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Posts tagged ‘cupcakes’

“Present Control”


. . . because one screen is not enough.

My eight-year old Mae is a bit birthday obsessed right now. It started on March 1. Shortly after she woke up, some of her first words were, “Can we celebrate my birthday all month long?” Her birthday is March 25. That’s a lot of build-up. She caught me off-guard; we haven’t done month-long celebrations in the past. So, I said, “Uhhh . . . make a list of things you would like to do for your birthday and then we’ll see.” (I have found that asking for a list is a great way to get the kids to leave me alone about something. It buys me valuable time to think. I also secretly hope that after the list is made, they will come to their senses and realize how greedy/unreasonable/unrealistic they are being. This hasn’t happened yet.)

There was one thing I already knew Mae wanted for her birthday. Back in January, she asked if she could take cupcakes to school. She had discussed it with a classmate whose birthday is the day before and they agreed that their moms should bring cupcakes. Then, I met the clasmate’s mom on a field trip. She and I talked and agreed that we would grant their request do as we were told. Since then, Mae has said to me at least twice that she wants cupcakes but they should be cookies instead. I haven’t figured out what this means, and I’ll sort it out closer to the date.

Meanwhile, I’m planning an overnight stay for her and me in New York for the weekend after her birthday. She is super excited about this, and I’m getting hit with all kinds of questions about what we’re going to do in the city. Yesterday, though, she said to me, “we’ve been talking a lot about my birthday, but we haven’t talked much about presents. Am I still going to get presents from my family and friends?” I began my annual spiel about how birthdays are not about presents.

Me:  Birthdays are about celebrating life and spending time with family and friends.

Her:  I know, I know. But, present control is important.

Those are her actual words: “present control”.

I don’t even know what that means. She continued talking about presents. I heard more words coming from her in the back seat but I can’t tell you what she said. I was asking myself over and over, “Did she really just say “present control”? Then, my mind went to how hard I’ve tried to emphasize people and relationships over things; gratitude; not taking things for granted; and all that good stuff. And, lo and behold, she’s trying to implement “present control,” whatever that is.

Three years ago, when she turned six, she had a birthday party and we asked the guests to bring a gift for the children’s hospital in DC instead of for Mae. A few weeks later, she and I delivered the gifts to the hospital. That was too long ago, and it’s time for another attitude gratitude shift.

She’s too busy during the week right now with homework, but during the summer, I hope we can find a regular volunteer activity that will help her gain a greater appreciation for what it means to have and have not.

Sleepless Indefinitely

We had a great weekend.  No basketball scheduled for Jay + Playgroup canceled + No birthday parties =  Free weekend!  Of course, more sleep would have been nice.  Jay flipped up our light switch at 6:37 am on Saturday.  Even though he clearly was not rested himself, he insisted that Hubby and I get up.  He wanted someone to play with him and he wanted breakfast.  Mae slept a while longer, but once one of them is up, the day has officially started and there is no reverse button.

So, we got ourselves together and went into the city for lunch at Ollie’s Trolleys and a visit to the National Aquarium.  The kids enjoyed the aquarium and both behaved well enough to earn an item from the aquarium shop.  Even though we’re only 12 miles deep into the suburbs, Mae and Jay become embarrassingly excited about being in Washington, DC.  Every glimpse of the Monument draws an excited mention.  And, somehow a McDonald’s tucked into the ground level of an office building seems to have a different impact than a drive-through with landscaping or a playplace.  Mae even said on our last trip in, only a month or so ago, “Look at that cool street cleaner” as a man in uniform picked up litter.  I put my chin down to my neck and prayed he didn’t hear her.

While grocery shopping on Saturday, I picked up these clever cereal-and-milk cups, foldable spoon included, thinking we had a solution that would allow the kids to fix their own breakfast on the weekends and give Hubby and me some extra time.  The kids loved the cups!  Mae read the instructions and then demonstrated for Jay how he would unscrew the cereal container to get to the milk and then lift the lid off the cereal bowl to pour in the milk.  She showed him how to unfold the spoon and how to put the pieces back together when he’s done.  She was her best and most patient big sister self, and he listened intently.

Well, I took more confidence from the darned cups than I should have.  We let both of the boogers stay up way past their weekend bedtime.  I was too focused on baking German chocolate cupcakes for my baby sister’s 27th birthday, and I didn’t want to break my flow to put them to bed or help Hubby put them to bed. (Comedians and pop culture commentators can say what they like about Martha Stewart; she knows how to put together a darn good cupcake recipe and I ain’t mad at her.  I admire her creativity and her ability to make a living out of it.)

Jay flipped our light switch at 7:27 this morning.  He didn’t seem to remember the cereal cup at all or that he was supposed to bypass our room and take himself downstairs.  On most weekend mornings, he and Mae are up within minutes of each other because they tend to wake each other.  And some mornings, if Mae doesn’t get up with him, Jay will lie quietly with us or go downstairs to watch TV.  This morning, he insisted that we get up with him.  As for Mae, she slept until almost 10 this morning, by which time I’d already finished at the gym and grocery store.

Thanks to my baby sister, Hubby and I were able to go out and celebrate Valentine’s Day this afternoon.  As I reminded the kids that Dad and I had a date, Mae told me, with disgust or disbelief or both in her voice, that moms and dads do not go on dates, teenagers go on dates.  Little does she know that the point of the mom-dad date is to act like teenagers.

Although Mae and Jay told their aunt that she would not be allowed to watch TV or use the computer, it seems that they had a peaceful co-existence for the few hours Hubby and I were out.

I’m blessed to have a great family and it was an appropriately sweet weekend, despite the lack of sleep.

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