Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Milestone #56-The Hits Just Keep On Coming

Two weeks ago Sonya, my oldest, graduated from 5th grade.  Ok, I know- graduated -is a strong word at this age.  I guess she promoted out of the 5th grade and elementary school.  I suppose we have gotten a bit carried away with all of the pomp and circumstance, of celebrating every age of kids achieving something.  Sure graduating from high school is a big deal, but now we celebrate preschool, end of elementary and end of middle school.  I don't remember that ever happening when I was a kid.  That being said, they did have a nice little ceremony for the "graduating" 5th graders, and yes I cried.  Would you expect anything else?

It wasn't that long ago that I remember walking her into Kindergarten on the first day of school, just six years ago.  In fact it was so not long ago that I wrote it about it here.  Yet, here we are just a few short school years later celebrating the fact that she is done with elementary school and will soon be taking on a new much scarier challenge, middle school.  (Dun dun DUN!!!)

The ceremony at her school for her 5th grade promotion was full  the kids singing songs and reminiscing about their days at their elementary school aloud to the auditorium full of weepy parents.  It was all scripted, well choreographed and quite entertaining.  In all honesty, I was prepared to be bored in our hot un-airconditioned auditorium for two hours, with my only reward at the end a chocolate chip cookie from Portos.  Which if you know anything about Portos is a pretty damn good reward, but still, TWO HOURS.  I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly it moved along and how fun it was to reminisce along with the kids and listen to their songs.  Of course they called each child up to receive their "diploma", which may have been the most boring part except when Sonya got hers naturally.  There was one song they sang in particular that made me tear up and the slide show they presented choked me up as well.  However, it was the last thing they did that had me close to sobs. 

Every year a certain number of 5th grade students receive the Presidential Academic Award.  This is an Award that out of Sonya's class of 130 students only 23 achieved.  Sonya was the second name called to the stage.  I tried to take a picture or two, but it's hard to keep a camera steady when you are muffling sobs.  I was so proud of her.  This little girl who Andy and I struggled with whether to send  to school at 4 years old, not only did well throughout her six years in elementary, but did extremely well. So well she got a signed (stamped) letter from The President. This little girl who was almost a year younger than some of her best friends, kept up with them and in most cases surpassed them academically.  This little girl, who I realized as she stood on that stage accepting her award, was not such a little girl anymore.  

How did this happen??  I feel sometimes like I missed it, but then I know I didn't because I can still recall every project I helped her with, and every friend she told me about.  I was there for the struggles of homework, the joys of doing well on a test,  and the problems with other kids from time to time.  Then there were the panic attacks she had last year, when she struggled with learning about the human body and worrying about her own mortality.  She has always come to me or Andy and talked to us about school or friends or whatever problem she was having.  In some ways I feel like emotionally she hasn't been ready for every grade, but she's always managed to come through with flying colors.  Now as she heads to middle school this fall, (or later this summer I should say), I worry that the little girl who is not so little anymore, will start to become distant from us.  We might not get to help with every project or hear about every friend.  She might shut us out if there is a girl being mean or she can't handle a certain subject.  I know this, because I know this is what every tween-teenage girl does, including myself at that age.  And this my friends, this is what makes me cry the most.  

Years ago, when I started this blog, I could have paid for college if I had a dollar for the number of moms who came up to me telling me, "enjoy them  now because it goes so fast!" Some of them much older and by themselves, some of them with a bored teenager standing close by rolling her eyes at her mom talking to a stranger.   I remember at the time, when I was housebound 90% of my life thinking-"it's not going fast enough lady!"  Now I find myself in Target or the grocery store alone and seeing younger moms with babies and toddlers struggling to get just one errand done, and I have to resist that same  urge to run to them and tell them the same things so many woman said to me just six years ago.  

It does go fast.  Way too fast and I know that now.  I still have some time to go with all of my girls before they leave us physically, but I am well aware of how I'm going to blink and Sonya will be graduating for real.  From High School.  So even though the summer sometimes drives me crazy what with having to drag them to Target and the grocery store, while refereeing multiple fights throughout the day, I will do everything I can to hold on to these days and have as much fun with them as I can, while they will still let me.  I know soon enough they will be trading time with me for time with friends, and (gulp) boys.  Then I will be left to sit in a dark room listening to "Cats in the Cradle" on repeat.  Hmmm...Is 41 to old to have my husband reverse his Vasectomy and have another baby??

In all seriousness, I am so proud of the daughter we have raised thus far.  I know she will continue to grow into a strong, smart, fun, sweet young woman.  Whether she talks to me or not.  

Monday, May 11, 2015

Play Ball!

