From the Mommy Files…

Archive for July 2010

Kids say the darndest things.

We hear it all the time.

I wonder, as you probably, do – where do they get this stuff?

The other day, Bebs was enjoying one of her favorite pastimes – scaling the front stairs. I told her to get down. She promptly responded, “No dice!”

My husband turned and asked me, did she really just say, “no dice”? It’s not something that we say. Hmmm…

This morning I asked Boo if she was ready to go downstairs. “Just a second,” she said. So I waited a minute. “Are you ready yet?” I asked again. “Just a sec!” she retorted. A sec? Does she understand the concept? Again, something we don’t say. I might say “just a minute,” or “hold on,” but I don’t say “just a sec.” Hmmm….

These are just a couple of examples.

I’m sure there are many instances where you’ve heard your kids say stuff, and you wonder – where do they get this stuff?

The girls have been going to day camp for the last couple of weeks. I’m sure this is where Boo got the idea to be a rock star, as on the first day they colored these wooden guitar magnets. They’ve learned other things there besides songs and dances. They’ve learned to make new friends, play with kids of different ages and learned things the other kids know.

These are not bad things. I’m just pointing out that so many others have influence on our kids –their teachers, kids, people they come in contact with, things they hear.

All we can do is our best – to give them the tools to make the right decisions, and be able to determine on their own what’s right and wrong – because we can’t be with them all the time.

These examples are pretty trivial, but this is a good lesson for us moms and dads.

They sure provide some needed comic relief!

Imagine that little voice…

“No dice!”

What things go your kids say that have taken you by surprise? Think about it.

Hold onto your hat. I’m sure there’s more to come.

As the day began, we still didn’t have a name for the band yet. Never fear, Boo is still very much into starting a band.

Daddy’s been very busy with work lately, and hasn’t played much guitar for the girls.  Boo told me that this weekend, we better get rehearsing, cause “we’re wasting time!”

On the way to camp, the other day, Boo started formulating our song list.

Boo: Mommy, I’m thinking of some songs we can sing with our band.

Mommy: What songs, Sweetie?

Boo: How about this one…”One potato, two potato, three potato, four, five potato, six potato, seven potato more!”

Mommy: I like it.

Boo: Then we’ll go right to “We will, we will rock you! Boom, boom, boom. We will, we will rock you!”

Love the sounds effects.


Mommy: That’s cool. You like that song?

Boo: It’s perfect for a rock star.

Just then a little voice chimed up from the other side of the back seat.


Bebs: Oh Mommy! Oh Mommy!

Nope, she wasn’t speaking to me directly. She was singing. Yes, she does sing. I think I’ve told you before that I make up little ditties to distract the girls when they are having a meltdown or when they are fidgety. I wrote this little ode a couple of weeks ago for Bebs. She loves the bath, and whenever I take her out, she has a major fit. So one day, the words just came to me. I started to sing.

The song “Oh Mommy!” Is sung not to the tune of The Beatles, “Oh Darling!” but rather to Toni Basil’s “Mickey!

Oh Mommy

You’re so mean

You don’t let me play in the tub

Oh Mommy!

Oh Mommy!

From the first time I sang it, Bebs shouted, “Oh Mommy!” Boo started to sing the song too. An instant hit! So I guess we’ll be singing this with our band.


Boo: Oh Mommy, you’re so mean…

Bebs: Oh Mommy! Oh Mommy!

Mommy: A duet!

Boo: If that means we are singing together, then OK!

Mommy: Yes, Honey, a duet means two people singing together.

Boo: OK. We need to rehearse this weekend, OK?

Mommy: OK. How will Big G practice with us? I don’t know if he can come over.

Remember, she’d recruited her cousin as the drummer.


Boo: He can practice at his home. We’ll practice at ours. Then we can call him on the speaker phone and play together.

Interesting logic.


Mommy: What about Uncle Clowny? Won’t he get jealous that he isn’t in the band?

