Tuesday, September 30, 2008

From 95 to 73

Today the kids are off from school due to the Rosh Hashanah holiday. The Valley has been scorching hot, humid, and just plain yucky. I decide the best course of action is to pack up the car and take us on a 50 minute drive to the beach. There is nothing like the beach for restoring a sense of "aaah" and calm. In the Valley, the car temperature gauge displays 95 degrees at 10am and when I park the car in Malibu it reads...ready....73 degrees. It's not overcast or windy and practically deserted and I smile wide while breathing deeply. I applaud myself for the perfect choice of activity.

Once I get past the horror and disgust with myself for not noticing my very stubbly legs before I left the house, I convince myself to think "who cares?" and relax. So, besides the splendor of fantastic temperatures and the beauty of the ocean, I also notice many little things that makes a spur of the moment outing to the beach so wonderful. Here is my list in no particular order:

1. The conversation during the car ride. Along with singing to our favorite kid songs on the iPod, we exchange thoughts and observations.
Talia: "Did you know, the ocean was made from water a loooooong time ago?".
Quinn: "The ocean was around when the dinosaurs where here!".

2. Watching the pelicans fly in formation and seeing one break out and dive straight down with a big splash to catch a morning snack. It more than made up for those pesky sea gulls.

3. The sound of my kids squealing with delight as the waves catch their feet.

4. The sea lion (or seal?) that poked it's head up right in front of us for quite a while, like it wanted to watch the kids play, too.

5. Being able to read an entire magazine. Sadly, my Real Simple magazine goes back to July 2008...I'm very behind.

6. People watching.

7. Our appetites. What is it about the beach that makes people so hungry?

8. The escape of it all. Drive almost an hour and we got a total change of scenery and weather.

9. Knowing that playing at the beach is so timeless. Just like me and many many generations before me, today's electronic generation of kids still make sandcastles with moats, hunt for sand crabs and shells, play in the waves, and delight in the simple pleasures of the sea and sand.
(that's me to my mom's right in the green bikini and cousin Gina is posing on the left)

10. The soothing sound of the waves crashing and taking a few minutes to close my eyes and appreciate it all.

Mommy questions

Fellow blogger and mom of multiples, Eve (http://bought2got1free.blogspot.com/), got a neat idea from her friend to ask her kids some questions about her, so I thought I'd ask my kids the same questions to hear what they would say about me.

1. What is something mommy always says to you?

Talia: I love you
Quinn: goodnight

2. What makes mommy happy?

Talia: cuddles
Quinn: when I say nice things

3. What makes mommy sad?

Talia: when you're hurt
Quinn: if something that was your favorite broke

4. How does mommy make you laugh?

Talia: when we tell jokes
Quinn: by doing something funny and fun

5. How old is mommy?

Talia: 27 years old
Quinn: 26 ... was that right???

6. How tall is mommy?

Talia: two feet tall
Quinn: 31 feet

7. What is mommy's favorite thing to do?

Talia: to go to work
Quinn: going to the beach

8. What does mommy do when you're not around?

Talia: you hang out
Quinn: go to grocery store, maybe

9. What is mommy really good at?

Talia: you're really good at drawing
Quinn: cooking

10. What is mommy not so good at?

Talia: that's really had for me to think about
Quinn: not so good at building like daddy

11. What is mommy's job?

Talia: being a mommy
Quinn: learn about stuff

12. What is mommy's favorite food?

Talia: pasta
Quinn: sushi

13. What do you and mommy do together?

Talia: go to lunch together
Quinn: everything

14. How do you know mommy loves you?

Talia: because she says 'I love you'
Quinn: when you do what I want you to do with me

It was hard for Talia to think only about me at first and she needed a little coaxing, as she believes most everything revolves around her, but then again, she's five. And very Talia. Quinn thought it was "very hard" because he was restless and just wanted to get back to playing. I wonder when they make the switch and think of me as a real person with outside interests, dreams, fears, friendships, struggles, etc.? I guess it's a slow process. For now, I will just relish in their innocence and the fact that they still really like me.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Take a load off, R2.