The two little girls decided to play softball again this year.  We are still in that, "it's just fun to play" stage.  It hasn't gotten hardcore yet.  I was suspecting that when it does they would be out, but after watching how good they have gotten this season, now I'm not so sure.

I love watching the kids play at this age, because they are just so innocent about the whole thing.  If you tell them always throw to first, dammit that's where that ball is going.  Even if the runner made it to first two minutes ago.  They try to figure out what's going on, but baseball can be confusing if you're not paying attention at all times and you know, sometimes when you are standing in the outfield a pretty butterfly goes by and you just have to see where it will land.  Then they realize it's landed on the ball that rolled past that everyone is screaming for them to get.  "Oh yeah!  You're at the baseball game!"

Okay, that scenario hasn't exactly happened to one of my girls, but there was a game a few weeks ago when Georgia did something that had us all giggling in the stands.  Well, laughing after we yelled at her to run.  The Peaches (the team the girls are on-yes after A League of Their Own) had the bases loaded and Georgia was on second.  The next girl got a hit and they started running.  The ball was far enough out that the third base coach waved Georgia home, but the other team was getting it together and the ball was starting to make it's way back home.  Luckily, Georgia was way ahead of it.  That is until she stopped running TEN FEET FROM HOME PLATE!  For whatever reason, she stopped dead.  Everyone in the stands cheering for The Peaches started yelling at Georgia to run home, along with all of her coaches on the field.  She looked up at all of us yelling and waving her to home plate, shrugged her shoulders, turned and ran the rest of the way a few seconds before the girl from the other team got there with the ball.  So yes she was safe, but damn was it close.  And why the hell did she stop running??

Well, I asked her after the game.

"Um, Georgia, why did stop running?"

"Oh yeah!" She said remembering.  "Then everyone started yelling at me to run."

"Yeah because you were supposed to keep going?!" I said.

"Oh, well I thought it was a foul ball and I had to go back." She told me.

Now why she thought this I have no idea.  She had already run past third and nobody was telling her to stop but something made her think this way.  Perhaps it was the butterfly.

Here we are just a few weeks later and that child had a kick ass game last week.  So did Lana.  Georgia, was definitely the star though.  She started out playing catcher, which in coach pitch means she just has to corral the balls that gets past the hitter, which is most of them at this age.  She wasn't just corralling them though, she was catching just about every ball that came behind plate.  They almost fell right into her glove every time.  Then I realized she was making the effort to get them into her glove every time.  She and Lana both got a hit off the coach pitching.  This is something they have been doing more of lately.  It's hard for the kids to get the timing right of when to hit the ball, even if the coach is pitching it directly over the plate for them.  

The best part about the kids when they get a hit off the coach is that they pause for a minute with a, "wait-did I just hit the ball?" thought.  Then they hear the screams for them to run to first base.  Unfortunately, Lana waited a little to long to realize what happened and was out at first, but hey at least she hit the ball!  Georgia hit it and managed to get safely to first.  

Then came the last inning, there are only three innings at this age.  Georgia was playing third.  Most of the time they go through eight batters on the team and switch whether they get an out or not.  However, if they make three out before the eight batters get to go, then they switch.  That last inning was short, because Georgia made not one, but two outs in a row at third.  That ball got hit in her direction and she as there to catch it and tag the base both times.  For those of you who haven't seen 6 and 7 years old kids play baseball, you are probably thinking "yeah, so? Whatever."  Those of you who have seen those games are just as impressed as everyone else was that day.  She had parents from our team and the opposing team come up to her after the game to tell her what a great job she had done.  I was so very impressed and proud.  Unfortunately Andy was out of town that weekend as was Sonya, so I was the only one in the family to see it, but I talked it up to both of them.  

We are coming to the end of the season in a couple weeks.  I'm not sure if they will want to play next year, I guess we will cross that bridge next  January.  At least  they know more what they are doing and with a little practice, they might actually be real softball players someday.  Who knew?  I honestly thought that butterfly would keep them from ever figuring this game out.  I will file this lesson under-Never underestimate what you're kids can do.  

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Following in Her Sister's Footsteps

A few years ago, three to be exact, Sonya was in a play at school called the Jungle Book.  It is something that the 2nd grade class does every year.  You might recall that she was not so happy with doing the play at first, as I told about here.  This was well before she pulled on the red wig and blew everyone away as Annie a few months ago.  That was when she was still terrified of having anything to do with performing.  Well, Lana is 2nd grade this year, and don't ask me where the hell the time has gone because I have no answers for you.  Lana had a much different approach to the Jungle Book performance.  Hers has been nothing but excitement since school started back in September.

