Orange Crush

Oh, how I wish I could include her photo here . . . but social graces–and possibly the law–dictate that posting a photo of someone else’s child–someone you barely know–would not be appropriate.  So, let me describe her . . . Her name is Ginny.  She is four.  She has gorgeous red hair that she often wears in two ponytails, and a shy smile.  She is simply adorable.  And I am fairly certain Oscar is in the throes of his first crush.

When purusing his school’s website, checking out the latest photos of events, Oscar will often sit on my lap and tell me “who’s who.”  He knows everyone by name and has a story for most.

When we got to Ginny’s photo yesterday, I said, “Oh, she’s cute.  Who’s this?”

He said, “UGH!”  then proceeded to jump off my lap, run into the other room, and hide behind a chair.

I said, “Come back here.  What’s wrong?  I just asked you her name.”

He growled as if this were a personal affront and more than he should have to bear, then ran off again.

The little girl mercifully had  “G” embroidered on her shirt.  So after a little Sherlock Holmes action with the class roster, I came to the conclusion that she was Virginia, or “G” for Ginny.

Five minutes later Oscar took out his elephants.  One was named Oscar Farias.  And the other? 

Ginny Farias.

Stay tuned . . .

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May I Make a Suggestion?

No, this isn’t about my making a suggestion to my children, my husband . . . really, to anyone. 

Let’s give a listen, shall we?

Scene 1:   Oscar, Edgar, and their mother walk from the car into the house.  Their mother–as is often the case this time of year–is distracted by the flora that abounds after significant rain and warming temperatures.  She looks lovingly at the striking hostas that greet them as they walk in the door.

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Mother:  Look at the beautiful hostas.  Aren’t they gorgeous?

Edgar:  Yes, Mommy!

Oscar:  Mommy, did you plant those plants?

Mother (swelling with pride and readying herself for a compliment):  I did.  Do you like them?

Oscar:  They’re nice.  But maybe you didn’t notice . . . there are a few weeds over here (pointing to said weeds).  I think we should try to make our house neater, cleaner, and more beautiful.

ARRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGHHHHHH!

That was me screaming a little on the inside.  You see, though I know ours is not the house where “you can eat off the floor” or where there is never a single thing out of place, I still think it’s pretty nice–beautiful, in fact.  Built in 1900, and all the wear-and-tear and charm to show for its nearly 110 years in existence, it is full of color, fun, and style (at least I hope).  And, seriously, we try to keep it clean and presentable. 

And the garden?  Well, I am not one to boast–but, Oscar, I’VE WON AWARDS FOR MY GARDENING!!!

Okay, now that that’s off my chest . . . What did I do the next morning, of course?  Pulled the weeds.  And did my boy notice?  Nope. 

I suppose it won’t be long before noticing these little imperfections (which it took me years to accept as part of our collective look) turns into full-fledged embarrassment.  The day will come when the boys will notice that we aren’t like their friends’ parents and will want to be dropped off a block away from where they’re supposed to be for fear someone will see them.

I think I’ll stop pulling the weeds on demand and get ready for this ride.  Something tells me I might be able to have a little fun . . .

A Knight in Shining Armor

A thousand times I have said it, and a thousand times more I will, the preschool that Oscar has had the privilege to attend this year has been and continues to be beyond my expectations.  It is other-worldly, magical–it’s what every child deserves.

And over the last few weeks it has been in turmoil–in crisis, really.  The founder and director has been told by the church leadership that her services are no longer needed.  She was fired.  And the parents were informed via email (a follow-up letter came days later, but, yes, the initial communication was via email). 

I have not been on this blog because my writing juices (whatever may be left of them) have been working overtime to communicate to the individuals responsible for this decision that their message and its delivery left much to be desired.  Forty-five additional parent signatures adorn this letter, and three times that number of emails have been penned. 

DSC07058This week at school Oscar and his classmates, as part of Medieval May, were knighted.   And given what happened this week at this school, they could use a few more brave, chivalrous, kind knights.   Oscar said that as a knight his job was to help others.  Indeed it is.

Mommy, Am I Still a Baby?

Edgar will be turning four in August; but the current four-year-olds around him–his brother included–let him know that he is, of course, still “only three.”  That, coupled with the fact that he is still working on mastering the whole potty-training thing, means that occasionally someone who is older and has will call him “a baby.”  And much of the time Edgar is deeply offended by the descriptor. 

So, he will ask me, “Mommy, am I still a baby?”

