Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Honey Badgers and Hump Day

I have 30 minutes before we need to leave to watch Landon compete in Battle of the Books at TCU! All the competitors have to read a set list of award-winning books and then they're asked questions, confer with each other in whispers, and then the captain holds up the card with the answering book's title. He's the captain of his team and his class won the school competition in December in an intense hour-long match that ended up being one of the most exciting, fun, and stressful hours of our last year. I had no idea what BOB was when James and I walked into the cafeteria that morning, but our stomachs, hearts, and brains were ALL IN when it got going. So fun and I just love when an academic competition gets the whole school watching in a tense silence, groaning and cheering along with the successes and missteps of their classmates.

They had to read 6 new books for the city competition and he knows them backwards and forwards so I'll know they'll do great, but I also know he was nervous because he was a cranky honey badger all morning and marched out of the house yelling "I want to lose! I want to lose!" But I texted his teacher and she said he was his normal self at school, so as usual, being away from his warm and loving home snapped him right out of his bad mood.

Mother's Day had some similar themes. As always the kids woke up early and decorated the table with a million homemade cards which are just the best.

James went and picked me up Starbucks because I can't eat in the morning but I can definitely drink Lightly Sweet Chai Lattes. He was going to make my brunch at lunch (eating before 10 a.m. makes me sick, always has) and all I wanted was a long family walk before then.

We have this beautiful 3-mile loop that takes us down some of my favorite neighborhood streets, down a GIANT hill, and then all along a park that turns into another park that turns back to a road near our house. We discovered it by accident soon after we moved in and have done it a thousand times since. We haven't been in a while because Cora is too big for the stroller but not quite strong enough to ride her new bike that far, but on Sunday she stepped it UP and she was amazing.

Seriously so proud of that girl. Claire rode along in the double stroller for at least a year after Cora was born (so until she was nearly 5), but Cora's out there rocking it on her training wheels at precisely 3.5.

Something had broken Landon's brain during the card opening, so he was furious and cranky and rode way ahead the whole time. People who passed us on the trail would tell me Happy Mother's Day and I was like yes, me and my two beautiful daughters are out for a nice stroll. Have you seen a loose angry 9-year-old? No reason. Just curious.

We got to the park and James thought Landon needed a hug.

Turns out, he did not.

We ate our tasty brunch and eventually the elevation of his blood sugar, the passage of time, and my decision to ignore him for at least an hour seemed to help and Landon slipped this card under my door and had a generally pleasant rest of the day. I think it's a hard time- he's young enough to still get thrown off by a transient moment of crankiness, but old enough to want Mother's Day to be a good day and to feel bad that it isn't, so then he's more entrenched in crankiness he doesn't actually want but can't get out of. We talked about it. I told him I was cranky too- some of it deserved (ahem), but some of it overblown because the day didn't go how I planned either. And so I also had to work through that and shake it off and move forward, just like him.

And so I went to a 4:30 yoga class and returned home to swimming splashing children and another glass of champagne.

We ate my favorite salmon dish for dinner, James made me a funfetti cake and all was well. As I noted on facebook, I don't know that it was the perfect Mother's Day, or if there's any such thing, but it certainly reminded me that I never knew the depths of my capacity for love, pride, or mother-fucking patience until I had children.

But man is it fun too.

Speaking of fun, this was Cora at dinner last night. She didn't want to get her princess dress dirty.

And Claire lost ANOTHER tooth, the first one I ever pulled (it was sideways in her mouth and freaking me out) leaving her with about 2 left. She has a lot of $2 bills, but no ability to chew.

And now we're off to watch this little (biggish?) man compete in his Battle Royale! His team uniform is cowboy themed since their mascot is a wrangler, so he's wearing jeans for the second time in two years and SUPER mad about it ("they're TOUCHING MY LEGS!"), but I'm hoping that since one his intended girlfriends is on the team (and wearing freaking jeans), he's cool with it now.

Once more unto the breach we go. Go wranglers!


  1. some of the issues L is having (anger/fits) remind me a lot of my 7 year old son. I totally get it.

  2. I think you're doing the right thing when you ignore him, letting him work through it and empathize with him and then move on together. My mom... did not do those things. We are a lot alike, and we ramp each other up and get under each other's skin when we're stressed like you would not believe. Also, she has Big Expectations for holidays, special occasions and Magical Childhood ExperiencesTM and if something got between her and her Pinterest-worthy (we didn't have it back then, but you know what I mean) vision of the Perfect Happy Family Who Loves and Appreciates Her At All Times For Her Over-The-Top and Overwhelming Perfectionism And Never Gets Frustrated or Farts And Hangs the Special Meaningful Christmas Ornaments Just So And Got Forbid You Get A Flat Tire at Baccalaureate Setting Off A Series of Inconveniences Right Before Your High School Graduation BECAUSE YOU ARE HARD TO LOVE AND A BAD DAUGHTER KABLOOEY EVERYTHING IS RUINED. I much would have rather had a mom who gave me space to have my feelings, accepted my apology note with grace and promised we'd both try again tomorrow... so... good on you. You're doing it right.

  3. I hope it went well at the BOB city-level! My daughter's 3rd-grade team made it to our "city" finals (archdiocese, all the Catholic schools) and finished second. They were so disappointed, but now are motivated for next year. Such a great competition, I love it!

  4. Also, that note is the sweetest. Big lessons! Some days are hard.

  5. I found this article super helpful in breaking down a positive, mindful way of (not) reacting to outbursts like these, and trying to rebuild connection between me and my 5.5 year old. I used to use time outs, and then when that stopped working, I'd ignore the behavior as well. But what I found was that my daughter in those moments was screaming for MORE connection, and that ignoring was interpreted by her as abandonment. I've had SUCH a positive reaction to building connection instead with her in those moments, giving her space and grace to have her feelings, and now, she's able to say (or scream :) "I just need a HUG." or "I need you to help me calm down!!" That she's able to verbalize that now really helps me realize that being so out of control scares her as much as it frustrates me, and knowing that helps me recenter my reaction (sometimes).

    Here's the article:

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  7. I'm anxiously awaiting the BOB results. Your delay in posting is KILLING me!