May 27, 2010

Mr. Green Beans

At my dinner table this week ...

I roasted a chicken. I made macaroni and cheese, the homemade kind, from a friend's recipe. I steamed green beans. I washed some grapes and sliced up a bunch of Italian bread. I put it all on the table.

My kids passed the chicken. They passed the macaroni and cheese. They passed the grapes and the bread. They passed the green beans.

Veggie Girl filled her plate up with green beans, because they are green and they are yummy and she truly loves her vegetables. Except for zucchini.

My Aspie took six beans. Yes, six. He counted them. He ate them. And then he asked for more protein, please.

My redhead took three. Reluctantly.

I told him he couldn't have more mac and cheese until he ate a green bean. So he ate one. All of it. Without ketchup. And then he ate another. And then the third.

And then he reached for the serving bowl and finished every single green bean left on the table.

He told my amazing, veggie-eating au pair that he is now big and strong and smart because he eats green beans. And last night he asked - yes, he asked - if we couldn't please have green beans for dinner.

Hang onto your hats, folks. There's a newly minted veggie lover in the house!

May 23, 2010

Small Miracles

Apparently, the Earth's orbit has shifted. The planets aligned. Hell froze over.

My redhead slept through the night. Again.

This is huge. HUGE. Because it's never ever happened before.

And even better, he wants it to happen again. Seriously. He said so himself. I was putting him to bed, and he said, "Mom, you can sleep with me one more time, and then I'm going to do it by myself so you can get me a Build-A-Bear."

That "sleeping with me" stuff means two things. It means at night, when he's falling asleep, because he likes to have me nearby. Not always right next to him, but always nearby. And given the turmoil of the divorce, I haven't pushed it. I've stayed. Because divorced kids need to know they are loved, they are safe, and their grown-ups will be there. No matter what.

And the other thing it means is his 4 a.m. wanderings into my room, when I'm so totally zonked out nothing short of a screaming smoke detector could wake me. He climbs into my bed, glues himself to my side, and sleeps the rest of his night.

Now he's going to do it by himself. Falling asleep. Staying asleep. All on his own.

And all it's going to cost me is a Build-A-Bear.

I'm in. I am so in. Because, after nearly five years of non-stop sleep deprivation, I'd give anything. Anything. A year's supply of M&Ms, every Lego kit ever made, a ride on the space shuttle.

Thirty days of solid sleep, and that kid is going shopping.

I'm lucky all he wants is a bear.

May 22, 2010

Sleeping Through

Last night, my closing-on-five-year-old slept through the night for the first time in his whole entire life.

I wish I were kidding about that. But I'm not. As a newborn, this kid was ginormous and growing faster than anyone should at that age. He simply could not get through the night without nursing. Then he got older, and apparently he stayed hungry. Or thirsty. Or he had night terrors. Or the wind blew. And he woke up. He woke up, and he came looking for me.

This puzzles me. I've raised two kids who have been champion sleepers practically since birth. In their own beds and everything.

Not this guy.
Eventually, after a year or two of disrupted sleep, I simply gave up. I stopped sleeping and started waiting for him to come find me. See, if he caught me sleeping, I'd wind up with an overnight companion who believes that sleep happens best when he is glued to my side and holding firmly to my belly button. And that's just weird. So I stayed awake in order to put him back in his own bed and keep him out of mine.

Now he waits me out. He's figured out that I get so little sleep I'll eventually crash like a meteorite, and if he waits until 4 or 5 a.m., he'll win. Thanks to the sleeplessness that is single motherhood, he wins every single night.

Only last night, he didn't. Last night, he slept. In his own bed. All night long.

That's because last night, I wasn't at home. Last night, a really truly wonderful and amazing friend stayed at my house with my kids. My redhead knew I wouldn't be there when he came looking for me. So he didn't come.

Tonight I asked him why. I was tucking him in, and I said, "Hey, I'm really proud of you for staying in your bed all night last night. I'll bet you can do that again tonight."

"No. I can't."

"Why not?"

Which is when he looks up at me with these great, big, lost puppy dog eyes and says, "Because I love you, mom."

Well, crap. I couldn't argue with that one if I tried.

May 16, 2010

Veggie Girl Versus the Insect

A few nights ago, I'm putting the kids to bed, helping with tooth brushings and face washings and pajama wearings. And there, in the bathroom, up near the lights, was a great big giant bug.


The redhead and the diva were clearly freaked. So I did what any good mom would do ... and no, that does not mean I ran screaming from the room, because really, what kind of lesson would that teach them?

Nope. I calmly pulled a few sheets off the roll, folded them over once or twice, climbed up on the counter and squashed the hell out of that bug.

