Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

Because we're in the midst of moving, we have rescheduled our own personal Father's Day for next weekend, when we'll be kicking back on vacation instead of living between 2 houses, trying not to unpack on Sunday but still trying to find things, etc.

The talks in church, however, were obviously geared toward Father's Day. One story really struck me. A young woman in our ward (who, just as a side note, happens to be well-known throughout the country) was speaking of her grandfather. She shared how, as a young girl, her mother had asked her one day if she would like to go visit her grandfather. Feeling pressures of an upcoming school project, she declined, planning to visit him a few weeks later when school had let out for the summer. Unfortunately, her mother phoned the next day, letting the family know her grandfather had passed away. She said she has never forgotten the regret she felt for placing a small, now seemingly-insignificant school project get in the way of her last earthly moments with her grandfather.

This spoke to my heart, as I've been struggling with the same dilemma. My grandparents live a few states away and, though I could make the drive in less than a full day, the drive, cost of travel, change in time zones, and chaos/lack of structure associate with traveling are challenging, particularly since my 3 children ABHOR being strapped in their carseats for more than 15 minutes or so. If I had my choice I would never leave the city, let alone the state.

My grandparents, however, have an even more difficult time coming to visit us. And though we send cards and photographs, and try to grace them with phone calls every so often, I know it means much more to them to have us - and especially their GREAT grandchildren - in person. Their physical health is declining and, much faster, my grandmother's mentition is steadily deteriorating. Who knows how much longer she will recognize me, or how long either one of them will even be around.

So, the dilemma ensues. With all the chaos of the summer - moving, the Mr. studying for his second board examination and trying to apply for residency programs, etc. etc. - my grandparents are celebrating their 60th wedding annivesary and have expressed that their grandest dream would be to have all their posterity together for a reunion (a dream which hasn't happened in AGES - 10 years at least, which was before any of the grandchildren were married, and long before there were any great-grandchildren.) Incredibly, there are not even any grandchildren on missions right now (for 2 more months, anyway!)

Could it come at a more inconvenient time? (Well, I guess I'm not having a baby right now - that would complicate things!) And yet, I can't imagine how I would feel were I to pass up this opportunity only to have it be my last chance with them (on this earth). Had I a crystal ball this would be a much easier decision. But alas, I am forced to rely on prayer and inspiration and determine how much my grandparents truly matter to me when all is said and done....

stay tuned for my decision. :)

Sunday, June 07, 2009

our budding photographer...

This is what I discovered upon uploading the pictures from my camera:

"When I have children of my own...."

In my the "BC" period of my life (Before Children, that is), I would often think to myself "When I have children, MY children won't act like THOSE woman's out-of-control little monsters....", or "When I'M a mother, I will certainly never do this or that"....and on and on.

Fast forward a few years to the present.

I have a firm belief in teaching my children to be self-sufficient; I feel as though that's one of my most important responsibilities as their mother. This includes cleaning up after themselves. I don't teach this skill to make my own life easier; on the contrary, it actually takes me quite a bit more time to teach my kids to clean than to simply do it myself. But I feel it's important, so I put forth the effort (even when met with resistance!!)

In my BC days, this is how I envisioned it:

My daughter's room is usually immaculate, but if it gets a bit messy, I simply ask "Please go tidy up your room, ." "OK, Mommy!" she says, and happily skips off to clean her room, eager to please, and happy to do her part.

Now (as in, yesterday):

Despite the facts that 1) I have spent hours organizing clothes and toys, 2) we don't get more than 3-4 toys out at a time, and 3)their room is always clean before bed, my kids' bedroom is perpetually a disaster! It's amazing to me how many small pieces of doll house furniture, jewelry, Mr. Potato head parts, baby doll clothing, dress ups, stuffed animals, play food (and even REAL food sometimes, even though "we don't take food out of the kitchen").....we own, and how quickly they can be distributed throughout the entire 5500 square feet of house!!!!

So yesterday, while the 2 youngest were napping, I thought it would be a great time for Angel and I to tackle it (yet again) together, working side by side. A good time to teach about organization while sharing some good quality one-on-one time. Not even two minutes into it, she is playing and even adding to the mess, thwarting my efforts at making order. "Sweetheart" I say, in my most pleasant and loving voice "How about if you put the necklaces in your jewelry box while I hang up your dresses?" "UUGGGHHHH!!" she shouts, "Why do you always make me do SO MUCH WORK??!!! You are treating me like CINDERELLA!" I, of course, gasp in horror, thinking to myself "This is not how I envisioned it!" ("IT" meaning, of course, our little 'cleaning date', but also motherhood in general. How, despite my kind and loving words, my (almost) endless patience, my consistency in discipline, my recurrent attempts at teaching, and my constant prayers, is my daughter turning out "this way?"

