Monday, February 18, 2008

Note to Husband

Dear husband,

Just because I was (yes, now in the past tense) in my PJs until 12:45 pm today does not mean I was not a productive member of society and our family. Look at all of the fabulous, industrial things I accomplished since 4:00 am today:

4:00 am Henry cries. Hold conference with husband and both agree to let Henry cry to teach him that 4 am is not an acceptable time to start the day.

6:00 am Wake up because Abby and Henry wake up (and slept in!)

6:25 am Negotiate Abby's melt down which occurred because I threw away the little plastic ring to the newly opened milk carton which apparently she desperately needed/wanted. Hugs and kisses administered.

6:42 am Second conference with husband held. Discuss trash responsibilities and request that he adopt a later work departure so said husband can be with children while I finish preparing trash for waste disposal.

6:47 am Third conference with husband/negotiation with Abby regarding little plastic milk carton ring which husband unknowingly threw away. More tears, further pacification.

6:50 am Administer nutritious, balanced breakfast to offspring.

6:50 am Empty dish washer.

6:50.30 am Administer more food to offspring.

6:51 am Put away hand-washed dishes.

7:00 am Turn on Today Show for national and international news updates. Learn, in small sound bytes, about the world outside of my very productive two-room universe.

7:15 am Discovery: wet, moldy clothes in clothes washer that the laundry fairy never transferred to dryer. Run quick cycle and transfer to dryer. Place new, soiled clothes into washer.

7:15 am Discussion with oldest Abby about why M&Ms cannot be eaten at 7:15 am.

7:17 am Turn on computer, check email, start ToDo list.

8:00 am Teleconference with Toyota service department about reasons behind missed service appointment last week. Issue apology and reschedule appointment (which, unfortunately, coincides with regularly scheduled work out regime. Muffin top prevails for another day.)

8:30 am 17 minute teleconference with new accountant.

8:40 am (During aforementioned account call), navigate snack demands of Abby and Henry.

8:50 am Accounting call is finished. Administer further nutrition to children.

9:00 am Teach spatial concepts to Abby through activities with hearts, diamonds, squares and circles.

9:00 – 9:30 am Teach Henry the importance of perseverance and patience through repetition of the phrases, “Henry don’t put the crayons in your mouth, crayons are for coloring.” “Henry, please color on the paper, not the chair.” AND “Henry, sit down in the chair.”

9:31 am Teach Henry that even the strongest camel has a back-breaking straw by pounding the kitchen table and yelling, “Henry Benjamin, SIT DOWN for goodness sakes! Gheshhh!”

9:31.30 am Mission accomplished. Henry's bum is in the chair and he will forever remember that one must yell to get anything accomplished. (Call the Mother-of-the-Year committee, they have a winner.)

9:40 am Continue researching the intricacies of the democratic party’s nomination process.

9:46 am Help oldest daughter write thank you notes to Grandmother and Aunt for Valentine’s Day care package.

10:00 am Transfer wet clothes to dryer, put more clothes into washer. Refill dog’s water dish.

10:10 am Edit my writings.

10:15 am More coloring, playing, general lounging around.

10:30 am Discussion with Mother about upcoming Democratic National primaries and the role of the super delegates. Probe her for answers to my unanswered questions.

10:45 am Lunch plan discussion with children.

10:50 am Administer milk to cows (ahem, children).

11:15 am Prepare lunch foods for children; serve.

11:17 am Clean downstairs bathroom while children eat. Listen to happy giggles as I scrub away pink mold and other unmentionables.

11:40 am Clean up lunch tools.

11:45 am Play a bit.

11:50 am Parse husband’s shrimp and crawfish gumbo into freezer safe containers. Clean stock pot, fill dish washer. Pick up all crazy straws Charlie removed from cabinet immediately under foot.

12:15 pm Put children down for naps. Henry into sleeping chamber first. Listen to protest screams while putting Abby down second.

12:20 pm Fold all previously cleaned laundry. Distribute.

12:30 pm Wash face, floss and brush teeth. Improve general appearance.

12:41 pm REMOVE PJs.

12:42 pm Adorn self with clothes.

12:46 pm Strip sheets off of master bed.

12:48 pm Insert sheets into washer.

12:50 pm Return missed phone call to husband who laughs when told I was getting dressed when he called earlier. He apologizes for getting me out of bed. I make a mental note to shoot off tongue-and-cheek email to husband.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Drip Drip Drip

After years of steady patience, the so small drip of water makes a dent in the sturdy, durable rock. Drip drip drip the water falls, each small drip doing its part to leave an indelible smooth dimple on the rock. The water cannot see its effect, it is only with time that the magnitude of the water’s movement can be seen and felt on the rock’s surface.

I am the drip of water. My daughter is the rock. Since her life began, I’ve been dripping away at
her. Please be gentle. Drip. Please say thank you. Drip. Please don’t bite. Drip. Please pick up your toys. Drip. Please don’t whine. Drip. Drip. Please use your words to tell me why you are upset. Drip. Drip. Drip. Many weeks and months pass and I keep dripping. Sometimes I plop and others I rage like a white capped river. Sometimes the rock seems to defiantly throw my little drip back up into the air. At other times the rock is steadfast, not changing, no matter how many times I drip.

In my nascent parenting years, I thought raising children was a bit like molding clay. A pliable, malleable young life in my hands and my charge was to mold him or her into the right form. I now know that this thought was delightful yet naïve. Children are beautiful, natural, exquisite miracles. Jagged, hard miracles.

My children are delightful. They are well-mannered and sweet. They also do very good sturdy rock impersonations. As the (mostly) patient drip of water, I’ve been witness to the most amazing thing. I can actually see the dimple of my efforts on one of my sweet little rocks, Abby. After years of working with her on good and appropriate ways to manage her moods and emotions, she has folded all of the advice, tips and drips into her repertoire. They are a part of her. The last two weeks I’ve watched my sweet daughter have a wave of whininess descend upon her and instead of me dripping advice onto her, and instead of her whining and crying at me, she’s taken quiet time. (!) And then come to talk to me rationally and politely about what she’s feeling and what she’d like to see happen. (!!!) It is tremendous, refreshing and heart-warming. All my days of guiding, moments of frustration and drip, drip, dripping have sculpted a tough rock into a smooth little girl who is striding further and longer with confident, sturdy steps.

I know I will always drip. It is the maternal way. I will always probably remind my children to write thank you notes and to R.S.V.P. in a timely manner. They will probably say, “Moooooooooooooooooooooommmmmmmm, I know! Will you stop?” And I’ll try. But like any good water drop, I’ll continue dripping diligently remembering that long after I’ve stopped, the paths and ways of my children will always be paved, indelibly etched, with my advice, guidance and love.

Post script: I just realized I’m resting my feet on Henry's dump truck which has somehow found a home underneath my desk. “Oh Henry,” drip, “come on over and let’s put this truck away.” Drip. Drip. Drip.