Posts Tagged ‘Parenthood Rocks’

Art For Kids

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

This morning, I heard Todd and Rollie talking about one of Rollie’s paintings from school. We get about three per week. They are . . . interesting. I didn’t hear the whole conversation, but Todd came in with eyebrows raised, looking a little speechless, then asked if I had overheard what they were discussing.

“Rollie, come in here and show Mama your painting from school,” Todd said, staring at me eyes wide and unblinking.

“Look, Mama!” Rollie said, holding up the painting.

I could not discern what he was portraying in the painting. I was scared to ask what it was.

Todd said, “Tell Mama the name of the painting, Rollie,” keeping his voice calm and level, and somehow free of laughter.

Rollie beamed at me, holding it up higher for me to see.

“It’s Rollie’s Blood Monster!”

Twinkle Dance

Wednesday, August 20th, 2008

Tiller: What are you doing, mama?

Me: Listening to music. What are you doing, dancing?

Tiller: No, I’m doing my own dance.

Me: What kind of dance?

Tiller: The twinkle dance. You pretend you are the rock and I will be the twinkle.

Me: Okay.

We dance.

Tiller: I’m the star. Between the moon. We are all there. Except Lisa. She can be on the moon.

Um, okay.

Like Sand Through the Hourglass

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

Uh, yeah. He was pretty excited. He picked his spidey tee out himself the night before (we were very proud and i had inner smug thoughts when hipster dad commented on his shirt). Everything went really well. He was totally excited, got himself up and dressed and even his shoes on without any dramatics, backtalk, or parental command repetition. We gave him a banana, but now he EATS BREAKFAST AND LUNCH AT SCHOOL. That’s right – one less piece of wheat bread i have to smear with peanut butter each day. That might not seem like much to you, but i have smeared peanut butter on two pieces of wheat bread for the LAST TWO YEARS, ALMOST EVERY DAY. Cutting the workload in half is exhilarating.

We all four got in the car to go drop him off. The streets were packed with parents walking their kids to school (I love that we have sidewalks!), and cars backed up. I was nervous and he was just so damn excited. Todd and Tiller dropped us off and we walked up past all the patrols (so cute! 5th graders who were taught to say “Good morning!” when you walked in, and “Walk to the right!” when you were in the halls, and “Have a nice day!” when I was leaving. I was very impressed.) Also was impressed with the massive coffee table set up out front of the school. Nice touch, and a quick way to steal my heart.

As we went past the school sign, I asked if i could take his picture, and he said, “not now, mama!” and I agreed, because who am i to ruin his image the first day of school? We went on in and found his class. It was mayhem.

Kids running everywhere, one harried teacher and her harried teacher’s aide, and a bunch of bewildered parents. (I guess I am not the only one with a first child in elementary school.) We hung Rollie’s backpack in his cubby, which of course had his first name (Charles) instead of the nickname. He dealt, which i was very proud of, because he very well could have lost it. I talked to the teacher and she said she was “sending some typing home with him for me in his backpack.” (Remember, I am the unfortunate new mom who got suckered into the Room Mother position. Go ahead and laugh, but I’m helping educate kids, people! Or at least making sure they get enough sugar on holidays.)

There were so many parents hanging around that I had time to shoot a few pictures and I even got a shot of Rollie with a big smile. I introduced him to another little boy, met the boy’s dad, then said:

“Okay, Buddy. I’m gonna head out. You have fun, and listen to your teacher, okay? And I’ll be here to pick you up this afternoon.” I admit, i had a bit of a lump in my throat as I turned away.

“Mama?” he said in a small voice.

“Yeah, baby?” I said turning around. He was holding an hourglass in each hand, the sand just beginning to run through each.

“I need a hug and a kiss first!”

I smiled and said, “You bet,” as I crouched down to his level and opened my arms.

He set the hourglasses down and ran into my arms, hugging me tightly and kissing me loudly on the cheek. “Mama? I love you, Mama,” he whispered in my ear.

I love you, too, Buddy. I love you, too.

Apple Book

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

We started reading “The Giving Tree” to Rollie when he was around two. It was a staple in our evening story time for over a year, was the book that he most loved (so far) and is probably in the top three books that I will forever associate with reading to him as a baby.

There were nights when I was exhausted, and I would think, “Please, God, anything but the Giving Damn Tree.” Sure enough, he would toddle over with it in his hands, would always ask for it, the book that he called “Apple book.” For months on end, we read it every single night. Todd and I could both recite whole sections in our sleep.

And then one day, just like The Boy in the story stopped visiting the Giving Tree, Rollie started to pick The Giving Tree less and less; His tastes changed, and he wanted to read about trains or cars or Curious George.

Tonight, I asked him to pick out a book to read, and that is the book he picked out. I was pleasantly surprised – I no longer think of it as a monotonous chore, as I once did – and told him I would be in when I finished tucking Tiller in. When I went into his room, he was sitting up, reading aloud the page he was on.

I asked if he was ready to read the book. He said yes, and I laid down next to him and went to take them book from him.

“No, Mama. I’m gonna read it to you.”

And he did. And it was pretty damn special.

First Snow

Thursday, January 17th, 2008

A little video from our brief snow experience last night.

Things I Forgot About Snow

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008

“Mama, when i was outside in the snow, I made a ball and I threw it on you and it was fun.”

