I'm the only one awake in the house. The only noise is that of my computer keyboard. Muffin Man's classical lullabye CD stopped playing about a half-hour ago and the dryer stopped 2 minutes ago (Wait a sec while I change loads. Done.)
I owe you folks some pictures:
Here's our tree as it looked a week ago.
Here's Muffin Man opening Madagascar from BigSister and her family.
We've watched it three times already. And as you can see behind him, he got lots of other presents as well. He's a very happy boy.
Muffin Man went to visit PNP this morning and stayed through lunch. I'm happy to report that he:
Went to art class (I'll post the picture later) Went to Spanish Class Went to Gym (BIG BEACH BALL!) Ate all his apples and carrots and had two bites of the sloppy joe Enjoyed himself thoroughly and can't wait to go back!
Most of this was with no parent in view of Muffin Man. MM could be seen on the closed circut tv (viewed on a flat-screen monitor the size of Wyoming) in the lobby.
I have so many aunts and uncles that I'd insult about 20 people if I said that one or the other was my favorite, but just between you and me, Uncle-Tandem-Bicycle is my favorite.
He's the one who gave gift certificates for Haagen Daz for all occasions. He's the one who had great toys and would get down on the floor with me and play. He's the one who biked across country, through Europe, up the east coast.
He and Aunt-Tandem-Bicycle adopted my cousin Sweet-and-Shy from Russia last year. I can't think of anyone more cut out to be parents than these wonderful people. Seeing them with their daughter, the three of them so glowing and happy, makes me get all choked up.
And he's also the one who taught me to sing "Herman the Hanukah Candle" instead of "Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer" so I wouldn't offend elderly conservative aunties and uncles during candle-lighting time.
For all of you on this fourth night of Hanukah, here are the words:
Herman the Hanukah Candle had a very shiny light and if you ever saw it you would even say it's bright. All of the other candles used to laugh and call him names they never let poor Herman join in any Hanukah games
Then one rainy Hanukah night, the rabbi came to say, "Herman with your light so bright won't you be my shamash* tonight?" Then how the candles loved him And they shouted out with glee "Herman the Hanukah candle you'll go down in history!"
* the candle that's in the middle of the traditional menorah. On all menorahs it's placed on a higher spot than the rest. You light it first and then light the other candles with its flame.
Christine Lavin has a holiday CD that I received for Christmas. Half the songs on the album have grabbed hold of me and won't let go, and I've forced others to listen to them too. This is some of the prettiest a capella music I've ever heard. Highlights include "Dona Nobis Pacem" and "Tacobel Canon" (beautiful and tasty!), and "A New Year's Round".
The CD also includes two stories I'm probably not going to listen to again, and 5 songs that are good, but not great. But the other 7 songs, those songs are being played over and over. So peaceful, so glorious.
* It has 4 full-time directors (as opposed to last daycare which went through 7 directors in less than 4 years) * Included in the price are daily half-hour sessions in music, computers, art, library-time, and movement with their own dedicated rooms and teachers. * There's an indoor gym for inclement weather. * There's an outdoor water-play area with sprinkler installations for summertime play. * Not one of the toys was broken. * The front desk is always staffed. * You can't get into the place without being buzzed in or getting your fingerprint scanned (no more codes that don't change often enough/are changed without letting parents know what the damned code is). * You can't get OUT of the place without pushing a button that's out of most kids' reach (no more kids escaping and running loose in the parking lot - and yes, that really happened at the old place). * All of the kids looked happy. * The director who showed us around knew the name of EVERY kid she saw (as opposed to the newest director at the old place who consistently mis-said Muffin Man's name - if his name were Larry, she'd have called him Barry or Jerry).
*Muffin Man's new bed arrives January 3rd (a week from tomorrow) *Posh New Place (the daycare designed by Disney) called and he can start January 4th. *Mr. Spock will be abroad on business for three weeks starting January 7th.
The day before Christmas we went over to Uncle-He's-Younger-Than-Mr-Spock and Aunt-She's-Two-Years-Older-Than-Me's house to celebrate and shmooze. Muffin Man had a good time playing with his cousins (really, my cousins but they're 8 (adopted daughter of different aunt and uncle), 7, 5 and 3) and their cousins (5, 3, and 10 months)
Sometime during the afternoon, TellsDonaldDuckStories, Uncle-He's-Younger-Than-Mr-Spock, 7-year-old cousin, Aunt-She's-Two-Years-Older-Than-Me's brother and brother in law all started up a touch football game. Muffin Man watched for a while and then joined in, the only one of the three three-year-old boys to want to play with the "Big Boys".