I asked about my brother, who by the way, at one point wanted to be a rock star too. I’m seeing a recurring theme here. Do we all go through this phase?


Boo: Someone will have to help Big G with his drums.

Mommy: So Uncle Clowny will be the roadie?

Boo: What’s a roadie?

Mommy: Someone who helps with things like drums, setting them up, taking them down, packing them up and moving them out.

Boo: Someone will have to move my piano too.

Mommy: Right.

Boo: Uncle Clowny is my roadie!

Good thing Uncle Clowny has had some experience as a roadie.


Mommy: Any ideas on what we should call the band?

Boo: Oh yes, Mommy. We are called City Band.

Mommy: Should we get t-shirts made?

Boo: Special costumes first.

We have a name!

I’m interested to see what other songs she wants to add to our repertoire, and what these costumes will be like. This is getting really fun!


Rock on, dudes!

Boo was dancing around yesterday and she started singing. “We will, we will rock you!” She sang it a few times then asked me, “Mommy, do you know this song?” Sure, I know that song. Who doesn’t know this famous rock anthem? “This is a great song for our band!” Boo exclaimed.

I asked where she’d heard the song.  The response:“I don’t know. But we’re gonna rock you. It’s perfect!”

So a few days have passed, and Boo still wants to be a rock star.

We’ll see who she tries to emulate. Back in the day, I wanted to be Pat Benatar. She was short like me, and she had once studied to be an opera singer. In high school, I began what would be about six years of vocal training – some classical. We were soul sisters! Ha!

I hung around with enough wanna-be rock stars, to know that’s not the life I want for my child. A wise friend – an aspiring musician himself – who ended up one of the very few from our circle to “make it big,” once gave me some very sage advice. I was about to enter college. He told me some things that changed my life. “ Music is about pleasure. Sing for you. But you deserve more. You don’t want to work in gas stations and odd jobs to eat while you try to make it. That’s not for you. Go to school. Pursue a course of study and work to provide yourself a nice living. Sing for you. Don’t leave the music behind. It’s in your soul. Sing for you, for your own pleasure.”

I took his advice, and have never regretted it. As for my friend, I wish he’d heeded some of his own advice. He “made it,” only to succumb to heroin addiction and ultimately suicide. I never understood how someone so intelligent and wise beyond his years, could get mixed up in all that. I guess “making it” outweighed any sense of judgment. He was not always a good friend, but his many words of wisdom have stayed with me through the years – much didn’t make sense to my then-teenaged-know-it-all brain, but as I got older, things really started to click in. Unfortunately, I’ve seen good people get into the rock star life and then they’re never the same – and not in a positive way. I guess I’m jaded.

As I look at stars like Brittney Spears and other “good girls gone bad” – even Miley Cyrus – I know I don’t want that life for Boo. However, I won’t squash her enthusiasm. Studying, learning and growing with music IS an amazing experience. I won’t deprive her of that. I want her to pursue her dreams, however, a lot can happen between now and the time she goes to college. I myself changed my aspired vocation more than two or three times. She’s only three – so let’s have fun!

For now, I guess we rock!

In the immortal words of Freddie Mercury and Queen…

“We will, we will rock you!  Sing it now! We will, we will rock you!”

(I can hear you singing over there! All together now…)

Note to Daddy: Time to find the sheet music. Boo will be asking you to play this on your guitar! Dude, you’re in the band!

Does this mean we get to wear big hair again? 😉

“I wanna be a rock star!”

Yes, Boo uttered these words to me out of the blue yesterday, as we were watching TV. A commercial came on for one of those reality talent shows, and she asked “are they rock stars?”

Then came some words I didn’t think I’d hear from my daughter – well, my mom says the apple didn’t fall far from the tree…

“Let’s start a band!” Boo uttered with delight.

A band? OK, this should be good.


Mommy: You want to start a band? Who’s going to be in the band?

Boo: I’m going to play the drums.

