Thursday, December 20, 2012

I am the Mother of a Six-Year-Old Kindergartener

I am a mom of a six-year-old kindergartener. I have wanted to say that aloud since last Friday when I heard the shocking news about Sandy Hook Elementary School.
I know what it is like to watch your little guy, wearing a backpack that is bigger than he is, give you a toothless grin and a wave as he gets on the bus. I know what it feels like to hear him read for the first time. I know how proud I was to see his art work hanging on the wall of his elementary school. I know the courage it takes for him to give me a kiss in front of his friends. I know the secret ingredient in a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is love and I know he secretly likes the notes I sometimes leave in his lunchbox.
My mind keeps going back to last Friday when I sat in Tyler’s classroom surrounded by 20 of the cutest, funniest, energetic and innocent children. I was there to watch him sing the Torrence Creek School song with his classmates on the morning announcements. I, like several other parents, captured the performance on my iPhone. Before leaving, I hugged him and told him how proud I was of him. I left that room feeling happy, hopeful, optimistic and let’s admit it, na├»ve. I had no idea that our country, make that our world, was about to change.
What has changed for me? Now when I look into my sons eyes, I see six years of memories. I see the smiling 9 month old baby that learned to dribble a ball before he could walk. I see the toddler building sandcastles on the beach. I see the three-year-old “big brother” holding his sister for the first time. I see the four year-old giving me thumbs up after scoring his first soccer goal. I see the five-year old with his baseball hat over his heart listening to the “National Anthem” before playing in the T-Ball All-Star Game. I look into his eyes and I see the best of me and my husband. I look into his eyes and realize that he and his sister, Molly, are truly gifts from God, on loan to me and Todd.
I am not sure what I did to deserve such gifts. However, I will continue to love them with all my heart and appreciate them for who they are. As a result, I am going to try harder not to cry, okay yell, over spilled milk on the couch, stepping on a matchbox car in the dark with my bear feet or fetching another glass of water after everyone has been tucked into bed.
I don’t know is how it feels to be a parent in Newtown, Connecticut. But I do know what it feels like to be the mother of a six-year-old kindergartener and a two-year-old princess.
True confession of the day: This post has emotionally drained me.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Two Views of Band-Aids

My children have a lot in common in addition to their DNA. They both can dribble a soccer and basketball. They both love black beans and despise carrots. They enjoy teasing the dog, never find themselves dirty enough to warrant a bath or shower and can’t help but dance when they hear a tune from the “Fresh Beat Band.” However, they do have differences that stretch beyond their political preferences, bedtime routines and favorite shake preferences at Cook-Out. They particularly do not see eye to eye on a simple item found in most people’s bathroom closets – Band-Aids.

 Tyler tries to avoid them at all costs and Molly asks for them even when she is not hurt. Last week while putting dishes into the dishwasher, I knocked over an empty can of corn, which still had the jagged top attached to it,  and in slow motion watched it land on the side of my pinky finger. I had a nice gash on my finger that started to bleed immediately. I quickly asked Tyler to go upstairs and get me a Band-Aid. Without hesitating he said, “I can’t,” followed by, “Do you really need one?”

Then I remembered what happened when he was 4 ½ (over 18 months ago) and I got my own Band-Aid. He had fallen on the playground at day care on the first spring day warm enough to warrant shorts. “The injury” required two Band-Aids. That night when I told him it was shower time he freaked out saying his leg hurt too bad. I gave in and only washed his hands and face. The next night he refused a shower again. This time, I didn’t give him a choice and said we could wash around the area. He stepped into the shower with tears in his eyes and refused to put any weight on the leg that had the Band-Aid. As the water hit his leg, he closed his eyes and started screaming, “My leg is falling off. I know it is.” Holding back my giggles, I managed to get him washed up and dried off, only to find that the Band-Aid had fallen off in the process. Believe it or not, his leg was still attached to his knee.

Fast forward to bed time last week. I put Molly’s PJs on, brushed her teeth, made sure her night lite was on, covered her with her 55 blankets and kissed her goodnight. As I was shutting off her light and putting her gate up, she asked for a drink of water.  I got her a drink, covered her up again, said goodnight again and put the gate up. Less than two minutes later she started whining and said, “Ouch, I hurt my finger and need a Band-Aid. I am bleeding.” Did she say there was blood? I went to check on her and she was perfectly fine, except for the smirk on her face and the words that came out of her mouth next - “I won’t be able to sleep without a Band-Aid.” I told her that we only used Band-Aids when we really need them. She repeated with very accurate annunciation that she wouldn’t be able to sleep without a Band-Aid.” What harm is there in giving her a Band-Aid, said the frustrated mother who was ready for both kids to be in bed? The harm was that she woke up in the middle of the night and realized that the Band-Aid had fallen off, which caused her to cry and me to have to find it in my sleep induced haze.

Needless to say, I now have a love-hate relationship with Band-Aids, giving me something in common with both children.

True confession of the day: Santa tells me that both Tyler and Molly will be getting Band-Aids in the Christmas Stockings this year.