Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Mother's Always the Last to Know

This fall I enrolled Jacob in a free music program through the church where he goes to school. I thought it might be fun for him to learn some instruments, but, well, he missed a lot because it's held on Sunday afternoons and we'd either be out of town, on the way back home from out of town, or I just plain forgot to drive him there.

So as part of those resolutions I almost never keep, I decided that Jacob would make it to his music program every single Sunday and he would get something out of it if it killed us both.

Yes. I forgot to take him on MLK weekend. What? It was a holiday. Shouldn't they have cancelled it?

Last week the program director called. It wasn't the first time he's called. We've talked before about Jacob's behavior so I had a lame excuse about his meds wearing off all ready when the guy explained that Jacob had been chosen for a lead part in a musical they would be performing for a conference about the new Vacation Bible School theme.


First of all...I had no idea he auditioned for a part. When I asked how music went that day he said fine and, yeah, I left it at that.

Secondly....HE HAS A LEAD PART?


Knowing that Jacob has had behavior issues there, I gave the director an out by telling him I wouldn't tell him he got the part, but he was insistent that Jacob have the part. Apparently five people auditioned eighty children and all five put Jacob at the top of their list.


I guess my kid can sing.

And act.

Who knew?

He doesn't sing here. I can't get him to even play act in a board game we have.

He can really make a Lego creation though and if you need someone to teach your kid how to get through almost any Wii game, he's your kid, but ACT?

Jacob decided to take the part. He's added three more hours onto his Sunday music class and will be practicing every Friday night until the first performance at the end of February. So far he hasn't complained too much about it.

This Sunday he's to have his lines from the first three scenes memorized.

He memorized them on Monday and he's working on the others.


All this time I've worried that my kid didn't have a sports thing.

Maybe he was never meant to have a sports thing.

Maybe this is his thing.


Who knew?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

RSVP. Try it, You'll Like It.

Adam turned five last week. FIVE. Who remembers when Jacob turned five and Adam was still a teeny baby?

FIVE? That's so hard for me to swallow. FIVE. Big kids turn five. How did my baby become a big kid so quickly? *sigh*

I should really write a fifth birthday post about Adam especially since I found his fourth birthday post completely blank in my draft file, but eh, I'll talk about his party.

His Ch*ck E Ch**se birthday party.

Adam has wanted a Ch*ck E Ch**se party since he knew what birthday parties were. Since Jacob got a fancy party at five, we decided Adam could choose a fancy party at five too, so we've pretty much had this party planned since the day AFTER he turned four last year.

Anyway. When preschool classes resumed after Christmas I sent Adam in with fifteen little Batm*n party invitations to place in every one of his classmate's little cubbies where his teacher so lovingly placed in each little folder before placing that in each little backpack. In addition to the date, time, and place of the party I also requested an RSVP by a certain date complete with two contact numbers and an email address for those people who feel awkward talking to a stranger over the phone. Never mind that we've all met at least three previous times, but you know, whatever.

When the invitation deadline came, I'd received one regret.

Seriously? I spent about half the day panicking wondering what would happen to my sweet baby if NO ONE showed up to celebrate his big day and then I remembered I've done this before. What has happened common courtesy and manners? Aren't we in the south here? Aah....don't get me started on the thank you card.

I waited a couple more days and got two acceptances and then contacted the mouse house and lowered my number to the minimum amount, eight, even though I only had six for sure. It was stressful, the wondering, but I had to let it go. I knew we'd have a good party no matter how many kids showed up so I just decided to be done with it.

Then on the day of the party a babysitter found me in the pick-up line half hour before and told me she'd be bringing two kids which, GREAT!, now I have my eight.

So, we get to Ch*ck E Ch**se and meet with our party hostess who sets everything up, plates, cups, tokens, pizza, for EIGHT children. Then suddenly we had TWELVE children. Twelve guests and eight token cups. Obviously the party hostess has dealt with this before because she was quick to bring out more plates and cups and utensils, but it did take her a while to get the tokens ready. The babysitter and her two charges was the last to show up and immediately demanded tokens to which I told her the hostess would be over soon with them. She wasn't happy about waiting so I gave her a handful of the 100 I bought myself and told her I'd see about the hold up. Apparently I wasn't quick enough. When I returned with the extra tokens, I found her grabbing the rest of my tokens right out of my bag. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I shouldn't have left my bag sitting there unattended but, well, we were the only people in that place so you figure you can trust your own party guests. I guess you can't.

If it weren't my kid's birthday party I would've made more of a scene than the, oh-no-someone-took-our-tokens-sorry-you-used-your-tokens-little-boy-there-aren't-anymore routine while asking my husband quite loudly in front of the thief if we could afford to buy more. Amazing, but none of that phased her.

FYI: Iif you have eight kids, you get two pizzas. If you have twelve kids, you get five pizzas. That would've been nice to know before I ordered the two extra pizzas back when we only had eight kids.

