Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mommy, Mom, Hey, Mama, and ga-ga

Hey Y'all, I'm also featured over at Deep South Moms Blog today. I'm so honored to be a new addition to their writing team! Come on over and visit me there too!


This is how each of my children address me.

"Mommy" is from Peppermint Patty. She's just so sweet and innocent, even though she's just on the cusp of being a tween. I can see her sitting on the fence between loving Hannah Montana and also loving Littlest Pet Shop. She's got enough sense to know that acting too old for her age is no good, yet she wants to fit in with her friends. I don't know how much longer she'll call me "Mommy" but I'm cherishing every day of it.

"Mom" is from Charlie Brown. He is truly a kid of few words. Unless, of course, he's asking to use the computer or wants to discuss Yu-Gi-Oh. And, for the love of everything that is holy, please do not ask me what Yu-Gi-Oh is. For the last 5 years I have been picking up stray cards from under the couch cushions, fished cards out of pants pockets in the laundry, doled out allowance money to immediately be spent on new cards, and broken up fights over "THE MOST POWERFUL YU-GI-OH CARD IN MY DECK!!!!" I am longing for the day that Charlie Brown decides he's too old for that game. But, anyway, Chuck loves me in a gentle and kind way. He can be quiet when he wants to be. He is the only one of my children who, quite often, sees me working and comes up to me to ask, "Need any help, Mom?" He is sensitive and serious. When he gets excited I love to hear him talk because it's so rare for him to be anything but even-keeled. He hates to get his picture taken, so I keep trying, which only annoys him all the more.

"Hey" is from Linus. Every day after school, he's the first one through the door from the bus. "Hey Mom." "Hey Linus. How was school?" "Great!" Linus is like one big blur... in the door. slam. Out the door. slam. Buzzing by on his skates. crash. Chasing a soccer ball. thud. Yelling at me for some terrible injustice, like not giving him extra computer time that he wants. stomp stomp stomp. I have a hard time keeping up with that one. He's so sharp and he's interested in everything. And his athletic ability is amazing to me. When he was 4, we went to a local park on a snow day from school. Teenagers were there with a snowboard and asked him if he wanted to try it out. First time it was strapped onto his feet, he went down the hill and didn't fall once. First time. At the age of 4. He has more talent in his little pinky than I have in my whole body.

"Mama" is all Sally. "I be wif YOU, Mama." "Kiss Mama's cheek?" "Mama, you sit heew and wats Cwifford wif me." (Did you understand all that?) And, of course, on the rare night that she wakes up in the middle of her slumber, I will hear, "MAAAA-MMMAAAAA!!!!" My favorite one is when she's trying to stall going to bed, and after we tuck her in she will sometimes get up to tell us, "Mama, my feet stick out!" which means that she doesn't like her feet sticking out from the end of the blanket on her bed. She doesn't realize that it got that way from her own tossing and turning. I think that, deep down, she just needs her mama.

"Ga-ga" is Violet. She's not really even saying "ga-ga" yet but she does squeal on occasion. I really should type that Violet's name for me is "nom-nom-nom" since she's still a nursing machine. Last week she got a tooth and I told my husband, "Oh don't worry. I've nursed 5 babies now and I've never been bit by any of them. Nursing doesn't involve biting. It's more with the tongue and the jaw... you wouldn't understand..." Then she promptly bit me so hard that it drew blood and has left me with the most toe-curling pain, every time she eats, like I haven't experienced since she was 5 days old. Thankfully we are getting past that now but I admit that I'm a bit nipple-shy every time I put her to the breast.

Today was a weary day. I kept looking at the piles of laundry, and the gigantic files of pictures on my memory cards, and my completely barren stove (read: no meals being cooked by me), and the dishwasher full of clean dishes waiting to be emptied while dirty dishes in the sink await to be loaded into the dishwasher. I have time to attack, maybe, ONE of those tasks before another crisis needs my attention, then before you know it, it's bath time and story time and bed time and Law-and-Order-SVU time. By then I'm basically horizontal on the couch with mouth agape and drool on the throw pillow.

I kept thinking, it's official. I have reached my limit. No. More. Children. Really, it's not the child care that's hard. It's the people-care. I would have a hard time keeping up if my 7-person household were children or babies or adults or WHATEVER. It's toys times 7, laundry times 7, dishes times 7, socks times 7, books times 7. I am struggling lately with the tough choices that must sometimes be made in a family of 7: sometimes we have to take a back seat so that someone else, someone higher up in the queue or someone with a more urgent need, gets tended to. SO MANY TIMES I find something that would be really great for one of our kids, but I end up letting it pass because I can't figure out how to pay for it, or how to schedule it, or how to explain that one kid gets something that the others don't. I think, "If this child were my only, or one of just two, then I could give them more. More choices, more opportunities, more time."

By being one of 5 children, what am I giving them? A crazed, tired, grumpy mother? I hope I am giving them experiences. I hope I am giving them lessons on how to figure out what's really important in life. I hope I am guiding them to a strong faith. I have to believe (or else I would go crazy) that I am an okay mother. Some days are better than others. I always can improve and should constantly keep myself in check, but also I need to celebrate the times I have a motherhood success. Every day I'm doing the best I can with what I have at that moment. My kids know no differently. I'm the only mother they've ever had. I'm sure they will grow up and say what we all said before we had kids: "When I'm a parent I'm not going to do what my mom did."

Because, really, we all know how that story ends, don't we?


Jennifer said...

You gave them so much more than that. You gave them each other!

Swizz said...

I LOVE that you have 5 kiddos. I am one of 5 and so wish I could give that to JMonster. We've tried, and will continue to pray for a big family. I just KNOW it will happen!

In the meantime, I look at moms of lots o kids and think about how crazy life will be...and how FULL!

Blessings to you on your Mommy's, Mama's, Mom's, gaga's day!

Gigi said...

You know what - I think every mom feels that she's giving her kid or kids a crazed, tired and grumpy mom. But the reality is this - you give them love, security and a sense of belonging. Happy Mother's Day!

Jen said...

I so understand the dishwasher/dishes in the sink thing.