Immediately I heard a shocked gasp from behind me. It was the diva.

"Mom!" she gasped in horror. "You killed nature!"

And then she stormed out of the room.

My little chicken-eating vegetarian wants to save the world. Even the bugs. I must be doing something right.

May 9, 2010

Ice Cream for Breakfast

Today was the very best kind of day.

A year ago - and this is where blogging is just a little surreal, because you do get to look back a full year and see where you were - but a year ago, I was in a very different place. A year ago, I dropped a pitcher of iced tea on the floor, burst into tears, and put my cranky kids to bed.

Today I had ice cream for breakfast.

Today I had eager kids bouncing on my bed, and an amazing au pair who woke up early and helped them mix and scramble and toast and scoop. They gave me ice cream for breakfast, with four spoons and a heaping helping of Belgian chocolate sprinkles (I am so planning a trip to Belgium, 'cause those folks really do have their priorities straight when it comes to food).

Today I had my family around me, with two mothers in the house and a birthday to celebrate, and plenty of yummy goodness. That includes some incredible cupcakes - and yes, I made them, but it's not really bragging because they are not really my cupcakes. These cupcakes belong to Martha. THE Martha. They are Martha Stewart's tiramisu cupcakes, and they are easily worth whatever you have to pay for real vanilla beans to make them happy.

What's funny is, that bad day, a year ago? That's the day I realized I was happy. And yes, I know that seems a bit contrary. But it's true. I knew I was happy because that one bad day didn't knock me down. It didn't send me diving for the covers. That one bad day was followed by one good day. And then another. And another.

And that's what makes happy. A string of good days, with a bad day plopped in there from time to time to remind you of what you've got.

Crap happens. It happens a lot. And then you have ice cream for breakfast.

Happy Mother's Day, folks. Gosh but this mom thing is fun!

The Great Potty Caper

Ever since our One Step Back, the redhead has had a bit of trouble with ... uh, shall we say preschool incontinence? That first day, my poor little guy went through five - yes, five - pairs of pants. He just doesn't make it on time anymore, and I'm not sure why. He could be regressing. Or maybe he just really hates washing his hands.

We've tried all kinds of incentives and bribes, the latest being an M&M for every successful, dry trip to the loo. None has really worked. Though, thankfully, our failures have generally been at home. Quiet. Discreet. Stash of clean clothes in a dresser upstairs.

Until yesterday.

Last night my folks were here (YAY!). They live on the other coast, so we see them maybe once a year. I had the kids out for a very late dinner at Wendy's. And no, I don't do fast food that often, but when in the excitement of seeing the grandparents and possibly swimming in the hotel pool you totally forget what time it is, then realize it's nearly 8:00 p.m. and your kids haven't eaten yet, fast food is the result.

We'd made it through the chicken nuggets and on to the ice cream when suddenly the redhead starts saying, "I'm sorry! I'm sorry!"

"Why are you sorry, peanut?"

"'Cause I pee on everything."


I rushed him to the bathroom. Too late. He was soaked. And because he's been potty trained for nearly three years now, I was there without a stitch of extra clothing, trapped in an eco-friendly restroom with not a paper towel in sight.

Seriously. No towels. And you can't dry pants with toilet paper.

So I did the only thing a mom could do. I held him up, pants and all, under the air dryer. Baked him till he was done on one side, then flipped him over.

Worked, too. He marched out of that restroom, dry and warm, and finished his ice cream. He even washed his hands.

Fingers crossed that delivered a lesson, though. Because I'm running out of M&Ms.

May 2, 2010

Eight Years

You ever think of your life in eight-year chunks?

It's an odd thing to do. Most of the time you're thinking two years ahead. Or five years. Or 10.

But eight years. Enough time to be interesting, right? But not so dramatic as a whole decade.

And really it's not that long.

You know how I know?

Eight years ago, I had a three-year-old son starting preschool. I had a 12-week-old daughter who had just started sleeping through the night. The redhead was not even a twinkle in my eye. And the ex and I had just quit our marriage counselor, against her advice (gee, wonder how that went).

I blinked. That's all I did. I blinked, and eight years went flying by.

In eight more years, that three year old will be 19, finishing his second year of college and waiting, patiently and with all due respect for the law, through the 17 months between him and legal beer. That 12-week-old will be driving and dating, and I'm honestly not sure which of those is more startling. And my twinkle will be 12, almost 13, and driving the girls to distraction in middle school.

They're growing up on me, you know. And eight years, it's just a blink away.

Guess there's a lesson in there somewhere: Don't blink.