Back-to-School and Birthdays

back to schoolHello world!

Things have slowed down enough here where I can finally catch my breath!  Last week both of my kids went back to school.  Bryn started 6th grade at the local middle school and Bryce started Kindergarten!  It was a pretty big deal for both of them, and the week before that we were busy with orientations, registration and back-to-school shopping.  The days were so busy trying to prepare both of them for these major transitions into new schools that I never stopped to consider how I really felt about any of it.  As the parent, you just do what has to be done and reassure them everything will be amazing, challenging and brilliant.  Yay for school!  And Yay! for having three hours to myself, every weekday, for the first time in I can’t remember how many years!

So, when I lost my shit on the first day of school I was a tad bit surprised.  I really was.  I had managed  to get both kids ready for school pretty well with only a few raised voices and barked commands to brush teeth, comb hair and put on shoes.  As we pulled up to the middle school, Bryn and I both got out of the vehicle to give her one last hug good-bye and a reassuring, “It’s going to be a great day!”  She was excited and not nervous at all.   As she turned her back and began walking into the school, I burst into tears.  I looked at my husband as I was sobbing in the car and said, “I had no idea I was even upset about this!”

mom and sonI managed to get through the Kindergarten drop off just fine.  Bryce was cool about it and even helped another little boy who was crying by holding his hand and walking him into the class.  I was really proud of my self for not becoming overly emotional on his first day ( I had pulled myself together at that point), and I was proud of him for being such a big boy.  The next evening was the night before Bryce’s fifth birthday.  I was tucking him into bed and as we were snuggling I started to get choked up.  He asked why I was crying and I said, “Tomorrow morning you will wake up and be five.  You will never be four again, and four was a really good year.  Mommy is going to miss four.”  He looked up at me with tears in his eyes and said, “But I’ll always be your baby.”  Well hell, just bring on the waterworks!  I cried most of the next day, which was his actual birthday.  It was the third day of school and it all just hit me like a Mac truck!  He was five and in Kindergarten!  My baby isn’t a baby anymore.

I asked Dan if he thought it was too late for us to have another one, and then we realized that I would be 47 by the time that child started Kindergarten and Dan would be 51.  So yeah, we’re totally done having kids, which then made me cry more, so then I just drank a bunch of wine until I felt better.

Wine fixes everything.  🙂

Wanda Says…True Confessions: My parental failure as the Tooth Fairy

tooth fairyMy Tooth Fairy track record was spotless…until today.

Last Friday night our family attended the annual Halloween Carnival at Bryn’s school.  At some point during the carnival, Bryn was eating a candy bar and accidentally ate a loose tooth.  She told me later she felt something hard while she was chewing but thought it was a peanut in the candy bar so she just swallowed it.  She showed me the gap in her teeth when we got home, and she expressed her concern that the Tooth Fairy wouldn’t come because she didn’t have a tooth to leave under her pillow.  I assured her it wouldn’t matter and the Tooth Fairly would come.  Keep in mind, Bryn is ten years old now, so that should tell you how good I am at playing the Tooth Fairy.

But I forgot.  I totally forgot.  Last night, I went into Bryn’s room to say goodnight and to collect my nightly snuggles.  This is what I found on her bedside table…

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It was so cute and totally something Bryn would do.  And of course I felt horrible that I had forgotten.   So I said, “Oh, that’s really sweet Bryn.  I’m sure the Tooth Fairy will come tonight.”  And then Bryn says, “Well, that note has been sitting there for three days and she hasn’t come, so I doubt it.”

Do you hear that?  It’s the sound of my heart breaking.  It’s the sound of my failure as a mother.  My daughter left a note for the Tooth Fairy in plain sight on her bedside table, and not only did I forget that she lost a tooth, but I totally failed to recognize it or pay attention.  I am an asshole.  It doesn’t take a lot to remember to give your kid a dollar for a lost tooth.  It’s not hard.  And I blew it.  Later, I went to bed vowing to rectify this situation.

I woke up this morning and dressed.  I walked down the hall to wake Bryn up for school and saw that damn note sitting on her bedside table.  I forgot again!  What the fuck is wrong with me?!  So I crept back to my room, gathered enough change to equal a dollar, and snuck into her room.  I put the change on her table and then collected the note and put it in my pocket.

