Tuesday, September 1, 2015

More Real Life Parenting Courses

Miami University's Upham arch (photo credit: me)

Just in time for back to school...more real life parenting courses I wish existed! You can see the original post here: Real Life College Courses for Parents

Foreign Language
Interpreting Your Child I:
This course is designed to prepare parents for the language development of your toddler/preschooler. Learn how to translate your toddler’s verbal gibberish and jumbled observations to persons outside of the individuals living in your home. This also includes interpreting a toddler’s physical demonstrations in lieu of words. For example: A child’s repeated kicking of the pantry door indicates his desire for yogurt covered raisins.

Interpreting Your Child II:
This course focuses on common mispronunciations of words and how to handle mispronunciations in public. You will learn how to correct the child in a public place by conveying the proper amount of embarrassment while containing your own fit of giggles. Some examples we will explore are:

“How many people fit in a Vulva (Volvo)?”
“Look at my fuh-kers (freckles).”
“I see a manscaper (landscaper)!”

Human Anatomy
Gross Anatomy in the Public Setting:
From questions like “Do you still have milk in your nipples?” to “Daddy, why does your penis have a hole in it?” we highlight common anatomy questions that are often asked loudly by young children in public bathrooms and restaurants.

Life Skills
The Mathematics of Reality Time Management:
This course will concentrate on time management mathematics. We will teach you how to calculate the ratio of time needed to prepare for an outing with your children versus the actual duration of a child’s enjoyment at the event. For example: If it takes one hour to gather towels, dress in swimsuits, prepare snacks, fill water bottles, apply sunscreen and drive to the community splash park, the actual amount of time spent outside in the water prior to your child expressing that they are “over it” is less than or equal to twenty minutes.

Physical Education
The Human Jungle Gym:
Weight training, stretching, and self-defense are the primary objectives of this course. At the end of this class, you will be able to withstand the physicality of 1 to 3 small children simultaneously climbing on your back, legs, and neck, while protecting your vital organs and sensitive areas of your body.

Dexterity in Low Light Situations:
This boot camp style class is for new parents and parents-to-be.
The class is conducted in a low light setting, such as a room illuminated by one small nightlight. You will learn how to change a diaper, strip and replace soiled bedding, dispense medication, and most importantly, fasten the snaps of a sleeper correctly, in minimal light. Don’t get discouraged by these requirements. Remember, if surgeons can operate in the middle of the night, after working a twelve hour shift, you CAN close those snaps in the correct order!

Friday, August 7, 2015

For My Nephew: Some Advice About Freshman Year in College

It is OK to be nervous. Remember that every single freshman on campus had to wave good bye to someone as they turned around and walked back into the dorm.  I promise you the majority of them had to fight back tears and take a deep breath to calm the butterflies in their stomach as they watched the car that is now empty of all of their belongings pull away and head towards home.

Your best friend is waiting for you.  Find him/her. It may not happen overnight, but you will find each other.

It is OK to be intimidated by your courses.  Some classes will be tough.  You may have a professor whose English you can barely understand. You may realize that you will never grasp Physics. Talk to the kids around you. Someone has the same questions that you do, and someone also "gets it".   You will find that some classes are easier than your high school classes.  Don't skip these classes, you'll want that easy A to boost your GPA.

You will fall asleep in public. It might be in the middle of class, it might be between classes every Monday morning in the library.

On the subject of napping, you will learn to power nap like a champ. You will have 45 minutes between classes.  You walk 10 minutes back to your dorm.  It takes you 10 minutes to fall asleep. You sleep for 10 minutes, get up, and walk across campus to your next class.

Get your roommates to agree on a code word or phrase to alert you when a roommate has "company". Do college kids still hang dry erase boards on their doors? Never mind, this is probably obsolete,  just text each other.

If you need to go home for the weekend go home, but don't go home every weekend.  You will miss out on so many memory making opportunities.

Go to parties.

Don't go to too many parties and be smart about where you are going, what you do there and who you go there with.

Respect yourself. Respect the women you meet.

