Sunday, May 12, 2013

Ten Moments of Motherhood This Week

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms, stepmoms, and grandmas out there! Today I decided to change things up a bit, and share with you only kid-related incidents that happened this week. Here are the 10 things that stick out the most during my week with my eight-year-old daughter and five-year-old son. Not all good things, but the good outweigh the bad.

1. My daughter came home absolutely frightened after a girl in her school, whose mother had given her the birds and the bees talk, passed on the "information" to the other girls. After I reassured her that she wouldn't be peeing blood every month for the rest of her life (!) I had to actually sit down and give her the talk myself — complete with my sketchy drawings — assuming that while, at age eight she's too young to truly understand why her body will eventually do these things, knowing what's happening before it happens will prevent the fear and misunderstandings later. I would tell you about the sometimes sad (for me) and also absolutely hilarious (for me) talk we had that followed, but if she finds this post when she's older I don't want her thinking I was making fun of her, which I'm not. I'm just sad that my baby girl is now learning about her reproductive system. :(

2. Summer activities are blending into the yearlong after-school activities, and they're overlapping now. Here is my schedule now:
Monday: singing lessons, Beaver Scouts, baseball
Tuesday: tee-ball, Brownie Scouts
Wednesday: swimming lessons, diving lessons, baseball
Thursday: tee-ball, baseball, yoga (for me... if I can find the time to actually go)
Friday: Peace. Quiet. I'm sure we'll fill this with something very soon.
Saturday: soccer
I fear I'll go completely nuts in a few more weeks.

3. As I've mentioned, my daughter has been dealing with a bullying situation, the worst kind: that relationship where the bully is, on alternating days, her BFF. Things seem fine for a few days, and just when my daughter's defences are down, the other girl tells her that she's no longer welcome at her house, or that she's not a good friend (to my daughter, the worst thing you could say to her), or, shockingly to me, that she'll never amount to anything. ("What does that even mean?" my daughter asked me through her tears.) This week it escalated to the girl telling her they're no longer friends, they're "frenemies." And at first, my daughter was very upset, but then after she and I sat and had a talk where I asked her questions about how this girl makes her feel, and how do her other friends make her feel, etc. she really began to think about the situation, and from that point on, she's no longer trying to make this girl like her, she's just avoiding her and focusing on her other friendships. She asked me why this girl was getting worse, and I said it's because you're not giving in to her and letting her hurt you. And with that, she seems to have regained her confidence, and this girl hasn't bothered her at all this week, and just left her alone. I know this isn't the end of it, but this is a HUGE step and I'm so proud of my girl for having this strength and confidence.

4. My son, referring to a story in the Sarah Jane Adventures, asked me why the father Slitheen told Sarah Jane to spare his son and kill him instead. I explained that parents make sacrifices for their children. I said that's just what we do: if the two of us were in danger, I would do the same. My son's eyes welled up with tears and he said, "But I don't understand... if they killed you instead, that wouldn't be helping me because I'd be crying for the rest of my life." ♥♥♥

5. I was chatting with two women this week about how busy we all were, and one of them said how they work all day and it makes it impossible to handle things with her child, and she looked at me and quickly added, "Oh, and I'm sure you're busy, too." And despite all of my talk about how stay-at-home moms are the most heroic and hard-working people I know, I had this moment where I was taken aback and thought, "Does she think I'm a stay-at-home mom because I work out of my home?" And for some reason I was offended. And it bothered me that I was offended. On a typical week, my son is in school two days and with me the other three, and on those two days I have five hours to work, each day. I'm with the kids shuttling them from one activity to the next after school (see above), and I'm up with them at 7am and putting them to bed at 9pm, and somehow working around 20 hours a week on top of that (mostly on the two days my son is in school and an hour every evening and more on the weekends). I read a book for about 20 minutes a day, and that's it for my "spare time." And if I didn't have to work on top of taking care of the kids, I assume I'd find a way to fill those two days of both kids in school with other things so I wouldn't be any less busy. Before, when I worked 40- to 50-hour weeks, I had my kids in fewer extracurricular activities and paid for daycare, and it felt less harried than my life does now. It's weird when you've achieved a busy and hectic, but happy, schedule for yourself, yet you're still preoccupied by how others perceive you. And the woman who made the comment didn't mean anything negative by it at all; I think she was genuine when she said she knew I was busy, too. Clearly this is all me, and not anyone else.

6. There were open houses in both my kids' classes this week, and their teachers told me they're both doing fantastically well and my daughter's teacher in particular said she was at the top of the class. After leaving my daughter's, the three of us went out to lunch nearby and it was fun just hanging out, eating with my two little monkeys while they chatted and talked about school and their friends and I just felt so proud of both of them and happy to hang out with them. I don't know how much longer they'll be in a stage where they both want to spend time with me, but I will enjoy every single second that they do.

7. My kids often fight like, well, siblings, but there are these moments where I see them outside playing together, and my daughter has her arm around my son's shoulders and is helping him do something or picking him up after he's fallen off his bike. This week there was a day just like that, where I watched from the window as he fell off his bike and was crying, and I fought the immediate instinct to run out there myself, as my daughter instead picked him up, bent down to reassure him, wiped off his legs and dried his tears, and smilingly got him back on the bike and he was laughing in mere seconds. Years from now he may only remember that she fought with him and forget all of the good big sister things she did with him, but I'll remember them. :)

8. My daughter announced this week, while we were outside and I was tidying up the gardens, that she no longer wanted to call me "Mommy," and thought that "Mom" was perhaps more appropriate given that she was eight and all. My heart broke into a million tiny pieces, and I think my face belied my "Oh, OK, if you think so" response. But it would appear that some habits are hard to break, because one moment later she yelled, "MOMMY, HE'S NOT LETTING ME ON THE SWING" and then I realized she might be learning about her growing body and wanting to put on the trappings of an older girl, but she's still my little baby at heart.

9. This conversation:
Son: Mommy, what does it mean to have a crush on someone?
[daughter hunches her shoulders and covers a mouth with one hand as she snickers]
Me: Um... it's when you see someone and you like them enough that you want them to be your girlfriend or boyfriend.
Son: Oh. Well... I know you can't be my girlfriend, but I still have a crush on you.
[daughter's eyes close as the snicker turns to giggles]
Me: Aw, that's so sweet! You know what, I have a crush on you too.
[daughter immediately stops laughing]
Daughter: Oh, THAT is just GROSS.

10. Getting up this morning — after sleeping in!!! — and coming downstairs to my son looking up and running over to me with his arms open wide, yelling, "Happy Mother's Day, Mommy!!" and my daughter grabbing my hand and telling me to follow her as I walked out into the kitchen with her and read their handmade cards and bookmarks and saw them eagerly jumping up and down and just SO HAPPY to be celebrating this day.

There is absolutely nothing I love more in my life than being a mom.


EsDee said...

Wonderful post, Happy Mother's Day! This made my day: not only getting a Happy Mother's Day text from my oldest who is still away at college - but also receiving texts from her friends, who also call me "MOMMY". Your daughter doesn't ever have to grow out of using that term!

Efthymia said...

Your son won't forget the good big sister things -at least that's what my experience as the younger sibling tells me.

Colleen/redeem147 said...

I got to see my son and his family this weekend. I took my grandkids to the Ottawa Comicon (where that little book you edited for Graeme and Robert? did quite well, I take it) and they were lovely. It was lovely. The time goes so fast, because just yesterday I was taking their father home from the hospital, all tiny and bald. So as crazy and rushed and busy and hectic as it all is, treasure it, because it truly does pass in the wink of an eye.