Friday, September 18, 2009

Little Miss Chatterbox and her first day of school

Our local area is so blessed with an opportunity for the first time to have a Catholic Montessori school available for our children. There's only like 4 in the country and one of them happens to be right down the street from us. I love the Montessori method of teaching children and Little Miss Chatterbox seems to be meant for it. The school is offered three days a week from 9-12. Wednesday was her first day. Now, we have known from the beginning she was born that she was an intelligent person. She proves it to us time and time again. Mr. Funny had a meeting at the school because he will be going once a week to do the Atrium. (The Atrium is Montessori based lessons on the Catholic Faith) While we were there, the Directoress talked with Little Miss Chatterbox and then came over to talk to me. She mentioned that a few of the students in the Primary level would be moving to the Elementary level in January and that she thought Little Miss Chatterbox would probably be one of those students. I was excited about this because we were in the Elementary classroom and Little Miss Chatterbox was walking around the room finding some of her favorite things. Like the human body, sea shells, how plants grow. It seemed perfect for her.

Well, on her first day, as we walked in the door, the directoress suggested that Little Miss Chatterbox go into the Elementary classroom to see how she liked it. As I walked her into the room, she had a seat next to the circle of children who were sitting on the floor. I looked at her for a moment before leaving. She looked so tiny among those big kids. There she was. My little 5 year old with 9,10, 11, even 12 year olds. Sure, there were 6,7 & 8 year olds too but they even seemed big! I walked away feeling unsure about her going to the Elementary classroom. I had been so excited before but after seeing her there.... I just didn't know what to think.
When it was time to pick her up I was surprised to see that she was in the Primary classroom. She came out and gave me a big hug and told me how much she loves school. I asked her why she was in the Primary classroom and she said, "Well, (my friends) are in that classroom and well, I like being the oldest!" See? I told you she was smart. The next day I saw the directoress and she said that after just a few minutes of being in the Elementary classroom Little Miss asked if she could go to the other classroom. Then the directoress shared with me that she thinks Little Miss Chatterbox likes to be at the top of the totem pole and that she was more comfortable in that environment. She also mentioned that she would still be keeping track of her to see if she'd be ready to switch in January. I was relieved. I realized that I felt more comfortable with her there. Best of all, I didn't have to make that choice for her. No one did. Little Miss Chatterbox decided all on her own. A smart little girl, indeed.

Who's this fourth child?

Little Miss Chatterbox is always drawing family portraits of us and I love to see the different costumes and places she will draw us in. A few things never change. There's me and Mike. We're always wearing our glasses and Mike always has a beard.

Then there's Little Miss Chatterbox and she's always wearing pink or purple and has long curly hair.

Then there's Mr. Funny and he always has one piece of hair sticking straight up. Then there's Mr. Tickles and he always has a bunch of little spikes of hair coming out of his head. It's adorable. I can easily look at her pictures and know who is who.

Sometimes we're in a field of grass, with flowers everywhere. Sometimes we're dressed as kings and queens and are wearing crowns and jewels. Sometimes we're not even human. The latest has been the Orange Family where we are all there, as oranges. Except this time I noticed something different. A fourth child. A girl none the less because she was adorned in pink and purple just like Little Miss Chatterbox always is.

I pointed her out to Little Miss Chatterbox and asked, "Who's this fourth child?" She nonchalantly answered, "My sister!" as if I should have known. I replied, "But you don't have a sister." She looked at me and said, "Moooooooom. It's my future sister." Mr. Funny nodded his head with agreement. So I asked him, "You know about this future sister too?" "Yup", he said, "I prayed for five brothers and (Little Miss Chatterbox) prayed for six sisters." Then Little Miss Chatterbox added, "We're getting one of the sisters first. That's why I'm adding her to our family picture."
I see.

Hmm.... 11 + 3 = 14
Maybe that seems low to them because they just finished watching 101 Dalmations.