Dorm living makes you a tidier person (usually).  You have little living space to share. Respect your roommates' space by not being a complete slob.  Change your sheets from time to time. Seriously.

You will start the year caring about what you are wearing, but by Fall Break, you will be wearing warm up pants and a sweatshirt every day. You may or may not have taken a shower in the past 48 hours.

In the middle of winter, don't worry about looking like a fool in a giant coat, gloves and hat. You live in Ohio. You have a long way to walk to class. You will be warm and you can laugh at the idiots without a coat.

Dining Hall food really isn't that terrible.

If the dorm fridges are still the same, a pint of ice cream just barely fits in the freezer part.

Savor this time. Soak it up. These are the last few years before you to enter the really "real" world. Make memories. That campus is a clean slate.  Be who you want to be. Learn.  Join clubs.  Play sports.  Have a snowball fight in the quad. Take a few random classes just because they sound interesting. Go to class. Skip class. Fail a test and study like crazy for the next one. Make yourself proud. Hang up that first A that you really worked for on your tiny dorm fridge.

Lastly, I am excited for you (and a little nervous for you) but mostly EXCITED.  I am so proud of you, so very proud.

I love you!

Friday, July 31, 2015

Parenting Truths (Installment #3)

These things I know to be true:

Motherhood means always sitting on a damp toilet seat.

The struggle over the decision to take a nap when they nap and getting stuff done starts the day you come home from the hospital.

You will cry at the prospect of not buying diapers anymore. Whether it be tears of joy over the money you will save, or tears of sadness because your baby is becoming a big kid, you will cry.

The guilt of the daycare drop off can unexpectedly punch you in the gut , even if you have already been doing it for years.

Men will never understand why you feel sad when you box up the size 3 month sleepers and move the size 6 month sleepers into the dresser drawer.

Some days, many days, you go to bed feeling like you have done everything completely wrong.

You will buy the latest hyped parenting book with every intention of reading it. You will start to read it with gusto and before you know it, the book is at the bottom of the stack of bedtime stories on your nightstand, covered in a fine layer of dust.

You will over pack for every excursion..day trip, three day weekend, week vacation.  However, you will become an expert at cramming the excess stuff into a small number of bags and suitcases.

Having your first kid triggers a compulsion to buy a bigger car.  Fight it.  You can make it work in your non-kid sedan.

There are days when doing laundry is like producing a local craft beer. Everything is done in small batches.  You have laundered and put away three loads. You think you are caught up, then someone gets a nose bleed at school. In goes the bloody shirt and a random dish towel. The next morning, the baby's diaper has leaked.  In go the wet pajamas and the sheet. If someone gave out an award for "Best Local Small Batch Laundry" you would be a blue ribbon winner.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Saying Goodbye to Trin

Last week we made the heart-wrenching decision to euthanize our cat, my cat. Trinity, also known as Trin, Trin Trin or Trinny, was 15 years old.  She was a sweet blue eyed girl. She didn't hiss, she didn't bite.  She didn't climb on the counters or tables, or scratch at the furniture. She was my roomie when I was single and was my 7 pound space heater on cold nights. My husband became attached to her and vice versa.  I joked that she dumped me for him.  When the kids came along, we didn't see much of Trin during the day.  She was already a senior citizen when they were born.  Like a lot of older folks, she didn't have the patience or tolerance for all of their rambunctious activity and noise.  She just wanted to nap in peace. 

Trin's passing is the first personal experience with death for my almost 4 year old. She is uber perceptive and inquisitive and questions everything. I usually have answers for her, and if I brush over something she will get frustrated and say "No, explain it to me!" Her questions regarding Trin's death, and her whereabouts now, are kind of awesome.  They are the perfect illustration of the innocence of a child and have made me smile on days when I wanted to be sad.

Is Heaven a building?

How do you get there?

Does she have to stay there forever?

Can we send her a card in the mail?

Is it hot in Heaven today?

When you die you go see God and Judy and God makes you alive again.  (This is knowledge from friends at school.)

How is God magic?

Is she sad there without us?

But where is Heaven?

Does it ever rain there?

Do you think Trin misses us?

