Work with me, please.

Archive for June, 2012

37 and Going Strong

We spent last weekend in Myrtle Beach, celebrating my family’s 37th annual family reunion. I love those crazy people! We were close to 160 in number, six generations deep. Reunion is one of my favorite times of the year. It’s amazing that it comes together and gets hailed as such a good time with all of the last minute additions, cancellations, and changes that take place. Planning and execution is now led (supposedly) by my generation. You’d think it would be easy after all these years.

A few weeks ago, one of my cousins and I were “voluntold” to serve as the master and mistress of ceremonies. The head-aunt-in-charge gave strict instructions that we were to begin the program promptly at 6:00 pm. We did as told and then realized after our welcome remarks that Cousin Reverend RD was late and couldn’t deliver the scripture and prayer. Thankfully, an elder cousin stepped up and filled in. My co-host and I plowed through the rest of the program, both hoping it would be our first and last time in that capacity. It’s a role that doesn’t fit me well; I lack the wit, animation, and enthusiasm I think an MC should have. Unfortunately, so does my cousin. Fortunately, the family was kind to us during the program and we can say that we did our part to help. People seem to care more about the fellowship than the ceremony anyway.

It was a short, fun-filled weekend and we packed in as much as we could — mini golf, science museum, amusement park rides, and arcade games. Mae and Jay enjoyed it all, especially the beach and pools. I’m so grateful that they have a high comfort level in the water. It takes away the anxiety I used to feel. Hubby still tells me that I need to learn to swim. At this point, I just need for my kids to be able to rescue me.

The kids seem to have recovered from the trip already. Hubby and I are still exhausted, and probably will be for the rest of the week. I have no major plans for the coming weekend, and I intend to keep it that way. I will rest. I will. I will. I will.

Spiderman and the Last Sip Save the Day


Peep the little trash can in the alley.

It was a winning weekend.  I will pay for it tomorrow a.m. when the alarm goes off at 5:15.  Still, I’m grateful for it all.

We celebrated Jay’s 5th birthday on Saturday.  He and about 12 of his closest friends ran and bounced and slid their way around an inflatables place before settling down to pizza, brownies, and ice cream.  Jay enjoyed himself thoroughly.  He rewarded me with big eyes and a resounding “wow” when he saw his Spiderman brownie towers.  I have to say that the result was better than I expected.  I baked and froze three batches of chocolate brownies and two of red velvet over the course of two weekends.  I didn’t start “building” the scene until Friday night at around 10 pm.  I was nervous, and I had a Plan B that would have involved an early morning, shame-faced trip to the bakery section of the neighborhood grocery store.  Then, I told myself that if it looked crappy, I could say that Spiderman visits the Projects too.  All in all, I’m pleased with the outcome, and so was Jay, which is what matters most.

This morning, we enjoyed french toast and bacon, two of Hubby’s favorite breakfast items, before the kids and I went off to Dharma.  In the afternoon, as a Father’s Day gift, my sister came over to babysit while Hubby and I went to lunch.  We drove over an hour to get to a riverfront seafood dive on the Potomac.  There are many other seafood restaurants closer to us, but it’s an easy, straight drive and one of my favorite things to do with the Mr. is have alone time in the car.  It’s nice to be sheltered from the outside world, whether we’re having uninterrupted conversation or just listening to each other’s silence.

Today’s lunch was actually our second date this weekend because Grandma (Hubby’s mom) volunteered to babysit for us last night.  So, we saw Prometheus.  Or rather, Hubby saw Prometheus while I napped on his shoulder off and on.  I did see enough to know that Idris Elba, love him like I do, is no good at a Southern accent.  He was going from Southern to generic American to British.  The other characters represented a multi-national mix, so Elba’s British accent would have fit perfectly.  Perhaps he wanted to stretch himself, which is admirable.  At any rate, Hubby liked the movie, and I needed the rest anyway.

