Pride goes before a workout

A local facility recently ran a special. For less than $20 you could have unlimited access to a gym and exercise classes for a whole month, including bringing the kids to swim.

Swimming is magic when it comes to wearing kids out, and even if I only take them 4 times total, that’s less than $2.50 per kid, per swimming, which equates to at least 4 really good naps for me. That’s less than $5 per nap!

I’m exceptionally good at rationalizing things like that. Obviously also in desperate need of sleep.

Since there was a class that looked easy on the class calendar during my lunch break today I decided to try it out today. After all, it was included in the price.

I walked in and noticed the teacher looked to be 30ish years my senior. Mentally congratulating myself for my obviously younger physical condition I pulled out a mat for the Yoga/Pilates/something-or-another and joined in.

At 36, I’m the baby here. Piece of cake. A little less toned than the others, but younger. No problem.

The class started with familiar yoga positions. I’m not at all shabby, I thought to myself. I had taken a class very similar when I was pregnant with Caroline. You know, over 6 years ago. When I could sleep as much as I wanted.

5 minutes in, I noticed I was a little winded. Hmm. That’s odd.

15 minutes in, rivuels of sweat were making their way down my face. I pretended to not notice. The A/C must be broke in here or something.

20 minutes in I had to skip a few repetitions, while pretending to fix my shirt so I could catch my breath.

25 minutes (by now I’m watching the clock and not even hiding it) and I hear someone moaning while they breathe. I am shocked and horrified to realize that person is me.

30 minutes in, I skip some more stuff. The other ladies are carrying on not even looking ruffled.

35 minutes in I noticed my reflection in the mirror…it was obvious I was sweaty, red-faced and struggling. The teacher remained poised, elegant, relaxed and not at ALL sweaty.

40 minutes in I was praying I could just survive the last 5 minutes of class and NOT DIE.

45th minute, I collapsed on the mat. Panting, sweaty and in desperate need of a shower. But I survived!

The nice friendly class ladies welcomed me to the class and said things like “Please come back”. I might have grunted my response, because I was still catching my breath.

The teacher who STILL HAD NOT BROKEN A SWEAT graciously introduced herself and asked me to come back. I blurted out something like “I’ve got kids and a job and a husband and I don’t get to work out much but I used to be in shape a long time ago and yes I’d like very much to come back”

I’m betting I’ll be pretty sore tomorrow. I’m also a bit traumatized to realize just how out of shape I actually am.

Just a friendly warning…don’t be snooty. It will come back to bite you in your tender hindquarters.

The reason I shop online

The grocery store…with well rested kids.

Claire was terrible.
This is how it went today.

The whole entire time.

I tried to make it fun, I gave boundries then disiplined, I tried to assign her jobs so she would have a purpose, and I spanked her. But like a wild animal possessed, she only wanted two things….to climb shelving units or to drag behind the shopping cart.

She crawled on the floor twice. She dramatically fake-fell on the floor 4 times.

She pretended she needed to go potty, then refused to go once we got in there.

She tried to open a bag of cookies on the shelf.

She slapped her sister in the back of the head for no reason.

She tossed random items in the shopping cart.

She tried to run away and hide behind other shoppers while laughing like a tiny maniac.

She grabbed the shopping cart and rammed it into my shins.

She threw a bottle of pine-sol over her head backwards so it busted the cap on the floor.

It’s not at all ideal, but she finally defeated me and I gave up and just drug her dangling off the cart.

I totally cried a little in the checkout line out of frustration. At that point I was no longer speaking as kindly as I ought to my children. I saw people giving me the side eye for being scary mom. (Or maybe because I looked unstable)

Just when I could not handle any more, like an angel directly from Heaven a sweet friend was waiting in our driveway when we pulled in with fresh-handmade-from-scratch cinnamon rolls for us. And she helped carry groceries in. And she wanted to go see Caroline’s puppy. So treats, help AND kiddie distraction… EXACTLY what I needed.

Lynn stopped by on his lunch break and put both girls down for their nap. He must have been stern because I just now walked past Claire’s room and she is loudly fake snoring, but not moving a muscle.

