It's over

Yesterday we had the "end of the year picnic" for Ella's preschool. I'm so grateful to them for not calling it "graduation." I'm weepy enough. I admitted to one of the other moms that I had been avoiding her, because I can count on her to be crying at any given moment and I didn't need any help.

It was nice and informal, and it was fun to see Ella singing along to her favorite songs. They showed a slideshow of the past year. And then the teacher talked about how much she was going to miss the kids who were going on to kindergarten (*sniff*).

Perhaps it was particularly in light of what happened to Steven Curtis Chapman's 5 year old Wednesday, but I just wanted to hug Ella a little tighter, and hold her a little closer. And keep her at home forever. Although I know that doesn't make her "safe" either.

So I will spend the summer preparing to let go enough for kindergarten. I can actually see the kindergarten rooms from my living room, and I will also work on my promise to not sit with binoculars in the window all day. Or I will work on my set up, and buy some new binoculars. We'll see.



I have never been a big bologna eater myself. At least not in the last 20 years or so. Today as I was getting out the bologna for Natalie, I noticed the first ingredient is "mechanically separated chicken."
No thanks.


Tea anyone?

Today was Mother's Day Tea at Ella's preschool. We went for the whole day. First Ella painted a paper cut out teapot. Then we read books. We played Dora Chutes & Ladders (she was Boots, I was Dora). We did a teapot matching game, matching letters. We counted out the number of buttons, and put them on paper teapots. We did puzzles. We did patterns. We made bologna & cheese sandwiches, and cut them into shapes. We played with a tea set & water, pouring and stirring. The moms left the room, and the kids set the tables with table clothes they had decorated, placemats they made, paper candles and little butterfly napkin rings. What a precious, precious day of memories...

Like the one during dancing, when Ella whined, "I don't wanna dance....I'm too tired...noooooooooo......" and when I told her we were going to have fun dancing, she said, "I just want Daaaaaadddddddyyyyyyy..." Nice.

Ella ate her little sandwiches and had some juice, and perked up quite a bit. Me too. They sang us some sweet little songs, and we read a book, and everyone said what they love about their mom. Precious, precious memories.

And then we went outside to play on the playground. They have playground gravel, and Ella manages to get so dirty that there is a dust imprint on her car seat when she gets out after every day of preschool. It's time to go home. "Ella, time to go." "Ok, Ella, we need to go get Natalie." "Alright, Ella, let's get going." "Ella. Come here now." I finally have to go get her and carry her dirty self to the car.

Precious memories.

Don't get me wrong, aside from those two dark spots it was a nice day. It's fun to have the one on one time with Ella, and she thought it was cool to have me there. But I'm really discovering that no mothering moment is picture book pretty. There's always a little something on the side. Like a really great hug and "I love you Mommy" that is so sweet & genuine you fall to pieces, but it leaves a grape jelly smear on your new sweater. It's worth it and wonderful, but it's not completely peaches & gravy, as my husband would say.

So Happy Mother's Day. Grape jelly and all.


I need a road map

Do you ever have those moments where you wonder, "how on earth did I end up here?"

Last night I asked Ella if she'd remembered to wash her hands because I didn't remember hearing the water run. "Yes, I washed them quickly and quietly." "Really?" "Yes." So I used my cracker-jack investigative skills, and saw the sink was dry and so was the towel. "I don't think you washed your hands. The water didn't run." Yeah, busted.

Up until now, we'd really just been working on it from the When a Joke Isn't a Joke It's a Lie standpoint. This was both a blatant lie AND it had a story. Flawlessly given except that I was so positive I hadn't heard the water run. She didn't even crack a smile.

Every once and a while in these parenting moments I have a tiny panic -- what now?? What is the proper response?? I mean, saying you washed your hands when you didn't isn't exactly earth shattering, but it flash it forward a dozen years and it's, "Where were you?" "I was at Susie's house (only no one is named Susie anymore, it's much more complicated)." Really?? Is that where you were??

And this is why I would like to keep her 4 forever, because I want all the lies/omissions/halftruths/mistruths/misrepresentations/fabrications to be about things like handwashing.