Monthly Archives: September 2010

The Truth Comes Out

I’ve only got three toddlers here today–the oldest two are outside playing very nicely in the playhouse while I make lunch, and suddenly I hear this universe piercing scream. I look up and the oldest (3) is holding the door shut so that her friend (2) cannot get in the house. So of course I head over to the door. At which point the culprit takes off running; she knows she is headed for time out–we’ve been through this many times: when somebody wants to go through a door, you either get out of the way, or you help them. End of story.

So I go retrieve her from the playground. She starts wailing: “Mama! Mama!”

“No. No Mama. Your Mommy wouldn’t let you be mean to your friends, either. What is this door for?”

“Going inside and outside.”

“What are we supposed to do when someone wants to go through the door?”

“But! I fell on my face in the bark.”

“I’m sorry you fell down. That probably hurt. What do we do when someone wants to go through the door?”

“Open it.”

“Is it nice to hold the door closed when Cortni wants to come inside?”

“But I fell down!”

“Did Cortni push you down?”

“No.”

“Did she make you fall down?”

“No.”

“You need to stand right here in time out until you are ready to be a good friend to Cortni.”

And there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth from the corner. I put lunch on the table; the other two came and started to eat; pretty soon she heads over and climbs up next to Cortni.

“Cortni, I’m sorry I held the door shut on you. You shouldn’t laugh when people fall on their faces in the bark. If they throw bark at you, you should just walk away, not laugh at them when they fall.”


A Bit of Groveling….

Soo….

I wasn’t going to do this, but I see no other option:

I’ve been researching scholarships since last year at this time, right? Not much out there for Grad students. But there was this one from WordPress and Lenovo–University of Bloggers.

Up for grabs? Twenty thousand dollars.  What do I have to do? Set a goal and blog about it.

So I’ve been doing that. Rather silently. But it turns out that one third of total score comes from readership. That’s people like you. And hopefully everyone you can possibly talk into clicking on this link in the next week or so: Kimber’s Running Blog. Click through a post or two–it’s powered by wordpress, so I know they can tell how many people visit it. They are also looking at comments that spark conversation–so feel free to sign in and comment.  I should have posted the link a month ago, I know, because it’s almost over. But feel free to click around. Lots. And maybe tell your sympathetic friends.

Please?

Have you had enough groveling for one day?


Honestly

My oldest will be sixteen in a little more than two weeks, at which point we allow her to begin dating. Preferably with large groups, in well-lighted areas, during hours we are all agreed upon prior to any such excursions.

Don’t snicker. It’s all reasonable.

So… we’re driving to the city in order to buy something, anything that the local Wal-mart does not carry. (Which is pretty much everything a real person might ever need.) And I bring up the topic of boys. “What are you going to look for in the boys you date?” I ask. Reasonable question. I know that somebody asked me that once; we had to write an actual list and hand it in to our Sunday School teacher, I think. And yes, I had a list. I’m wordy like that.

My daughter thinks about this for a moment. She is driving, so she can take as long as she wants to answer. There are, after all, large Semi’s and obnoxious, slow moving non-licensed entities on this thoroughfare to watch out for.

“Someone that’s honest,” she finally says.

And for some reason that surprises me, and touches me.

Because whether or not she consciously realizes it, she has distilled her father’s character into one word: Honest.

What you see is what you get. Literally. Even the things that drive me mad are in fact a result of this honesty. Where you or I might make nice to a disagreeable someone’s face and sigh a breath of relief when they are gone, he will not even begin the conversation. Not to please you or me or anyone else; he is incapable of pretense.  Where you or I might think out loud, using conversation as a way to come to understanding, he will not utter a word until he has come to a final understanding; any other utterance has the potential of untruth.

It can be maddening–but at the same time, you know that he is sincere when he does speak.

Honest.

I can live with that.

You go girl. You find a truly honest man, and together you can get through anything.

I happen to know.


