and everyone. The closed inner layer adds complexity, privacy, and a space set apart.

Over the past few months, I've been almost silent in the social media world. I've withdrawn from all networks and kept all my words to myself. It turns out that books are far more interesting than Facebook and that there's a lot of navel-gazing on web 2.0 that I just don't care about. In addition, there's been some rough stuff in our family over the past few months that made privacy feel important. In the midst of the current online privacy hullaballoo, social media was a risk I wasn't willing to take, so I closed my outer petals.

Meanwhile, spring has sprung. Daffodils are blooming all over our neighborhood. At our house, we transplanted over 200 daffodil sprouts from their overcrowded spot on the fence line to spacious new homes in garden beds around the yard. I've watched our plants closely, looking for signs that the growing bulbs have all they need to thrive. Most won't bloom this year since they didn't get enough sun last year to store energy. A hearty few, though, have buds. Despite my expectations, our daffodils are blooming.

Recently, I shared with not-so-close friends about a struggle I've been having and found that my openness led to a deeper friendship. Open petals invited connection, sharing, and understanding. I knew this. I've known this for years. Open petals bring nurishment to the inner soul.

So here I am, back online. I still don't know how to navigate the ever-changing world of online privacy but I know that its worthwhile.
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Monday, January 9, 2012

A Sign for the Times

I have one resolution for this new year. I resolve to return my library books on time. I paid enough in library fines this past year to buy a new bookshelf, which I need, because we have piles of books all over our house. We love books and read lots of them but with the great abundance, we don't always finish them on time, partly because we can't always find them.

I have also sort of resolved not to resolve things but that doesn't count as a resolution because I'm not doing resolutions any more. Instead, I'm working on enjoying my life as it currently is. This year I'm looking again at who I am but the big difference lies in accepting who I am today as worthy. Worthy of effort, worthy of attention, and worth a chance.

When I'm tempted to plan ahead and make goals I'm instead trying to stop and value what is here and now. When I want to say I'm not good enough I'm trying to stop and find strength in my actions. When I take a dream to the impossible extreme I'm trying to stop and find stepping stones that lead slowly in the direction I want to go. It's not an easy outlook for me but it's worth it. Worthy of effort, worthy of attention, and worth a chance.

The thing is, I enjoy plans. I like getting my new calendar each year and writing in all the recurring data with color-coded ink. Office supplies make excellent stuffers for my stocking. The kicker comes a little down the road, however. I'm not such a big fan of keeping to the plans and then I end up feeling stressed, out-of-control, and convinced I'm a loser.

Last spring I had a similar moment, where I decided to see the chaos as a slide I willingly ride rather than a cycle I can't escape. I did quite well with my bliss for a while there. This autumn, however, I let myself get caught up in a bunch of changes and drama that happened around our family. The slide stopped being fun and again became an endless loop of pain. It's time to stop, breathe, and take in the abundance of good that each day brings.

I also need to stop and finish reading some of those books - as soon as I find them - and eek! They're due in just two days!