Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Last night another milestone was reached in my daughter's life. My youngest girl, Kaelin, lost her very first baby tooth. I'm not sure how I feel about this. On one hand, I am happy and excited for her. The other hand...not so much. As much as I would like to hold onto her and keep her my "baby" forever, her losing that first baby tooth has inevitably forced me to realize my child is growing up. She will turn 6 in August, I just cannot believe it has almost been six years.

Normally, I reflect on her life on her birthday. Last night, after putting her to bed with her tooth inside her Tooth Fairy pillow, I spent hours going over each detail of her life in my head. From the moment she was born and laid upon my chest, her first cry, her first smile, her first steps. Every moment is permanently etched into my mind. Memories that will last a lifetime. Now, one more to add to the list. I am thankful that she still likes to snuggle with me every night before bed. She calls me her "snuggle bug". I secretly love the fact that she is, without a doubt, a mommy's girl. I pray that never changes. Abigail may seem to most people as being the sensitive one, but Kaelin has one of the most tender hearts I've ever known. Most people see her as my "wild" child, rarely do they see her when she is calm.

Last night started as any other normal night would. We had dinner, and the girls went upstairs to play while I cleaned up. My mom came over, and no sooner had we had a seat in the living room to visit, Kaelin came bounding down the stairs. She was grinning from ear to ear and waving her little arms like she was trying to hail a taxi cab. "Mommy....mommy, it happened!! My tooth is gone!" She ran up to me to show me her missing tooth and was so close to my face that our noses touched. I can only assume that she thought I wouldn't be able to see the gaping hole in her mouth if she were to step back a few paces. My oldest daughter, Abigail, was close behind her, exclaiming that SHE was the one who actually pulled the tooth out. "I had to mommy....if I didn't, she would have swallowed the darn thing" Abigail professed. This took me a moment to process. Abigail is my squeamish child. She doesn't like getting dirty, she doesn't like things out of place, she is the epitome of a "girlie girl". But for some reason, she has a fascination with pulling teeth out. Kaelin did not seem to mind at all, stating that now the Tooth Fairy would be visiting HER. She explained to me that she was tired of the Tooth Fairy just visiting Abigail, it was her turn and she was going to make it extra special!

Kaelin was true to her word. It was a huge production. Frogs were lined up on the bed. The tooth finally made it to the pillow. She then took the daffodils out of my vase and arranged them around the pillow, all the while explaining to me that it needed to look beautiful for the Tooth Fairy. I so wanted to tell her that it was a sure thing, she didn't need to take my flowers. She would get something for her tooth whether all of her frogs were there to watch or not. This was her "moment" though. I was just a bystander. I watched as my "baby" became a little girl taking care to make sure everything was perfect for her big day. She even went to sleep with minimal fuss. She slept the whole night through, which is a rare occurrence. I have a desire to have the tooth fairy visit every night.

Once she woke this morning, she dove straight for her pillow. "Wow mommy....LOOK at how much money I have! If I pull out the rest of my teeth, I will be SUPER rich!" For a brief moment, I envisioned her with a pair of pliers, yanking out each individual tooth in order to achieve her goal. Snapping back to reality, I explained to her that in time, she will lose all of her baby teeth and have all permanent teeth. Until that time....please let nature take its course.

Yes, my "baby" is no longer a baby. True, she hasn't been for quite awhile, but for me, it didn't sink in until just last night. I look forward to watching both of my children turn into beautiful, amazing women, but a small part of me wishes I could keep them from growing up. Milestones. I wish it weren't so hard.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What not to wear....

My oldest daughter, Abigail, is not a morning person. Each and every morning is a struggle, from the time I try to wake her up, until the time I drop her off at her school. One of the most stressful parts of the morning is getting her dressed. I learned a long time ago to give her only two outfits to choose from. If not, it would take her hours to get dressed each day. My daughter at the young age of 7 has already become "obsessed" with looking perfect. I should have known this would become a problem from what I experienced with her when she was only two years old. At her young age, she would have a complete meltdown if the seams on her socks were not lined up perfectly across her little toes. If her underwear did not match her shirt, another meltdown would come upon me like a hurricane waiting to demolish everything in its path. I tried with everything I could to dissuade this from being an issue. Nothing worked. As she has grown, the issues with her attire have grown as well.

