Things I learned After Having Kids

I can only imagine  how much my parents learned about parenthood after I was born. I was colicy. I hated coloring. I painted newspaper to the floor. I joined the wrestling team. While I had a steep learning curve it was mostly because I was the first born. My brother, however, brought whole new challenges to the table. In the beginning, the only electronics we had in the house was an Atari. No tablets. No cell phones. No computers unless you count the Commodor 64. Now we have all that and social media and everyone is “connected” every which to Sunday.

My kids are not me

Oh hell… Who am I kidding. They’re more like me than I care to admit. From “I had it a minute ago, I don’t know where it is now.” To all the broken things. They could tear the hinges off of Hades if only I hadn’t torn them off when I was their age. However, they are more headstrong than I remember myself being. I was a go-with-the-flow kind of kid. These two are not. They know what they want and they are not afraid to ask for it. Or ask Nanny for it. They’re also not afraid to argue their point of view. They haven’t figured out this household isn’t a democracy.

Two kids isn’t easier than one

Silly me. So nieve when I was “young”. One kid was easy. Easy to feed. Easy to entertain. Easy to transport. Easy to put to bed. When we added a second, we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. When the second was an infant we were so tired to call us zombies would have been a compliment compared to how we felt. Yet no matter how tired we were, we still had our first born to care for. One can stay awake for just so many games of UNO on such little sleep. Now that they’re old, the ideal would be for them to entertain and play with each other. Naturally, we’re not there. Everything is a competition. Everything is a distraction. They live to annoy the shit out of each other. At breakfast time. At suppertime. At bedtime.

The common enemy

It’s us versus them. Having two kids has brought us closer together. “You’re momma told ya not to do that and you went and did it anyway. Don’t come crying to me about it.” It works in reverse, too. Only on rare occassions when we feel the other just needs to take their chill pill will we override the consequences. If they ever realized they could play us against each other, our world would crumble like last Christmas’s gingerbread house.

Not all things are teachable

I’m a teacher. I teach things. All kinds of things. I teach kids to multiply double digits numbers. I teach kids long division. I teach kids to speak with respect to others and to take pride in their work. Do you think I can teach my kids to pick up their toys when they’re done? Do you think I can teach my kids to pee IN the toilet instead of ON it? Do you think I can teach them that life is so much better when they’re playing together rather than fighting together. I just can’t do it.

For the most part, I wasn’t an instigator growing up. My brother was my brother and it usually wasn’t my intent to piss him off. Usually. My two thrive on instigating fights and arguments with each other. Just tonight at bedtime, the youngest was laughing his head off at his brother who was red-in-the-face angry at whatever it was his little brother was doing or saying. We’re not even sure. All we knew was that it was bedtime and they needed to get there before we went batshit crazy like big brother was.

Pride comes in small doses

It could be a random “I love you” or “I like your face” or “thank you for loving me”. It could be an assignment they’re proud of completing in school. It could be at hit they made, a fly ball they caught, a goal they scored. It could be a first word or a first step or reading their first book. Perhaps it was a first solo song or finally getting rid of the training wheels. It could be a new picture for the fridge or special card they made at school.

Wherever it comes from it reaches deep and grabs your heartstrings. When the days end and you feel their little bodies softly slip into slumber, you can’t help but feel the love. They in your loving embrace and you in their warmth and innocence. You kept them alive for yet another day and in that success you can be proud.

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Dropping the Average Age of the Church Choir

I thought I would write about how I sunburned my scalp today because the sun is a bastard. I mowed this morning and went to the park this afternoon, all without a hat. Bad mistake when you’re bald. It’s wasn’t warm today, so I never gave a hat a thought. 

I thought I would write about the history of Victoria Day, which is today here in Canadaland. It’s why there was no school today, too. However, I don’t want to sound like Professor Flitwick, so I refain from the boring history lesson. 

I thought I would write about how one TV/phone/internet company wanted us to switch to them and they offered a really good price to do so. So we did. Then our current provider called us to ask if price was the only reason we were switching. When DW told them, “Yes,” they offered to drop our rate to the competitors rate AND add in few extra channels. HBO. Some movie channels. We’ve all played that game, though.

I thought about doing the Grr to Great post that Eli- the Coach Daddy did, and I will, just not today. 

I want to share with you something that makes us parents proud – our kids willingly going to church. We aren’t overly religious people. We just attend church every Sunday. We don’t go ’round preaching the Word of God, or anything. We’re just trying to stay outta Hell. 

One Sunday, many weeks ago, as we entered church, DW told Bang to go pick a seat for us. He chose the very front row. You know, the pew reserved for those who show up late. Fortunately, we were off to the side and not dead center. It was where he could see best, though. DW and I were instructed by the littlest one to not sit with him. We were to sit behind him. 

