Slow Is Smooth and Smooth is… Still Slow.

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I think the military owns that saying, the “Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast” one?

I think they came up with it when they were training the army people to carry big exploding things over bunkers and not drop them on their foot or trip over a shoelace, which is totally something I would do.

You can thank me now, that I never joined the military. You’re welcome, America.

Anyhow.

One of the greatest paradoxes of mankind is a child’s inability to move fast under request, when five minutes ago they were skidding up and down the hall in their underwear and socks, shouting, “I’M COMING FOR YOU, AND YOUR TORTILLAS!”

I know. I really have no idea, either.

Let me break down this paradox for you:

If child is left to own devices: running, shouting, skidding, flying, sometimes the splits, and also loud thudding will occur regularly.

If child is asked to “hurry up” : the sloth cometh.

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This book was a favorite at our house.                              For some reason, that other classic, “Hurry, Hurry, Hurry!” Yelled the Mom, was not as popular.

 

This morning before school, I watched Red push one arm through the sleeve of a jacket. My eyebrow started to twitch. I had to leave the room because it was like watching a sloth try to put one arm through a jacket, which is pretty hard because sloths have those weird claw hands that don’t fit through jackets very well.

I went into the kitchen. Poured a cup of coffee. Added cream. Rinsed off my spoon and put it in the dishwasher, like a boss. Took a breath.

Walked back into the living room. And there was Red, still trying to put THE SAME arm through THE SAME SLEEVE.

The other eye started twitching, so now I have a matching set. And then, there was the talking:

Punctual: “Red, it’s 7:58, you need to take it up a notch here.”

Organized: “Red, why don’t you put on your coat before your backpack?”

Wheedling: “Red, perhaps shoes are a good idea now.”

Military: “RED MOVE. JUST MOVE NOW. MOVE OUT. GO. GO GO GO.”

I know. It’s a sickness. The words just come out of my mouth, all slippery and desperate, because watching my son try to move from one end of the room to the other IS GOING TO KILL ME.

You’ll find me, one day, dead on the floor. Laid out. Done. And all because my son did something like this:

Puts one arm through sleeve (FINALLY THANK YOU SWEET FATHER AND JESUS TOO) and then, he proceeds to bend down and start patting the STUPID DOG ON THE HEAD BECAUSE NOW IS THE TIME TO BOND WITH THE DOG. NOW? NOW. NOW IS THE TIME.

He bent down, with me looming over him like an angry clock, and it was like he had never even noticed we had a dog before. “Oh! Hi Hosmer? Who’s a good doggie? Who is a good pupper? Rub you behind your ear?”

Only one sleeve on, no shoes, and a really sketchy understanding of how to put one foot in front of the other, and he wants to go all Bless the Beasts and the Children on me.

Well, I tell you.

I finally resorted to physically herding (pushing) both boys towards the door. They were chattering away and then, at one point, Blonde STOPPED to TURN to RED to TELL HIM SOMETHING. Like, all of a sudden he was practicing polite cocktail party chit-chat, only it was about Minecraft chickens. Which is a thing. Don’t ask.

I would have none of it. I just wedged myself behind them and kept moving them along, the Mom Barge, saying things like, “Move out. Press on. Westward ho!” and that sort of thing. It was very motivational.

Last I saw, they were both wandering in a serpentine pattern, in the general direction of the school. The serpentine is nice, because they’ll be protected from any sort of siege. Safety first.

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Send in the clowns.

So, this morning, I was up with the chickens.

Literally. Chickens. SOMEONE in my very respectable neighborhood is HARBORING CHICKENS. I can HEAR you, rooster! I know you’re around here somewhere. And, as I want to buy eggs from these people, I will say no more.

Anyhow, I was up EARLY, y’all.

Wanna know why? Well, I shall tell you.

But FIRST:

I worked out:

IMG_5834.jpgThis is what Steve does when I do my HIIT stuff. He feels so bad for me, gasping away to the tiny girl on the glowing tv, that he reaches his paw out. As if to say,

“Dude. Take a break. Sit. Be still. Like me.”

NO, Mr. Fat Furry! I still have fourteen burpees to do, and they are so fun! And so aptly named! Kelli, al la Fitness Blender is a tiny and sweet girl who manages, somehow to be perfectly toned with washboard abs but still totally not annoying, gets me through something where I plank and slap my arms and sing the Star Spangled Banner, all at the same time. Then, she asks me to do a lateral hop, which sounds cute and like a bunny, but  only if that bunny has a death wish. And then, I die.

