Wednesday, June 29, 2011

According to Ainsley #10 - Miss You

Ainsley: Mommy, are you coming to Drandma's with me?
Mommy: No Ainsley.
Ainsley: Why?
Mommy: Because, I have to work.  Plus, Grandma wants to spend time with you.  It will be you with Grandma all week and you'll have so much fun.

Ainsley: Mommy?
Mommy: Yes, Bug?
Ainsley: I will miss you.

Mommy: I will miss you too buggety boo.

I'm linking up with Rebecca over at Musings of a Manic Mama on Friday.  Go check out her blog...

Musings of a Manic Mama

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

That's a Wrap!

Miniature tap shoes clickity-clack across the stage as a collaborative "awwwe" drifts from the audience.

I am a room mom, so I don't have a seat.  Instead, I'm standing backstage so I can see the dance before taking the girls back to their room.

The audience is giggling slightly as the tiniest performers look for their marks.  They are adorable in their sequence leotards, pony tails and poodle skirts.  It's impossible for them not to steal the show.

I am only about twenty feet from Ainsley.  I watch as she misses her mark and practically stands on top of the girl next to her.  She never misses her mark.  She knows that she's always number 18.

The music begins, and from the rafters we hear Shirley Temple belt out "When I Grow Up!"

Ainsley looks my way.  Oh no...

She cups her hands around her mouth and yells "Mommy?!"

I motion for her to look at the audience.

"No!  Mommy?"

"Ainsley, please look at the audience." I say more to myself than to her, I doubt she can hear me.

"But Mommy, I have to tell you something."

The first verse is almost over and so far she has just stood facing left, yelling off stage.

"When are we gonna do the finale?"

"At the end.  Do your dance!" I say loud enough for her to hear me.

"Ohh...okay," she grins.

The song continues I want to be a dancer...

Ainsley twirls right, while the rest of the girls twirl left.  She also twirls twice, while the others twirl only once.  She steps right in and catches up with the rest of the girls.

At first I am sorry that she didn't quite get it.  It was her one chance. The backstage crew around me are laughing and congratulating me on how cute she is.

As the song comes to an end and the little girls blow their kisses to the audience, I step out to wait for them.

They are excited and eager to get back to the room and see their parents.

Ainsley rushes over to me as I lead them all back.

"Mommy, did you see me?"  She is beaming.

"Yes, I saw you.  You were amazing."  And I mean it.  Most likely she will never perform such an impromptu side act again.  Next year, when she dances in this production, she'll be almost 5.  Next year, she'll understand that the finale comes at the end.  Next year, she'll know the routine better.  Next year, we won't have such a unique memory.  So I'm no longer sorry, now I'm thankful that I get to relive that moment over and over again.

"Can we do the finale now?" she asks.

"Not yet, but soon.  Can you show it to me?"

She stands and brings her arms over her head slowly.  Then they come down and clap in front of her.

Next she throws her left hand down and yells "Bandichuck, oh yeah." Then her right hand goes down and she yells again "Bandichuck, oh yeah."

Bandichuck, oh yeah.  What? You've never heard that song!  Oh, I forgot to tell you, the performance was of Grease.  Bandichuck, you know that song at the end...oh but you may know it as the Hand Jive...

Born to hand jive...Bandichuck...

You see the connection, don't you?

Monday, June 27, 2011

To Grandmother's House You Go

Dear Ainsley,

Yesterday I made a list of all you'd need. 

I folded little dresses because I know they're your favorite.

I tucked jammies in a bag and hoped you'd be happy with my choices.

I included extra under ware even though I can't remember the last time you had an accident.

I searched all over for your Baby Beluga whale, but in the end I had to ask you to take Freddie's.

I picked out the books that you always ask for, the ones that you can recite to me or Daddy at bedtime.

I pulled your pillow and blanket off your bed and stuffed them in a bag.

I packed way too much for such a small girl.  A small girl that is getting so big.  Big enough to be away from mommy and daddy for a whole week. 

