Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Please Excuse Me or Something Like That

It is important to me that my children are polite, which includes using the magic words, “please” and “thank you.” However, being polite also includes saying, “excuse me,” when necessary. In our house we say, “Excuse me” when we need to interrupt someone, when we burp and yes, when we pass gas. Needless to say, those two words are said quite often in the Howe house or at least I thought they were.

The other night I laid Molly down on her changing table to get her ready for bed. Of course we took our time as I asked her where her head was, where her belly was and where her nose was. She dutifully and proudly pointed to her head, lifted her shirt to show me her belly and picked her nose. What a smart 15 month old! Then, following our routine I kissed her feet. She smiled so wide I saw she had a new tooth. As I was changing her diaper the inevitable happened, she passed gas. I looked at her and said, “really, Molly?”

Did she say excuse me? NO, not Molly. She waved her hand like a queen and said, “bye, bye.” It was like she was saying goodbye to a good friend. I was giggling as I finished changing her. As I put her to bed, I remembered something her brother once said to me.

Tyler was about 2 ½ when he passed gas pretty loudly. He turned around, looked at me and said, “Oops – my butt just burped.” Out of the mouth of babes, in the comfort of our home. Again, I couldn’t help but laugh. However, he was as serious as could be. Excuse me for saying this, but my kids are pretty funny, and yes, polite most of the time!

True confession of the night: Sometimes the words “excuse me” just don’t express how we really feel.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Where did My Balloon Go?

Tyler loves going to Harris Teeter, our local grocery store, because they have sugar cookies (low-sugar ones for my kids please) available for kids when you come into the store and balloons in a variety of colors when you leave. Molly is also a fan of the cookies. Tonight, on our way back from a fun evening cookout with friends, I took the kids into the store to pick up a few things for our Memorial Day celebration.

Sure enough, before we were even through the door, Tyler made a beeline for the cookies. He eyed them carefully before picking the perfect ones for himself and Molly. We quickly went down a few aisles grabbing rolls, fruit, a brownie mix, chips and paper plates. While Molly and I paid for the groceries, Tyler asked if he could choose a balloon. Yellow is his favorite color and there were plenty of yellow balloons available and within his reach. Yet, I watched him as he quickly chose a pretty aqua colored balloon. I even commented about the color as we walked outside. I should have known then, that this was a special balloon.

We had just crossed the street into the parking lot when his little hand slipped and the balloon soared upward. Tyler looked stricken as he watched the aqua balloon go up, up and away. I told him we could get another one next time. That is when he burst into tears. I have to admit that I wasn’t prepared for his reaction so I turned around with two kids in tow and headed back into the store. I found the one remaining aqua balloon, handed it to him and told him not to let go.

As we headed for the parking lot again, Tyler looked up at me with those big brown eyes of his and said, “Where did my other balloon go.” Without really thinking about it, I told him it went up to heaven. He said, “That means your grandma has it now, because she went to heaven to be an angel.” Wow! He is right; my grandmother went to heaven in September after losing her courageous battle with Alzheimer’s disease. Now we both had shed tears in the Harris Teeter parking lot. He had tears because he lost a balloon and I had tears because I knew who was going to find it.

True confession of the night: I like the idea of my grandmother sitting in her rocking chair, holding my son’s aqua balloon. It brings a smile to my face!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Take Your Potty Mouth Somewhere Else

So it happened last night at our neighborhood park. I had one of those “mother bear protecting her young” moments. I was on my way home from work after a rather intense day, when I noticed a voicemail from my husband, Todd. “I have your children, we are at the park, meet us there.” Okay, easy enough.

Two happy and smiling kids greeted me at the park. They were being pushed on the swings by a content and relaxed looking daddy. Tyler was yelling, “push me higher, daddy.” Molly was laughing. We were all thinking, “thank goodness it is Friday.” Once off the swings we headed to the slides. This is when I noticed four teenage boys playing volleyball in the sand pit. They seemed to be having a good time, blowing off some steam, probably counting down the days until summer vacation. While helping Molly down the slide I heard the “F” word coming from the volleyball court. I looked over and saw two of the boys starting to argue and a few punches were thrown. Another boy told them to “knock it off,” while the fourth started to walk toward a car.

