Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Unopened Gift

Hanging in my closet at my mother's is a flannel nightgown, the tags still on it. The colors are ugly, and the fabric rough from many years of hanging untouched in a closet.

It is the unopened gift.

My grandmother died just before Christmas. All of the presents wrapped and under the tree, Christmas dinner cooked and in the fridge. But she wasn't there. She was suddenly gone.

My post about my grandmother

My grandfather had purchased this nightgown for her all those many years ago. He hung it in her closet and it stayed there until his death, unable to part with the last thing that he had bought for her. When we moved, I took it with me rather than give it away, a nod of sentiment to a lady I never met and to my grandfather's undying love for her.

I was reading on the Mommy blogs about the shooting. Someone mentioned all of the gifts that will go unopened this Christmas.

There is a hollowness in my heart. Those families will wake up Christmas morning and their children's gifts, brought by Santa, will go unopened. The laughter and joy of those little kids on Christmas morning will only be an echo in their memory. No trying out a new trike for the first time or opening a new doll. And I wonder, thirty years from now, if some new toy will lay buried in a closet just like my grandmother's nightgown.

As you go about your last minute holiday preparations, hold your family close and give sentiment as much as stuff.

And as you open your gifts on Christmas morning, enjoy it. Celebrate. But this year, as the last gift is opened, take a moment and remember... the unopened gift.

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Connecticut Catastophe ~ Now Is the Time to Act

If you haven't been following the news, then you probably live under a rock, but here's is what has happened today.


Twenty little lives, precious gifts, have gone to God's arms today. So have six other adults at the school.

Twenty sets of parents dropped their kids off today, saying "have a good day at school!" and kissed them goodbye, never knowing that they would never see them again. Twenty sets of parents frantically drove to that school today to find their children and their open arms were left empty.

My heart goes out to them.

There is an epidemic of shootings in our nation. It doesn't matter whether you support gun control or don't, now is the time to act. We cannot send our babies to a place that is supposed to be safe and bring them home in a box. We can't go to the theater and see our family murdered, or to college and see our friends hunted by gunmen. This is not about guns. It is so much more.

Whatever you believe in- stand up, act, speak out.

But I ask this of you; I charge you with a task: Don't mention the gunman's name. Don't gossip about his motives or his life. Don't read his writings. Doing so only gives credence to his actions.

His is a name that should be obliterated from history, along with those that do the same. Don't let the shooters have their victory by gaining infamy. No. Let their memory be erased from human history instead. For, no person willing to commit these acts belongs to humanity.

Drawn In Thursdays: Postponed

I was just about to post the cartoon and I know I'm late by a day, but I've been super busy. However, in light of today's news, it would be poor taste to post the funnies on a blog devoted to kids and parents.

I will post the cartoon on Monday, along with my normal posting.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

December 11, 2012 ~ Wild Child

I don't have much to report. Billy was out of control wild last night. The funniest bit was him running in circles screaming, "yay for baby Jesus!" (And we don't talk about Jesus at home very often, so this makes it all the more silly).

But Billy was wild and spent a majority of the evening in time out for one ridiculously bad behavior after the next. He's in the "do it because I know I will get in trouble and I don't care" phase. He's even taking to doing something and then putting himself in time out for his bad behavior.

Fortunately, he turned in at a reasonable hour. He didn't go to sleep, but tonight there was no screaming for Mommy. I think he finally fell asleep around 9-9:30. Well past his bedtime, but at least he was mostly quiet. I could hear him playing in his crib until about then, but not screaming for me.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

December 10, 2012 ~ Trials with a Tireless Toddler

Despite being exhausted and behind on his sleep, Billy seems determined to remain exhausted. He is refusing to sleep.

It's a game. What can I do to get Mommy's attention? Thank God for the extra baby gate which goes across his door during sleeping hours. It is the only thing that keeps him in. And eventually, boredom from a lack of response on my end causes him to give up and go to sleep.

But there is fall out from this behavior and it's not just a temperamental toddler.

Any Mommy sighting from his door encourages the continued calling of "Mommy!" and renews whatever efforts he is making to get my attention. This makes me a veritable prisoner downstairs as I attempt to remain out of sight and out of earshot (although I can hear him through the monitor).

When it takes him three hours to give up and finally go to bed, that means it's my bedtime too and nothing has gotten done. No chores. No laundry, no dishes. That means things like, I forgot that dinner was still in the oven (it was off) and found it this morning. All that effort gone plus a sink full of dishes and a piles of peed on clothes in the hamper.

At some point he's going to have to suck it up and go to sleep, because I've got to get things done.

Monday, December 10, 2012

December 9, 2012 ~ Mommy Fails and Holiday Tales

The child that would not sleep woke up Saturday intent with putting the "terror" in the "terrible twos". If he knew it was wrong, he did it. If he knew he wasn't supposed to touch it, he did. If it would make Mommy mad, he did it twice, just for good measure. I believe Billy was attempting to set a world record for time outs in one day. Yes, Saturday was that kind of day.

