Sunday, December 28, 2008

I don't know if I should let anyone into this part of my brain ...but here it goes

I'm sure there are several people out there who share this same after Christmas pattern with me- cleaning out old toys to make room for new toys. I'm sure this is a very smart, efficient idea that is in several books with titles like, "Organize your house and everything in it." "Clear your home, Clear you mind." or "Peace in the soul begins with peace in the playroom closets." (I don't know these are actual books but I believe they could be with all the self-help, organizational info out there. Hasn't Oprah done a show about something like this?!?) And I do agree that this is a good, solid yearly practice. But my problem with this practices lies in the innerworkings of my mind and somewhat from my nurturing environment- you know the nature vs. nurture debate. I have mentioned this several times before but I was raised by a financially careful father and a clutter careful mother. Please know that there are several more facets to both of my parents personalities but these are the two parts that have strongly been endued in me and are often battling it out in my mind. Therefore they are great fodder for posts. (I'm trying to get my sister to have to use an online dictionary by using words like fodder and endued- because that is part of my personality- although I don't think that is a nurture trait. I believe that is just me.)
But back to my inner dilemma- I want to have clean, organized closets like my mom taught me, but in order to do this I have to throw stuff away, which goes against my father's mantra of "Use it up, wear it out, make it due or do without." So when I go to throw away the one of seven baby dolls we have that has an eye missing and a marker-decorated head, I find myself creating a scenario where I would need this mutilated doll and if I don't save it, I will have to go out and buy a new one. What this scenario really is I couldn't tell you, but it causes me to have a playroom filled with semi-useful, semi-fun toys that don't really get played with but are there just in case.
And another factor that complicates this in my mind is (and shhh!- don't tell Eric this part.) ,but I don't know if I am done having children, so I should keep that Bob the Builder Memory Game just in case I have another child and just in case it is a boy! AHHHH! I really need help. Plus my mom who attacks unuseful clutter the same way one should attack a stuck on band-aid- just rip it right off- is halfway across the world so she can't tell me to finally throw away that Chinese checkers game that I bought from DI 13 years ago when I started teaching school but I have never played with my kids. But really who knows when the mood might strike me to play a game of Chinese checkers-which truth be told I don't even know how to play. And so the cycle plays through in my head. And if anyone has any suggestions on how to break this cycle- please let me know! But for now I will just sleep peacefully knowing that if anyone gets the urge to play with a talking barbeque whose lid falls off every time it gets opened- I'm their woman!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

My nomination for "Mother of the Year" should be arriving anyday...

I have observed a certain phenomenon in motherhood. I am not sure what its title might be, but some possibilities include: "ying/yang," "opposition in all things," "even stephen," or "one up/one down." Whatever you call it- it is this: As a mother everything/everyone around you is not allowed to be at peace with you at the same time. Case in point- Let's say you are cleaning a part of your house- the bathrooms for instance. You spend hours making them look spotless and you are quite proud of them. Then you walk out into the Family Room and it is a disaster because you banished your kids out of the bathrooms so you could clean them in peace. See according to this phenomenon the family room is not allowed to stay clean when you are cleaning the bathrooms. The universe just won't allow it. I imagine they are several more for instances in a mother's life that would demonstrate this phenomenon, but the one I am choosing to focus on for this post relates to how my daughters see me. It has already been established that my second daughter thinks I am mean as Matilda's mom. So just when I work to become like Ms. Honey to her, my oldest daughter thinks I have become like Ms. Trunchbull. (This is the second reference to "Matilda" in just as many posts, so if you haven't seen or read this delightful story, stop reading my blog and go do so!)

But I am getting ahead of myself. This past Monday night was Katie's highly anticipated "Christmas Dance Recital" on the big stage. I felt like I had truly out done myself in getting her ready and being prepared.

Sewing her dress so the heart stays still- check.

Taking her to get her hair done at the salon- check.

Putting her make-up on and bringing it with me to reapply between shows- check.

Bringing her a sandwich and drink to have between shows- check.

Taking crayons and a coloring book to keep her occupied between shows- check.

(Her dance does two shows in one night- long story and not worth the time to explain.)

Inviting grandparents- check.

Bringing a treat for her to share with the class- check.

Buying her flowers and asking her dad to bring them when he came to the show- check.

Little did I know the last one was my Achilles Heel. Here is a picture of her looking quite adorable in her Peacock dress.

Who wouldn't be proud of this little munchkin?!? And I was feeling quite proud of my mothering abilities as well up until Eric and Annie got to the auditorium with the flowers for Katie and THE note! As they were sitting down Annie hands me a note folded up in a homemade envelope. Here is verbatim what was on the envelope and the contents inside:


To: Kari (No "mom"-very significant!)

From: Sad Annie (drawing of frowny face and the back is covered with frowny faces.)


Front-Very Sad (Big frowny face)

Inside: Dear Mom, I am very sad that you got Katie flowers and not me. You never got me flowers when I was in dance. I will never talk to you again Mom. P.S. Don't be mean. (Another big frowny face) Very, very, very, very, very sad.