What if one day Trinny comes back from Heaven to our house and knocks on our door?  What would we say?

Can we take a picture on your phone of us and send it to her?

How does God make her not sick anymore?

Is God a boy or a girl?

She has her moments when she gets sad and says she doesn't want Trin to stay in Heaven forever.  When we pull in the driveway after daycare, my 2 year old son automatically says "Trinny, we're home!" and she informs him somberly, "Elliott, Trinny is in Heaven."

Trinity Kathleen, you were a good cat, the best cat. You will be missed. 
Say hi to God and Judy for me, and soak up those sunbeams.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

10 Ways 38 is Just Like 18

"The more things change, the more things stay the same." According to the internet, this saying is a translation from a line written by the French author Jean Baptiste Alphonse Karr. It is also a Bon Jovi song.  If Bon Jovi sings about it, it MUST be true.

Here are a few examples of that truth for me:

At 38 I still have acne, more than I had as a teenager. I call total B.S. on this.

In high school, I declared the 3 worst things to shop for were swimsuits, jeans, and formal dresses. This still holds true today. Nothing has changed, except the latitude and longitude of certain body parts.

Eyebrows are still an issue. At 18, I was hesitant to pluck my brows, for fear of going overboard.  I cleaned up the area under the brow a tiny bit.  Now, I pluck stray eyebrow hair, while other sections of my eyebrows seem to be thinning. Oh and don't forget the random white hairs springing up in my brows. What is up with that??

18 year old me and 38 year old me still think I look weird wearing lip stick.

I naively thought PMS would somehow ease up when I got older.  WRONG.

I still have a curfew, and it is still 11:00 pm.  At 38 my parents don't yell at me if I miss curfew, my body does.

Hanging out with my BFF still gets me in trouble on the weekends, only now, it is because I am up way past curfew (see above) talking to her on the phone, instead of staying out late cruising.

I still get homesick.

At 18, making new friends on my college campus was very intimidating.  I can say the same at 38 of the neighborhood playground.

Instead of raiding my Dad's jar of change for money to tip the pizza guy,  I raid my kid's piggy bank.

Time is a crazy thing, isn't it?  I still feel 18, well except for the days after I am up too late..then I feel every bit of 38...

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Parenting Truths (installment #1)

This will be an on-going series.  More to come...

On the day you wear dry-clean only pants to work, your baby will spit up on them as you leave the house.

There will ALWAYS be a sock missing it's mate .

The night before an important presentation at work, your baby will wake up 3 times after sleeping through the night for 4 months.

You will go on a road trip that includes vomiting and/or a leaky diaper and a soaked car seat.

You will teach your kids not to pick their noses, but you will stick your fingernail up their nose without a second thought.

Your kid will get sick requiring a trip to the pediatrician's within 1-2 weeks of his or her regularly scheduled well-check visit.

Your toddler will hurt your feelings.

Your toddler will physically hurt you. Have you taken a head-butt to the nose, eyebrow, or mouth from a 2 year old?  You will.

You will lie to your kids.  "The factory that makes cotton candy had to close so all of the workers could take a vacation."  An innocent untruth, yes, but a lie is a lie my friend.

There will be a day when everyone eats cereal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Early Morning Conversations

It is a random Sunday morning. I can tell by the light coming in through the blinds that it is probably around 6ish.  It is too early. The house is quiet.  I am hoping that this will be one of those rare mornings when the kids sleep until 7:30. I close my eyes and attempt to go back to sleep, and of course, I remain awake. Within a few minutes, I hear the wake up call of my son in the next room, the hollow clink clink clink of his pacifier against the wooden rails of his crib. I open one eye and try to focus on the clock.  It is 6:30.  I know that I can leave him in bed for a little longer. He sneezes and I wait for his second sneeze.  Ah, there it is. He is a double sneezer. I hear him say "Besh you."

That makes me smile.

