To My First Born

July 20, 2009

So, you’re done nursing, have been for years now.

You’re long since said goodbye to diapers and training pants.  No more high chair.

No more kiddie hangers, your clothing fits on regular ones now.

Your car booster was the last bit of little kid paraphernalia to go.  It sits forlornly in the storage room, awaiting the warmth and weight of a younger sibling.  I guess it hit me when I took it out of the car. 

You’re a big kid now.

A Day in the Life

May 3, 2009

Woke up, prayed Fajr.

Enjoyed the quiet for a little while, read posts at Khadija’s and Lisa Vasquez’s blogs.

Gathered the children’s clothing, crept into the room. The plan was to get them dressed and get them out of the house so that the Mr FL could sleep in.  I needed to hit the Home Depot for plants, and the flooring showroom as we need to replace our carpet.  Just as I have them all dressed, I hear my dh moving around upstairs. I decide to let the kids see him before we go.  Of course, what was supposed to be no more than 5 minutes of talking to their Daddy and then kissing him goodbye turned into the usual Saturday m0rning, kiddie-and-daddy WWF.

My sons jump on him, and he pretends to body slam them on the bed. Tiny Toddler tries to get in on the action and laughs hysterically when she is lifted high in the air and then dumped on the bed for tummy kisses.  I alternate between looking on in amusement and watching “Renovation Realities” on HGTV.  We end up all leaving at the same time.  My sons keep shouting, “Don’t let Daddy get away” as we follow his car down the road for a bit.  He turns off to get gas, we keep on to the flooring store.

They sit quietly on the couches in the showroom for a bit. I am relieved.  However, that doesn’t last long. I find the carpet I want, then dither about shade selection, holding the paint chip next to this sample and then that. We finally leave the store with the samples so I can see them at home.

At the Home Depot,  Tiny Toddler fusses at her oldest brother when he tries to sit with the youngest two in the cart. “No!” she barks. “You can’t!”  I roll my eyes and tell him he’s too old to sit there anyway. He is not pleased. I pick up two plants and then struggle with a bag of mulch.  A flag holding employee sees, stops the guy driving the heavy equipment, and comes to my aid.  Chivalry isn’t dead.

We hit the grocery store, and come home.  The kids go play and boy did I need a break! I love them but running errands with lil kids is no one’s idea of fun.

Mr. FL comes home, and as we are discussing carpet choices, the little ones get into a box of EmergenC packets and make themselves drinks. And spill powdered vitamin C on the floor. Mr. FL suggests that I not wait to put items away so that they won’t make unnecessary messes.   He then scolds the oldest, who knows better. 

I help him put up a new chandelier in the dining room.  My younger son has fun climbing the ladder and “helping” his daddy.  My older son wants to go in the backyard to play with a new bubble blower he got from his grandma, Mr. FL’s mom.  I tell him he has to wait until I can go out too.  After a few missteps and alot of time spent holding my hands over my head, we get the chandelier up.  My son takes a pic of me with his dad’s phone. Man I’ve gained weight since I messed up my knee.  Mr. FL and I then spend time looking at the chandelier

These things can take awhile to put up

These things can take awhile to put up

from every angle trying to decide if it looks right and if it is correctly positioned.  This home improvement stuff always takes longer than you think it will.

Mr. FL takes down the light fixture in the foyer, but the new one we got is defective.  He takes a break before starting dinner. I clear the counter and get out the cutting board, vegetables, and canned tomatoes. He comes down and begins chopping. I head for the backyard to pick basil and oregano. Tiny toddler fusses to come with me, so I carry her out.  She has a great time picking herbs but nearly yanks the oregano out of the pot entirely.  Back in the kitchen, she insists on rinsing them for daddy.

He makes spaghetti. It’s delicious as usual.  Halfway through dinner I realize I forgot to make lemonade.

I put away the food, we sit on the couch and talk for awhile. 

I leave to pick up Mini-FL, she’s spent the day with friends. On the way, I listen to Heather Headley.  When I arrive, she’s bursting to tell me all about her day, then tears up a bit because one of her friends is moving.  On the way back, we pick up an oreo cookie shake from the ice cream shop per Mr. FL’s request.

At home, everyone has to be bathed and brush their teeth.  I put Tiny Toddler to bed first, then braid Mini-FL’s hair so it won’t tangle too much.  Younger son shrieks and struggles when I announce bedtime. Yeah. He’s overtired. I carry his fussy self upstairs, but once in the bed, he stops resisting and goes to sleep pretty quickly.

And after that, I was tired and ready for SLEEP!

Train Them by Example

September 29, 2008

So I was putting away laundry and my oldest two are nearby playing.  They’ve got those little Lego people out and are playing  a game where they are conducting marriage negotiations.  The exchange went something like this:

FLDaughter:  “Okay, you bring him and we have to see if he is suitable to marry her.”

(FLSon walks up a little man and faces the prospective in-laws) 

FLDaughter, now in character:  “What will you feed her?”

FLSon, also in character: “Umm, chicken, and steak, and tacos, and cake for dessert, and salad, and sometimes go out to dinner, and broccoli, and bread..”

Daughter: “Where will she live?”

Son: “I will buy her a nice house.”

Daughter:  “You will pay for her clothes?”

Son:  “Yes.”

Daughter: “And fix things that break?”

Son: “Yes.”

Daughter:  “Now, what will she do for you?”

Son: “Carry water from the river.”

Daughter:  “That’s not enough.”

Son: “And, wash the dishes and clean the kitchen.”

