Monday, August 23, 2010

Reading, Writing, Arithmetic AND Reality Checks....Big "B" Is Now A Kingergartener

Reading, writing, arithmetic AND a reality check - it's all part of starting school. Big "B" got that lesson on the first day of Kindergarten (sort of). She looked ADORABLE in her little, navy plaid uniform, Mary Janes and of course, a big, matching, monogrammed bow. I told her as we were walking out the door, "You are THE cutest Kindergartener I have ever seen in my entire life!" I was proud, she was happy and off we went to meet her new classmates.

We have two rules that we remind our children of daily. #1 Have fun!! #2 Be sweet to everyone. (We have other rules, too like don't spit on your sister, don't write on the walls and whatever you do...never, ever, ever, ever leave the house without a bow! But, have fun and be sweet are the two we preach the most.) On the ride to school, I repeated those rules. I told her she was going to make lots of new friends. I also told her there might be some kids there that would be a little nervous about starting Kindergarten and that she should try to be a friend to them. When we arrived we snapped more pictures, she got to walk in with a precious, little boy whom she already knew and who was in her class, I shot video of her, we gave her a hug and a kiss and told her just how pretty she looked one more time.

All day long I was thinking about how much fun she was probably having. Her teachers are amazing and she already knew several of the kids in her class. I couldn't wait to hear her version of how wonderful it was.

After sitting in the carpool line with the other 900 SUV's for 45 minutes, I pulled up and spotted my precious, little, curly, blond-headed baby girl walking down the stairs. There was no huge smile like I had expected. She got in the car and I squealed, "So, tell me ALL about your first day of Kindergarten!!! Did you make lots of new friends???" Big "B" responded, "No. Nobody wanted to be my friend." I said what about "L"? (the sweet boy she'd walked in with that she already knew) Frustrated, she said he found a new friend and it was a boy and he likes being friends with boys better than girls. I promised that would change one day. Then she says, "AND one girl in my class sat next to me and told me she was prettier than me!" I gasped, flung my head around the seat to look at her face to face instead of through the rear view mirror and said, "Well....was she?" A shocked Big "B" was speechless. She looked at me as if I was crazy. I was, in fact, the person who just a few hours earlier had told her multiple times SHE was the cutest Kindergartener ever! I forgot to tell her every other mother of every other Kindergarten girl in the world had told their daughters the exact same thing.

It was a teachable moment. I decided the first day of Kindergarten is as good a day as any to give it to her straight..."Baby, there will ALWAYS be somebody prettier than you, smarter than you, funnier than you, somebody who can dance better, sing better and play sports better in school. You just have to show them that you have the prettiest heart. A pretty heart will get you much further than any of that other stuff, anyway.

She thought about it for awhile. I hoped it was sinking in and would be a lesson that would last. Then she said, "I will show them my pretty heart, but Mommy, do you still think I'm the cutest Kindergartner in the world?" "Of course, I do!" She said, "Me, too!"

I laughed and thought this is precisely why I am not a teacher!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Throwing Rolls, Throwing Up & Throwing Down....Vacation 2010

Four days after being back from vacation I'm still having withdrawals from the sandy beaches, amazing pools, great food, great Tiki Bar and lack of alarm clocks! Despite some craziness, it was so much fun spending a week with my entire family...all 13 of us. We go to the gulf every summer and the memories we make are priceless!! The things we most remember are the moments of hilarity or insanity -- and there are a lot of those with our group! Here are just a few...

Throwing Rolls: Those of you who've been to the gulf are probably very familiar with Lambert's restaurant. If not - to make a long story longer - they serve up good, home-cooked food along with some pretty funny practical jokes. They also throw hot, fresh rolls at the customers. After an evening at the outlet mall all the mommas and our babies (9 months, 2 years, 3-year-old twins, and a 5-year-old) had a terrible lapse in judgement and thought it would be a good idea to go eat there. The guys, by the way, were having a leisurely evening of golf and missed this "fine" dinner.

To kick things off, minutes after stepping foot in the restaurant Little "B", being the wild child she is, started running and fell down. Luckily, there was no need for an ER visit but the entire place got to hear her scream. About a minute after that all three of the older ones had to use the potty - fun times!! After getting a table suitable for four adults and 33 children, my niece, Tiny "B", vomits...a lot! (it would prove to be only the beginning of a lot of puking on our trip... but I'll get to that a little later. We (by "we" I mean my sister) clean her up and change her clothes then we start the nightmare of ordering. Big "B" acts as if someone has just cut both her arms off when I, being the terrible mother I am, order her sweet tea instead of pink lemonade like her cousins. The rest of the restaurant is now getting to know my older daughter a little better as she turns on the tears! Little "B" refuses to sit in a high chair and instead prefers to take off her shoes and kick up her feet on the table. By now a waiter has started throwing rolls at us. Funny, they throw them at everyone but it sure seemed like he was throwing the rolls at us a little faster and a little harder than he was to the other patrons. Surely, it wasn't a hint for us to take our rowdy bunch and get out of there....surely?!!? Since we obviously didn't get the hint they sent our waitress by to antagonize our children. She walks up with a little wooden box and asks the twins to open it if they want a piece of candy. Oh, how excited they were until they opened it and out popped a plastic RAT!!! Neither thought it was funny - instead it scared the living daylights out of them...(see picture above). If that wasn't enough...(yes, apparently our waitress didn't feel bad in the least) she came back around with a big pot and tongs and asked the kids if they'd like some more food but instead of food she pulled out a big, fury raccoon. Really!??!? Here's a little tip for you, ---young waitress who probably doesn't have children ---- 2, and 3 year olds typically don't find things like this funny.

