Tag Archives: kids

Taking the “er” out of Mother……

I know taking the “er” out of mother would simply leave us as “moth”s.

But maybe that wouldn’t be so bad.

Moths don’t care what their hair looks like, when their children start reading, or what size anyone’s jeans are.

Gray doesn’t mean they are older. It just means, well, they are gray.

Moths don’t need earrings that match a purse that matches their eyes. They don’t have to clip coupons (although that might be fun to watch). Moths don’t have to potty train their little moths so that they won’t embarrass them at the playground.

Moths are just, in every moment, moths.

They spend most of their time searching for bright, shiny light that has all the promise of warmth. And there’s lots of room around those lights for everyone to squish in and warm themselves. Those moths shy away from dark, lonely places.

It’s when we add in the “er” that comparisons ensue. We become mothers and comparers.

She is prettier.

Oh look, she is skinnier.

Her house is bigger.

Oh dear, her child is faster.

And her son is reading earlier.

She might just be better than me. Eeeeks.

Wait just one minute…

She is fatter. And my child is taller. Whew.

I recently read this fabulouso article by April Perry on a website called the Power of Moms (what a wonderful use of “er“) that details how social media isn’t helping mothers one bit. We spend too much time online mourning over who we are not.

We see meals on Pinterest that we could never actually make, party themes that would require an entire film crew to pull off, and others who are supposedly doing it better.

Facebookers share with us trips that we could not/did not go on and college scholarships our children won’t get.

Twitter takes clever to a whole new level. There is tremendous stress in trying to figure out how to be witty or impart wisdom in 140 characters or fewer, especially when emoticons are frowned upon as a wasted use of space.

All the while, our little moths sit and wait for us to stop clicking on keyboards and return to being just who they want us to be. Their mothers.

And if you have evidence that moths actually eat their young at birth, please don’t confuse the beauty of this symbolism with science. I am not trying to be smarter, just less “er“. And that cute little moth made me smile. 😎

Just in case you didn’t get enough of my “er”ism here – I wrote this post a while back. A small warning – I was snarkier then. 😉

There’s snow place like home…………..

It is very hard to convince my children that this move around the world was actually a good idea when this is happening at home…..

Our neck of the woods got blasted by over 2 feet of snow. Yeah, there’s snow place like home.

Today…………

Today I wish I could sit on the sidelines at the soccer field or in the bleachers at the swimming pool and see those friends I only got to see when my kids had practice. I want to drive myself to the grocery store – down a road where nobody honks and everyone stays in their own lane – and  I want to buy too many cucumbers and tomatoes with the best of intentions of eating them all. I want to be able to eat them without rinsing them in a bleach solution first. I want a loaf of Wonder bread that is so fresh the aroma assaults you when you open the bag. Today I want to go to Target and get 6 errands accomplished in one place and pay prices that are written on the things I want to buy. I want to know that the President and your grandmother and I all pay the same price for the same thing. I want to rush through a fast food drive-thru and eat food that is horrible for me but tastes so yummy. I want to sit on the front porch and use cheeseburger wrappers as a plate and watch ants gravitate toward the ketchup I am sure to spill on the ground. I want to drink a glass of wine out of a plastic cup and watch all the neighbors walk by with dogs that chase the squirrels and bark too loud.  I want to watch my husband reading the newspaper on the porch in his pajamas. I want to see 15 kids running through my yard playing flashlight tag. I want to watch the leaves blowing in the wind and I want to watch my kids make a big pile to jump in. I want to hear the leaves crinkle under my feet when I walk. I want to walk up to the shopping center and get an ice cream for dessert. Maybe I want a banana split with whip cream that tastes like whip cream. And I want to have 31 flavors and 16 toppings to choose from. I want to plan a Thanksgiving meal and invite our families over. I want to figure out a way to make it different and familiar all at the same time. Today, I want to be home.

But how are you………..

This is how a lot of emails from my friends end – your blog is great – but how are you, really?

That is a tricky question. Most of you know, I would not have picked to move to India. The decision came about quickly and it was a big surprise. I knew from the first moment of hearing the possibility that it would be a great adventure for our family and that we would never regret coming to Delhi. I realized that was true. And then I threw up.

This has been a wonderful career move for number one hubby. He loves his job and he loves having our family close together. I love that too. I am very proud of him and it is amazing to watch him thrive.

There are certainly challenges that I did not expect. India is considered a hardship post by the U.S. government and most private companies. I can agree with that. A big challenge for me – being a terrible creature of habit – is that nothing is really predictable. Just because you found kick arse goldfish crackers and nacho cheese Doritos at the market this week, does not mean anything for next week. Living in India is like investing in the stock market. Past performance is not a measure of future success.