This is a hard question for me to answer.  When I look at photos from when Edgar was unquestionably “a baby,” I have to say, “No.”  He no longer uses a bottle or needs to be carried everywhere.  He certainly eschews a stroller and thrives on a certain degree of independence.  He is learning new tricks and new words every day.   He’ll be ready for preschool in the fall, and I believe the growth that we’ll see from his fourth to his fifth year will be exponential. 

 

Edgar, 12 months, with Aunt Rita

Edgar, 12 months, with Aunt Rita

But . . .

Edgar is the younger of my two sons.  His t-shirts instead of having sharks and wolf spiders have giraffes and puppies.  He still says “dookie” for “cookie”–along with a host of other sweet pronunciations.   He is easily carried at 32 pounds.   And as perhaps only another mother would  understand, when I smell his hair, it still sometimes smells like “baby.” 

So, no, Edgar, you are technically not  a baby.  And someday your shirts will have more rough-and-tumble animals, and then none at all, you will pronounce all of your words just like the rest of us, you will eventually be too heavy to carry, and your mother will–I promise–stop smelling your hair, but you will always be my baby.

And that’s just the way it is!

Do We Shock and Offend?

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As a parent in the throes of raising young children in a home geared toward young children, I am admittedly immune to the vagaries that attract the attention of those who either do not yet have children or have already raised their children (and have blissfully repressed the messier and louder aspects of child-rearing). 

When visitors arrive, the exuberance is often so great that every toy that can come out does.  The seats may have crumbs and/or residue that have not yet fallen victim to the daily vacuuming and cleaning that is not just a nicety but a necessity.  And the noise level and activity level are usually at such a point that mere witnessing can induce exhaustion in those not used to the rhythms. 

Prior to Oscar and Edgar, the vibrations in our home were much more subdued–it was quiet.  Afternoon naps were the norm.  Silence for uninterrupted reading or relaxing was prevalent.  And we could get away with a whole lot less heavy-duty cleaning. 

So when I host people in our home who are currently enjoying a similar living situation, I am always  a little fearful that our smells, noises, and energy overwhelm.   And while much of the time we are not always quite so “on,” company always  inspires excitement! 

Having had the quiet home, and knowing that it will all-too-soon be back again, I am relishing the volume, the stickiness, the energy.  I don’t miss the quiet of days gone by because I am acutely aware of how fast these years of raising young children go by.   And we are grateful that even though we may occasionally “shock and offend” with what is a typical day with a three- and a four-year-old that we have family and friends who keep coming back anyway–people who, too, must sense that these days are fleeting and that before we know it Oscar and Edgar will be young adults–actively seeking their own peace and quiet. 

Hopefully the grownups will have calmed down after a decade of nonstop silliness and fun!

If You Walk Away, I Will Follow

Oscar, at almost five, is long past textbook “separation anxiety.”  He knows I go to work, and I come home.  He knows that if I go out for the evening, I always return.  He even tells me to “have a good time” when I  head out to the movies or dinner. 

But if I go upstairs to get some laundry, or step onto the porch to water a plant, or head to the bathroom, he immediately–as if affected by radar–stops whatever he is doing and is on my tail.

Sometimes this is fine, and other times it’s not.   But ninety-nine times out of a hundred it is completely unnecessary–because I am no more than 100 feet or 30 seconds from him.

So today as I was heading upstairs to gather a load of laundry from the hamper–a riveting task, I must assure you, and Oscar was traipsing after me up the stairs, I turned and asked him wearily, “Why are you following me?”

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He smiled a boyish smile and said, “Becuase you’re adorable and I love you and I will follow you forever.” 

Permission granted.

An Hour at the Carnival

Every May, right around Mother’s Day, Rockwell Amusements brings the rain and its carnival–the two go hand in hand, and you can set your clock by both.

Something else you can count on is spending a whole lot of money.  Lots.

Drumroll, please:

First 25 tickets = $20

An additional 10 tickets = $10

Sponge Bob Square Pants Balloon = $10

Very loud, very plastic “Trumpet” = $5

According to my calculator, that is $45–for approximately one hour.

However, I am going to declare it worth it for after the carnival and on the eve of Mother’s Day 2009, Oscar said as he was drifting off to sleep, “Thank you, Mommy, for taking us to the carnival!  It was the best!”  And Edgar followed it up with, “Yes, it was!  I love you!”

Well worth $45–times a million–to hear those words and see these faces . . .

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Happy Mother’s Day!