On the way to the airport: Me- "You are sending me to the airport without a dime? I have three children!" Husband- "There's an ATM there." Jay- "Mama, I have a dime. I have two dimes. I will give you a dime."
Patiently waiting for the plane with three children: Business Man- "I don't envy you at all." Me- ".........................."
Sitting on the plane with three children patiently waiting for take-off: Another Business Man- "You sure have your hands full." Me- "Better full, then empty."
Calling my best friend to cancel hot Friday night plans in the city, after traveling with three kids: Me- "Dude, I am just way too tired, I can barely see straight. Actually, I can't see." Her- A very disappointed, "Ohhhh, okay." Me- "How about tomorrow?" Her- "Cool."
Responding to new gossip via best friend, on the very next day, sitting at a posh lounge in hot Loubutins: Me- ".................." Her- "I know."
Waking up the next day, after tending to three children up at random points throughout the night not accustomed to the new sleeping arrangements: My mom- "Do they typically wake up at 5:30am?" Tired Me- "Well, it is 6:30 in Cleveland. And lunchtime in Europe."
Calling my husband, whom is alone in Cleveland, after two restless nights: Me- "How you doing? Are you rested?" Him- "I am so tired. The mulch arrived and I have been weeding and spreading like crazy." Me- "Shut up."
Responding to an email titled, "I know you might not be checking emails, but...": Me- "Yes. I would love a drink" Her- "Great! When?" Me- "How about tomorrow night? You name the place and time. I will be there."
Walking into a bar, meeting a fellow blogger for the first time: Me- "Oh man, I read the sign on the door. This is a CASH ONLY bar?" Her- "I have cash." Me- "This is so silly. I always have cash. Just not today after a long day with the kiddos running around Chicago." Her- "I have cash. I'll buy this round and you can buy the next, across the street." Me- "Okay."
Walking into the NEXT bar, with the same fellow blogger, turned great friend: Me- "Oh man, look at the sign...." Me- "CASH ONLY again? What are the odds of this happening?" Her- "Do you want to stay? I'll buy. I want to continue the conversation." Me- "Yes, me too. Let's stay and see what happens... you couldn't make this stuff up for a blog.
In the middle of a GREAT CONVERSATION with the same fellow blogger, turned great friend, and realizing that she is also a perfectly toned marathon runner: Her- "This is off the record. You can't blog about this." Me- "Promise!" Us- **giggling** In the middle of trying to write this post, at my parent's house: My mom- "GET OFF the computer." Me- "................" Shaking my fist.
We are having a great time in Chicago and enjoying every one's company. The husband arrives tonight. My parents are throwing an enormous party tomorrow on the beach. We have four more days left in one of the best cities in the world. HAPPY 4th of JULY!!!
Last night, on our Chicago vacation, my father and I took all three kids on an evening walk around the neighborhood. Lola was "tired" and convinced my father to push her in a stroller and I pushed Fifi in her stroller while Jay kept up with us.
It was desperately close to bed time and I tried my hardest to keep Fifi up, by pointing to every bird, chipmunk, dog, and sprinkler within a mile radius.
We walked past the train tracks that unloaded commuters from the city, walked past the gates of Ravinia (the oldest outdoor musical hall in the USA), walked past Frank Loyd Wright's original residence on the shores of Lake Michigan.
And then, we walked past a simple woman with her dog.
"Hello." She greeted us.
"Hi. Perfect evening for a stroll, isn't it?" I smiled.
"Absolutely. It is a perfect night." She replied.
Such an ordinary exchange of words between neighbors on a pleasant summer night. Jay ran to catch up with me. I could see that he was thinking about something, wondering, and processing it all. I could see it in his inquisitive eyes.
"What's up, Jay?"
"Do you know that woman? Is she from Cleveland?"
"No. I believe she lives here, in Chicago, and is just taking her dog out."
"So, she is not from Cleveland?"
"Well she was talking in Cleveland. She wasn't talking in Chicago."
It was my turn to process what he was talking about. I thought about it, before answering. Ah ha, we had just spent the day in the children's museum that was over run by nannies from across the globe. Each of them conversing in their native tongues. We had just spent the last five days in a house where English is rarely ever spoken. All of the adults catching up in native Polish.
Being in Chicago is much more of an ethnic celebration than one would encounter in Cleveland.
The ordinary encounter with the neighbor was so typical of something that would happen in Cleveland.
"Oh, honey. Cleveland, Chicago, New York and so many other cities are all part of the United States, like the map you have on your bedroom wall. We all speak English. Some of us, like me, were born in different countries. I was born in Poland. I speak Polish. But we all speak English."
"I speak Polish. Mówiępopolsku." My stubborn father contributed.
Jay looked up at me and I was happy that the connection was made. He looked like he understood.
A mere 10 minutes later, two cyclists stopped in front of us.
"Excuse me, where is the Chicago to Green Bay bike path? We seemed to get off course." He adjusted his spandex shorts, not that I was looking.