This morning, I was running late. I did not pick out two outfits to let her choose from. It is supposed to be "somewhat" warm today, so in my hastiness, I grabbed a perfectly cute outfit, ironed it and asked her to get dressed. Immediately, she looked at me in horror and exclaimed: "I will NOT be wearing THAT!" My response of course was to tell her she would be wearing "that" and it wasn't open for discussion. I did not have time for this. She did not deem the outfit "cute" enough. She proceeded to tell me: "mommy....did you not just watch "What Not To Wear" last night"? Really? I thought, where on earth does she get this from? I only had to think about it for a moment before

Every single morning for as long as I can remember, I go through countless outfits before I finally decide on one that looks "acceptable". My daughters have grown up with me choosing and discarding several outfits before making a decision. I have been known to have my entire wardrobe thrown on my bed before deciding on an outfit. One would think this should not be such a huge ordeal for me as most of my wardrobe consists of black and gray clothing. Unfortunately, I am not one of those people who can pick out an outfit the night before and have it ironed and ready to go. It may not look right on me the following morning. I'm not sure where I got this horrible habit from, but it is a part of my daily routine. I'm sure it has something to do with my lack of self esteem, and to think I have passed this on to my daughter makes me cringe inside.

A seven year old girl should not be worrying that an outfit is not "cute" enough. I want her to be able to close her eyes, yank out an outfit, and get dressed without giving it a second thought. I want her to have the confidence in herself to know that whatever she puts on, she will still look cute. She is beautiful. I tell her that constantly. When she was younger, I had several people ask me if I thought constantly telling her she's beautiful would make her grow up to be conceited. My reply? I would much rather have her know she is beautiful than be plagued with insecurities about herself. I do not want her growing up ever feeling like she is "less than". I do not want her to be like me in that regard. While I don't mean to, I find myself criticizing myself on a regular basis. I have never had self esteem, much less high self esteem. I want that for my two girls. I have been aware since they were infants that my words could and would affect them. While I may criticize myself in private, I have made a conscious effort to make sure my girls never hear me say "I look fat in this", or "Ugh....I feel so ugly today". What I didn't realize was that my unspoken words could do as much damage. My constant, daily routine of trying on a barrage of different outfits has apparently sent a message. I don't look "cute" enough. My girls should not be subjected to that. If there is one thing I vowed to do as a mother, it is to break this pattern that has run in my family for years....the lack of self esteem.

I think I may have accomplished that with my youngest daughter Kaelin. Either that, or she could just care less what she looks like. She never complains about her outfits, her hair, her shoes, or anything regarding her appearance. If she had her way, she would wear a bathing suit year round, or anything that has a frog printed on it. For now, she seems to have more confidence in her little finger than her older sister has in her whole body. I hope her confidence will rub off on Abigail.

As for me, I will now make an effort to pick out ONE outfit, iron it, and put it on. I will still probably never leave the house in sweat pants and no makeup, as that just isn't me, but I will make more of an effort to not "silently" show my daughters that I am not happy with myself.

One other thing....while I tell my daughters daily how beautiful they are, I also let them know how smart they are as well. I don't want them to only know how pretty they are, I want them to know they are also very intelligent little girls as well.


Friday, March 11, 2011

Walking the's not a good thing.

Yesterday was a day full of information. It is not a normal occurrence, but my girls decided to open up about their day at school. Granted, I think I received a whole weeks worth of information in one conversation, but it was nice to finally get a response other than the normal "nothing" when asked what they did at school today.

Abigail started off the conversation by immediately telling me that Kaelin had to "walk the trail". In my mind, I thought this might be something that was awarded to her for being good. I thought that maybe it was like a nature trail where she could find pretty leaves or maybe even a frog. No, that was not the case. Apparently, if you are not doing as you are told, instead of playing with the other kids at recess, you are forced to "walk the trail". Certainly my darling little 5 year old daughter was not subjected to this? She is normally well behaved in school. I turned to Kaelin to ask her exactly what happened and of course her first response was: "It's not my fault mommy". Sighing, I thought to never is. How many times will a parent hear that response from their children in a lifetime? Countless times, I've come to realize. Kaelin proceeded to explain in great detail why it was not her fault. Apparently a little boy in her class was having trouble opening the door, so Kaelin, being the ever kind, helpful person she is, decided to help him. She got out of line and opened the door for him. This earned her the reward of "walking the trail". I knew before she opened her little mouth what the next words would be. "It's not fair mommy!" I was correct, and silently chuckled to myself. Kaelin, I asked, what exactly were you supposed to be doing? Kaelin: I should have been standing in line, not talking, and not even moving. I continued with the line of questioning, feeling as though I was interrogating my child. What were you doing instead, I asked? Kaelin: I was being KIND mommy. Jeez, she tell me ALL the time to be kind, don't you think opening a door for him was being kind? I should not have to walk the trail for being kind to one another!