You are ready.  Grandma asked me months ago if she could keep you for a week, and after I told her I'd think about it, I was sure that you were ready.  Six months ago, I would have felt differently.  I never questioned if you would be okay or if you would have a blast with Grandma.  But I must admit, that as I packed your things I got choked up.  I confessed to Daddy that I may have a hard time not crying when I said goodbye to you.

We hugged and kissed you and buckled you safely in your seat.  We waved bye as you pulled away and I did cry a little.

The first thing I noticed was how quiet it was in the house.  A house that even without you has 4 adults, 1 toddler and 3 dogs, is so quiet without your sweet little voice asking millions of questions never satisfied with the answer.  It's so quiet without you singing the songs from Tangled or laughing at the antics of Tom and Jerry.

I didn't have to pick out your clothes this morning.  I didn't see that groggy smile spread across your face.  I didn't give you a "big hug, big squeeze, kiss, kiss" before I left.

Yes, you are a big girl now and ready for these types of adventures.  I worried that you might cry when you left or at bedtime each night, but seems that was all for nothing.  Like so many things in motherhood, I think this will be harder on me than on you.

Miss you little bug and see you Friday.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

According to Ainsley #9 - Let Me Point Out Your Flaws

Ainsley: What's in your belly?
Mommy: Nothing.
Ainsley: Food?
Mommy: Yes, there is food in my stomach.

Ainsley: Why is your belly so big?
Mommy: Because I don't have time to exercise, and thank you!
Ainsley: You're welcome.

Ainsley: Hey Mommy!  Maybe your belly is big because you have a baby sister in there!!!!

Pretty sure that's not the case Ainsley, and once again, thank you!

I'm linking up with Rebecca over at Musings of a Manic Mama on Friday.  Go check out her blog...

Musings of a Manic Mama

Thursday, June 16, 2011

I Rocked the Bump, and Then the Bump Rocked Me

I'm linking up with Shell at Things I Can't Say for her "Rocking the Bump" meme.

I was never one of those skinny, not showing until 6 months, pregnant girls.  I showed very early.  The first time it was pretty much under control, even though I was in maternity clothes by the end of my first trimester.

7 months pregnant and NO stretchmarks!  Don't worry, they showed up for #2.

2 weeks before Ainsley arrived


Number 2?  I bought larger pants at 5 weeks.  I couldn't fit into some of my maternity clothes from the first pregnancy.  People knew what was going on by the time I was 2 months along.  There was no hiding it.  I was...whalish.  Yes, that describes it well.

The night before Freddie was born, on bed rest, feeling oh so beautiful...

I am not posting a nude belly pic of #2. This picture is embarrassing enough.

I'm a little nervous to see what #3 will bring.*

*This is simply a thought, I AM NOT pregnant.  Don't go starting any rumors!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

According to Ainsley #8 - Twaffic!

We live outside of DC.  Traffic?  Is not an annoyance - though it is annoying - it is a way of life.  Ainsley has learned this in the 5 months we've lived here.  Mommy, does not deal well with traffic.  Mommy may have a touch of the road rage.

So tonight, after picking them up from daycare we are greeted with the longest line of traffic I have ever seen on the road leading to the house.

"Mommy!  What is that?" Ainsley says, shock oozing out of her mouth.
"That Ainsley," I answer, "Is really bad traffic."
"Oh no.  I hate twaffic," she sighs dramatically.
"Yes Ainsley," I sigh, mirroring her drama, "I hate traffic too."

I finally manage to squeeze in between a commuter bus and a dump truck.

"Go cars, go!" Ainsley yells.
"Mommy, they are not listening to me."
I look back and smile at her, "I know Ainsley, they never do."

At that point a fire truck screams by.  As the air settles, Ainsley takes a deep breath and says "What...the... HELL was that?!"

I laugh, I can't help it.

"Ainsley?  Did you just say What the hell?"

She nods.

"Well, you know that's not a very nice thing to say?"
"I know mommy, but what the hell is with this twaffic?"

I'm linking up with Rebecca over at Musings of a Manic Mama on Friday.  Go check out her blog...

Musings of a Manic Mama

Monday, June 13, 2011

Off to the Pool

We joined a pool this year.  And like everything else in life, I've realized that a pool visit with children is way different than a pool visit before children.  I mean, this is pretty much the case with every endeavor, but for some reason I never learn these truths until I am plummeted into them.  So to help all you fellow pool-goers out there, I offer up my advice on the proper pool visiting steps both before and after having children.

