Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Mommy - Matt Date

Sometimes I get a bit caught up in the everyday. We probably all do, but last night I figured it was high time to take Matt and a little mother-son date.
We go out a lot. We shop, we grab coffee, we chat. But, it's always in the midst of something. I let him play trains while I'm looking for a book at Chapters. Or, we run into Starbucks on our way to a playdate. Or I observe him playing with other kids while I am chatting with friends. Or we talk while we're baking, or cleaning or driving.
We have a good relationship.
But, we rarely take time to stop. And just be. And go somewhere with no purpose other than to be together with no true agenda.
The truth is, sometimes it's hard to do this. About a year ago Matt was diagnosed with ADHD and ODD, and the hardest time of day for him is the evening. I understand it. And I accept it, but sometimes I don't exactly work with it. It's easier to let him burn off energy before bed and not contain it, and avoid fights, etc etc.
So, maybe it was a little bit crazy that I decided we do coffee (for me) at about 6:30 last night.
But it was wonderful. We sat for about half an hour and we chatted. Well, he chatted and I listened, and occasionally asked questions, but not many. Mostly I just heard about what was going on in his head. He told me about literacy week at school and recounted the story his teacher had read to them. He told me about his friends at school, and the new friend he made at recess (from the other kindergarten class). And, we talked about grade 1. He's a little nervous about it, but also a little excited.
It was a great conversation.
And it reminded me again why I know my kid is awesome, and why I know that despite some of my fears, that I know he'll grow up to be an amazing person. I need to do this more. I need to stop, and listen, and be present, with no other agenda.
After our coffee, since we were in Chapters, I let him play trains.
What amazes me about my kid is how he forms friendships with other kids. I know lots of children do this. But, despite that I'm still constantly amazed by how easy it is for him. After about 10 minutes he was off in his own little world with another boy his age. They managed to find a ton of common ground and were chatting about lego, books, trains and other boy stuff. They made their way over to the section where they sell all the Thomas stuff and the two of them were standing by the trains, both helping each other sound out all the names of the engines. It wasn't a competition. It was just one kid showing the other kid how to do something. And I sat back watching, fully impressed by how easy it all is, and how sometimes instead of looking at the time, and worrying about stuff, I need to step back and let things unfold.
Of course, the highlight of the night was pumping gas. Are kids allowed to help? I'm hoping so, because Matt wanted to help me every step of the way. I didn't see a problem with this, and in fact I figure it won't be long till I can stay in the warm car and let him pump gas for me (I kid, kind of ...)
And then there was our out of tune rendition of True Colours, over and over on our short drive.
He's almost 6. At the beginning of April my child will be 6!
Not a moment of his childhood has been easy. He was my surprise baby when I was too young to be having kids. He has challenged me every waking moment of his life. And he continues to. He fights me on a lot of stuff. He is strong willed and exuberant and when I tell him no he lets me know that he does NOT like to hear it.
And, I can't imagine loving him more than I do.
Last night when we got home (a little past his bedtime) I was reading him a story and tucking him into bed. Before I left I thanked him for going for coffee, and he said to me "You're welcome. You're lucky you have me as your little boy."
True. So true. And I'm glad he knows it as well as I do.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Cheers to You, Anonymous!

So I got this lovely little comment on my blog yesterday.

"I agree with Steve and SciFi Dad ... you shold have tried the beef thing. That way your kids and husband could have been more prominent in "The story of your life" ... it's good thing your husband has a great sense of humor. He would have to, in order to put up with your ego ... "rather than take the blame" ... talk about being too self-absorbed. where were your kids while you were blogging about alcohol?"

I've had my share of mean comments, and truthfully this didn't really bother me. (some have) It did, however, interest me. Where do these people come from?

It's clear anonymous doesn't read my blog. If he/she did, they would know that really nights of drinking with friends are quite finely balanced by nights of putting my kids to bed, watching tv with them, snuggling, doing homework, making lunches, and all of the other stuff that comes with being a parent.  And as I've said before, I like a balance. I can't speak for everyone, since we are all different, but I can certainly say that in my life, and in the life of my husband, having a life outside of the daily grind of getting up, getting the kids up, working full time, coming home, getting the kids to bed and then eventually rolling into bed ourselves in NOT a bad thing.