After such a busy week, it was barely a second before R2D2 went into sleep mode...ZZZZzzzz....

Friday, September 26, 2008

A Spaghetti Story

5:30 a.m. and the children are awake. Not good. The only time this is not a horrible thing is if you have to wake up early to catch a airplane for a vacation in Hawaii. Otherwise, this makes for cranky children and pushed to the limit parents, which leads to massive meltdowns starting at 5:31 a.m. over who chooses what show, wrong jelly on the toast, and basic disagreement over everything.

Then from 8:30 a.m. to 2:50 p.m. the way overtired cranky red-eyed people are now the teacher's problem and we get a break (hey, we warned her and wished her luck - we aren't that mean!).

We made it through the afternoon, keeping them busy (aka distracted). Then, it was dinner time. I suddenly hear boy screams of "I don't want that. I hate that. I'm never going to eat that ever. I'm going to be starving. I'm going to waste away and shrivel up into a pea."

So, instead of yet another battle, I decide to be creative. It just comes to me in a brilliant burst of brilliance. I recall the scene from The Best Christmas movie of all time - A Christmas Story.

Here is the scene (oh darn, I had to watch again for the 63rd time to get the exact quote)...

Mom: "How do the little piggies go?"
Randy: makes "oink oink" sounds...
Mom: "That's right. Oink. Oink."
Mom: "Now, show me how the piggies eat. This is your trough. Show me how the piggies eat. Be a good boy. Show Mommy how the piggies eat."
Randy (shoving face into meatloaf and mashed potatoes): snorting sounds, pigs sounds, laughing, smiling...
Mom: "Mommy's little piggy!"

And here is our version...

Me: "How do dogs eat?"
Quinn: ??? (he's thinking "What does this crazy woman mean?")
Talia: ??? (she's thinking "I like totally loved my outfit today 'cause I looked so cute")
Me: "They eat like this (then I demonstrate eating out of a pretend dog bowl with my mouth and barking) and you can't use your hands and you have to bark. Come on. You can do it! Woof!"
Talia (diving face first right in to her spaghetti): "Woof! Woof!"
Quinn (smiling and taking small bites then smushing his race right in and laughing and giggling): "Woof woof woof woof!!!"
...and after almost all of the spaghetti is gone and their faces are covered in sauce...
Quinn: "We should have this again tomorrow!"

Oh ya, check-mate for mommy. When I got it...I got it. I persuaded cranky Quinn to eat his dinner with a laugh and a smile and left him wanting more. You bet I did the victory dance and gave myself big kudos. Hell ya.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The mystery that is called "The Female"

So, tonight I asked my husband
"Does dealing with Talia's emotional girl stuff help you understand females any better?" and he smugly responded "It's just more of the same mystery to me". This five year old girl is already worried about being liked, hurting feelings, and like totally who she is like hanging out with today for sure. We had to comfort her tonight because she asked me to do a braid in her hair this morning and this boy at school said it was weird and that Zoe her new bff didn't want to stand next to her in line. She was sobbing (when she should be sleeping) and said it made her feel bad and I'm already having to talk about not worrying about what others think and to speak her mind and not being afraid to ask for what she wants. Thank goodness for Robert Munsch and Stephanie's Ponytail (I love to being able to pull from familiar stories). She is not supposed to be concerned about this stuff so young! I mean, I'm in my late 30's and still dealing with this insecure crap (but getting a little bit better), but somehow in my mind, I thought I had years to go on this heavy stuff with my daughter. Where Quinn's biggest concern is whether kids follow "the rules" and interrupt him during his quiet time, Talia cries because, well, it doesn't take much let's just say that. Which means, when she cries I sometimes roll my eyes gearing up for the here-we-go-again drama, but when Quinn cries and gets that face, I know he's deeply hurting and the pain stabs me in the heart and I'll do anything to make him stop. And I mean anything.