And guess who forgot her coupons??

So the party ended up costing me fifty dollars in pizza we ate three meals a day for the next three days. It was worth it, though, to finally make my five year old baby's birthday dream come true.

Next: Adam at Five

And then Later: Birthday Party Etiquette...How to Answer an RSVP, Write a Thank You Note, and If it's in someone's bag, it doesn't belong to you.

Friday, January 15, 2010

If I Had That Kind of Money, I'd Be Driving a Nicer Car

Can I just complain a little bit here.

It's nothing huge, nothing life changing, but something that kinda ticked me off today.

Jacob goes to private school. You know that. There are things I love and adore about it (the teachers) and things I completely detest (snooty parents). Of course, it goes without saying that I hate handing over a huge chunk of change every semester, but as far as private schools go, it's one of the most affordable around here. And just in case you were wondering, I didn't shop around for a cheap private school because I dislike public education. I shopped around for a half day kindergarten and this was the only one I found. We I had every intention of sending him to his regular neighborhood school in first grade but this place worked for him and we just thought we'd do this for as long as we can.

And yes, Adam will be going to the half-day kindergarten there next year (I threw up a little in my mouth typing that) because I still haven't found another one.


I've gotten to know some of the more laid back and less mean parents. Some of them I interact with on a regular basis. You might even call them my friends, but I don't want to jinx it or anything. So in chatting with these parents I have learned that one of Jacob's friends did not return this year because they could no longer afford it. She has since been pulled out of her neighborhood school because she was too far ahead and is now being homeschooled. They have gone in monthly asking for assistance in scholarships (which the school does offer) and have been turned down every time. This month, another parent lost his job and has no savings to fall back on so they approached the administration to ask for a one month extension fulling expecting to be employed by February. They were denied. If they do not pay this month's tuition by the end of the month, they will have to withdraw their son. In the middle of the school year. So much for that helping Christian hand.

Now. I fully understand that while trying to teach these children the ways of the L*rd is the mission of this school, I do get they are also running a business without any of the government perks given to the local school systems. I know they cannot give everyone a hand-out. I know they can't help everyone who asks. I get that. Sure, it'd be nice if they could wait a few weeks for a payment but I get they have to pay for electricity and water and teacher salaries.

This morning I went the mailbox and found yet another letter from the school. Now. They mail something out to every single family enrolled there at least once a week. Sometimes it's an ad to attend their church. Sometimes it's the monthly school newsletter. Most of the time it's a request for even more money and I don't mean tuition. All of them come with a 44 cent stamp attached.

So, I figure the enrollment is somewhere around 600 these days. Sure, there have to be some siblings, so let's say 500 families get the monthly mail. Take 500 and multiply by each of those stamps and you get about $2200 spent on EACH mailing. Let's say they send three this month and that's $6600. Uh-huh. Maybe if they just pushed those things into each kid's backpack on the way home they could save enough money to help some people in need. But what do I know?

So I opened the letter and it was an ad inviting us to the annual donate more money auction that we have actually enjoyed attending in the past. One year, I got a free weekend of petsitting for five bucks and had a good time on top of that. Last year, they combined it with the Gala (think fancy sit-down spaghetti dinner) they have in the fall because it was cancelled due to Hurricane Ike. We missed the auction last year because we couldn't do the Gala what with all these kids and everything.

I was kind of excited because, well, I don't have a life and I could really use some more pet-sitting, when I found they are yet again combining the Gala and the auction. We couldn't go to the Gala last year because we couldn't bring our kids. We can't go to the Gala this year because two tickets cost $250. That's TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY DOLLARS to walk around a smelly gym and then pay MORE money on a bunch of crap like pet-sitting and eat sticky pasta and limp salad. What?

I guess it goes without saying that the people of the auction committee are all the rich snooty parents right?

I can sit at the Grand Champion table for eight at the rodeo-themed Gala/auction for only $10,000. Yes. TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS. Seriously???

And there's a huge sign out front of the school that says they'd like 100% participation this year.


You know, I'd love to donate some money to that school. I'd love to see all of Jacob's previous and current teachers be paid more. They deserve it. The school needs more room and computers and stuff that will give them a better education. I'd love to help out with that. But $10,000? Don't have that. $250? Don't have that either. I do have $100 I got at Christmas that I would love to spend at the silent auction on maybe a BBQ dinner at my favorite place, tickets to the symphony, or, yes, the dang pet-sitting, but I won't be able to get in. I've been denied because I don't have enough money to get in the door.

I hope they call me again this year to see if we'll be there. I'll tell them if they want to encourage the families who go to school there to become part of their school family, then they need to include each and every one of them in a way everyone can be involved because I know we won't be the only family not attending. In fact, I can be pretty certain that no one I personally know will be able to get in either.

