My daughter: A Perfectly, Imperfect Mom?!

Today I learned: I am perfectly imperfect, and that’s ok.

My kids and “Grandson” (Mason) This weekend my 14 year old daughter brought home Mason. Mason was my grandson for the weekend. He cried, and cooed, and needed to be fed and burped and his neck needed to be supported because his neck is not quite developed yet. Except Mason isn’t really a newborn.

Mason is a robotic baby that my daughter received as part of her Human Growth and Development course to learn about caring for a baby. You see, my daughter wants to be a teacher. This means her high school courses are designed to prepare her for college and her eventual career as a teacher. Understanding Human Growth and the lifecycle is an important part of that.

She named him. And she cared for him all weekend. When he woke up wanting a bottle in the middle of the night she got up to feed him. She burped him and rocked him when he got fussy. She was a great care giver to Mason. Even though her sleep was interrupted and using a car seat is difficult, she did awesome. Mason Cole Skrove

However, all her “skills” were probably a combination of conditioning as a girl, her class teachings, and maybe a little bit from me. So, it’s not really that surprising. It’s also good because Mason will generate a report for her teacher when he is returned on how well Allie cared for him.

There were a couple times she couldn’t tend to the baby. We were driving and he needed to be changed. She said she would just note it in her journal so the teacher would know. There was a time she was feed him him and bumped his neck with her arm. She said she would just make a note. Another time when she was in the car he needed to eat. She said she would make a note.

She was nonchalant. Casual. Calm. She was not worried about these things affecting her grade. These were things out of her control.

Like almost everyone, I always want to be a better parent. I want to do more and be more for them. I want to give them the world and I want the best for them.

And… how many times have I graded myself too harshly? How many times have I allowed OTHERS to grade me too harshly? If I were to write down all the times my kids did not receive immediate gratification from me, would I be able to be ok with the findings? Would I be able to remain confident in my parenting knowing that…well, I am a perfectly imperfect parent. And that’s ok. I love my kids, and it does not change my status as a pretty awesome Mom.

Allie, thank you for reminding me, especially at this time of the year, it’s ok to be a loving, although immensely imperfect, Mom. You are so smart.

-Stupid Mom

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Grin and Bear It

May 29, 2014

 

Grin and Bear itToday I learned: “Sometimes Ya Just Gotta Grin and Bear It”

This morning as I was brushing my teeth with my electric tooth brush I saw the freebie one the dentist had given me a couple weeks ago. It reminded me of my dental appointment which in turn made me think of Allie and Simon’s dental appointment just the other day.

Mine went a little like this:
I laid in the chair, mouth agape doing my best to answer the hygienist’s prodding questions about my personal life as she flossed my teeth. And then it came…the oh so stereotypical hygienist question. “How often do you floss?” In a panic I started to wonder if she could actually tell I missed a day here and there since my last visit, maybe last Tuesday? Oh gosh… my mind started racing… Can she really tell I missed flossing last Tuesday?? I gave her a cool and collected “I try to floss daily.” Her judgmental and cynical gaze told me she not only knew about last Tuesday, she was convinced I had never even heard of dental floss. I slouched as far into the chair as I could as she continued to floss deep into my gums and gouge me with a sharp metal pick from hell. I saw blood splatter.

Theirs went like this:
A sweet hygienist came and escorted my children to a special area to have their teeth examined and cleaned. Their room was filled with colorful pictures, books, and a train track. A while later I was called in to speak with the dentist. The dentist told me Allie’s teeth were great! She even had her 12 year old molar coming in. Simon had one itty bitty cavity, but otherwise looked good. Wait…no mention of flossing or brushing? I remind my kids at least 10 times morning and night to brush their teeth. I think they actually brush them once a week, when I happen to be looking. And when they do brush…I think it is just one tooth for a maximum of 5 seconds. Flossing? Ha! I practically have to restrain them to get them to floss.  Did I mention the hygienist gave them a prize too?? UGH! I totally didn’t get one.

