Thursday, January 31, 2013

Happy Birthday to My Girl


Tomorrow, you are 4. The baby years are over. You are a big girl and I can't believe it. I love you so much that I can barely stand it. You have taught me how to be a parent, and I've made lots of mistakes, but you stick by me. You tell me that I'm the sweetest mom ever. You tell me that you love me all the way to the moon and back the last number in the world times. I must be the luckiest person on the planet to be on the receiving end of so much love.

I am so proud of everything you do. You finally mastered 13, 14, 15 - hooray! You love books as much as I do. You're helping mama to save the adverb. You are a natural swimmer, and your balance and flexibility always surprise me. Your favourite thing to do is to pretend, and I promise to try to flex my imagination muscles a bit more for you, if you try to pick up the pace a bit with breakfast in the morning. You put outfits together that I would never think of, and most of the time they look better than what I would have picked out. You always try a new food, even if you don't think you will like it. You set and clear the dishes from the table, feed the dog, help me cook and clean up your toys, and you rarely complain about it. Speaking of the dog, you are so sweet with Ralph, feeding him treats, helping him down the stairs when he's nervous and calling him "buddy". I can see that he really trusts you, and I love to watch the two of you together.

Thank you for letting me cuddle with you, almost whenever I ask you to. Thank you for giving me hugs and bringing me stuffed animals when I'm sad. Thank you for always wanting me around, to comfort you when you're sad, to help you when you need it, and just to play with. Thank you for always forgiving me when I apologize, and for always giving me another chance.

You are the best gift I have ever received. We will always belong to each other. I love you all the way to the moon and back the last number in the world times, too.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Happy Thoughts

Fresh from a morning of having to physically overpower my child to get her clothes on while she screamed and writhed and did her very best Incredible Hulk impression, I find myself combing my brain for a few of the brighter moments.

Yesterday we made bread. Typically, about an hour before it's finished in the breadmaker, it starts to smell ungodly good. Like, strap a drool cup under your chin good. At which point E practically shouts:

"It smells so GOOD, this BREAD!!! I just can't RESIST it!"

The day before yesterday I took E grocery shopping with me. It was the first time in a while that she had been forced to endure such hardship, and she wasn't terribly excited at the prospect. Once there, however, she was very well behaved and helpful and I told her dad so when we got home. To which she added:

"I was pointing to things that we needed. That's what made me so awesome."

And, to top it all off, the words every mom dreams of hearing. Earlier in the day she had complained about not being able to watch a movie "for special", even though it wasn't movie day. She said she was sad because we didn't do anything "special" that day. We then had a long conversation about how sometimes things that are special don't feel special anymore if you do them all the time, and that we need to appreciate all of the little things in our day that are special (ahem - lemon blueberry pancakes for breakfast). Later, while I was making dinner she walked into the kitchen, hugged my leg and said:

"You are the sweetest mom ever. I think that just being with you is so special."

Aaaand…bad feelings gone.

I'm either a month late or right on time!

It's been a long while. There, I addressed it. Let's move on.

Happy New Year! I am happy spending the entire month of January wishing people I have not yet seen a Happy New Year. Once we get into February though, you'll have to settle for implied wishes as I have two very important birthdays to worry about, not to mention St. Chocolate's Day.

How were your holidays? Good? Good.

Here are things I'm learning about being a parent at Christmas. You see, I spent 33 years being a kid at Christmas, and I find it difficult to break old habits. Don't get me wrong, I want to rock being a parent at Christmas, it's just that there are a few things I need to keep in my head for the coming years.

1. It takes a little more advance planning. Before kids, I could get away with a lot more last-minute nonsense. All of my free time was my own, to stay up all night, to spend an entire weekend shopping, to duck out here or pull over there to just take care of this one last thing. Things get a whole lot less flexible once you have a child who has the use of her arms and legs, a raging case of free will, and those pesky eyes and ears coupled with a frighteningly keen sense of logic and deduction. I'm thinking of starting tomorrow.

2. Your kid is still the same kid, even on Christmas. At some point during the festivities, your offspring will act ungrateful/throw a tantrum/refuse to cooperate/illustrate in some way what a terrible job you have done in raising them. Because here you have a day, like any other in its unpredictability, except that it brings to the table a drastic increase in sugar consumption, one or more adults, camera in hand whining "Smile, stay there, stand still, hold up your toy, not the fake smile, hands away from your face, STAY STILL!"  in a desperate attempt to capture the perfect FB profile pic, long, drawn out meals involving many foods that may be totally unfamiliar for the fact that they only get eaten once a year, and expectations so high you need to sleep at base camp before even contemplating scaling them. It's a cocktail for disaster, if I've ever seen one. Getting out alive is something to celebrate.

3. There are even more presents to buy when you're 3 people. Because I'm a selfish jerk, I really only starting getting it this year. E wants to give people presents. People love getting presents from kids. E is not able to swing by the mall on her way home from school and whip out her credit card…enter Mom. Who is already confused about keeping her shopping list separate from Santa's. Once upon a time people got presents from Ralph. Heck, he even used to get presents. But we are now those people who forget about the dog until an antler headband shows up and he becomes the star of the show for 3 minutes. Next year maybe  E and Ralph will exchange gifts and we'll call it even.

4. It doesn't have to be complicated to be special. But it does have to be special. Anytime I have ever attempted to plan anything, the situation snowballs quickly. I get very excited about planning, and immediately my google searches spiral towards the most elaborately breathtaking examples of human ingenuity and craftiness, the level of which I simply could never attain. It puts a lot of pressure on me, followed by the crushing realization of my inadequacies. I forget that E is not Martha Stewart, my family is not standing by with Better Homes and Gardens on the line, and more than any ornate centrepiece or sky-high confection or elaborate production, what would make everyone happiest is to see everyone happy. Not stressed out and disappointed.

Our holidays were lovely. We had time with family, time with friends and time with each other. If I can just manage a few tweaks from these lessons, maybe this year will be the Perfect Christmas. What was that about expectations?