The first time Muffin Man got pushed down, he ran crying to me. I asked him if he was hurt, he answered "No, but they PUSHED me!!!"
"You're playing football, sweetie. Pushing is okay in football. It's not okay other times, but it's okay in football." He stopped crying immediately, hopped off my lap and went back into the game. -------------------------------------------------------------------
The day AFTER Christmas, we went to pick out a big boy bed for him (a gift from my MIL). He looked at all the choices and ran straight to a dark walnut sleigh bed. "I like THIS one!" He shouted. "IT'S PINK!!!!" And indeed, it had a pink comforter and pink pillows shaped like hearts.
Unfortunately, it did not have extra storage underneath or in the headboard, which is something I'd like him to have. So Mr. Spock looked at the other choices and we tried to guide Muffin Man over to a more practical choice. "NO! I want the PINK ONE!!!"
Suddenly, I had a flash of inspiration. I pulled the pink comforter and pillows off the sleigh bed and put them on the captain's bed. "What do you think, now? Do you like this one?"
"Yes! This one! This one!"
So my little manly football player is going to have a little manly captain's bed with cubbies and drawers and pink sheets with pink heart-shaped pillows.
*Buy a few more presents - All done! *Wrap about 20 packages *Ship one or two things *Change the sheets in the guest and put clean towels in the guest bath *Clean house *Decorate. Seriously. The tree isn't up yet. Good: my parents want to do this with us. Can wait for Saturday. *Shop for food for the weekend
*Buy a few more presents - Just one left! *Wrap about 20 packages - Still only five wrapped. *Ship one or two things - Whew. Hopefully my present for the Winter Holiday of Your Choice Gifty Extravaganza will show up where it's supposed to be on time. *Change the sheets in the guest roomMake sure I have clean sheets for the more-comfortable fold-out couch downstairs and clean towels in the guest bath (Hi Mom!) *Clean house *Decorate. Seriously. The tree isn't up yet. Good: my parents want to do this with us. Can wait for Saturday. *Shop for food for the weekend - Aside from the Roast Beast we're having potato latkes and braised brussells sprouts. Now I need to figure out what we're going to eat the rest of the weekend and go shopping. Also we need vodka and lime. Tonic we've got, as well as the other beverages our guests like best. Oh! Can't forget bagels! Though TellsDonaldDuckStories often likes to take the trip to go out and get them so that he can also get a copy of the NYT and an espresso.
*Buy a few more presents - Two more to go. *Wrap about 20 packages - I've gotten 5 wrapped. *Ship one or two things - Whew. Hopefully my present for the Winter Holiday of Your Choice Gifty Extravaganza will show up where it's supposed to be on time. *Change the sheets in the guest room and the towels in the guest bath (Hi Mom!) *Clean house *Decorate. Seriously. The tree isn't up yet. *Shop for food for the weekend - Aside from the Roast Beast we're having potato latkes and braised brussells sprouts. Now I need to figure out what we're going to eat the rest of the weekend and go shopping. Also we need vodka and lime. Tonic we've got, as well as the other beverages our guests like best. Oh! Can't forget bagels! Though TellsDonaldDuckStories often likes to take the trip to go out and get them so that he can also get a copy of the NYT and an espresso.
At about 5:45, Muffin Man came in and wanted to snuggle and I brought him back to his own room (after asking if he needed to go potty and him saying, "no") (our rule is everyone in their own bed until after 6:30). And then at 6:30 he came back in, went straight into the bathroom, pee'd, flushed, turned out the light and went back into his own room WITHOUT ANY ASSISTANCE FROM ME. He didn't even know I was awake. Granted, he didn't wash his hands, but I'm not asking for miracles here.
At 7:00, he came back in and we worked on our respective computers (did I tell you that Mr. Spock set up a computer for Muffin Man? He did. Pictures to follow) for 20 minutes and then got dressed and dropped him off at school (perfectly happy) and got me to work (counting down to my last day!)
*Buy a few more presents *Wrap about 20 packages *Ship one or two things *Change the sheets in the guest room and the towels in the guest bath (Hi Mom!) *Clean house *Decorate. Seriously. The tree isn't up yet. *Shop for food for the weekend (Roast beast. I placed the order yesterday at Wegman's)
What I did this past weekend: *Went to a party at church (I made the ham.) Had a great time. *Went Christmas shopping with Muffin Man. *Made and painted bread dough figures with Muffin Man (pictures to follow) *Went shopping at Wegman's (all three of us. We LOVE Wegman's) *Ordered stuff from Amazon.
