Lover, not a fighter

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Thursday, June 17, 2010 at 10:45 PM

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We were given free tickets for the Harkins Summer Movie this morning. It was Ice Age 3, rated PG. I was hesitant, since my kids do not have a great track record in movie theaters (that's a massive understatement, actually - I don't think we have ever gotten through one). They watch movies at home, but something about the theater experience - loud volume, huge looming visuals, nowhere to escape - completely overwhelms them. But they were so excited, talked about nothing else for days, etc, so I kept my doubts to myself and away we went.

Sure enough, 30 minutes into the movie, there arose a tense scene. I have talked to the kids about conflict - how it is intrinsic to every story, how it helps us learn about the characters, how it makes the happy ending (because kids' movies conveniently all have happy endings) all the sweeter. But they don't see it that way. Manny the Woolly Mammoth and his friend Diego the Sabre Tooth Tiger were eaten by a giant Venus Fly Trap, and Devlin lost it. Totally lost it. He had watched much of the movie until that point slumped in his seat, ears covered, but when Manny and Diego were in (moderate) peril, nothing I said made any difference. I pointed out the comical music, indicating imminent rescue, I noted how much time was left in the movie - they wouldn't kill off the main characters already! - but to no avail. He writhed in his seat, clutching his face, whispering over and over "I wish we could just leave. I wish I didn't see this."

So, we left. What can you do? I don't want to feed into his fears and insecurities, but I have to respect a child with such a strong sense of what he can handle and what he can't. I don't want him to lose the ability to hear that Little Voice, that one that tells him how to be true to himself, how to stay safe and honest and happy. It's hard enough to keep that fire alight as you grow older, as the big bad world tries to push you farther and farther from who you are inside, from who you know you should be - even without a prehistoric carnivorous plant assaulting 3 out of 5 senses.

He's asleep now, finally, after a tear-filled bedtime, still worried over the fate of his animated friends. His bedside lamp is dimly lit, his Lambeys clutched in hand to ward off the bad dreams that I am sure will haunt him until morning.

I love him for exactly who he is. I love him because he's Devlin, because he's my son. I would love him just as much if he were a linebacker of a boy - a bruiser, a soldier, a rough-and-tumble thrill-seeker - the boy everyone has told me to expect from the moment I knew he was a boy.

Things being what they are, I guess I better start preparing his conscientious objector paperwork.

Tuckered out

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Wednesday, June 16, 2010 at 6:59 PM

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So, potty training isn't quite happening yet. No biggie. While Iris inches closer to awareness of her bodily functions, I can try to source some undies that don't leave deep red marks around her ample thighs. She did manage to pee on the potty today - the lid was closed, but that was hardly her fault! What she needs is a less busy mom to help guide her through it. Too bad that's not an option.

We did have another milestone today though: Iris is, at this very moment, slumbering peacefully in her very own twin bed. She took to it like a champ, the way she takes to most new things (it helped that she had two hours in the pool, a very short nap, and has a big sister roommate who is an excellent role model). For anyone who doesn't follow me around Facebook like a lovestruck puppy, I bought her new bed off craigslist for a song and refinished it myself. Always wanted to do that.



So, sweet dreams, little sausage. Try not to get into too much trouble in the morning; your mom is tired from staying up all night painting your furniture!

Three cheers for me (and you, if you want)

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Wednesday, June 9, 2010 at 9:19 PM

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Yes, I recycled a picture from a previous entry. Picky, picky, picky. I like looking at it and it's my blog, so there!

Today, instead of berating myself for my shortcomings as a mother, I have decided to blog 3 things that I do well - and I want *everyone* who reads this to do the same. If you're not a parent, then post three things in which you personally excel. I feel like being happy tonight!

1) I am teaching them to love to read.