The bad news for Lana, was that the teachers weren't sure they were going to be able to do it this year.  There were some recent changes made and they were thinking they might not have time for it.  I kept checking in with the 2nd grade teachers to see who I needed to complain to and be THAT parent, in order to make sure it DID happen this year, but not to worry they were on top of it.  When January rolled around we were told it was indeed happening.  It was at that point that Lana dug out Sonya's CD to listen to and learn the songs.  Starting in January we could hear the Jungle Book songs coming from her room.  EVERY.  SINGLE. DAY.  I was pretty certain that by the time the play rolled around our entire family could get up on stage and sing every song start to finish.  

They had "auditions" for the kids to see which parts they would be playing.  This basically meant every kid told their teacher which part they would like.  From there the teachers choose the kids who are the best behaved and do well in school to give the main parts to.  They kinda have to do it that way, because even if little Johnny is a kick ass actor he might be a total asshole to teach.   The goal of this play is not to make it a Broadway production, but rather to give the kids an opportunity to get on a stage and learn how to work together.  I think it's one of the best things they do during their elementary school years, because everyone eventually gets to participate, not just the kids that can afford after school lessons. So they give the parts to the kids who do well.  However, as long as you can keep it together during rehearsals and follow directions, everyone gets a part of some kind.  Even if it's not a main role.   

Lana had decided early on that she wanted to try out for Big Bear Baloo.  I knew she would have a shot at getting something, since she is one of the better kids.  I am very fortunate in that fact.  As crazy as my girls may drive me at home, they are amazing students both academically and behaviorally.  Their teachers can never say enough about how great they all are and I feel very fortunate in that fact.  Of course now that I've thrown that out there into the Universe, no doubt I will get a call from the school about someone doing something they weren't supposed to.  OK I will stop with the bragging about how amazing my kids are.   Even though they are.  Well, at school anyway.  Like I said, at home they turn into demon children half the time.  

So Lana had it set in her mind who she wanted to play.  Unfortunately, she did not get her first choice.  She was a little disappointed, but not crushed.  Especially when she was chosen to play the same part Sonya did just three years ago, Colonel Hathi, the main elephant.  

She continued to practice and knew the songs backward and forward.  I helped her memorize her lines and tried to give some suggestions on how to make her character sound better.  Then I contemplated for a minute maybe teaching kids acting.  That is until Lana took none of the advice I gave her.  Ah well.  

Yesterday was the big day.  When she was going to sleep on Monday night she told me she was nervous.  I told her it was totally normal and she would do great.  

Andy and I went in to help the kids with their makeup and costumes in the morning.  This was something I didn't get to do the first time, since the other two were little.   In fact, if I remember correctly, Georgia had a migraine and I had to have my neighbor come stay with her so I could see the show.  I digress.  We manage to get a good seat up front since we had been there volunteering and were able to make it in before anyone else.  

Lana stood up there and sang her little heart out to every song she had memorized over the last few months.  When her part came up she marched down to the front of the stage and leading all of her "elephants".  Then it came time for her lines.  She was doing well, but then stopped suddenly.  It got quiet for about two seconds.  I'm sure they were the longest two seconds for Lana.  Fortunately for her, her friend Lauren, who was playing Mowgli knew EVERYBODYS' lines.  She was the kid who was  mouthing along with everyone for most of the play.  I know everyone knows what I'm talking about.  Good thing for Lana!  When Lana stopped Lauren half whispered half said Lana's line and then Lana picked it up from there.  It was so damn cute and so second grade.  Everyone in the audience kind of giggled.  I was worried Lana would be distraught about it, but if she was she hid it for the rest of the play.  

Afterward when I congratulated her she told me,

"I forgot one of my lines!"

"It was fine," I reassured her.  "Lauren helped you out and you remembered the rest.  I doubt most people noticed and if they did they thought it was cute."

She seemed satisfied with that answer.  

Just like Sonya, I know she will remember doing this for the rest of her life.  She had such a great time and is sad that it is over.  I only hope that the teachers don't run into problems next year so that they can do it again.  I still have one more Colonel Hathi to go!  
With some of her elephant friends and Baloo

She kept that makeup on all day. 

Mowgli, Baloo, Colonel Hathi


Friday, April 3, 2015

The Beginning of the Emotional Puberty Roller Coaster

Lately I have been dealing with something that is both familiar and foreign to me.  Yes, I know that is an oxymoron, but I will explain.  Sonya is ten.  I don't know if any of you are aware of this, but ten is an age where things start to happen.  You know, puberty wise.  The truth is, she has been kind of on and off moody for about a year now, but in the past few months it has started to increase and intensify.  I knew we were in trouble the other day when she came home from school, completely irritated, in a bad mood, and crying in bursts.  When she finally admitted she was upset, after arguing that she wasn't, all she could tell me was, "I don't know!  I don't know why I am acting like this!"  I do, and I remember it well, but damn I'm not ready to mother it yet.

