Little Helpers

As I sliced tomato for BLTs last night, I heard a frantic banging on the front door.  I poked my head around the corner to see the Happy Critter's little eyes peeking through the glass.  He kept banging on the door and started to yell, "MOOOOOMMMMM!"  I opened the door and he said, "Mister's crying!"  I looked outside to see him in the street, bike tipped, holding his knee.

I turned around and The Goose was on my heels.  I said, "Tell Daddy to pull the bacon, please."  I darted to the man down, removed his helmut, and swooped him up grabbing his bike with my free hand.  Then I heard a little voice behind me, "I got the bike, Mom."  The Goose.

I took the boy to the bathroom and cleaned him up.  We talked over how he fell, if this skinned knee was more painful or less painful than his previous injury a few days prior.  I trimmed my nails and he gathered himself.  Then we heard a little voice, "Mom, how's Mister feeling?  The Happy Critter.

It struck me with these little, ordinary events how kind and caring my kids actually are.  When one of them is hurt, or sick, the others actually show thoughtful and loving actions.  They help.

In motherhood there are little details that disappear.  How it happens is simple, there are so many incredibly special moments and stressful moments that my brain can't possibly remember them all. There just is not enough space - motherhood moments should get more brain real estate, but they get muddled up with field trip money reminders and work...so I write it down and pray the internet never fails me.  


From the Archives...

While cleaning up my files I came across this post from several years back.  If you have had or now have little ones - I'm sure you can relate.  Enjoy!

There are moments in motherhood.  Moments when joy overwhelms or fear paralyzes.  There are also regular moments in between those high peaks and low valley that I hope to remember.  I hope to remember the way my three year old hugs me as tight as he can with his huge muscles, or squeezes my face to make a smooched mouth.  Times I hope to remember lying in bed with my six year old talking about her day or my day or where we want to go together when we grow up.  Moments with my infant rocking, snuggling, giggling, and pumping his arms as only he does.  His laugh is infectious and he tickles easy.  Small moments in between the big, first preschool shows and long hospital stays.

Today was a day I long to remember.  It hasn’t gone well.  Though, I am smart enough and have been overwhelmed and paralyzed enough to know, that this bad day actually pales in comparison to the real thing.

We started out pretty good.  Made the bus on time, boys watched Toy Story and I got an article written.  Lunch went well, naps, bus pick up, lifted weights, showered, and played outside.  About 3 o’clock we came in after an outdoor snack time.  Mister spun himself into the curtains.  I asked him to get out of the curtains and unspun him.  He punched my leg and was promptly put in his room because hitting mommy is on the zero tolerance list.  While in time out he peed his pants; which is becoming such a frequent occurrence that I’m considering time outs in the bathroom. We worked through it, he and I alone in his room.  I was so focused on his tantrum and his feeling upset for having peed his pants that I forgot about the others.  We talked while he undressed and then we decided to wash off in the tub.  I filled the tub and he began to smile after the time out and frustration.  My heart breaks for him sometimes.  I think he is so big for such a small guy, and he just wants things his way. 

I left him in the bathroom to tend to the wet clothes.  When I stepped out of the bathroom I heard the sound a makes when it clinks “cheers!”  I said, “What is that?”  I rushed down the stairs as Goose called from the living room, “I don’t know, Mom.”  I quickly arrived in the kitchen to find the 19 month old on the counter.  He had climbed up the step stool in the corner, by the knives.  He sat on the counter and happily clinked an eight inch bread knife into a glass butter dish.  Cheers. Cheers. Cheers. Then I saw the actual mess.  He had picked the coffee pot up, held it out passed the counter and dropped it.  How hadn't I heard that?  Coffee flooded the floor; glass sparkled in the wet, shining puddles.  Had he held the knife wrong, his hand would have been bleeding.  Had he crawled down the step stool he’d surely have slipped in the coffee and cut himself on the broken glass scattered across the stool and floor.   Heart racing, I grabbed him and scanned him for any blood.  Zero.  The knives!  The glass!  Not a scratch.

When days like this come - the tantrums, the peed pants, the hurt feelings, infants climbing counters, breaking coffee pots, playing with knives – I feel defeated.  I am frustrated by the unexpected glitch and sure tears will come, but they don’t.  They stay put, waiting for real cause.  Today wasn’t a moment of sheer joy or incredible fear – it was just a moment in the life of a mother of three who hopes that these memories will last.  This time, in our lives, is going too fast.  


Fretting Footballer

Flag football season has begun.  My littlest, when initially asked, said "YES! I want to play!"  He turned 5 four weeks ago.  Football started, though, and he did not.  He was sick for the first two weeks of practice.

Last week he was healthy.  I said, "Football practice is Thursday."  He said, "The thing is Mom, football is kinda wrestly."  I said, "Yes, I guess it is."  The next day I said, "Let's go buy you cleats for football on Thursday!"  He said, "Yes! I need cleats!"

Thursday came and he felt nervous.  We went to practice. Reticently, he went through the motions of practicing football.  At the end of practice the team played Sharks & Minnows.  Most of the team stands in the end zone; these guys are the Minnows.  A few team members stand in the middle of the field; these guys are the Sharks.  The object is to run past the Sharks without getting your flags pulled and stop at the other end zone.  My little guy was fast.  He dodged the sharks time and time again.  During the second to last round he made it to the end zone, but the Sharks pulled his flags anyway.

He turned into a puddle.  It was not a good practice.  All previous successful runs past the Sharks did not matter at all.  The only thing that mattered was the one run that ended poorly.  We took to the sidelines and then watched older brother practice.

Game day came just two days later.  Saturday.  We packed up the truck with rations for two hours on the football field.  Cleats, jerseys, mouthguards - check.  Juice boxes for the team - check.  Umbrellas - check.  Older brother played the first game and loved it.  He ran his heart out, tried his best, and had a grande ol' time.

When the little guy was up, trepidation set in.  Dad laced up his cleats, tucked in his jersey, took his hand and confidently charged the little guy to warm ups.  The little guy, hung his head, and cautiously walked beside his father.  Just as cute as could be, he warmed up.

The Lone Firefly
The game began with his team on offense.  If you've never watched 4 and 5 year old children play flag football, it can be likened to releasing a jar of fireflies back to freedom.  They scatter.  Some follow the ball, other's run randomly in all directions, and usually one stays back inside the jar.  That one, alone in the jar, then looks ahead and slowly leaves.  That was my little man.  The lone firefly.  Once he realized everyone else was down somewhere in the end zone, he walked there, then he looked off the field of play to see his mother cheering him on.

He turned into a puddle.  He ran off the field, to my arms, crying hysterically.  Game over.

This week, I've tried to talk it up.  I've been upbeat, positive, "it's just like playing tag - you're so fast, buddy!"  His sad eyes return, his head droops, "but what if I cry, Mom?"

The debate then has been in my head all week, certainly not his.  He is not feeling it.  Do I make him go?  Do I tell him buck up camper?  Do I make him sit on the sideline to watch?  Am I one of those mother's who says, "finish what you start" or am I one of those mother's who says, "you're 5, don't feel sad about sports"?

I've certainly been the "finish what you start" Mom.  When my eldest tried to puppy-dog eye pout her way out of soccer at age 5, I tried the buck up camper bit.  Now, at 9, she is terrified of competitive sports.  So maybe that isn't the best choice.  I am also certain the "finish what you start" Mom will return, one day, when this guy is older and it actually matters.  This time I'm opting for "don't feel sad about sports".  I'm going to enjoy his silly shenanigans on the sidelines while cheering for the older brother who really loves it and really wants to be there.