So, this means I have to dig deep and share my insight and lessons learned a little bit earlier than expected and hope to make her more confident than I was at her age. I think it's important to admit to struggles that I still deal with ("Will my new playdate mom friend like me and/or will it be awkward?). I learned a lot from my own mom and her many trials and tribulations (and still do). And, hopefully my husband will realize that this female thing starts very very young and ya, maybe I'm not so koo-koo crazy after all. But, I would never want to trade being a female for anything. I believe that we feel things deeper and live richer lives with deeper bonds and friendships. We shed buckets of tears compared to the males, but you know what, tears are damn good because it helps us release our pent up emotions. Tears and relief are much better than the alternative. Just think if it was mandatory for every man to cry for just 20 minutes every week? Just imagine how much the world would change.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Inner geek

Yes, yes, took a little time off to have some adventures with R2. I plan on making it a weekly thing because it's loads of geeky fun and I don't get to be that way too often. I mostly leave that to my husband. Creative geeky stuff is uplifting and a little addicting, I must say. It's almost like there is no limit to it and it takes you out of your own boring follow-the-rules daily life. And, experimenting with my camera is a huge bonus. R2 can do and think a million things around the house and, to me, it's just plain funny. Or, maybe it's just me? Ah, who cares. The news sucked last week, both in the greater world, the USA, our nearby community, and in my small circle. I just couldn't do any introspective writing. I felt like I just had to feel bad for what was going on but not harp on it. Being silly works when my kids are being cranky and need to laugh so they stop being cranky before I lose my mind. But, it's always about them, you know? I'm silly for their sake. I am known for making people laugh when they call me to feel better. And that's great, like a free and harmless drug for lifting my own mood along with helping them. Nothing better than making other people feel good -like volunteering or going out of your way for a person that needs someone to care about them (there's a lot of lonely people out there). But, to just be silly all on my own? That's rare for me. I go through the playful motions at a kids music show, standing up and doing the arm movements, only because it gets my kids to do it. But, honestly, I'd rather stay seated and watch. So, now I have a good excuse to be a little silly, once a week, on my own terms. A simple picture of R2 and a caption - all to help my inner geek reveal herself just a bit and smile.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Get your boogie on, R2!

Upon return from his outdoor excursion, the citizens of The Playroom throw a huge surprise party in honor of R2's bravery and loyalty. Despite his hard exterior, R2 has a soft spot for his friends and sure knows how to get down and boogie.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Whoo hooo, R2!

Confident all known threats were finally under control in The Playroom, R2D2 took some much needed time alone in The Backyard to feel the exhilarating wind in his sockets, the glorious roar of the Brio 9000 engine, and the sweet smell of freedom.

Who's the king, R2?

And when R2D2 came to the place where the wild things are they roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws till R2D2 said "BE STILL" and tamed them with the magic trick of staring into all their yellow eyes without blinking once and they were frightened and called him the most wild thing of all and made R2D2 king of all wild things.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

What got into you, R2?

Pat, the three eyed hairy purple monster, although intimidating in size and ferociousness, was no match for R2D2's new found bravery and determination to rid The Playroom of all that stood in the way of peace.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

What happened to you, R2?

"You won't believe this...minding my own business...Lord Slinky...certain doom...lost all hope...then...out of nowhere...Queen of the Felines Magnificent Popoki fought off my captor and brought me to the safety of The Dresser. Who knows what other danger might be lurking..."

Monday, September 15, 2008

What to do, R2?

As fate would have it, the house feline Popoki was on the prowl, bored, and looking for trouble. She heard R2D2's desperate pleas for help, batted at evil Lord Slinky, rolling him off the futon, thus freeing the prisoner from captivity. R2D2 wonders, how will I ever repay my furry friend for her act of bravery and kindness?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

What can you do, R2?

Trapped by the cunning and shifty Lord Slinky, R2D2 plots all possible scenarios for his escape...