Tomorrow begins the second week of summer camp, and Mae and Jay will return to their regular school’s camp.  They were at the Y last week, and it went very well.  Mae and Jay adjusted well and had fun.  So, I expect more of the same or better since they will be in a more familiar environment starting next week.   Mae at home has been another story.  She thinks she should have more freedom now that school is out.  The last two weeks have been a battle of wills when it comes to bath and bed time, in addition to a general attitude of teenage-quality snarkiness.  Her insistence on challenging or questioning almost every instruction, including routine stuff, is remarkable.  I frankly do not know where she finds the energy.  The time and effort that she puts into explaining why she should be allowed to do what she wants to do or trying to negotiate some middle ground exhaust me.  This morning, she wanted to take a toy into Dharma, which I told her would be a distraction.  She told me that it would help her focus and keep her from rubbing my arm or the Dharma teacher’s arm.  Clever girl that she is, she knows those are matters of importance to me.  I reminded myself that there will be days when her persistence will pay off, and there will come a time when she will make extraordinary contributions to her community or the world because she won’t give up when someone told her no.

In the meanwhile though, many of these conversations have been ending with Mae being disappointed, if not crying herself to sleep.  Yet, she will take just as strong a position next time.  Someone told me on Friday that I have a “patient spirit.”  I laughed.  My paid job does require extreme patience; however, compared to parenting this eight-year old, work is a breeze.  Mae thinks I’m mean and unfair, and those are her nice words for me.  Usually, these transitions after a change in routine take 2-3 weeks to take hold.  Hopefully, we’re not far off from settling down.

Challenging as it is some days, I am grateful for this family.  On our way home from Dharma, Mae and Jay were sharing a juice box.  She gave him the box and said, “You can have the last sip because I want to honor you on Father’s Day since you’ll be a dad one day.”  Her spirit, I know, is good, and I’m glad she showed it to me (and Jay) today.  I needed that.

I Should Start Saving Boxes

It’s official! I have another pre-school graduate. Jay’s class had a nice, simple graduation ceremony yesterday. I’m so proud of how he did inside and outside of the classroom in pre-school. He’s kindergarten-ready and we’re one step closer to a kid-free house (just saying’).

I’m proud of Mae too. This school year was sooo much better — only one phone call from the teacher and less crying and impulsiveness. Mae surpassed her goal to earn 50 stickers for “awesome” days.

I know we’ll be starting over with summer camp next week, so I’m going to ride this wave of good feelings this weekend!

We have a house guest this weekend. One of our young cousins, nine years old, will stay with us while her mom goes off for drill duty. When I told Mae that E was coming for a sleep over, her smile went from ear to ear and then she got a worried look.

Mae said there might be three problems. I swear, her sense of self-awareness is sharper than most adults I know. This is what chica told me about herself:

1. “Sometimes,” she’s “bossy” and she likes to choose what to watch on TV.

2. Sometimes, she doesn’t wait for people to answer a question before she asks another.

3. Her room is messy.

I asked Mae what could she do about each of those problems. For one, she offered that she can ask E what she likes and what she wants to do. I agreed, and encouraged her to always allow guests to choose first what to watch or play.

Mae said that she would give 15 seconds for E to respond to a question and then ask again if there was no response. I said it might be easier to watch for facial cues instead of counting. I reminded Mae that people should be thinking before they speak and she has to allow time for that.

And, woohoo, Mae said she would clean up her room, and I told her I would help. Fortunately, there wasn’t much of a mess.

Items one and two are ones that we’ve spoken about recently. Hubby and I keep reminding Mae to give Jay a chance to pick a TV show, and generally be more considerate of his interests. And, recently, she started a habit of repeating impatiently a question or statement that barely left her lips a moment ago. It is annoying!

So, E arrived this evening. During dinner, Mae said, “After dinner, you choose what we’re going to do, ok?”

I breathed a little sigh of relief. You never know what or how much sinks in. I loved that she’s making the effort.

She and Jay both give us so many proud moments that are nice reminders of the up side of parenthood. That said, I’m not going to stop looking forward to their moving days. 🙂

Whose Bright Idea Was This?


I would love to know if this toy was invented by a parent, and if so, whether it was a mom or dad.

That is all.

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