Yes, Rollie, it was. It was the most fun I’ve had in ages. I threw an icy, wet snowball today. But it was a snowball. And I showed you how to make a really sad snow angel. And I showed you how the best place to get a snowball from is a clean surface like the car and then we tried to throw snowballs at Daddy in the bedroom window above while he was on a conference call, while Quint did the low-butt run around the cul-de-sac, like he was a pup.

I had forgotten that snow had a sound and a smell, and that it made dogs frisky, and toes tingle and eyelashes frosted, and that it made little kids and big kids giggle like they were being tickled.

p.s. Mom, I’m real sorry about that mess me and Lisa and Matt and Karen and Sean made in the house, like, every day, throughout the winter in Rochester for two years in a row. We musta been about the biggest pains in the ass ever.

Meowing Love

Monday, December 24th, 2007

Rollie saw the cats meowing Jingle Bells. So, the other night, when Todd went to Trivia, and I was putting the kids down, we did our usual night-nights, which include a range of oddities created over the last four years: Goodnight Moon turned into Goodnight Everyone we know and Every Object we have Ever Touched. Then when Tiller was little, I started singing Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star to her, and then she started making requests, so that now she gets three songs every night. Then Rollie realized we were singing with Tiller and he decided he wanted to sing at bedtime, too. The last month or so, it has been Christmas carols at bedtime. Usually Santa Claus Is Coming To Town. But when I lay down in the bed with Rollie on Thursday night, he said, “Let’s do Meow Song,” nodding as he said it.


“Meow Santa Claus.”

And I thought, “Todd, you fucker. A little warning would be nice when you teach him to meow Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.”

Kids are a great leveller, though, a fantastic humbling experiment. So, I took a deep breath, and began to meow. There are times when you are alone in the dark, meowing with your child, and it feels like perfection, and you know that it will be a moment that will bring tears to your eyes 20 years later. But right then, you just feel really, really silly. And you love him so much you just don’t care.

My Kid Rocks!

Monday, December 17th, 2007

Tiller and Rollie are enrolled in Mother’s Morning Out/Preschool at a nearby church. Today was their Christmas program, where the parents dress their kids up in the requisite Christmas outfits and then the kids get up in front of the audience and proceed to have a million different kinds of meltdowns. Kids cry, kids talk to their parents, a few kids do their own dances, and not one of them actually sings the Christmas song their music teacher has been teaching them for the last three months. Some of them pick their noses. Some of them hit one another with bells. It is completely amusing. All of this goes on as the proud parents snap photos and take video of their little darlings as if they were Brangelina’s Shiloh.

It has been interesting to sing Christmas carols with the kids this year. We sing with the kids at home, and are constantly looking for music that we like that is also kid-friendly. If I do say so myself, my kids have excellent taste in music; Rollie can identify both Band of Horses and Kings of Leon by ear. He even has this funny pseudo-tough face that he does in conjunction with the heavy metal “devil horns” sign when he’s really rocking out to a song. (By the way, that gesture is actually called a “corna” from the Italian for horns. Who knew?) But Christmas carols just don’t seem cool, until you have a little one whose eyes are all alight with Christmas joy and visions of sugar plums and all that crap. Then, you just have to bite the bullet and sing the hell out of some Jingle Bells at the top of your lungs.

So, there we were, watching the kids perform Christmas carols at the church program. They finished a song, and the audience clapped for them, and Rollie looked at me, wearing his Three Kings outfit and a huge smile on his face, raised his arm, and gave me the clearest, most awesome Corna you ever saw in a Methodist church sanctuary.

My kid fucking rocks.

This Little Guy

Friday, November 30th, 2007

Has grown into a little boy who can sound out words. I almost cried last night, I was so proud of him. He sounded out “Volcano” and “Valley” and almost got “Village” in our Caribbean Alphabet book. (Thanks, Lissa and Addie!) He would have gotten “Village” right, but that whole hard G/soft G (oooh, sounds dirty!) thing threw him off, so he thought it was pronounced “villagh.” I never realized how difficult and screwy English was until trying to explain the pronunciation of certain words to Rollie.

None of this would have been possible without the Best Bedtime-Story-Reading Daddy in the Whole Wide World, a Daddy who consistently reads to the kids almost every night, and does it with the most wonderful, sweet, indulgent temperament, when I am just ready to have the day be over, throw their asses in the bed fully clothed, and pour myself a glass of wine.

Parenting is a thankless job, but every once in a while, they throw you a bone. It is a nice day as a parent when you can say to yourself, “At least I know we are doing at least one thing right.”

Bitsy Bitsy Fighter

Monday, November 12th, 2007

Tiller thinks the words to “Itsy Bitsy Spider” are “Bitsy Bitsy Fighter.” Cute as all get-out. When we put her to bed, she likes to be held and sung to for a minute. When she was tiny, I started singing “Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star” to her. We still do that one, but she has started requesting other songs, and now we have three regular ones. I hold her in the dark of her room, and whisper, “You want a a song?” She says, “Bitsy,” which is what she calls “Itsy Bitsy Spider.” When I finish it, she says, “Sunshine.” (“You Are My Sunshine.”) Finally, we do “Twinkle.”

I love all three of the songs so very much now. They are the soundtrack to a little girl laying her head on my shoulder, her heart beating fast next to my own, totally at peace with her world, and secure in my love for her.