Sunday, May 8, 2011

Ladies' Man

CJ has always enjoyed flirting. He's good at it, too. REALLY good. I"m pretty sure I'm in really big trouble when he gets older. He's been known to offer up written marriage proposals to two different girls within the same hour. Perhaps he's still confused about the Latter-Day Saint church's stand against plural marriage? Or maybe he's just keeping his options opened? Who knows? This is CJ we're talking about here.

A few months ago, a new young couple happened to move into our ward. They're sweet and fun and CJ noticed that they (ok, he's really focused mostly on the cute wife) just happen to both be rather aesthetically pleasing. The wife has long flowing hair, a flair for fashion, and a beautiful smile. All of these are things CJ ALWAYS notices.

To say that CJ has flirted with her a bit would be being polite. The kid has thrown himself at her repeatedly. Don't worry. She's been loyal to her husband despite his best efforts. He came home and told me he loved her, and the following conversation ensued:
Me: CJ, you should probably know that Kayla is married.
CJ: What?! She can't be.
Me: Yes, it's true.
CJ: (without skipping a beat) Well, how much does she really like her husband?
Me: (stunned that my kid is trying to become a seven year old home wrecker) A LOT!

A few Sundays later, Kayla wore her hair up in a loose bun. CJ must have taken notice of it because the following Sunday she wore it down and he said "Kayla, I'm so glad you've let down your golden hair". (I think he may have watched "Tangled" a few times to many.)

She also has a sense of style he must like because he had this conversation with her as well:
CJ: I like your shirt.
Kayla: Why thank you, CJ.
CJ: (after waiting a few seconds) Aren't you gonna' say you like my shirt?!?

Finally Kayla introduced him to her husband (who she really does like, by the way). He was kind and smiled at him and talked to him. I asked him later what he thought of Josh (the husband)
Me: So, did you meet Josh?
CJ: (curtly) Yes.
Me: Well, what did you think?
CJ: (putting on a stiff upper lip) Yeah. I guess. (Walks away quietly).

What I've failed to mention is that CJ used to have a little crush on a girl his own age. Shocking, I know. We'll call her R. She's the cutest thing this side of the Mississippi, and I could take her home in my pocket in a second. While she doesn't love him back, I think she did kind of like the attention. She came and talked to me at a church function last night, and the conversation had me rolling with laughter.
R: Sister SuperMom?
Me: Hi, R. How are you?
R: I have to tell you something about CJ.
Me: Ok. What's up?
R: He says he doesn't like that Kayla is married.
Me: Yes, I know. He's so silly.
R: I think he loves her.
Me: Really?
R: (crosses her arms and looks sternly at me) He used to love ME. (walks off grumpily)
It was truly all I could do to stifle my laughter.

So there you have it. CJ isn't even eight years old yet, and he's already breaking one of God's top ten rules by scoping out another man's wife. Nice. How is it possible for a kid his age to be such a ladies' man??

Everything I Never Knew I Wanted

I remember as a little girl sitting with my cousins, Dawn and Christina, and we'd pretend and pretend and pretend about what life was going to be when we grew up. We played Barbie, hide and seek, and a whole host of other things. With all of that, the game that stands out most in my mind was playing house in their basement. It seems like we played house down there for hours on end. We imagined all sorts of scenarios. I think I even remember pulling out Olivia Newton John records and dancing our cute little hearts out to "Let's Get Physical" and then the Madonna record that had our other favorite song, "Material Girl". We were fully prepared to grow up and be famous dancers or rock stars...or something. Dawn and Christina had been in some dance classes, so they even had all the fancy outfits to dance in with tons of sequins. I think I might even remember some kind of blue head band thing with a rather large feather sticking out of it. At any rate, suffice it to say we were really good at pretending together.

As we grew up, our "when I grow up" dreams changed a little. We were too big to pretend anymore, and I guess it wasn't something we talked about much, so I can't say I know for sure what they wanted to be "when they grew up". I can say that I thought I knew exactly what I wished to become.

