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Oops, I did it again…not the Britney Spears song

liberty-bell

Last year, when I did the Philadelphia Half Marathon in November, my day was all about finishing the race.  I had completed more than a half a dozen 13.1 mile journeys, but this was my first attempt since having my children.  Acutely aware that races are littered with women mere weeks after childbirth, I operate at a different pace.   This was challenging enough.

I enlisted my sister in law as a running buddy. She was and is far more disciplined in her training and workouts than I was.  Infinitely patient, she put up with me and my ambivalence about the race.  On and off, I followed a very rough plan to get me to the necessary mileage.

On Race Day, we showed up, we ran and we finished.  Despite being slower than ever, it was the most enjoyable half marathon I have completed.  Crossing the finish line was a huge personal victory for me.  The feat was mine.  I had carved out a space in time that was for only me.  I had not anticipated how powerful it would be to be reminded that I was still a person, a mother, of course, but a person first and foremost.

Armed with my taste of personal victory, I vowed to maintain my mileage so that next year would be less of an uphill battle.  I would practice and train all year.

Well…not so much.  Here I am again.  The Philadelphia Half Marathon is 7 weeks away.  And I am once again, piecing together my training to get myself to the finish line on race day.  Not ideal, it’s just where I am, again.  I struggle to accept my next sentence.  It is okay.

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How Do I Love You? by Marion Dane Bauer

 

How Do I Love You? Book Image

One of my favorite books to read to my children is How Do I Love You?  Written by Marion Dane Bauer and illustrated by Caroline Jayne Church, this wonderful book is about a parent’s love for a child.  Inspired by the poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, How Do I Love You? is a charmingly illustrated and sweet way to spend time with your little ones.

And it doesn’t hurt that it’s a board book.  Because I gave birth to two lightening fast page rippers, I’m a sucker for a board book.

Big Bird’s Basket of Terror

Sesame-Street

After a successful family trip to Hershey Park, my husband and I figured it was time to bring our children to Sesame Place. Huge fans of Elmo, like most kids their age, we figured they’d like to meet him and see his face plastered on nearly every light post, sign and dinner plate we encountered.

Our day went off fantastically. We took our time getting to the park, had a leisurely breakfast and missed the rush hour traffic. After a few meet and greets with characters, we headed for the rides.

On the first two rides, my husband and father were the adults in charge. As expected the kids were a little antsy waiting in line, and very enthusiastic on the rides. Smiles and waves were plenty.

For the third ride, my mother and I stepped up to accompany the children on a balloon ride featuring Big Bird. For those unaware, it’s the equivalent of a slow moving teacup ride which elevates to what seems like 20 or 30 feet off the ground.

No problem, I thought. I now know, I thought wrong.

Because what I learned is this.  The problem with a ride that slowly elevates and swirls at a snail’s pace is that it gives little kids a chance to wiggle around in their seats, attempt to stand up and move around– at 20 or 30 feet above ground. It gives new moms a chance to envision all sorts of terrible outcomes. And it gives grandmothers a chance to join in the mayhem of worry.

No way would there have been time to entertain my inner Nervous Nelly if I were whipping around in Grover’s Tea Cups trying to keep down my lunch.

My logical brain knows that our ride was no longer than any other. But at the time, it seemed like we took a lifetime to get back down to a scraped knee’s distance from the ground. If the Gods of Amusement Park Rides were smiling down upon us with extra ride time—thanks, maybe next time.

Then, as quickly as it began, the ride was over. We were all on land again, laughing. And if I’m being fair to the Big Yellow Bird, I know, the terror is mine. I brought it into the basket with me. Most likely, I brought it into the delivery room with me.

And while I’m sure next time I could just duct tape the kids to the inside of the basket, or bubble wrap the ‘em individually, I know that the worry is part of my job. Like it or not.

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Good Night Little Bear….

 

good night little bear

I wonder what it says about me that many of my favorite books for my children center around going to bed…

Good Night Little Bear-A Sleepy Time Tale by Veronica Vasylenko is a short and sweet tale about a variety of animals as they go to sleep.  As with many children’s books, it rhymes and flows nicely.  A fun addition to any young child’s library.

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A Mother’s Legacy in the Eyes of a Two Year Old

beige chair

So, I understand that parenting is advertised as a job that is often thankless.  My kids are two, redundant if you’ve been reading along, but informative for my new friends.  (Happy little aside– No more qualifying their ages in months.  I say they are two, not 24 months, not 2 at the end of the month.  Two, period, end of sentence.)

And with two comes even more talking.  Most of the talking is cute and exciting, but some of it has definitely piqued my interest, and I wonder if I would be wise to be offended.