Going to the Pool: the pre-child days
1) Spend the afternoon before looking for a new book.  You've just finished the Twilight series and Water for Elephants.  Think it might be time for a mystery/thriller.  Look into new Vince Flynn or James Patterson novels.
2) Wake up the morning of. Have a relaxing cup of coffee on the deck while starting your new book.
3) Change into bikini, throw on a cover up.
4) Pack towel, SPF 15 lotion, book and water bottle.
5) Arrive at pool.  Pick out best spot for optimal sun exposure.  Sit, read, fall asleep, dip in water, repeat every hour.
6) Head home 4 hours later, tired from all the sun and catch a quick nap before dinner plans with friends.

Going to the Pool: with children

1) Spend the evening before in Target buying new swim suits, SPF hats, flip-flops, life vests, sunscreen in bulk, toys, pool friendly snacks and princess beach towels (because you absolutely refused the Ariel swimsuit and this is the only compromise that stops the crying).  Notice a shelf full of books that you've never heard of and will, most likely, never read.
2) Wake up early the morning of because toddler is up early.  Fix a cup of decaf tea because...still breastfeeding.
3) Spend the morning packing a diaper bag, a cooler and a pool bag.  It's not quite done when husband and preschooler get up because you are also trying to keep the toddler from drinking household cleaners, eating dog food, ramming a broom through the window, pushing buttons on the TV and riding the dogs.
4) Get dressed in your tankini/skirt bathing suit that covers as much as humanly possible and is still considered appropriate for swimming.
5) Get kids dressed...but first cover them in SPF 50 sunblock.  Toddler hates this and runs around naked while you chase and spray him intermittently.
6) Really get kids dressed in new pink-polka-dot-pink-tutu bathing suit, and pirate swim trunks with matching swim shirt.  Swoon over cute baby feet in tiny flip flops.

7) Find tea.  Re-heat in microwave.
8) Finish packing bags and make 3 trips to the car with bags, swim gear and children.
9) Remember tea.  Decide luke warm is better than cold and chug.
10) Arrive at pool after being asked 17 times in 5 minutes if we're there yet and why the pool isn't at our house.
11) Manage to get everything into pool area.  Pick a chair in the shade that you will sit in once everyone is settled.
12) Put on life vests.
13) Preschooler goes with husband to big pool.  Take toddler to baby pool.
14) Put toddler in water and sit on side.  Begin conversation with another mother.

15) In the next 30 minutes, pull toddler off the fence, rescue toddler from drowning no less than 10 times, help toddler down the slide, stop toddler from stealing toys, wipe sunblock from toddler's eyes, forget other mother's name and don't even notice when she's gone.  What were we discussing?
16) Discover that toddler has pooped in swim diaper, which is not actually a diaper and now poop is all the way up his back and down his legs.
17) Take toddler to locker room and place him on changing table and pull all swim clothes off of him.  Rinse poop out in sink.  Decide the shirt is a lost cause.  Rip swim diaper off toddler because otherwise poop will be smeared even further down his legs. 
18) Realize there is no poop in the actual "diaper."  Curse Huggies.
19) Clean up toddler and place swim trunks back on him. 
20) Return to pool.  See #15.
21) Break time. Re-apply sunblock.
22) Feed children snacks and regret not giving toddler nap before coming to pool.
23) Break is over, back in the pool.  See #15.
24) Toddler is melting down.  Sit in your chair (FINALLY).  Nurse him and read book on Kindle. 
25) Toddler is having nothing of cover up.  He pulls and kicks until you give up and just don't care anymore.  Then swats Kindle out of hand.
26) Put Kindle away. 
27) Toddler is now gaining second wind, back to the pool
28) Pull screaming preschooler out of pool and head back to car with all gear.

29) Place crying children in car.
30) Children fall asleep before leaving parking lot.
31) Arrive home and attempt to remove wet clothes from sleeping children without waking them up.
32) Fail.
33) Make dinner while children whine.
34) Eat dinner while children cry.

