– Same blog, same writer, new spot. I am having terrible linking problems so in case the above didn’t work go to www.lovebugandrolleypolley.blogspot.com.
Exciting news!! I have been asked to blog at New Jersey Moms Blog. Check out my first post!
We’ve been on Spring Break this week and I must say, it’s been lovely. We decided against traveling- we figured we live 25 minutes from a city that people travel for days to get to- we would take advantage of some local attractions. Rob took the week off and the adventure began. Now I must admit to being skeptical- Caroline and I both thrive on a schedule and we tend to get grumpy without one and the plan just seemed a bit ambitious- I saw us getting lazy- not necessarily following through on our mission. Well, yeah us! We still have some big plans ahead of us and we have already done tons of fun things- more details to come- I’m off to do more vactioning!
I have always been so careful to limit the girls activities- one thing for each of them, if that. I just didn’t want to become one of those crazed moms who was driving from one scheduled activity to the next. Well, I lost my cool a few weeks ago- Caroline had an event with her classmates after school at this adorable children’s art studio. I brought Katherine with me and as soon as I saw how excited she was, I signed her up for a class. This was on top of her music class and suddenly we added yoga to Caroline’s week that had previously only included gymnastics. When these activities run their course, I am going back to my original plan and today Katherine reminded me why… It was time to leave for art class so I said, “Katherine, it’s time for PlayArt!” She looked up at me, clapped and said, “Water cup!” In addition to having great paints, brushes, glitter, sand tables and chalk, you see, PlayArt also has a water cooler. Apparently, the plastic water cups with cool, refreshing water are actually the hit of the art class- I think next time, I can save our family a whole lot of money and bring a thermos to the park!
When we moved to Ridgewood, one of the very first people I missed was my babysitter. I certainly missed all of our friends too but suddenly finding new friends seemed infinitely easier than finding a babysitter. It appeared that in our town, people were either so rich they had au pairs or they were so house poor from trying to live in this great community with fantastic schools, that they never hired help. While I love my children a lot, it became very clear to me, very early on, that I would need a fair amount of babysitter help- I just seemed to need a break, pretty regularly! We had the most wonderful sitters in Richmond- we seemed to get lucky again and again and again- our last sitter really felt like a member of our family. Fortunately, I found a great friend who had been in a long standing babysitting co-op in the Chicago area. We started a co-op that is thriving here- 16 families and growing. Now for the funny part, we have a quartley meeting of the co-op tonight- I forgot to tell Rob who has a meeting that he couldn’t reschedule- can you see where this is going… I have a babysitter here so that I can go to my babysitting co-op meeting!
So Katherine has been a very late talker- she turned 2 on Thursday (Happy B’day!) and is just starting to put things together. Because I am a speech pathologist, she has been receiving services since slightly after her first birthday. She showed very clear signs of having a motor speech disorder called Apraxia that is much better treated earlier rather than later- like most things… Anyway, I will write more about this at some point- maybe at the same point that I organize myself well enough to write about Caroline’s sensory processing disorder- I’m afraid I’m falling prey to perfectionism on both of these topics- I keep thinking that I want to write very deep and thoughtful things and therefore I am doing nothing…
Anyway, we are seeing such great improvements with Katherine as demonstrated by the following two examples- my favorites of the moment:
Rob and I have always been baffled by Caroline’s superior behavior at school. She is quiet, compliant, cooperative and generally happy for 6 hours a day. At home, things can be very different. In a moment of frustration tonight, Rob asked her why she listened so well at school but seemed to have such a tough time listening at home… She replied simply, “Because they can kick me out of school but I know you won’t kick me out of this house.” I suppose I should be happy that she feels so secure here at home but for goodness sake…
Last week, I was contacted by Lisa Garrigues, the wonderful author who has been teaching my Writing Motherhood class. The paperback version of her book is being released on May 6th. She knew I spent a lot of time in the Mommy Blog world- writing and reading- and she wanted help getting the word out about her book. Another student and I met with her this weekend, my partner and I met last night and I have spent a fair amount of Katherine’s nap time working on our project. It is amazing to me the energy I derive from having a task- a task, that while overwhelming in it’s own scope, can be written down on a piece of paper and eventually checked off. I am not tired today, I am not twiddling my thumbs, I am not making laundry folding into a marathon to “kill time.” I have a meaningful project to complete.
What is so interesting to me is how this compares to my daily task of mothering. Certainly mothering is meaningful work, important work and overwhelming work. Perhaps, I could feel equally inspired by my daily tasks if I simply wrote them down on a list- Tomorrow’s list, for example, could read: 1. Insure there is plenty of laughter in the day 2. Instill a love of reading in Caroline and Katherine 3. Provide meals and snacks that will lead to a healthy adulthood 4. Create caring and loving individuals 5. Provide for the constant physical and emotional safety of children. Huh- perhaps I need to think through this strategy or be prepared to hold onto this list for 20 years when I can decide what can be checked off and what needs to be re-addressed or maybe Lisa will come out with a new book!
Gone are the days of “reading” things the way I want them to be- be it to hide a truth, to avoid a lengthy explanation- whatever the case may have been, there have been times that I have read creatively. Today, we drove by a high school car wash and Caroline asked what the girl’s signs said. I felt lazy- perhaps because it was the 100th question of the short car ride, perhaps it was because Katherine had been up half of last night for no apparent reason- for whatever reason, I replied, “Car Wash.” Caroline thought for a brief moment and said, “But it can’t say Car Wash, it started with a /f/.” I told her what a smart cookie she was and that in fact, the sign had said “Free Car Wash.” At least someone was looking out for my poor tired self because for some reason, she did not say, “What does free mean?”
Today is our dog’s sixth birthday. Jenny is a crazy boxer who is sweet as can be and still as energetic as the day she arrived at our house- perhaps Rob and I should have thought through this dog with an April Fool’s Day birthday- she is still much more puppy than dog- fun but still a lot of work…. Needless to say, however, she loves the girls and the love is returned- especially on her birthday. Caroline has outdone herself this year- her excitement for this day has nearly trumped her enthusiasm for Christmas and Easter- fortunately she did not repeat her Easter early rising (4:30am for the day, “Because it’s Easter!!). We have baked a cake- complete with “Jello writing”- the questionable, jello looking stuff you squeeze out of a tube. We have wrapped a squeaky toy and the house is covered in art work- created especially for our canine friend. Jenny has received all her gifts graciously- even wagging her tail for pieces of paper covered in Dora wrapping paper. Both my birthday and Katherine’s are approaching this month- I can’t wait to see what Caroline has in store!