Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Elf Arrival

It seems that the door we created did actually encourage Elfie to arrive a day early! I told my kids that they would have to be very good, as he has never before arrived early. They thought about it and decided that it was worth it, and lo and behold, they followed through. Suddenly were sharing, being inclusive and cleaning up. Thus far the only thing my daughter has enjoyed cleaning is a horse's stall. No joke.

"Mommy! I got to muck the  stall!"
"Doesn't that mean you cleaned up horse poop?"
"Yes! Can I stay a little longer to sweep everything?"
"Umm, surrrre."

And by everything, she means the whole barn. I'm still trying to understand this.

When we returned from dinner tonight, there on the living room floor, was Elfie's book, a letter and three presents.

Elfie has never before given presents, but this time he also had a request.

Once the screaming died down, my daughter determined that Elfie decided to arrive today because she "hadn't even been mean yet today".

It's only the prequel. Nothing really happens until the second half and all that. It's not even December yet.

Stay tuned . . .

Friday, November 28, 2014


The kids know December is on the horizon, and that means the return of our elf, "Elfie" (original name, huh?). They thought his very own door might encourage him to appear earlier than Dec. 1

I told them he might come a day early if they are extra good. My friend's elf already arrived with fanfare - balloons and presents. He's quite mischievous, and I think he and Elfie may have been hanging out at the North Pole this summer. We'll see . . .

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Not Even an . . .

 . . . Ant Farm. I was emphatic about that.

Once we discovered we were having triplets, our lives became consumed with details about how we would manage everything. We survived the laundry list of medical issues that swallowed our existence initially. The kids started to grow, they seemed to turn into real little people. People that ate, slept and pooped all over us.

We started getting asked if we thought we might have more children. They tried, (not well), to stifles chuckles as they asked. And when I said 'they', I mean strangers who decided it was ok to say and ask such things to and of persons they had never before met.

“And the wild things roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws.”  ― Maurice SendakWhere the Wild Things Are

And by that I mean, we politely said things like, "Have a nice day", and continued dragging our way through Costco.

Fast forward a year when our neighbor had a friend whose dog had created a litter of out-of-dog-wedlock puppies, and asked my husband if my kids would like one. In front of the kids. He rapidly assessed the situation and steered her back toward her garage. He then shared with her a philosophy that he knew I had adamantly stamped on our lives, and rightly knew I would say in response.

"Not ONE MORE living thing in my house. Not EVEN an Ant Farm!"

In my overzealous online shopping (because I need to compete with myself every year to complete my holiday shopping at least as early as I have the previous year), I came across 'vintage' (does this make me old??) things like the pull-along phone, and a Viewmaster (I still have my original, but that's a whole other post). I also found, wait for it . . . an Ant Farm. I did not pay the price that is listed in this link, far below it, which may have contributed to the delinquency of my shopping habits, again, another post for another time. So I figured, my kids are almost seven, this could be fun!

When it arrived, I explained what it was, and texted a picture to my
husband. I reminded him of my statement threaded through the years, and he responded, "And yet it appears to be sitting on our counter". Indeed it was. but the devil is in the details, or the beauty is in the semantics. However you want to spin it.

Ants. Sold. Separately. 

Mean Little Girls

I knew it would happen. I knew six years old was a possibility. But knowing it doesn't take the sting out of it. It wasn't my child - this time around. But it could have been and might be at some point. It's really all of ours when it happens, and it really doesn't matter if it's mine, or yours. I'm talking about bullying, in this case, specifically mean girl bullying.

A classmate of my daughter's was teased about her body, and the gossip spread rapidly amongst the first grade girls. When my daughter related it to me, she had heard it and asked me what it meant, and why the other little girl said it. It was a moment that hung in the air between us, and I knew what I said next would have an impact. My husband stood nearby and the hanging moment slowly floated down over us.

I looked at my daughter and told her this:

"People come in all shapes and sizes. If this little girl was mean to your friend, there are some things you need to know.

First, you can say anything to Mama and Daddy. We are so so glad you are sharing this with us. If you hear something said about someone else, you must not repeat it to anyone else though. If you do, you are being just as mean as the person who started it.

Second, you should feel sad for the little girl who is saying mean things. She may not understand why anyone is the way they are. She is only looking at your friend on the outside, and she will never get to know her heart, and what a beautiful person she is. She is losing that opportunity.

Third, it is always ok to stick up for your friends. When you make something important to a bully, they will keep doing it. If you see mean things happening, you can tell a grown up. But you can also go to your friend, take her hand, act as though the mean behavior is not important and lead her away to do something else."

I held my breath, hoping that wasn't too much for her to take in. She stared back at us, then looked to my husband for confirmation. He nodded at her. She went back to eating her dinner, seemingly satisfied.

I know this will occur again, but I hope it doesn't.

There are a wide variety of books available to support teaching children about anti-bullying. This one has a list of questions girls may ask about friendships, and suggested talking points.

An article I recently read touted the benefits and detriments of various school sizes and diversity in populations. I see the perspectives from both sides, and sit on the fence as to what is best. We each have to decide for our own children, and it is never easy when anyone is singled out.

To that end, I borrow trouble more regarding my son than my daughter and whether or not he will experience bullying. He is less physically able than his peers with his CP, and even now as young as he is, he is starting to play in isolation on the playground. Despite encouragement to do more, he cannot run, jump and play sports the same as other six year-olds, so he hangs back and plays with girls who are less energetic, or stays with his aide. I can see the effect this is having as he is a super social child. It pains me, but I know he has to find his way. He has the distinct benefit of being a triplet, which disallows him self-pity. He wants to do what they do. I am also of the opinion determination that the relationships he develops today with female classmates will eventually be rewarded by in-demand relationships with male classmates later on. It will be the smart boys who realize Cole knows all the girls. Those girls will close ranks when anyone bullies him. The main thing I try to instill in our kids is to try to be kind.

For now, I try to allow the conversations to be organic at our house. I don't want to present issues to my children and have them worry in advance. I'm unable to escape it, so that's my department.