Nope. DIDN’T DIE.  Even after the hopping. I then had coffee, and I put on real, adulty clothes. Usually it’s all running shorts and tshirts with holes in them around here. But No!

Not today! Know WHY????

I’ll tell you. In a minute. But FIRST:

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BEHOLD. EYELINER. AND LIPSTICK. THIS IS THE BIGTIME.

Ok. I’ll tell you. I am substituting today. I know. I built all of this up to make you think I was meeting with California people who wanna make Bottled into a movie. Still waiting on that one.

AND this:

I showed up three hours early. Evidently I am not supposed to come until 12:30. I am just way too excited about this gig.

Wanna know WHY?

BECAUSE IT’S FOR MUSIC OH MY GOODNESS I AM GONNA GET SIIIIIIIING.

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Oh yea. You better believe you can google “Singing cats” and find lots of options. You’re welcome.

Have I ever told you? I have always kinda wanted to be a back up singer for Pink. I mean, I don’t think she even has backup singers, but in my head I made them up and I was one of em! Because that’s what my head can do!

My head can also put me in the lineup to interview The Rock one day and also, to win the Olympics in dressage, OR rhythmic gymnastics. Take your pick.

So, anyhow, whilst making breakfast for the wee cherubs this morning we had this conversation:

Blonde: Mom. Mom. You’re gonna be my teacher today.

Red: *silently chewing.* He doesn’t speak much until 8 am. That’s when he turns on and he doesn’t shut off until 12 hours later. Quite the battery on that one.

Blonde: Mom. MY teacher. I’m not gonna call you Mom though. And I will also be really good in class. So, you don’t need to worry about nothing.

Me: I KNOW. I am SO EXCITED. And I get to SING! Music teacher! BOOM!

Red: *coughing* Mom. I know it’s before I’m supposed to speak, but I gotta say-

Blonde: Don’t. Sing. Just no. Please. For the love of God. Do your duty. No singing.

 

It’s ok. I’ve got a backup plan. I’m bringing THIS:

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And I’m gonna tell them allllll about how I was first chair, and in KU marching band, and then?

I’M GONNA PLAY “SEND IN THE CLOWNS.”

My children will be so proud.

Here is, by the way, an obligatory first day of school pic. I know. I am just NOW posting this because I kept forgetting. That’s because I have way more important things to do. Like practice my scales and figure out if an interpretive dance while flauting is over the top.

Besides, this might be the last picture I have of them, because after this afternoon they might not speak to me again.

#Goals.

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The Last Days of Summer

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I gotta admit. The motherhood over here is getting a little screechy. Like, we’re all kinda tired of each other. The pool is closed. School starts in T-minus two days. For some reason, I just don’t have it in me to start a craft project any time soon.

We are experiencing a LULL, people. A LULL IN PARENTING AND CHILDRENING.

Breakfast was a highly uninspired bowl of cold gloom and orange juice. The boys sat and chewed silently, staring off in the distance, while I set up my IV intake of coffee.

I had bought a sale brand of coffee. It tastes like despair.

The boys decided “make your beds” meant “stir the sheets with both tiny hands until tangled. In despair.”

Also, this. My sweet six year old decided he wanted MORE gloomy cereal, so he poured an ENTIRE bowl of the stuff WITH milk and then ate TWO BITES. And then, he proceeded to spill the rest of it on the floor as he was trying to “clear his place” which to him meant, “set in front of the dishwasher.”

And then. I stepped on THIS:

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I mean. What even IS this thing? It has SPIKES. Legos don’t have SPIKES. Also, note the gigantica that is my seven year old’s clodhopping paw-foot. He used to have the chubby cute toddler hobbit feet. No longer.

Silly Momsie. The cute hobbit feet are long gone. And… so is my motivation to get into a bra today.

Too much?

I need reiterate: DESPAIR, PEOPLE. HEAPING SPOONFULS OF IT ALL OVER THE HECK PLACE. INCLUDING THE FLOOR.

Now, there are two things that Momsie can do here. Shall I show you in a chart?

Let me show you in a chart:

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I like charts, don’t you ? This one doesn’t make a whole heck of a lot of sense but WHY START NOW?