I honestly don't remember what age it started for me, but boy do I remember feeling like she did the other day.  Truth be told I still feel that way sometimes usually around once a month, but it's not as intense and I know better how to handle myself since I'm adult.  Well most of the time anyway.  But I remember being that age and just feeling so distraught and not having a reason to feel that way really.  I did feel like my world was about to end, just because my sister did something to annoy me, or I couldn't find the right shoes to go with my dress, or because in that moment the sky was the wrong color -dammit!  Yeah, completely irrational.  The other day Sonya came home and started stomping around the house for no reason other than to let everyone else know she was upset.  Here was my biggest problem with her.

"Sonya?" I asked very nicely.  "What's going on, hon?"

"Nothing," she said angrily.   Certainly sounds like nothing!  I pressed on.

"Okay, well you seem to be upset about something and are acting like it." I told her.

"No I'm not," she argued.  "I'm acting fine, mom!"

Oh yes, because you yelling at me telling me you are acting fine means you are perfectly fine! See here is where I have the problem.  This drives me insane.  If you are in a bad mood, even if it's for no apparent  reason, just ADMIT it!  Say-"Listen everyone, I'm in a bad mood, I don't know why and I just want to be left alone."  Done!  We leave you alone.  This is what I do during those once a month times.  I just warn them all.

"I'm bitchy today because I feel bitchy and you would be smart to steer clear of me." Love, Mommy.

Then nobody can say I didn't warn them.  Lana gets this.  When she is in a bad mood she will tell us and then put herself in her room to be left alone.  Not Sonya.  She doesn't ever want anyone to think any less of her, so she is not in a bad mood, and if she is she certainly is not admitting it. So unfortunately, because her not admitting it irritates me, things escalated and she eventually ended up crying in her room, while I sat out in the kitchen fuming.

At one point Andy called and he talked to her for a bit.  She was reluctant to talk to him at first, but after she did she seemed calmer.  But no.   I called her for dinner and  we were right back at it.  Me asking her what was going on, her saying there was nothing.  WTF?!  That was when I realized.  It WAS nothing.  I remember feeling that way so many times as a tween to teen to adult.  I was just sad and mad at the world and my mom getting mad and grilling me did nothing but make me more upset and angry.  This was it.  The beginning of the puberty emotional coater.  Yay.

So after dinner, I pulled her aside and told her I got it.  Although she didn't really get it herself.  I explained that she was going to be going through a lot of changes over the next few years (God help us all!) and that these changes were going to make her feel this way from time to time.  She was going to feel upset and angry for what seemed to be no reason.  It was called hormones and we woman have to deal with them our WHOLE lives.  From puberty, to pregnancy, to menopause.  We really don't get a break do we?  Then I reminded her how I sometimes get cranky around my period and she agreed.  She was a little quick to agree I will say, but whatever.

"Do you remember what I say around that time?" I asked.


"Sometimes I say to you guys 'mommy's in a bad mood today guys.  It's nothing anybody did, I'm just having a rough day so please try not to make it worse'.  Do you remember me saying that sometimes?" I said.

"Yes," she agreed.

"Then you guys know what's going on and that you should try to behave a bit better, right?  There is nothing wrong with me telling you guys that and there is nothing wrong with you saying the same thing to us." I told her.  "This way I know how you are feeling and can help you, and also keep your sisters from making you more crazy because I know how that is too, ok?"

"Okay," she said.

"This is going to be happening to you a lot more and we have to find a way to work together through it, right?"

"Yes!" She said.  "Thank you, mommy.  I love you lots," then she gave me a hug and went back to her sunshine self.  The puberty cloud seemed to have lifted for the moment.  

I know this is only the tip of a very gigantic iceburg for me.  Not only do I have her to navigate through puberty, but two more very close behind.  Hopefully we can all make it out on the other side in one piece.  My sisters and I somehow managed to, and I believe my whole family was closer after all the growing up was said and done.  Sorry mom and dad for how shitty we were sometimes.  I know this is gonna suck, but hopefully it will make my family stronger in the end too.  I may just need to start scheduling mom weekends away every other month.  Or at least start buying wine in box form.  Perhaps both.  