My Glorious Morning

I planted a bunch of morning glory seeds on the side of our house where we have a fence and little deck. There's a little corner where our St. Francis stands on a rock and watches over the yard. Behind him, which is the place under the deck, we store all our garden tools and various outside toys. It looks pretty cluttered so I wanted the morning glories to grow up behind him and hide all that stuff. Well, as my mom has warned me, morning glories will take over. And boy did they ever. We couldn't even see our St. Francis statue anymore.

I noticed some of the vines looked cut off and I figured Mike was trying to cut them back a little to keep them from taking over the house. But then one morning I went outside to sit on our "adult swing" as the children call it, and read a little bit before the kiddos woke up. The swing is on the other side of the morning glories. As I went to sit down, I noticed more vines cut down. I also knew that Mike had not been outside the evening before and that there was no way he would have gone out to do it before work at 4:30 AM. That's when it struck me. The deer are eating my morning glories! At first, I was angry. I already can't grow my favorite flowers because they are a favorite to the deer: Roses. They also like pansies, a fall time staple. And we have yet to have an apple off of our apple tree in the three years that we have lived in this house because the deer eat them all. They also poop all over our yard and send deer ticks our way. Now my morning glories? I was pretty upset until I looked at out St. Francis statue.
Yes, I could actually look at him again because the deer had eaten the morning glories from around him. In fact, that was pretty much the only spot they had eaten. I then thought about how many times I have seen St. Francis pictured with a deer lying at his feet. And then I could hear Mike's voice in my head telling me the same thing he has said when I have complained about the roses and the pansies and the apples. "The deer need to eat too."

So, I tipped my hat to St. Francis and thought about how it was nice to see him again and sat down to read my book. When the children woke up, I told them what happened and Little Miss Chatterbox said, "Well, the deer need to eat too!" Yes. The deer need to eat too.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Beach!

Well, we made it to the beach this year for a lovely weekend getaway. It. was. wonderful. Sometimes a trip away from your daily chores and responsibilities is all you need to get a pair of fresh eyes. There were things I learned or re-learned. Here are the Top Ten:

1. Mike and I don't get enough time alone together.
Photo credit: Little Miss Chatterbox
I know how important it is for a wife and husband to get some time together, especially after kids come into the picture and need most of that time. We try to make time together, but usually in that time we are both tired and can only muster to sit and watch a movie in which one or both of us fall asleep during. To be able to put the kids to bed and have the whole night ahead of us, was my most favorite part of our trip. Sure, we do this at home, but at the beach we weren't worried about what the next day would bring, not worried about getting enough sleep for the work day, and were brought to life by the excitement of being in a new place and listening to the waves crash out our window. We stayed up late, drank together, played cards and most importantly, talked together. I felt like we were dating again. Except this time we got to wake up to three beautiful little faces. Three extraordinary little people who came to be because we share this love with each other.

2. I have awesome children.

I already new this. But like I said, sometimes when you see your family in a different environment you see things with a new pair of eyes. The things that made me proud were just an array of little things. Things that assure me that I'm not half as bad at this mother thing as I think I am. Like, hearing Little Miss Chatterbox say excuse me when someone had to walk around her as we strolled the boardwalk. Or Mr. Funny's eagerness to help us carry things down to the beach. Or Mr. Tickles wanting so much be around his big brother and sister and cover them with kisses. I love these kids. They're good kids.

3. Every child is different.

Duh. But it's so funny when they are practically complete opposites. Take Little Miss Chatterbox and Mr. Funny for example. Not only do they look completely different -her dark brown curly hair and dark brown eyes, resembling more of Mike's side of the family & him with his straight blond hair and blue eyes, resembling more of my side of the family- but they also have completely different personalities. For example, Little Miss couldn't stay away from the water. Mr. Funny couldn't keep far enough away from it. Little Miss couldn't wait to go eat crab legs. Mr. Funny slept through dinner and woke up at the end and asked for pizza. (He does not like sea food) I love to watch them as they grow and see their personalities take form. What a blessing.
Here they are in the water:

Little Miss Chatterbox lovin' it.

Mr. Funny scared outta his wits.

Mr. Tickles loved the water but didn't care for the seafood. I guess he's a mixture of the two?

