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2016: Hooray!

It is the first Sunday of the New Year. You know what this means.

A clean calendar. A new planner. A renewed sense of energy for tackling my mundane stay-at-home-mom first world problem projects!

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I’m organizing.

I just like to organize, organizing’s my favorite.

But first, a little review.

Top Three for 2015:

The number one best part of this year has been my private celebration of the end of pregnancy and nursing. Even though we knew Avery was the final lego to come down my personal baby factory assembly line, I wasn’t sure how I would actually respond to closing this chapter of my life forever. Turns out, it came with an overwhelmingly positive sense of relief. John and I both agree that our friendship and connectedness has never been better, which I’m also happy to say has been an unintended byproduct of something neither of us was actively working on.

The second best part of 2015 didn’t technically begin this year, but certainly steadily rose on my gratitude scale, and that is living in our current neighborhood. I don’t really need to write it here to let the Rustinburg Rowdies know how much I love them, because I feel like it is said and implied by all of us every time we hang out (and possibly more frequently on group texts filled with bitmojis). I actually mentioned the current strength of my marriage in church this morning, and it was weird to admit it had very little to do with the current state of my spiritual life, but almost everything to do with our social life. And our social life is currently hinged on a rickedy little picket gate connecting my back yard to Rustinburg Road.

The third best part of 2015 has been our transition to public school. You can only imagine the kind of discussion that ensues between two highly nerdy former school teachers when it comes to the education of our spawn. Sending our firstborn to kindergarten was a decision that was not taken lightly. As it became increasingly obvious that our original decision was not working in the best interest of our children, it was pretty stressful. I’m not writing here to say that public school in Clemmons, North Carolina has been the academic experience of a lifetime and one that we have no complaints about. But I am saying this: I’m not sure our children have been socially healthier than they are right now, and for that, I’ll take a potentially inferior academic milieu.

2015 Regrets and Non-Accomplishments:

I only read 17 of my 20 book goal this year.

I still haven’t found a dentist I love.

I let a few friendships fall off my radar this year, a natural result of growing babies and changing neighborhoods and complicated schedules. I like that these are universal excuses and I feel confident that these friendships haven’t suffered even a bit for the lack of time and energy put into them this year.

Looking Forward to 2016:

Not necessarily looking forward to reading more books, but to continue in my pursuit of reading good books. My 1st grader is beginning to dabble in chapter books and I’m giddy at the thought of the increased literacy in my house.

Connecting and re-connecting with some of the better women in my life. It never hurts my feelings when a cup of coffee ends with more than just a physical sense of satisfaction.

Trite and materialistic as it is going to sound, I look forward to starting the year with a plan for home and family maintenance. Last year I resolved to spend less time doing laundry by choosing two days a week in which the chore had to be started and fully finished before going to bed.

I fully accomplished my goal.

This year I have created a similar plan to maximize my OCD need for order while minimizing the time I put into it. I look forward to less clutter in every sense of the word.

Christmas Perspective

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I’m with you, Carter.

I hate the holidays.

I don’t hate the holidays.

I sort of hate the holidays.

Does that make me un-American? Un-Christian? The Grinch?

Can I get real with you guys for a second here? There is a ton of shit to do.

But what’s worse is: WE CREATED ALL THAT SHIT.

There was a time when John and I were pretty Charlie Brown about our Christmas and it truly didn’t bother us. But with each newer bigger dwelling, and each newer bigger child, we have accumulated a little bit more.

Maybe I’ve just accumulated newer bigger expectations.

Obviously I didn’t get it when I was a kid. I really did believe my mother loved every minute of Christmas decorating. I assumed she skipped down the aisles of Walmart or Target or whatever, happily throwing things into the cart for us with no thought about price tags or maintaining equality between the four kids. (And this was before Amazon PRIME! How did she do it?! No, really. How?)