My mom spends a fair amount of time with my children, and apparently has made an impression on them that she is the owner of our vacuum.  I believe this, because my daughter will open the closet, point to it, say “vacuum” and then say my mother’s name.  Despite me staking my claim on the vacuum by saying that it is actually Mommy’s.  It still belongs to “Meem.”

I thought this was a cute association and entertained some friends with the story.  This little nugget reinforced that my little girl is how I see her, perceptive and bright–able to put things together.  It seemed win win, until recently, when my daughter’s latest declaration involved patting my favorite chair in the living room with her hand and saying “Mama.”  Never mind the cleaning, laundry, bathing, feeding and other things I do in broad daylight as a mother.  My mother goes with the vacuum.  And me, I go with the chair.

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Naive Mother of Twins, Part 1

After spending an enjoyable morning at the mall, my kids and I ventured to the card store to choose a birthday card for their grandmother.  Moods were even, tummies were full.  I had no reason to think we would have anything but a peaceful retail experience.

I wheeled the stroller, which seats one child in front of the other, up the aisle of the card store and zeroed in on the Birthday section.  Then it began.  It was as if my kids were responding to some anti-parent starter’s gun that only toddlers can hear.  They both began grabbing cards from the racks.  And in what I can only describe as a planned tactical measure to make my plight to return the cards impossible, they both grabbed from different sides of the aisle.

Congratulations on your Baby Girl and Happy Birthday Dad cards were flying into the stroller and all over the floor.  It was like a kaleidoscope of golf tees and baby carriages.   My two hands were no match for their very determined four.  I must have resembled Lucille Ball in the I Love Lucy episode where she works at the chocolate factory and is furiously trying to keep up with the conveyor belt of chocolates.

Flanked on both ends of the aisle, by other card shoppers, I could not even whisk the kids out of the aisle and stop the greeting card bleeding.  It felt like one of those war movies where the bullets fly in slow motion, hitting the target who is slowly jolted from the impact and someone yells out a deep, distorted “Nooooooooooooooooooooo!” before he eventually hits the ground.

Somehow, I managed to liberate the cards from my kids and seek pity from a trio of twenty-something women shopping for baby cards who moved so I could be free from the aisle.

Now it was time to pay the piper.  Well, she was more of a saleswoman than a piper, but you know what I mean.

I was the only person in line when I approached the counter and handed the woman the pile of twenty plus cards that my children had collected.  She had a perplexed look on her face when I explained that I would be only too happy to put them away, however, the minute I entered the aisle, I would no doubt return with twenty more.

I singled out the one card, Congratulations on your Baby Girl with the pink baby carriage on the front and told her that I needed to purchase this particular card, because one of the kids had ripped the envelope. (FYI–I know exactly who did it, I just change the names to protect the not so innocent)

When the saleswoman went to put the card into a bag, I told her that she could keep it.  Confused, she looked at me.  I told her that I was only buying the card because my child had ripped the envelope.

“Don’t worry about it,” she replied.  And that’s where I was confused, and went on to explain to her that I needed to pay for the envelope, and did not think it was okay for us to come into her store and damage her merchandise.

“It’s an envelope,” she replied, which puzzled me more, because I was pretty sure that particular detail was never up for debate.  And with that, she reached under the counter and showed me a battered cardboard box, filled with at least 100 envelopes of all sizes and colors.

“It’s just an envelope,” she repeated.  I thanked her, and I let it go.

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Their favorite cartoon continued…

Being a person who tends to analyze, I cannot let go of the fact that I am so bothered by this little cartoon character. It irks me to listen to him whine about not getting his way.  It seems like every episode, the sentence that sticks with me is “I don’t want to” – fill in the blank with any one of the multitude of thing he announces that he doesn’t want to do.

As I am pondering my distaste for this cartoon, yes, I am still thinking about a cartoon. Yikes, I am a grown adult who is passing moments of her life thinking about her dislike for a cartoon.  And I know this is not like penalty time in a soccer game that you get back at some point in life, these are moments of my life that I will not be getting back.

Now here’s where it gets really annoying.   It occurs to me that sometimes, qualities that annoy us in others are actually traits that we possess.  As you would expect, this gets me thinking more.  And then it hits me.

OMG!  Am I Caillou??  Just the thought is unsettling.

But I too have my moments where I probably linger on what isn’t working before I get focused on a solution.  And I am sure that sometimes I whine a little more than is productive.  And maybe I don’t really like change either.  I tell myself we are different because these are only small facets of my personality.

