Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Once A Week

Every Thursday I take my son to a class that is held at my friend's house. The class is called Outside The Box and it truly lives up to it's name. Today midway through the class I was sitting with my son under a moon blanket, which is basically the silver safety blankets that I have always seen wrapped up but never opened. We had it wrapped over us like a tent as we played with two light up balls. We watched the colored lights reflect against the silver blanket. It was in that moment that I had one of those "I love this class"-feelings. This happens almost every week with this class.

My son, the second child, really only has this one class that I take him to. The rest of the week is spent toting him around to gymnastics, school and play dates for his sister, or running errands and the occasional park trip if he is lucky. I signed him up for a library story time which we have missed the last two weeks. It is okay but it is really just me and the nanny crew. I don't mind skipping it but Thursdays I go out of my way to take him to this class. It is a bit of everything all in one. There is singing, sign language, art, tactile activities, physical activities and some new surprise every week.

Octavia is the owner and I remember when I had my daughter, I had a leinthy talk with her on the phone about her classes, how she started them and, how they benefited the kids. I was fascinated. Little did I know at that point how special this class would be to my kids and to me. I took my daughter to a class that was given at a private house that someone hosted. When I walked in to this woman's beautiful class I realized pretty quickly how familiar she looked. Turns out we had met at a hospital tour and then again while interviewing a pediatrician. She and I have been friends ever since.

My daughter loved class and it was by far my favorite activity to bring her to. You never knew if you would be watching your kid swim (or in my case eat) a vat of jello, or learn how to count to five in five languages. The begining and end of class was always consistent and the part in between was always a surprise. I made such great friends with these women and we kept the class going until our kids went to preschool. The friendships lasted though and we stayed connected. Many of them went on to have second children two years later. They started the class up again for the siblings and I hadn't really been aware of it since I waited a bit to have my second. When he was one though my friend told me to bring him for class. When I walked in and saw so many familiar faces, in the same place, with the same music,  but with new kids, I felt a little emotional. It was so familiar and comfortable except that the babies we originally did this with were all in school.

The first time I brought my boy he was a little too young for the group but then we tried it a few months later and he his completely holding his own. He absolutely loves this class. He walks in the door, grabs his key (which is a weekly part of the class to give the teacher your key at the beginning shows that you are ready for class), and then he sits down on the rug and waits. He understands how this class works and feels comfortable in the group which allows him to be himself.

With all the moving we have just done and will continue to do, this class is not close to us anymore. I thought the last session would be it for us, but when it came time to sign up again, I just couldn't resist doing another session. I couldn't actively decide to take something my child seems to enjoy so much and stop doing it. In the first few weeks when I was trying to adjust to our new surroundings I had spent so much time without seeing any of my friends. When I walked into class that Thursday I realized how important it was for both of us to be in this class. In a time when our home keeps changing, its nice to walk in and feel right at home in this group.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A New Year

A few of my friends have had a pretty bad 2014. Some for lack of income and some for lack of luck, either way they wanted to do everything to insure that 2015 was going to be abundant, or at the very least a lot better than last year. One of these friend's is an atheist and the other is pretty spiritual. So while one sets her intentions and hopes for the year the other one is pretty sure it can't be as bad as last year and so it's inevitable it will be better.

In the past I would have leaned more towards the spiritual side and "put it out there" that I want to see certain changes come to fruition. I would have wrote a list, maybe burned an orange candle, I would have visualized myself in the place I would want to be in the future. I haven't entirely stopped believing in positive thinking, I just feel less positive of what to visualize these days.

I keep a daily list of five things I am grateful for everyday. I write these things right before I go to bed. Sometimes the list is longer than five and sometimes I count to four and can only come up with "I am so happy I am in bed now" as number five.  Perhaps it's a combination if being aware of how abundant I really am, in conjunction with how busy that keeps me from pining after a different life. Sure there are some things I would like to tweak, but my present day complaints are so fleeting because they are related to my ever changing children. That fact alone makes me realize how precious the here and now actually is.

If I had to quickly answer what I want for myself these days, it would be more sleep, more time to work out and a few creative successes -- a year to make me feel like I have some semblance of a career.  It doesn't take me long though to realize that two out of those three will come so fast. I am in the thick of toddlerhood with my little boy. He is on the verge of not being so dependent on me. With each day I see the struggle that he and I both have with these big changes. There is also my six year old who comes home form school everyday a bit more mature. She lost her front tooth a few weeks ago and now when I see pictures of her smile pre toothless gap, I get a pang of sentimental sap for my little girl that is growing up so fast.  A time will come that I will pine for the mess, and the noise they are making and the time they are taking from me.