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Robots and such

It's Friday morning and after leaving my waaaaaaay overdue chiropractor visit (uh hum, since last year - I used to go every three weeks), and I have a list of three things in my head that I need to buy. That evil store that I try to stay away from because they don't give good benefits to their employees, Walfart, is a block away so I suck it up and go there. As I'm walking in I'm going through my mental shopping list: lunch containers, wipes (the kids aren't wiping so well - can you say skid marks in the pajama bottoms?), and iron pills. Containers, wipes, iron. Containers, wipes, iron. That's it. You can do it. So, $96.52 later, I left with what I needed...plus a few extras like ridiculously overpriced razor blades for that pretty feminine razor I got suckered into buying, an R2D2 figure, princess crown, tissue, etc. I know what you are thinking. I failed to resist the Walfart temptations and didn't stick to the list. Don't give any money to that greedy evil empire! But, hey, my kids, especially Talia, had an emotional week adjusting to school and all the social dynamics, including going up on stage, alone, and in front of "TWO HUNDRED people staring at ME!", and her new friend playing with another girl and thinking she might lose her new friend FOREVER and feeling "awful" and "terrible" about it.

So, I put their because-it's-Friday-and-you-made-it-through-the-week-okay gifts on their car seats right before I picked them up from school and listened to them squeal in delight at the found treasures. Oh ya, sometimes I just rock at being a cool mom. Not that buying things for them means you are this great mom, but sometimes it's just fun in give them an unexpected treat. Talia was grateful for the new princess crown (hers recently broke), and Quinn loved his R2D2 rowowbot (robot) figure soooooooooo much, and granted he's never seen the movies or read any of the books, that when we were at Descanso Gardens today with my mom he talked about how much he missed R2D2 and that since "Gramma and Talia are talking forever in the bathroom, he really misses R2D2 now!". Oh the torture!

Right now he's blissfully playing alone in his room with his new favorite toy, constructing a spaceship and transport vehicle for him, completely unaware of the horrific things going on just outside of our home, like the deadly train crash a few miles away. I couldn't be happier that we can still shelter him from that news. Me? I think I need some chocolate, a shoulder massage, and a few hours alone with my book for an escape from it all. Well, maybe at least some chocolate...for now.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Just another day

Yawn. Just a normal day. Dropped off the kids, chatted with another mom, drove home, washed the morning dishes, put away toys, worked, ate breakfast, watched out my window at the trash truck thirty feet away on fire, hoped it doesn't blow up, called my husband to say "There is a trash truck on fire across the street and do you think it will blow up?", did more work, showered, etc. You know, just a typical day.

Uh huh, the city trash truck was on fire right next to my house!! I watched as the brave firefighters tackled the blaze by instructing the truck driver to dump out his load while they sprayed the trash now in huge piles on the road and smoldering inside the truck. Then, the firetrucks left. The dump truck left. And, then the cleanup crew arrived...and stood staring at the piles of wet trash for almost an hour wondering what to do. They walked back and forth, scratched their heads, and looked at their watches ("is it our lunch break yet?")...and the supervisor points here and there while, oh ya, smoking a cigar. Classic. So, I sat on the counter eating the last marvelous piece of berry pie watching and smiling at the splendor of the moment because this is good, really really good. Or, have I completely lost it? Who cares?! Hey, sometimes it's the little things that can make your day.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Bagels with ease

Lox, eggs, and onions. Bagel with cream cheese. Coffee. Three fabulous women. Adult conversation. All the time in the world, well, practically. A week later after my kids started school and here I am doing just fine and it feels damn good. Last week I felt like a disoriented odd woman that was suddenly pushed out of a familiar life and into someone else's, and now I'm well on my way to figuring out the new me, or at least headed in a nice direction. And, a minor event like breakfast with empathizing girlfriends going through the same thing helps in such unexpected ways.