"Two blocks west of here and parallel to the train tracks." I pointed west and shifted my eyes north.
"Thank you Ma'am."
Ma'am? MA'AM? Checking over my end-of-the-day outfit I realized that in fact I did look like a ma'am. I hardy noticed Jay tugging at my stained tank top. Jay witnessed the encounter and had an affirmation.
"I know, I know, they were asking for directions. I understood what he said.... they are obviously speaking Clevelandish." He confirmed.
"I speak Polish.Mówiępopolsku." My father confirmed as he pushed Lola in her stroller, through the multicultural streets of the North Shore.
Cannonballs: If you don't believe in yourself, then who will?
Written by OHmommy
Sunday, 29 June 2008 19:00
Perseverance Noun. Steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., esp. in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement. It is never too early to start teaching perseverance and never to old to remember.
When Jay was three and a half, I signed him up for ice skating lessons. I quickly learned that he would not become the next Wayne Gretzky. He screamed and cried on the ice as he desperately hung onto his teacher's hands throughout the first 8 week session. Never even remotely pushy, I tried to lovingly explain to him that all the other children were safe and I would never put him in harm's way.
He cried throughout most of the next 8 week session. He hoped his cries would be his ticket out of the rink but I had other plans. If I pulled him out, what would I be teaching him? I wanted him to stand on the ice safely and be overcome with self fulfillment. I wanted him to feel proud and accomplished.
You should have seen the look on his face when he stood on the ice alone and took his first steps. You should have heard him scream, "I am so proud of myself." The next day I pulled him out of skating lessons.
Exactly one year ago my uncle , unaware of Jay's fear of water, joyfully threw him into my parent's pool with his floaters on. As soon as Jay reached the surface he screamed. I knew right then and there that I would need to invest in private swim lessons. Costing a dollar a minute the investment was strenuous and hardly rewarding, for Jay cried during the first three months of swim lessons. $270 dollars completely wasted. Most sensible mothers would have had an incredible hard time watching their first born being practicallytortured underwater and would have pulled them out. The other mothers at the pool glared at me, the teacher swore she never had another child scream for so long, I watched along silently hoping I was right.
After three months, I sat Jay down and again explained that I would never put him in harm's way and asked him if he remembered how proud he was when he stood on the ice. Yes, he remembered. Never even remotely pushy, I described the inner happiness he would feel as soon as he learned to swim.
You should see the look on his face yesterday as he cannonballed into my parent's pool and swam freestyle back to the steps. You should have heard him scream, "This is sooooooooo AWESOME!!! I love Babcia's pool. I love swimming!!!" Last month, I pulled him out of private swim lessons. Last year, I wasn't even able to wash his hair.
"Watch out!!! CANNONBALL." He yelled, 27 days short of being six years old. I watched him in admiration.
One of the things, I want so much for my children is for them to understand perseverance. I want them to be confident, independent, self worthy and proud. I want them to problem solve, ask for help, and I want them to proudly overcome difficulties. I want them to be proud of themselves. I want them to be happy.
Very rarely, if ever, do I tell them that I am proud of them. "Mama, are you proud of my cannonballs?" In which I reply, "Are you proud of yourself?"
The confident smile and proud eyes that happily respond, "YES! I am proud. My cannonballs are aweeeesome." Those are simply priceless.
As my children's first teacher, I have to believe in my own lessons. I have to listen to my own words. I have to be proud and not doubt myself. I am their example. If I don't believe in myself, they will not either.
Today, like any "good" parent, I started threatening them. "If you are rude to MY parents. I will be rude to you and you will spend a lot of time in your room." She rolled her eyes. "If you cry over silly little things, no one will understand when a big thing happens. Do not cry wolf." He started tearing up. "Fifi, you better not change one thing you are doing. Keep eating. Keep sleeping. Keep pooping. Keep it up, or else." She clapped her hands and smiled.
Honestly. I just want them to behave or pretend to behave or just pretend to act normal for the 10 days we are living under my parents roof. That is all I am praying for.
I have packed lots of candy, packed lots of threats, and have some tricks up my sleeve, if for some reason my prayers are not answered. I know that the big guy is busy actually answering more desperate calls (I do have his number memorized). As much as one tired mother of three can pray, I know my calls are petty.
If that is the case I hope the windy city and my parents are prepared for our kind of classy chaos.
Lately. Both my husband and I have noticed that our dog Murphy has thinned out a lot. We keep food in his bowl and now we have three kiddos to add to the hysteria. He should be well fed. There is still plenty of food on the kitchen floor.
However, there is someone that is faster than our dog. There is someone that is sometimes lovingly neglected, when we are rushing off to the next play date, pool party, tennis lesson and can't sit around waiting for her toddler meal to be completed.
The third child.
Check out what she says when one piece actually makes it into her mouth, without falling to the floor. "YUMMY!"