Mommy: Drums? I thought you wanted to learn piano. I signed you up for lessons.

Boo: I must take my lessons, Mom. I really want to take lessons! I guess I can give up the drums.

Mommy: OK. Who will play guitar?

Boo: Daddy!

Mommy: Who else will be in the band?

Boo: You will sing!

Oh boy, I better get working on getting over my stage fright!


Mommy: What about Bebs?

Boo: She can dance.

Funny, Bebs can’t walk on her own yet.


Boo: I know! She can sing the “ahhhs” and the “oooohs”!

Mommy: Good idea! Who’s going to play drums?

Boo: Big G! I think he’ll love it.

So my nephew has been recruited into the band. He’ll love it, that’s for sure. I’m not sure how my brother will feel about the drums.

Boo took a short break from the conversation, and pulled out Bebs’ little piano, that has 4 keys. She started playing it.


Mommy: What are you doing?

Boo: I’m writing songs, Mom. I have to get to work or we won’t have anything to sing.

Mommy: Where did you learn about starting a band, writing songs and being a rock star?

Boo: I don’t know, Mommy, I just do. Won’t it be fun?

My mom laughed hysterically when I told her this. Years ago, I hung out with a lot of aspiring rock stars, and once actually wanted to be one myself. My mom insists it’s in her blood. I think I’m in trouble.


While we were eating dinner, we told Daddy that Boo wants to start a band. He was stunned at the retelling of the story.


Daddy: So what kind of music will you play?

Boo: Um, we’ll start with some polka. A lot of polka will be fun! Do you like polka, Mommy?

Mommy: How do you know about polka? Do you know what polka is?

Boo: Yeah, Mom. It’s fun music, and you dance around like this!

She jumped around in a frenetic burst of energy. Did she really know that it’s upbeat music or is she just jumping because she likes to? Hmmm…


Mommy: What comes after polka?

Boo: I thought we’d do some fabia.

Mommy: What’s fabia?

Boo: Mommy, you don’t know about fabia?

Mommy: Um, no. What’s it like?

Boo: You’ll learn. Oh yeah, I’m going to sing the first song, not you. OK?

Mommy: OK. What will be next?

Boo: Maybe some samba.

This is getting even more interesting.


Mommy: After samba?

Boo: We’re just going to have fun, Mommy.

Mommy: Where did you get the idea to do this? Is it something you learned at camp?

Boo: I know all about this stuff, Mom. I’m a big girl you know.

I see.


Tonight, as we got ready for bed, she reminded me of some work she has to do.


Boo: I have a lot of songs to write. I think I’ll get started tomorrow.

Mommy: OK.

Boo: I’ll make up dances for them too. You’ll have to learn them.

Mommy: OK.

I found this incredibly amusing, though I wonder, where did she come up with all of this? We do expose her to different types of music and encourage her to sing and try to play our piano and guitar, as well as dance. I don’t think we’ve ever played polka music. Not sure on that one…


She’s been going to dance classes for a year now. She recently asked if she could start piano lessons now instead of waiting until she was 4. We have a trial lesson coming up in September, to see if she’s really ready. Something tells me she’s more than ready.


She loves to sing, and I tell you, she hears a song once, and will start singing it (sometimes repeatedly!) – with the correct melody and intonation. Whatever it is, she has a vivid imagination, and I love that she is so interested in music.


I don’t know how we will ever get to practice. Bebs doesn’t like it when I sing. She shouts, “NO!” Hey! I’m not THAT bad! 😉


We’ve discussed previously the benefits of music education.  One article states that children that study music or sing have higher test scores at school. It keeps kids calm and raises self-confidence among other things. An article at About.com says Recent research suggests exposure to music may benefit a child’s reading age, IQ and the development of certain parts of the brain. Adults can benefit from learning to play an instrument too because it helps the mind to be alert and remain active eventually helping to sharpen the memory.” It also teaches discipline, and most of all, it’s fun.


So, as long as she doesn’t start yelling “sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll!” I guess it’s all good, right?


