Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I'm Leaving on a Jet Plane Big Bus

Well, I'm off to Sao Paulo tomorrow with Margarita and Julio for their Destination Imagination competition. Thanks to me and my (irrational) fear of flying without my kids, Ballerina Girl and I are going to suffer through a bus ride (with 20+ kids) that takes anywhere from 5-8 hours, depending on whom you ask. Did I mention I get carsick?

Sounds like fun, eh?

It's a humbling experience for me to see Juan Carlos (6 years old) crying tonight because I'm leaving. I spend a fair amount of time feeling frustrated with my kids; so to see one of them crying because I'm not going to be here, when I sometimes feel like they'd be happier if I wasn't around nagging them about this or that, makes me feel grateful that kids love so unconditionally.

That's all. I'll be back Sunday.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

My Baby No Longer

Well, Juan Carlos finally lost his first tooth (albeit at the hands of our dentist) earlier this week.

Have I ever mentioned the kids' dentist before? She is about the coolest pediatric dentist I've ever met (granted, I haven't met many, but there can't be many cooler than her).

From a mom's perspective, she takes time each visit to review proper brushing technique; if they're not brushing properly, she'll have them come back once a week until she sees improvement (pain in the butt for me, but ultimately worth it); she doesn't charge me for little things like putting fluoride on a couple of teeth, she lets me have her cell phone number, she doesn't freak out when I show up with all four kids in tow, and she always fits my kids into her schedule.

From a kid's point of view, she lets them poke around her office, examine the "prize drawer" before they're done, make the dental chair go up and down and up and down and up and down, spray the windows with the little water sprayer dealy-o (only if they're willing to then clean them off with a paper towel. They always are.), and watch when their siblings who are having their teeth pulled:

I normally don't have pictures of my big kids on my blog, but Juan Carlos's face is so contorted here that it really looks nothing like him:


The Tooth Fairy visited while Guapo was out of town; she left Juan Carlos the equivalent of $6 USD because (I think), a) it was his first tooth and, b) it was a bit of a traumatic experience (see his face in the above photo). Gaupo claimed, had he been home, the Tooth Fairy never would have left that much money because he only got a quarter per tooth when he was a kid. Lucky for Juan Carlos he was traveling!

And, the best news of all, he still ran up to me when I arrived at school today and gave me a big bear hug and kiss, so maybe he'll be my baby a little while longer...

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Be Very Precise When Making Deals with the Tooth Fairy

A couple of years ago, about the time Juan Carlos was turning 5, I started teasing him about how he couldn't grow up and that he always had to be my baby. As he watched with envy as both Margarita and Julio were losing teeth and receiving money from the Tooth Fairy, I would explain to him that that wasn't going to happen to him because I had had a long talk with her and explained that he was going to stay my baby forever, so he really had no need to lose his baby teeth.

Kindergarten came and went and Juan Carlos watched nearly all of his classmates lose their lower bottom baby teeth, but he never did. And now, more than halfway through 1st grade, the kids are to losing their upper front teeth like crazy and yet Juan Carlos still has yet to lose a single tooth.

We had a close call a few weeks ago when it appeared that he had a loose tooth, but then it mysteriously un-loosened itself. It was so cute, during those few days that it was loose, I would complain about "that darn Tooth Fairy not keeping her promise," and he would tell me, "Don't worry mom, I'll still be your baby!" Melts my heart.

Then, after it appeared that she remembered our little deal and the tooth ceased to be wiggly, we noticed that he had a gap between two lower teeth that was never there before. Upon inspection of his mouth, this is what we found:

Do you see that? The white behind his front teeth? It's his permanent tooth:


That's not exactly what I had in mind. It's true I didn't want him to lose his baby teeth, but I also meant that I didn't want him to get his big boy teeth. Now he's like a shark growing a second row of teeth (and, oddly enough, his latest obsessions are sharks and shark teeth, coincidence? I think not). It now appears that he'll have to have the baby teeth pulled by the dentist on Monday unless he can do some serious loosening between now and then.

While there is some discussion in our house right now of the validity of the Easter Bunny, Juan Carlos will always and forever believe in the Tooth Fairy. You don't want to mess with her.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Busy Doing What?

Do you ever feel like this? Like you're really, really busy, but you have nothing to show for it? That's kind of what my life's been like lately. I'm staying occupied all day long, it's not like I'm sitting watching novelas eating bonbons all day, but I can't really say I'm making a lot of visible progress.