I knew I loved the theater. I had a high school drama coach who got theater into my blood, and there was no turning back. I especially loved technical theater, but I really enjoyed acting too. (Just, please for the love of all that's good in the world, do NOT ask me to sing). I wanted to work somewhere in show business, I thought. I didn't particularly care where. I spent some time studying technical theater in college and the business end of it really sucked the fun right out, so I knew I wanted to do something different when I grew up and save theater as a fun hobby.

Ultimately, I got my associates degree in interpersonal communications and my bachelor in Social Work, but have spent the majority of my time teaching pre-school or doing autism therapy. As I got older and busier with "real life", I guess I stopped thinking about what I wanted to be when I grow up. It didn't really occur to me until today that I have everything I never knew I wanted.

I'm not that famous theater person I thought I'd be. I don't drive a fancy car and have lovely jewelry. I don't know one single famous person that I can name drop for you. Not one. To suggest that my wardrobe is humble would be an understatement. I only have about two (maybe three) pairs of shoes and one less than stellar purse. There is nothing fancy about my home nor anything spectacular about my yard. My nails aren't well manicured, and my hair spends the majority of the time up in a pony tail. If it's ever left down, it likely has some strange sticky substance in it lovingly placed there by one of my five children. My make-up collection consists of some lip gloss, eye liner, and mascara. I do have some lipstick that I reserve for "special occasions". I don't have the title of director, doctor, therapist, or Nobel prize winner. My title is just three little letters that you can spell the same way backwards and forward. Mom. Quite honestly, I live a rather simple life that really isn't likely much to talk about in the eyes of others.

Somehow, though, I realized today that I have everything I could ever wish for. If I found a star to wish upon right this very moment, I'd have stand in silence as there isn't a thing I can imagine that I am without. Instead of all the fancy stuff I thought I wanted in my youth, I have gifts that can't be purchased anywhere else in the world. They are the finest gifts of all.

I have sticky finger prints on almost every window in the house. I have french fries on the floor of my van and stickers carefully placed on my van window after many harrowing pediatrician visits. I have bags under my eyes from more sleepless nights spent consoling a crying baby than I can count. I have broken finger nails and dishpan hands from washing dish after dish after dish full of chicken nugget dip and barely touched vegetables. I have toothpaste smears all over my bathroom sink each night after five little mouths have been not so carefully brushed with "bubble mint" Buzz Lightyear toothpaste. I have boogers crusted on my shoulders where a child laid his head for reassurance after falling and scraping his knee or having had his heart broken by a friend. I have little tiny hand prints all over my butt from giant spirits who are trapped in tiny little bodies running up and hugging me forgetting they'd just eaten ice cream...or yogurt...or a chocolate bar...or pudding...or, well you get the idea. I have a mountain of laundry that I doubt I'll ever really find the bottom of. That mountain is loaded with stains that will likely never come out but represent hours of laughing and giggling as little people played chase and constantly fell on the grass staining their knees or chocolate smears all down the front of a beloved shirt that happened to be worn at the same time we spontaneously decided we needed chocolate sundaes. I have toys strewn from one end of the house to the other, each representing a silly game or even perhaps a game of make believe just as I used to play with my cousins. I have stacks of first grade homework and the non-stop chatter of a fifth grader who just has to tell me all the latest cafeteria gossip right now or he's just going to burst. Instead of fine art gallery art, I have a lovely collection of hand-drawn rainbows and misproportioned drawings of "me" lovingly hung on the refrigerator. I have a plastic sippy cup on my counter with the lid removed so that the bouquet of freshly picked dandilions will have just the right vase to sit in as they grace my counter top.

The list could go on and on because, really, I have it all. My children know they are loved, even though they sometimes question it when some "completely unfair" rule is enforced. (I only wish they could know how much more it pains me to enforce rules than it hurts them to have a consequence inflicted). I have children who know how to laugh, how to pray, and how to love. I have taught them who God is. I have shown them that they can be anything they want to be. I have a husband who loves me more than words can say and sacrifices his whole self for our family on an almost daily basis. Indeed, I would contend that I am the richest woman in the world.

