The Spirit of the Holidays – Conversations with My Six-Year-Old

spirit

The holiday season is in full swing and the spirit of the year can be found all around us. Everywhere I turn I see beautiful wreaths hung with red ribbon, trees twinkling in the night, and smiles on the faces of strangers. I absolutely adore the generosity and purity that flows within us this time of year. I sincerely hope my children will learn and understand the importance of giving to others. I pray that I  teach them to hold dear their loved ones and to cherish their friendships, their health, and their opportunities in life.

After a few recent conversations with my six-year-old Ella, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the magic and innocence of childhood. That, and the fact that she made me laugh, a lot.

The Spirit of Remembrance:

Ella: Mom, I need the binoculars.

Me: For what?

Ella: So I can go outside and look for Great Grandma Nonny in the sky.

Me: Okay, but it’s kind of cloudy out so you might not see her.

Ella: Oh. Oh well then maybe I can see a bird poop while it’s flying.

The Spirit of Knowing Who’s Boss:

Me: Ella, you forgot to make your bed this morning.

Ella: I know mom. It’s just that I have coat room clean-up at school this week.

Me: Well that’s no excuse for not helping out at home.

Ella: Mrs. M said that coat room was my only chore for the week.

Me: At school, not at home.

Ella: Oh yeah. And she is bigger and older than you. And she wears red lipstick.

Me: So.

Ella: Exactly.

The Spirit of Conversation:

Me: Ella, what do you want Santa to bring you this year?

Ella: A canopy.

Ethen (my four-year-old): A can of what?

Ella: A canopy.

Ethen: A can of PEE? <giggle>

Me: No potty talk. <Snort>

The Spirit of Supporting Our Troops:

Ella: I want to join the army.

Me: When did you decide that?

Ella: When I saw how much stuff they had there.

Me: What are you talking about?

Ella: At that place where they have tons of stuff. I really want to join there.

Me: Are you talking about the Salvation Army?

Ella: Yep. That’s it. Can I join?

The Spirit of Friendship:

Ella: Who is ‘Tot’ and where does she live?

Me: What? Who?

Ella: You know, that girl named Tot. I heard she gets tons of toys.

Me: You mean Toys for Tots?

Ella: Yes. Can you call her mom for a play date?

The Spirit of Health:

Ella: Mom, can we do yoga together?

Me: Sure.

Ella: Okay, just bend over and I’ll climb up on your back.

Me: Ummmm. What yoga pose is that?

Ella: The one where you carry me around the house until your legs fall off.

Me: Uhh.

Ella: Come on, it will be good for you.

5 Mommy Stress Busters

Let’s face it, as moms we are always on the go, go, go. From laundry to diapers and car pools to dinner. We are everything to everybody. We are the master chef, boo-boo kisser, healer, driver, doctor, baker, comforter, lover, finger painter, book reader, game player, fort builder, the list goes on and on. Oh, did I forget to mention dog walker and pooper-scooperer?

It’s inevitable that every one of us will have to face and address the stresses of motherhood at some point and time. Often we may feel as though we are drowning in a sea of dirty dishes, messy bedrooms, and Hello Kitty Band Aids. To survive as a mother, it turns out there are probably a million things we can wish for to make life easier for ourselves (cue – housekeeper, personal cook, and nanny). But to combat stress and help bring balance to our day, I’ve counted five important ways:

1. Breathe In.  Take a couple of deep breaths throughout the day particularly when feeling overwhelmed. Practice releasing them slowly and evenly. This will help calm our anger or frustration and teach our children that how we handle a situation almost always stems from how we react to the situation. Very often as mothers, we tend to overreact to even the smallest of things. Starting now, let’s rely on those few breaths to help us focus on what’s going on in front of us.

2. Let Go. Yes, there are things around us that drive us bananas on daily basis (or an hourly basis?) Let’s try to let those things go. After all, is it really necessary to skyrocket our cortisol levels just because Elmo is singing the same damn song over and over again and we think our ears are going to bleed? No. Well, maybe.

3. Eat Well. What we feed our bodies determines our physical and emotional health. It also determines how we respond to our surroundings. We all know that a proper diet is essential to our own body’s nourishment. Why would we not want to advocate for that? I can’t think of any reason not to.

4. Move. Let’s make a pact that we will do something physical for ourselves every day. Even if it’s only for 10 minutes. I’m not just talking about going up and down and up and down the stairs at home (unless we repeat that about a bazillion times in a day, oh wait we already do!). I’m asking every single one of us to get our butts outside or to the gym or to the garage or basement or living room. And once we get there? MOVE IT! S-H-A-K-E it! Go! Take that quick run or do some hiking with the family. Practice yoga in the backyard or ask a friend to join you for a circuit training session. The point being – Movement is Life.

