Cricket Killer

It all started the other night right before bed. Bradley came running to me, “Mom, there’s a jumping black spider in my room! It’s really big, Mom!”

A spider jumping? I’m so confused. And ugh! I’m in the middle of getting the twins ready for bed- sitting on the toilet seems to take these two forever and Collin’s being Collin and needing constant supervision. And now I have to catch a spider in the boys’ room?! A jumping one, none the less. And all I really want to do is get these kids to bed because I’m tired and honestly, these kids are driving me nuts!

I really doubt there’s a spider, so I didn’t rush. “Where is it?” I ask Bradley as I go into the room and scan the walls and floor. He points to a corner by the closet, “There it is!” he exclaims.

I look, expecting to see lint or something silly that’s not a spider at all, but there was something there.

“It’s just a cricket,” I say, a little confused because I have never seen a cricket in the house before, especially on the second floor. They are usually in basements or something.

Yet there it was- a big fat cricket skimming along the baseboard. His black body shined in the light as I chased him down and tried to catch him with my bare hands. His legs felt spiny against my cupped hands and just when I thought I had him he would leap out of my hands and escape.

I can’t believe Bradley doesn’t know what a cricket is! I somehow feel I have failed him in some small way because every kid should be able to identify crickets, along with lightning bugs and rolly pollys (you know those grey things with lots of legs that roll into a little round ball when you flick them).

I told Bradley to keep a watch on him and I went and got toilet paper from the bathroom so I could catch it. I used to catch them with my hands when I was little, no big deal. I don’t know when I became such a wimp, the squirming fat body and sticky legs keep freaking me out. I feel as if I’m not setting a good example for the kids, squealing every time it jumps from my hands.

I pick it up with the toilet paper. I can feel its fat body squirming between my fingers. I run to the bathroom and fling the whole thing in the toilet. We watch it swim around the toilet bowl. It keeps trying to escape up the slippery sides of the bowl.

“Mom!” Bradley is entirely exasperated and a little upset by my actions. “Why did you do that?!” he demands. “It’s where we pee and stuff. Gross! It’s gonna die!”  (Hello?! Yea, that’s the whole point. But I didn’t say anything about that.)

I guess I should have/could have let the cricket go outside. It makes me think back to my science teacher in college. Seriously, she would NOT kill a fly. If there was an ant, bug, or spider, she would not hurt it and would get quite upset if you smashed him with your foot or slammed a book down on the insect. She would save the little creature by scooping it up on a sheet of paper and gingerly carrying it outside to let it free. How kind and caring. I guess I don’t always have it in me, considering I’m a cricket killer tonight.

So here was this experience where I could have taught Bradley some sort of lesson, like kindness or taking care of our environment because all animals and insects are important to our Earth…but instead I flushed the jumping black spider/cricket down the toilet.

Cricket killer.

But it’s bedtime! I don’t have the time right now to deal with a cricket and I lost my patience right after dinner when I started counting down the minutes until bedtime.

Maybe next time I will set it free. Maybe next time I will have some compassion for that annoying fly or pesky cricket that shouldn’t be in our house in the first place. Just maybe.

xxx

Advertisements

First Day Of School Tears

August 2013 027

Collin just got on the bus for preschool. I know I said I was going to throw confetti and have a party on the sidewalk when the bus picked him up for his first day of school- the kid has been driving me crazy all summer! But I cried a little. He looked so little sitting in that big bus and kind of scared, timid, unsure- totally NOT Collin. I know he will be fine. This isn’t his first year of preschool so I was surprised when the unexpected tears sprouted. (You can read about his first year of preschool here.)

August 2013 028

I didn’t think I was going to be this way this year, all sentimental and teary eyed. I did this last year for Collin and this is my fourth time for Bradley, so I’m experienced, almost a pro at sending the kids off to school. I have been reading friends’ facebook posts and looking at their pictures and hearing their stories about the first day of school and I was rather cocky, I am so not going to be that crying mom. I’m ready for all of my kids to go to school and get out of the house! Well, that’s what I thought…but I guess no matter how you feel or think you feel at the time, it’s still hard seeing them grow up.

bradley first day of second grade

Bradley had his first day of school last week. Second grade!! When we were walking up to the building I had him stop so I could take his picture. “Mom,” he said, all embarrassed. “Just let me take your picture once and give me a hug and kiss, otherwise I will do it when you are standing in line with your friends,” I warned. He complied. And after the bell rang and I was in my car…yep, you guessed it. A few unexpected tears leaked out. Maybe because he’s getting so big and I can actually embarrass him now. I used to be so awesome. These changes are hard. (You can read about his first day of Kindergarten here.)