I miss my family and dear friends terribly. I hate being away from them. H.a.t.e. it. Period. This is the biggest challenge for me. And I so miss my little cat Queso.

We have celebrated 4 birthdays here and it was difficult at best not to have my family here with us. Easter and Thanksgiving will not be easy either.

I miss my shower with never-ending hot water and double shower heads. I miss my kick-arse washer and dryer. I miss my double oven. I miss my office filled with paper and embellishments with a window that looks out at trees. I miss Taco Bell and Cheesecake Factory and Chick-Fil-A. I miss soft towels that smell like a spring rain.

But I realize that you can survive without the things that make life more comfortable. It’s the whole niceties v. necessities argument. And you can find new adventures without a dryer and a double oven that make those things seem not as important.

Although the basement where the kids can go when they you need a break is hard to live without.

And I do miss shopping at Target and Costco. I can live without shopping at those stores – I actually like the markets here – they are interesting and fun. But I miss the one stop shopping. And I really miss stores that open at 8am. Nothing here seems to open before 11am.

I miss driving myself. Although, I do not want to drive here – traffic is crazy! But there is freedom in a set of car keys and a drivers license.

I miss living on a cul-de-sac with a yard and trees and flowers. I miss kick ball in the court and a glass of wine on the front porch. I miss the crazy sleepovers we used to host with tacos for dinner and waffles for breakfast.

Connections are harder to make when everyone knows they will be moving at some point. So I guess I miss the sense of permanence.  There is comfort in believing that you will be friends with someone for a long time. I am not pointing fingers at others here at all – this is my issue – I find myself pulling back and being more hesitant to get involved because I know that people will be leaving – including me.

Old habits die hard and I just miss my routines.

However, there are a lot a things that balance out the things I miss.

The school is amazing. I have talked about it before so I won’t bore you with repeating myself. But my children are growing as learners in ways they might not have in the U.S. They are thinking in ways they have never thought before. There is a big emphasis here on creative thinking. I love that! The school also addresses my children as people and as students. In Flower’s conference, the teacher had as one of her goals to participate in the swimming program at the school. He has already gotten to know her very well and is fostering her growth inside the classroom and out. The teachers in the U.S. knew my kids very, very well – but the curriculum is just very different here. And by the way, I miss those U.S. teachers for a lot of reasons – they are fabulous in their own right.

Bear’s Humanities class is a mix of English and Social Studies. They have couches in his classroom and the kids “hang out” to learn. Bear actually asked me to go to the library with him the other day to help him pick out a book to read. After I got up off the floor from falling over – off to the library we went. He checked out two books.  I don’t think he has actually started reading either one of them yet – but, hey, baby steps.

Angel has been given differentiated instruction in math. It appears she has quite the creative problem solving little brain. It is not a surprise really because she plays a little game with herself where she creates an invention and then she talks about it for 45 minutes straight. The ideas truly pour out of her. It is nice to see that embraced at school.

Seeing that the world is not the bubble we knew has been good for all of us. There is so much here that is different and interesting. We are fortunate to be exposed to it.

Although Bear did ask when we could go back to not having anyone cook and clean and just “be” in our house. I had to explain to him that someone was cooking and cleaning and “being” in our house before. She just wasn’t get paid to do it. To which he replied “oh yeah”. I reminded him that “that would be me”.

I miss a quiet house with no one milling about. But I do not miss cooking, cleaning, or the laundry. See how complicated this all becomes?

Poverty has been hard on the eyes and much harder on the heart. I am working on a blog post to further explain and explore that. It should be coming soon. But it has made us all more appreciative of shoes and food and family. I am looking for a place to volunteer so that I can share my time with these children who have so little. But I want to be clear that many of these children have the biggest, most beautiful smiles. They are not miserable just not advantaged.

Number One Hubby has made some changes at his company that will help out some of the poorer people in Delhi. I feel really good about that.

It is dirty here and the pollution is unreal. We spent 5 hours at the pool the other day and got no suntan whatsoever. That might be good in the prevention of skin cancer – but I am worried about the lung cancer. But we got to spend 5 hours at the pool in the middle of March. That rocks.

I am not a super adventurous eater – so this has not been so much a culinary experience for me. But there are opportunities. And they serve beets here. I might be the only one in Virginia who actually eats beets – but I am in good company here! Yummy. And yesterday I tried red potatoes that had been skinned and rolled in sesame seeds. Holy potato, batman, they were fabulous!