Dude, let’s start a band!


ROCK ON!

What do I do first?

Yesterday I took the girls to camp. Yes, the first day of a 3-week summer camp. They’ll go for ½ days of music, dance, art and other activities. Sounds like fun. I never went to camp, as my mom didn’t drive and my dad was always working. This will be a great experience for them.

I tried to drum up the excitement that morning, with cries of, “We’re going to camp today, woo-hoo!” and they both joined in. The camp is at the same place where BooBoo takes her dance lessons, so we know the people. Otherwise, I don’t think I would have felt comfortable leaving Bebs there, at 16 months old.

So we arrived at the dance studio, and the girls set out to play pretty quickly. Some other girls came and then the kids were told to pick one of three activities for the first session. Bebs very excitedly went to attack a huge container of Legos. Boo went for the puzzles. This was my chance to exit.

As I opened the door to leave, I felt these strange pangs in my stomach. Wow. I’d just left my kids somewhere. Other than going out and having a babysitter come to the house, we’ve really never left them anywhere. I had a moment of “my babies!” then I thought, “What will this be like when they both go off to all day school? College?” One day at a time.

I got in the car and said a quick prayer. Hope everything goes well today. Bebs has started to outgrow her separation anxiety. I hope her mommy withdrawals aren’t too bad today. Hopefully she’ll be so busy that she won’t think about it. I’m also hoping she’ll finally start walking. She’s the only one in the camp that isn’t walking. Funny, she can climb up a slide, the ladder to the slide, climb in and out of her little car, cruise the furniture and walk holding your hands – heck she’ll jump on you like she’s wrestling you – but she won’t walk alone. I’m hoping this will be the impetus to get her walking.

Boo is excited to do all sorts of art projects and sing and dance. She’s totally in her element.

For 3 weeks, I will now have 3 hours a day to do whatever I want. I have made lists of things I have to do in the next few days, because I need to catch up with work, but I find myself thinking, “What do I do first? Should I go workout? Should I go get my nails done? Should I take a nap?” Oh yeah, there is work to be done.

Funny – I kinda feel like a teenager whose parents have gone on vacation and left me home alone. Woo-hoo! I’m free (for a little while at least!)! So I guess I should be out meeting the girls for coffee and getting a manicure. Well, the next few days I must catch up on work. There will be time to play later. I promise. I won’t work the entire time.

So I’m doing OK so far – no feelings of guilt. I’m excited for the girls to have the opportunity to make new friends, learn some new things, play and just have fun. It’s good for us to be apart for a little while.

In the weeks leading up to camp, I did some research.  Was it the right thing to send them? Were they old enough? An article, “5 Reasons Why Kids Should Go to Camp” reveals some strong reasons why kids should definitely go to camp. It gives them a “respite” from TV and all that stuff, increases their confidence and more.

Yet another article discussed the benefits of summer camp. This article states that camp helps keep kids from getting bored, provides them further opportunities for social interaction, and among other things, it will allow them to expend some of their overabundant energy. The article also provides some tips on selecting camp, such as taking into account your child’s age and interests, and even to involve them in the selection process.

Now that I think about it, I guess I am at camp too. There are so many activities I can do; I just don’t know where to start. For that reason, I think I better go create my own schedule, so I can get things done too. Oh, this feels weird.

Happy Camping!

When we last met, I told you about our 4th of July outings with my husband’s friends from college. It never fails – when my husband goes to the golf outing, BooBoo always seems to morph into DooDoo, her evil twin. I’m telling you, it’s a real Jekyll and Hyde story!

This year, when my husband was getting ready to go golfing, I didn’t feel well. I wasn’t really up for the festivities and was just waiting for DooDoo to rear her ugly head. I wasn’t 100%, and then there was Bebs to deal with too. How would I handle DooDoo?

So we stayed home so I could rest and agreed to meet up with everyone later. I thought we were safe(r) at home.