Don't get me wrong, while they didn't find it funny my sisters and I did. At this point, we were laughing pretty hard (to keep from crying, too) as our poor children squalled. My mother didn't find it amusing. Someone had made her precious grandchildren upset! How dare they! We finally made it out of the restaurant as they tied helium balloons to all their wrists. Once again, Lambert's -- thank you!! We love getting in an SUV with four tired, crying toddlers and four balloons. Now we won't be able to see or hear as we attempt to drive back to the condo.

Throwing Up: As promised more on the stomach bug that came along with us on vacation. When Tiny "B" threw up at Lambert's we just thought it was a 9-month-old getting too full. Nope...the next night one of the twins threw up in the middle of the night in the bed where his twin brother, my pregnant sister, and her husband were sleeping. As my sister jumped up to get him to the bathroom she, too, started puking and didn't stop until the next morning. She tried to wash off the pillow shams that caught a lot of the 'yuck' but we're afraid we probably, unintentionally, left the next poor people that rented the condo a little "gift". The other twin got the bug after getting home the next day. At least it happened at the end of our vacation and not the beginning, right!?!

Throwing Down: When it comes to partyers in our group - there's really only one. I won't name names but let's just say this person likes to have fun, is loud, talks a lot, is a frequent visitor of the Tiki Bar and isn't afraid to take down one of the other family members. The indoor pool one night became the scene of a WWE Smackdown. So much fun watching our "partyer" dunk Extra Large "B" when she was least expecting it.

There is so much more we'll never forget including a night at the amusement park for the twins birthday. It was the night we ended up with two cars in the parking lot as we got ready to leave but only had one set of keys. We'll also remember cooking out, taking lots of pictures, sharing stories, hearing about the guys' daily golf game and watching our children enjoy being children. It was such a special time and leaving my family and the gorgeous gulf was so hard. Can't wait til next year's trip and all the hijinks that come with it. We might just be the family all those National Lampoon's Vacation movies were based upon!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The belly blues...

With Big "B" 's 5th birthday quickly approaching, I'm reminiscing a lot about the day she was born. I told her yesterday, as we were driving down the road, how clearly I remember being in the hospital ready to deliver her and how special it was the moment the doctor pulled her out of my belly. I wished I'd just reminisced in my head instead of out loud because that comment opened up a discussion I don't think either one of us was ready for.

I've mentioned before how inquisitive she is. Well, she wanted to know (again) how exactly the doctor pulled her out of my belly. When she's asked before I was been able to dance around the "exactly" part, but this time she wasn't satisfied with "he just pulled you out". She wanted to know if he used scissors to cut open my belly. I said no. Then she asked if he just stuck his hands in my belly and I said no again. A little frustrated she raised her voice and said, "Then how did he get me out Mommy?!?" (For the first time in my life, I so wished I had delivered her via C-section!) I just can't lie to my kids. I try to be as honest about everything as I can - even when it's hard. So, I cut right to the sugar-coating... "Here's the deal, baby..." When I told her "exactly" how Dr. "C" got her out of my belly she gave me a hilarious look of shock and disgust. Think McCauley Culkin's face on "Home Alone" but with his tongue also sticking out. She squealed, "Are you jokin' me?!!"

I laughed so hard! It was so cute and exactly what is going through every one's mind when you think about it - most adults just refrain from making that face for fear of being thought of as inappropriate and immature...but let's face it, when you get right down to it - birth may be beautiful but there is nothing beautiful about that image - especially when you're 5!

Now comes the part where I have to explain why she can't use her new found knowledge and go tell all her new classmates how she, and possibly they, came out of their mommies bellies. I suspect some parents don't want their Kindergarteners to know that just yet. I tried to convince her to keep it between us, but she comes from a long line of loud mouths and I'm afraid it might be part of her introduction to her new classmates and her new teacher at her new school later this month. I fear it going something like this, "Hi, I'm Big "B". I went on vacation this summer, I got to swim a lot, I had my birthday party and I found out I came out of my mommy's belly through her.....!" I may send an preemptive apology letter with her box of school supplies.