35) Husband reminds you that chlorine can turn blond hair green.  Remember that you do indeed have blond children.  
36) Bathe horribly tired and inconsolable children.

37) Put extremely tired children to bed.  Somehow it still takes an hour.
38) Attempt to fold laundry but fall asleep in front of TV instead.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Nagging Questions

I've had a little voice nagging me for months now.  Pushing, pulling, arguing. 

Before we moved, Ainsley and Freddie were in a structured daycare environment.  It was like Preschool.  But it was daycare, because I work full time and Preschool?  Not full time.

Now, they are at the home of a woman who runs her own daycare center in her basement.  It's a very nice place, and mostly I'm happy with it.

Ainsley is the oldest child there, by a year.
Although they have "classroom time," I don't know that it's comprehensive enough.
She'll be 4 in a month and I worry that she's in the wrong environment.

Another but...
I can't afford a more expensive daycare.
Since this place is convenient to our current living situation, we most likely will change when we move and I don't want to switch her multiple times.
Preschool is not full time, so that is not an option.

So I go back and forth, argue with myself, wonder if I'm making the right decisions for her future.  I know that she is so young, but I can't help but worry that she won't be in the right place come Kindergarten.

A few months back I decided we'd have our own little classroom time at home...but people? I am no teacher.  But what I am? Is a mother to TWO children, a wife, a housekeeper, a cook, a playmate, a dog owner, a full time employee.  Basically, my plan has not panned out.  I just don't have the extra time to spend learning letters and the sounds they make.

So now I am in the worry zone again.  Do I suck it up and just find the money somewhere to send her elsewhere? Even if that means cutting back on things like groceries and needed supplies?  Do I keep her up later at night so we can play school?

I'm not sure what the answer is.  What is the plan for your child's Pre-K education?  Any advice is greatly appreciated because I can't seem to find anyone in my similar situation.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

According to Ainsley #7 - Shyness is Not a Choice

A: "Mommy?"

M: "Yes Ainsley?"

A: "Who are we going to see?"

M: "Aunt Charity.  Remember, I told you she is Grandma's sister."

A: "Her baby sister?"

M: "Yes, her baby sister."

A: "Is she a baby?"

M: "No, she's not a baby, but she is Grandma's baby sister, just like Freddie will always be your baby brother...forever and ever."

Long pause while she considers this.

A: "Maybe I will be sy."

M: "What?"

A: "I don't know Mommy, maybe I will be sy."

M: "Sigh?  You will be sigh?"

Major eye roll.

A: "No Mommy, ssssssyyyyy!  Like at scool sometimes, I am sssssyyyyyyy."

M: "Oh, shy?"

A: "Yes, maybe I will be sy.  I don't know we'll just check it out when we get there."

I'm linking up with Rebecca over at Musings of a Manic Mama on Friday.  Go check out her site...

Musings of a Manic Mama

Friday, June 3, 2011

I Refuse to Be One of "Those" Moms


Girls can be difficult.

Girls can be mean.

Girls can be catty.

I realize I'm generalizing here.  Not all girls are this way, but come on?  We all know them.  And let's face it, it's rare to see men sitting around gossiping about one another.  You don't often find boys excluding each other.

When these things take place, there are usually girls in the mix.

I always wanted girls.  I am a girls kind of girl.  I could never imagine myself having a boy.  So when I had Ainsley, I was in heaven.  A sweet precious little girl.  But I worry.  I worry that I won't be able to stop her from becoming one of the mean girls.  But more?  I worry that I won't be able to protect her from them.

Last weekend the pool opened.  Ainsley spent most of her time with Daddy in the big pool while I played with Freddie in the baby pool.  However, at a pool every hour there is a break/adult swim.  During this break all the kids rush to the baby pool.  Kids that are way too big for the baby pool come splashing through so my young toddler clings to me for dear life.

Aside from the pool in the baby area, there are also some play structures.  Climbing apparatus and slides and such.  One piece is in the shape of a castle.  If you've been reading my blog for any amount of time, you know how much Ainsley loves anything princess related.

A few girls take over the castle.

Ainsley enters the baby area very excited about the last hour in the pool with Daddy.  She tells me all about it, but soon notices the girls in the castle and makes her way over.

