Finding calm in the chaos

Finding calm in the chaos

Monday, June 24, 2013

the weight of the world

Joe: He's so serious.

Jen: What do you think he's thinking about?

Joe: What do you mean?

Jen: Is he worried what he's going to do now that he's graduated and isn't going to be coddled in preschool anymore? It's hard world out there and a tough economy. What are the job prospects for someone with a preschool degree these days? Poor guy's probably just overwhelmed with what lies ahead.

Joe: He'd better polish up his resume.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

preschool graduation

I opened the flier in Sam's backpack and shuddered a little when I read it: Sam's preschool graduation was scheduled for the end of May. Judge me if you must, but I dreaded the thought of watching a gaggle of wiggly, overtired hyper 4-and-5 year olds march across a stage in a pseudo-coming of age ceremony. At best, I imagined I'd clap with one hand while bouncing a crabby infant as Sam received his diploma. At worst...well, I imagined it would be something a tad more chaotic than herding cats.
I considered skipping it all together and just taking Sam out for ice cream instead. (Again, judge me if you must). But, Sam wanted to go and said they'd been practicing some special songs and so, we made plans to go.
Since organization is not our forte, we are always the last parents to know any important details. This is not the fault of our daycare, but rather a sign of our inability to unpack our children's backpacks and read through all the handouts that get sent home. (I don't know why this task is so difficult to work into our daily routine, but it is...and our failure to perform this task bites us in the ass regularly).
Anyway, the day of graduation, I happened upon a handout stating that failure to return my child's cap and gown would cause the preschool to charge my account $30. What cap and gown? Where would I pick it up? Was I supposed to order it? All in a tizzy, I texted Teacher Sasha who pointed me in the right direction. Once that got all settled down, I felt relieved that I wouldn't have to rush home from work, feed kids AND wrestle Sam into dress clothes before rushing off to graduation.
My relief was short-lived as I saw all the other kids walk into graduation. Turns out their cap and gowns were for later in the ceremony and the opening songs were performed in dress clothes....unless you happened to be my kid, who wore his very grubby playclothes he'd been rolling around in on the playground earlier that day. (Or, unless you were the kid who wanted to try to catch baseball practice after graduation...that kid's mom is an overachiever).

The kids filed out on stage as a wiggly mass of smiling, waving energy with every third kid (usually a know how that goes) knocking over the Good Luck archway as they passed through. I couldn't help but laugh.

And then the singing started...and I was transformed.

There was Sam, singing along with his classmates, following his teacher's instructions and trying to wave at us on the sly. Suddenly, I got it. I got it. Finishing preschool really was a rite of passage.

And then I started to cry. Just a little bit. Just enough for Natalie to loudly say, "Why are you crying, Mom?"

Oh, goodness. I am a hormonal mess of motherhood.

Afterwards, we snapped a few pictures. I'm not sure why ND, Sam and I all felt the need to fix our hair simultaneously.
We finally got a good one. I told Lala we'd have to try to recreate this picture when Sam graduates high school in 2025. I'd like to see her try to cradle Henry in her arms then. Just imagine what a hormonal mess of motherhood I'll be then!
And there's our preschool graduate...on to kindergarten.

Monday, June 17, 2013

stuff my kid says

Noah, being a wise first grader, loves to share his newly acquired knowledge with his younger cousins on a regular basis. At a recent lunch, the conversation went something like this:

Noah: Do you know the oldest person in the world is 116 years old?

Sam: (dead serious) Is it Lala?

You can't pay for entertainment like this, people...and it just drops into our laps like that. If only Lala had been there...

Monday, June 10, 2013

weekly wisdom: tips for raising a fat baby

I love a good, fat baby...which is good because that's how I grow them. With my vast experience of raising fat babies, I thought I might pass along a few helpful hints.
  • Fat babies are challenging to dress. Their limbs are pretty short while their tummies are pretty round, so you need clothes with, um, a generous cut. Avoid brands for skinny babies (Children's Place, Gymboree, Circo).
  • Fat babies come with fat ankles. Most booties can really pinch those chubby legs. Some moms will go so far as to change the elastic in their Robeez. Me--not being the crafty sort--I opt for leaving them barefoot as much as possible.
  • Fat babies have lots of rolls and creases. Clean in there often. It's amazing how much lint can collect under a baby's neck.
  • Fat babies like to eat a lot. So, if you are nursing, this gives you a free pass to eat all the ice cream you want.
  • Fat babies are, well, fat. They are heavy. It's a good upper body work out. You will not need to do any additional strength training until your baby can walk.
  • Fat babies are extremely kissable and snuggly.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