My dad did a lot too, and I know for a fact that he does enjoy his role. He puts up Christmas lights because he likes them. He makes Christmas cookies because he enjoys it. He dresses like Santa and barges into neighbors houses without knocking because he gets an honest-to-God kick out of the silliness and spirit of it all. And while I’m sure he was happy to pick up anything my mom needed from Radio Shack on Christmas Eve, it is only now that I realize my mother was mission control behind the entire operation. (Birthdays too, let’s just say it.)

And that is fine.

It is.

Because we are stay at home mothers, and house management is our biggest responsibility behind keeping kids alive.

But seriously?

There is a ton of shit to do.

It starts about the week before Halloween and doesn’t really end until Valentine’s Day. It is driven by Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. And it is further driven by social media – from “the Elves on the Shelves have returned!” to “Hiking for the perfect tree!” to “Such sweet moments, I swear she fell asleep like that and I just couldn’t wake her…”

And then it is even further driven from those taller-than-average corners insisting they are doing things differently, re-focusing their priorities, un-materializing, down-sizing, living in peace with completely humble children who experience (and voice) exactly zero desires, despite the inundation of material-holiday-noise hitting them daily. Kids who never complain about how they are the only kids who don’t have _________ in their entire class.

And I admit it. I compare myself. To all of it. The good, the bad, the beautiful, the ugly.

And once in a while the comparisons get the better of me.

(Gasp.)

I know it has all been said, celebrated, liked, commented on, satirized, secretly whispered about in negative ways, and then publicly (and potentially distastefully) blasted on mom blogs all over the Internet.

I don’t want to join any bandwagons here. I just want to share my reality.

Reality number 1: I bought a “working” pre-lit Christmas tree off Craigslist one year for $20 and then spent the better part of a 4-day weekend cutting off all the lights that didn’t work. Because I wanted to get my money’s worth.

Reality number 2: I bought several tied garbage bags of “great condition” holiday wreaths from a friend of a friend last May and opened them for the first time on Monday morning. I spent more than an hour searching Google images and Pinterest, and studied no less than three of my neighbors houses as examples of exactly how to hang wreaths in the 8 front-facing windows of my house. What you see is a tidy display of modest holiday cheer. What you don’t see is the hour I spent attempting to tie bows out of red ribbon that all resembled one another, then, giving up (sweating and cursing) and taking wire clippers to ten different wreaths and declaring “no bows” to be more fashionable this year. (I further un-winded at 10:30am with a shot of whiskey and a hot glue gun and produced eight wreaths that now all appear to belong in the same family.)

Reality number 3: I carved the pumpkins from my porch and roasted the seeds this past Sunday while John got down our $20 tree and our one, 66-quart, latch box of Christmas decorations, which sat in the kids’ playroom, mostly untouched, until tonight, just before dinner.

Reality number 4: Every year I’ve added “just a small” string of lights to finish off the top, and every year I need another string of lights, because whatever we have from previous years somehow doesn’t make it all the way to the top of the tree two years in a row.

Reality number 5: Two entire sections of my 300-count string of LED lights doesn’t work, despite the box that says “If One Bulb Burns Out, the Others Stay Lit.”

Reality number 6: I put that string of lights on the tree, anyway.

Reality number 7: I laid out new Christmas PJ’s on each kid’s bed at 4:30 and told them we’d bathe before dinner and watch “Elf” while we ate.  At 6:30, no one was bathed, only half of my dinner was even edible, Elf did not make it onto the TV, and more than half the family was screaming, crying, and/or throwing things at the table, including me.

So all I’m saying is, I need to not lose perspective this holiday season when it seems like everyone else is doing better than me.

Nobody has their shit together.

I’m not the only one who will have at least one very emotional fight with my spouse about something incredibly stupid in the next 25 days. Like food. Or wrapping paper.

And while I’d love to sign off this post with some quip driving home the point that Jesus is the reason for the season, I’m content, for now at least, to just do the best I can with what I’ve got. And what I’ve got is a handful of kids under the age of 9 who know Santa is a lie but still believe the Tooth Fairy might be real.

Onward and upward.

