Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Make It Stop

You turned six yesterday. Six years ago you made me a mother. Today I reflect on the fact, once again, that this crazy ride feels like it just started and like it’s been part of me forever all at once.

On the eve of your birthday, you asked me to lie down next to you, all tucked in under your fire truck quilt. I told you how excited I was for you to turn six, and how I remembered the day so clearly that I met you for the first time and held your little baby body in my arms. You love hearing that story.

Then you said you wanted to tell me something.

Oh, here comes a wonderful bonding moment, mother and son, I thought.

“Mom, I’m in love with Addie,” you declared, as our heads lay on your pillows in the dark, the hall light reaching in through your door.

Oh God. How is this already happening and who is the influencer in your daily environment poisoning you with these thoughts that you should already be thinking about girls as girlfriends?? my mind immediately blurted out inside my head. Anxiety, anxiety, anxiety… followed by… actually kinda cute… followed by… way too soon!... followed by… yet still cute.

“Weeeeellll,” I started, “You know you can have friends who are girls but you don’t have to be in love with them. Being in love is really for grown-ups and mommies and daddies.”

“Well, I’m in love with her,” you protested. “Anyway what about teenagers?”

I know you’ve heard the story of Mommy and Daddy dating in high school. In this moment, that high-school-sweethearts thing appeared to be working against me.

“Well teenagers go on dates, that’s true,” I offered, while also wondering how I suddenly found myself in a conversation with an almost-6-year-old about dating.

“Did you tell Addie this?” I inquired, trying not to pass judgment one way or the other against my sensitive, loving son, and also trying to steer the convo away from what teenagers do on dates.

“Yes,” you stated, before recounting the moment: “I said, ‘Addie?’ and she said, ‘Yeah.’ And then I said, ‘You know I’m in love with you.’ And she said, ‘Yeah, I know.’”

“And then what happened?” I was almost afraid to ask.

“And then I went back to my seat because we had just come in from getting a drink.”

“Oh okay,” I replied.

“Anyway I’m also in love with Abby,” you said. “But I haven’t told her yet.” AND YOU DON’T HAVE TO, CHILD!!

And then, most likely sensing my uneasiness with the whole thing, you offered up: “Don’t worry, Mom. I still love you best.”

Happy birthday, dear 6-going-on-16-year-old son of mine. I love you best, too.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Just another day in solving the world's problems

Reid: "Substisoot! I don't have a substisoot!"

Me: "Reid, it's not substisoot, it's substitute."

Reid: "Substitoot!? We don't say toot! It's not substitoot!"

Graham: "Substisoot. Did you say substitoot?"

Hubs: "Yes, substitute."

Graham: "Substisoot. It's substisoot. NOT TOOT!!!" hehehehehehe

Reid: hehehehehehe

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Competitive (read: Crazy) Side of Christmas Consumerism

I recently reached my stop and hopped off the Crazy Train. (Not going to claim I didn’t hop on another.)

I’m not really sure where I boarded that Crazy Train. But I was on it for about a month. Okay, and a half.

I suppose it all started in a haze of post-Thanksgiving Christmas gift shopping. Come on, you know how that time of year mixed with that level of maternal consumer responsibility can make one irrational. But of course I was on top of it. I had done the Black Friday thing and besides that already had a great head start. (I’m looking at you, Target, and your sneaky pre-Thanksgiving toy coupon books.) Unfortunately for my sanity, my loving husband had set the bar on “the big gift.” Graham was getting a drum set. It had been researched, compared, decided. Hubs had it in the garage in boxes already. He was going to freak on Christmas morning and we both knew it.

But Reid? What was going to make Reid freak? Yes, these are the kind of big questions that were haunting my thoughts. People, I’m telling you about my Crazy Train experience, after all. I NEEDED REID TO BE EQUALLY FREAKING OUT ON CHRISTMAS MORNING, DAMMIT! I’m talking about my little sweetheart. My Reidy. My Doogie. My blondie who loves to follow directions and hear stories of what a sweet little baby he was. He melts me. Regularly. Naturally he must be rewarded for that by Santa.

Reid is my techie. Hand him an iPad, iPod, iWhateverelse and he’s on it. He tells the rest of us how to use our devices. He instructs his big brother. He NEEDED toy technology. He NEEDED the LEAP PAD! THE TOY OF THE YEAR! AN IPAD FOR KIDS! SOLD OUT EVERYWHERE! BLOGGED ABOUT BY MOMS IN THE KNOW! UNAVAILALBE ON ANY SHELF! SO YES, NATURALLY THAT WAS THE THING I MUST HAVE FOR MY CHILD!
This is the stuff marketers’ dreams are made of. I was trapped.