Y’all pray for me.

First full school week of the next 13 years

Sweet Caroline started tearing up at home this morning.

I used my one superpower (which is distraction. I can distract with the best of them) to help her hold it together until we got in the car.

I frantically whispered a prayer as I walked around the car to get in the drivers seat… “Lord help me. Lord help her!”.

As I backed out of the garage, I heard a little quivery voice “Mama?? Can we listen to bad music and drive slow with the windows down?” (She is of the opinion that I have poor taste in music. Too bad she’s WRONG.)

I smiled. “You WANT to do that?”

“Yes Mama.” She nodded.

“Ok Baby. But today instead of driving slow with rap music, we are driving FAST with ROCK music”

She giggled. “Why”

I answered “Because THAT is how my crazy is leaning this morning”

So I cranked it up (to a safe decibel level – remember I have a crappy sound system in the mom-car) And drove FAST. (Aka, the speed limit)

I looked back. She was doing the dance I showed her last week on the way to school. To the song Born to be wild.

“Mama! Shoulder, other shoulder and shake it!”

So I joined in. And we shook it. We sang. We tossed our hair.

ALL the way to her school.

She laughed the whole way.

It was almost as invigorating as coffee. Almost.

A schoolbus turned in by us at the stop sign. I turned UP the Whitesnake on the radio, rolled DOWN the windows and me and my reserved, appropriate child waved and cheered at the kids on the bus. A few waved and cheered back.

As we turned onto the road her school is on, a slow rock ballad came on. So I changed the station and it was 2-Pac Keep Ya Head Up YES I know he is/was not in any way, shape or form a role model for children. The hook of the song goes like this

Keep ya head up, ooh child

Things are gonna get easier

Keep ya head up, ooh child

Things’ll get brighter

Keep ya head up, ooh child

Things are gonna get easier

Keep ya head up, ooh child

Things’ll get brighter

So those are the words my kid was singing as we drove up to the school.

As we went in the classroom we saw the teacher had laid out each student’s name on their assigned desks to copy and work on handwriting.

To keep Caroline’s jovial mood going I turned to her, and a little too loudly and a touch dramatically said “LOOK! You get to pick out a new name today! Which one do you like best?!!”

Caroline laughed “NO Mama! We each find our OWN name!”

Me as I pointed to a random desk “Are you SURE???! This name here is beautiful! Do you want to trade names?”

She giggled and asked for a kiss. So again today, I blew a big, wet, loud raspberry on her little dimpled cheek.

She trotted to her REAL desk, and started on her work. “Have a good day Mama! Please be good!”

“Have a good day baby! Have a lot of fun! Don’t work too hard!”

As I walked to the car, I realized that God had answered my desperate whispered prayer this morning…and he used 2-Pac to do it. And that thought made me laugh out loud. The parents entering the school looked at me. So I waved to them and grinned. I think its safe to say I’ve cemented my status as the crazy parent of the kindergarten.

But today, the crazy kindergarten mom is what my girl needed. And it just so happens that THAT is exactly how I was made.

There have been many, many times I have wished I had a more subdued outlook on life. That I was quiet, meek and full of sweetness and grace. But today, I am incredibly thankful that by nature I am NOT those things. Perhaps when God made me, he had this exact moment in mind. And that has had me smiling all morning.

I’m starting this week full of gratitude for the things I don’t control. I am also appreciative of the chance to bond with my little “Type A / perfectionist” daughter.

Have a fantastic Monday friends.

First full day. Also (Braggy McBraggerson alert) I TOTALLY sewed her dress. *Pats self on back*

My kindergarten bird and her crazy Mama

My oldest baby bird has shown some hesitation about flying.

Last year she threw fits at preschool hoping her Daddy would come fetch her and take her to the farm. He didn’t….and after three long months she gave up.

I told her a month or so ago that if she does that at kindergarten I will lay next to her on the floor and scream because I am not getting what **I** want. (Which, I explained to her was a daughter who doesn’t throw fits) She looked at me wide-eyed “But MAMA! They will see your panties if you laying the floor!” I shrugged, “Well Caroline, they see YOURS. What’s the difference?”. She sighed dramatically.