Friday, March 20, 2015

What's In a Name? -An 8th Birthday Story

Tomorrow is Miss Lana Lu's 8th birthday.  Lana Lu.  Some of you might think Lu is her middle name since I call her that a lot.  However, it is not.  Her middle name is Drew, after her father, Andrew, and not Drew Barrymore like some people have also asked me.  Although eight years ago when she was born all she had was a middle name for a while.  For Andy and I middle names for the girls were the easier part.  Coming up with the first names led us to divorce proceedings.  Then we thought getting divorced over choosing a baby name was kinda stupid so you know, we worked it out, and settled on a name, or so we thought.  We are good like that.  However, little Lana didn't have a name on the day she was born.

Eight years ago today I went to the hospital to give birth to my second girl.  Andy and I had settled on giving her Drew for her middle name, because Sonya had Lynne for hers, which is also my middle name.  At the time we thought we were going to name Lana, Holly.  Holly was a name I had always liked, partially because of the British character on General Hospital I had watched growing up, but also because I think it's a pretty name.  Plus there was the fact that we really couldn't agree on anything else.  We had lists of names, but Holly was the only one we both were ok with, so we thought we would go with it.  The only bit of a problem with the name was that it also belonged to a girl Andy dated in college.

I know all of you women out there just gasped and now think I'm crazy for even entertaining this idea. To be honest, I didn't care.  I mean she was a girl he dated for a few months in college. It's not like she was ever someone he was planning on marrying.  Far from it in fact. She may have been a bit of a do I put this nicely...promiscuous girl.  Yeah that's a nice word than what I was thinking of in my head (slut). What? She was!  I'm not being mean, it really is just a fact.  However,  I've never been the type to care about who dated who in their past.  I mean it's their past.  I have past boyfriends too and we were married now and pregnant with our 2nd baby.  It's not like I had a reason to be insecure.  I can't help it if the girl he dated had a name we both liked.  And dammit it was the ONLY name we both liked.  So I said- who cares.  Andy had more reservations about it than I did.  She isn't someone he keeps in contact with at all, but he worried that if he ever did run into her one day what would she think about us having a daughter with her name.  Would she think Andy harbored some burning desire for her still?  He didn't want that, because he certainly didn't.  I offered other names like Lila, or Georgia (yes that name was in the running since I had Sonya), but he wasn't keen on any of those at the moment, so we stuck with Holly.

Then I went through 23 hours of labor with the soon to be little Holly.  I was doing everything I could to not have a c-section again and I succeeded.  After I gave birth to my second daughter I was on a high I don't think I could even describe.  Okay some of that might have been the pain medication. The rest of it was the feeling of accomplishment that I hadn't been wheeled to the operating room again to have my stomach cut open.  No this baby got pushed out and I had done it.  I was elated. I was ready to run marathon!  Okay maybe not a marathon.  And perhaps not run, but I could sit up and gingerly walk to the bathroom on my own.  A million times better then right after a c-section.  

"Let me see her!" I said as they weighed and checked her APGAR.

Andy was standing with her talking to her as they looked her over.

"So?" I asked, "Is she still Holly?"

He looked up and me and definitively shook his head no.   Then when they brought her to me I saw why.  She really in no way looked like a Holly.  I don't know how else to say it.  This is why when people name their babies in the womb, then start calling them that name, I personally think it's a big mistake.  That baby can come out not looking like your name choice at all.  My second daughter was NOT a Holly.

"Then what are we going to name her?" I asked Andy, hoping he had an answer.  He did not.  Back to the proverbial drawing board.

After we had moved to our room and we had a number of people ask her name, to which we had no answer, I pulled out my notebook.  I had brought it with me with all the names we had gone over throughout the nine months.  I was calling out names I had written down for each letter to Andy and he said no or I did.  Then we got to "L".

"Lonnie?" I asked.

Andy paused for a minute.  "That's not bad," he said.

"Or how about Lana?" I said looking at the other "L" name on my list.

"That's a good one too," he admitted.

I looked down at my sleeping baby and tried out both names.  She had been born with a set of full lips anyone who's had collagen injections would have killed for.  The names both seemed to suit her, but we were still unsure.  It was late and Andy had to get home to relieve our friend Melinda who had been staying with Sonya for over a day at that point.  He left and we decided to sleep on it.  Throughout the night when I was awake with my newborn I kept trying out both names, but Lana was that one that sat  best with me.  Something about it was cute and fiery.  

Andy had gone home that night and told Melinda the names we were thinking about and she had sent me a message saying that she loved the name Lana.  So the next day when Andy came in with Sonya we both agreed.  On March 22, 2007 we introduced Sonya to her little sister, Lana Drew Dadekian.  A cute and fiery name indeed.  One that she has lived up to in her short eight years on this earth.  The name Lana means light and then I found this on a website called 

"People with this name tend to initiate events, to be leaders rather than followers, with powerful personalities. They tend to be focused on specific goals, experience a wealth of creative new ideas, and have the ability to implement these ideas with efficiency and determination. They tend to be courageous and sometimes aggressive. As unique, creative individuals, they tend to resent authority, and are sometimes stubborn, proud, and impatient."

