Sunday, April 15, 2007

First words from the Crabby Mommy

It's a little of a misnomer. I'm not always crabby.

But more often than I'd prefer, these days.

I thought perhaps if I spent a little more time reflecting I'd have less time for the actual crabbiness. And less inclination. I find that crabby becomes a habit, and it's a habit I'd like to break.

Today was an ultra-crabby day, at least until about 2pm. More on that later. Now, think about the good things, focus on the good things.

Friday was a near-perfect day with my kids. In the morning, an inspiring Multicultural Day at my eight-year-old E's school, where each kid in his grade chose a country, dressed up as a child from that country, prepared a poster and other audiovisual materials, and memorized a five-minute speech touting the country's highlights.

"Hi, my name is Blake," began E's presentation. "I am from Ireland, and I live in the capital, Dublin." He went on to list the leader's of Ireland's government, natural resources, major religions, popular foods, a complete encyclopedia entry. Around him his friends were doing Russian folk dances, reciting French poetry, that sort of thing, dressed in costumes ranging from the extremely authentic (India, Turkey) to the extremely creative (the orange bath towel for the Thai monk). Despite the fact that it was sunny and windy and dry, and the kids had to stand there and recite their reports in a continuous loop for two hours, they were unflappable and absolutely enthusiastic.

I went from that to a really idyllic afternoon with W, who is five and alternately fantastic and infuriating. I never know which kid I will get at the end of the day. But on Friday we went from school to the nursery near our house to buy plants for our summer vegetable garden. He was so into it, the whole process, soup to nuts. He picked out all the plants himself, insisted on putting them all in the cart. He helped me carry them from the car to the backyard. We only had 45 minutes until his t-ball practice, but he said we absolutely had to get started on the planting, and he was efficient and effective: picked the spot, dug the holes, gently removed the plants from the plastic pots, broke up the roots, put the plants in the ground, held them with one hand while he filled in the hole with soil, tamped down the dirt, put the stakes in so we'd remember what we planted. We worked in parallel, which I never expect with a child this age.

And then we went to t-ball practice, where he had fun, no whining, got me out on the field chasing balls, which I suppose was good for my chemistry, emotional as well as physical. After which we went home and he forewent (?) dinner to finish the planting. Dad and E came home from E's gymnastics workout and they brought their dinner outside to keep W and me company while we finished in the garden. The plants were growing, the sun setting, the day and week ending, and I was in a better mood at bedtime than I had been for weeks.

So why aren't there more days like that? And even if there haven't been in the past, how can I create more days like that?

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