Later she told me she would definitely not be pitching any fits because she didn’t want me to embarrass her. Hmmm. Note taken.

“Besides Mama. It’s not appropriate to have fits at school”.

I couldn’t agree more.

Lynn has seen some tears the last couple kindergarten drop-offs. Not fits, just tears and associated clingy sad, drama-ey drama. Which is harder on a parent that a fit. Especially a nice, calm, rational and sane parent like my husband.

She is happy at pickup. She is excited the night before. She is thrilled when she wakes up. Morning drop offs have just started being a bit of a problem.

So I took her this morning…and it was obvious…my baby bird needs a little less comfortable nest.

We were a few miles from the school when I started hearing sniveling in the backseat.

I tried to talk to her, sing with her and get her to say a prayer.

Not interested.

Goodness gracious. What am I going to do?

Desperation makes you do strange things, and as I flipped the radio station inspiration struck. It was Coolio and his rap song Gansta’s Paradise. (Yes, I know I’m old)

I leaned my seat back as far as I could. I threw my wrist casually across the steering wheel and started bobbing my head along with the beat. With satisfaction I saw wide little eyes in the back seat stop tearing up and start staring at me in disbelief.

I turned up the radio as loud as my decidedly NOT gangsta car’s radio would go. “Mama! Stop it!” She gasp.

Me cackling “No. I want em all to notice MY baby!” I rolled all the windows down and locked them open.

People were noticing my dressed-nicely-for-work-self acting strange. I’m glad a nice responsible policeman didn’t pull me over for suspected drugs or something. (Disclaimer: I have never used illegal drugs, nor will I ever)

“Look! They can all SEE you! My baby! I’m SO PROUD! Whoo-hoo!” I slowed my slightly smelly mom-car down to about 5mph and bellowed out the window to cars going the other direction “Look at my baby! She’s going to KINDERGARTEN!!!!”

“Woo! Look at Caroline! I am SO PROUD OF HER!” I hollared at a man sitting on his front porch. He waved a confused hand at us. (Sorry about that, stranger man)

Caroline crouched down “Mama!” Her voice was stern and not at all sad “You are embarrassing me! PLEASE STOP!”

Apparently I am indeed crazy because I was somewhat disappointed that my fun was ending.

I lowered the cheap tinny radio and righted my seat.

“Ok Baby. If you need me to cheer you on some more I don’t mind a bit. I’ll even drive around the SCHOOL PARKING LOT so ALL YOUR FRIENDS can see me and you! You think your principal would be impressed??”

Caroline shook her head. “Goodness NO. Please. Just let’s go to school.”

When we went in this morning she seemed rather relieved to arrive at her classroom. And she started right on her coloring page.

As I walked out the door she asked for a kiss. So I grabbed my sweet Caroline and blew rasberries all over her face and neck. For some reason she didn’t want me to linger any longer.

Poor kid. It’s hard to have a Mama that’s crazy.

She should know.

King the collie

Caroline told us “all her dreams came true” this weekend.

This is King, a wiggly rough coated collie pup (like Lassie) bought with her money from bottles calves she’s raised.

She’s been saving for a dog since she was going on 3. I thought it was phase and she would forget about it. I was wrong. When people would give her birthday money…it went into the bank “for a dog”. When she found spare change “Gotta save it for a dog. Dogs are expensive.” At some point Lynn and I felt like a dog needed to happen for her.

She loves him. And he has selected her as “his person”. They run, snuggle, play and she reads sight word books to him.

We have started teaching him a couple basic obedience things, but of course that will take time.

On the other hand…Claire despises the thought of any animal touching her. (Which is a rough lot in life for a farmers daughter.) She especially despises the thought of a dog licking her.

So if you were out in front of church this morning and heard Claire shout “LICK-HER” that is what she was shouting about. She was NOT talking about liquor!!!! I saw several people notice, so I just wanted to make that clear. Our kids are not booze-hounds.

