Monday, March 26, 2012

Bears, Beets.....

Well, bears anyway.

 As I was driving home from visiting my mom earlier, I was quizzed by Olyut.

 "Who would win in a fight? A polar bear or a grizzly bear?", he asked.

 I replied, "I don't Olyut. What do you think? Who would win?"

 "NO! It doesn't work like have to pick one".

 "Fine. Um, a polar bear? The polar bear would win."

 "Wrong. The grizzly bear would win."

 And suddenly, as I glanced in my rear view mirror, I could have sworn he was wearing glasses and a tie.

It's funny, I don't remember giving birth to Dwight Schrute.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Banjo Hero?

One December morning, right after getting Olyut off to school, I sat down to feed my baby when my phone started to ring. I picked it up to see who was calling. When I saw that it was Olyut's school, a million thoughts ran through my mind.....he's being bullied again, he forgot his lunch, he fell on the playground, he's sick and I'm going to have to pick him up. Nothing could have possibly prepared me for what happened when I answered the phone...
"Ummm, Mommy?"
"Oh hi, Olyut...what's up buddy?"
"Mommy, I forgot to bring my, oops I mean Uncle Brent's....I forgot to bring Uncle Brent's banjo with me to school today. I need you to bring it to me"
"Brent's banjo? Why do you need Brent's banjo?"
"Because today is our class Christmas party and we're supposed to play an instrument for the class."
"you don't know how to play the banjo, bud."
"But I do. I really do!"
"No you don't Olyut, besides that is only for the kids in your class that take music lessons."
"No it isn't. Come on! Just bring me the banjo."
"Yes it is, your teacher sent home a note saying that some of the kids in your class take piano lessons and have wanted to play for the class, so she was going to let them play for your party. You don't take music lessons but you can start some if you want to. I don't even know where Brent's banjo is and even if I did, I'm not going to bring it to you. You don't know how to play it."
"I DO! I really DO!!"
"No you don't buddy. Now go back to class."
"Olyut? Go back to class now please."
"Fine. I guess I'll just have to sing then." *click*

He hung up on me!

 It was ok though, I could hardly keep from laughing by that point of the conversation. I'm not quite sure how he got it in his mind that he could play any instrument, let alone the banjo that had been collecting dust in the deepest, darkest recesses of his Uncle's closet. But he was so sure. And I bet in his mind I was going to hop right in my car to bring it to him. And when it was his turn to play for his class, it would look something like this...

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same

I had a hard time sleeping last night. The air was full of anxious worry that I would somehow miss hearing my alarm clock. If I missed my early wake up call I would certainly ruin the entire day, and quite possibly the coming weeks and months.

 The night was full of tossing and turning, great anticipation, and sideways glances as the minutes ticked by ever so slowly.




 At 3:30 I finally gave up and crawled out of bed. My alarm was set to go off in 8 minutes anyway. I rummaged around in the dark for some warm socks. I threw on my jeans and a sweater. I grabbed my fleece blanket, coat, and camp chair. I'd be waiting in line for a while. Outside. I wanted to make sure I'd be warm and comfortable.

 I hopped in my orange minivan and picked up two of my friends and we were on our way. We got in line just after 4 AM with only two people in front of us. By 5:30, when they opened the doors for us to continue our wait inside, there were at least 25 people behind us.

We waited an additional hour and a half before we were each given a numbered wristband and told to come back at 6 PM.

 When we returned, we were among the few lucky ones. We got exactly what we were looking for, and the satisfaction was even sweeter than the result of similar excursions from my teens and early twenties.

Only this time it wasn't killer concert tickets, or the latest Harry Potter book that I walked away with.

This time, it was the smile on that sweet, little, 4 year old face as I told her I had secured her spot in the same preschool class as her BFF.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Can I Play With the iPad?

The Princess likes to get up early in the morning. Really early. But since daddy doesn't have to leave for work until Olyut leaves for school, we like to sleep in a little.

"But it's a little bit lighty out, that means its day time", she'll say when we try to send her back to bed.

We want it to be more than a little lighty out when we get up, so daddy came up with a brilliant idea. He changed the setting on our Netflix account to only show family friendly selections, we give The Princess the iPad in the morning, she climbs back in her bed to watch Dora or The Backyardigans, and we get to sleep a little longer.

 Most mornings it works beautifully. But every now and then there is a hiccup or two.

 Like one morning last week.

"Not right now, Sweetie Pie. It is downstairs charging right now."

This particular morning Daddy had gotten up early to handle some work problems and she didn't realize he answered her from the bathroom. Or that he hopped in the shower before she could ask again.

And she especially didn't realize that Olyut had gotten up even earlier than she had and crawled in bed with me. She was shocked by these revelations. But not too shocked to give Olyut a piece of her mind.

He just thought it was funny.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Carpool Fun

It doesn't matter that it's only a couple times a week anymore, Olyut still asks me to ride in the front seat whenever it's my turn to pick up the carpool. Usually I say no...."it's better for you to ride in the back, the safest place for you is in your car seat, plus it's the law" and so on. But every now and then he catches me in a justifying sort of mood....."we're only a few blocks from home, we won't get above 20 miles per hour", blah, blah blah. And I give in.

He caught me in such a mood last Friday and here's how it went down....

"Sure thing buddy, but I need you to sit back in your seat, ok?"

"They are talking about a boy in one of their classes that likes Selena Gomez and unicorns."

"Yep, it is super funny. Can you stay sitting on your tush now for me?"

"Sorry bud, we're out of brownies."

"I realize that, but we don't have anymore right now. We will go to the store later and get some more I promise. Now sit up!"