It is, in fact, a good thing. Having a sense of humour about all of this? Not just good. But necessary. I'm the first person to tell Mike to call up his friends, go for a drink, laugh about life, and if he needs to, vent about the joys of having to "put up with my ego." If he sends me a funny text when he's out I laugh. Or I'm asleep.

Let's be honest here. Was I really blaming Julie Powell for the fact that I was drinking? No. Does an author truly have the power to make me drink a handful of gimlets? Well, okay. She did inspire me to try a different drink. Whatever. It is, in fact, pretty yummy. But, I wasn't seriously blaming her for *making* me have a drink. That's silly. Though, many people would claim that she inspires them to try French cooking, rediscover a passion, break out of a rut or maybe even blog. So. Cheers to her for doing that. And, if I had a drink because of her - I'll raise my glass. I had a great time.

And, when I came home to my kids and my husband I was probably a better person for it.

In my mind, it's more dangerous to be miserable, feel home bound and forbidden to go out that sucks the life out a marriage. I married young, and I have never, for a second, felt that I wasn't allowed to have my own friends, my own conversations or my own interests. For some couples that works. And more power to them. But for me it doesn't. I love my husband and my kids. I cannot wait to spend the week in Florida with them, just the four of us, being a family. And that joy comes from the fact that at the end of the day, if I want to meet a friend for coffee, enjoy a few drinks, or catch a movie I have the liberty to do so. And for the record, so does Mike. What matters to me is that I know my kids are taken care of, that I still spend time with them and that we are all enjoying our lives.

In answer to your question, anonymous. Where were my kids? Obviously, they were with my husband. Well taken care of. If the shoe was on the other foot, and if he was out drinking with his friends and sending me some funny texts, would I be pissed off? Of course not. I'd be at home, snuggled with my kids (or, more likely, trying to keep up with them while they chase each other around the house - or reading them stories or getting in some quality baking time) knowing that in a few hours Mike would be home, and we'd wake up and start our regular life all over again.

Yes, this blog is the story of my life. And it shows the good and the bad. We've been through a lot, my family and I. And even though I know there will be many mistakes as I grow up along with my kids and my husband, what I share here isn't just the good stuff. It's not just the funny endearing stories, or my comments on how I am the world's best mom. I've never claimed that nor will I. For now I'm content being who I am. Self absorbed and egotistical as the case may be.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

This weekend wasn't exactly as planned.
We're less than a week away from a trip to Disney and I'm sick. Well, sick and recovering, but still ...
My plan to wake up early on Saturday and pack didn't quite work out. I slept in until 11 (unheard of in my life. I literally cannot remember a time since I have had kids where I've slept in that late) and was woken up by Mike, who told me that my parents had Chloe, my sister had Matt and we were going out for breakfast. Nice.
So, we ate, we bought a few things for the trip, we got Chloe, and I went back to sleep.
Again. Unheard of. And, though we debated the idea of packing and watching a movie, the packing got pushed as  I nursed neocitron and Mike and I watched a movie (are you shocked that it was Julie and Julia? Honestly, Mike hadn't seen it and he loved it)

Today we were a little bit more on track.
Today was a family day, and it was needed. Life has been busy lately, and I feel like between Christmas and work and just life in general we've all been going in slightly different directions. Today we had nothing planned. NOTHING. It was bliss. Mike slept in and I hung out with the kids. Matt and I played a game of Frustration, and I realized that he's finally at the age where we can actually play games and it's fun.
At one point in the game Matt knocked my piece off of the board and when I was disappointed he said "well, that's just the way the ball bounces, mom." Huh? Where do these things come from?

And then, in the weirdness of all weirdness, I saw a smackdown at the gas station. Seriously. Two men were fighting over the car wash, and when I left the scene one guy was blocking the other guy at the exit of the car wash. This doesn't happen in suburbia. Really. 

And at the end of the day we're mostly packed. Of course, nothing is perfect. I attempted to cut Chloe's bangs and that didn't turn out so well, so I think a haircut is in the books for this week, but all in all we're back to our usual insanity, illness and sleepyness aside.