The next part is embarrassing to type. But I must confess it here as part of the healing process. I spent every morning for about a week this past December outside the locked doors of my neighborhood Target. Yes, you did read that right. It went down each morning as I pulled into the lot and surveyed my competition.

The first morning, Alpha Mom was already waiting. She informed me that she had been coming to the Target every morning for two weeks. Once, she had been thisclose to snatching the Leap Pad, but a woman "in high heels" beat her to the shelf and grabbed all three. While marveling about how I was bonding in the cold with this random stranger over our shared need to secure a Leap Pad, I was a bit taken aback about the high heels comment. I may have fidgeted and wondered how well my dress slacks were hiding my shoes. She said she works nights and that the weekend before, she hired a sitter for her kids and drove all over the metro, racking up hundreds of miles on her car, trying to find the elusive Leap Pad. I thought about the amount of money she must have spent on a sitter and gas. And compared that against the retail value of the Leap Pad. And I thought about the Leap Pads going for two times their values on eBay and Amazon.

My friends, family, colleagues and even clients knew what I was doing. They offered to help, and asked for regular updates on my progress. This only fueled my fire.

Each day there would be another competitor mom or two. I sized them up. Wondered if I could out-run them. Or if they could beat me up. One day there was a dad. But each morning as the Target employee who opened those red doors and most likely mentally judged us with his sideways looks, and we dashed straight down that gleaming linoleum and then to the right, nothing was there. Each day, the stockers would say, “Oh I think we’re getting four on the truck tomorrow! Come back Thursday and we’ll have more! We’re getting in about two each night!” Yadda yadda and whatevs. Why was I trusting strangers in red shirts who obviously had no information? Because I was crazy.

Finally, one morning it happened. The regular, plus a new blonde in scrubs, and I dashed back to the aisle. They, in their tennis shoes, beat me to the punch. There were supposed to be four, according to the red t-shirts from the day before. But there were two. My mompetition looked at me, Leap Pads in hand, shrugged and said, “Sorry! Welp, Merry Christmas!” The blonde offered to give me her “strategy sheet” if I walked to her car with her. I wished her a Merry Christmas, said, "Hope your kids enjoy that,” and took my high heels and my dignity to the office.

I tried to tell myself that Reid DIDN’T EVEN KNOW WHAT A LEAP PAD WAS! That he couldn’t care less if one showed up under the tree or not on Christmas morning. That by the time his birthday rolled around in June, it would be easy to find all the Leap Pads I wanted at the normal price. I managed to find some sense and hubby bought him a kid’s digital camera and some other goodies we knew he would enjoy.

He had a great Christmas. Without the Leap Pad.

Last week, running typical weekend errands at Target I sauntered to the aisle where it all began. There were two Leap Pads on the shelf. No one was running towards them, no one was fighting over them or pulling mace out of their purses. I tossed one into my cart like no big deal, along with my shampoo and some glue dots. And as I exited the store that day I hopped right off of that crazy train.

The Leap Pad now has a temporary home hiding out in the basement. When June rolls around, a certain little boy may or may not freak out at his techy birthday present. And his mom will enjoy the return of her sanity.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Star of My Everyday

Someone special is the "Star of the Week" this week in pre-school.

He loves his chicken. Though, before you go marveling at his interest in nutritious protein power, I feel the need to confess he originally said "chicken strips and French fries" but there just wasn't enough room on that line. I steered him towards the "chicken" part of his verbal answer and away from the "French fries" part, knowing this would be posted somewhere. Mom truth.

Betcha didn't know Calendar was such a riveting subject these days. Or perhaps this is just a glimpse of his meterology days to come? Lately he's been talking offhandedly about the weather and what kind of day it is outside today. Little Brother in his obvious genius has already pinpointed the phenomenon of global warming, pondering the calendar and aligning weather patterns in his 4-year-old daydreams, obvs.

His book choice of Sheep in a Jeep was a top-of-mind-at-the-time one. He seems frustrated now when people read his paper and ask him about his favorite book, Sheep in a Jeep. Child, you wrote it down! He has lots of favorites. It's a good problem. Don't box him in.

And how about when he grows up? "Dad." Yeah, hubby should shed a tear at that one. I would have. I mean, if my fictional daughter said she wanted to be mom when she grew up I'd cry a tear of joy at the thought that I might actually be doing something right. Hmm, a daughter. Sigh.

Reid William, you are the star of my week, and of my life. Love you, Doogie.