Dadderday

A few weeks ago one of those Mommy Blog articles showed up in my Facebook newsfeed as a “suggested post” and it was all about Mommy Self Care. Curiosity got the best of me in that moment and I clicked, skimmed, and nodded my head. The author looked and sounded a little younger than me. In this blog, she went through the long list of ways her first two children ate her for lunch, physically, mentally, and emotionally. She also admitted the deep sense of guilt she lived with for several years for feeling tired, cranky, unloving, and not good enough. The blog concluded with her giving permission to her readers to be more selfish because it would be good for the entire family.

Sadly, the story was neither original, nor uncommon. Even sadder? I can’t relate.

Forgive me.

I was born with an above-average sense of selfishness. I didn’t even have Facebook when I was a new mom, and in the absence of comparative psychology, I basically made demands straight from the heart.

This is how “Dadderday” was born.

I first became a stay at home mom when Eliott was a little over 2 and Carter was 18 months. Before this, when we were both working, John and I had fought our way to the perfect balance of powers, domestic duties versus parenting duties.

It started with cooking dinner. It didn’t take me long to discover that “I cook and you clean up,” meant that John had very little to clean up at the end of a meal but if he cooked, I had every pot and pan that we owned sitting in the kitchen sink already hard and crusty.

Dinner duty became a one-week-on and one-week-off chore, where the person who cooks also cleans up, and the other person stays out of the kitchen completely. Eventually, this break for the week was traded for bath and bedtime duty with kids, which often made both of us look forward to cooking even more.

This worked well for several months, until a hormone inspired meltdown had me crying and cursing over g-chat, explaining how stressful it was to get to the grocery store and if I didn’t remember to take something out of the freezer NOBODY remembered to take something out of the freezer, and how hard is making a meal that someone else basically perfectly planned and laid out for you to cook!?

This lead to dinner duty including planning meals and grocery shopping for the week.

Truth be told, John loved it. He started experimenting with different dinner ideas. He even agreed that cleaning up as you go is actually a genius habit. Sometimes bath duty seemed like a break. Sometimes dinner duty seemed like the break. It was, weirdly, one of the better things to come out of my overly-selfish taker tendencies.

But then we moved to Winston-Salem and I stopped working. It no longer seemed fair to make John figure out how to get to the grocery store when I was basically home all day and had the time to think of things to prepare for dinner. Not only that, but it became clear within mere weeks that right about 4:30pm, Mama needs a drink and the solace of sautéing onions alone. Dinner duty became my permanent duty, and John was happy to come home before dinner and declare, “Mommy is off duty! Leave her alone!”

This all sounds very heartwarming, I realize, and I apologize that it is so out of character, but the truth is, there are a couple things we do pretty well and you might be surprised to see that it isn’t all as dysfunctional as it sometimes seems.

Here’s the part, however, where you might decide to hate me.

I’m going to speak from both sides of the motherhood coin because I have been both a working mom AND a stay at home mom. They both come with an equal number of difficulties and I’m not about to debate the merits of one choice over another. Both choices? Equally damn hard.

While I was working, I felt like I was missing too many minutes of my kids’ lives and resented the fact that the only time I got to spend with them was the one time of day that nobody feels like being cute or patient. I revolved my life around making the most of the few awake hours and sincerely attempting to tune-in to their super cute little-kid moments. As a stay at home mom, I basically revolve my entire life around maximizing my kid-breaks, tuning-out the super annoying little-kid moments, and getting them in bed as early as possible.

And while pre-school and nap time do afford me several hours of “me time” every week, John realized before me that it simply wasn’t enough. Thus, Dadderday.

While I am responsible for the name, John is almost entirely responsible for the concept and execution of Dadderday. It starts on Friday night, actually, with the reminder that I can stay up as late as I want because I get to sleep in the next morning. At the first crack of light, John is up with the kids, some cartoons, and his iPad, meandering around the kitchen cooking breakfast. For several years it was eggs and grits, and I’m telling you, no matter how hard I try, the kids hate it that I cannot “make it like Daddy makes it!” More recently it has come to include other special Saturday-only foods, like bacon or sausage, pancakes, or breakfast burritos.

