Monday through Friday Momma

It’s Monday morning.

We stand at the window, watching as she runs to the bus stop.  She gets to the corner, and sucks her thumb as she waits in line, looking so tiny amongst all of the other grade schoolers.  A few minutes later, the bus comes, and she’s off for another day of adventure.

And I realize I’m once again a Monday through Friday Momma.

I knew things would change quickly for her once she got into Kindergarten.  But what I never realized is how it would impact me as a parent.

I’m a different mother Monday through Friday.  I’m no longer Saturday and Sunday Momma.

Saturday and Sunday Momma helps her daughter into her carseat.  She helps her buckle the straps, and holds her hand tightly in parking lots.  Monday through Friday Momma sends her daughter off onto the school bus every day.  She hopes her daughter has learned enough to look both ways before crossing the street, and to be careful of cars.

Saturday and Sunday Momma makes sure we have a warm coat and hat on when we go out.  Monday through Friday Momma knows that, even if the coat is sent to school, it’s often shed the moment she’s safely aboard the bus, and remains shoved in the backpack throughout the day.

Saturday and Sunday Momma makes sure the fruit and vegetables are eaten, and that at least one “no, thank you bite” of everything is eaten before dessert can be consumed.  Monday through Friday Momma is the one who tucks the cookie at the bottom corner of the lunchbox every morning, hoping it will be discovered after the carrot sticks are eaten.  She is also the same one who unpacks the same uneaten carrot sticks from the lunchbox later that afternoon.

Saturday and Sunday Momma still, on occasion, helps her daughter go potty.  The phrases “Flush!” and “Wash!” are hollered often on Saturday and Sunday.  Monday through Friday Momma remembers the fact she goes on her own, far away from home, every day, and doesn’t require any adult assistance (even if she does forget to flush at school).

Saturday and Sunday Momma will intervene on the playground if an adult is not around.  “Play nicely,” she’ll remind.  She forgets what Monday through Friday Momma already knows: that kids do not always place nicely, share or use kind words.  And there is often not an adult around to intervene.  Sometimes, they need to figure out how to resolve conflict on their own.

Saturday and Sunday Momma still thinks of her daughter as a preschooler.  Because up until a few months ago, she was a preschooler.  But she’s crossed the threshold into elementary school.

And what a difference that makes.

Monday through Friday Momma is learning, ever so slowly to let go.  She resisted it at first.  But then she realized it was inevitable.  When it came down to it, she really had no choice in the matter.

She’s Monday through Friday Momma now.

Maybe that’s why she looks forward to the weekends so much.

Fuse beads: The good, the bad, and the ugly.

If your child has not yet discovered Fuse Beads, you’re in for a treat.  These colorful little plastic beads are a great way to keep your child busy on a rainy day.  And believe me, we have plenty of those around here.  Bobo is literally obsessed with the things right now.

But, as I’ve discovered, there is a downside to our newly-found craft project.  And, sometimes, there is a really, really big downside.

Before you venture into the world of Fuse Beads, be forewarned.  There is a good, a bad and an ugly to these little suckers.

The Good: Fuse beads will keep Child A quietly entertained for hours.  OK.  Maybe not hours.  But at least for a good 30 minutes while you attempt to make dinner.

The Bad: Once the fuse bead masterpiece has been completed, Child A will insist that her work of art be ironed.  Immediately.  Because the sky will fall if you don’t.   It makes no difference that you’re still in the middle of making dinner.  Fuse beads wait for no one.

The Good: You admit, as you iron the little piece, that fuse beads are an excellent way of encouraging counting, sorting and pattern-making with young children.  Your child may surprise you with their ability to create elaborate pieces of artwork.  And you might “ooh” and “aah” like it’s the best thing since sliced bread.  Because, of course, it is.

The Bad: Your “oohs” and “aahs” will pique the interest of Child B.  Whatever Child A does, Child B must also do.  And even though you try valiantly to work on patterns with him (“Can you do a blue and then a green?”), it’s far more fun for a two year-old to grab huge handfuls of the beads and mix the colors together.  Or try to sneak beads from his sister’s pile.

The Good: Both children are quietly occupied again (Child A making the beads, Child B attempting to steal beads from Child A).  You resume making dinner.

The Ugly: Child B starts coughing.  You rush over to where he is.