Perhaps I should have researched more before we just decided that she "looked like a Lana", and went with it.  Although most of those qualities are great and definitely Lana, it's the "aggressive, stubborn, proud and impatient" ones that have given me grief over the last eight years.  On the other hand it makes her who she is.  The kid who will decide she is going to do something and then you better stay out of her way because she is doing it. And she is doing it the way she wants to.  She is definitely determined with certain things. I've always said that Lana is the one of my three I will worry about the least in getting ahead in life.  She will make things happen if she wants them to.   Then there is the stubborn and proud part, like the morning she argued with me for ten minutes on what day my birthday was on.  She insisted it was April 28th.  Even though I've been celebrating it on April 18th for 40 years, she made me wonder for a second if I'd been on the wrong day all along.  I mean her way would make me 10 days younger.  It is well documented  on here over the years about her aggression and her temper, however, what the paragraph doesn't include is her ability to make up for her aggression.  It might take her a minute or 60 to cool off, but when she does she always apologizes to whoever she wronged.  Then everything  just goes back to normal with her.  There is no grudge holding with Lana.  What's done is done, let's move on.  Sorry if you are now sporting a 2 inch scratch across your cheek.  I will ask mom to cut my nails later.  (That really happened about 2 weeks ago.)  Don't get me wrong though, she is a friendly and kind little girl as well.  Although, those are traits I believe she works on more they are still something she aspires to be.  

Yup, tomorrow is Lana's 8th birthday.  She has developed such a great little personality in these 8 years, good and bad.  It was a personality you could see from day one, which is why the name Holly would have never suited her.  So I don't know if we chose the name Lana for her or if she chose it for herself, but I couldn't imagine her as anyone else.  She is our light. Our unique, determined, courageous, impatient, stubborn, cute fiery and yes, even sweet, light of our family.  I can't imagine my life for these past 8 years without her in it.  I love you Lana La, Lana Drew for infinity times infinity. I can't wait to see where your fantastic personality with your matching name takes you in this life.  


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Common Ground

I've mentioned on here before how every year at Christmas time we take a trip to Disneyland.  I am aware at how lucky we are to leave near the Happiest Place on Earth.  I am also aware of how even more fortunate we are that we get in for free thanks to my good friend Melinda, who works for Disney.  (Hi Melinda!)  We have been going every year since Sonya was two or three.  Even the years when the little girls were babies.  However, I do not understand why anyone would want to take a newborn to  Disney unless they had an older sibling with them.  It is not always fun with a newborn especially when you are breastfeeding.  I can point out many places throughout the park where I had to stop to nurse one of the  girls.  Outside of Minnie's house, yup.  Main Street, check. During one of the parades, been there.  

The first few years we visited the park our trip was was mostly about seeing the characters, because that's all the girls cared about.  That and a ride on Dumbo and the Carousal and we were done.  In the past couple of years, however, it has become more exciting as they have become older, taller and more willing to ride some of the more fun or adventurous rides.

Sonya was, of course, the first to go on those rides like Big Thunder Mountain and Space Mountain.  I myself happen to LOVE roller coasters, so waiting for my girls to be old enough to take on these rides was like waiting to be tall enough to ride them myself.  Sonya will ride them most of the time.  They are not always her favorite and she could really take them or leave them. Besides, after last year's incident with the Indiana Jones ride, she is more nervous about hopping on a coaster.   This year was the first year Lana and Georgia were able to ride both coasters.  Lana was apprehensive about doing it, but Georgia...Georgia couldn't wait.

The first one we braved was Big Thunder Mountain.  Lana was a bit nervous as we got on the ride.  She was sitting behind me with Melinda, because she insisted she was going to ride with Melinda.  You'd think she would want to ride with her mom or dad, but no.  Gotta be Auntie Melinda.  Georgia and Andy were in the car behind them and Sonya was with me.  During the course of the ride I could hear Georgia giggling and screaming in delight the whole time.  I turned around to see how Lana was doing, and to say she had a look of sheer terror on her face would be an understatement.  For those of you who have never been on Big Thunder Mountain, it's pretty tame as far as roller coasters go.  It's a perfect first coaster for kids though because of that.  Still, Lana did not look like she was having fun,  especially compared to the ear to ear grin and giggles GG was sporting.  