Sometimes at 9:30, but more often closer to 10:30, one of the kids will poke their head in my door and discover that my eyes are open. A few minutes later, John comes in with a cup of coffee.

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(I’m spoiled. I continue to admit it.)

I pad downstairs in my PJ’s, eat a hot plate of breakfast that is waiting for me, and watch as my husband wrangles all the children into clothes and out the door.

They go to the gym. Every single Saturday. They go to the gym and then to Home Depot or sometimes Sam’s Club, and leave me all alone, to drink coffee and sit in my PJ’s all day, if I want.

And sometimes I do.

I’m not on the hook for anything on Saturday. No meals. No clean up. No discipline. In fact, if I want to sleep until 10:30 and then take a nap from 2-4, I get to do that.

It is exactly as blissful as it sounds, and since Avery was born, I’ve discovered (the hard way), exactly as life-giving as John knew it would be.

Avery was a slightly stupidly difficult baby. Her unpredictable eating and sleeping schedule, for at least 6 months, put my Dadderday on hold for a while. And then elementary school life, and soccer, picked up. In the last fourteen months, I have not had a traditional Dadderday except for a handful of times.

Hence, no blog posts since July.

Hence, we hired a housekeeper because I’m now using preschool time to blog.

Hence, I complain a lot about having four kids. Four kids that I wanted. Four kids that many people couldn’t have but would take in a heartbeat. Four kids who are not bad kids but often feel like they are because I’m never fully recharging my batteries.

This was not intended to be a self-pity post. It is merely a reflection on making the important things important. I’m not going to outline the ways in which I keep my husband happy when he keeps me happy, but I didn’t actually marry a super-hero. There is an obvious give and take and knowing each other’s needs is where we excel when things are good, and cut each other to the core when things are not good.

I would be honored and you, blessed, if you want to steal the concept of Dadderday. Understand that it may manifest itself completely differently. Obviously the goal is the same

 

Dear Avery

Dear Avery,

You are the fourth child. You are going to have to get used to being last, late, sometimes forgotten, and spoiled as a result of the guilt we subconsciously feel about this. We were really hoping you’d be another boy, so at least you can thank that sentiment for your brand new wardrobe up to the size of 4T.

You are now one year, one month, and twenty-three days old.

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I’m sorry I didn’t get this post written and published on your actual birthday. And while I’m apologizing, please do not expect your baby book to be finished before you get married.

Daddy and I are so proud and thankful that you did finally figure out how to sleep through the night. You’re going to hear this a lot in your life so you might as well hear it now. The rest of your siblings all figured this out by 6 weeks. You sure topped them all by holding out until 6 months. I hope this means you will forge your own path in life, no matter how difficult that makes the lives of those you are surrounded by. I’m going to view this as a positive characteristic for your adult-self.

Though you can only say exactly four words coherently (Mama, Dada, Uh-oh, and Ball), it seems that your baby babble contains the mysteries of the universe combined with the passion of Martin Luther King Jr. Despite the fact that you come by this perfectly honestly and completely genetically, it is still going to drive me nuts and you are going to have your talking privileges revoked just moments after you master verbal communication. Talk to Eliott about this. She will empathize with you completely.

And while I’m on the subject of mysteries, I’d like to know, how is that you don’t like bananas? What child ever in the history of children has refused to eat the sweetest, softest, and most convenient baby food there is? I’m only going to forgive you for this because of your tendency to poop but one time a day at the exact same time every day. The predictability of your bowels has actually made my life a little easier, and at least half-way made up for all those late nights.

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No one ever suspected me to admit this, but I’m secretly grateful for your small size and slowness to graduate completely out of the baby phase. It turns out I am already sensing the sadness that comes with the realization that it all goes by too quickly. Don’t get me wrong, you’ve given me plenty of reasons to look forward to the future, but I am trying to hold on a little longer to this small version of you, before I forget how you smell and how easy it is to carry you on my hip.