When in Doubt: Send an Email

You know those people you once spent hours on the phone with? The ones you went out to DQ and the park with when your kids were little and now you don’t even recognize one another’s kids? I ran into one of those this week. And once again, the question was posed to me: Do you ever answer your phone? What would be the best time for me to call you?

I think my response was something like… Uh…. When I’m 83?

Kidding, I didn’t really say that.

But really. What is the best time?

Let’s start with the worst times:

Between nine pm and four am, I’m (hopefully) sleeping. If I’m not sleeping, I’m doing something even more critical, which you definitely should not interrupt.

Between the hours of four and six am, I’m probably studying, in the shower, or my mouth is full.

Between the hours of six am and eight am, I’m extremely engaged in getting a minimum of eight children dressed, fed, organized and out the door. Not to mention welcoming between four and eight others in the door. And fed and calm.

Between the hours of eight and noon, I probably cannot hear the phone ring, let alone what you have to say were I to answer it. If I can hear it ring, it’s because I have four to eight toddlers on my legs and feet and I’m reading them stories. Do you really want to interrupt that? Because the noise level is going to go through the roof if you do.

At noon I turn off my ringer. For the next hour I’m changing diapers, serving lunch, intercepting airborne food particles and dishes, and arranging nap mats. And saying, “Shhhhhhh. It’s quiet time, remember? No talking please.”

The key part of that is “No Talking.”

From one to three, dead silence reigns. I’d go outside and call you back, but I’ve got two kids that like to wake up every twenty minutes or so and look around. If I’m sitting in my chair studying, and put my finger to my lips, they lay back down and go to sleep. If I’m nowhere in sight, they begin a methodical game of leapfrog that involves everyone else that is not awake.

So no. I can’t call you during nap time.

Parents start arriving at about 3:10 and continue intermittently until 4:30. I’d have to put you on hold a dozen times to greet them, help gather their kids and answer their questions.

My own kids come in the door at about 4:20.   I think it sends a really bad message to children when their mothers interrupt them to answer the phone. I’m not really sure who is on the phone, but I’m sure it’s more important than what you have to tell me, and so I’m not going to answer the phone between 4:20 and 5:00, either. That gives them each, what? Five minutes, max, to talk to me?

I have seven people to focus on between the hours of 5 and 8:30. If you allow for a half hour of scripture reading and prayer in there, that leaves three hours. Minus 70 minutes of running/trying to catch my breath from running. Assuming I don’t have to ever go to the bathroom, eat, or drive children to soccer, mutual, or Driver’s Ed during those hours, that leaves me one hour and fifty minutes. Remember those seven people that I allowed five minutes for when they came in the door?

I’m going to spend the rest of eternity with at least one of them, so I try to carve out a good 45 minutes to an hour during which we try to remember one another’s name.

That leaves me with an hour, if I’m lucky, for my kids.

Less than ten minutes each, of personal conversation time. Maybe. Chances are, no, I’m not going to answer your phone call.

Saturdays? I’m in class from 8 to four. The rest of the day I”m probably driving around trying to stock my pantry, etc. You might catch me, by pure luck when I’m in a store or a parking lot, and not on the road.

No, I don’t use my phone while driving.

Sundays? Total family time. See the clause above about giving the phone priority over children’s conversations.

It’s not that I don’t value the good old days. Really. They were great.  I’m just in a different stage of life right now. And I like it: it works for me. My kids are probably more important than anything you have to say, right now. Unless you have the down low on a major weather system or impending episode of chemical warfare that will prompt me to evacuate said family pronto.

Otherwise, call me again in ten years when our kids are all off at college.

If I they don’t ring on the other line, I might have time to chat.


Get Your Own ‘Pod

I’ve received a lot of advice about to treadmill or not to treadmill.

All of it has been very wise.

But all of it also bows under the weight of one, overriding consideration: I can’t afford one.

So.