I woke her up and started to get her clothes together for her.  I casually mentioned that the Tooth Fairy finally came.  Bryn looks at the money, then looks at me with the most perceptive, adult expression I’ve ever seen her wear.  She then says, “I find it interesting that the Tooth Fairy finally came after I showed you the note last night.  You didn’t have anything to do with this, did you?”  And she smiles.  It was a knowing smile.  It was a ‘you’re-busted-and-you-can’t-deceive-me-any-longer’ smile.

I did the only thing I could at that point.  I confessed.  She’s ten, and I was lucky I got away with the charade as long as I did.   I looked at her and said, “You’re right.  I am the Tooth Fairy.  I am so sorry I forgot about your tooth, but you can’t tell your brother!”

LeprachaunShe took it well, which was a relief.  When she was in third grade I had to tell her that Leprechauns weren’t real and she lost her shit.  She was so pissed at me.  But her class was building Leprechaun traps for St. Patrick’s Day and she kept going on and on about how she was so sure the trap she designed would work.  So her response this morning was a welcome relief.  She smiled, hugged me and acted like it was no big deal.  She got her money, which at this point is probably more important to her than believing in the Tooth Fairy.

Despite her forgiveness and understanding, I still feel like a bad mom.  There are only so many things we can do for our kids to instill a sense of magic and wonder in the world.  And I suppose the fact that she is old enough to know the truth signifies the end of some of that magic.  And that makes me sad.  😦

Wanda Says…On my daughter’s opinion of French kissing.

Last night my ten year old daughter came into my room to say good-night to me, and she initiated a conversation about some new and enlightening things she learned at school that day.

Although I ask her every day how school went and what fun things happened, she often waits until right before bed to share the juicier, more dramatic details, which pretty much guarantees I won’t be sleeping through the night, because I’ll be having nightmares about how she’s growing up too fast.

The conversation went like this:

Bryn:  Oh my gosh, Mom!  I forgot to tell you what I learned at school today!

Me:  What was that?

Bryn:  Well, during recess, my friends and I were talking, and you’re never going to believe this!  My friend said that there’s this thing called French kissing, and that means that two people kiss with their tongues!  Like lizards, Mom!  They wrap their tongues together like lizards!  And guess what?!  It’s true!!  People really do that!

Me:  (starting to sweat)

Bryn:  And guess what else!  In France, there are beaches where people don’t wear their clothes!  They go to the beach naked, Mom!!!  Can you believe that? (she dissolves into hysterical giggles and laughter)  Have you ever heard of these things?

Me:  (sigh)  Bryn, I promised you I would always be honest with you, so yes, I have heard of these things and they are all true.  Except nude beaches aren’t limited to France.  Many countries have beaches where clothing is optional.  I also have to tell you that I’m not sure I’m ready for you to know about this stuff yet.  I’m not ready for you to know about French kissing and nude beaches.

Bryn:  I know, Mom.  (she kisses me on the cheek to console me)

Me:  What did you think when your friend told you about this stuff?

Bryn:  I think French kissing sounds disgusting!  (she makes a sour face, a gagging noise and then pretends like she is throwing up)

Me:  (Laughing) That’s the right attitude, sister!  (she laughs with me and leaves the room)

I realize this is just the beginning.  She will continue to grow up and discover new and exciting, and sometimes gross things about life, and people and relationships.  Soon, in her health education classes, she will learn about sex and reproduction and how her body works.  She will also learn about boys, and it won’t matter that I want to freeze time and keep her my little girl forever.

I also realize that this means raising children is going to turn me into an alcoholic, and I need to join a wine club so I can stock the house and get a discount on that shit, because I’m going to need a lot of it.

Wanda Says…Happy Birthday, Bryn!

My best girl turns ten today!  My sweet, loving, hilarious, sassy little angel is ten!

Where did the last ten years go?  How did she grow so fast?  She’s almost as tall as I am!  I still remember how small and perfect she felt in my arms when she was born. I remember staring at her beautiful face and thinking, “I never want to forget this. I never want to forget how little, and perfect, and amazing you are, right at this moment.” I said that to myself every day when I held and snuggled her, for years.