I love this stage of baby development. He speaks fairly well for his age, and people outside of our family can understand some of what he says, but I treasure being his baby language translator.  He speaks and I translate, sometimes even to my husband.  It makes me feel like he and I share this untouchable connection, this secret baby language.  The ability to communicate, understand, and translate his language is one of the most validating and fulfilling aspects of motherhood for me.  He tries out a new word, and I can almost see his brain and his mouth working together, as he rolls the sounds around in his mouth.  He stares out the window, watching the birds at our bird feeder.  I say "See the birds eating their breakfast? Eat your bird seed birdies!" He turns to me with a serious face "Eat eat bur see. Eat eat beh-fuss burs!" He will repeat his version of a word until I repeat the correct translation back to him. If I don't guess correctly, he says it again. I say the right thing and he rewards me with a smile. I went through this stage with my daughter and it never occurred to me that she was teaching me as I was teaching her.   As I listen to my son, I am reminded of my high school French class when Madame informed us at the beginning of the year that we would speak exclusively in French.  I was so intimidated.  Babies aren't intimidated.  I don't know how they manage day to day while trying to talk.  Sure, there are times when he gets frustrated trying to get his point across, but it amazes me how infrequently that happens.

He is still in his crib and his conversation is picking up.  This is one of those times that I wish I had a video monitor.  He tries new words in the early morning during these chats with himself and his toys. I hear him say "Uh-oh Nemo!" Nemo was taken out of his crib last night and is sitting in the rocking chair.  He starts repeating something that sounds like boy  "umB-ooooOOOYY! umB-ooooOOOYY!" The "oy" gets louder each time.  The crib creaks as he stands up and sits down.  He says urgently "Pappy (paci)! Pappy, uh-oh Pappy," as he puts his pacifier back in his mouth.  "Mow-mow. Morning Mow-mow" The cat must have walked past his room.  "Mommy?  Mommy? Peeek up! Peeek up!" "Mor-ning Mommy. Mor-ning Mommy."

Then, from down the hall "Po Po is that you?"  His sister calls him Po Po.  "Po Po was that you or Trin Trin? I don't know if you said that or if it was our kitty."

"Mor-ning Eh-yit! Mor-ning Eh-yit!" He is now saying good morning to himself.

I am so tired, so so tired. They are both awake.  There is no going back to sleep now.  I pull the covers back, get out of the bed and peek my head into my son's doorway. He is standing up in his crib with hair askew and eyes still sleepy.

He smiles at me from behind his pacifier and points to his backside "Poop! New nem-mies." He thinks he needs new jammies.

I sigh, "Alright Sweet Boy, let's get a dry diaper."    

I place him on the changing table and our first conversation of the day commences.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Thoughts on Baby Boy Clothing

Macho Man

Tough Guy

Stud Muffin

Mommy's New Man

I have seen all of the above sayings on baby boy clothes. I am talking teeny tiny, 0-3 month old baby boy clothes.

It. Drives. Me. Crazy.

Why are we in such a hurry to make our little boys into men? 

My baby boy, who is now nineteen months old, is still just a LITTLE boy.  He has deliciously curved baby cheeks and a belly that leads the way when he walks.  He speaks in two and three word sentences. He does not need to wear a onesie that says "#hideyourdaughters". 

It is OK, and will continue to be OK, for my son to cry. It is OK for my son to push a baby doll in her stroller and feed her. He loves to play with the toy kitchen.  He wears his sister's bracelets and necklaces. He plays dress up with her and is the Anna to her Elsa all of the time.  I hope he never loses his love of books. All of these things are not stereotypically viewed as masculine activities.  We are OK with that.  

Why are we sending the message that our boys have to be tough? Or that their goal in life is to be a ladies' man?  I see people write passionately about the lack of STEM themed clothing for girls, and the overabundance of pink and purple  (believe me, I agree and I have something to say about girls' clothing too), but I never see the same enthusiasm for changing the trend in clothing for boys.

I don't want him to be a tough guy, a stud muffin or a macho man.  I want him to be a curious, playful toddler with a developing imagination.

He isn't my little man.