"No, I don't want to smell your pants."

"Well then I definitely don't want to smell your pants!"

By this time we were home and I couldn't hold in the laughter anymore. He didn't think it was very funny though....he stormed out of the car and stomped inside, slamming the door behind him. It took me quite a while to quit laughing.

And then I thought, it really is better for everyone if he just rides in his car seat.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012


When she was first learning to talk, the Princess called her brother Olyut. It still comes out that way most of the time, no matter what she might try to tell you now. It especially sounds that like that when she is angry. But this isn't about her.

This is about Olyut.

Olyut is our only son. He is six years old. He is wild and crazy and boisterous. He is also sweet and caring and tender. He is very silly and makes us laugh every day. He is smart. He is friendly and makes new friends wherever we go. He will probably make a new friend when we go to Walmart later. I'm not even kidding. He loves to read, sing, play video games, build things out of Legos, and play with his sister. He is the epitome of awesome.

He also struggles with a lot. He's small, really small. He is about the same size as his four year old sister. He is definitely the smallest kid in his class. And he gets made fun of sometimes. Usually it doesn't bother him, but every now and then he will say something that shows he thinks about it. That he notices a difference. And those conversations are tough. Unfortunately, when you start life at 1 lb. 12 oz., it can be hard to catch up. So we tell him every day how awesome he is and that no two people are exactly the same, we come in all shapes and sizes. Most days he is perfectly content with being himself. And once the other kids get to know him, they absolutely love him.

He also struggles because he has Sensory Processing Disorder. That means his brain has a hard time turning sensory input into appropriate motor and behavioral responses. He struggles with motor planning and falls down a lot. He has a very hard time doing things that are second nature to kids his age. Things like hopping on one foot, skipping, or pedaling a bike. He tires quickly, even with things as simple as writing. He also gets frustrated very easily. He tends to be able to control his frustrations at school, but at home he lashes out or has meltdowns.

I think those struggles are precisely why he is so amazing. He's been a fighter since his very first breath and he will continue to be a fighter, I just know it. He is a force to be reckoned with....just ask the girl he loudly quacked at on the way out of Culver's yesterday. She was twice his size but no one noticed that. All anyone noticed is the way she jumped out of her skin as he caught her by surprise.

Something tells me he is going to keep right on surprising us....

Monday, February 13, 2012

Weekend Fun

After occupational therapy on Saturday morning, we stopped to visit my parents. We decided it would be fun to walk over to The Lion House Pantry for lunch with the kids since they had never been there before. The kids each got the chicken tenders with mashed potatoes and green beans. The Princess ate about as much as she ever eats. Olyut ate almost all of his food, minus his green beans, PLUS three quarters of a roll about the size of his baby sister's head.

Pretty soon he was rubbing his tummy and wiggling in his seat trying to keep himself from falling into a food coma. He was really full. I was slightly concerned at one point that he was going to lose his lunch. Luckily that was something we didn't have to face...that day anyway. But soon the questions started.

"when can we go back to Papa's house?"
"what's taking so long?"
"why are we still here?"
"when is everyone else going to be finished?"

All while he was flinging himself around on his seat. But then he caught a glimpse of something that demanded his full attention. He bolted upright and his eyes opened very wide. "WOW! Daddy! You must have eaten a lot too! Your tummy looks REALLY full!"

I guess Daddy and I have a few more lbs to lose than even we thought.

A couple more gems from the weekend....

"Today would be a really bad day if you got run over by a train" and "Daddy, you taught me to be weird. It's the only thing you ever taught me".

Monday, February 6, 2012


Confession time. I'm not a great mom.

I mean, I don't let my kids starve, or run around naked (usually), or play in taffic, or finger paint with lead paint. So don't get carried need to google Child Protective Services. I just mean that I struggle every now and then. Well, daily is probably more accurate.

It's not that I don't love my kids or enjoy being around them. They mean everything to me. They are seriously the coolest kids around. It's just that I'm a little less like "super mom" and little more like Sarah Jessica Parker a la cheesy '80s movie.....I just want to have fun! Or is that I desperately want a spot on Dance TV? Either way, it means I'm not a huge fan of responsibility. And yet, as a mom, I find myself suffocating in a thick fog of responsibility every morning when I open my eyes.

It makes life a little cumbersome for a girl that defines life's activites by the amount of fun involved. Should we go to a movie? That sounds like fun. Take the kids grocery shopping? Yeah, two kids begging for Legos and one screaming to get out of her car seat sounds like a whole lotta fun. Time to do the dishes....not so much fun, but I guess it could be considered fun to have a clean house. Uh oh, someone just barfed. DANGER! DANGER! Absolutely no fun here....quick run away and hide.

But you can't run away and hide from your children or the daily chores necessary for raising children. Or at least necessary if you don't want to wind up on an episode of hoarders.

I've come to realize that I've been so focused on the not so fun parts of being a mom, that I've become a not so fun person to be around. A little resentful. A little demanding. More than a little cranky. It's time for a change. Time to refocus on the FUN parts of being a mom.

Mainly, my kids.

They are awesome. They are hilarious. I laugh every day, several times a day, at something one of them does or says. If he isn't here, I tell my husband and he laughs. Then I call my mom and she laughs too. Sadly, after a week or so I find myself saying, "do you remember what it was were laughed so hard about the other day?". Then it's gone.

Not anymore. I want to record our experiences. To paint a portrait of their childhood, one that can be celebrated now and cherished for years to come. It may not be pain or frustration free, I plan on sharing some of those things too. But I'm hoping that as we look back on these times, we will see that it was mostly happy. And I'm hoping to remind myself that we really do have a lot of fun.