Monday, May 11, 2015

Don't cry over spilled milk.

Hi guys. It's me, Liam.

One night when we were driving to a friend's graduation, I had a cup of milk in my cup holder. When I reached over to grab the milk I accidentally only grabbed the lid so when I tried to lift it, the lid came right off and the milk spilled everywhere. I was like, "Oh no! My mom's gonna kill me!" I actually cried over spilled milk!

A couple days later when it got hot, the car smelled terrible. Now my mom was really mad!

We tried cleaning it with a mixture of vinegar, water and Dr. Bronner's soap. I poured it on and then scrubbed it. The smell went away! But then it came back. Now it smelled like vinegar and sour milk.

To Google!

Here are some ideas I found on the Internet:

*Take the floor mats out and wash them.

*Sprinkle coffee grounds on the carpet, wait a couple hours and vacuum them up.

We tried both ideas and it worked! Now the car smells like coffee but, it's better than milk!

{Turning stinky situations into a learning opportunities since 2006...}

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Last night I dreamt that somebody loved me.

My Mother's Day wish list is generally pretty short. I like to sleep in, eat good food that somebody else made, and do whatever I want. Sometimes this means getting a drink with my friends or reading a book in the hammock all by myself. But sometimes it means having a fun-filled day with my family. There are no rules. Whatever mood strikes is what I like to do.

But first things first. I will sleep in.

Except this morning, when I heard Liam turn off the alarm to let the cat in, I knew there was no way I could fall back asleep. Because the dream I awoke from was about my mom. And it was a really good one.

In my dream she was lucid. Talking, smiling, remembering. It wasn't like we went back in time and the Alzheimer's didn't exist, it was more like she somehow shook it off. She kept shaking her head in disbelief. Not at how much had been lost but at how happy she was to have a second chance.

She was overwhelmed with gratitude. We all were. Every time she hugged me I could feel how much she loved me. It was dreamy. She would look me in the eyes and say, "My oldest!" or "My first born!" or something like that, then hug me so tight I could hardly believe it.

It was the best Mother's Day gift I ever could have asked for.

Monday, May 4, 2015

The life changing magic of having a friend.

Finn waddled his cute naked bum past my bed on his way to the bathroom at 8:50 this morning. Ten minutes before he's supposed to be at school. An hour and a half after he usually wakes me up.


We had stayed up past bedtime enjoying a bonfire with friends which, I have to say, is a pretty great reason to be late to preschool. I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes, texted his teacher, and pulled Finn into my bed for one of his famous good morning hugs.

I told him I was glad he woke up because it was already time for school. "Wait. Right now?" he said, incredulously. "But... I'm not going to get dressed." He slid out of my arms and right off my bed, then waddled back to his room and got in bed.

A few months ago, this would have sent me into a panic. Getting Finn to school in the morning was an absolute nightmare. Easily the biggest stressor in my life. He hated it. Or, at least, that's what he said while we battled our way out the door each morning. Once we were at school and I had successfully pried him off my leg and ran out the door (often crying), his teacher would text me that he was fine. Great even!

When I'd pick him up, same thing. He'd give me a big hug and say he had a great day. The pictures and notes from his teacher confirmed it. He was friends with everyone! Totally engaged and silly and loved by all.

And then the next school day would roll around and we'd be back at it.

"I'm not going!"

"I hate school!"

"School is the worst!"

"You can't make me go!"

It was awful.

But now? It's fine. Great even! So what changed?

It could be any number of things. I mean, for starters, four year olds can be certifiably wacky. One day it's up, the next it's down. Unless you say it's down and then it might just be sideways! Finn says it's better because I let him be in charge after school if he's had a good morning. (Bribery, man. If it works, it works.) I think it probably has a bit to do with me taking better care of my mental state (if Mama won't engage with you, what's the point of pitching a fit?).

But I really think it comes down to one thing.

Finny has a friend.

He's never not had friends in this class (and playdates and everything) but there's a big difference between wandering around the classroom, deciding which of your friends to jump in with and knowing without a doubt where you belong.

When we showed up five minutes into circle time this morning, Finn hesitated at the door for about a half a second. Then saw Jagger. They smiled and sort of half waved and, just like magic, the spot next to him opened up. Finn - the child who has cried, run out of the classroom, made me stay for circle time, clung to my leg, you name it - ran right over to his buddy and sat down.

I may have had to leave school in tears again, but at least they were happy tears.

At the beginning of the school year, Jagger was the only kid in class that Finn had a problem with. One day, he came home with a note that said, "On the playground Finn was trying to hit a boy with his jacket. When we asked him what was going on he yelled, 'He called me butt cheeks!'" I was so sad for my poor sweet boy. Until a friend of mine pointed out that Finn's butt cheeks are always showing. "Maybe the kid was just being descriptive? Like, 'Hey you with the blond hair!' only 'Hey you with the butt cheeks!' Hmmm. Considering Finn's chronic plumber's crack, I was willing to give the kid the benefit of the doubt. (Plus, I'm sorry, but that is pretty funny.)

A couple weeks later, I was helping out in Finn's class when he pointed to a very frowny boy giving me stink eye and whispered, "That's Jagger." I couldn't believe I gave this kid the benefit of the doubt. He looked like such a meany! But when Jagger sat on my lap a few minutes later and followed me around school the rest of the day, I realized he might not have been the happiest kid in class that day but he certainly wasn't mean. 

I talked to Finn about this, of course, and anytime he would say he didn't like school or didn't want to go I'd be quick to point out that he was not the only kid in class who was having a hard time. Then, around Christmas, things started to change. 

One day, his note from school said, "Finn and Jagger worked together on their Christmas Tree paintings. Finn said, 'This is peaceful.' Jagger agreed. It was just the two of them in the classroom with one of the teachers, the rest of the class had already gone to play in the big room."

When I asked Finn what had changed he shrugged and said, "Jagger and I are like brothers because we both hate school." So when we showed up for class a few weeks later and I noticed Jagger sitting alone in a chair looking sad I went up to him and whispered, "Hey buddy, Finn's here! He really likes you, you know. He wants to be your friend. Do you want to sit at the art table with him?" Jagger nodded and I walked him over. Soon after that I got this note from school:

Being friendly with everyone is not nothing. But having a friend is everything.