The lesson my children taught me this week is that, life is fair. It is. It does not discriminate or judge. It treats everyone the same. Which makes it absolutely UNFAIR at times… to everyone, even me. I don’t plan on giving up flossing, and I don’t plan on giving up the other things in life that seem to be tough or lacking the rewards I expect them to have. Sometimes, its best just to grin and bear it…or maybe just grin.

Thanks Allie and Simon, you are so smart.

-Stupid Mom

VIPs, Royalty, and a Mouse

IMG_2183

It is an honor to parent such a noble king!

Today I learned: “Good things come in small packages”

Six years ago today was a very special night. I remember it as though it was yesterday. I remember the way the air felt, the walk home from my neighbor’s house, the smell of barbeque, and the way every inch of my body felt. I remember the way my blood ran through my veins. That was the night I knew I would be meeting my son for the very first time, very soon.

I was right too. I felt my womb hugging him all night as he let me know that he was ready for the journey into my arms. And in the morning, together we would fight through probably our greatest and toughest journey together as mother and son.

But its not morning yet…its still night time. And six years ago today I couldn’t sleep, for the same reason I cannot tonight. The anticipation is wild…. tomorrow is May 5. And that is the day my eldest son is born.

But fast-forward 6 years from that night and it brings me to today.

I celebrated my son’s birthday today with his friends; his first big-boy birthday party. As we walked into Chuck E. Cheese’s, the man at the door handed me a sticker name-tag and I slapped it on my shirt. I wore it all day without a second glance. I watched my son as he danced, grinned, and laughed. I fell in love with all over again. He is such a beautiful spirit.

It was not until I got home and we unwrapped gifts and he had scampered off with his brother and sister that I took off my name badge. I smiled as I read the words I had carelessly missed reading earlier; they were located just above my poorly scribbled name:

“Very Important Parent”

Yes. I am. I am a very important parent to this incredible boy. Blessed? No. I don’t feel “blessed”. That sounds like some magical force

Yes, I am a VIP indeed!

Yes, I am a VIP indeed!

or some heavenly god granted me this well-wish and by doing so had forsaken all others that were not worthy. I don’t feel blessed…

I feel…very responsible for a life not my own. Overwhelmingly at times. I feel an immense amount of trust by this young person believing that I make all the right decisions, even when I know that sometimes I don’t. Mostly though, I feel…honored.

This life that I hold in my hands every day is so precious, no gold could match it. It is so valuable that no treasure could surpass it. It’s so beautiful, no sunrise, sunset, or rainbow could even come close. And he is mine, and I am his. Yes, I feel honored to be a “Very important parent” to this child I call my son.

Today Simon taught me about the cliché “good things come in small packages”. Six years ago today I was getting ready for a VERY good thing, that came to me in a VERY small package. And Simon, while you have grown, your goodness and greatness certainly remain just as strong as when you were very small. I am so honored to be a very important parent, to a very important boy.

Thank you Simon – Happy Birthday. (you are so smart)

—Stupid Mom

Good Morning, Tuesday

Today I learned: Carpe Diem. Sieze the day.Happy Tuesday

This morning I tip-toed around the house in my usual manner.  Finishing up my own morning routine,  gathering school snacks for the kids, letting the dog out etc.   I then heard a giggle come from my daughters room.  Tony? Is that you?  Yes,  indeed it sure was.  I went in and greeted him good morning and out of her bed he crawled.  I quietly snuck into his room as to not awake his sleeping brother,  he had another good 15 of sleep time.   I have previously found that waking a sleeping bear is a dangerous venture.

To my surprise I saw a shadow sitting upright on the bed.  I squinted my eyes as they adjusted and focused in the dark of the early morning. Yes,  my suspicions were confirmed.  Both of my boys were awake!  I greeted Simon with a cheery “Good Morning!”

Instead of the usual grunts and groans that come with a bear who recently awakened from a deep slumber,  this morning the response was different.  My cheery greeting was reciprocated with a greeting with as much enthusiasm and positivity, if not more, than my own.  “Mommy!  Is it Morning??”

“Yes,  baby,  it is!”

He followed my affirmation of the new day with the kind of cheek-to-cheek grin that only my Simon can wear.

