Monday, September 30, 2013

Faces of Emma Mae

This little girl keeps me on my toes. She is sweet, smart and stubborn. She is caring, cute and compassionate. She is wild, weird and did I mention wild? And she is currently going through a rebellious stage that leaves me wondering what the teenage years are going to be like around here.

I joined a playgroup a few weeks ago so Emma and I would have more things to do together and with other moms and kids. I thought maybe if we got out of the house more we would struggle less with each other. Turns out I was wrong.

Last Thursday I spent two hours making three batches of homemade scented play do with Em so we could take 15 baggies full of the stuff to play group to share with the other little kids who would be there the next morning. Because whoever heard of just going to the store and buying play do? Now I know it was supposed to be fun but I am a person that gets carried away by things which normally leads to great stress. I stressed over what scent to choose. I stressed over the color. And then I stressed when the non stick pan I chose to cook it in started flaking its nonstick magic metal in little tiny bits all over my orange play do. Would I give the other children nonstick metal poisoning?

Friday morning dawned bright and full of hope. I told Emma pretty early on that she needed to clean up her room and make her bed before we could go to the play do exchange. Please keep in mind this is something I make her do on a daily basis. We even have a sticker chart in her room as a reward for getting her stuff done. After about 30 minutes I asked her if she was done with her room. And this is what I heard, "MOM! I can't do it!" So I said, "Emma, you do this every day. Get it done so we can go to play group." And she said "MAMA! I just can't remember how to make up my bed. I'm trying to think of how but I just don't know. " Now, that was a lie. I knew it was a lie. So I told her she had five minutes to make up her bed or we would not be going to the play do exchange.

Approximately 8 seconds later she came and told me that her chore was done. And then she asked me if I would like to come look at her bed. So I did. And what I saw was every single toy that had been on her floor thrown onto the bed with all of her pillows and blankets thrown on top of them. Very messy. And very un-Emma like. This is a girl that organizes her underwear/sock drawer regularly. So I asked her what happened. And she said "I did it. It's just sloppy." The end. So I took everything she had carelessly tossed on her bed and carried it to my bedroom and told her it all belonged to me now. Because I am mean. If she can't take care of her things then she can't have things.

What ensued was a tantrum to rival the dreaded French Braid tantrum of the week before. She cried. She threw things. She told me I was the meanest mommy ever. So I told her that she needed to calm down or we would not be going to the play group. Eventually, she got it together enough that I thought we could give play group a try. You have to remember that play group is as much for me as it is for Emma Mae. I get to talk to other moms and have my child entertained by other friends for a minute. So I selfishly wanted to go.

We got in the car. About five minutes into the ride little girl threw her blanket at me. Then she started kicking my chair. Then she cried about her car seat buckle being "too tight." Shocker. So I calmly explained to Em that we would have to go to play group and drop off our play do for the other kids and then go home because she was not behaving properly. She got her act together. By the time we got to the park she was being almost pleasant.

Against every parenting manual out there I told her that I was going to give her one last chance. We would go play and we would stay as long as she had a good attitude and a happy heart. About five minutes later she was kicking dirt on me and whining about wanting to go swing rather than do the play do swap. So I took her by the hand and led her back to the car to go home. That was a long walk of shame as I felt the eyes of the other mama's boring into my back and judging me for being so mean.

As I put Emma in the car I said something like "it's really too bad that we couldn't stay and play with new friends and get some fun play do to use at home." And she said "mama, I didn't want that stinkin' play do anyway and I don't need any more friends!" When I mentioned that I would like to have more friends she told me that I had enough already too.

And as we drove home my four year old daughter informed me that I had a bad attitude and that God didn't like it. Then she said that she really missed the old mama who used to always be nice to her and never talked mean and always helped her make up her bed. She continued the tantrum when we got home and had to go to her room for a long period of time while she kept on about wanting the nice mama back. Good times. I also heard the ever popular "I won't stop crying and saying mean things until you say something nice to me! I want that mama that helps me make up my bed!" That's when I realized two things. Number one-Emma Mae can hold a grudge longer than a Hatfield or McCoy. And number two-she was probably hungry. So I fed her a hot dog and we had a pretty pleasant afternoon together playing with the stinky play do my neighbor dropped off for us after she was done with play group.

Monday, September 16, 2013

The dream of the sea

For Jake and Emma Mae, my babies. Life is big. We are small. May you fall in love with the One who made the ocean and everything in it. May you grow up with the knowledge that you can be everything to your mama even though you may be nothing to the rest of the world. May you be secure enough in yourself and your Creator to know that worry and trouble are fleeting little blips on the radar. May you discover the wonder of the ocean and its inhabitants and know full well that if God made them to sing and leap and dance with joy then he made you for a purpose. May you find that purpose and use it to bring glory to Him. Be big in your smallness. Be great in your insignificance. And always, forever know you are loved.