Well, excuse me, Mr. Too Cool For Mom And Dad.

Weeks of this go by. Then it comes time for First Communion and where does Bang sit that morning? Front and center because he wanted to sit near the first communion kids. We allowed him because, thankfully, no one else minded. 

He has sat there every Sunday since. His brother and parents still sit in “their spot” (think Sheldon Cooper) while Bang goes to sit front and center by himself. At our church the words to the songs are projected on to the wall behind the choir. Bang would read the words and sing his little heart out over there in front of the choir, which consists mostly of retired women and couple men. They loved him – sitting in a pew by himself, singing away, ocassionally glancing over at his parents to see if we were watching him. I’m pretty sure he was flirting them, too. 

Then last week after church he asked us if he could sit with the choir! We said sure, as long as it was okay with them. Yesterday, he took his usual seat front and center. Once he saw the choir congregate he made his move. He came back to us to ask our permission. I’m guessing the choir ladies had said sure, as long it was okay with mom and dad. He went back to them and took his seat with choir, looking out at the congregation, beaming. One of the ladies handed him a hymnal and showed him the words and he sang and sang and sang. Some of the songs he knew by heart from having sung them so many times already and didn’t need the big book of songs. He’s already looking forward next Sunday.

It made us proud to see him up there singing. Hopefully, we’ve showed him anything is possible if he just tries. 

What made us just as proud as him singing with the choir was him reading the words to the songs. 

What have your children done to make you proud?
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My Reading Buddies

Most of the time I feel like we’re in over our heads with this whole parenting gig. What the hell did we get ourselves into? None of this was in the brochure.

Can’t I get a refund?

Can’t I get an exchange?

In-store credit perhaps?

The noise! Oh the noise. Why do they insist on playing so loud. I swear their voices must be heard by a few other countries. If anyone is wondering what the constant sound of thunder is, it’s coming from our house. If they’re not playing loudly, they’re pissing each other off loudly. Usually for fun. Except it’s only fun for one of them. The other one just screams and screams.

Then there’s the dirt. Don’t even get me started on the dirt. And laundry. And messes.

Through all the noise, the dirt, and the messes there comes a time when something remarkable happens. A time when it gets quiet even though they’re still awake. A time when the messes don’t really matter even though they’re still there. There comes a time when they prove they really do love each other.

Crash disappeared to the basement for awhile the other day. No biggie. I thought he was playing Lego or Wii. Or on the computer because I forgot to sign out. That boys can smell when a computer is logged on three flights of stairs away. That’s where I found him, but he wasn’t watching Minecraft videos. He was writing a book for his brother. I thought my heart was going to burst with pride.

Mind you, it was only 4 pages long, but it was a book to teach to his brother! That’s like finding out Putin is sending food supplies to Crimea.

Bang learned it in no time. Of course, he simply memorized it. However, he has learned the beginning sounds for words. He knows the sound each letter makes at the beginning of words. When he comes to a word he doesn’t know he will start with that beginning sound. From there, he just takes a shot in the dark as to what the word might be.

Through the noise and the dirt and the mess there comes a time when we know we may not be getting everything right. Usually it feels like we’re getting nothing right. In th

ese quiet revelations I realize we’ve nailed this parenting gig. We have fostered the love of reading and books and words and questions.

Yesterday I wrote about our trip to Uisge Ban Falls. In that post I told that we had more traveling to do after our hike. That trip was to the mall. The boys spotted the book store and asked to go.  How in the hell could I say no? I could spend hours there. I have spent hours there. DW left us to go get some perfume. She knew we’d be there looking at books longer than it would take her pick out a new smelly. The boys went straight for the kids section. Then I was told ALL children’s books were 20% off. She might as well have told me DW just bought herself a Princess Leia costume (you know which one). Okay, maybe I wasn’t that excited, but you know what I mean.

The three of us bought two books each. When you have a whole bookstore to choose from, how do you pick just one? I was lucky to make it out with just two.

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Bet you can’t guess who bought which books… Which to read first…

Now that you’ve made it this far, here is a 30 second video of a 5 year old learning to read.

(I silenced their names)

Sunday Share Happiness

I’m too lazy to look up what number share this one is. So I’m calling it Happiness instead.

My about page was pinged yesterday. That’s when I learned that I’d been nominated for The Happiness Tag by a fellow creative blogger friend Laura from The Riddle From the Middle.  Laura paid me a lovely compliment when she said that my posts make her smile.  What a wonderful thing to say to another writer.  Thank you so much for your kind words.

*Thanks for the words, Laura! 

She couldn’t have tagged me for a Happiness post on a better day. Yesterday was a happy day to beat all happy days. Well not ALL of them, of course. But still…

Here are the rules.

List:

  • Five things that make you happy.
  • Five songs that make you happy.
  • Five bloggers that make you happy and notify them of the nomination.

