Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Boring rut or beautiful refrain

Yesterday was the first day of preschool for 'babies' 3 and 4, John Paul and Catherine.  The local high school runs a great program which provides a free preschool for three mornings a week.  There are only 15 children accepted each year.  We had our application in when JP and Cath were about 4 months old! The high school juniors and seniors studying child development, work with the kids in a 'living lab'.

It is becoming easy to believe that the routine of school will be with us forever.  The same morning begging.  Please get up.  Its time to brush your teeth.  Yes, you need to make your bed.  No, you can't have that for breakfast.  And with only three weeks into the 2010 -2011 school year and only the eldest four in a school setting, I was already beginning to fall into the rut.  I started asking myself  - "Is this all there is going to be for the foreseeable future?"

And once again my kids proved me wrong.  Just prior to snapping this picture on my phone, I was serenaded by two four year old cherubs.  We had to park our car a bit away from the entrance, so as we walked across the parking lot, I told them both "Hold Mommy's hand, it could be dangerous".  I never expected what I got next. 

We've recently been on a Mary Poppins kick.  We bought the DVD some time back but no one took interest in it until this summer.  It's been in our car DVD player for probably the last three weeks solid. The songs have been stuck in my head too!

But as I took their little hands on the way across the parking lot toward their new classroom (can't wait for the routine "hand print" art project to come home soon!) they both began to sing in unison and simultaneously..... "Oh its a jolly holiday with Mommy.  Mommy makes the sun shine bright.  Happiness is blooming all around her!  When mommy holds your hand you feel so grand your heart starts beating like a big brass band".

What a great start to the day for me proving that the most familiar routine or tune is really a beautiful refrain just waiting to be found again.  If you want to take a stroll down the chalk drawing path.... check out Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Keeping the herd together.....aka the Von Trapps got nothing on us!

It seems like a lifetime since my last post but in reality it is only about a week or so.  But what a week it has been. Last Wednesday, Sarah and Joe turned 6 AND started first grade at our interparocial school. The uniforms are so sweet, their favorite subject so far is "Recess" (but they have Gym for the first time tomorrow, so that may change!).  

The weekend was a great one.  We spent the weekend (Thursday evening through Sunday) with my sister and her three little ones all aged 4 and under.  My brother in law is in the midst of starting a new job out of state and is able to be home only on certain weekends.  This weekend he was away and their house went on the market with an open house on Sunday, so clearing out was a necessity for my sister O and the kids. 

So we three adults, took nine children {7 boys and 2 girls} all aged 6 and under to a cabin in the Adirondacks owned by my husband's family and prayed for the best. Sometimes the weather cooperated, sometimes it didn't and you resigned yourselves to wet shoes and socks and a great time apply picking, cider donut eating, petting zoo. OK in a spirit of full disclosure the adults did like the cider wine tasting.  But having an orchard at your disposal to just plain running around to burn off energy  can't be beat.  So the morning was spent crunching on MacIntosh straight from the trees- all the while praying that the sun will come out and warm the day enough for them to swim. Which thankfully it did on Saturday - and while I am certain that the water temp wasn't nearly as warm as they all claimed - they stuck with it in spite of the brisk breeze!

It was the kind of weekend where you, as a parent,  arrive home exhausted but the kids are wired. But as we emptied the van, sorted the piles of dirty laundry, and put PJ's on the kids you were somehow happy for what you shared. For me it was a bittersweet end to a bittersweet week of transitions. 

My eldest are now school aged.  My sister and my brother in law are readying to move - about an 11 hour drive - and as I watched the herd of cousins singing along with Old McDonald on a DVD and galloping around in their pajamas, I was proud that refrained from tearing up.  But the thought was there..... this is a fleeting moment that we will never have again.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Tomorrow my blog name becomes obsolete a.k.a 2190 days into motherhood

Technically tomorrow I should be updating the name to Mom To 6 Aged 6 and Under.  Sarah and Joe, my babies, turn 6 tomorrow.  Ironic how the 6 years has gone by so fast but at the same time so slowly. It hardly seems possible that it was 2,190 days ago that they were born and 2,185 days have passed since Mark walk them in the front door, a car seat in each hand to balloons, flowers and well wishes. (I of course was trailing SLOWLY behind him, having undergone my first every surgery in the c section which brought them into the world and frankly still looking 9 months pregnant!)

I remember fondly (now) those first insane weeks.... when it seemed like the entirety of days was spent nursing, changing and my eating to keep up strength.  I remember, not proudly, how I ignored my mother's advice, failed to rest and had an infection which rendered me practically useless at a time I was needed most.  I remember putting Joe, shirtless into the bay window trying to avoid hospitals and sunlamps.  I remember my mother in law making me what may well be the BEST roast beef, lettuce, tomato and mayo sandwiches and reminding me (to the babies benefit) to drink more water.  I remember the MOMS group from our parish, providing us with dinners week in and week out.  I remember waking up one morning in early October and recognizing my ankles again. I remember so many volunteers who came to sit quietly in a house with sleeping babies, so mommy and daddy could rest as well.

I remember the not so fond memories - of Joe screaming in pain with reflux, of feelings of helplessness and understanding how judgemental I had been upon hearing stories of parents who snapped and harmed their children.  I remember being afraid.  I'm grateful beyond measure now that God never removed His hand from me and Mark in all the dark hours.

The cliche says there is no instruction book for raising children.  I've come to understand that its true. We face another big milestone tomorrow ironically.  Sarah and Joe start first grade.  Who knew it would only take 2, 190 days to get them to this point.  It somehow never seemed possible as I struggled to give Sarah her first bath.  A few days ago.... here's what she can do herself.

It hardly seems possible that after so many nights in those first months singing away to Joe to solace his pain with reflux that we would ever come to a day when he would be the one singing and be singing to his baby brother; he's now the eldest of six.  It really is amazing what can change in 2,190 days!

And me, with 14, 235 or so days under my belt sit here typing and realizing that as I teach my children, so they too teach me.  They teach me to know that they will always be able to do more than I believe they can.