4. Mr. Tickles isn't a baby anymore.
Nope. In a few days he'll be 18 months old. When did that happen? He's walking, he's talking, he's doing things all by himself. He stands his own when an older sibling tries to take something from him. He puts on his own shoes. He cleans up his messes. His new name could be Mr. Independent. Until Mom walks outta sight, of course. ;) But that is why I didn't want to move from this spot:
For a moment, he was my little baby again.

5. We found the perfect place to stay at the beach. The Pyramid.
We stayed there last year as well and really liked it. The balcony is a cement wall rather than only bars across. They have a parking garage close to the walk way leading to the beach so you can leave all your beach stuff in the car and grab it on your way. The rooms are spacious. It's easily recognized because of it's shape (can you guess what it looks like? Yup. A pyramid) so the kids could point it out if they got lost. It's close to the Catholic Church. And this year, we could actually see the Church from our balcony. How cool is that?

6. Kids remember things. And they like traditions.
There are Candy Kitchen stores everywhere you turn at Ocean City. So, last year, on our way out, we stopped at a Candy Kitchen store and I bought the kids some lollipops to eat on the way home. Sort of a last treat before it all ends. Well, they remembered. So a new tradition was born.

7. Little Miss Chatterbox will let me do her hair if she's distracted by television.
I have been battling with this girl her entire life over fixing her hair. She has a sensitive scalp and so the slightest pull makes her scream in pain. This makes it very difficult to french braid. Unless you have a T.V. on in front of her playing T.V. shows she never gets to watch. We don't have cable or satellite at home so there is no Nick Jr. or what have you. The kids LOVED Sponge Bob. When it came on they were just totally absorbed. Which is a big reason why we don't have it at home. We don't want couch potato kids! BUT- while in this absorbent, zombie-like stage Little Miss Chatterbox will let me touch her hair. She'll even sit still and stay silent while I french braid. It's like she's not even there. It's almost spooky.

8. I can be just as much of a worrywart as my mother. (No offense, Mom)
First it was the balconies on our 19th floor condo. I couldn't help but picture one of my children leaning over and then falling off. This little sticker didn't help seize my imagination.

Then there was the ocean. I worry about my kids drowning in any kind of water. But add huge waves and that worry multiplies. Then add your husband swimming out in those waves and your chest starts to hurt. Then add an experience where a wave knocked you down and you had a difficult time getting back above water which causes you to then imagine that happening to one of your kids if they were to get sucked out there and you're ready to go home. But sometimes you just gotta pray, hope and don't worry. Somehow, I managed to do that.

To top it all off, we decided to take the kids to an amusement park. There is nothing amusing about taking your 5 & 3 year old children on a farris wheel that has no seat belts and rocks with the slightest movement. Especially when your 5 & 3 year olds are very curious and want to stand up to look over the ledge. To make the day even more fun, Little Miss Chatterbox was tall enough to ride the roller coaster. But even when the bar was pushed down to hold us in, you could see how easy it would be for her little tiny body to slip right out.

I understand your paranoia, Mom! It's not easy being a mother and having your heart walk around outside of you.
Anyway, this brings me to my next lesson:

9. I'm getting old.
I remember when I loved amusement parks. I couldn't get enough of the different assortment of rides and the thrill of being twisted this way and that high above the ground. I hadn't been to an amusement park in nine years. For the past eight summers I've tried to make plans to go but they never worked out. So I was excited to finally have an opportunity to ride a roller coaster again. But to my surprise, I didn't enjoy it like I use to. I was happy when it was over and thankful to have my feet on the ground again. Maybe it was because I had my little girl with me and I was too concerned with her safety to have fun. Or maybe I'm just getting old. Probably a little bit of both. Either way, I won't be trying to add "Amusement Park" to our summer plans anymore. At least not until the kids are older.

and #10. We are so fortunate to be able to take a vacation together to the beach.
Enough said.

Well, we relaxed, we had fun, we enjoyed each others company and we had a great time getting away from it all. The kids are already asking "When can we go back to the beach?" Not soon enough, kids. Not soon enough.