I'm thinking I'll have my own Gala and have all the poor people come here, swim in the pool across the street and collect ten bucks from everyone to give to the family who needs the extension.

But if they don't have ten bucks. That's okay. We're still family.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Our first digital photos....

They aren't great. It wasn't a great camera, but boy it cost a pretty penny. I am amazed that I have a much better one now for a quarter of the price of the first one and even it isn't a fancy one.

I remember having a film camera. It was 2001. Now it is 2010. How did that happen? Sometimes I look at my eight year old child and wonder what happened to this little baby. I see myself and remember how I never thought I'd make it through those sleepless nights and scream-filled days. It seems like yesterday, yet at the same time it seems so far away.

Our family has grown in more ways than one since we bought that fuzzy, expensive camera. We're in a different house, in a different neighborhood, in a different town with a different dynamic than that June day. I didn't really see it coming back then, but I like it. Sometimes, though, I'd like to have just one more 2001 day. One more day to enjoy that tiny baby. Kiss his toes, feel his fuzzy hair, rock for hours on end in that old recliner, and sniff his sweet baby smell. Just one more day with that baby knowing what I know about him now.

I miss that baby.

And I wonder if I knew then what I know now about his "condition" if I'd been a better mother to him then.

I wish I could find out.


Friday, January 08, 2010

My Girl

I was going to write about my New Year's Resolutions today and then I realized, heh, I used the F word twelve hours into the new year during that game and why bother eating healthfully if we're all just destined to disappear in 2012 anyway?

Instead, I'm going to write the post that's been swirling in my head for a while now. The one I've been hesitant to write for fear of upsetting some of my readers. The one that will finally separate me once and for all from all the boymoms in the world. You know, if anyone is actually still reading my drivel.

Can I just say how much I love my daughter?

Oh, I love my boys too. But my daughter? I didn't know what I was missing.

The cute.

The fun.

Shopping on the left side of Carters.....full of the awesomeness.

But the best thing? The best thing is just having her around. She gets me. I get her. I am no longer outnumbered in this house full of testosterone.

I spent my entire pregnancy telling myself that I would adore the little boy that I may have been carrying. I picked him an awesome name (two actually), set up his true blue room, and waited to complete our Y-chromosome heavy family. On the morning my daughter was born, making our way to the hospital in the near-dawn darkness, I cried. I sobbed actually. The whole way there. I cried for my daughter. The one I never thought I'd have. It was a secret between my husband and me, a secret we'd never tell our third son. Then we checked in, got plugged up, and wheeled in to have our baby with smiles on our faces. I was ready to meet our boy, I really was. I knew I loved him, I'd been with him for months. But when that doctor said it was a girl..twice, I cried. I sobbed actually. It was one of the happiest moments of my life.*

In those first weeks after she was born, in my vicodin-induced happy haze, I'd just look at her and thank God for giving me a girl. I'd wake up each morning and remember, OMG! I have a daughter!, and it'd make me just a little happier while swaying and shushing the colic away.

I miss my baby girl, but I love my little girl.

I love how she wants me to comb her hair so she can be bootiful.

I love seeing her baby dolls neatly covered and kept warm.

I love hearing her sing. Anything.

I love it when she kisses her brothers. And I love it more that they kiss her back with so much adoration.

I love the princess costumes, ponytails, and the at-home manicures on itty-bitty nails.

When Santa left his loot under our tree Christmas morning, I teared up seeing the mass of pink at one side. At one time I never thought I'd see that, the things I loved, the things I know, being loved by someone else I love. I loved seeing her ooh and aah over her girly things and I loved even more watching her move to each of her brothers and do the same with them.

I wake up in the morning now and I am no longer surprised to have a girl in my house, but I do give thanks every morning for her. And her brothers too. I cannot even imagine what life wouldn've been like if she'd been a boy. It just seems like Elizabeth was always meant to be with us.

But I still really love shopping on the left side of Carters.

*And because I'm sure someone will wonder, I was happy birthing my other two children, but the first one came eight weeks early and was rushed to the NICU immediately which was very stressful and wondering about him for six hours before anyone told me anything didn't make for a happy morning. When the second one came, I had complications that caused a prolonged postop situation and some crazy drugs that kept me from really knowing what was going on until late that afternoon, so yeah, the third birth, AWESOME.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

A Forty-Two Year Tradition....

Christmas Eve photos under the tree...

I'm thinking this is a tradition that needs to end.

Monday, January 04, 2010

A Nice Surprise

I was going to write a long, reflective post about the end of 2009 and the hope that is 2010 this morning, but I was somehow led to check the school calendar yesterday and found that school does not start back until TOMORROW. Good thing I found that out before I dropped my kid off in my pajamas in the 35 degree chill.

So today, I'm taking this unexpected day off and actually spending it with my kids (as soon as Max and Ruby goes off). Trying my darnedest to stick to those resolutions.

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday.

Happy New Year.