It’s so easy to be kind
Today has been awesome so far. The sun is shining, it’s a lovely 55 degrees out, and Matt’s conference was apparently a waste of time, so he’s now working from home the remainder of the day.
After I got Claire off to the bus, Luca and I worked a little in his workbook. See, I haven’t sent any of my kids to preschool, mostly because I have the philosophy that they’re only kids for so long and they have a long time ahead of them to be in school, but mostly I’m selfish and want them all to myself for as long as possible. So sue me.
Plus I’m cheap.
Not to mention the fact that it’s only three hours, which means I’d drop the kid off, shuttle home, possibly have to wake a kid up from a nap to go pick the other kid up, so on and so forth. Really doesn’t seem fun to me. Maybe I will send Audrey when it’s just her here during the day to give her something to do, but for now, three kids at home all day? That’s enough to juggle let alone adding in scheduled items. Heck, there are days I almost forget to take Mae to dance class. Honestly, she would never let me forget, but it’s slipped my mind a few times.
Any how, I work with Luca some, because I don’t want him to be behind in school because mommy’s cheap. Scholastic makes these fantastic books that Claire has always loved, so when I got Luca one for himself, he was floored. He’s so easy to please. I mean, this is the kid who gets excited when a new magazine comes in the mail for him. He’s saved every single one and not just because he’s a little pack rat, so yay.
Today we were working on finding the sound of the last letter in a word, then writing them out. Then he read me the book “Little J.”
Ever since I left my ridiculously part time job of nursing, a switch has flipped in me. I know it was one day every week or whatever, but it still weighed on me. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I was always worrying about the next day I had to work. I really can’t explain it. It’s just me being me, which is weird, but regardless, it was always on my mind. I went from being hey man, whatever, to holy organized. Every night, I lay out Claire’s clothes. I have been on top of laundry like nobody’s business. I have designated bags for each of the kids’ activities so we always know where stuff is. I finally got hooks on the wall so the kids can hang up their own coats. My house doesn’t look like a tornado has gone through it every day, and not because I’m constantly picking up after my kids, it’s because I’m constantly on them to pick up their things and tidy up each day.
I feel so prepared, so on top of things, so…Mom-like.
So along with my relatively no so chaotic home and clean clothes, I have a certain amount of time every day that I spend with Luca doing something of his choosing in the workbook. We keep it pretty low pressure and I try to make it as fun as possible, just as I did with Claire. But Claire is super competitive, mostly with herself, and Luca just wants to learn to read so he can read to himself, no strings attached. So that’s what we’re working towards.
Since I started really working with him, I’ve seen such an improvement. He’s really gaining confidence and it shows. Plus, the bonus of it all, Mae sits with us and she’s my little sponge who can already pick out sight words before her siblings can.
It’s amazing what kids will do for a sticker.
So after Luca read me his book and I got my music ready for spin class tonight, we headed off to the library.
Often times I’m asked how I can go out with the kids and not want to hurt myself. Let me tell you it’s a challenge some days. Especially since I’ve got so many, so young. I remember being pregnant with Audrey and I worried about how I’d even get through a parking lot without having a kid get run over.
I guess the answer is make a plan and stick with it. When it’s just me and the kids, I hold Audrey on one hip, and hold Mae’s hand, who holds Claire’s hand, who holds Luca’s hand. I call them my little ducklings. When Claire’s at school, it’s a huge chore to get Luca to hold Mae’s hand, and it’s a constant battle for who gets to hold my hand. So today I got to prove my point of making a plan and sticking with it. As we left the library, it was Luca’s turn to hold my hand. Luca held his hand out for Mae and she refused to take it. So we stood there, on the sidewalk, waiting. She refused. (She’s so stubborn!) So we stood there. Several parents with their kids walked past, staring. A few elderly women walked past asking if I was OK. I said we were, I was just waiting for Mae to figure it out.
About five minutes later, she quietly took Luca’s hand, and we walked to the car, and that was that.
Depending on the day, my patience can be pretty stellar. I guess with the sun shining, it gave me superpowers and I was able to not attempt to reason with the unreasonable. I simply waited her out.
Because I always win.
She didn’t cry. There was no screaming. We just stood there, silently, with the occasional high pitched whine from Luca, “Why are we just standing here?”
She wasn’t being bad. She was being two. I recognized that and I soaked up some vitamin D while I waited it out.
The tantrum came later when I said it was nap time, because NOOOOOOOO, I’M NOT TIRED MOMMY! *SOB, SNIFFLE, SNORT* Ha ha, yah. Not tired at all, kid.
But before that, we went to Panera for lunch because it was beautiful out and frankly I wasn’t ready to go home yet.
Mae danced to some jazz music while we waited in line to order and when it came time for me to place our order, the girl was so confused as to why I’d only order ONE kids meal when I clearly had three kids with me.
Me: No, I just want the kids grilled cheese with an extra yogurt.
Girl: So, you don’t want two?
Me: Nope. They’ll just share it, trust me.
Girl: So. One kids grilled cheese, with yogurt.
Me: Two yogurts. They don’t share that nicely.
Girl: But only one grilled cheese.
Me: Yes. One. And I want the barbecue chicken salad, the big one, and a cup of wild rice soup.
Girl: You don’t want the pick two?
Me: No. I want the full sized salad, because the kids will probably eat half of it.
Girl: (LIGHTBULB!) Oh! That’s why you only want ONE grilled cheese.
Ding, ding, ding we have a winner!
So while we waited for the food to come out, we picked a booth and Mae and Luca claimed a side and then battled over who I’d sit next to. While they debated, I got Audrey a high chair, and when I came back, Mae proclaimed she wanted to SEE me, therefore I’d sit next to Luca.
I have to hand it to Luca, his skills with persuasion are pretty clutch. Now I’ll have to remember that for the future ladies in his life.
Audrey ate every single carrot that came in my soup along with the wild rice. She is, after all, a Minnesotan at heart. The kids upon completion of their halves of grilled cheese and yogurt, as expected, cleaned house on my salad. It always starts with the innocent, “Mom, can I have that black bean?” “Mama, can I have lettuce?” “Mom, what’s that? Can I eat it?” as it’s already in his mouth.
As I started to clean up the table (because my years in food service trained me to never leave behind a huge mess,) a very nice older woman came up to us and began gushing about how it was such a “joy” to watch my “well behaved” children as she ate. The person sitting at the table across from us leaned over and said, “I agree, they were really adorable.”
Guys, you may or may not know this, but for someone who spends 99.9% of my life with these little humans, it makes me filled with such pride that someone would go out of their way to compliment my hard work. Sure, it was my kids who were well behaved, but it’s a direct reflection of me.
Not to mention Mae inadvertently serenaded half of the restaurant with her rendition of Twinkle, Twinkle when she sang it to Audrey as she ate her carrots.
It’s incredible to me how one simple act of saying something kind to another stranger can really make their whole day. While perhaps to that woman she was simply pointing out the obvious, to me, she was noticing my hard work and paying it a compliment, which in turn made the sun seem a little bit brighter.
So as I carried a screaming and overtired Mae up the stairs for nap time, it didn’t seem so bad, because when it counts, I’ve got my stuff together, and I’m not under appreciated. The little things that I do add up to something big and that’s all that matters. So even when I’m stuck in the day to day scene, it’s nice to know that all the small stuff is turning into something awesome.
And I’m still smiling.