Our five kids that have practically grown up together, are at different schools, with different approaches to learning, but we can come together and share our experiences. One attends a conservative religious school, the others are at a charter school with two special needs children in each classroom, and our charter school is very progressive and unique in it's approach. But, we can all wonder together why my kids suddenly decided that they don't like peanut butter because it's too "thicky" (???), and another mom, wait, let's go back to the peanut butter thing. Peanut butter and jelly sandwich, okay, it's a basic and easy classic staple that they could eat every day until a week ago and now the PB&J's are off the list. Oh, and cheese is on the refusal list, too. Cheese! I understand they are trying to assert themselves and have some control because that's what five-year-olds do, but come on little people?! Pick, oh, I don't know, cucumbers or something that doesn't really affect the regular menu one way or another? Okay, okay, I know, let it go. It will pass. Moving on... We can all smile at the story about how my friend's girls really like a sweet girl in their class with Downs Syndrome and are showing a beautiful amount of fondness and understanding toward her. And how my getting-braver-and-stronger-every-day friend fought tooth and nail to get her husband to agree to enrolling her daughter in kindergarten (he didn't think she needed it) and now her daughter is thriving and loving it and it's all because she didn't give up for one minute and stood up for what she believed was right for her daughter. She even asked for and got a "you were right and I was wrong" admission! Hooray! And, we didn't only talk about the kids, but about politics, husbands, cars, crazy people, etc., and all of this in the middle of a weekday! Without childsitters!

So, there I was, silly me, feeling like this adjustment period was all about me and my own struggle to figure it all out, and yes, that's somewhat true, but it's also about all of us being there for each other, and thank goodness we now have time for those moments to remind us that we aren't totally alone in this after all.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Theatrical summer

Our absolute favorite thing to do this summer was going to the Will Geer Theatre (Theatricum Botanicum) on Sunday mornings for their family program. The summer started out with plays, like Ferdinand the Bull and King Arthur. What was so great was that we got to sit on the stage surrounding the performers and be part of the plays. For the rest of summer we heard some great musical performers and did lots of dancing, singing, and smiling. And, the summer isn't even over yet. Our favorite performers from last summer are scheduled over the next couple of weeks.

The one thing that bothers me, though, is why the audience is always so small. Don't get me wrong, I love small crowds because it's more intimate, but it makes me sad that more people don't enjoy this wonderful theater program like we do. It's outside in the beautiful Topanga mountains, and it's surrounded by trees and flowers and it's simple natural beauty away from the hustle bustle of the city. The minute we walk down the little hill onto the property I immediately feel this "aaaah" sense of calm. Maybe the theater people don't like big crowds either, or maybe they don't have the money to advertise, but I still don't get it. In a city of MILLIONS, how is there only 30 people (counting adults and kids) at a show? I even tell my fellow mom friends and multiples club about it but yet I sadly never see them there. Yes, it's LA and people are busy on the weekend and they go to church, soccer games, do piles of laundry, have obligations, or just want to veg out at home from the hectic week. I know when we first went to this theater, we weren't sure what to expect, like if we could find it, would we need tickets ahead of time, would it be too hippie? And, like any new place, I always feel a bit hesitant to try it all on my own. But, after we went to our first show there late last summer, we said to ourselves "we are going to as many shows here as we can" and were sad when the season ended.

During this past Sunday performance by a well known country duo, Talia joyfully danced with me on stage (she said she would only dance if I danced with her, of course). Her smile was so wide and happy as she twirled and jiggled around and afterward she proudly beamed about how brave she felt and how she thought Quinn wasn't quite ready to be brave yet but "that's okay". On the way home we talked about how we only get braver when we do little things one at a time and each time we do we get a little more brave. I completely understand feeling not so brave and adventurous, but I am so glad that I took that little brave step last year. And, because we loved the Sunday shows so much last summer, we got a little braver and ventured out and went to other new venues this year. It's been a fantastic theatrical summer and I'm excited to think about what we might discover next.
(mine are in the cowboy hats)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Alarm cat