And then it hit me. She actually has a mind of her own. She actually has (gasp) free agency. She is exercising her own independence, regardless of how much control I think I ought to have as 'Mother'. The best I can do is be patient, loving, calm, consistent, and lead, guide and walk beside her as she fumbles through the difficulties of preschool life; learning about who she is, where she came from, what her emotions are and mean, etc. etc.

Am I a perfect mother? Not even close. Am I trying? With all my heart. Is it good enough? Every day I pray it will be.

BC I thought I'd be the perfect mother to a perfect family of perfect children. Now I realize how impractical that would be. Thank Heaven for the 'real world' and the opportunity to grow and progress. I'm glad I've moved on from BC. I wouldn't trade my life now for the world.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Can you turn on the A?

So today in the car, Grins said "Mommy, can you turn on the A?" "The A/C?" I asked. "No, the AB." was the reply. We went back and forth for about 5 minutes; I kept trying to figure out what he wanted, and he was so frustrated that I didn't understand. He finally said "The ABCD!!!" and then it hit me - he wanted me to play a "CD". I love the way kids perceive things.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Kee-Cock the Killer Bird

Visiting This Is The Place Heritage Park for their "Baby Animal Days" seemed harmless enough; I mean, holding a baby chick, petting a tiny baby lamb, stroking the fur of a soft baby bunny rabbit, and taking a ride on a little pony are safe activities for little ones, wouldn't you say?

Well, Grins would beg to differ. Though he rode a pony by himself last year, this year he wouldn't get near them, even though Angel offered to ride with him! And when I placed a baby chick in his hands (at his request), he quickly pulled his hands back (fortunately I saw this one coming and caught the bird so no baby animals were harmed!!)

But the real danger at the "Baby Animal Farm"?? The "Kee-Cock". Grins has always been fascinated by peacocks - once, at Tracy Aviary, we were lucky enough to watch a mating display with the feathers, dancing, screeching - the whole nine yards. And back then, since he was 18 months old and fearless, he was positively intrigued. So much so, in fact, that we had to pry him away kicking and screaming, for fear he would be attacked. (I don't know whether or not peacocks actually attack, but I assume it is best to leave mating animals alone while they are 'doing their thing'...) Anyhow, there happened to be a couple of peacocks in a cage in the barn, just sitting there, sleeping, or whatever it is they do. There was a female, too; a pea-hen (that's really what they're called, I'm not making it up), nesting. There may have been a squawk or two, but it all seemed pretty peaceful and benign. Until that evening.

Fast forward a few hours to 3 am when I hear Grins SCREAMING bloody murder from his bedroom. This is rare for him; usually he quietly walks into our room and squeezes himself between the Mr. and me without so much as a peep. But the screaming jolted me awake and I was in his room in under a second (give or take), expecting the worst. "What is it, baby?" I asked. "The kee-cock! The kee-cock! It's twying to bite me! The kee-cock!" He was wide awake and sincerely terrified. After a few moments trying to calm him down, he would not be consoled, so I finally dragged him back to bed with me (against my better judgement).

He did fine until the next morning when, upon waking, he said "Mommy, the kee-cock tried to get me last night. Can you go get him?" "Where is he?" I asked. "In my bed" he insisted. "Why don't you come with me and show me?" Against his wishes, I nearly had to force him to come with me into his bedroom and 'show me' the peacock - or rather, that I could show HIM that it had been a figment of his imagination. When we got to his bed, he searched and searched for several moments, and finally conceded, laughing, "I must have thought my blankie was the kee-cock!"

I thought we had put it all behind us until this evening when, as I tucked him into bed, he asked "Can I have a special animal to keep me safe from the kee-cock? An animal that can BITE the kee-cock?!" He finally settled on a very convincing stuffed frog.

Wow. I think I may have to consider taking legal action against This is The Place Heritage Park, for both punitive damages to Grins' psyche as well as lack of sleep on my behalf. (I'm teasing, of course. Hopefully that goes without saying.) But seriously. I can't take this little man anywhere. I just hope his sensitivity will serve him well one day.