Tuesday, April 24, 2012


I am a pack rat.  I come from a long line of pack rats.  I won't mention which side that comes from because I do believe some of them might actually read this blog.  A lot of the things that I owned that would classify me as such were items of sentimental value.  Having lost three of my grandparents in a span of less than three years, it took me a while to get to a place where I could get rid of, say, the electric shoe buffing machine that used to be my grandfather's.

I have been able to repress my pack rat tendencies over the past few years.  Couple that effort with the remodeling being done in our home (leaving us less living and storage space) and I will say that I have a lot to be proud of with the amount of stuff that I have purged from this house.

One of my favorite way to keep an item without actually keeping it has been to take a picture of it.  Here are some examples of things I've "kept" over the years.

My grandfather's adding machine
Kissing angels that belonged to my grandmother
Cracker tin that my grandmother used to store
her homemade sugar cookies in for Christmas

Connor had been using an old phone of mine to take pictures of what I thought was random stuff. When that phone stopped working, he transferred this activity with requests for me to take these pictures with my phone. It didn't take very long for me to figure out why he was doing this.
It was time for us to leave the garden section of Home Depot.
He didn't want to leave until I had taken a picture of these fish.
Although he really wanted to eat this chocolate bunny he got in his Easter basket,
he waited until I was able to get this shot.

The last nacho in our lunch outing to Target.

Connor is dealing with the impending loss of something by taking a picture.  I get that he copied this idea from me, but the fact that he has the presence of mind to cope with this loss all on his 4 1/2 year old own just amazes me. Up until now, I had only been exposed to my eldest child dealing with upcoming disappointment with tear-filled drama.  But Connor recognizes that this parting of ways will be emotional and skips right to the acceptance stage of grief once that picture is taken.

Cut to yesterday, when Connor got a helium balloon from a restaurant.  Red. His favorite color. 

I want to preface this next part by saying that my children have NEVER had a balloon fly away from them. I am OBSESSIVE when it comes to making sure my kids have their balloons tied to their wrists. I learned how to make a slipknot for that sole purpose.  

After a side trip to a store, we returned to the car with the balloon waiting inside and, as if a vacuum had been switched on the second I opened the door, that balloon took off into the air and with it, my heart.  I was in such horrified shock (again, we've never lost a balloon before), that it took me a second to register the request my son mustered with his clearest choked up voice. "Picture it, Mommy," he yelled.  So, I did.

Now, as I'm typing this blog, Connor comes over and sees the picture that I'm posting. He insists that I didn't put the right word on his balloon picture. So, I let this little boy climb into my lap, put the caps lock on, and try not to tear up as he sounds out the word.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Who asked you?

I am going to preface this story by saying that I am not a person who takes unsolicited advice well.  I have been very blessed to have both parents and in-laws that do not provide me pearls of wisdom unless I am actually asking for it. If they did, I do believe that our relationship would be a whole lot different than it is today.

Let me set up the scenario for you.  A few weeks ago, I went shopping with my son.  I had a couple of things on my list that I needed to look for but no time limit for this outing.  Connor was in the cart and had been promised that we would go to the toy section right after I looked for one of the two things I needed to find.  I had placated him with some gum and we were strolling through the aisles, each of us doing our own versions "Ohhh, lookit that!"  I got one of my required items and we headed toward the toy aisle.  On our way, Connor found something that, after we picked it up, made him say "I really don't want to go to toys anyway."  After making sure that my son was certain about his statement, I look for my second item and then proceed to browse.

After a couple of aisles of browsing, Connor had become bored with the item that he had grabbed and started using a whiny, demanding tone with me. He was saying, "Toys" as though it was a direct order and, as I mentioned before, Momma doesn't take well to being told what to do.  I got down to his eye level and explained to him that we would not be going to the toy area until he learned to ask nicely and make better choices with his behavior.  Connor, being my son, is also is not very fond of being told what to do and insists "Toys. Toys. Toys."  This demand doesn't get loud, it just isn't a question and isn't something that I plan on giving in to.

I reiterate my statement about making better behavior choices and said that, if he could control his behavior for two aisles, then we would go to the section he wanted to visit.  He sees that I am not going to give in, but gives a few more whiny statements just to make sure I know he's not happy about it.

While I am trying to ignore the whines, this kind-looking woman walks up to me, touches me on the arm and says, "When my son was younger and I went shopping with him, I would go directly to the toy section and get him a toy to play with in the cart. That way, he was entertained while I was able to do my shopping."

Now, I'm not so intolerant of advice that, should her statement have stopped there, I wouldn't have had a "Oh, what a lovely idea, nice lady. Thank you for thinking of me and my son," feeling about what she had to say.  But Grandma Nosyface just had to go and stick some jabs in at the end.

"You can't expect a boy that little to just sit there while you do your shopping. He's too young to be that patient."

Yes. She. Did.

What I would have loved to have done is give that woman a piece of my mind starting with "just who do you think you are" and ending with "and furthermore, you old bat."  Unfortunately, my body is allergic to confrontation.  My hands begin to shake, my face gets flushed, and my voice resembles that of Katherine Hepburn in her later years.  It's a reaction that frustrates me to my core because, although my brain has a lot of things that it wants to say to this woman (read: Jerry Springer-style flip out), my body is not going to let any of those things out in a voice audible enough to make a difference.

After I had gotten myself together, I actually went to find this woman so that I could give her some food for thought about giving strangers parenting advice.  Lucky for her, she had already left the store, giving me something to stew about with absolutely no chance for closure on this incident.

So, I'd like to know:  Have any of you ever been approached in public by a stranger who thought they'd give you some "helpful" advice about how to handle your child(ren)?  How did you react?  Have you ever been the advice-giver in this situation?

Friday, April 6, 2012

Touché, little dude.

I have noticed that my children tend to express their love for me right after I've done something for them. "Mom, thanks for the popcorn. I love you." Or, "I love you, Mommy. Can we go to the park again tomorrow?"
Don't get me wrong. I will take all of the PDA from my kids for as long as they dish it out, regardless of when or why they want to. It's just that I can usually tell when my children are going to shower me with verbal affection.
So, when Connor turned to me while we were watching TV (a very un-momentous occasion), I was very surprised to hear such an earnest "I really love you, Mom." Before I could respond in kind, he added, "I am going to marry someone just like you." 
Now, at 4 1/2, I would expect him to say he wanted to marry me instead of someone like me, so I was impressed that he has made that distinction already. I told him that was a nice idea and he then said, "But I don't know who I am going to marry," as if it was a decision he needed to make now.
After assuring him that he had a long time to figure that out, he asked me, "Who did you marry?" (Okay. So maybe I gave him credit too soon.) 
My response to Connor, that I was married to Daddy, caused him to furrow his brow at me. He said, with an accusatory tone, "But Daddy's in our family!"