Sing me a song, oh magical whale,
as you dive down deep with a flip of your tail
Spiraling down in a dance while you sing
in the dream of the sea that is bigger than me

Leap in the air, oh dolphin my friend!
Flipping and spinning and turning on end
Gliding through water on butterfly wings
in the dream of the sea that is bigger than me

Tell me a tale of some sea star scenes
Feeling with arms sensing moonlight beams
Crawling on sand with your suction cup feet
in the dream of the sea that is bigger than me

Feather-foot, feather-foot freedom is ours!
Darting for flying fish under the stars
Twirling in circles with grace and with glee
in the dream of the sea that is bigger than me

Hello little horn shark! What's this I hear?
You have spines but you're gentle-there's nothing to fear.
You rest on the bottom; with gills do you breathe
in the dream of the sea that is bigger than me

Sea turtle, sea turtle, is it instinct or age
that guides you each year to the one perfect place
where you lay down your eggs on a beach so pristine
in the dream of the sea that is bigger than me

From the smallest of plankton to the largest blue whale
All are made special, right down to their shell.
There is no need to worry about things you can't change
Someone much bigger is holding the reigns.
So rest now; sleep and dream this one dream
of the sea and its wonders all bigger than me.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Series of Firsts

Well we have had many firsts happen the last week or so. Let's make a list!

1.) Besides starting first grade this year, Jake also got to start going to gymnastics class. The boy does the most amazing things with that little body on any given day that we thought it might be good for him to learn the correct way to leap off of high objects, crash into things and fall down. He had such a good time! It was an hour of stretching, jumping, parallel bars, high rings and trampoline fun. He loved all of it but was a little unsure of the high rings. Because they were really high. He asked me if I saw his "worried face" when he was on them. Still, he is counting down the days until his next class on Friday. He would go every single day if we let him.

2.) I had my first experience losing a child at Target. Emma Mae and I made our weekly Thursday trip to Target because I had some things I needed to return. And she needed a cake pop from Starbucks! We got there and went straight to the customer service line. There were two women in front of me who seemed to be causing all sorts of trouble. The poor ladies working the desk looked a bit frazzled. And whatever they were doing took a long time. Now, Emma Mae was not in the cart at this point. She wanted to walk like a big girl. I allowed it. However, she got bored about one minute into the waiting in line part and asked if she could go look at the dollar aisle. I allowed it. The dollar section was in full view of the customer service line. Except for the part that wasn't. And of course that is the part she went to. There was also a man standing off to the side watching Emma and what I assume was his son playing with the toys.  I left my place in line to go tell her she needed to stay on the part of the aisle where I could actually see her and she complied. I was thrilled! Who was this obedient mama pleasing child I had with me? Well, then she started skipping back and forth between me in line to the dollar aisle. And when she wasn't doing that she was dancing on this big wooden pallet they had sitting in the middle of the floor. And talking. Always talking. Loudly. Finally, it was my turn to talk to the frazzled customer service lady. I made my returns, grabbed my purse and turned around to tell Emma that it was cake pop time. Only I couldn't find her. So I went over to the part of the dollar aisle that was not visible to me ready to give her a talking to about not being where she was supposed to be. Only no Emma. So then I panicked. I just knew that man I saw earlier had taken my baby. I went back to the worn out customer service ladies and said "did ya'll see where my daughter went?" Just blank stares. So I said "you know the cute little loud girl that's been running around, singing, dancing and calling me MAMA!? Did you notice where she went? I can't find her!" So then one of the ladies looked at me and said "she's missing? how old is she?" I said "four." They looked at each other and the one lady told the other one to call for a code yellow. Three times. So that's what she did. She got her walkie talkie out and screamed "code yellow!" three times while the other lady ran to the front doors to start locking down Target. Just then an older looking mom type who had also been waiting in line looked at me and said "did you check the bathroom? sometimes they like to go to the bathroom." So I did. And there she was! I hugged her and asked her where she had been and told her that she had scared me beyond belief. Well, it seems she just got bored and decided to go potty by herself. Because she's big and all. And while she was in the bathroom she visited with some lady about the bracelet she was wearing. Just then I realized that the Target employees were all still scrambling so I poked my head around the corner and said "FOUND HER! You may cancel the code yellow." To which the weary customer service ladies responded "that is so scary! I hate it when that happens!" All I have to say is kudos to Target and their quick response time in dealing with missing children.

3.) You may remember that Emma Mae has been wanting to take dance lessons for some time now. Well, yesterday her dream became a reality. She was so excited she couldn't even get to sleep the night before. So we got her all dressed up in her tights and leotard. But she started complaining that the tights were too tight. Try telling a four year old that tights are supposed to be tight. That was a great conversation. Then she decided that the size four underwear she had on didn't feel right under her tights. Hmm. Perhaps because the size fours are at least a size too big for her. But she will only wear them because proper fitting underwear feel, you guessed it! "too tight." Anyway, she became a hot mess. Then her ballet shoes were too tight. Well. I finally got her loaded up in the car and had the great idea to ask her if she was feeling nervous at all. So then of course she was! By the time we got to the dance studio she was begging me to let her take off her underwear. Since I'm not an official "dance mom" yet I didn't have any idea if that would be acceptable so I made her wear them. And she spent the first thirty minutes of class laying on the floor crying her poor little blue eyes out. Her teacher was amazing and smiled the whole time and eventually Emma got up to participate for the last half of class. She says she wants to go back next week but she does not want to wear underwear!
Here she is before the drama started.

4.) Emma also had her first day of her last year of pre-school today. She just loves her school! She got to see her beloved teachers from last year and she seems to already love her new teachers for this year. I'm so glad I get to experience all of these "first times" with my sweet kiddos! (well, except for the missing child part)