Was it his birthday? No, that was not for another 6 days.  Was it a field trip at school? Nope.  Special plans for a family dinner out? Nope.  Movie night? Nope.  In fact, it was just Tuesday.  Nothing planned at all. No playdates, no trips, and no amusements of any kind.  So what could have my son so chipper and happy this Tuesday morning?

It was simply a new day.  A new day greeted him and in his not-quite-six-year-old mind he could see that today held a world of possibilities, opportunities ,and fun not yet planned.  Today was Tuesday afterall, and he could use the next 24 hours imagining and creating all sorts of new wonders.

Simon reminded me that every day begins with a morning.  Every day that includes excitements, surprises, new possibilities, raises, opportunities, promotions, smiles, laughter with a  friend, the best lunch of my life, and the most miraculous brainstorm EVER, begins with a  morning.  Whether it is because of me, happens to me, or is even in spite of me…Every new and wonderful thing in any given day happens as a result of waking up in the morning.   Mornings are truly the time to realize I begin again, with 24 hours of uncharted, unbridled, uninhibited possibilities.  All of it is waiting for me to go find it and seize it.. and own it.  JUST Tuesday?  I don’t think “JUST” Tuesday can exist after today…

Good Morning, World!  Here “I am”!

Thank you Simon – You are so smart.

–Stupid Mom

Golden (pink, red, and orange) Opportunities

3/11/2013

 

 Sunrise on a roadToday I learned: The beauty of opportunity is in front of me, not behind me.

It was my first day on a new job.  I was really excited.  Mostly I was happy to be leaving behind the pains of my last position. Previously,  I had ventured down a path against the advice of many, leaving behind a company I was fanatic about, and to my disappointment,  with a very negative ending. The hurt of betrayal and the loss of family over what seemed to be nothing more than greed and fear, left me ready to take on something new; and today was my day.

Two of my children experts were staying with Grandma for spring break, so I only had to contend with the hustle and bustle of one small person .  I got up early enough, and while I went through the usual routine of scurrying him along, we had left in plenty of time to get to daycare and then for me to get to my new adventure on time.

I was lost in my own thoughts along the way…Of what was to be,  and mostly what had been.  Again, I was happy to be driving away from the past.  And the career awaiting me seemed to hold an array of new possibilities.  I was daydreaming.

I was snapped back to reality when a tiny voice behind me said,  “Look mommy, the sky is beautiful.”

Now, the sun had been up for what seemed like ages to me.  My initial thought and response was “oh, yes sweetie. Very nice.”

Then I looked again, just by chance really. Or maybe because I found his choice of words odd and out of character for him.  This time I looked further into the distance.

Far on the horizon, just where the sky met the land, there was still a small window of opportunity for anyone who had the foresight to still catch a glimpse of the morning sunrise in all its glory.  It was more than beautiful, it was breathtaking; orange and yellow, pink and reds.  Magical.

This morning, my son showed me running from pain is never as wonderful as looking ahead and running to gain.  With blinders on, I couldn’t see past the end of my nose, and had he not been there to point it out I may have never looked into the distance.   I would have been stuck only seeing an ordinary blue sky and missed the extraordinary morning sunrise.  Even more so, as I watched it fade and blend into a pale blue I realized that those opportunities can so quickly pass me by; so I ought to pay attention right now to all I have to gain while  the opportunity is there in front of me.  Here is to looking forward into the sunrise, where all the new possibilities and opportunities exist..and there is everything to gain.

Thanks Pepperoni, you are so smart.

 

–Stupid Mom

 

 

Peace means popcorn

The first place my kids need to find peace is at home.

The first place my kids need to find peace is at home.

Today I learned: I can do more for my children, and for humanity

After shedding tears of disappointment for my country’s representatives not bringing the issue of gun control to vote in what I consider an audacious filibuster, I decided to bring the subject matter in front of the experts I know best.  I know their answers would be pure and honest, not touched by personal agendas, greed, or power.  My hope was to find answers.

In what might very well be this year’s hottest interview, I got down and dirty with all of the controversial issues, and I wasn’t afraid to ask the tough questions.  The results were not surprising, but they extremely heart wrenching and their rawness was… eye opening to say the least.

Simon: Age 5

Me: What is peace?

