Monday, August 30, 2010

Best Mom Tip #102: Cover your bases

And by bases, I mean breasts.

Charlotte had ballet class this afternoon which means that I got to spend an hour in a linoleum hallway corralling my 2-year-old and eaves dropping on other people's overly personal gossip. Which is interesting, but not enough to make the kid-wrangling all that enjoyable.

The baby needs to eat about 15 minutes before the class ends so I usually start nursing about 20 minutes before the end of class so that I'm about ready to go when Charlotte gets done. Today Harry had other ideas so I was still nursing about 5 minutes after the class had ended.

Charlotte decided to try to carry Griffin down the hall, but of course she tripped over her own feet, dropped Griffin, and landed on top of him. I, and everyone else in the hall, heard Griffin's head smack against the concrete floor.

I jumped up and rushed over to help the kids up while trying to hold on to Harry and check Griffin's head for lumps at the same time. Multiple women rushed up to me to offer help--which was nice, but I couldn't figure out exactly what they could help with or why they all seemed so concerned.

Then I realized that Harry had let go when I jumped up and the blanket I was using for privacy had fallen off and my bare boob was out there for the world to see.

It is a really good thing that my brother and I both seem to have been born without a sense of modesty or the ability to get embarrassed.

Because at 34, I feel that I am going through a decidedly awkward phase.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Best Mom Tip #101: Be handy

I like to fix things. I like to figure out what is wrong and solve the puzzle. And I like to learn new handy-man kinds of tasks. This serves me quite well because things break a lot in my world.

Whether I'm just buying cheap crap or whether it's just tough for products to be around my family, I find myself with the vacuum cleaner turned upside down or trying to wrestle the power drill from my son on a regular basis.

Yesterday I had to refit the belt that makes the brush roller on my vacuum cleaner spin. The instructions said to loop the belt around the motor shaft and then "slip the belt over the portion of the roller with no brushes."
It should have said, "attempt to force a 1/2 in thick piece of rubber around a tiny metal thing while a two year old sits on your head."

I feel that would be a more accurate reflection of what vacuum repair looks like. I did get the upstairs vacuumed, which is quite a feat in my world. Good thing I like fixing stuff or we'd never get to use our tools and minor appliances.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Best Mom Tip #100: Make good time

According to the stories of Moses that are taught by the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic faiths, Moses spent about 40 years of his life as a shepherd. This was before the bush lit up and he brought the Israelites out of Egypt.

My preacher talked about Moses this morning and gave a message that centered on living intentionally and not wasting our time on earth.

What stuck out to me, however, is that Moses spent 40 years doing a really mundane job in a really mundane setting. That resonated with me because I often feel like I have a pretty boring path right now. Being a stay-at-home mom is the same thing day in and day out except that sometimes I get a different kid's poop on me.

When I was in high school I honestly thought that I'd be more important than that. I thought I'd be doing something more exciting or at least more unusual than suburban bliss.

I don't, though. I stay at home with my kids except when I teach high school. I drive a minivan. I belong to the YMCA and go to church.

So the fact that when Moses was my age he thought he would just tend the sheep every day until he died makes me feel better. This is a phase. It doesn't mean that there is nothing else for the rest of my days. This is what I'm doing now.

I'll be honest, though. If I can't settle in to this routine pretty quickly I might try setting the yard on fire and see what happens.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Best Mom Tip #99: Take the phone with you

I have learned this one undeniable truth: If I do not have the phone with me at all times, it will ring. If I hold on to it, it will not ring.

If I take the phone into the bathroom with me I will be that poor, sad Mommy sitting on the toilet holding the phone. (Don't worry, it's always the upstairs portable and you are highly unlikely to ever touch it.)

If I do not take it into the bathroom I will be that poor, sad Mommy with her enormous mom shorts around her ankles scrambling for the phone before it wakes the baby up.

A corollary to this truth is that if I have nothing to do and feel really lonely and useless, the phone will not ring.

If, however, I am trying to keep 5 children ages 6 weeks to 5 years from climbing into the monkey cage at the zoo, I will get 3 phone calls.

I can't wait for those cell phone sunglasses to become reality.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Best Mom Tip #98: Add bilingual to your resume

I have a working knowledge of German. And I am fluent in 2-year-old Griffin. Here is an example:

"Buh, Gah. Mommy. Ameh."

That's Griffin for "Dear, God. Thank you for Mommy. Amen."

I can tell that because of the cadence of the words and the fact that he had his hands folded while he spoke. And he looked at me with love and delight and the knowledge that I would like what he was saying.

That's why, later on in the day, when I said "No, baby, diapers don't go in the freezer" I really wasn't annoyed at all. I mean, really. The boy thanked God for me today. And I'm the only one who could understand a word.

Maybe that's why he's grateful.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Best Mom Tip #97: Take the self-guided tour

We took our three kids (ages 5, nearly 2, and 5 weeks) on a little road trip this week. It was not relaxing, but they seemed to have fun. What I learned on this trip is that we are those people who ruin vacation for others.

Griffin, the nearly-two-year-old one, yelled like an angry Cookie Monster throughout our underground tour of Ruby Falls. Through a series of shrieks that reverberated off the cave walls he demanded to be held my Mommy, who was also carrying Harry, the new baby. I only bumped my head once, though.

Then there was the tour of the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN. Griffin decided that he needed to sing "Mary" by the Zack Brown Band actually ON the stage at the site of the original Grand Ole Opry. He needed to stand in the footsteps of Johnny and June and Minnie Pearl. That is, unfortunately, not part of the tour of the theater and I spent a lot of time trying to haul him back behind the ropes.

Charlotte had a meltdown because she lost her place in the song SHE was singing and Harry just began crying--probably from embarrassment at being a part of our loud, off-key group.

We also ate bar-b-que in the live music district, listened to a little bluegrass (much loved by Griffin), and climbed all over every playground we could find. The kids seemed to enjoy sharing a sofabed about as much as anything else on the trip.

Oddly enough, I had a pretty good time even though I kept thinking that Jay and I used to go on spur of the moment trips to Paris, not Chattanooga. We'll save that for next year.