The thing is, I wanted the grand send off. I wanted the Last Days of Summer to equal something Big and Memorable for the wee ones. And I realize The Last Days of Summer kinda sounds like a Lifetime made for television movie about some girl and her boyfriend Chet who fall in love and do PG-13 things… but that’s not the vibe I was going for here.

The Last Days of Summer are equaling going to the dry cleaners and listlessly playing with the cat with a sock someone found under the couch. The sock has so much fur on it I think Steve has adopted it as his own. He’s sobbing and holding it, rocking back and forth like he’s Daddy Warbucks in Annie.

Ok, not really, but you know I gotta do something with this post to make it more interesting.

So. The Last Days of Summer. They’re here. And I got nothing. No campouts in the backyard. No glorious scavenger hunts for school supplies. No movie marathons or bungee jumping or shouting our barbaric yawps to the universe before we head off to the land of education.

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It’s tough being me. The world I envision in my head is soooo often NOT even close to reality. Pfft. My head is overrated anyhow.

You know what I’m gonna do? I’m gonna bake them a cake. Frosted with my Aunt Dorothy’s fudge icing.

BOOM.

I know, right? Nothing says

LAST DAYS OF SUMMER

like that fudge frosting, ya’ll. That fudge frosting could straight up fix everything. We could mail it to Afghanistan and it would all get ironed out, with some cold glasses of milk and a lot of spoons.

Also? If you come up with something that involves chalkboard signs and some balloons and maybe some stray washi tape or anything, ANYTHING from Hobby Lobby re this end of summer business???  Well, you make me go, “Pfft.”

PFFT, I say!

And now I shall take my children to the dry cleaners and it’ll be FUN. Just you watch.

Well, ok. Honestly, the dry cleaners isn’t ever gonna be fun but at least we can listen to Abba while we’re in the car.

Happy Summering!

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United we stand. Or sit.

Linking up with Five Minute Friday today! The theme??

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Right now I am sitting in the back of a third grade classroom. I am a substitute today, but the class has a student teacher, so my job is to… sit here.

Let me give you help you out with the ambiance:

  1. It’s a breathtakinginly beautiful spring day. This, as all teachers know, is universal code for We Are Really Not Going to Get Anything Done.
  2. Everyone is kinda highly strung, like little quivering lapdogs, all squeaky and yappish. I fear one of them might puddle the floor soon, they are all so keyed up.
  3. Perhaps it’s demeaning to say that a third grader might have an accident in the classroom but as I just observed one kid wipe snot on the other kid at his table, I am ready for anything.
  4. It’s Friday. Their brains are melting. This does not seem to have any effect on their ability to speak, however.

I have really enjoyed this subbing gig. Even with the snot and the yapping. About two months ago, as I was working on an article, I realized that the entire morning had been consumed with me trying to chip dried milk off of the floor underneath Red’s chair. Red likes milk. A lot. He also likes to decorate with it.

Anyhow. The article was going nowhere. And I wasn’t either. I had found myself doing that circular, meandering, walk of despair in my house that goes like this:

  1. Go into bathroom to brush teeth.
  2. Find bathroom a mess so start cleaning.
  3. Go to basement to retrieve toilet paper.
  4. Find basement to be the Pit of Despair so, cleaning.
  5. Repeat until sobbing occurs.

I needed to get OUT of the house, y’all. And – I missed teaching. I really did. But I had NO time to plan lessons or grade or the million jillion other tasks that teachers do.

Also? I wanted to spy on my children.

So here I am, subbing for Mrs. Oleen today. Her student teacher is young and energetic. She reminds me … of me. About a million jillion years ago. And I am sitting in the back, as she deals with each snot wielding situation. I am not getting up. I am not moving.

It is REALLY hard.

I did shoot a really pointed glare at a kid who kept making sheep noises. There is no need for sheep noises during reading, y’all. That’s where I draw the line. But as for jumping up and helping out?

Nope.

She can do it. She has to. If she wants to teach she needs to feel the weight of the whole class, even when one of them raises her hands, and says,

“I, like, don’t get this. Like. Any of it. Can you go back to the beginning?”

And another one adds:

“Wait. What was the beginning? I didn’t even know we are in the middle. I’m scared.”

And another one adds:

“When is recess? And I need to go to the bathroom. I have an earache.”