Well, now my baby girl is not so little. Thankfully, she still likes to be held and snuggled by her mommy, despite the fact that she is only a few inches shorter than me. Bryn has grown into a wonderful girl, and I can see glimpses of the young woman she is becoming, and it makes me so proud.

girl with catsBryn loves animals and is obsessed with cats. We would have a herd of them if Bryn had her way. She is compassionate and sensitive, and will become emotional if she sees others who are suffering or unhappy. She will go out of her way to mediate disagreements among her friends or classmates. She has a wickedly smart sense of humor and she makes us laugh every day. She is so smart, and more than one teacher has told us that Bryn is the kind of student every teacher wishes to have in class. She is fiercely protective of her little brother, and when he was born, she told all of her friends that they weren’t allowed to touch her baby. She loves tennis and is learning to play the flute. She hates dolls and most girly things, but she plays video games like a boss, and has hand eye-coordination so good that playing sports seems almost effortless to her. These are just a few insights into her personality and temperament, but what it all boils down to is that my girl is amazing.

As a mom, I often write down funny conversations or things that happen with my kids.You know, as ammunition for when they get older. The threat of embarrassment can be a powerful tool to wield over teenagers when the time comes, and I won’t be afraid to use it. So, in honor of Bryn’s birthday, I thought I would share some of her funny stories.

*One day we were watching an episode of the Ellen Show, and a studio guest was doing a dance that involved some elaborate pelvic thrusting. Bryn was watching and casually said, “That’s called the nuggets dance.”

black cat*A conversation with Bryn about cats:

Bryn:  Mommy, I can speak Cat now, and Oliver (our cat) told me that he loves me and trusts me.

Me:  Really?  What does he have to say about the time last year when you locked him in the bathroom cabinet because you thought it would be funny?

Bryn:  Well I was a lot younger then, and I didn’t speak Cat!!!!!

*A couple of years ago, Bryn was standing next to me as I changed her brother’s diaper.  The conversation went like this:

Bryn:  I’m sure glad I don’t have a big snout like that.

Me:  It’s not a snout.  It’s called a penis.

Bryn:  Well, I bet having a penis is a lot of fun.

Me:  Why do you think it’s fun?

Bryn:  Because boys can do fun things with their penis, like write their name when they pee.  Girls can’t do that.

*A conversation between me and Bryn on New Year’s Eve as we were lying together on the couch:

Me: What’s that smell? Did you fart?

Bryn: Yes, I farted.

Me: Well stop it. That really stinks. Or go in the other room.

Bryn: But I want to be with you.

Me: (3 minutes later) Is that you again?

Bryn: YES! I farted, again! I can’t stop! It’s the stinkiest New Year’s Eve ever!!!

lion love*Another conversation between me and Bryn sometime last February:

Bryn: Mom, do you want to know how lions and cheetahs mate?

Me: (starting to sweat because I’m not prepared to have this conversation with her yet, even if it’s about animals.) Ummm, I know how they mate, but I’m curious to hear your version of it.

Bryn: Well, the female lies down on the ground and the male bites the back of her neck and leaves a mark. Then they don’t see each other for awhile, and then they have cubs. I saw it on Animal Planet.

Me: (feeling relieved and trying not to laugh at the same time) Well, okay. Technically, that’s sort of accurate.

* A conversation between me and Bryn on March 21, 2014:

Bryn: Your pimples look really small right now.

Me: I don’t have any pimples! (I’m a little annoyed and offended over this comment).

Bryn: Yes you do.  The black spots in your eyes look small.

Me: Those are called pupils, not pimples! There’s a big difference!

*November 17, 2013:  While shopping in Target today, a woman approached Bryn and I and invited Bryn to participate in a talent scouting event being held at a nearby hotel. One of the girls from a Disney show was going to be there promoting the event, while they look for new young talent. Bryn was polite to the woman but didn’t act very interested. When I asked her if she wanted to go she says, “I want to be the person who makes the movies mom, not the person who acts in them.”

Annnnd, that’s my girl!  🙂