When Caroline and King are near Claire, she either climbs to the top of the slide or runs in the house and slams and LOCKS the door screeching “Don’t let him lick me! Nooooo!” Yesterday she spent most of the day at the top of the slide, and had Caroline bring her snacks and things to drink. (Again. NOT liquor. I’m talking juice boxes.)

When I hold King with both hands Claire will pet him. Otherwise, nope. Not gonna happen.

It will be interesting to see how long it takes her to come around. She was like that with the cat, “Kitty” but finally decided she loved her.

Caroline is on cloud nine. Lynn and I have so much enjoyed watching her. Claire has provided some amusement too with her “I’m just going to stay in my castle then” attitude. (She calls the top of her slide the castle)

Have a great week!!

Kindergarten Mom

This is my first rodeo.

I have been dreading Caroline starting kindergarten since I was on maternity leave with her. Y’all already knew I am crazy like that. No surprised there.

Everyone told me I would cry. It would be hard. I would miss her so much. And they look so little when you walk away.

I must be a bad mother because I felt none of those things.

When her Daddy and I left her at Kindergarten on her first day, I looked over my shoulder and saw a kid that would be a-okay.

Maybe it’s because I’ve seen her flourish because of fantastic preschool teachers. Or perhaps its because I have the special privilege with my job to be in the school she is attending on a regular basis and I have been impressed with what I’ve observed. Or MAYBE it’s because I have a small army of spies at the school willing to sneak by and check on her and text me updates on the regular.

At least that’s what I told myself, to make the mom-guilt from the lack of worry subside.

The Mom guilt is the WORST. You feel guilt for everything…not feeding them home cooked lunches made from scratch, not making constant eye contact, being a working parent instead of a stay-at-home mom, not painting their fingernails every time they ask. All the things cause mom guilt. And if you don’t feel guilty, then you feel guilt for NOT feeling guilty. Mom guilt is from the devil, I have no question.

I had a moment shopping alone for school supplies that my eyes had a little mist thinking of how much she would accomplish this year….

But beyond that?

I remembered the pure excitement of the grand new adventure that kindergarten provided for me when I was 4. And Caroline is a whole year older than I was and probably 10 years more responsible than I was at that age.

I am so proud of her progress so far. And proud of the kid she is with her strong opinions, boundless confidence, and tender heart.

I am excited to see what kinds of things she learns from her teachers.

I am challenged as a person and a mother daily by this kid. She makes me grow in ways I never would have if I was not given the gift of being her Mama.

I am tasked with helping her learn to show kindness to those around her. This year, at the tender age of 5 she will get to begin learning to show kindness to those who themselves might not be kind. Because she will meet those people this year. And that will be new.

What a challenge. What an opportunity for growth.

It is daunting. But she is so much more than prepared, and so much more than capable. And I am thrilled to have the opportunity to help her with that challenge.

I might be am a a Pollyanna…but I truly believe that in order to change the world – you have to be a kind and compassionate person. Even more so for leaders. Even though I am her Mama, and I know for a fact I am biased, I see a lot of leadership potential in sweet Caroline. She has in her little heart a drive for fairness and is already so passionate about making things better. And we get to start that process together beginning now. Honestly, up until this point it has been exhausting parenting her. But now, she will get to begin exercising these skills. She is going to thrive.

Of course she will learn academics. That’s the easy part. Despite my lack of math skills even I know 2+2 will always be 4. But when a friend hurts her feelings about something… responding kindly, firmly and being willing to move forward will be a much bigger task. Plus, Lynn is smart so I plan on making him “homework boss”. (I haven’t surprised him with this bit of information yet. Ha!)

So yes. I am excited, and happy and a little nervous about the challenges this year of new beginnings will bring.

Sad? No.

Scared? Definitely not. I have a lot of confidence in my sweet girl.

Intimidated? Nope. This kid can handle it. And if not she’s got me as backup.

I have no doubts she will fail at things. She won’t be able to read chapter books by Halloween. She will ruin a few art projects. She will without a doubt boss around her classmates too much. There will be tears, and meltdowns and belligerence. But this is a learning time. And it is a challenge my girl is so ready to take on.

Thanks for reading friends.