They had Tyler’s attention now. He wanted to know why they were hitting each other. I explained to him that hitting wasn’t nice and not to pay attention to them. Looking over again, the two boys were rolling on the ground and were using the “F” word again. That is when mother bear sprung into action. I mean, this is a neighborhood park. I walked over to the boys, who were now on their feet, pushing and shoving each other toward a tree. I will admit to raising my voice, just so they could hear me, which I think took them by surprise. It was pretty much a one-sided conversation that went something like this ---

“Please stop it right now. This is a playground where a lot of little kids play. I don’t appreciate you fighting and using bad language. My kids are watching you.” I probably should have stopped there, but no I kept going. “Take your potty mouths somewhere else, now.”

They didn’t say a word (which is why I say it was a one-sided conversation). Instead, they gathered their things and walked to their car. I turned around and saw Todd’s mouth hanging open. Apparently, I don’t do things like this often. Then I looked at Tyler and said, “I gave them a time-out. That’s what happens if you fight.” Less then a minute later, Molly fell, bit her lip and started to bleed. Needless to say, we headed home too.

I am a MOMMY - hear me roar!

True confession of the day: I have never said “potty mouth” before and I don’t know where it came from. At least I didn’t tell them to “f… off.”

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Does Rhyming Really Matter?

I have a habit of singing songs and reciting Nursery Rhymes to my kids while changing them, bathing them and cuddling with them. I will even admit to making up my own lyrics once in a while. In return I am rewarded with smiles, humming and requests for more.

Here is the one I recited most often to Tyler and now recite to Molly.

“One, two, buckle my shoe.
Three, four, shut the door.
Five, six, pick up sticks.
Seven, eight, lay them straight.
Nine, ten, a big fat hen.”

The other day, Tyler asked if we could do the one, two, poem. “You do the first part and I will do the second part. Okay, Mommy?” It sounded good to me and obviously to Molly because she clapped her hands. Much to my surprise and then amusement, here is what happened.

“One, two, buckle my … shoe.
Three, four, shut the … door.
Five, six, pick up … the toys on the floor.
Seven, eight, lay … my head down.
Nine, ten, a big … fat dog!”

All I can say is that some of the lessons Todd and I are trying to teach our kids are working. Always pick up your toys and at the end of the day, lay your head down and go to sleep.

The true confession of the night – I didn’t correct Tyler or laugh at him. I actually like his version and can’t wait for Molly’s version.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

First Time Soccer Mom

The idea of a blogging has been in the back of my head for quite a while. I love to write, which is a good thing since I am in the communications field. However, I never take the time to write for pleasure, to share my thoughts on what it is like to be a wife and mother. After encouragement from lots of people, I have decided to start my blog. Hence … Confessions of a First Time Soccer Mom is born.

This spring I entered into a new stage of motherhood. I became a soccer mom. Tyler can’t walk by a ball without touching it, throwing it or kicking it. This is why I gave up quiet Friday nights and leisurely Saturday mornings to cheer my four year old on. He looked so cute the first time he walked onto the green turf wearing his umbro shorts, shin guards, cleats and carrying his green dinosaur water bottle. I watched him intently as he learned to stop the ball with his foot and not his hands. I let a few giggles out as he and his teammates tried to decide which goal they were aiming for. I shed a few tears when he gave me thumbs up after scoring his first goal.

As the soccer season progressed, Tyler and I became more confident in our new roles, his as “soccer star” and mine as “soccer mom.” He began to run down the field (in the right direction) with confidence and he learned that playing defense is as important as scoring goals. What I am most proud of is that he believes the most important part of the game is shaking hands with your opponents before heading to the car. Learning the true meaning of sportsmanship at four years old was worth giving up Saturday mornings watching the “Fresh Beat Band” and “Team Umizoomie” on Nick Jr.

What did I learn from this experience? I learned the left cleat from the right cleat. I learned that soccer players flock to the mom with the snacks after the game (you can’t go wrong with Teddy Grahams and Toy Story fruit snacks). I also learned that not all parents share a parenting philosophy. Most importantly, I now know you have to let your child fall every once in a while. They will pick themselves up and they will brush themselves off.

The true confession of the night – I can’t wait for the fall soccer season!