August 2013 030

But at least he gets to have a cool ride home on Wednesdays. Thanks again, Grandpa Russ!

Two down and two to go. Just a few more years and ALL of my kids will be in school. YIKES!

August 2013 033

For now Elsie and Mallie are content watching for their brother’s bus to come home. Soon enough they will be ready to go off to school too. That will be a double whammy!

When in the world do the tears stop for the first day of school? Will I still cry when my kid walks into junior high, high school?

And why am I the one crying?! Why aren’t they crying for their dear ol’ mom? Oh, well. Guess I’m lucky on that one. It would be even harder if they cried too.

The Real Reason I Take the Kids to the Park

Almost everyday, weather permitting, I take the kids to the park in the morning. They have a blast and work on running out some of that bundled up energy AND it makes me look like the coolest mom ever- Rock Star Mom.

July 2013 Stroll in the Park 024

But truthfully, there are “alternative reasons” why we are at the park.

1. It gives me space from the kids. They are not right under my feet whining or complaining about something to do or being bored.

The bonus for me: I sit in the sun and relax. I read, write, or plan out my week. I take time to just RELAX a little.

kids at park

2. My main goal is to wear them out so when nap time/quiet times rolls around they are actually asleep or quiet.

The bonus for me: I get time to fold laundry, do the dishes, sweep the floors. But seriously, who am I kidding. I catch up on my new show, Pretty Little Liars, or I take a nap also. I spend that peaceful time doing what I want to do.

End of July 2013 001

There are so many things I SHOULD be doing…and I will get to them. Right now it is important I do things with the kids, like taking them to the park.

You know, it kind of sounds like I really don’t do anything with them. But we do all kinds of stuff. I’m with them every day and all day. These are just some of the ways I find time for myself amidst all of the chaos.

A mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do.

How do you squeeze in time for you?

Ditching the Kids: My Two Hours of Freedom (thank you baseball camp)

Today I am maneuvering the super highway of motherhood like a pro race car driver. I’m in the fast lane; changing diapers, fixing cereal, and everybody is completely ready, including hair done and teeth brushed, by 7:15 in the morning.

June 2013 057

It’s Bradley’s first day of baseball camp. This is actually his first time for any kind of “camp” and I’m a little nervous and a little bit excited and I really don’t want us to be late on his first day. But I don’t know what I was thinking, I have to take all these little monkeys with me (2 two-year olds and a 3-year-old) and I think I have lost my mind.

And of course things can’t run smoothly. Collin starts running through the house and saying naughty words (can’t wait till we get out of this stage!) and the twins are fighting over shoes. It’s like a big pothole that I got stuck in and came to a crashing halt. I’m stalled and on the side of this motherhood super highway. I’m cursing myself for not finding a sitter for a couple of hours. I don’t want to take this chaos with me on his first day and try to figure out where to be and not lose anybody. It’s like driving with no headlights in the dark.

So I do what any desperate mother would do…I start calling people at the last-minute. “Can you come watch the little ones this morning for 2 hours? PLEASE! It’s Bradley’s first day of baseball camp.” It’s my last-ditch effort. Terri (who watches the kids a lot for me) came through for me. God bless her soul. Saved again!

I grab a jacket and head out the door. It’s a cool morning. If we hurry we just might make it in time.

As I approach the sign in table I am so grateful I don’t have the little ones with me. The stands and fields are filled with boys ages 7-12 years old with all their baseball gear and parents milling around. Not a whole lot of babies trying to run out onto the field, like I know Collin would try to do.

I just sort of stand there, feeling a little lost. I’ve never been to one of these things. Do I stay or do I leave? I’ve never left him before. I feel the jitters in my stomach at the thought –  he’s still so little, he’s only seven! –  and the excuses run through my head. But the rational side takes over, he’s old enough. It’s camp. Isn’t that what you’re supposed to do at camp, drop ’em off and pick ’em up?

Luckily I ran into a couple of old high school friends and chatted with them in the crowd. “Have you done this before? Did you do this last year? Do you wait around or just drop them off?” I was so nervous. They seemed like pros. “See ya later. I have other kids at home.” and “I’m gonna go workout and run some errands.”

Hmmmm….why couldn’t I take this freedom and run with it? Why don’t I have plans or things to do? The freedom was a strange feeling I wasn’t sure what to do with. I stood and watched my son in the group go to the farthest field with all of the other boys. Little baseball feet ran through the field in unison, like little wheels going round and round, and my son’s feet blended with the others as he became one of the team. I guess I am free to go.

