Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Happy Birthday Punkin

It has been a year since you were born. A year of night time wakings, giggles, soft tiny fingers holding on to my not so soft lined hands. It has been a year of waking up in the morning listening for your singing in the crib, of a brother and sister jumping up and down when I carry you in to the room, anxious to be the first to hold you. A year of your daddy wrestling and bouncing you and giving you whisker kisses. A whole year of kisses and stroking your soft round head, praying for the day your stick straight hair would finally lay down and then being sad when it did. Soon you will have real words to replace the constant "decka, decka, decka" sound you make and you wobbling legs will start to run across the yard with strength and stability. It will all go too fast. But Happy Birthday Punkin. It was a great year.  (photo courtesey of Jodi Cravens Photography)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Where the Wild Things Are

Rooster is five years old and already eats like he's going out to plow a field. He wakes up hungry. I don't know where he puts it all in his skinny 45 lb frame but it definantly goes to his unending energy supply.

Soccer ended this week and that means it will be a never ending battle to keep him occupied and contained until April, when some other small town sporting event starts up again. And again, I will make the hour long trip into town twice a week just so he can play with other kids and run around. Until then we may have to find him a job like painting a fence or grubbing mesquite or hauling rocks in his John Deere Gator. It's a matter of national security.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Among the many aspects of being a modern day mom is this notion that we all have to be super healthy. It starts of slowly, we buy the organic frozen veggies instead of the plain old Birds Eye version and then it suddenly progresses to swallowing Chinese mushrooms with lukewarm water, which is what I'm a little embarrassed to admit is what I've just done. And I've just talked to my bff on the phone about doing a detox cleanse if that doesn't cure what ails me.

This has got to stop. First it was the organic business, now I'm giving my kids cod liver oil in there juice, I'm even making my own sprouted bread today. For months I've entertained the idea of buying a milk cow so we can stop drinking that poison they call pasteurized milk and so that I can (in my spare time) make my own yogurt, cheese and sour cream. The same said bff I mentioned above has been making her infant daughter's baby formula for months now and you can't imagine the lengths she goes to to procure the ingredients for this formula, most of it I haven't even heard of before. This little girl will defiantly graduate from high school by the time she's five I have no doubt, and she is the happiest, little bundle of baby roll you can imagine and when she comes home from high school mad at her mom because she won't let her go riding around with a senior, I will be able to tell her "I don't want to hear it - your mother MADE your formula!" Who does that??

We do. We are the new manic motherhood. We manic mothers plan our child's nutrition, we read labels, we self diagnose, and more importantly - we research stuff on the internet. I can safely say my mother not once even glanced at the box of Lucky Charms cereal to find out the sugar content and wondered, "hmmm, I wonder if this is whole grain. I wonder if the combination of Twizzle Sticks and Kool Aid will put Michelle into a diabetic coma." No, I grew up on Big Red and beef jerky and enough preservatives from the Hamburger Helper that I should still look like I'm ten. I worry about the dangers of high fructose corn syrup and the sugar content of fruit juice and forget that I've had enough cola in my life that I'm surprised have any teeth left.

We plan more activities for our toddlers than I had in junior high. I don't remember having activities as a child. I was kicked outside to ride my lead based paint bicycle up and own a street laden with unknowns, allowed to find the ice cream truck by myself, build forts in the backyard and hose down the cement porch to make a make shift water slide. I don't think my parents once looked at me and said, "you know I think we need to nurture Michelle's creative side. let's find some art classes to enroll her in or maybe we should put her in ballet before she's five."

I'm driving an hour back and forth to town so that my son, who is five can play soccer. Were you on an organized sports team at five? Or did your neighborhood friends just ask you over to play baseball? A group of gals in my town have organized a playgroup, complete with art instructors and paid musicians. There are actual invitations sent out, not just a phone call saying, "hey, let's meet at the park at 3:00."

I've invested a lot of money in the past few weeks feeding my paranoia of the swine flu. My kids don't leave the car without being rubbed down with anti bacterial gel. It makes sense because we live on a ranch and not a day goes by that my dog doesn't drag a half eaten javelina carcass into the yard for the kids to run across, or we don't have to deal with the yearly rabies or tularemia scare. My husband drags in more bacteria in the form of cow manure on his cowboy boots than I will ever encounter on the shopping carts at the local grocery store. And thanks to a morning talk show I now know my washing machine is the most unsanitary place in the world because of my husbands dirty man clothes. But that doesn't stop me from spraying down every inch of the table at a restaurant with alcohol spray and not letting my kids put their lemons into their tea. They can, however, go home and play in the sandpile behind our house that doubles as the cats litterbox.