He is my little boy.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Motherhood Makes Us Animals

The urge first struck me one August morning when my daughter was a few weeks old. I was sitting in my usual nursing spot on the loveseat, feet resting on a little step stool and my daughter's tiny body was in my lap. Her feet were tucked up in her gown.  She was milk-drunk and sleeping. I was mesmerized by her face, the wispy newborn baby velveteen hairs that rimmed the edges of her ears, and those impossibly tiny fingers. I just stared and stared at her watching her breathe....and then... I wanted to put her little curled up fist in my mouth.  I literally wanted to put her fist in my mouth.

I have heard people say things like "Oh, she is so cute I could eat her up" or "I could just bite those chubby thighs."  I thought I understood what they were saying, but I truly did not until that very moment.   I want to clarify that I never actually put her fist in my mouth, but the urge never went away. In fact, the more those little hands puffed up with baby fat, the more I wanted to eat her.  I was so drunk in love with her that I just wanted to eat her up. I thought about females in the animal kingdom that eat their young. I think that they just can't help themselves. They are awash in that hormonal soup of overwhelming love coupled with sleep deprivation and they literally put the baby's hand in their mouth and just can't stop. I, however, am a rational (most of the time) thinking human and can stop myself.

Motherhood makes us animals.

We become nocturnal, prowling around our houses in the dark.  We don't use our tongues to lick our children clean, but we lick our fingers to rub dirt off of their cheeks, or to smooth down a crazy cowlick.  We use our teeth to trim a little one's snagged fingernail. We sniff their bottoms. We intensely inspect their body parts. We pick through their hair, pulling out twigs, bugs and dried up pasta sauce from last night's dinner. We are sheepdogs, constantly running around the perimeters of our kitchens, our yards, and the grocery store.  We round up our little people and herd them from one place to the next. We crane our necks and howl up to the moon in the middle night when we are so exhausted that the only thing we can do is cry out for help.  We alertly sit with hawk's eyes on playground benches surveying the area for any out of place movement.  Our bat ears  wake us up from a deep sleep when a child whispers "Mommy" from down the hall. We become scavengers. Mealtimes consist of swooping down like a seagull at the beach, to snatch up the half eaten grilled cheese discarded by a picky toddler. We will rip off your face, like a rabid hungry mountain lion with PMS, if you do something that threatens the safety of our kids.

Once you let the animal out, my friends, it can not be tamed.

The motherhood animal-takeover was slightly different for me when my son was born. I didn't have the urge to put his hand in my mouth, but I did love the way his breath smelled. He had the sweetest buttery baby's breath and I admit it, on any given day, you could catch me taking a whiff.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Nothing Beats a Three Year Old's Pillow Talk

"Mommy? Mommy??? Will you lay down with me, for just a few minutes?"

Every now and then there are nights when my daughter has a hard time falling asleep.  My husband or I will lay on her floor next to her bed.  What else would I be doing with my evening? Probably watching some mind-numbing reality show.  A little time on her floor is much more entertaining and we have the best conversations when this happens.

One night, I decided to take notes. I had my phone and tried to type everything she said. Her mind goes a mile a minute. This entire exchange took place in whispers over the course of about 10 minutes.

"Mommy? What if I jumped on Mickey Mouse's head? What would he say?"

(In my best Mickey voice) "Oh boy! Someone jumped on my head!"

She giggles.

"Mommy? Why do the horses from the palace want Cinderella to come back? Why does the pumpkin get smashed? What if I had a mermaid tail?"

"Mommy, Jack says boo-dozer instead of bulldozer and cook-ahs instead of cookies."

"What if I was a superhero...in my heart? If I was a superhero and Anastasia and Drizella ripped Cinderella's new dress, I would just fly on down and give her another one!"

I tell her that would be a nice thing to do.  I am sure Cinderella would appreciate that.

**Silence for about 30 seconds**

"Mommy? I feel like my bed isn't comfy enough. I feel like I need more pillows. I am just going to get my Keagan pillow pet (named after her cousin) and my ladybug pillow pet. I need to put my regular pillow over here because I don't want to see the lid of my dress up box."

She gets off her bed, retrieves the pillows and struggles to get back on while holding both pillows.

"I need a ladder for this bed! Look, what is this called if I stack my pillows on top of each other?"

I look and say "Really tall?"