I explained to Kaelin that while I was proud of her for being "kind", there was an alternate way of handling things. She should have let her teacher know that the little boy was having trouble with the door and she should have asked if she could get out of line to help him. She looked at me with her most adorable face and again replied that "it just wasn't a good day".

 I'm sure there is more to the story other than her just stepping out of line to open a door. I'm quite certain there must have been a lot of talking and playing associated with the incident. To be frank, I'm surprised she isn't made to "walk the trail" more often. I've never received any notes home from the teacher, but Kaelin is my child who likes to get into anything and everything she can lay her chubby little hands on. As a baby, she was the most content, quiet, loving child. Abigail was a good baby, but even in her infant stage, I noticed Abigail would be moody. Abigail would sometimes look at people with the "if looks could kill" face when they just said hello to her. Kaelin was different, she would just smile and coo at everyone. Little did I know what I was in store for when she became mobile. It never ceases to amaze me how two children raised identically in the same household can hold such completely different personalities. Abigail is my "observer". She's cautious of people, she studies her surroundings and then decides which path she will take. Kaelin is my "bull in a China shop" for lack of better terminology. She has no regard for anything, and just barrels in and destroys anything in her path. She never thinks about consequences, she just does whatever makes her happiest at that moment. It started as soon as she became mobile. She was a "climber". I found her once, literally on top of my refrigerator. I still, to this day, have no clue how such a little body could manage to climb to the tippy top of the refrigerator and stand proudly on it. I also found her dangling once from the top of her closet. Before you judge me, I must point out that I do watch my kids. Kaelin tends to do things in a split second. I have to watch her like a hawk. I have had countless things glued to my walls, furniture moved around the house, flowers picked out of my garden, and even have had lovely little critters hopping all over my house. This was her "bug" phase. Until her obsession with frogs came into play, she loved crickets and worms. Her fascination with worms wore off once she realized they did not turn into beautiful butterflies.

Abigail is the complete opposite. She would not touch a cricket or God forbid, a worm, if you paid her to. She never climbed anything, never really destroyed anything in the house. She gets quite upset if her room is a mess, if all of her stuffed animals aren't arranged "just so" on her bed. Kaelin's room looks as though a bomb exploded in the middle of it. Abigail is a perfectionist. She gets upset if her writing is messy, she will erase and start over countless times. Kaelin....not so much. I have thought of duct taping her to the chair just to get her to practice her writing. She would much rather hurry through it than take pride in her work.

The other thing I learned from my children about their "day" at school was that elementary school is certainly not how I remember it. Kaelin advised me she had a new student in her class, but only for one afternoon. Confused, I asked her why only one day? Abigail told me it wasn't really a new student, it was actually a student from her class. I must have had a really puzzled look on my face which Abigail picked up on immediately. Why would a 2nd grade student be sent to a Kindergarten class for a day? Apparently, three girls in Abigail's class were fighting with each other and it became so intense that the Principal decided to separate the girls and put them each in another class for the remainder of the day. Certainly this could not be true. Second grade? Fighting? From what I was told, bad language was thrown around, some hair pulling and even pushing. This all from 7 or 8 year old children. It saddens me as I did not think this would happen this early in their lives. I thought middle school would be the rough years, and if they were lucky, maybe not until high school would they be subjected to knock down, drag out fights. On top of this, Abigail informed me that the Principal also had to have a talk to her class about stealing. Apparently, school supplies are being stolen on a regular basis from the classroom. This is a second grade class!! They attend one of the best schools in my city, this should not be happening.

After learning of these events which transpired all in "one" day, I sat my girls down and had a nice long chat with them. We discussed the proper way to behave in school, why fighting was unacceptable, why stealing should never be tolerated, etc. Only then did I learn that the aforementioned events have taken place over a week or so, not just all in one day as originally presented. Whew....thank God for small things, I thought. If all of that happened in just one day, what would a whole week look like? I must admit, I am almost afraid to ask them today about their school day, and I've only just dropped them off. I have the whole morning to muster up the courage to want to hear what has transpired today.

In light of everything my girls shared with me yesterday, I realized I am extremely proud of my children. They are both on the Honor Roll and each semester they have both been awarded a certificate for showing Responsibility, Respect, Safety & Learning. They have also each received the "Citizen of the Month" award. If the worst thing they do is having to be made to "walk the trail", maybe walking such said trail is not as bad as I originally thought.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

The battles of homework.....