I've been running, practicing piano, finally finishing Team of Rivals (I was crying reading it today while I was getting my hair cut, that was cute), working on some minor organizational projects, playing a little tennis, and being a mom. Which I guess, when I write it out like that, sounds fairly productive, but I just don't feel like I'm accomplishing much. Does that make sense?

My mom sent me a forwarded email almost 4 years ago that has survived many an inbox purging. I'm not a fan of the forward, most of the time I don't even bother reading them (sorry, forward senders), but in this case I did (probably because my mom hardly ever sends forwards) and I can totally relate to it at times (like now) (sorry, I don't know to whom to give credit for this or I would):

"Recently, I was diagnosed with C.A. A. D. D. - Child Activated Attention Deficit Disorder. This is how it manifests:

I decide to do the laundry. As I start toward the laundry room, I notice that there are Cheerios all over the floor and my house keys are in the cereal bowl . I decide to pick up the cheerios before I do the laundry. I lay my keys down on the counter, put the cheerios in the trashcan, and notice that the trashcan is full. So, I decide to take out the trash. But then I think, since I'm going to be near the mailbox when I take out the trash I may as well pay the bills first. I take my check book off the table, and see that there is only one check left, my extra checks are in my desk in the office, so I go to my desk where I find a cup full of juice. I'm going to look for my checks, but first I decideI should put the cup in the refrigerator to keep it cold. As I head toward the kitchen with the cup a plant on the counter catches my eye--it needs to be watered. I set the sippy cup on the counter, and I discover baby wipes that I've been searching for all morning. I decide I better put them back, but first I'm going to water the plants. I set the wipes back down, fill a container with water and suddenly I spot the TV remote, left on the kitchen table. I realize that when I go to watch TV, I will be looking for the remote, but I won't remember that it's on the kitchen table, so I decide to put it back in the den where it belongs, but first I'll water the plants. I splash some water on the plant, but most of it spills on the floor. So, I set the remote back down, get some paper towels and wipe up the spill. Then I head down the hall trying to remember what I was planning to do.

At the end of the day: the laundry isn't washed, the bills aren't paid, there is a warm cup of juice sitting on the counter, the plants aren't watered, there is still only one check in my check book, I can't find the remote, I can't find the wipes, and I don't remember what I did with my keys. Then when I try to figure out why nothing got done today, I'm really baffled because I know I was busy all day long, and I'm really tired.

I realize this is a serious problem, and I'll try to get some help for it, but first I'll check my e-mail. Do me a favor, will you? Forward this message, because I don't remember to whom it has been sent. Don't laugh if this isn't you yet, your day is coming!"

Well, at least now I can go to bed tonight knowing that I at least blogged today!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Welcome to The School of Hard Knocks

When I went into help in Juan Carlos' 1st grade class last week, his teacher pulled me aside and told me she had to show me something. It was a writing assignment where the kids were supposed to respond to a letter from a disgruntled young woman, Lizzie, who was upset that she couldn't join the boys only Soccer Club, despite her supposed soccer skills.

She first showed me a few of the other kids' response which were generally along the lines of, "I'm sorry. It's not fair, you can play with us" or "the club should be for boys AND girls" or "if you keep practicing, we'll let you join."

Then she showed me Juan Carlos' paper:

(you can click it to make it bigger)

"I am sorry but that is how it is. You can make you're own club" (please disregard the grammatical error, he's only 6 :) )

His teacher loved it. I felt like in those two short sentences, that she had a window into our home and how we deal with a lot of the problems around here. "You're going to have to work it out.", "What are you going to do about it?", "You're ok" , "You're going to have to deal with it.", "You can handle it", "Life's not fair", "You can't always get what you want" (sung to them in my lovely singing voice. You know the song, from the Rolling Stones?)

Not that he's not a compassionate little guy, he is, actually his answer surprised me a little. He will often come home and tell me he helped so-and-so who was sad, or showed the new kid around. He draws pictures when we're sick and gives great hugs. And I do like that he realizes that sometimes life isn't fair and offers poor Lizzie a suggestion. But, it still made me feel a little weird.

Like I'd better watch out or I'm going to be complaining about my arthritis in the nursing home someday and he'll tell me, "Sorry, but that's just how it is. Take some aspirin and suck it up."