Friday, February 27, 2015

All the feelings

As we were getting ready to leave the house this afternoon to pick up Mary Clare from school, Charlie plopped himself down on the floor in the most dramatic fashion. 

"Charlie," I said, "Pop up. We have to go get Mary Clare."

He let loose with a heavy, equally dramatic sigh. 

"But, mommy," he said, "I really need to stay home and rest my feelings."

The good news is that I am getting better at keeping a straight face when he makes these declarations. The bad news is that they come so frequently, that if I don't immediately write it down, I forget. 

I love him. And his exhausted feelings. 


Monday, February 23, 2015

Yes, let's

On Saturday Chip had to do some in-services in Cape Girardeau, which meant that I was flying solo with the kids for the day. 

After breakfast, Mary Clare hunkered down with her American Girl doll, and was not heard from for three solid hours. I inquired about her health on a few occasions and received a smile when I bestowed upon her five doll-sized hair clips I happened upon, but she was clearly content to be in Doll Mode.

Charlie, on the other hand, just wanted to be in Mama Mode.

After hearing "Mama," "But, Mama," "Mama?" "Yes, but Mama?" and "Mama!" for three hours and having him trail me around the entire house, I finally opted for "Mama, where are you?" status and hid out in the office. But, like always, he found me. Quickly.

After rambling around the room and being quiet for a minute that felt like an hour, he quietly approached my chair.

"Mama!" he exclaimed. "I am a good person*. Let's talk."

And so we did.

*Please note, while I may have at one point asked Charlie, to please, please just be quiet for a second, I did not tell him he was a bad person. Or even annoying. (Even though hearing your name for three hours straight can be pretty darned annoying.)

Saturday, February 21, 2015

They're taking this pretty hard

I turned 39 a week or so ago, and eh, it's fine. I don't get completely freaked out about age. At least not yet. Talk to me in a year. Or five years. 

Anyway, while I am seemingly unfazed by the big 4-0 looming on the horizon, my kids are not.

On the morning of my birthday, Charlie said, "Happy birthday, mama! How old are you?"

"I'm 39, buddy." 

"Oh," he said. "Will you still be able to pick me up?"

I assured him that I would.

On our way to school a few days later, Mary Clare asked me if now that I'm 39, does that mean I will be a grandma soon? I assured her it did not, which is the beauty of waiting until your mid-30s to have children.

Fast forward to this morning. As I was tidying up some items in the basement in preparation for Girl Scout cookie storage, Charlie came flying down the stairs.

"Mama!" he exclaimed in that important statement/question style of his, "Were there dinosaurs when you were a baby?"

Sigh. It's going to be a long year/decade/lifetime.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Reading is fun for the whole family

Last night after reading the kids a few books, we tackled Mary Clare's sight words again. The past two weeks of illnesses set us back a bit, so I was dead set on Mary Clare completing her black turtle sight words this week. (Brown turtle, we're coming for you.)

Of course, Charlie was more than ready to assist.

Having worked on the black turtle words for awhile now, Mary Clare was much more proficient and only stumbled on a few. To his credit, Charlie did not seem upset about not getting to screech "wrong!" and dramatically throw the flash card onto the "additional review required" pile. In fact, dare I say it, he was rather encouraging. He was so sweet, nodding his head and smiling when she got it right.

As Mary Clare battled over "soon," Charlie encouraged her, "Mary Cware, you have to sound it out. Go on, sound it out!"

At this point, I lost it. I started shaking with laughter, which only encouraged Charlie to ham it up even more. Mary Clare, ever intent on wrapping up these blasted black turtle words just said, "Mom, when you laugh like that, it is really distracting."

She's trying to learn here, people. Shape up.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

I love him for his honesty

Valentine's Day morning, Chip and the kids surprised* me with breakfast in bed. As I propped myself up and put on my glasses, Mary Clare and Charlie scrambled onto the bed, excitedly telling me about the gourmet treats laid out before me. 

"See the waffles cut into heart shapes?" asked Mary Clare. "That was my idea." 

She continued on, "And daddy made the scrambled eggs, and he made your coffee. He also made the waffles."

Chip added, "It was Mary Clare's idea to fill in that little space on the plate with those chocolate heart-shaped cookies." 

As I oohed and ahhed, Charlie stood, waved his arms and said, "And I ... I did nothing." 

And to say he was proud of it would be an understatement. 

*Please note that Chip, two excited kids, one hopeful dog and our incredibly loud stairs make it virtually impossible to stage a surprise of any sort.  

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Career counseling

Yesterday Charlie and I picked Mary Clare up from school, and then the three of us headed to Target to pick up some last-minute Valentine's Day items, plus some meds, because ugh, this is the virus that won't quit.

As we were sitting at a stoplight, Mary Clare spied a flag display featuring the U.S., Missouri and POW/MIA flags. After convincing her that the Missouri state flag was not, in fact, the flag of Mexico, she moved her focus to the black POW/MIA flag. I did my best to explain it. We have some good family friends and family members who served in Vietnam, Desert Storm and the Irag wars, so I could make it somewhat relatable by mentioning Carl, Uncle Beef and cousin Alexander. (Thankfully, none of them were POW/MIA, so I glossed over that part to a degree and said it was more to honor soldiers who were hurt trying to keep us safe.)

All of this soldier talk got Charlie riled up.

"When I grow up, I want to jump out of a helicopter! With a gun! And fight bad guys!" And then Charlie paused, and said in this slightly timid voice that completely broke my heart, "And Mary Clare, you will help me? Because I want you to help me."

To which his sister, ever the sensitive soul, responded, "No. I am going to be a cheerleader."

Yeah, let that sink in for a minute.

Undaunted as always, he persisted. "But Mary Clare, I really want to jump out of helicopters and fight bad guys, but I want you to help me, too."

Mary Clare responded, "I really want to be a cheerleader, Charlie." And then she added, "Mom, can girls even be soldiers? I know they can't fly helicopters."

Pause for me banging my head against the steering wheel, wondering where in the ever-loving world did I go wrong with her.

Eventually I regained my composure.

"Yes, Mary Clare. Of course girls can be soldiers. And yes, they definitely can fly helicopters," I said. "One of you cousin Alexander's friends is a girl who flies helicopters, and she flies the really huge helicopters that can carry a lot of soldiers and their equipment."

She seemed convinced. Charlie, of course, was completely on board.

"Yeah! And that is the kind of helicopter I am going to jump out of. With my gun!"

Mary Clare, however, was not to be swayed.

"I really want to be a cheerleader," she said, crossing her arms.

I almost started to tell her that cheerleaders can jump out of helicopters with guns, but thought better of it, because really, it's a sad day when that's the career you're pushing.