And another one barks:

“IF YOU’RE VOTING FOR CRUZ YOU’RE JUST DUMB!”

The reading activity kinda went downhill from there. But I stayed plastered to my chair, with a totally friendly but completely non-helping smile plastered on my face.

I let her do it. And I let her know, later, how much I was behind her. The whole morning. Cheering her on. Silently. (Although out-loud would have fit in with the ambiance quite well.) I am WITH her. I get it. And I wanted her to keep swimming.

Sometimes this is the best help we can offer. Not helping. But also, letting others know: I trust you with this. You’ve got it. And if you screw up? I totally get it. Keep SWIMMING.

We are united. And I stand beside you.

Or, in this case, I sit in the back and silently praise you the Big Three that every teacher has to suit up with EVERY morning before they enter their classroom:

  1. Patience. Buckets of it.
  2. Courage.
  3. Endurance.
  4. Oh, and a really really really good sense of humor.

Yes, that’s four. I probably should have paid better attention in math class.

 

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It’s the Dog’s Fault.

 

Linking up with Five Minute Friday today.

The theme?

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I blame it all on the dog.

We were walking along, all flippy tailed and in step with Mercy Me’s “Shake.” I’m whistling. It’s a sunny, bright afternoon. And then, the dog really messed it all up.

Pun. Intended.

He went for the double poop.

Have you ever tried to talk a dog out of pooping? It doesn’t work. And also, this makes my dog, I guess, feel all nervous which seems to have a really gut wrenching (did it again) effect on his lower intestine.

“ONE bag, dog. I brought ONE bag. This is a double poop. This is just unacceptable.”

We were late to pickup my boys from school because my dog is a pooping machine.

I ran (with very penitent dog) to the school and I spotted him, Red. Standing by his teacher. I knew the look. He had worry, buried behind his eyes, and was trying to look brave, but the look was solidly there.

This all happened over seven months ago, and I just can’t forget that face. He spotted me, scooting in with Mr. Dumpsalot, and his eyes widened into a smile. And he ran to me.

“MOM MOM Mom motherrr mom MOMMMM.” He runs into my stomach. Dog promptly wraps entire length of leash around both our legs. I hug him tight.

Blonde catches up with us, and since he is in the first grade now, he never worried. He is a pro. He is old school, school. He doesn’t worry if mom is late because he knows she will always be there.

Red was new at this, and I could tell it was bugging him. And then, he fit his hand into mine and we started home.

“I am so sorry I was late, honey. Hosmer had some … issues.”

“Yep.”

“We had to basically fence off and clean up a two block radius. The dog can GO, I tell you.”

“Yep. I know that’s true.”

“I mean, it was epic. I needed a Hazmat suit. It was- Oh honey? You’re crying.”

His little mouth had slowly turned down, as if both ends of his smile were pulled down with strings.  His eyes were on his shoes and large, warm tears splashed on my knees as I crouched down in front of him.

“I waited and waited! Everyone else left. They all left. And I thought,” big shuddering breath, “I thought you FORGOTTED ME!”

I hugged him tight. And then, I said,

“Honey. I can’t forget about you. That would be… that would be like… how could I forget you? It would be like if my heart was outside my body – I couldn’t forget about that…”

This is one of those times that going for a deep, and rather visually icky, metaphor here was a mistake. Big mistake. Huge.

“YOUR HEART IS OUTSIDE YOUR BODY? WHYYYYY MOMMMMMM???”

Sobbing.

Now, he was tired. It was the beginning of the year; he was all new to this, but my goodness, he was really sad and upset and I felt? Well,

I kinda felt like my heart was outside of my body.

Which it is. Metaphor aside. My sweet boys go into that school and I sometimes watch them walk into those doors and think, “You are my heart.”

 

For future reference:

  1. I always bring TWO bags. Sometimes THREE.
  2. Hugs and popsicles help for a snack after crying.
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Out of small packages come… big things?

 

 

Can I Trust You?

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Got an email today.

Subject: CAN I TRUST YOU

I dunno. I’m not feeling very trustworthy today. I forgot, for the millionth time, to pay my kids’ milk and juice break money, so my poor babies are starving. Between snack, and lunch, and afternoon tea, they’re withering away to just nobby bits of pathetic. My wee babes are without juice for three whole days, malnourishment has set in, so yes, I AM SO NOT TO BE TRUSTED.