Daughter:  “That’s not enough.”

Son: “And, do the laundry and iron my clothes, and do the shopping, and put away my socks, and run the errands…”

Daughter (very solemnly): “Ok, you may marry her.”

This little game, while very amusing to watch, also brought home to me again that children are deeply impacted by the relationship their parents have.  It was so sweet that my son feels that it is a man’s role to provide for his family, and equally gratifying that my daughter believes that a wife should work hard to contribute. 

Not to mention that listening to their little game made folding and putting away the laundry less tedious yesterday.

Hop on Pop

March 4, 2008

hoponpop.jpg  Saturday morning.  Sunshine streams through the windows in the master bedroom.  Mr. Foreverloyal is sleeping in, enjoying some much-needed rest.

Every ten minutes I answer the same question. “Is Daddy awake yet?”  Finally, they get the answer they’ve been waiting to hear.

 Rushing downstairs, they open the door with an unceremonious BANG.  It’s on. It’s like kiddie WWF, little kids jumping and play-punching and cackling with delight.  Mr. Foreverloyal is tickling tummies and kissing toes, dodging elbows and knees, trying not to get hurt.

Moments like that are when I wonder, all over again, how anyone can think that children don’t need their fathers.

stopBlog surfing, I came across a post where a desi woman discussed colorism issues in that community.  She spoke of two little girls, sisters.  One is significantly fairer than the other.  The fair one is showered with bangles and other gifts.  The dark one gets… exactly… nothing. Zip.

I remember blogger and romance author Roslyn Holcomb expressing several times that she would not allow people who blatantly express their color issues into her children’s lives.  Not even if they were family.  I have to agree.  If my children’s emotional development is my responsibility, how could I allow them to be damaged like that?  By accepting gifts for one child while allowing the other to be given nothing, that is what those parents are doing.  Even if they tell their children all day everyday that all skintones are beautiful, no one is better because they are fair, blah blah blah, actions speak louder than words.

And their actions are saying:  “Your sister is lighter and therefore more worthy of affection, caring treatment and gifts than you are.”

We have an obligation not to feed our kids that kind of poison.  Such a message is poison from anyone, but is all the more lethal when received from friends and family.  They are closer to our children, and our children naturally crave their affection and approval.  Like Ms. Holcomb, I wouldn’t knowingly allow people to spread their poison to my children.  Those grandparents would shape up, and fast, or they could take their bangles and their trinkets and get out of our lives.

That seems to be the new idea, anyway. 

It used to be argued that women were being oppressed if they stayed home to manage the household and take a more active role in parenting their children.  It was a kind of “darn those evil men” sentiment.  Then came the view that staying at home wasn’t all that important, but good enough for those women who chose not to engage their brains and have a real purpose.

I first came upon this latest idea while watching a discussion on the book “The Feminine Mistake” on C-Span.  The author had some really good points, but I digress.  What really caught my attention was the assertion put forth by one of the women in the audience during the Q & A session.  (Paraphrasing) she said that men were starting to want partners and not some parasite who was just going to live off of their hard work.

Parasite.

parasite180px-action715.jpg

Because if you’re not “earning profit,” as the Ferengei would say, then clearly you’re not worth much of anything and only serve to drain some of the life from your husband.

After all, being the only one to walk a screaming baby up and down the livingroom while your husband sleeps peacefully with the bedroom door shut is nothing.

Taking the time to shop for and prepare fresh, nutritious food for the family is nothing. More expensive, preservative laden frozen fare is better.  Exra points if you hit the drive-thru for dinner twice a week.

Raising your own babies and toddlers full-time rather than sharing that task with your local daycare center is just silly.

Reading to your children, taking them to kids museums and parks during the day, and teaching them to read and count before they even get to kindergarten is meaningless.  Having the time and flexibility to meet with teachers, pick up your children from school and volunteer for all the class trips and in the classroom? Complete waste of time.

And if you take care of all the maintenance on your car, make sure everyone has clean clothes and that the house never runs out of toothpaste?  If you are the one weeding the lawn, taking out the trash, waiting for the furnace repair guy, paying the bills, keeping spending under control?  You’re a scrub.

Are you a homeschooler?  Then you’re a waste of life. 

I also implore you to disregard the emotional support you give to your husband when he loses a family member or faces a tough situation at work.  Assign no value to those intellectual discussions about the state of our society or various ways children learn.  Pish on those late-night heart-to-heart talks after the kids are asleep.  If you don’t bring home a paycheck, you ain’t ish.

As a teenager, when I would see commercials or TV shows in which a father was depicted playing ball in the house with the kids, (while the mother looks on with resigned exasperation) I used to scoff. “Ridiculous!” I thought.  “Grown men do not play ball in the livingroom!”  I thought it was some anti-male propaganda designed to make men look immature.

Fast forward to July 26, 2007.  A quiet street.  My very own husband, playing baseball with my very own son.  In the livingroom.  I stand corrected about the behavior of fathers, but I look on with a smile instead of a frown.  My son is thrilled to pieces to have my husband’s full attention,  to spend some time playing with the bat and ball that daddy surprised him with.  He bends at the knees and leans forward slightly, his face a mixture of joy and concentration.  His bat is poised mid-air, ready to swing.  My daughter is curled up on the couch, already deeply engrossed in a book that daddy picked out just for her.

How could I be upset?  My children have a father that always takes time to play with them.  Who tosses them in the air, laughs with them, always asks them “What did you do today?”

And I have a husband who makes sure to buy soft foam balls for playing baseball in the livingroom.