I watch, as these girls ban her from "their castle."

My first reaction is to get up and smack these girls.  But I refrain.  I remember to tell myself that Ainsley needs to be given the freedom to handle these things.  I won't always be within ear shot.

Hot tears spring to my eyes behind my sunglasses as I watch a very confused Ainsley walk around the castle.  As far as I know, no one has ever told  her she couldn't play with them.  She doesn't get it.  She doesn't at all understand.

After a few minutes, Ainsley begins climbing the ladder again and the youngest (and smallest by the way, Ainsley could totally take her!) of the girls, holds up her hand and says "This is our castle.  You are not allowed up here."

Again I stay right on the edge to see what Ainsley does.  I don't know if this is the right decision.  I want to walk over and rip these brats out of the castle and throw them over the fence, but I wait. 

Ainsley looks up at them and in her best mommy voice says "Honey?  You need to share."

They ignore her.

Ainsley turns and runs to the slide.  She's over it.  And soon the whistle blows and all the kids exit to the larger pool again.

I was torn up by this.  I've thought about it every day since then and wondered how I wanted to write about it.  I've questioned whether I did the right thing or not.  I've agonized over discussing it with Ainsley.  But she hasn't brought it up, so neither have I.

I want to protect  her.  I always want to keep her feelings safe.  But I won't always be able to do this.  I want to raise her to protect herself and her feelings.  I also want her to know this feeling, so she refuses to treat someone else that way. 

I don't ever want to be one of those moms that's calling other moms insisting that "your child play with mine!"  I don't want to be the mom standing on the sideline insisting that my child play a position she doesn't deserve.  I don't want my kids to have everything handed to them because I'm insisting on it.  I remember those moms.  I remember the resentment you feel towards those kids.  I don't want that for my family.  I don't believe that friendships should be made or grades should be given or spots on a field should be awarded because mom and dad are the loud parents.  Urging and persuading others to make accommodations for their kids.  I want my kids to know the feeling of making a new friend on their own, earning an A and deserving that spot on a team.

The next time it happens - because it will happen again - I think I'll take a similar route.  I may talk to Ainsley about it.  Tell her that she has every right to be in that castle even if those girls don't play with her.  Right now, Ainsley's pretty used to people telling her what to do and her doing it.  I don't think she gets that kids her own age don't really have authority over her.  I want her to know that she has power in those situations, and I want her to use it.

I think the next few years will be tough in this area.  Feelings will be hurt, but I think there will be lots of lessons learned, by Ainsley and her mommy.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

According to Ainsley #6 - Little Mama Bear

The sudden intake of air followed by the absence of sound is my cue that Freddie is about to scream.

I hear it and I head to the other room wondering if he's plowed head first into the wall, taken a dive off the ottoman or stepped on a wayward block with bare delicate feet.

We are visiting friends and before I can make it through the kitchen an into the next room, I hear Ainsley.

"Oh buddy, it's okay buddy.  Big sister's here."

"What happened?" I ask.

Ainsley looks up at me, fire in her eyes, "Mommy, she just...she just...she just...did this to Fweddie."  She angrily bites her own finger to show me.

I scoop up Freddie, who is screaming now and look over at the guilty party.  She's not much bigger than Freddie.  I kneel down and say "We don't bite.  Okay?  It's not nice to bite."

She's not my child and biting at this age, well it happens.  Freddie has bitten his share of daycare playmates.  I can't even see a mark on his finger.

But Ainsley is not willing to let it go.

"We don't bite!"
"You hurt my baby brofver.  We DON'T bite.  That is mean."
"He is just a baby, you could hurt him very bad."
"No biting." She's shaking her finger now.

"Okay Ainsley.  That's enough."

She glares at me and waits for me to leave the room.

In a softer voice she continues, "I don't want you hurting my baby brofver anymore.  We don't bite! Okay?"

I turn back and give her a look, but inside I'm kind of beaming with pride.  My little mama bear sure does love her little Fweddie.

I'm linking up with Rebecca over at Musings of a Manic Mama on Friday.  Go check out her site...

Musings of a Manic Mama
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