So happy belated birthday to my little partner in birthday crime. Our family was not complete before you, and it is infinitely better because of you.

 

 

You might remember that once upon a time I was a high school English teacher. And a damn good one at that.

I just ran across something I posted to Facebook five years ago (also the final year I was paid to stand in front of a classroom). It was a note to my students of my thoughts on the list their school (not me) sent for summer reading choices.

Look at me, still using the public library like it's my job.

Look at me, still using the public library like it’s my job.

I got a chuckle out of it today and I think it is worth reposting here. Feel free to pass this nugget along to any high school student you know who still hasn’t thought about that summer reading assignment due August 24th, especially if that assignment came with a list of classics to choose from.

* * * * *

Ok. Enough of you have written looking for my summer reading suggestions – so here are my PERSONAL thoughts. These are by no means endorsed by anyone but me. My final word is read whatever you want, but read the actual book. Don’t just read a Google summary.

I have not read (or even heard of) all the authors on your list, but it should be noted these are not ALL classics (yay) and many of these authors are still alive (hooray). Not that I don’t support the classics (hell-o, I’m an English teacher.) However, I believe classics are best studied in a group, not read independently – as it is difficult to know exactly what is so great about them without the aid of someone smarter than you telling you what to look for. If you wish to tackle the classics, you are awesome but I encourage you to read one with a friend and discuss together. Just don’t get burned-out and cease to love reading because classics are dense and difficult.

Anyway, I’ll do my best to comment on those I know personally, those I recognize, and those which are popular enough that I should probably get to know them.

Three lists:

#1: Probably worth your time:
– Sandra Cisneros (House on Mango Street is pretty good. Short, easy read and good.)
– Toni Morrison (One of Oprah’s heroes, hah – she writes “out of oppression” type stuff, but she’s generally considered good.)
– Alice Walker (The Color Purple is fabulous and also easy to read. Deals with some tough subjects ie: rape and black oppression, but I think I read it in 8th grade so you can handle it. There’s a copy in my old classroom.)
– Willa Cather (I love O Pioneers, if you are into Little House on the Prairie her stuff is is similar.)
– Cormac McCarthy (The Road is currently on my to-read list. We’ll see. His stuff is often made into movies. I think he’s a little dark and somewhat heavy. Probably a good one for guys. But he has several books published that have all been fairly popular – and I figure, if the general public is reading it and liking it, it can’t be too hard to understand. Come on. Not everyone went to private school.)
– Ian McEwan (similar popularity to McCarthy – also lots of books made into movies – though I’ve never read him my sister loved Atonement and she and I might as well be intellectual twins.)
– Jane Austen (She isn’t as obvious as Nicholas Sparks, but her romance is as endearing, if you can get through the Elizabethan Language. You might try her now, and come back to her in college, because you’ll love her more with experience. Trust me.)
– Flannery O’Connor (I loved Moll Flanders the movie. The book is probably good.)

#2: LONG and DIFFICULT (and worth considering in college because) I loved them anyway:
– Dostoevsky (on a HS reading list this is nuts… he’s Russian and the translation of his books makes all the difference in the world on readability, but even then he’s a toughy. Crime and Punishment GOOD; The Brothers Karamazov. GOOD. The Idiot. GOOD. He is fabulous when you are ready to tackle him.)
– Richard Wright (well, Black Boy is easy to read, and good. The rest of his stuff is a little racy and again, probably better in college. I will say this – Native Son involves a man killing a woman and cutting her up and putting her in a furnace and I had to read it for three different college classes, if that entices anyone.)
– Dickens (better studied with others, but again, I love him)
– Melville (Moby Dick is LONG and much of it takes place at sea, which, ulgh… not for me, but I really liked Billy Budd in college.)

#3: Shorter does not necessarily equal better (in short, snoozes) (no pun intended but don’t I rule?):
– Joseph Conrad (Heart of Darkness. Painfully short.)
– Hemingway (he’s a hit or miss with me, and usually a miss – personally. Old Man and the Sea? 100 pages? You might never finish it. No I’m serious. It’s another fishing book. Shoot me.)