5. Love. Oh love. Love. Love. Love: Give it. Take it. Make it. Feel it. Need it. Nurture it. Keep it. Let it go. REPEAT.

Five Things I’ve Learned About My Pre-Schooler This Week

Ethen started pre-k this week and after only three days in I’ve learned some interesting facts about my little boy:

1. He will actually lie down and nap during the day. Pre-K must be mucho exhausting for Ethen. Today his teacher informed me that they have to wake him up after rest time. Who would have thought my little Ethen all curled up in the corner on his sleep mat snoring and drooling all over his make-shift pillow? He would never nap for me at home. Never. In. A. Million. Years. I mean why would he? You know, in his nice comfy bed and all?

2. He hangs out with kids named after a variety of dry pasta. According to E, the following kids sit at his table: Ethen (obviously), Evan, Laney, and Macaroni. Yes, Macaroni.

3.  He goes potty with the bathroom door open. Now this one he does do at home, but I figured at school he would at least close the door when he’s doing his business. (Note: The pre-k bathroom is across the hall from their classroom and apparently they are sent there unescorted.) Ella (my first grader) told me she was walking down the hall with her class when she saw Ethen sitting on the toilet with his pants down and the door wide open. Oh Lord! I just hope he washed his hands!

4. He will only eat yogurt at home. We’ve been having some debacles at lunch with the slightly fermented, semi-solid food. Needless to say, this has led to Ethen being deathly afraid of transporting and consuming yogurt anywhere outside the confines of his own home. We don’t even mention the word. We’ve started referring to it as “probiotic.” Even so, I think he might be catching on. Every time we say “probiotic,” I see him flinch a bit.

5. He kinda likes me more than daddy this week. (I’m not positively sure about this, but all signs are pointing in my favor.) Nick and I went together to pick him up from school yesterday and he ran straight into my arms like a bat outta hell. When I told him to give daddy a hug and a kiss, he perplexedly replied, “Daddy who?”

Where Did Everybody Go?

My week has been nutso. This morning I took a deep breath and looked around – Where did everybody go? Oh that’s right, school. Yep, school is back in session and I obviously forgot how to handle it. I must have hit my head pretty hard (without realizing it) because I feel completely crazy, unorganized, forgetful, and tired. My mind and body won’t let me get into the groove of having two little ones off in the world of academia.

My Ella is now a big shot first grader and she is loving every minute of it. Granted it’s only been about 72 hours since she took her first steps into the classroom. I’m sure I will be side-swiped in about a month when the novelty of having her own desk wears thin. Ethen is finally starting pre-school. Yesterday was “meet the teacher day” which only lasted an hour, and I honestly had to take his temperature when we returned home because he was so exhausted and lethargic I thought he had come down with some rare illness (bubonic plague?) during that 60 minute time span. Maybe it was the 5:30am wake-up and the 30 laps around the kitchen and living room earlier that morning screaming, “Today is my first day at pre-k! Today is my first day at pre-k!” that really did him in. He was a perfectly healthy 98.4 degrees. Turns out all he needed to remedy his tuckered out body was a cuddle from mommy, a sip of elderberry, and a scenic-route wagon ride. Works every time.

Needless to say, I haven’t remedied my own pooped-out-poopiness this week. I’m completely off-balance and drained. Anyone up for pulling a grown woman in a wagon this weekend? But seriously, I hope to get my ass on schedule for next week and be here every day writing more about my mommying adventures…and health and life and love…and the sanity craziness of it all. 

Much love mamas!

fifteen seconds

gotta love it!

My kids this morning:

Mom?  Mom?  Mom?  Mom?  Mommy!  Mommy!  Ma!

Where are you?  

Where’s my puzzle pieces?  Mom!  Help me find them!

What comes after the ‘A’ for astronaut?  Mom?

Ella keeps eating my grapes!  Stop!  Ma….I need more grapes!

Where are you?

I want my hair in piggies!  

Mooooooommmmmmyyyy!  I can’t find my flip-flops!

MOM!  It’s good morning time.  Can we go outside now?  

Mom?

MOM!  MOM!  

Where are you?

flush.

Fifteen seconds in the bathroom and you would have thought I packed up, traveled to the ends of the earth, and the world (as seen through the eyes of my three year-old and my six year-old) was coming to an end.  I can see the headlines now:

Puzzle Pieces Gone Missing!  Grapes Stolen!  Flip Flops Vanished!  Hair Gone Wild!

One Mom Sets off the Butterfly Effect 

Is the Universe Telling Us Something?

The funniest (and most obvious) part is the fact that I told them exactly where I was going (at least two or three times), I left the bathroom door wide open, and I kept yelling out “Hold on guys, one sec!” the entire time.  Is it possible that I miss the days yesterday when we all were holed up in the potty party room together?  Privacy is kinda stressful.