Once the ride was over Georgia exclaimed how much fun it was and Lana, trying to be upbeat, said it was okay. Yes, that was upbeat for her. Although by the end of the day she claimed it as her second favorite ride, so who knows. I do know when I mentioned Space Mountain I received a very definite "Nuh-uh!" from her.  Sonya was also not all that excited at the mention of Space Mountain.  She has been before, but again, she's never super excited for it.  Georgia on the other had was asking about it non stop.

After dinner and a ride on the Hunted Mansion and Pirates, we decided to split up.  Andy took the two older girls to wait in the forever line at Peter Pan while Melinda and I took Georgia to explore the space coaster.  

When we got there the wait said 45 minutes which I knew was pushing it, but figured it wouldn't take that long so we hopped in.  Unfortunately, the time was wrong but we were on the bad end of it. We ended up waiting for over an hour.  I was more than a little annoyed by the time we got to the front, but Georgia was still in good spirits and she was so excited for the ride I let it go.

She sat next to me in the car and wiggled around her seat when we got in, full of energy and smiles.  I remember taking Sonya on that same ride just a few years before and what a different experience it was.  She was anxious and holding on to me for dear life.  Georgia was completely the opposite.  She was on a high of happy and excitement.  I had warned her that it would be really dark and if she was scared to just hold on to me.  I could tell from the moment the ride started there would be no scaring her.  We went through the first tunnel of lights making it look like we were about to take off and I looked over to see her smiling and looking around, completely thrilled.  As we made our way through the winding darkness of the coaster, she giggled and screamed just as she had on Big Thunder Mountain. She probably didn't need to hold on to me, but I was holding tight to her, you know just to be sure she didn't fall out.  (Sometimes it's hard to have fun and not still have mom thoughts in your head.)

As the two minute ride came to a speeding stop, I looked over at her finally visible in the light.  Her hair was wild and all over the place and she was still smiling, perhaps bigger than before.  As we approached the place where we were to exit, I asked her how it was and she yelled,


 I was so excited she was excited I thought about it for a second.  Yeah, except I wasn't waiting an hour again.  I will admit it was totally worth the hour wait the first time to realize that I had found my roller coaster kid.  She didn't have a bit of her that had been scared.  Nothing but excitement and fun.  Exactly the way I was when I was her age with roller coaster.  I was never scared. 

 It's always interesting when you find something in common with one of your kids.  Whether it's love of roller coasters, taste in food or your favorite animal being the same.  Some of it is nurture sure, but there was no way I would have coaxed Lana into going on that ride.  On the other hand this was all nature for Georgia. No amount of nurturing needed.   It is something that brings me closer to her as she grows in to her own person.  Even if the other two don't feel the same way, there are other interests that I can relate to with them.  I can't wait to found out what those are over the years.  Slowly, we are transitioning out of the just taking care of the kids and making sure they stay alive, to seeing them develop as people with their own personalities.  Even though they don't need me as much as they once did,  I get to now see what we will have in common to share in life.  That being said,  I can't wait to see who is going to be the wine drinker so I have someone else to go wine tasting with.   After they turn 21 of course.  Although that interest should never be combined with the roller coaster interest.  The results would be disastrous.  At least for me.  

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Soon To Appear At The Laugh Factory

Having three kids means one is always behaving less than perfect.  It's a rotation of who is being the pain in the ass though.  Sometimes it's Sonya with her backtalk and eye rolls.  Other times the colossal Lana tantrums are what bring me down.  Lately though it's been my sweet little Georgia peach who has been driving me bonkers.  I'm not exactly sure why this is.  Could be the whole -little sister  not getting enough attention thing.  All I know is she is having a hard time making the right choices and listening lately.  Once you get to the third one you just kinda don't feel like it anymore.  I know, I know, I'm a terrible mom, but I can't help it.  The energy to deal is just gone.  The thing about Georgia though, is no matter how bad she is acting or what she is doing that is not right, she is always the one who is trying to be the comedian.  I'm beginning to realize that is what makes it harder for me to discipline her.  Don't worry, I've been coming down on her lately and trying to get her back in line.  I'm not completely letting it go.  However if your little one was saying some of these things to you, you might have a hard time keeping the punishments going too.  Here are just some of the things I've written down that she's said to me over the past few months.

While playing outside one day last month, Andy noticed Georgia only had socks and not shoes on.  So Andy asked,

"Georgia-where are your shoes?"

Georgia looked down at her feet like she was just as surprised as he was and said, "Not on my feet!"

Continuing in the shoe category...

One day she came home from school and took off the tights she was wearing and said to me,

"Ahhh!  It feels so great for my feet to be back!"