My life today is certainly not the picture of what I thought it would be all those years ago when I would play with Dawn and Christina and we would pretend what we would be when we grew up. It's not even the picture of what I thought it would be when I was in high school and was sure I had the world all figured out. I don't think it's even quite what I thought it would be the day I knelt across the alter and married the man of my dreams. It's better than all of those things.

Today, as Mother's Day comes to a close and my children cry because they're just sure they don't need to go to bed and they just can't bear to sleep without a certain beloved toy or are missing a favorite tv show, I am grateful beyond measure for it all. I can honestly say that I now have everything I never knew I wanted.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Mama Said There'd Be Days Like That

I know a lot of my readers (I say that is if I think I have many readers, ha!) come to this blog to read about my life and feel better about their own. I'd say that's fair considering that my life is truly Grand Central Station all the time. That, and the antics that happen in our house are funny. I'm actually grateful for the fact that I can look at life and just laugh at the way it turns out sometimes. In fact, even as we speak, Liam is roaming the house terrorizing toilets completely in the nude. Yep. It's true. I imagine you're wondering why I'm sitting here blogging while he wanders naked, right? Well that's a fair question and the answer if very simple: I'm all out of duct tape. That's right. All out. It's gone. Kaput! Without duct tape, there is really no way of keeping his diaper on. For that matter, there isn't much hope of keeping his pants on either.

Anyway, Liam's current obsession with nudity isn't the purpose of this fantastic entry. The main purpose is to once again remind others that life could be worse. Really. It could. In the last 24 hours, I have experienced all of the following incidents. You'll note that most of them were brought on by Liam, but all of my fine young heathens angels had their fair share of creative contributions. Here you go. The list of events that represent my life in the last 24 hours is as follows:

1. One 1-pound unopened box of elbow macaroni opened and dumped over the entire kitchen.
2. Two fully loaded stinky diapers emptied and smeared anywhere that certain naughty little fingers could reach.
3. Five hotdogs devoured and promptly exploded into the above-mentioned diapers.
4. The removal of a two year old from my dishwasher occurred well over fifteen dozen times.
5. Rachel stole Drezden's toy. CJ stole Aiden's remote. Liam stole Drezden's glasses. Liam stole everyone's everything. Drezden pulled Rachel's Barbie's hair. ( I realize those are all several different things, but I counted them as one thing because that helps make my list shorter and minimizes how awful it all sounds on paper.)
6. The crib was rendered useless as a containment device for a two year old.
7. Three beds were wet...and not with water.
8. One bathtub's contents was systematically emptied onto an upstairs bathroom floor.
9. A fence gate was left open leaving opportunity for the dog to go wandering throughout the neighborhood.
10. It was discovered that chairs could be moved and used to climb up and reach just about anything, which led to the discovery that there really is no "safe place" for anything we don't want little people to get hold of.
11. Death defying leaps from crib rails were made and survived...barely.
12. Multiple walls were decorated with important creative mediums such as crayons, pencils, markers, sidewalk chalk, and poop. What? I already mentioned the poop? Well, it's disgusting enough that it deserves at least two mentions.
13. At least two plates were thrown and broken. They were the ones that are supposed to be "smash proof". Maybe that company should meet my kids before they make promises like that.
14. Jellybeans were removed from the hair and ears of one child, and just from the hair of another one.
15. Three lost wii remotes were found and promptly lost again.
16. Dinners were made and rejected followed by tears of hunger pains because "there's nothin' to eat in the whole house".
17. After an entire school day and dance practice, it was pointed out that one of the small humans was wearing her shirt backwards.
18. Five bags of trash were taken to the trash can...and it wasn't even a deep cleaning day.
19. An entire package of oreos was mysteriously consumed, but no "not me" is the only one fessing up to eating it.
20. Naps were neglected in exchange for hours of whining, crying, and systematically destroying.

If, at any point, you read this list and things weren't spelled out clearly enough feel free to let me know. I'm happy to expound. In the meantime, I'll be waiting for the laundry fairies to come, the personal chef to start cooking and organizing the kitchen, and for calgon to take me away.