I’m settling for an iPod that costs about 15 percent of a treadmill and is infinitely more portable. And some D batteries for my neighbor’s elliptical. I’ll continue to run outside when the weather co-operates, and I’ll download some infinitely mind expanding wisdom for the ‘Pod so I don’t absolutely die of boredom in her garage for the rest of the time.

Oh.

And since I ordered it from the Apple store and personalization was free, I had it engraved:

This is Your Mother Speaking:

Get Your Own ‘Pod.

Hehehehehe.

Now to wrangle my own set of earbuds. The checker at Walmart says she bought some really hideous over the ear ones and her teens won’t touch them with a ten-foot-pole…


One Down, Five To Go

Friday evening, second to last day of Ed. five-oh-whatever it is. (The first of the six classes I have this semester.) Mr. B passes around a sign-up sheet for final presentations…and I get it last.

Not because I sit in the back, mind you–I don’t. It just got passed around the room in a round-about way.

Lucky me.

I had sweaty palms as soon as I woke up; I sat there in class covertly blowing on them until the final hour; by then, there was no moisture left in my entire body. Particularly my mouth.

I had just spent the six hours listening to ten amazing people; ten people who have traveled the world and competed internationally, and collectively hold more master’s degrees than I have years in my entire educational career. I was really humbled as I got to know them better. Really smart, compassionate, visionary people.

My turn in less than ten… nine… eight… oh NO! My thumb drive is in the van!!

It’s a good thing I took up running; I made it to the van and back before the question/answer period for the person before me sat down.

But you know what...? It was fun. It really was. I love teaching; I love the way all the jumbled ideas I’ve crammed into my head in preparation just kind of… settle into place as I look into the eyes of my listeners. I’m terrified, and sick and nervous as anything, but it’s fun. In the way jumping out of an airplane at 20,000 feet is fun, probably.

At any rate, I did survive.

I came home and made four apple pies and I didn’t answer my phone once all weekend.

And today I haven’t done a lick of homework. I’m sure panic might set in some time in the middle of the night over that one, but maybe it won’t. Depends on if anything was due… Maybe it will set in right now…


Ding-Dong-Ditch

This morning my husband asks if I heard the Ding-Dong-Ditcher during the night.

We don’t actually have a doorbell, so the poor kid had to resort to banging on our door really loudly with his fist. But no, I didn’t hear him. Apparently my daughter saw a ghost of the boy jumping the fence, though.

Turns out this wasn’t just any run-of-the-mill Ding-Dong-Ditcher, though.

He left evidence: He traced his body on the driveway in chalk, and left an evidence folder that had the name of the victim (him) and something to the effect of “I’m dying to go to Homecoming with you.”

Awwwwww.

Apparently our house is the hardest house in the world to ding-dong-ditch: first he had trouble with the front gate. Then he realized that the doorbells do not actually “ding-dong” at all. (Would you hook up your doorbells and let a dozen toddlers loose?) At which point he pounded, and spying another gate with a more promising looking latch, he bolted–only to realize that that one is padlocked.

Snicker.

Which explains the fence hopping.

We designed it to keep toddlers in. Who knew it would be a potential date deterrent?

My sister-in-law suggested she design her own evidence folder, with all findings pointing to yes. And have a uniformed cop deliver it really early in the morning.

She didn’t think that was very original. Somebody got fake-arrested last year as part of their reply.

It’s amazing how creative they get in their asking/replying around here; it’s almost like marriage proposals. Yeeesh. I think we just all kind of showed up at the dance, when I was that age.

Now we just have to find a dress. In the next two weeks or so.

Obviously not in this town.

Am I really this old?


Uhg

Three weeks into this running thing and I’ve missed three days this week already. And I’ve gained a pound.

This does not bode well.

In all fairness, the first day I missed was Sunday and I never run on Sundays.