Anyway, feel free to let me know what you pick. I’m always interested to hear what you are reading.

LOVE YOU ALL,

Mrs. Wait

Mommy’s Losing It

It is 9:19am. I’ve now reheated the same mug of coffee three times. I have forty minutes before the baby wakes up and I begin the 45 minute process of getting all four children into the car so I can make it to yoga at the Y and only be 5 minutes late. Nevermind that everyone is currently fed and dressed. Nevermind that I am, for once, fed and dressed.

Pause.

Someone is crying.

Ain’t happening today folks.

“I need thirty minutes of you people playing outside. Then I can love you today.”

Didn’t happen on Tuesday either, when, despite starting at 8 o’clock, we didn’t manage to make it out of the house before 10:35 and in all that time, I didn’t have a single sip of coffee or a bite of breakfast. Pulling out of my driveway for the second time that morning I decided I’d rather eat a Dunkin Donuts breakfast sandwich in the lobby with my book than make it to yoga anyway.

Of course the lobby was overflowing with Silver Sneakers who like to arrive an hour and a half before their class begins to catch up on gossip and share senior citizen discount trade secrets.

I ducked into the empty-looking game room off the main hallway and in my surprise to see three older ladies playing bridge in the corner I blurted, “I hope there isn’t an age limit on this room. I just need a place to escape my kids and the party in the lobby so I can eat my damn breakfast in peace.”

If I offended them with the beginning of my sentence they had more than forgiven me with the eventual recognition of raw mommy desperation.

Needless to say, I didn’t read my book that morning, and I was more than just full of egg and cheese croissant when I left. I guess it’s true what they say. Though slow, and somewhat dangerous behind the wheel, senior citizens can serve a purpose in society.

Last week was no different, I’m sure of it. But somehow last week I was coping. Maybe more than coping, in fact. I was downright pleasant last week. I feel certain that it isn’t possible for my children to be more or less needy from one week to another.

And before you say, “You’re the one who wanted four kids,” I am going to take the liberty (because this is my blog) to say that four kids is really freaking difficult. In fact, remove just one kid from the equation and it is a completely different and more pleasant experience. And honestly, it doesn’t even matter which kid goes. When Eliott is gone, Carter steps up and pretends to be more responsible. When Carter is gone, nobody is fighting with Eliott or Isaiah.

When Isaiah is gone, the older girls’ mess is contained to one area (and they quietly hide it believing if I can’t hear them I’ll never know what kind of a mess they are making) and if Avery is out of the picture, well, shoot, I’m just plain happier. For all her beauty and for all my experience, that baby is a force to be reckoned with and generally speaking, a bit of a life-sucker right now. (Yes, she sleeps well. Finally. But God help us all when the woman needs anything because though she has no vocabulary, she’s more than makes up for it in sheer volume and inability to grow weary in asking.)

I have coping mechanisms. I do. And every once in a while I have a big picture perspective. I do get glimpses of the sweetness of each kid, usually once a day, and while these do not have the power of say, a Xanax washed down with Bud Light Platinum, they do make it mostly worth it as my eyelids close each night (that sweet moment of silence where I can almost pretend like tomorrow will be different and somehow better).

And certainly things could actually be worse. They have been worse. I need to remember that. I also need to, again, keep tally of the little things:

  1. Neighborhood pool not five minutes away.
  2. Access to trampoline in neighbor’s back yard, not fifty feet away.
  3. A finished basement playroom and children who both can, and will, entertain themselves, even if their only game is what I like to call “Tornado: the Aftermath.”
  4. A cleaning lady. (I’m embarrassed to admit I would be drowning without her.)
  5. The YMCA and one hundred and fifty minutes a day (times 4) of childcare should I choose to use it.
  6. Neighbors who enjoy my children more than I do.
  7. A two-year old who is quickly showing that he is as type A as his father, and manifesting this genetic curse in the form of picking up after his sisters.
  8. An 8 year old and a 6 year old who have been trained (in less than a month) to fully clean up the kitchen after every meal.
  9. Avery’s eyelashes. (I had to find something.)
  10. Discovering that the source of John’s anxiety for the last 6 months had absolutely nothing to do with circumstantial stress but was completely caused by his asthma medication (Singulair). When his prescription lapsed for three days he was halfway back to his normal self, and now, in just one month of being off the stuff, he’s functioning at 100% of his normal emotional level. This is huge people, when every other week I might be operating at a solid 30%.