We have seen Jaipur and we have seen the Taj Mahal. Both were amazing. And it makes me resolve to show my children more of the United States. They have not seen the Grand Canyon or Yosemite or Mount Rushmore and a lot of other things. I hope to correct that.

We are also hoping to visit Thailand and Egypt and China. I never imagined in my wildest dreams we would even talk about doing any of that.

We are spending more time as a family. We eat dinner together every night. The practices at the school are all over by 6pm and they are all at the school. So there is no hustling from field to field. There are no drive-thru dinners. Yeah, that is a blessing and a curse.  We are certainly eating healthier meals. But remember, I miss me some Taco Bell.

I am loving this blog adventure and am thrilled to be writing again. It has been so long since I put my thoughts down and it is a treat to write almost every day. I continue to be absolutely amazed that so many people are following along. And I am confident that we will not lose the details that are making this journey so enjoyable.

As you might recall, we also started yoga. We used to tease my dear sweet neighbor who loves yoga – but now we are eating our yoga mats. We enjoy it – especially now that we know our instructor has a sense of humor. He doesn’t mind us teasing each other during our sessions. Sometimes he even chuckles along.

So anyway, the long story short is that I am enjoying much of our adventure. There are pockets of time when I am a little down. But most of the time, I have my seat belt on and I am ready to go. And yes, seat belts are a very good idea in India.

If you give a mouse a cookie – it’s been that kind of day

Every now and then, they all get along….

This afternoon, we did not have a lot to do. That is unusual for us. We are a busy group. So it was a treat. But I wasn’t going to let the kids off that easy. They had to clean out the car. Plain and simple. Or it was going to turn into a science experience gone awry. I could imagine Child Protective Services potentially knocking on the door, with some news reporter at the ready to capture it all. And the neighbors standing, watching, shaking their heads. “She seemed so nice, even baked us Christmas cookies,” they would mumble. Yes, it really was that bad – the car is a mess.

So out to the car they went – to clean it. It started off really good – they didn’t even complain too much. But then, well – have you ever read the “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” books? If so, picture that. If you haven’t, imagine a mouse starting off wanting cookie and ending up in a tree house by way of a carnival. Still not clear? Let me explain.

The kids left the house with the sincere intention of cleaning out the car. They even got a trash bag and opened the car doors. Some of the car crapola even made it into the trash bag. But distraction set in and they quickly forgot what they were supposed to be doing. They played a little basketball. They climbed a tree. They chased the cat. They did remember to bring in the groceries – forgot to put them away – but brought them in. What can I say, they are not exactly over-achievers in the chore department. Then they started raking leaves.

Don’t be too impressed. They wanted to rake the leaves into piles so that they could jump in them. And jump they did. They covered themselves in leaves, they threw leaves in the air, and, oh, how they laughed. They even asked me to take some pictures. That never happens. When they were done, the leaves were pretty much still scattered all over the place and the car doors were still open.

angel-and-flower-in-leavesbear-in-leaves

While they were outside it got dark and the temperature dropped fast. So they came in for hot chocolate. Spilled it all over the counter. But drank every drop (at least those that had not mysteriously fallen out of the cup.)

They had a lot of fun squirting whip cream into each other’s mouth – thank you hubby for teaching them that neat little trick. Then they took a shower and put on their footie pajamas.

Let the games begin. Yep, they started sliding down the stairs. More laughing. I was trying not to listen too closely – better not to know too much about some things. You can claim innocence later when Child Protective Services actually shows up. But really, I was laughing harder than anyone. The neighbors shut their blinds – excellent – no witnesses to the chaos.

On to the Halloween candy – and right before bed time, too. Yippee! No better way to follow a whip cream shot than by shoving 20 pieces of sugar down your yapper right before it’s time to try and fall asleep – and all on a school night. Brilliant. They spent the next 45 minutes stretched out on the kitchen floor making up jokes about the candy.

Bear: What is the sun’s favorite candy?
Flower: A starburst.
Angel: Oh, can I eat it?
More laughing.

The jokes were horrible so I won’t make you crazy by repeating them all.

Bottomline:
Today was a gift. They never made it back to the car – I, however, did remember to close the doors and put the still  messy car back in the garage. What the heck, it will just get dirty again tomorrow.

Disclaimer: Hubby did not like the the reference to CPS – he asked me to take it out and marriage is about compromise – so I am leaving it in (remember, I am moving to India so I get a little latitude in all of the  other departments, especially my own blog content) – but I will tell you that he wants you to know I was trying to be funny (and he thinks I failed miserably in that section – the rest of it was funny just not that part) and that CPS has never been to our house and no children or animals were harmed in the writing of this post.