After Bebs’ afternoon nap, I felt better, so we loaded up the car and headed out. It should take only 45 minutes to get there.

Nope.

Not this time.

UGGGHHHH!

Add construction and traffic, and about 1 hour and 10 minutes into the trip, we were not close.

Then, without warning, our own Mr. Hyde emerged.

It wasn’t Boo this time.

Bebs has an evil twin! What in the world? Shoot me now!

Bebs doesn’t like being in the car for long periods of time – something about being confined, I suppose. This sweet little girl began to roar – with a vengeance. She screamed as loud – and as frequently – as she could. I don’t mean crying – I mean shrieking. I offered snacks, toys – nothing satisfied her. She wanted out – and immediately.

Boo sat in her booster seat quietly drawing. I just felt increasingly worse. The shrieking continued for several minutes. Then I lost it. “Hey! Don’t you yell at me! This wasn’t my idea. Take it up with your father!” The response – a blood-curdling scream that started with a “Noooooo!”

I actually thought about turning around and going home, because this could go further downhill fast, but I shuddered at the thought of one more hour in the car like this.

Ah, the beauty of technology. Our GPS brought us to the right subdivision, except – the wrong street. The address did not exist! In the meantime, my cell phone had fallen under the seat, beyond reach. It kept ringing every two minutes. I knew it was my husband. I started yelling – half in Greek, half in English. “Stop calling me! Eisai trellos? Gamoto! Aseme isiho! STOP!!!”

I very rarely swear – if you ever hear me utter the F-word – oh boy – you are in trouble. Here I said it, and in Greek no less (I didn’t want the girls to learn the word – funny how I had that one moment of clarity during the entire episode. Good to know I wasn’t quite ready for the men in white coats!).

Finally, I parked the car and got out to pry the phone out from under the seat. My husband had called like 10 times. I called. “Where are you?” he asked. “I have no fricken idea! Our lovely GPS brought me to this place and there is no such address! Da—”  I almost said ‘damn it’ but somehow I caught myself. “Darby!” I said. He responded,“Where are you?” “If I knew I would tell you. There’s no street sign here.” I drove to one and told him the name. He asked someone, and imagine that – I was in the right subdivision but on the wrong street. Apparently, we needed the other X Street. Why are the suburbs so confusing? Do they think it’s fun to make visitors feel totally disoriented? Well, we were close. But wait – no one was at the house. They all went to the lake. The little one continued her tirade. Calgon, take me away!

My husband started rattling off some directions to get there. I had no idea what he was saying. So then he told me the GPS can take me to an intersection. Did I really want to rely on that again? I did try to enter the info – it gave me way too many options – no one knew the answer to this conundrum: was it W Maple? E Maple? Maple? N Maple Ave? E Maple St? Oh my goodness – I thought I’d pop a blood vessel at this point. I felt even worse than when we started. I couldn’t stay in that car any longer myself.

One of the guys drove my husband to get us, and then we could follow him to the lake. Meanwhile, I tried to calm down the monster in the backseat. She didn’t want juice before, but somehow now, juice was the magic antidote.

My husband arrived. I was so angry. I could have stayed home and gotten some rest, but he didn’t want to be there without us.  So this was all his fault! Ha! I wasn’t going to be nice. You know what I’m talking about. (Don’t ya love the logic, or lack thereof?)

Somehow the fresh air blowing off the lake, and all these great people changed my attitude in record speed. We got settled. The girls got into their swimsuits. Boo played in the sand. Bebs preferred to sit with another little one, sharing a bag of Cheetos and getting super messy. We made it. It was nice to see everyone. And finally – everyone was happy. It was like nothing had ever happened.

So we’ve traded in DooDoo for Crab, Bebs’ alter ego. I sure hope she doesn’t visit very often. Heck, maybe I’ll get lucky and we won’t see her again.

At least any time soon.