I tell her no more talking it is time to go to sleep. I hear her suck her thumb and settle into her bed. Another 30 second bout of silence.

"Mommy?  Why does the prince in one of my books turn into a swan every night when he walks down the path?"

I tell her we can read that story tomorrow. It is time to be quiet now. Goodnight. I love you.

"Mommy? Why does Daddy step over my gate and you open it up? Elsa wears a cape with no hood, but Aurora's cape has a hood. Why does Marshmallow find Elsa's crown? Mommy? What if the earth had less gravity and I could jump really high?"

I don't answer her and it gets quiet. Several minutes pass. I think this may be it.

"Mommy? Why does Scrooge McDuck see a ghost? Did you see that doorknocker with Goofy's face? He was wearing a hair bow! Why did Goofy have chains? If you are a ghost you carry chains so they don't drag on the ground and get caught. Mommy? Why do mean people put chains on you that attach to the ground? So you can't use your powers?"

I say yes, Hans didn't want Elsa to use her powers and Malificent didn't want Prince Phillip to find Aurora.

"I feel like I need to snug with something purple, but my purple bear is too big. Do you need something to snug with?"

I say sure, I'll take the purple bear. She tosses the bear down to me. I tell her thanks and snug the bear.

"I wish I could have a husband for my Minnie soft thing. Do you think we could find one at the Disney store?"

I tell her we could probably find a Mickey soft thing if she wants to spend some of her piggy bank money on it.

"Why is Mickey Mouse on my Disney Cinderella book? Did Mickey Mouse make Disney?"

I tell her there was man named Walt Disney who invented Mickey Mouse and he uses Mickey as the Disney logo, just like Target and Ford and Chevrolet have logos.

"I think a shark is going to bite me in my room."

I tell her sharks need water to breathe and there is no water in her room, so there is no way a shark could be in her room.

"Yeah, but manatees need to come up to the surface to take a breath."

I say she is correct.

"Why is Spiderman Peter Parker when he doesn't wear his Spiderman outfit? What is Supergirl's name when she doesn't wear her Supergirl outfit?"

I tell her I don't know.

"But why? I think it is um... Tulip Rose. But, um, Mommy? I wish my ceiling was painted. Why is my room different than the other rooms in our house?"

I take a guess and say it is because her walls are purple. She agrees. I tell her again, no more talking. It is very very VERY late and it is time to go to sleep. Goodnight. I love you.

"Mommy? Love you."

There was no more talking, just the sound of her sucking her thumb and her breathing getting slower as she fell asleep.  Her rambling train of thought makes this mama's heart happy. I was curled up under a blanket and fell asleep too. I woke up about 20 minutes later with an aching shoulder but it was worth it. I know this time with her, the window of time when she actually wants me in her room and takes comfort in knowing I am near, is fleeting.  I know that one day I will blink and she will be a teenager.

I will take every moment like this that I can get.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

When an Adult Friendship Ends

Tomorrow is my birthday. The older I get, the more moody and reflective I become. I suppose this happens to everyone.  I think of birthdays of the past, and the good times and bad times I associate with each memorable birthday.  I think about my friends- life long friends, friends I have made as an adult, and those that over the years have drifted away from me.

I have a friend that I haven't spoken to in about 3 years give or take. Today I feel his absence, not because he always called me on my birthday, but because he notoriously forgot my birthday. He forgot a lot of people's birthdays and I used to remember them for him.  We became friends the summer I graduated from high school. One can't just erase a person like that from your life. We went through a lot of stuff together, all of the dramas and adventures of your late teens, twenty-somethings and into your thirties. We experienced an amazing amount of laughter and shared heartaches as well.   He was part of my family.  To make a very long story short, he got married and his wife was not comfortable with him having a close female friend.  I know that is a very tricky situation. I am lucky to have married a man that had no problem with me having a close male friend. I was open from the beginning of my relationship that I had a male friend that was one of the key players in my life. I know that the dynamic is different when a man has a close female friend, and it can be a bit of a double standard. 