Looks like confined feet are just not her thing.

We were doing homework one night and I was helping her.  Her class is learning how to tell time and she needed help to figure out where to put the hands to make it 7:00 on the empty clock face picture.  She had the little hand in the right place.

"Well the little hand is on the seven, that's right, good job.  Now where does the big hand go?"

She thought for a minute and then got excited and shouted, "At the o'clock!!"

I mean, can I really say she's wrong?

Not to long after Christmas was over, but after the decorations were put away, she came to me one afternoon and out of the blue asked,

"Mommy, does Santa die?"

These are the questions that you have to think carefully about before you answer them.   The standard answer of,

"No, he's magic," is really the only way to handle this delicate situation.

She responded with, "Ok! Phew!" 

Who knows how long that one was weighing on her mind?

We are not a particularly religious family.  We go to church at Christmas and Easter, and if the girls ask we will answer questions about God and religion.  We don't pray on a regular basis either, (much to my mother's dismay, no doubt).  However, every once in a while the girls will request to pray before dinner.  We always let them.  One night Lana made such a request, so she said her little prayer and then Georgia decided she wanted in on the action too.  This was her prayer,

"Dear God, Thank you for this food and our clothes.  Not everyone has clothes and food and that's sad because they are naked and starving.  Amen."

The kid does speak the truth.  Hope you are listening God.

The last one I wrote down happened most recently.  It was just over the weekend and it's a bit more of a story.  I've mentioned on here before how much like her father Georgia is with this sense of humor.  Along with the sense of humor my husband has, comes a very large amount of sarcasm.  This is something kids just don't get at a young age.  When you are sarcastic to them they don't always understand.  This has never stopped Andy from being sarcastic anyway.  Now that they are getting older they understand it more, but not always.  Hell there are times I still don't get when he's being sarcastic and pulling one over on me.  He's really good at it.  So I guess I shouldn't have been surprised.

On Sunday morning, after having an extremely busy Friday and Saturday, we were all dragging ourselves out of bed to get the day started.  I was in the kitchen getting the coffee ready and Georgia was sitting at the counter.  She started to cough a bit and sniffle, and so I asked,

"Are you sick?"

Now this was stupid on my part, because anytime you offer for something to be wrong with Georgia she will take it.  The more attention she can get, the better.  As soon as I said it, I knew my mistake and I knew she was feeling fine, but she immediately went into "woe is me" mode, and and said in a meek voice, "yes."

"I think I'm sick mom, (cough, cough, sniff, sniff)." She told me.

Then in my "I'm not buying your shit" voice, I said, "Oh I'm sure you will be fine.  If you're not, you won't be able to go to the birthday party today."

I didn't offer her any sympathy, which I know irritated her, but she wanted to go to the birthday party, so she decided not to push the act anymore.

About five minutes later, Lana came to me whimpering because she had hit her head on her bookcase.    I had yet to have my cup of coffee, and after going out with the moms the night before, really needed it before dealing with such complaints.  Although, let me be clear, she did not seem to be in pain and I have always been the type of mom who has leaned more toward the tough it out, shake it off side of things when the girls got hurt.  I was never one for babying them when they hurt themselves, unless something looked bad.  Usually it isn't.  As a result, I have some tough girls who barely ever cry when they get hurt. So when Lana came to me complaining about her bump I sorta blew her off too.

"Oookayy," I told her.  "You'll be fine, shake it off."  (I'm pretty certain Taylor Swift must have heard me saying that every day for the past 10 years.  Whatever Taylor!  Just send the royalty check to Burbank. )  She didn't even try to milk it anymore, just walked away rubbing her head.

Georgia had been in the kitchen with us when she heard me talking to Lana, as unsympathetically as I had been to her, and she said out loud to nobody in particular, but making sure I heard her,

"It's sooo nice to have a Mommy who takes such good care of us when we're sick or hurt."

It was one of those things you hear a few seconds after it was said.  And then it took me a few more seconds to register what it meant.  My brain did something like this-"that's so nice that Georgia would say that... but wait... I wasn't being nice and taking good care of them at why would she..."

"Georgia?" She turned and looked at me.  "Were you just being sarcastic??" I asked.

"Yeah," she admitted.  And then I laughed, and laughed some more.  She started to laugh right along with me and then everyone else in the house wanted to know what on earth was so funny.

Georgia.  Georgia is what is so funny.  Right now, at this point in time of raising my girls,  she is the reason why I am ready to tear my hair out at the end of the day.  However, she is also the reason I laugh every day.  So please excuse me if I have a difficult time handing out punishments to her that make her upset.  I find it much more fun to laugh with her.