And I'm not faking it, either. I saw a book the other day called How to Raise a Reader or something like that, and I thought to myself "well, there's one thing I don't have to worry about!" Because I adore books, and if my children don't grow up to love them too then I can die in peace knowing there was absolutely nothing more I could have done to encourage the practice. They will be smarter, they will be better people, their lives will be easier in every way because of all the wonderful things they will learn from those pages. I have a stack of books from my childhood that I can't wait for them to be old enough to crack into - that is, the ones that I didn't read until they fell apart long ago!

2) I don't compare them to each other.

Well, not to say I *never* do it, but I don't use it as a weapon. I delight in their varied and singular personalities, and I love learning about them individually - what makes them tick, who they are growing up to be. But it's all fine with me, however they are. I am reading a book (which, incidentally, I highly recommend) called Siblings Without Rivalry, and there is a whole chapter on this practice and how harmful it is. I was so relieved to read of a parenting mistake that I do not appear to be making in spades! Hooray!

3) I am teaching them healthy eating habits.

Oh, sure, we have "the usual" at McDonald's. And Taco Bell. And In-N-Out. But by and large, I am happy with our eating habits. A snack is a fruit or a vegetable, our eggs come from chickens that we know by name, and they don't run away screaming at the sight of spinach, cauliflower, or Thai/Indian/Vietnamese food. I consider this another gift to them, their future selves, and their future spouses. It's a gift my parents gave to me, and I am more than happy to pay it forward.

OK, your turn. When I wake up, I'm hoping for at least 5 comments to brighten my morning. Don't be shy now.

You've got to be crazy

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Tuesday, June 8, 2010 at 2:53 PM

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Yes, folks, I hate potty training. HATE. I hate it.

But I think I might hate diapers more. And she's about ready.

I may very well be rueing this decision in a day or two, but in the meantime, wish us luck!

Are you there God? It's me, Devlin

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Thursday, June 3, 2010 at 12:09 PM

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"Our Father in Heaven, we are grateful for this day. Please bless us to learn to com...commu...com-mu-ni-cate. Please bless Eve that she can always be as polite as she is when he asks to watch a movie while Iris is napping. Bless the food. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen."

Amen, buddy, A-freakin-MEN.

Fishing, hiking, and losing one's mind

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Wednesday, June 2, 2010 at 8:30 PM

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This fine Memorial Day weekend, my family spent some lovely time in the cool mountains of Greer, Arizona, with my parents. We cooked, we ate, we played games, we sat by the Little Colorado river, we threw a frisbee, and Devlin caught his first fish at Big Lake.

He was excited at first, but his eyes welled up when he saw the hook through its lip up close, and he breathed much easier once the little trout was safely back in the water. My little softie:



Father-son bonding at its finest:



Iris was very happy to sit in the mud and fish with a long stick, although she didn't catch anything:



Eve has confided to me several times a day since returning home that she "sure does miss that big white river". Incidentally, I do too.



A short hike, suitable for arthritic Nanas and weary preschoolers, gave us a "family of tiny pinecones". (We also saw a snake, but baby pinecones are more Devlin's speed):



Iris, mere minutes before taking a running faceplant into the gravel. A week later and her nose still looks like Michael Jackson's:



A family photo, for Granhopper - featuring Devlin looking paralyzed, as he often does in photos. It goes without saying that there were no shots of everyone looking good at the same time. Some of us didn't manage to look good in any of them:



David and I watched a movie one night, called Away From Her, about a woman who develops Alzheimer's Disease. She is placed in an assisted living facility at her request, and her husband has to deal with her deterioration and erratic, confusing behavior. It occurred to me (although maybe it shouldn't have) that small children have a lot in common with Alzheimer's sufferers, as least as portrayed in the movie.

Volatile moods? Check.

Unreasonable demands? Check.

Wandering off, often inappropriately dressed? Check.

Can't remember what I said to them 5 seconds ago? Asking the same question 30 times an hour? Requesting something and then throwing a fit when you get it? Check, check, check.

The good news is, my little patients are continually improving. And I have a lot to learn from the gracious demeanor of the husband in the film. A long-term viewpoint, a healthy level of detachment and objectivity, and an unshakable foundation of love are a good formula for success in either situation.