A few years into their marriage, an ugly situation came about that led to our not speaking. We talked one day and then that was it. I haven't heard his voice since.  The break-up of our friendship started a huge transition period for me.  I started a new position at work that took me out of the office where I had worked for 8 years. I was in the early days of my second pregnancy. I went through a bit of a depression and really mourned the loss of the friendship. It was the first time I had broken up with a friend as an adult. As a kid, you pick up your toy and play with someone else and get over it. I wish it was that easy now. I was sad and I was angry. I placed a lot of blame on his wife.  Time has given me some perspective. I know that he had to make the decision that was best for his marriage, and I do not fault him for that.  I still have dreams where he makes an appearance, not as many as I used to, but it still happens. I yell at him a lot in those dreams and ask him why he is there.  The dreams rarely contain any laughter and that makes me sad. I miss his laugh. He has the best laugh when he really gets going. To hear a fit of giggles come out of such a big guy, man, it was the best.

I feel like too much time has passed now. He doesn't know anything about my kids, or what has been happening with my family and vice versa. We are separated by a sea of hurt feelings and time.  About a year ago, I was cleaning out my closet and found old letters and cards from him. I threw them away.  I didn't have any happy feelings tied to them any longer.  I don't even know what I would say if we did talk again, and it is probably best that we do not for the sake of his relationship.

But I do miss him from time to time.

Especially today.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Dying, Trick or Treat, Santa Claus, Jail and Ms. T

There is a new teacher at my kids' daycare that started in late October.  I will call her Ms. T.  She is not my daughter's primary teacher, but does spend time with her on occasion throughout the day. I liked her when I first met her because she remembered my kids' names immediately, was very friendly, and complimented my daughter's memory. The kid has a memory like a steel trap. She gets it from me, it is a blessing and a curse at times. Not long after Ms. T. started my daughter came home one day with this tidbit:

"Dying is when you go to sleep and you never wake up."
"Ummm, who told you that?"
"Ms. T. Ms.T doesn't have a mommy. Her mommy is dead. She went to sleep in the hospital and didn't wake up."

We have been fortunate enough that we have not had to explain dying to her yet. As far as she knows, hospitals are places to go to have babies and to get better if you are sick.  I was thrown off guard so I changed the subject as quickly as I could. It may have not been the best tactic, but it happened. As I was finishing up the dishes, she calls to me from the couch.

"Mommy, I am dying."

I walk around to find her lying on the couch with her eyes tightly squeezed shut.  I tell her that it is time to take a bath, get up and off of the couch.

"I am going to sleep and will never wake up."
"Come on, let's go, seriously, it is bath time. I am going upstairs."
"I can't. I am dying."

I start to walk up the stairs and she says in a sing-song voice, not moving from the couch,
"I'mmmmm stiiiiilllll DYYYY-ING!"
I have to pick her up off the couch and carry her upstairs, because you know, she is asleep and will never wake up.

Fast forward to Halloween.

"Ms. T. says you have to go trick-or-treating with your mommy or daddy because a bad man will try to take you and if he does you say NO as loud as you can."

This is good advice, but I don't think any three year olds would be going from house to house without an adult. This leads to my daughter getting scared and only wanting Daddy to take her trick-or -treating.

Fast forward to Christmas.

"Santa can be your mommy or your daddy or a man in a red suit."
"Who told you that?" I asked nonchalantly as I mentally faced palmed my forehead.
 I already knew the answer. Ms.T.

I talked to the daycare Director about Ms.T. I do really like her. She taught my daughter about verbs and compound words. I didn't want her to get in trouble, but I felt like I had to say something. I told the Director about the conversations that were had, and she said "Of all the kids it had to be your girl." They all know my daughter remembers anything and everything. The Director assured me she would talk to the staff as a whole and not single out Ms. T.

I thought we were in the clear.  Then, last Thursday as we are getting in the car after pick-up, this happens.

"Mommy, where is gel?"
"Gel? What do you mean gel?"
"Ms. T. says if you run around in the street the police will come and take you to gel."
Silent groan on my part..."Oh, you mean jail!"
"Yeah, jail. Where is jail?"

Soooooo, we aren't in the clear after all...