It’s 9:57am. I’m going to go wake the baby, put on my shoes, top off my mostly empty mug, and perhaps be early to yoga this morning.

Childhood Graduation

So many things to celebrate (or cry about, depending on the day and the kid).

Today was Carter’s last day of Kindergarten. I can respect a school that refuses to call it a “graduation” and avoids the caps and gowns. I’m going to note here, however, that Calvary does include the awkward simultaneous handshake/handoff of a rolled up blank piece of paper.

So you know. Don’t call it a graduation.

We know what it is.

Her kindergarten teacher gives all the kids “Character Awards” at the end of the year. Note 2: Christian School. “Character” = actual character traits, typically some variation of the Fruit of the Spirit; this is not some strange adaptation of books we read or Disney or even a somewhat cute re-enactment of the entire year.

If it means anything, I cannot for the life of me remember what Character Award Eliott was given in Kindergarten. I’m sure it was spot on and totally a prediction of her future self. I probably should have caught it on video, or saved that paper for the baby book I still haven’t made.

Carter’s character trait: Boldness.

(Her teacher then went on to suggest she may have received such a trait from her mother. I shudder.)

I used to be a teacher and before that, I worked at a summer camp where we really tried to empower kids to become the best version of themselves. I’m pretty good at verbal affirmations, no matter how far reaching they may be.

I know what “boldness” really means.

When Carter is praised for “speaking her mind,” it can be otherwise translated as “doesn’t give two shits what anyone thinks, ever, and will tell you what she’s thinking whether you want to hear it or not.”

(And here I submit that this trait is a genetic generation skipper and comes directly from her maternal grandfather, Greg Paulus.)

Example A: Weeks ago, Eliott is crying at dinner. Another story of kids being mean to her at school. Carter interrupts with, “Eliott. If kids are being mean to you in your class, you should send them down to my classroom. NOBODY is mean to me in my class. Ever.”

Truth.

Later, today, in Harris Teeter, Carter announces that she wants me to pull her loose tooth out. “I’m just so tired of it, I need it out right now.”

I tell her I’ll do it when we get home (despite the fact that it is only a little bit loose).

She tells me to take “one of those papers [from the cookie samples] and pull it out with that.”

I tell her there will be too much blood for the grocery store. Wait until we get home and I’ll pull it out.

She does.

I do.

Nobody cries.

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Last day of Kindergarten, first lost tooth. My baby is practically a grown up.

 

And finally, this:

My dinner conversation with a very grown up Carter (NMN) Wait:

When we were practicing, Palmer and Leah said they’re going to say my middle name, and I was freaking out. I was freaking out so bad I just had to fall on the floor.

Why? What’s your middle name?

Tiny Monster. But then they didn’t say it.

Carter Tiny Monster Wait. But that’s just your nickname. You know you don’t actually have a middle name.

Yes I do. I gave myself one.

Hm. (Not weird, I did the same thing in high school and carried it all the way through college until the day I was married.) So what is it, “Tiny Monster?”

Selina.

Oh, right. Selina. Of course.

But…I want to pick the best name. So actually I’m thinking about Kitty Cat. Or maybe just Cat.

Carter Kitty Cat Wait. That sounds good.

Or Lisa. I just don’t want something ugly. Like Dinosaur. I mean, I’m kind of like a dinosaur, but that’s a boy name. Dino-saur. It’s not pretty.

Stick with Kitty Cat, Tiny Monster. I think you found your winner.

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