Maybe one of these days I will finally stop doing the opposite of what my “better mother” planned to do (i.e. the one who hasn’t been here before and still somehow knew exactly what I would do in this situation). I confess that when I saw people with their kids, sitting at the YMCA for a sibling’s gymnastics practice, the kid listening to their iPod lost in their own world I judged them. They should be talking to their kid. That kid should be paying attention to their sibling, being encouraging. Being in the real world.
I was wrong. I sat on my high horse and felt sure our family would be different until that high horse marched me right into reality and dropped me in a puddle. I have spent every day in the car home from school with Elise, a very crabby 6 year old who takes it all out on everyone within earshot. I have tried letting her pick the music. I have tried being sure to bring a snack. I have tried bringing books for her. I have tried engaging her in one-on-one talks. None of this has had the power to stop her from melting down after school. She is just can’t keep it together.
Finally, I asked her why she was finding it so hard to be calm in the car. Finally meaning in April, the second to last month of the school year (I’m a slow learner). She was so clear in her response, “I’m so tired after being good all day at school I forget that my words hurt people.”
So I got her an iPod shuffle and she listens to it whenever we’re driving. She’s around people all day. She’s going here and there with me all day. She has to be engaged with others all day, whether she’s in the mood or not. So, reality has once again shown me how parenting really is, instead of how I thought it should be. I was wrong again, but at least this time I’m not surprised. And now our car is full of peace. No one screaming at anyone, everyone enjoying their own down time after school. And Elise is recharged enough after a car ride to hop out and enjoy a day at the park with her family, engaged and participating with the real world.
I always forget that just because you are my oldest kid, you are still a very young kid. I’m sorry I always expect you to get it right the first time, and always try to get you to do things on your own when you aren’t yet ready. I will try to remember to let you be little. Because, well, you’re little.
Halloween is my favorite holiday. I love it even more than Christmas. I think the reason I like Halloween so much is that no matter how much consumer junk there is available to just buy and be done with it, there is really no reason to accidentally spend $1000 on Halloween like there is for Christmas. Also, no matter how easy it is to buy a Halloween costume, it doesn’t discourage a ton of people from getting down with their creative self (even if they think they aren’t creative) to make a costume out of clothes from the thrift store or cardboard or fabric.
This year I spent the two weeks leading up to our school’s “Trunk or Treat” making a family’s worth of under the sea themed costumes. The girls all decided to be mermaids, so that was easy. We went online and looked at Google Images of mermaid costumes until they picked the one they liked the best. They settled on the ones that were the easiest to make, thank goodness, and I got them all done in one weekend.
My original plan was to make a Cat Bus hoodie for my costume, but the girls told me I needed to be in the theme, so I changed my mind to octopus. I used 2 yards of fleece fabric (because it’s OHIO and it’s cold on Halloween every year) and draped it over my mannequin to make the pattern. There was no measuring, just guessing, because that is what knit fabric is for.
I used jewelry wire to hold the non-sleeve tentacles in shape, and hot glued minkie fleece to the underside of the tentacles for suction cups.
Then we made a giant sand castle out of cardboard boxes and sprayed it with glitter glue. And put the whole thing in front of a fabric ocean scene hanging from the gate of our trunk. And for the whole event I played Octopus’s Garden by the Beatles on the van’s speakers. Can’t you tell everyone loved it?
Oh yeah. I never got a picture of it, but Rob wore a golden crown and carried a trident I made out of a hiking stick. And we passed out Swedish Fish.