So instead of a list this year, or an image of myself balancing a job and two kids, I want to practice more acceptance of what is than what isn't. There is a lot on my plate, and I have never been amazing at multi tasking. So I know what it is I do well and right now that is being full time entertainer, chef, nurse, sleepwalker, room parent, present wrapping, chauffer, servant extraordinaire. I still have someone who wants me to hold him all the time, so before I wish for more free time on my hands to do other things I need to hold him a bit tighter, a bit longer, and bit more whole hearted. For my little girl just went back to school after two weeks off and I almost cried. We had such a great winter break, filling the time with a mixture of fun activities and staying in our pjs later than usual. I loved having her around that it was hard to say goodbye that first Monday back. I have my work cut out for me with these two, but I can see that these are the good old days happening right now, so that alone makes it a very happy new year!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Innocence Project

Lately, I have been listening to Serial like the rest of the world did a few months ago. My husband and I started it together but after a few nights of listening he lost interest. I had to hear the rest of the episodes but haven't had much time since I am limited to times when my kids are not awake, or my husband and I aren't watching something else on T.V. I am learning to squeeze in listens on headphones at odd times. When I am making lunch for my daughter, cooking, and getting ready for bed. I figured out that if I turn it up loud enough I can hear it while using my electric toothbrush. Thats two minutes right there.

I sometimes question, what would be ok for my son at two and half, could hear since he only understands so much. I can still play talk radio in the car for short periods of times because I think most of it goes over his head. I thought about listening to Serial with him around but I am not willing to take a chance that he absorbs any violence, plus he wouldn't let me enjoy it. The window has closed for my daughter to listen without understanding. She picks up on a lot these days, and has a lot of questions which brings me to how innocent she actually is right now.

At six and half, she can understand a lot. She has pretty deep conversations with us and there are quite a few things in the world around her that aren't pretty that she is aware of. I realize though how much is kept from her too. She knows a lot about the sad in the world but very little about the bad. She sees her fair share of homeless people and knows that they don't have a place to go at night that is warm, and that they are likely hungry. She is thoughtful, sensitive and giving when people are needy around her and often encourages us to share food or money when we can. She knows a bit about natural disasters and what has happened to people when disaster strikes. She knows about Martin Luther King and knows that racism existed before he came and fixed it all. She doesn't know it still exists. She knows sometimes life isn't fair and that people don't always get what they want. Well, maybe that last one is a work in progress, but she understands it to be true at least.

She doesn't know about hate crimes, school shootings, suicide bombers, 911, the holocaust, Bosnia, Rwanda, the KKK, Skinheads, ISIS, and many many more. This past week when terrorists walked into a meeting at Charlie Hebdo and murdered a room full of satirical cartoonists it was all over the news. Saturday when I took the paper out to read she sat down next to me. Her love of reading is amazing to us and opens her up to the world. Most of the time this is great, but this time, I wanted to keep her sheltered. The front cover showed a picture of a fire caused during the aftermath reactions and during the hostage situation. She began to read the headline and I insinctvly pulled away the paper. I gave her the real estate section with pictures and asked her to look for a house. She didn't want to play along -- she wanted to know about the fire. Like most humans, she was attracted to the taboo shocking stuff. I somehow deterred her, but soon enough she will learn and she will know.

Our little boy likes foxes. He can't pronounce the x sound though so he says "fuck" which is hilarious to us of course. Twig will laugh along and also repeat it, which already sound more disturbing coming from her mouth than his. She is of the age where some of her peers are aware of curse words, again she is still innocent in this department, and again not for long. I clearly remember learning about some of the violent acts that took place in our history. I remember specifically seeing pictures of lynchings in the south and also when I watched footage from the holocaust. I remember sitting with my dad and the weight of it shocking me. I remember standing up because it was to much to bear sitting down. I asked him repeatedly as I watched thin naked bodies being buried in piles, how could anyone have let this happen. How did it get so far?  At times my ignorance today isn't that far from my daughter's, because if we walk around thinking things like the holocaust don't still exist than we are all in the dark.

I pray that the world grows more peaceful as my children grow up but history shows that the world as beautiful as it is has some awful dark sides too. None of us truly know how to make it better, but we do what we can and try. For now, when I go in to kiss my girl goodnight I have to pause the Serial coming in to my head until I walk back out again. I want her to remain innocent as long as possible. Once she learned all of this, the world will always look different to her. What she will do with this awareness will be interesting to see, but I am going to keep that at bay as long as I can.