Manic mothers need organization, we need to be in control. We meal plan, have household chore websites we frequent, we make shopping with coupons an art form. And after I grow my own wheat so I can make my own bread, I'm going to sit down and blog about it. Because that's what manic mommas do.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Pre Admission to Harvard may not be necessary

The new school began about a month ago and the newness has officially worn off and has been replaced with complacency. I may have more than I bargained for teaching a kindergartner, preschooler and herding around a ten month old who just started walking and who likes to eat erasures.

Early in the month I self diagnosed Rooster with ADHD because he can't sit still, he has the attention span of a hummingbird and he can't retain information longer than a nano second. While ADD and ADHD run rampant in my family, I know now that his symptoms could also be diagnosed as a five year old boy. I've taken the option of being in denial as so as a preventative to hyper behavior I make sure he has a good breakfast, his lessons are short and that he gets plenty of outdoor time. It seems to have helped. At this point I'm the only taking tranquilizers.

Pigeon loves school, but refuses to admit she's in preschool. She wants to learn the same thing her big brother learns, which is fine but she hasn't mastered basic skills like holding a pencil, cutting with scissors and she is not able to even sit up straight in a chair. For some reason chairs are one big boobie trap for Pigeon.

The Punkin is ten months old now loves to sit on the floor and yell at the kids as they do their work. When she's not belting out high pitched squeals, she's gumming the table, ripping up paper, and as I mentioned before - she's eating erasures. I intermittently put her in the playpen for some individual play time but she doesn't like this so much and instead of squealing on the floor in the classroom she screams at the top of her lungs from the living room.

I'm told by other homeschool moms that it will get easier. A friend of mine has taught eight of her children and judging by her Facebook pictures she's not old before her time. Now she might be crazy and I wouldn't know it.

I try to remember that I really am giving them a good education. As I watch their eyes glaze over during a Shakespeare lesson or poetry reading or while they listen to Handel I try to remember that they're getting more of this now than they would in 12 years in our local school system. They're studying a foreign language, doing great at math and learning to read and they get to spend a tremendous amount of time studying nature. Now if I can just keep from turning into a grouchy old hag that would be great.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Summer is gone

Summer is all but gone and yet it doesn't seem like it was ever really here. The temperatures were mild, but unfortunately we never got the outpouring of rain we usually get in July and August, which will make for a very long winter.

Time has flown by since Annaliese was born last November. I scarcely remember the holidays or Campbell and Madi Ryan's birthdays. I worked most of the spring trying to plant a garden in solid caliche. My poor husband drove steel posts for me through rock and caliche for the garden fence and brought tractor loads of dirt in from a dirt tank. I planted for weeks and watered incessantly because it never rained. By the beginning of August I was pulling up beans that never grew, corn with ear worms, squash and bell peppers that never bloomed and eggplants that never grew. All of my tomatoes got bloom end rot. The only vestige of my garden that did well was lettuce. My hopes of storing up vegetables for the winter and making extra money at the farm stands are shot.

My original intentions were to have an organic garden. That idea was nixed when the dinosaur grasshoppers started showing up and then pretty soon my garden was like Costa Rica for grasshoppers. We had giant black and gold ones, red wings, bright green ones, camo colored ones, and giant spindly legged ones and they were everywhere. And you had to have a hunting license to kill some of these bad boys. You couldn't just kill them, you had to immobilize them first and then go on in for the death blow because they were so fast. It was a constant battle and unfortunately, they won.

What vegetables I did manage to harvest, I canned. This was not even remotely as glamorous as I thought it would be. In the end, I was quoting my friends reactions, "I could buy this at the store. Who cares if it has preservatives and is canned in unsafe plants and has a ton of sodium in it. This is nuts.' But I know that when January comes I can open my cupboard and pull out a jar of fresh tasting tomatoes and it will be heaven and I will have thought that all this hard work was worth it. Or maybe not. By next spring, all of the frustrations will be forgotten and I will be again lusting over my Burpee garden, planning the rows and beds and dreaming of farm stands and even canning. Because I have something to prove dang it.