Simon: I don’t know.

Me: Like “peace and love” in the song you sang for Christmas at school?

Simon: Yeah, peace and love.

Me:  So, You don’t know what peace means?

Simon: No, I don’t know what that is.

Me: How do you get peace: I said I don’t know what that is!

Me: What are your thoughts about guns?

Simon: Bad

Me: What else?

Simon:  Scary

Me: Why?

Simon: They kill people.

Me: What is good about guns?

Simon: I don’t know. Please don’t talk about guns any more.

Anthony: Age 4

Me Where does peace come from?

Anthony: Popcorn

Me: Interesting. Ok.   What do you think about guns?

Anthony:  They will kill someone.

Me: Who?

Anthony: Mommy

Me:  Next interviewee please?

Allie: Age 9

Me: What is peace?

Allie: Freedom

Me: How do we get it?

Allie: By stopping wars.

Me: How do we stop wars?

Allie: By not fighting.

Me: But what if we don’t get along?

Allie: They have to talk.  The people that are fighting need to talk.  And we need to tell them to stop fighting.

Me: What do you think about guns?

Allie: They kill people.

Me: Who?

Allie: Good guys kill bad guys and bad guys kill good guys.

Me: What’s good about guns?

Allie: Nothing.

These experts, sadly knew more about guns in their violent application than they knew about peace.  In fact, peace seemed to be a concept so far off that it was a fairytale word or even a joke. The answer “Popcorn” seemed to get a giggle, yet in reality it was a true indication of their understanding of the word.  Still,  they all became uneasy talking about guns, and I was asked to stop the interview by one expert as he began to fidget uncomfortably.

My blog is not about my political views.  It is, however, about the life lessons I learn from my children. Today I learned I don’t like their answers and I I wasn’t ready to hear them. Today I learned…I will be a stronger voice and a bigger role model. Today I learned I have a lot to learn…and a lot of work to do for them, and for our world, heck even for our own home. In fact, the next time we have this interview,  I want that to be the place they know they can always find peace.  That might even involve popcorn.

And…I will do the work because…well…those little experts are my children and I love them more than anything else in the universe and they deserve it. Period.

Thank you kids, You are so …important to me (and smart too)

—Stupid Mom

Hello (Kitty) Cowboy

The Hello Kitty Cowboy

The Hello Kitty Cowboy

Today I learned:  Having imagination is more powerful than having knowledge

I always compare my youngest son to a grown man stuck in a child’s body.  Not just any man, but a really big, strong body building man.  It’s his perception of himself and it is what he exudes in every fiber of his being.  It is what he sees and so others see it too, including me.

Today I got to experience why he can portray such an incredible spirit.  He has an amazing sense of imagination.   Dressed in his sister’s pink Hello Kitty hat and a pair of her Barbie galoshes, he moseyed up to me like he had been riding a horse for his entire life (or the length of Clint Eastwood’s entire life).  He looked fiercely at the ground, slugged me in the shoulder and in the lowest voice he could muster short of an Adam’s apple and said, “I’m a cowboy.”

I believed him and I did not question his radical attire for cowboy.  He had a hat.  He had boots.  He had a bull-legged walk and a gruff voice.  He certainly punched like a cowboy.  Who was I to argue?

That is the power of imagination.  In fact, Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”  That is because we are limited by our knowledge.  However, our imagination is limitless as it includes everything we know and everything we don’t know.    A strong imagination allows us to see past what is possible or impossible.  Of course, than it can become a looking glass for our true potential.

So, I don’t know that Anthony will ever really become a cowboy.  However, I appreciate that his lack of understanding of what a cowboy’s true roles and responsibilities are or even that they probably don’t adorn their heads with pink Hello Kitty hats doesn’t stop him from imagining. In fact, those details don’t even matter.  So, as I embark on a new adventures of the unknown, I will keep in mind that I don’t need to rely on what I know, because I am limited by that; but I can use my imagination to form the reality I desire.  The unknown is always unknown until it is explored, and the only way to explore it is to open up my mind past what is logical.

Thank you Cowboy Tony – You are so smart.

 

 

–Stupid Mom