I tried to take him out, but he refused. "No, thanks, Mommy." Seriously? I offered to take him to get an ice cream, but that meant being good and he refused. He would not put on a coat. He would not wear shoes. He was miserable and tired and wanted me to be tired from his misery.

I'm fairly certain that the reason kids are so cute is so parents overlook days like today.

Sunday we went out for portraits. I assure you, Billy is a ham. He flirted with the camera and said "Cheese!" every time he was asked. Mostly, because he wanted to see more pictures of Billy on the monitor. (Digital photography... it's the wave of the future).

So later that afternoon, there I am watching the Ravens lose, reading a book and suddenly realizing that it's well past the time Billy should be waking up. Then I realize that I completely forgot to put a diaper on him before naptime. Uh oh! Mommy fail.

Just then, a little voice squeaked, "Mommy, I need to pee-pee in the potty!" It sounded urgent.

I bounded off the sofa and to him room, ripping the gate out of the door and dragging him toward the bathroom. He made it into the bathroom before he couldn't hold it anymore. We were standing right in front of the potty.

He was so upset.

I kept hugging him and telling him it was Mommy's fault. It was... he should have been in a diaper.

After I got him changed and cleaned up I check out the bed. Not a drop. He took a 4 hour nap and not a drop. Still, a Mommy Fail for lack of diaper on a boy during nap. We're not still fully potty-trained yet. He refuses to poop on the potty. He'll hold it and wait for his night-night diaper.

Well, after we were redressed it was off to a Hannukah party. Billy was so excited to see his friends. He even learned how to say, "Happy hann-u-kah!" Too bad he got shy and wouldn't say it at the party.

But he enjoyed eating the traditional food and hanging out with friends. He liked playing dreidel and especially loved the chocolate coins. Who wouldn't?

I'm so glad we went and we hope to make it a tradition. We want Billy to have a rounded perspective on culture and customs. Experience is the best way to really be open to it. No matter the reason for the season, let's all celebrate and be happy. Besides, it's a great way to hang out with some cool friends.

The Sunday Post ~ Dumbo

Have you ever rewatched a movie that you saw as a kid but haven't seen since?

This weekend I treated Billy to his first viewing of Dumbo. What's not to love? It's got the circus, elephants and a train. This is going to be awesome!

Well, while I remembered the story, I remembered it from a child's point of view. I associated with Dumbo, the "baby" in the story. I found the pink elephants terrifying. And the other elephants I recalled as being completely mean.

Then we watched it this weekend. And now I have a mother's perspective. This is a heart-wrenching movie. Tear your guts out heart wrenching. The poor Mrs. Jumbo who's wanted a baby more than anything finally has her little baby boy. He may be a little different, but she loves him. And in an act to protect her baby from the mean kids, the circus locks her up away from her baby.

The scene where she can't even see her child, but holds him in her trunk anyway is perhaps the saddest moment, even if this is a triumphant story.

Unfortunately, while Disney does such a fabulous job of making timeless tales, this one really falls down and I couldn't help admonishing myself for judging it against today's standards.

For one, new mothers and their babies aren't put on display where the viewers can actually touch the animals. Not any more, at least. Mother's instincts are to protect their young. Keepers wouldn't expose the public to that danger, nor the animals to that stress. But that's modern thinking.

Okay, okay. I'll stop judging an old film. It may be a classic, but I don't think this one will make it into the regular circuit at our house. Not without some perspective.

December 7, 2012 ~ Behind on My Posting

Yep. I'm behind. Why?

Well, super-exhausted-needs-to-sleep-like-Rip-Van-Winkle child refused to go to bed. Not even the threat of Santa could talk him into going to sleep Friday night. Long past his bedtime when Daddy got home he was still awake, still screaming.

These are the Billy tricks I no longer fall for:

1.) I'm hungry. No you're not. You ate dinner. Go to bed.

2.) I need a binky. No, you have 2 already. You only have one mouth. Go to bed.

3.) I need to pee-pee on the potty. Hmm... do I bite? He's wearing a diaper. Nope. No potty. Go to bed.

4.) Where's my ...? Your ... is in your hand. Now, go to sleep.

5.) Mommy, I miss you! I miss you too. Now, go miss me i bed, please.

6.) I need a hug. You've already had 7 hugs. You can have another hug in the morning. Go to bed.

7.) Mommy, I already sleep and I wake up! That's great. Go back to sleep until the sun gets up. THEN you can get up too.

8.) Chucking something like a binky, blanket or favorite luvey over the baby gate and then screaming for it once it's out of reach.

After a long battle and taking 4 hours to watch a 2 hours movie, he finally went to sleep.