“What’s wrong,” you say?

“I gotta boogey up there,” Child B says, rubbing his nose.

But on closer inspection you realize that he didn’t say “boogey,” but rather, “bead.”    Apparently, he tried to create his own fuse bead masterpiece.  Up his nose.

The Good: Child B, distracted by a Disney movie, allows you to pin him down on the ground while you go fuse bead hunting with a pair of tweezers.

The Bad: After retrieving the first fuse bead (a green one!), you discover Child B has actually stuck multiple beads up his nose.

The Good: When asked, “How many beads did you stick up here???” Child B responds back quickly and gleefully, “OneTwoFree!”  You figure that at least we’re working on counting skills while we’re fishing them out.

The Ugly: You discover, after fishing out the third fuse bead, that Child B cannot actually count after all.  Or, that perhaps he just lost count after the third.  So much for child geniuses.  As you proceed to extract the fuse beads out from the depths of his little nose, you wonder how a nose so little could hold so many beads.  It’s kind of like the clowns coming out of the tiny car at the circus… how DO they all fit in there?

The Good: You discover, as you’re counting the line of snot-covered beads pulled from your little one’s nose, that he actually inserted them in a very specific order up his nose.




Yellow…  No wait, that last one was a booger.


It was a pattern!  He was listening to what you said after all.  Despite your distress over having to perform surgical extraction on your son, a small part of you beams with pride.  What a smart cookie.

And you begin to reconsider that maybe he is a child genius after all.

A child genius who just so happens to like to stick small colorful objects, in copious amounts, up his nose.

Oh, the Places You’ll Go in Kindergarten

Today is your day.
You’re off to Kindergarten.
It’s your very first day.

You have brains in your head,
And brand-spankin’ new Spiderman light-up shoes.
I offer to drive you,
But the bus is what you choose.

You’re on your own.
And you know what you know.
As much as I want to be there to hold your hand,
YOU are the little one who’ll decide where to go.

I watch you get on that school bus so yellow.
And inside, I feel anything but calm and mellow.
“You’re too little!” I think.  “How did you turn 5 so fast?”
I’m forced to look forward, instead of to the past.

I know that you’re nervous, excited and scared.
And, trust me, your mother is all of those things, times two.
Just go right along, and have an open mind.
Everything will be fine.  Don’t worry.  Don’t stew.

‘Cause deep down I remember, all those ages ago,
In Kindy you’ll experience, flourish and grow.
And I know in my heart this is your time in the sun.
New friends, new skills, and new fun to be done!

Oh, the places you’ll go in Kindergarten!


She doesn’t remember

The Matchbox car that lies haphazardly on the kitchen floor digs into my foot as I step on it.

I screech out a four letter word in a very un-motherly fashion, and wince with pain.  I’m thankful the kids aren’t home to hear it.  I look down in disgust at the discarded toy, the same one I’ve reprimanded her countless times to not leave lying around for someone to step on.

She doesn’t remember to pick up her toys like I always ask.  I’m annoyed.

Screaming penetrates the air.  I’ve just gotten home from work, and am exhausted.  I yearn for a few minutes of peace and quiet.   But, yet, she cavorts throughout the house on a tear, howling and giggling with abandon.

“Inside voices!” I yell at her, losing my cool already.  I’ve told her a thousand times that screaming in the house is not allowed.

She doesn’t remember to use her inside voice.  Again.  I’m impatient.

She tears into our bedroom like a tornado.  It’s 5:30 in the morning.  Way too early for me to be muffling a her loud preschooler cackles.  And what makes it doubly worse is that I haven’t yet had my first cup of coffee.

We trudge downstairs.  Her feet stomping on the floor sound a wild elephant herd running through the house, and the pitter-patter is anything but tiny.  I’m quite certain, in fact, that the noise can be heard from the next county.

“Quiet!”  I hiss.  “Do you want to wake up your brother?”

She doesn’t remember that we need to be respectful of other people.  Especially at the butt crack of dawn. When they’re sleeping.  I’m perturbed.

We go to see my grandma.  It’s a visit that is long overdue, and one that I’ve been subconsciously putting off for far too long.