But instead I still stood there debating in my head, should I stay or should I go? But it’s two hours long. Finally, after making small chit-chat with a grandpa on the sidelines, I decided to enjoy my freedom. I can be like my friends, I can have plans and take the time to go do something. Maybe I should go workout. Nah, I don’t have workout clothes (and a ton of other excuses for that one)….so I went to the library.

And let me tell you, that two hours of freedom felt amazing. I went straight to my favorite section of the library. No kid section. No shushing them. No losing the little stinkers in the aisles. No threats about leaving if they couldn’t behave.

Just me and books. It felt like heaven. I even got to go to the magazine section. I signed up for the summer reading program. I felt a hundred pounds lighter, even though I had a heavy stack of reading material in my arms.

I should ditch the kids more often, I thought as I was leaving the library with a humongous smile on my face. Maybe I could find a “camp” for ALL of them. Do they have camps for toddlers? Hmmmm…it was fun while it lasted, that two hours of freedom.

I think I will find a babysitter again some morning and ditch the kids. This mommy time was just what I needed!

What do you do with your freedom when you “ditch” the kids?

xxx

 

 

A Letter to Santa

The other night Bradley sat down with a pencil and paper and wrote his letter to Santa. I love his first grade handwriting and creativity. I love the fact that he put directions on how to open the letter – that is the “rip” at the top of the page and an illustration!  But I think my favorite part is that he asks if he has been good or bad. Shouldn’t he just know? I thought most kids just said they were on the good list no matter what. He just cracks me up. I can’t help but laugh. I think he thinks there is some kind of chart, like the clip system at school.

santa letter In his letter he did list all of the nice things he did, like helping his sisters put on their shoes in the morning and working hard in school. On the other side was his list. Surprisingly it was a really short list! And at the end, he wrote “I am 7,” and circled it, just so Santa would know.

I “mailed” it to the North Pole this morning, which is basically dating it and putting it way in my cedar chest where I store all of my favorite keepsakes. I can’t wait to give him that pile when he is older.

I wonder what my Santa letters were like when I was little.

How do you save your Santa letters? Which ones are your favorites? I would love to hear your stories!

xxx

 

 

 

Wake Up! Let’s Go to the Park.

Before I was even all the way awake this morning I was thinking of a way to get out of the house and procrastinate some chores.

Who else might possibly be awake this early with kids? So I texted Brandi, my partner in crime with things to do with the kids.

Me: Wake up! What are u doing today? I got a shit load of laundry and haven’t showered yet, but I think I’m gonna throw my hair in a pony tail and put on some clothes and take the kids to the park. Wanna go? Supposed to rain later. So we gotta hurry.

Brandi: Ur text just woke me up.

Me: Haha! Wake up. It’s nice out and prob not for long!

Me: I’m just jealous I can’t ever sleep in past 8.

Brandi: I don’t have any kids here. lol.

Me: How that happen?! Lucky!!

Brandi: I made it happen. lol.

Me: Can I borrow your magic wand for next weekend?

Brandi: My magic wand was a birthday party and my dad. lol.

Me: 😀

Me: So does that mean u don’t want to go to the park? haha

Brandi: Yes!

I would have loved some other adult company, but the kids and I made it anyway. It wasn’t too cold, considering that it is November in the midwest. But it was windy. We had a great time. I let them run loose and wild. AND I knew that they would take a good nap when we got home and I could probably get some “chores” done.

 

Sometimes you just gotta get up and go. Forget the weather forecast.  Forget the makeup. I can wash my hair later. With all these kids, if we don’t just go….we will never make it out the door. And I just wanted to get out before it rained on us. What a great morning! Love the spontaneity of it all. Those are usually the best times. 

xxx

My Dad is a Super Hero

Little boys see their dads larger than life. They can do anything. They are strong. They pick them up and throw them in the air. They are super heroes in their eyes.

This evening in the car, where most of our interesting conversations seem to happen lately, Bradley says, “Mom, I want my dad to be in the army.”

“Why do you want him to be in the army?” I ask.

“Because if he is in the army and practices a really lot, he will be a good soldier. If he’s a good soldier he can be CAPTAIN AMERICA!”

Of course, I should have known. And with six kids in all, I’m sure Brad has been Super Man, Batman, the Green Lantern, Thor, and who knows who else, the list could be endless, maybe even some wrestling guy.

I just hope he puts on his super hero cape and helps me run some of the errands next week and maybe fix the toilet or something. Or build something, I don’t know.

xxx