Thursday, June 19, 2008

More Growing Pains

The school year ended with the same lump-in-my-throat feeling I had when it started back in September. It was a good school year for both of the kids and bringing it to a close is emotional for me in many ways.

Alyssa brought home a "Memory Video" DVD which included the Mother's Tea program the first graders did as well as a slide show of her class. She quickly put it into the DVD player. Though I've felt on the verge of tears for the past couple of days, I had been holding together quite well being the crier that I am. Then, Alyssa's precious baby-doll face popped up on my TV screen while the lyrics of "Let Them Be Little" played as background music. I lost it. I had to leave the room.

I can remember when you fit in the palm of my hand.
You felt so good in it; no bigger than a minute.
How it amazes me you're changin' with every blink.
Faster than a flower blooms, they grow up all too soon.

So let them be little,
'Cause they're only that way for a while.
Give 'em hope, give them praise,
Give them love every day.
Let 'em cry, let 'em giggle,
Let 'em sleep in the middle,
Oh, but let them be little.

Summer means a whole lot more noise, mess, arguing and a greater need for TV regulation all of which makes me very tired just thinking about it. But the end of a school year also means that my kids are that much older, that that many more moments of childhood are spent and that that mile post of life is passed. It means that we will soon have to start all over with new teachers and new routines. At the root of it, it means change. I don't like change.

We found out today that Alyssa's "boyfriend" of two years is moving to a different school next year. We're really sad to see this adorable little guy go but at least I won't have to worry anymore about their hand-holding. It's cute now, but talk about growing up too fast!

Fifth grade. Doesn't the sound of it make you shudder? One more year of elementary school, that's all we have left with Caleb. I'm already losing sleep over it.

We did, however, get a good dose of pain reliever with today's round of growing pains. It came in the form of an academic achievement award that Caleb earned at an assembly this morning. The award is given each trimester to the students who achieve a 3.5 or higher GPA. He narrowly missed the award during the first two trimesters of the year but this trimester he succeeded. This is a big accomplishment for him and we were proud.

We'll soon adjust to our new "normal" and I'll be free of these particular growing pains...until September.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Anniversary Delights

12 simple pleasures to celebrate 12 fabulous years:

  1. Sleeping in 'til 9 a.m.

  2. Giant pumpkin muffin for breakfast.

  3. Mostly-cheerful, willing children helping with chores.

  4. Good, sweaty workout.

  5. Three perfectly chewy caramels.

  6. Pedicure.

  7. Time together, just us two--and I didn't even have to arrange the babysitter.

  8. Reservations at a favorite downtown restaurant with a view of the seaplanes coming and going.

  9. Valet parking.

  10. Dungeness Crab atop an out-of-this-world, prime cut of filet mignon.

  11. Complimentary "celebration cake" delivered by the restaurant general manager with a personal anniversary wish.
  12. Blowing out the candle with my favorite person who is more than I could ever wish for.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Sacrificial Leg

The leg was not broken. The trophy case was not broken. But the fall thereof was.

Alyssa's Gymnastics center is in the process of moving to new, larger facility. We went to the gym last Friday evening to help move equipment. Every member of our family helped to load bars, beams, boxes and such. We had been working for about an hour when a few people, including Caleb, lifted a mat to transport it onto the flatbed trailer. As it was lifted, it bumped into a large glass trophy case. The case fell toward the cement floor but was stopped short of a shattering fate. What kept it from its imminent crash? Jon's leg. Or more specifically, his shin.

Jon was standing nearby when he saw the case get tipped. He ran for it and out of instinct, put his leg under it to break the fall. He did save the case. The gym's owner witnessed his heroics but I'm sure has not a clue as to the physical price he paid to save it.

The leg was definitely painful but he kept his suffering to himself and continued moving large pieces of equipment. It bruised right away and was sore to walk on, but the worst of it did not show up for a few days. On Sunday his foot started turning blue. It became more and more swollen and then this morning, the area around the wound was quite red.

He limps around behind closed doors, can scarcely walk in the mornings, but he continues to put on a macho it-doesn't-really-hurt, look-how-I-can-jump-up-and-down attitude when he's out and about. He was in an increased amount of pain this morning, acknowledged that it was getting more red, and finally agreed to go see a doctor. (I've been begging him to go in for a few days now.)

Just look at the swelling in that right ankle. The doctor prescribed antibiotics for infection at the wound site. He didn't seem overly concerned about the bruising in his foot and didn't do an x-ray or anything. Hopefully it will get better soon.

The trophy case was saved but here is the lesson learned: just let it fall next time.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Growing Pains

Natalie has been suffering from occasional growing pains. She complains that her legs hurt and asks me to stretch or squeeze them. More often than not, she is running, jumping around and climbing all over the house--she may just be seeking extra attention—so I’m not at all concerned about her condition. Besides, I’ve had my own discomforts to deal with. Mine are the parental growing pains that a mother feels as she watches her children pass through various stages of life. I keep thinking, “I’m not ready for this.”

A few weeks ago, Caleb had the maturation discussion at school. He brought home a booklet that tactfully explained the changes a boy’s body will go through. He wasn’t at all embarrassed or uncomfortable with talking about what he learned. He was given a sample of Old Spice Red Zone deodorant and told to take care of his body by using it after a daily shower. True to his nature, he’s taken it all very much to heart. He was already in the habit of showering daily, but using that little stick has become serious business. He didn’t even want to store it in the bathroom; he felt more comfortable with it on his night stand so that he would "always know right where it was.” He insists on carrying it personally to the bathroom every morning.

I admit that he sometimes has that sweaty kid smell. He is very active and plays hard so when he comes in from the yard on a warm day, he does emit that musty, doesn’t-smell-good-but-still-not-totally-offensive odor. It’s completely different than actual body odor if you ask me. But I could see the value of establishing good hygiene habits now so since he was showing extreme enthusiasm for his deodorant, I was supportive of its application. I felt all uneasy as I watched him use it for the first time. He held it at the end of one long and gangly arm while the other was bent awkwardly above his head. “Is this right, Mom?” he asked as he began to lather it on the front edge of his bony shoulder. I faked feeling comfortable with the situation as I adjusted his waggling hand to his arm pit.

How did my baby boy get to be a deodorant-wearing preteen? This is just not sitting well with me. A boy who still has size 3/4 boxers in his underwear drawer should not be smelling like an old man. But every time he reaches up to give me a hug—the scent holds strong the whole day through—I get a whiff of that grown-up cologne-like smell. Sure, it’s probably more pleasant than sweaty-kid smell but it’s also an everyday reminder that my boy’s growing up all too fast. There are still so many ways in which he seems younger than others his age which probably only adds to my denial of having arrived at this stage.

Alyssa has also entered a new stage of development that is causing me parental growing pains. She’s been anticipating this event for months, maybe even years. She wiggled her first front tooth out Monday night and the second came out last night. She was unbelievably excited and I tried to share her joy but I really wanted to cry. She couldn’t wait for the tooth fairy to come and even left her a note that read, “Why do you take the teeth?”

Good question.

She does look really cute right now with that gaping hole in her mouth but, I’m all too aware of what fills that space. She’s always been teeny tiny in every way. Everything about her is small, including her mouth. The dentist warned me at her last visit that he could see some big (too big for her mouth) permanent teeth waiting to take root in her gums. Oh the teeth that are about to take over the face of my beautiful little girl! She even said to her dad, “When my big teeth come in, I’m going to look like a bunny.”

Sad but true.

I know I wouldn’t want them to be little forever so we’ll just have to live through these growing pains.