As I sit here this morning, looking out my window while the rain pitter patters against my house, I feel as though my heart will burst. I just finished reading my friends blog about her baby and the tears just keep flowing from my eyes. Her baby, Caris, only lived on this earth for a very short six days, but in those six days, she brought so many people closer together. I originally planned on writing about my frustrations with Abigail over her homework issues, but after reading Maggie's blog, I realize how blessed I am to even be ABLE to have frustrations of doing homework with Abigail. My friend will not experience that with Caris. My heart breaks for her and for all of the things that she will not get to experience with her baby that I take for granted. I was so frustrated last night that it took Abigail almost TWO hours to write 15 measley sentences using her site words, instead I should be thanking God that I HAD two hours of craziness that I was able to experience with her. Life is what you make of it, and it should not be taken for granted. I love both of my girls more than anything in the world, and there is nothing that I would not do for them. Homework with them is a challenge though, and one I do not look forward to. Abigail is stubborn, like me. If she decides she doesn't want to do something, it is like pulling teeth from a roaring lion in order to get her to do what I ask her to do. Last night I was at my breaking point. My mom stepped in and took her upstairs to have her complete her sentences before I had a complete meltdown. I "almost" regret heaping that ordeal on my poor mother, but I am so thankful she offered.  She probably regrets it as when I went to check on them an hour later, my moms beautiful red hair had more gray in it then ever. I think a big chunk of it was missing too. I attribute that to her pulling her hair out while Abigail continued to argue over each and every sentence. I only lasted through one sentence, my poor mother had to endure it for fourteen more! Before my mom stepped in to help, it took Abigail twenty minutes to write a single sentence using the word "bread". Really?? She wanted me to spell the word "jelly" for her and once I refused she reverted back to acting like a 2 year old. Legs and arms flailing about, whining and continuously saying: "I can't do it mommy." To which I replied: "You CAN, and you WILL." Sometimes I feel as though I am too hard on my girls when it comes to their education, but I want them to succeed. I want them to excel. I want them to go to college and have an amazing career. I want for them what I did not have. Abigail is smart, but it is something she has to work at. It does not automatically come naturally for her, she puts a lot of effort into doing her personal best. Once she calmed down and wrote her sentence, "jelly" was spelled correctly. Sitting here this morning though, I think I was not grateful enough for the privilege of being able to teach my daughter something, if that something was only pure stubborness on my part to make her spell the word "jelly" on her own. I should savor each and every moment in my childs life, but I must admit that I have a very hard time enjoying the homework phase of her life.
When we returned home from family night, Abigail expressed how sorry she was that it took her so long to complete her sentences. She proceeded to tell me that while "time-out" may seem like a good idea at the time, it really was not in my best interest. She told me that if I put her in a time-out, it would take her an additional 7 minutes to complete her homework, and maybe even longer if I made her go in time-out more than once. She continued to tell me it could take 14 minutes longer, maybe even 21 minutes longer....maybe even 28 minutes longer!! I guess I should be grateful that she was incorporating math into her lesson, albeit at the expense of me! I wish they had a "Sarcasm" course in school, or a "Witty" course, as my child would excel in that without even having to crack open a book. I guess I should blame myself, as sarcasm tends to be part of my daily repertoire.
I am thankful for the time I do get to spend with my two amazing children though, and I thank God every day that they are in my life. While I may battle with them over homework, I know how blessed I am to even experience that. My friend Maggie reminded me of that this morning.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Stepping out of my comfort zone.

This is new for me. I follow a couple of friends blogs all of the time, and I have often thought of creating one myself. Today, I decided to do just that. It was prompted by a friends blog who had commented that she had just read all of her blogs from the last year. That comment struck me to my core, as I used to write in a journal faithfully until one day it was read without my permission. Since that day, I have not written down any personal thoughts or feelings for fear it would be read. This is different. This is a place where I can post what my two adorable daughters have said or done to make me laugh. This can be a place I can come back to several years later and show my daughters to make "them" laugh. This may also become a place I can vent my frustrations over many random things. Hence the title: Randomness. I have no clue what I will write, how often, or if I will even be any good at it. I have been told numerous times that I should write a book about the things my girls say and do, so maybe this will suffice for now. It will be a very generic looking blog as I have no clue how to do the layout yet...that is something I will need to play around with. My writing style will probably be all over the place and not nearly as beautifully written as my friends blogs, but that is okay with me. I am stepping way out of my comfort zone as I am normally a very private person. I have a fear of being judged. I fear that my writing will not be entertaining enough, that I may bore people. So for me, this is a big step. I need to step out of my comfort zone more often though, it will help me grow. I go!