Then I wonder, if Caillou were real person, and his cartoon was his reality show, would he be complaining about the way the editors make him look?  Would he be saying that instead of showing clips of the ten hours he spent complaint-free, playing and laughing, the sensational editors chose to air his bratty moments to make him look like a diva for the ratings?

I wonder.  But then I tell myself that this is enough wondering about a cartoon.  For now.

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More like Curious George

I admit that I think it’s a little too early for me to dislike my children’s friends.  My kids are only 22 months old, and I have to say that I find their most treasured friend more than a little annoying.  Don’t worry, he’s only a cartoon.  And if it helps me look less like a heel, I feel like the biggest ogre reacting to a cartoon.  So here it is.

While my kids are pointing to the television, asking for this four year old bald boy decked out in primary colors, I cringe a little inside.  Yes, I am intelligent enough to know that the boy’s resistance to being with a babysitter, sharing his toys with his sister and telling his mother that he broke a friend’s toy, to name a few, are followed by an immediate lesson.  And I guess the idea is that my kids see the cartoon, learn the lesson and then they will want to share, stay with babysitters and fess up when they break their friends’ toys.

I get it.  I want my kids to learn lessons.

I guess I’d like to see them wrapped up in a different package.  And apparently, I’ll take the package of a monkey over my kids’ current favorite, because I find myself wondering…why can’t he be more like Curious George?

George is a little dude that I can’t say enough great things about.  Sure if he were friends with my kids, I would be scrubbing monkey poop off my carpet after every play date.  He’s curious by name and nature, and that sometimes gets him into trouble.  George certainly makes mistakes–like the time he tried to polish the Man with the Yellow Hat’s bowling ball and ended up sending him to the bowling alley with a gnome statue in his bowling bag.

But, George troubleshoots.  He focuses.  And in the end, he gets the job done.  He doesn’t stand around whining about what’s being put in front of him.  He’s action oriented.  And not to toot George’s horn any further, but I think the man won the bowling championship when George eventually got his ball to the alley.  A solid friend to have.

But I have been warned not to sweat the small stuff.  And for now, I am off to do laundry.  Because in the morning when the kids ask for their favorite shirts, the ones with you know who on them– I’d like them at least to be clean.

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blue-package

Well, actually Mommy likes a snitch…

Well, they say that no one likes a snitch.  But I’m here to say that sometimes a snitch can save you from a sippy cup full of milk on a bedroom carpet.

Today, one of my children came to me, carrying my fleece jacket and saying my other child’s name.  The jacket was covered in what looked like little freckles of milk.

I went into the bedroom to learn that the jacket was only a minor casualty and that at least a 3×3 area of the carpet was littered with little droplets of milk.  And my offending toddler was happily shaking away the upside down no spill, sippy cup making as much mess as it would provide.

Lucky for me, the cup was still half full.  So, I guess today, I’m a person who sees the sippy cup as half full.

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Learning as I go.

Needless to say, neither of my children came with an instruction manual.  And as my title states, I am learning as I go.  Today I was reminded of how many little mistakes I have made in just the last week.  I will only share a few—actually, today’s if I am being honest.

Life– and this blog, are too short to dwell.

First, I thought it was cute that my kids learned to knock.  Seeing them put their little hands curled into a ball against a door and lightly tap, and eventually knock was a precious sight.  Now, that little knocking sound follows me every time I am on the other side of a closed door.  And sometimes a person just needs a minute to themselves, if you know what I mean.

Second, in an effort to distract my son from something, I showed him how to step on the diaper pail, open its top and drop a dirty diaper inside.  I am not sure where the naivety came from, but I cannot unring this bell.  It’s done.  Somewhere inside in my mom brain, I think I imagined we’d walk away, and visit the diaper pail next time someone had a dirty diaper.

So, just like I showed him, my son stood at the diaper pail stepping on the step and reaching his hand into what I call the poop hamper, touching who knows what.  I am unsure why the smell was not at all a deterrent for him, but he was able to carry on for some time.  Finally, I had to take him away and wash him thoroughly.  Yuck.

Lastly, I didn’t think it the worst idea to let the kids play with cars while they began their dinner.  Don’t judge me here, we have let them hold things while they dined and it wasn’t really a big deal.  It quickly became apparent, I was wrong, again.

As I click away at my keyboard, the die cast cars are in the dishwasher.  My son jammed the front seat of the vehicle with farfalle, peppers and watermelon.  My daughter, just farfalle.  I had to use a knife to get them out, and I am pretty sure they did not say “dishwasher safe” on any part of them.  My next blog might include how I explained to Gary, the man that fixes our dishwasher, how a car tire got stuck in the dishwasher drain.

So, basically, I am just learning as I go.

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