Monday, November 24, 2014

Try to Get By

When I woke up this morning, it was about 45 degrees and rainy.  

But now it's 30 degrees and snowing . . . 

. . . so let's just think about summer for a second and try to get by.

Sunshine . . . ahhhhh . . . 

Mack and his bucket of stuff.  

On a milkshake date with Mommy.

I think often about why we don't live at the beach. 

But then I realize that there would be no magic if we lived there.  The beach would become every day and ordinary, and then where would we vacation???

This kid turned 6 over the summer.  S-I-X.  Y'all that's big.

She becoming more independent and more helpful.  More beautiful and more thoughtful.    

She's decided she needs to perform, and Clint and I can't disagree.  She's so young, but I have been anxious to see what interests this kid.  Soccer or softball?  She spends more time cheering for her teammates and singing.  Swimming?  She just wants to splash her teacher.  Ice Skating and dance seem sort of hopeful, but what she really loves to do is pretend, imagine, and create.  I recently took her to see Annie, and she sat so close to the edge of her seat that she fell off a few times.  And we were in the second row, so I'm not sure how much closer she thought she could get.

The very next day a mom told me, "You know, Mimi has a really great voice.  She should do something with it."

What??  Mimi?  I've never really paid attention.  And then another mom said the same thing the next day.  Okay, I get it.  More to come on that when I figure this out . . .

It's exciting to see her strengths emerging.  She's outgoing and helpful.  She concerned about her friends and doesn't discriminate against kids who are a little different.  She has the biggest imagination and takes up the entire room with her personality.  And she can talk friends and grown-ups into just about any crazy scheme of hers.

And then there's school.  Yeeesh.

As soon as first grade began, I knew there would be a struggle.  She can't sit still long enough to write and would prefer to read a book as she thinks it should go -- not how it is written.  While she understands math concepts, numbers over 10 get confusing for her.  She misses a lot of instructions because she's very busy telling a story to a friend, and she just can't stop telling that story for anything in the world.

So after frustrating nights of homework and drilling and really low scores on spelling quizzes, I've finally given in to the fact that my children learn differently.  I don't know what Clint and I did to create these little monkeys who are so amazing and wonderful and absolutely unique.  There is no other Mimi.  And just to prove it she is going to make damn sure that she gets special treatment at school, which by the way, is freaking awesome.  The teachers and reading specialist and principal along with other fancy degree people have been on it.  We moved to this district for Mack having no idea how beneficial it would be for Mimi.  It makes that insane tax bill not seem so awful.

And speaking of Mack -- this guy turned 4.

Four is a fun age, and we have seen amazing changes in him just since this birthday -- more talkative, more social, and my gosh, he's smart.  He is spelling long movie titles from memory and beginning to sound out words.  He doesn't just know that "Toy Story" begins with a "T," he can spell out "Disney Pixar Toy Story 3 on DVD."  Yes, he's the opposite of Mimi.  She has the social skills and he's the academic.  It wouldn't be fair if they were both perfect, would it?

As one friend recently told me, where a child is lacking in skills, he will make up for it tremendously in another way.  No doubt both of mine are making up for it tremendously.

Oh, low they love each other.  I love to catch them sharing toys and playing a computer game together.  Mack will occasionally walk up to Mimi and give her a squeeze and a kiss for absolutely no reason, and the world stops for a few seconds.

And this guy loves me.  I call him my little boyfriend because he loves to hold my hand and snuggle with me.  He likes to make me laugh and smile and even holds doors open for me.  He's a bit possessive but I'm learning to deal with it.

If I had known back when Mimi was a perfect little nine-month-old how challenging this would all be, I think I may have thrown in the towel then.  A couple of nights ago we went to a restaurant for dinner (restaurants are something we don't visit with children much anymore), and I looked over at a nearby table -- a happy mom, a playful dad, and a sweet little 9- or 10-month old baby sitting nicely in his high chair.  He was picking at snacks as the parents took turns giving him attention.  I remember that easy stage with Mimi.

And then I looked back at my table.  Mimi was talking our ears off and Mack was sticking his hands in Clint's water and then ran off towards the kitchen with a plan in his eyes.  After he threw his body to the floor in rebellion, I took a big sip, er, chugged my margarita and yelled back at Clint to box up my dinner.  I was done.

After getting him in the car, Clint and I traded places so I could finish.  As I sat staring at Mimi for a second, I couldn't help but notice that sweet couple still sitting nicely with their little one.  I also noticed that they both kept glancing at us, and I remembered they had done that some while Mack was losing his shiz.  I made eye contact and gave them a smile . . . all while thinking suckers, you think you have it easy now but . . . just . . . you . . . wait . . . 

Because we know even "easy children" aren't always easy.  Both of mine had simple, easy stages, but those never lasted long.  Once I thought I had it all figured out, new challenges emerged.  And I will never, ever judge a parent who I know is trying their best on their children's behavior.  An old lady once asked me if I could control my kids.  And my response was, "No.  Why, can you?"  It's not all nurture -- a lot of it is nature.

 I remember Clint and I sitting next to a family at dinner one night whose children were zoned out on their iPads, and we thought, "How horrible.  We'll never let our children do that."  And I had dinner with a friend once who pretended her daughter wasn't pouring Sweet and Low packets all over the floor.  The friend shrugged her shoulders and said, "Ignore her.  She's being really quiet."

No one's judging over here.  Nope.  We're all just trying to get by.

Anywho, I'm supposed to be packing and gearing up for our first flight with the children since Mack lost his shiz 2 years ago on a flight that was so traumatizing that we canceled our flights home and drove the 16 hours back.  Yep.

So I'll leave some sweetness and quit procrastinating.  I'll take all the tips and prayers and kind thoughts you have for our flight this week.  A straight jacket in a child size 5 would also be appreciated . . . kidding . . . sort of

 At least no messes were being made at this moment . . . I will get by . . .

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