The five things that make me happy are all from yesterday.

  1. Our littlest Bang had his graduation ceremony yesterday. He’s officially done with kindergarten. His teachers are begging us to have a little a little girl now so they can have another one in their class. I guess they adored Bang. Unfortunately for them there won’t be another from us.
  2. They nicknamed each one of their 20 students during the ceremony. They name our Bang “The Bucket filler”. In case you aren’t familiar with the book by Carol McCloud “Have You Filled A Bucket Today”, it’s about showing acts of kindness. So to know Bang is their bucket filler makes a mom and dad proud.
  3. After the ceremony we went out to a celebratory lunch with DW’s dad and step-mom (who is way more than a step-mom and is more like a 2nd mom). During lunch the owner of the restaurant realised it was Bang’s graduation day and told him he could pick any dessert he wanted and it would be on her. His eyes were as big as the plate his lunch was served on. She also extended this offer to another family (and good friend of Bang’s) who came to eat at the same establishment.
  4. Upon hearing that his grandson would be getting free dessert for graduating, Guppie (DW’s dad) borrowed Bang’s “graduation cap” and told the waitress that he just graduated, too. Anything for free dessert!
  5. Bang I washed the truck. He’s got as much water on us as he did the truck. I see why his teacher’s called him the bucket filler – he filled my soapy bucket right to the tippy top** While he and I washed and vacuumed the truck, DW helped the neighbor plant flowers in her garden. It was a wonderful day!

**not what bucket filling really means

Bang graduate

Bang the Graduate

Guppie the Graduate

Guppie the Graduate

Now for five songs that make me happy…

  1. Flo Rida – My House Bang has taken to changing lyrics to fit whatever is in his little head. This one being my favorite lyric change. He’s FOREVER playing with the garden hose. Sprays himself. Sprays everything within range. I’m FOREVER telling him to turn the hose off. The lyrics have become, “Welcome to my house, baby turn the hose off”. Give it a listen and change the lyrics. You’ll laugh, too.
  2. Strumbella – Spirits Here’s another lyric change for you. Outside playing yesterday and bumblebee flew into Bang’s hair. Naturally, he told me that he had a bee in his hair. Then he smiles his mischievous smile and sings, “I’ve got guns in my head and they won’t go, I’ve got bees in my head and they won’t go”.
  3. Elle King – America’s Sweetheart – This is a newer favorite. It’s a fun song with a wicked good beat for running.
  4. Jethro Tull- Aqualung  – This song is older than me, but I remember my parents having this album and I loved it. Reminds me of the rock and roll of my parent’s day (late 60’s and early 70’s). Queen. Led Zeppelin. Elton John. Lynyrd Skynyrd.
  5. Enrique Englais – Hero – This was our “First Dance” song, DW!

 

Five blogger that make me happy…

  1. That’s What Anxious Mom Said
  2. Grubbs-n-Critters
  3. A Momma’s View
  4. Ah-Dad
  5. Sounds Like Life to Me

I didn’t tag Eli of Coach Daddy because he was tagged by Laura. Otherwise I would have tagged him 🙂 I read that he’s accepted this Happiness tag and will post his own at some point!

What makes you happy?

Sing Loud, Sing Proud

There is something about a group of kids singing that gets me every time. I love it. Last night was no different.

Crash is in the school choir. Tonight was their final performance of the year. Five other schools performed as well. Roughly 300 kids participated in this musical endeavour. It was an awesome concert and there was definitely a vast amount of work put into it.

Crash was dropped off at the doors at 4:45. He then had a final rehearsal, supper (pizza) then prepared to perform.

Meanwhile, back home, DW, Bang, and I shovelled supper into us and got to the school at 5:20. The doors didn’t open until 6, but already there was a crowd waiting to get in. This event was a big deal. Bang stood with us for 40 minutes and was well behaved. It could have gone either way, really.

Then we had an hour of sitting and waiting for the 7 pm concert to start. 7 pm is usually when the boys head up the stairs to get ready for bed. A little Candy Crush kept Bang and I entertained  for a while. Until we ran out of lives, anyway. Then we practiced our selfies.

C and I

I think we’re getting pretty good at this!

T C and I

Then mom jumped in on the action!

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Showtime!

Normally, I wouldn’t post photos to the blog with other people’s kids. I think I’m okay with this one because you can’t identify anyone in this bright, blurry photo. This is just Crash’s choir. When the other schools joined in they took up the whole stage and spread from auditorium wall to auditorium wall. They sang loud. They sang proud.

We were certainly proud.

“Did I earn another mini-figure?” was asked on our way home afterwards.

“Yes. You performed well.”

“I get one, too!” his little brother responded.

“Yes. Yes you do. You were well behaved for the 3 hours this thing took place.”