Back: (Huge frowny face) Very, very, very,very,very,very, very, very, very sad!

Now some punctuation and spelling was changed in the transposing of this note, but no frowny faces or verys were added. It is all authentic. So my basic feeling after reading this note was, "All those who think they are a good mother, please step forward. Not so fast, Kari." And in Annie's defense when she was in dance she asked for flowers at every recital and I always forgot. I wasn't really playing favorites. I think I just remembered to get them this time because Annie had asked me so many times before to get them for her and it finally stuck. Unfortunately it stuck after Annie stopped wanting to do dance. So now there is an $8.99 Albertsons flower bouquet to be bought for Annie next time she passes a level in gymnastics because she has informed me that her flowers have to cost the same as Katie's. But by then I am sure I will want to lock Katie up in the "chokey"- I'm telling ya- "Matilda" is a great show.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Tales of the Mousehunter

I have posted so much about Katie recently and with Annie having her own blog now, I decided Finn needed a little face-time. I have a great story about him, but first I must explain this picture. It was taken at his recent piano recital, but not by me. I had fully intended to video his stunning interpretation of "Sultan's Caravan" by Bastien and post it here for all to enjoy, but in true-to-mom- form I got my camera out to find that the battery had been exhausted. Fortunately for me, my good friend, Lori- who by the way is excellent at documenting her six children's lives- she really should teach classes- was at the same recital and she took this picture for me. He looks so grown up and handsome in this picture. Now on to the story:

We had Thanksgiving at our house this year for my family. Finn invited his two cousins- Michael and Jeffrey to spend the night after the big dinner. I had finished cleaning up from the shin-dig and had just settled into bed to watch a movie with Eric. Finn came into our room and said, "Mom, I just saw a mouse crawl under the door in the family room and go into the craft room." I really was not surprised at this because I had seen evidence that a mouse was in our house, but I hadn't seen a mouse therefore there wasn't a mouse. The same denial tactic Katie uses when she closes her eyes when I ask her to clean up the mess she made. "If I don't look at the mess, maybe it won't be there anymore." So I had rationalized the mouse out of our house in 4year old fashion. Eric told the boys to just ignore it and he would get a mousetrap the next day. They seemed to accept this and went back downstairs. We then heard all kinds of thumps, bumps and rattlings coming from downstairs. After about 10 minutes Finn comes upstairs with his cousins in tow. He is proudly holding a shoebox at arm's length and proclaims, "I caught it!"
"Caught what?", I say. (Remember in my mind the mouse was never in the house because I had not seen it.)
"The mouse."
"Ehhhhhh" and retreating to the farthest corner of my bed was my appropriate female response. I also immediately pictured it my head the scene in "Ratatouille" where there is one mouse seen in the house but there are hundreds in the walls and ceiling. My denial bubble had been burst. Eric said, "Ok- give it to me and I'll kill it."
"Nooo!" Finn and his cousins said. "We want to set it loose outside." As they did this, I am thinking that Michael and Jeffrey must think they are spending the night in a filthy, mouse-infested basement, but then I remember that they are 9 year old boys and this will probably go down in history as one of the best sleepovers EVER!
Even though the mouse had been caught and set loose outside, I still called Orkin the next day because of said "Ratatouille" scene. A really nice, chatty Orkin lady came over and I told her about Finn the mousehunter and recounted my "Ratatouille" fears to her. "Don't worry." she said. "I've only seen that once." WHAT?!? I was just telling you that to be funny and folksy because "Ratatouille" is only an animated movie and those things don't happen in real life. But she proceeded to tell me about a house she saw- up closer to the mountains she assured me- where you could literally hand feed all the rats in this lady's house and yard! Comforting! But after inspecting my house, she told me there was probably only one or two mice in my house. And also that the one Finn had caught the night before would probably come right back because there was evidence in my crawl space that the mouse had been making bedding with imsulation in there so it knows this is its house. "Ehhhhhh!" again from me but this time internally because I didn't want the Orkin lady to know what a fraddy-cat I am of mice. (I still say my prayers on top of my bed at night because one night about 8 years ago I was kneeling by the side and a mouse came scurrying out from under my bed. This was in a different house, but still.) She set some traps and said if I had any more problems to call her.
So I am happy to report that thanks to Finn and the Orkin lady, my house is mouse free. Although I should note that there was a mouse hurt in the telling of this story. Sorry Finn but Mama needs to have a little more reassurance than just seeing the mouse scurry down the street. Which is why I spent $70.00 on the Orkin lady and worth every penny!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Self-Esteem Booster

Mom: Katie, hurry and get in the car. We have to go get Finn from piano lessons.
Katie: No, I'm going to stay home.
Mom: You can't stay home by yourself.
Katie: But I can be brave like Matilda and stay home alone.
Mom: I know you are brave like Matilda but I'm not mean like Matilda's mom and leave you home alone.
Katie: Sometimes you are scary like Matilda's mom.