From my very unscientific mom polling, I've reached the conclusion that there are two types of kid sleepers. There are those that can stay up late and sleep in late still getting their required amount of sleep. Other kids, if they go to bed late they will wake up way too early, and the less sleep they get the less and less they sleep (overtired and wired) and the more sleep they get the more and more they sleep. Can you guess what kind of sleepers mine are? Hint: we hardly ever keep them out past their bedtime because we are not very fond of waking up at 5am and dealing with cranky kids all day. I'm still in awe when I see little kids out at a restaurant at 9pm and my mindset is "why would they do that???" but I forget that their sleeper will probably sleep in until the blissful hour of 8am. Mine wake up from 5:45-6am EVERY DAY no matter when we put them to bed (trust me, we have experimented), so they are usually in bed by 7pm every night and fall asleep quickly (yippee!). And, as shocked as I am at parents keeping their young ones out late, they are just as surprised that I get mine in bed and asleep so early. They might be jealous for a few seconds before I tell them the inhuman hour they wake up at every day. But, this dark morning hour has served up well for school, allowing plenty of time for a little bit of tv, breakfast, dress, teeth, play, lunches, etc. without rushing around like crazy people. Unfortunately, my mommy brain/body has set it's internal timer to automatically rise at this time every day, regardless of what's going on or where I'm sleeping. Without fail, I wake up at 6am when away at a girlfriend getaway after being up late the night before or when the kids are at my mom's for the night and no one is running into my room for their daily 6am cuddle time. It's way beyond maddening. What I would give to sleep in until 8am!

And, do you know who else has their internal wake up timer set? Our very verbal cat, Popoki. She has figured out that if she jumps on our bed at 5:49am, then that will most likely involve some petting and affection until the wild little people invade the room. I refuse to pet her but she persists, maybe thinking that my pushing her away is at least some form of petting? She stands on my hip meowing "Oh, thank goodness you're awake! I'm here and it's time to pet me now come on hurry up now is your chance please please please aren't I cute I know you've waited all night to pet me I've been sooooo deprived for way too long pet me pet me pet me nowwwwww...". If I don't pet her then she will attack my feet to get my attention, and if that doesn't work, then she'll throw her body somewhere on my body and make herself comfortable. Gee, why don't we just close our bedroom door? Seems logical. But, then she'll sit outside our door scratching and crying...at 5:49am. Trust me, she's done it and it's not pretty. She has us trained well because that's her job.
So, what's the answer? Go away to a cabin in the mountains for two weeks, alone, to reset my internal clock? Not going to happen. I think for now I'll just relish those five minutes of glorious cuddle time because soon my kids won't want to do that anymore and be happy that my little rescue kitty has finally come out of her timid shell and realized that she's home for good and not going anywhere.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Quote of the day

Quinn: "Mommy, I'm kissing all of my toys because I missed them so much!" (as he runs around literally kissing every toy he sees when he got home from school)


Quinn: "This boy I was talking to in class said that monsters go after any kid that doesn't go to school, that's what his mommy said to him but I'm thinking that's not really true." (clever, but slightly cruel mom!)

Settling in

Wow, my previous post about the first day of kindergarten was kind of raw and disorientated. I guess that's what this writing thing is all about - putting those emotions to words and I now understand how it can be therapeutic. And, thank you to my friends and family for all of your concern and support.

Today is the third day of school and things are good so far. I think the long day gets to them, and keeping it in all day and being on their best behavior reflects in emotional afternoons, so we have to be extra patient and give lots of hugs and cuddles. They are still very concerned about a particularly unruly boy in class that obviously doesn't like following rules and has no qualms about kicking the teacher. Yikes! Seems like they are trying to process this foreign behavior because it really does fascinate them and are needing to talk about it. All on their own, they've made up their minds to not make friends with him and to only make friends with the nice kids. I was speaking with a fellow school mom while we were waiting to pick up our kids and she said her daughter (that is in the same class as mine) hardly said a word about her day, let alone anything about the boy causing so much trouble. A very wise friend of mine with an amazing perspective said that when they point out the bad behavior of classmates, it isn't about being negative but is a reflection on how they see the good and the not so good in people's actions. Here is part of what she wrote:

"Your great mothering and rearing allowed them to see injustice. You instilled them with such wonderful morals that on the first day of school, they were able to sort out the one child whom needs the most love from society to thrive as they themselves are thriving."