OK, I can hear you laughing out there. You’re laughing at me, but you’re thinking, “I’ve had a day like that! I’m glad I’m not the only one.” We’ve all been there. And unfortunately, at some point, we’ll go there again. Well, if we can’t laugh at ourselves…We have to keep our sense of humor!

Every 4th of July weekend, we get together with some of my husband’s friends from college. They’re really a great group of people. Most of them got married young and so they’re kids are older and don’t require as much attention or supervision. Here we are with our little ones. Late bloomers, I guess. 😉

Two of the last three years that we went, the reunion was out of town. It’s nice to get away, but going away with little kids is not a vacation, contrary to what some may tell you.

The first time, we went to Wisconsin Dells. BooBoo was 5 months-old. We didn’t get to spend much time with the group, because she had to nap, nurse, etc. So while my husband was out golfing with the guys, I sat in a hotel room. We stayed at a different hotel than the rest of the group, so most of the time, Boo and I were on our own because I couldn’t find anyone.

The following year, it was local. We went to outings, then always went back to our home. We didn’t miss any naps. Boo was up a little late, and of course she got a little crabby, but it worked out OK.

Last year, the reunion was in Champaign, Ill. I almost packed up the car and drove home that time!

My husband was concerned with over packing, so against my better judgment, I didn’t bring things to keep Boo (as much as possible) in her bedtime routine. Always trust your instincts! Getting her to sleep at night was nearly impossible. She thought it was a big party. One such night I thought my husband would pack up the car and drive home.

Of course, when it’s golf day and my husband takes off for like 6 hours, Boo’s evil twin shows up. Let’s call her DooDoo, because she’s such an unwanted visitor. Bebs was 4 months-old, and I was nursing, trying to keep her on her schedule. It was a challenge. The other moms invited us to go to the pool with them, and by the time Bebs napped and I got all our stuff together, everyone was gone. I didn’t have the car and taking the stroller, 2 kids and bags full of towels, sunscreen and swimmies was not an option.

DooDoo drove me absolutely crazy. She was such a terror – throwing things, hiding the baby’s stuff, tearing pages from books, etc. After Bebs got up from her afternoon nap, we went to the park. DooDoo was running off, wouldn’t listen – do I need to continue?

My patience was shot; I hadn’t slept. She wouldn’t eat or drink anything either, and I was at my wits end. She was out of control. Finally, I called my husband.  It was about 2:30 pm. “Where are you?” I asked. The response, “We’re still golfing. We’re going to the 13th hole.” Excuse me? They’d been gone since early in the morning. I explained the situation. I told him he better get back fast or there might be one less family member when he did return. Ha! I don’t think he understood the severity of the situation. He probably thought I was exaggerating. This had been going on all day. “We’ll be done in an hour or so,” he said. “Uh -uh. It’s like BooBoo has an evil twin! You call this a vacation?

He met us at the park within the hour. Bebs was little and required a lot of attention. Maybe Boo was just jealous. Perhaps we should not have gone. We did survive, though we missed the greater part of the fun due to napping and early bedtimes. What can you do? They will grow up soon enough.

July 4th weekend was again upon us. I wondered, would Boo’s evil twin make an appearance? There are activities planned, but Bebs doesn’t walk yet, doesn’t like to go in the water and wants Mommy all the time. She won’t sleep in her stroller either. I knew Boo would have a great time playing in the water. But then what do I do with Bebs?

The thought of packing everything needed to spend 10 hours from home gave me pause. Also, I didn’t feel well. What would I do with DooDoo? She was bound to rear her ugly head. It was also golf outing day, after all. That spells trouble.

We’d already said we’d go, and did look forward to seeing everyone. So my husband went to golf, and we agreed to meet up with the group later. I thought we’d be ‘safe(r)’ at home.

The day went fine. I had a little time to rest. So after Bebs went for her afternoon nap, I began to gather our things. Boo was brimming with excitement.

Later, we loaded up the car and we were on our way. It should take 45 minutes to get there.

Guess again.

TO BE CONTINUED


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