But I digress.

Mr. Email Guy, I have just a few issues with you:

  1. If you ask a question, you should, you know, use a ? This is sort of a basic requisite for humanity. Otherwise, you tend to come off as sort of one-note and even Siri has more emotional depth. I thought we were closer than that, because obviously I have done something to offend you, meaning relationship. Relationship means emotional bond. And lots of questions. Lots and lots of questions.
  2. Also, caps. If you are that upset about something, at least use a question mark AFTER the caps. I mean, it’s obviously really IMPORTANT what we’re going to be discussing, right? RIGHT?
  3. Your name is John Jason.  I mean,how did your parents, when they got really mad, yell at you: “JOHN JASON” without adding “‘DINKLEMEYER SMITH. HIS NAME IS MY NAME TOO!’ COME HERE NOW!”  It’s just confusing. Even with caps.

John Jason really needs to talk to me. It kind of sounds like something one of my old boyfriends (circa high school) would write on one of those numerous pages of notebook paper (spiral edges carefully removed and paper folded repeatedly) kind of notes passed to me in between algebra and biology class. ‘CAN I TRUST YOU,’ all scrawled in pencil, with maybe some smudgey underlining, and also a sketch of a Van Halen insignia.

So, John, (I can call you John, right? We are on all caps, emotional subtext kind of subject headings level of relating, so it seems only right),

I dunno. CAN you?

If I were John, I would back away slowly and take my all caps fervor somewhere else.

This post was sponsored by: Benadryl. Lots and lots of Benadryl.

Weary

Linking up with Five Minute Friday today.

As I literally have just about FIVE minutes to write this, I am totally and completely following the rules. This is usually hard for me.

The theme for today is:

Weary.

I couldn’t get my computer to download the cool graphic. Thus, the theme is so much more fitting, don’t you think?

I lost it on my son this morning. Lost. It.

We are driving to school, which seems like a crime against every P.E. teacher out there because we live TWO BLOCKS away, but yes, we are driving.

I bet you can’t guess why?

Yep. So. We’re rushing and getting hats and gloves and sanity and stuffing it in our backpacks with healthy lunches and lots of well wishes and then, Sweet Red, my dear baby, starts to whine because his hat is itchy.

So we trade the hat out for another hat. Our winter stash drawer is full on into that weird level of nookie where it is fairly bursting with hats and gloves and socks (socks?) and lo, in about two weeks we will be down to one hat and two mismatched socks and some cheese sticks. Because.

So, anyhow, NOW I triumphantly have a hat to give him and I am all, Here ya go sweetie! Put this on! and he’s all:

It makes my hair hurt.

And I look up at the sky and say, Lord give me patience. PLEASE.

It was one of those prayers that was not so much a prayer, but more like a nice spiritual snowball, lobbed AT someone to make them get it in gear get out the door get it together get GOING.

It was not a prayer at all, really. And then as I realized this and grumpily stuffed my child into another hat because he is shivering like there are polar ice caps floating by and I really can’t wait to see how he deals with December for pete’s sake, I got all set into my grump and I yelled and we were all subjected to The Lecture About Being Not Late once again and even I was sick of it.

Weary.

This blog post is probably like a million other mom blog posts out there today. We are tired out and we mess up and I know we are supposed to be gentle and forgive ourselves and yep.

Kinda weary.

Here’s the only part of it that I can offer as a bit of a plot twist:

We get to school and I am helping Red with the hats and the gloves and the coat and the lunchbox full of Guilt and Healthy Choices, and I get down on my knees, put my hands on Red’s shoulders and look him in the eye and say,

Sorry. I am so sorry. I yelled at you and I was a total grump. Do you forgive me?

And he says yes because of course he does (what is he gonna say? No?)

But then he leans in with those impossible eyelashes and such a soft kiss and gives me three kisses and THREE hugs and as I walk to the door he hugs me again, and tells his friends,

This is my mom.

And I understand how Jesus operates, really get it, in those two seconds and 6 hugs and kisses. And the math of it is astounding.

My attempts + my weariness – my failings / God’s forgiveness and grace = infinite love

Or something like that. I don’t really want to do math here. That’s not my thing. But I know you get it, because you are a mom. And we get those little moments. And then we write about them in our millions of mom posts.

A million mom march.

Even though we are so weary.

March on, mommas.

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