When we get there, I see Grandma sitting on the couch, staring vacantly off into the distance.  We go up to her, and hug her.  She smiles faintly, but I can tell she doesn’t recognize us.  As if it would help her remember, I proceed to babble incessantly about what’s been going on in our lives.  Grandma stares through me, and mumbles something incoherently.

She doesn’t remember who we are.  To say that I feel sadness would be an understatement.

In the car ride on the way home, we talk about it.  I tell my daughter that Grandma has a hard time remembering things now.  But she is special to mommy.  And it’s important that we go visit.  Even if it’s hard.

“Maybe we can go visit Grandma together sometime soon,” I offer.  “Just me and you?”

“Sure, mom,” she replies, absently.

“But she won’t remember,” I think to myself.  And almost immediately after we get home, the thought vanishes from my own mind.   I get wrapped up in every day life.  I forget about visiting.  I forget about the promises I made.

And then, I enter her preschool room.

“Look what I did today!” she exclaims excitedly when I walk in.  She motions to the folder bulging with artwork.

I absently leaf through the piles of construction paper and scribbles.  The crayon markings blur together in a Crayola haze, until I get to one in particular that catches my eye.

“Dear Grandma” is written in awkward, cramped lettering on one of the pieces.

“She’s been working hard on this today,” her teacher explains.  “She said she wanted to draw a special picture for her Grandma, because Grandma doesn’t remember very well.”

As I look at the artwork, I feel an unexpected lump in my throat.

“Turn it over, mommy!” she continues.  “I wrote my name on the back.  So it would help Grandma remember who I was.  Can we take it to her?”

And right then and there, I lose it.

Not because I’m annoyed, impatient, perturbed or saddened.

But because my daughter remembered.

It wasn’t a little thing.

It was a huge thing.  An important thing.

Some things, she doesn’t remember.  But I know that there is a part of her that remembers that which is truly important.

And the other things that are forgotten?  Maybe that’s okay.  Because even if she doesn’t remember, someone else will.

The big porcelain throne in the sky: Episode 1

I had barely stepped foot inside the house.  I set down my laptop bag, gave the kids a kiss… and then I saw that look in his eye.  I knew immediately something was up.

“I’ve got bad news,” he whispered seriously.

My heart sped up.  Was it the kids?  A family member?  His job?

But it wasn’t any of those things.

He said just one word: “Elmo.”  And I knew what had happened.

The ensuing finger across the throat motion he made was completely unnecessary.  I knew that we had lost Elmo.

Elmo, circa 6 weeks ago. When he was still floating belly down.

We’ve lost fish before, and it’s never been a biggie.  You scoop the little bugger out, flush it, and eventually go drop another buck at the pet store for a replacement fish.

But this time was different.  Because this time, the kids were old enough to realize what was going on.

They had been old enough to select the bowls and colorful rocks.  They picked the fish out themselves: the red one for Chip, and the blue one for Bobo.   They had named their new friends. And they fed them.  (Except for when we forgot.  Which might have been why Elmo met his untimely death.)

The point is, they were very aware of Elmo’s existence.  And even though Jay had disposed of the body before the kids got home, we knew that, sooner or later, Elmo’s absence would not go unnoticed.

So while the kids played, we conspired to come up with a plan.  If Chip asked, we would tell him that Elmo had gone bye-bye.  He was too little to really get what had happened.

But Bobo?  We decided that she was old enough to hear the truth.  No matter how heartbroken she’d be.  Or how much she’d cry for her lost friend.  We figured a fish was a safe way to introduce her about the circle of life.

After Chip had gone to bed that evening, we sat her down.  “We have something to tell you,” I started hesitantly.

“Elmo died,” my better half stated bluntly.  He’s never been one to sugar coat things, that one.

Bobo looked at us wide-eyed.  “What happened?” she asked.

“Sometimes fish just get sick.  Sometimes they die,” I said.  “Or sometimes we forget to feed them,” my inner voice said.

She looked back at us in silence.  I could see the wheels turning in her head.  I braced myself for tears, or the hard questions.

But instead, after what seemed like eternity, she broke out into a grin.  “But MY fish is a live.  Yippeee!”  And with that, she trounced off happily to her room.  Discussion over.

And just like that, our daughter’s first encounter with death was over.  And all was good in the world.  Because Grover was still alive.

At least for the time being…

To be continued in Episode 2.