28 September 2007

Being Neighborly

I always have grandiose plans of meeting all my neighbors shortly after moving in by bringing them a freshly-baked-something and this opening the doors to us being great neighbors. This of course, turns the neighborhood into a friendly community and we all get along splendidly and have block BBQs in the summer.


It's been 2 years.

This past week I introduced myself to the first neighbor that 1) does not share yardspace and a laundry room with me, and 2) does not go to church with me.

And in exchange for some freshly baked cookies, I got fresh figs off her tree! She's already learned my children's names by heart, invited us into her home, thinks it's great I'm a full-time mom, and smiles whenever we see her.

So the freshly-baked-something tack does seem to work. It helps that I have dang cute kids, too.

25 September 2007

Enjoyment is a State of Mind

At a recent baby shower, I was invited to give "parenting advice" for the mother-to-be. I gave advice that was useful, but not very insightful. As the evening wore on, I wished I had said something entirely different because I felt that motherhood sounded more and more like an ominous burden.

So, my advice to all the mothers-to-be out there would be: Enjoy your kids! Yes, they're going to be screamy. Yes, they're going to be poopy and drooly and gooey in general. Yes, you're going to need a break every so often. But don't let getting away from your children be the highlight of your life - because then being with them becomes drudgery.

I think what is hardest about being a full-time mother is how many different tenses you have to live in at once. You have to be in the present to enjoy it fully because if you're always rushing here and there and needing to be on time and life is generally just filled with Things To Do, you often miss out on the tender, wonder-filled, charming moments that pop up most frequently when you're not "doing anything" but Being with your child.

You need to live a bit in the future to remind yourself that everything passes to keep perspective on the relative smallness of all the disasters happening daily (your shirt is peed/pooped/burped on for the 317th time in one day; your child decides that it's a good time to experiment with heights and decides to throw his cup, your plate, and himself off the table; your child is feigning deafness when you ask her to pick up the toy/book/blanket). But not too much in the future because if the things you planned on don't get done, frustration inevitably sets in.

It would be nice to always live in the present perfect tense and the future perfect tense, but those imperfect tenses are also necessary, useful, and yes: enjoyable.

23 September 2007

First Primary Talk - check!

The Dude and I have been working on his Primary talk all week. After brainstorming and crafting his talk on service together (I asked him leading questions; he answered them in his own words), we selected visual aids. He helped me pick "pretty" pictures of Jesus, of people hugging, and also contributed some artwork:

(a very abstract picture of Jesus that I decided should remain unlabeled), and handwriting:

(He wrote it all himself, but decided to ask me for help in spelling "you" and "thank").

He's been increasingly excited about giving the talk all week. We practiced it a couple of times, and he woke up this morning ready to Go! We made it into Primary uneventfully - but during the scripture, the Dude bonked his head on the bench and proceeded to howl. He bleatingly made it back to where I was sitting and sobbed into my shoulder. Certain that he would be asked to give his talk any minute, I tried to calm him down because I did NOT want to end up giving his talk. Thankfully, they decided to insert all sorts of announcements right then, and he was raring to go again by the time they announced his talk.

As I knelt by him, I immediately regretted all the cautions I had given him about speaking too closely to the microphone because he spoke quietly and too far away from the microphone (it didn't help that his sister decided to raise her voice about then, too). After urging him to speak louder after every couple of sentences, by the end of the talk he was audible. He did a great job reading (even though I inserted one last-minute change on him), and was so sweet and earnest and eager that I almost started crying a couple times.

I think giving a talk in Primary was an important milestone I hadn't even realized was a milestone, but it made me very aware that my little boy is getting less little every day. When I take the time to really look at him - observe that his face is looking more boyish and less babyish, I am just overwhelmed with the thought that he is going to be gone before I even notice that he's grown up.

Right now, I think I'll just content myself to looking forward to the end of his current obsession with dying. I think the Big O will be grateful, too.

19 September 2007

Sheared Son

The Dude desperately needed a haircut. But it is always so sad to say goodbye to my fluffy-headed darling and meet the growing man-child that appears after the haircut, so I put it off as long as possible. Interpreted: he starts screaming a lot because his hair keeps getting in his eyes.

So here he is:



Yes, he is rubbing his eyes. It is because he's fake crying to avoid getting a picture taken, not a hair-related cause.

Carrots, Roasted

The Cita has always loved carrots.

She doesn't like them to be in little pieces, raw or cooked.

She just wants to gnaw them.

And suck ranch off of.

Mostly suck ranch off.

Tonight, she discovered the joy of roasted carrots. She's had them before, but her mama committed the cardinal sin of cutting them up. They were tossed to the floor with great vim (Joining the dregs of cheerios, half-chewed raisins, potatoes, chicken, and sprinklings of rice).

This time around, the Rosita got them whole (I figure it's easier clean up if nothing else). And she loved them. She ate at least 10 baby carrots (which for a one-year old is pretty impressive). At first, she just enjoyed being able to bite through a carrot on her own, but soon she spotted some excess dressing on my plate and demanded that I dip her carrot in it. Six carrots later, she took a break for a couple bites of brownie, but had to finish her meal with 2 more ranch dipped roasted carrots.

The moral of the story: There are better things than chocolate?