I'm trying not to feel stressed about all the stuff I wanted to do this past weekend (see top list) that I didn't do. Time just ran out on me.
He'd been at his old one since he was 10 weeks old. His first teacher, Miss A., was so special. His second-to-last teacher there, Miss M., was also really wonderful. Other teachers who are no longer there made his every day a joy.
But there's the rub. Those teachers are no longer there. Miss M. is leaving soon too. Miss A. was making noises about not liking where the center is going.
The problem is they've had 5 directors in the time we've been there. And the current director is going on maternity leave next month. And her replacement isn't getting along with the teachers. And she's constantly forgetting the kids' names. The place is starting to come unglued and we're not willing to put MM through that again (the last time it happened, they lost two-thirds of their teachers and had to close the toddler room for lack of staff. MM was dividing his days amoung the crawling babies and the rambunctious two's and three's - a blended class also due to lack of staff.)
So we've moved MM to a different center. And it was hard on him yesterday, but today he came home really happy. Talking about the silly songs his teacher, Miss G., sang and the sign-language movements she did with the song (he particularly liked her rendition of "Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer")
And we're loving the "what I did today" reports she sent home yesterday and today. They're very detailed (mostly xeroxed, but with hand-written notes specifically about our son) and very cheerful with snowflakes and snowmen in the margins. His old school wasn't too big on daily reports. Except in the very young classes.
There are other things about this new center we're not liking so much, but we've got him on a waiting list at Posh New Place (daycare designed by D1sn3y! Not really, but that's how it looks.)
We spend time together almost everyday: Josephine, Margaret, Frances, Georgette, Dana, Jane, and I. One-on-one, we share lunch or that quiet time after my son Muffin Man is in bed. Every time I see them, I experience something new. There are others I have lunch with, or spend those quiet hours with, but Josephine and the others are my core-group of companions. We take trips together. We meet on visits to the doctor’s office. Often, one will go with me when I get the oil changed in my car.
Aside from Frances, they are a different set of friends from those I had when I was young. Back then it was Frances, Laura, Lucy, Paula, Noel, and Agatha. They rode the subway to school with me. I sat with them at lunch and recess. My fifth grade teacher actually had to limit my time with them, because my other friends were feeling left out.
In bed at night I used to hide under the blankets with a flashlight just to steal one more half-hour with one or another of them. My mom learned pretty quickly to come and check on me often. "Lights out, Little Miss Mystery Mommy. Put the book away. It’ll still be there in the morning."
Joesephine Tey, Margaret Maron, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Georgette Heyer, Dana Stabenow, Jane Austen. Such wonderful writing, such fascinating worlds: The United Kingdom during the Regency Era, the Victorian Era, and between the World Wars; Our own present-day heartland, cities, and wilderness. I fall in love with the places as much as the people. And when I come back from reading or re-reading one of their books, I get a new appreciation for my own small world, seeing it through fresh eyes.
More than any one person, these authors have influenced who I am and what my morals are. From Laura Ingalls Wilder I learned to be grateful for what I had - how could I complain when she had subsisted on hand-ground whole-wheat bread for an entire winter, twisting hay into sticks for the fire? From Noel Streatfeild I learned about how war affects children and that even children can help their families earn enough money to keep afloat. Paula Danziger taught me to face disappointment with humour and that my family’s odd arrangement of four parents and joint custody might not be so unusual after all. Agatha Christie (and before her, the authors of "Nancy Drew") taught me to pay attention to the littlest details. And that "humour" is spelled with two u’s.
I said that these authors are my companions, but really it’s their books that have been my friends. Their books have taught me and nurtured me, comforted me and helped me to grieve. Beloved old familiar books, intriguing newly discovered books. Used books that smell of pipe tobacco. New books with shiny fresh covers. Library books, reluctantly returned. Memoirs, mysteries, science-fiction, histories - how delightful just to read, and laugh, or weep. And now that I’m a mother - with a young son who needs me rested every morning - how strangely sweet it is to say to myself sometimes, "Lights out, Mystery Mommy. Put the book away. It’ll still be there in the morning."
Always such a joy. My normally 15 minute commute took 45 minutes at 4:00 PM. I'm so glad that I'm not still working at my old job. Tonight the temps are supposed to dip and the snow is supposed to keep falling. By tomorrow morning the roads are going to be a complete mess.
You'd think people would slow down and give more follow distance when the weather's like this, wouldn't you? But no...that'd mean admitting that it's actually! snowing!