just like summer vacation

When we sisins were wee sisins, we used to spend a week of our summer vacation at Lola Oyang's house in Orofino. We would start the week out excited to see each other and end the week fighting, but in between, a lot of fond memories were made. So, when Lauren came up with the brilliant idea of a Memorial Day family reunion to introduce her new husband, Marc, to Orofino, we marked it on the calendar and made plans to go.
The plan started to fall apart when we realized our matriarch, Lola Oyang, was still going to be on her annual vacation to the Philippines over the holiday. Then, Lauren and Tancie decided they wanted to run the CDA half marathon over the weekend. All in all, the trip gotten shortened to a mere 24 hours in Orofino with only us Kaufmans making the trip. (The Eddys and Jacksons decided to stay in CDA and see Lauren and Marc after the half marathon).
Still, I was determined to go. Friday morning, I doggedly packed up clothing, diapers and a pack-n-play while Sam laid on the couch throwing up. If I had to take a vomiting child on the road, be it.
Fortunately, the gods smiled on our venture and while Sam slept the whole drive, he started perking up that evening. We girls had a great time sorting through Lauren's old memorabilia while Sam and Uncle Marcus watched movies and discussed the finer points of toy cars. Lauren and Marcus brought some pretty awesome gifts in an effort to buy our children's affection...and, all in all, they were successful on that front.
Sam, wearing his Nacho Libre cape from Lauren & Marc

Lauren marveling over our Giant Baby. We found a baby picture of Tancie and were amazed by the similarity between Henry and Tancie!

Natalie, as always, was slow to warm up to these "new" people. She didn't want her picture taken with anyone and cried for awhile that she just wanted to go home. By the time dinner was over, though, she was thrilled to be hanging out with "the Aunts"...although she still had some reservations about Uncle Marcus.

Marc made us a delicious pasta dinner (so the marathon runners could carb load). It was great to spend time getting to know Marc better. Unlike ND, Sam had zero reservations about Uncle Marcus.
And, of course, no visit to Orofino is complete without a trip to the Ponderosa for a milkshake. We woke up early for brunch Saturday morning and ended the meal with a round of milkshakes before heading to the cemetery.
It was a relaxed, wonderful, short getaway. I loved getting the chance to just hang out and spend time with my family. It was fun to tell ND and Sam about all our summer adventures. I think they got a little tired of hearing, "When I was your age, this is the [bed, bath, closet] I used to [sleep, bathe, play] in with all your Aunts." We all enjoyed it so much we're planning another getaway soon.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

dance recital

A few weeks ago, Natalie and I had a girls' night out and attended a dance recital. I admit I have mixed feelings about little girls in dance class. I worry about body image and self-confidence with round little girls aspiring to be thin, lithe ballerinas. I don't want all the fluffy, frilly prettiness of dance to distract her from growing into a strong woman of substance.

But, I get it. I danced a little in high school and loved those moments when I felt beautiful and graceful.

When the ballerinas took the stage that night in their blue tutus, I saw Natalie's eyes light up. She had a huge smile and declared in her usual determined tone that she was going to be a ballerina.
Me: If you go to dance class, you have to do what your teacher tells you.
ND: I know, Mom.
Me: That means you have to wait your turn and obey.
ND: I know, Mom!
Me: I'm just don't usually like to do those things.
ND: I'm gonna get up there and dance like this. [starts dancing in the aisle]
Since then, she's been practicing her twirling nonstop. She puts on her own "dancer-citals" in our living room, commanding us all to clap when she is finished. Angelina Ballerina has become her favorite show. She wears tutus over her regular clothes, regardless of the occasion.
Whether I like it or not, Natalie has decided she's going to be a ballerina. And when Natalie sets her mind to something, there is little (if anything) that can deter her. I guess I should just try to relax a little about the whole dance thing...I already have a strong daughter.

Monday, June 03, 2013

Henry's 3 month bear pictures

The 4th trimester of pregnancy is over!
Henry has started becoming his own little person: sleeping in his crib (albeit only for short periods of time), going to daycare half days, and becoming oh-so-aware of the people around him.
He's weathering the transition fairly well...although we will both be glad when he gets the hang of sleeping independently.
Special thanks to Kate for holding up the back drop. Four year olds can be so useful at times.