This totally changed my thinking about the whole thing. The fact that they decided to not be friends with a kid that "is mean" is a really good thing...that they aren't gravitating to the riff raff. As adults we often have to deal with difficult people and sometimes we are forced to figure out how to get what you need from them or how to get along. But, maybe for now, I should be thrilled that my impressionable new students are making good choices already and that makes me proud. I'm hearing more and more happy details each day and they are excited to go every morning. I even saw them holding hands on the way from the playground to class (my heart melted). As for me, I feel way out of sorts and all this time on my own will take a while to feel normal. My daily schedule has revolved around their schedule for five years and suddendly it's a lot about MY schedule. Yesterday I had a yummy leisurely breakfast with a close friend (co-op mom), and today I went to the gym (it's been way too long and it was torture), then the doctor, TJ's, and home to get some work done. And, my house looks so clean! It's not so bad, you know? All this 'me' time...I could get used to this.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The anticipation is finally over

The anticipation was killing me - almost too much to bear. I tell myself that I just have to get past the first day of school and then it won't be so bad. So, today is the day, finally. The morning went off without a hitch or meltdown, and even Talia said "Can we go now??!!?". We got there early, saw some familiar faces, they played, we watched, and the whole time I'm sucking in the tears because I just don't want to cry, at least not there...in front of the kids...and other parents. But, my mom is sniffling so I have to block that out and try not to look at her emotional face. And, the star cut outs on the classroom window with my kids names on them...sniffle...lump in my throat. Smile. Be strong. It's a good thing. They cannot sense my pain and sadness because if they cry I will sob. Talia comes over and stands by us, sort of like she was checking up on our well-being. Then she says "You can go now!!!". She wants us to leave and here we are clinging onto every minute before we leave them. When it's time, we give a quick kiss goodbye and linger while they go into the classroom, take a seat on the floor, and intently listen to the smiling teacher. I turn to Jason and say "Let's go I can't take it anymore" and then let the pent up tears flow once I was in the safety of my car. And flow they did. Empty quiet house...more tears.

The day at home without them was surreal and odd. Doing some major cleaning helped (so therapeutic), then work got busy, and eventually it was time to go get them. Maybe I expected this "Yea mommy I have so much to tell you it was great we had so much fun and you'll never guess and did you know and I can't wait to come back tomorrow I LOVE SCHOOL SOOOO MUCH!!!!". Instead they looked a bit stunned, tired, hungry, and on the verge of tears. And, they didn't like school because of the mean kid in class and they hardly played at all and didn't learn a thing. No negative! But, as the afternoon progressed we got more details about nice kids in class, stuff they played with, their teacher had a nice smile, and what they learned (sign language for potty). The tears did spill over odd things, which I totally expected because they've held in their emotions all day long. And, the exhausted emotionally drained children are having trouble falling asleep (silly me for expecting them to crash out within seconds). It's been a long day.

I have to think that tomorrow will be a bit easier, and then better the next day, and the next day, but maybe I just shouldn't expect a thing. It is what it is. Most of us went through it and school became like second nature. We made great friends and figured out which ones we didn't like. We had great days and horrible days. The day could have been far worse and certainly way better, but today was today and at least I'll be a bit stronger tomorrow and I'll just have to deal with it, whatever it is, as it comes, because deep down I know that some day they will thrive.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Calm in nature

I decided for our last day before the start of school to keep it simple. I wanted to stay away from the crowds, hassles, or forced expensive fun. Since my mood is, oh, let's just say, um, very emotional, I always think of nature to calm my nerves and get me grounded. I know many great places to go for a hike (thank you Bobbi), but I kept it close to home and went to our favorite local spot. This place is amazing. It's a mostly shaded canyon in between expensive homes and condos and near a major shopping center. But, you would never know it. And, it was totally perfect for the day. We leisurely walked to our favorite 'fishing' spot where they discovered tons of small frogs, fished for our lunch with long sticks, and made up stories about fairies and gnomes that lived around the water (I was thinking about vampires and werewolves, but that's just my withdrawal from my recent book read). I was able to just sit and watch them be carefree, simply enjoying hearing of their discoveries or letting my mind wander. I love those moments that don't cost any money but are just so rich. I experienced a roller coaster of emotions the rest of the day and shed a few tears off and on, but maybe that's good so I won't be total embarrassing snotty wreck tomorrow. Ahhh, who am I kidding?!