The second day was Tuesday, and I had twelve children under the age of four in my care for 14 hours. Would you have gone running? And I don’t mean, in the opposite direction, screaming.  By the time they all left it was getting dark. And cold. And well, Monday’s run was gut wrenching.

But I swear to you, if it hadn’t been dark and cold and tripod hadn’t been lurking, I’d have gone anyway, wrenched guts or no.

Wednesday. Yesterday. Four-thirty in the afternoon. All but one child had been picked up, and my husband was going out the door with my nine-year-old to soccer practice.  The kid sidles up to me and while picking at the seams on his ball, he says, “Mom, I want you to go with me.”

“You want me to go to soccer practice?”

“Uh-huh.”

Oh. Okay. I grab my sneakers and set my sixteen year old on door duty to watch for the late childcare parent. I’ll run up Cascade hill while he practices.

And then it occurs to me to wonder: why does he want me to go to soccer practice with him? Is it because I’ve had class during every one of his games so far? Does he want his mother to actually see him handle the ball?

I ask; he does.

Duh.

So I leave my sneakers in the van and I sit on the sidelines and I have no idea what’s going on, but I grin and give him a thumbs up when he checks to see if I’m watching.

It starts to rain, but I could still go running. Who knows, with water in the air, maybe my throat won’t Velcro itself together.

But on the way home we remember that he has cub scouts. I have just enough time to drop him off (twenty minutes late), go home and get my other kids and drop them off at their scout meetings, before I remember: it’s my twelve year old’s birthday in less then four hours. No present yet. No apple pie made (he’s a freak—but hey, I don’t like birthday cakes either). Nothing prepared.

We don’t get homework and reading done and bedsheets readjusted until 9:30.

Today is another day.

It’s also J’s birthday. And I still don’t have a pie made.

I might have to get a treadmill.

Uhg.


Triplets

My neighbor brought me some eggs:

That thing is at least three inches long!

I could be wrong, but somewhere out there this morning, there could be a chicken who is having second thoughts about this egg-laying business…


Jettisoning the Pencil

Running didn’t feel so great yesterday.

Not that it ever really feels that great. But usually I warm up after a mile or so and lose the I think I’m going to vomit or die feeling, and afterwards, I trudge up the driveway to my back door and get in the shower feeling pretty good about myself.

Not this time. Not so much.

I”m going to blame it on the pencil that fell out of my hair about a quarter of a mile out. What do you do with a full-sized, fully sharpened pencil at that point? It won’t stay in your hair; it’s not like you can run with it in your pocket–assuming you have pockets, which I did not. Besides, everyone knows you shouldn’t run with pencils. You might end up looking like this:

Okay, that was a fork. But you get the idea. I know I was holding it eraser side up. Because what else do you do with it? Toss it in the ditch? (It’s biodegradable, right?) But how do you just…casually throw a pencil on somebody’s property? At what point do you jettison the thing? I’ve never felt more conspicuous in my life. Not to mention that this is my pencil: I keep it in my hair so that nobody else can get their grubby little hands on it.

Never mind that I know where 96 more are; this one is sharpened, and it still has an eraser.

I’m telling you, I wasn’t thinking clearly. I do have to admit that about the time my left shoulder (yeah, my shoulder!) felt like it was going to explode, I finally hurled the thing into a vacant lot. (Hey. I picked up an entire bag of trash last week at the playground that nobody related to me, or in my care, put on the ground. That has to make up for one lousy Ticonderoga pencil.)

Any runners out there want to explain to me why my shoulder would hurt like the blazes while I was running? Walking, even? Limping pitifully the last half a mile home?

Anyway.  I realized that it’s a really good thing I don’t have a treadmill; when you’re three miles from home  and you really just want to lay down and die, the asphalt really isn’t as inviting as, say, my carpet–or even my tile–might be. And there is the traffic to consider.

One can’t just collapse anywhere.

So here’s to the great outdoors. Not only is it free (assuming you ignore my property tax statement), but it keeps you honest. No cheating out there.