Monday, October 29, 2012

... give me a song....

This is something I'll never get tired of:

And how could I?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

... there's a light...

another Twisted Sisters Sunday post here, this one lit by candles and smiles:

Friday, October 26, 2012

... and i'm running out of places to hide...

or, "we're just 2 teeth down (plus a third, fairly loose upper middle tooth) and the dream may be ending….."

too young for the truth?
K (in the morning while we were pushing to get ready for the Brain Cancer Walk): Daddy? Do you put money under my pillow?
me (at first unsuspecting, then slowly realizing what she might be asking about and fumbling): Uh… what do you mean ‘under your pillow?’
K (odd look): Umm…when I lose a tooth.
me (whew! getting to tell the truth!): Oh. No.
K (unknowingly going in for the kill): Does Mommy?
me (aackkk! and here I lie): No.
K: (somebody) said that he saw his mommy putting money under the pillow.
me (at a loss now): really?
K: And (somebody else) said that there’s no Easter Bunny.
me: Really?!? Wow.
K: I said there was.
me: Hmm…
K: Can I have a piece of candy in the car? 

It makes me sad to think ahead to when the girls will know that not only is the tooth fairy lives in their house, but so too does the Easter Bunny and Santa.... And L is only 4! Much much too young to have her excitement burst....

I try very hard not to lie to either of the girls.* It just feels like the best way to teach them to be honest is to be honest when I'm dealing with them. Of course I make mistakes, and I tried too to let them know when I realize that I've made a mistake. But this time was hard, and I haven't yet figured out what to do. I'll probably go with M's suggestion, made when I debriefed with her later: at some point when K is older and the topic comes up again, come clean, let her know that I lied and felt badly about it and apologize. 

*(or to M either, especially since I'm awful at it.)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

memories... can be short...

... and that's not bad.

Memories of sunshine, 
just a couple of weeks ago!

Something fairly basic that I'm realizing: children seem to have very short memories. At least sort of. I'm sure there are all sorts of things they'll remember long past when I want them to, but they can sort those out with their therapists in 20 years. What I'm talking about are the memories of how they swore they wouldn't mind skipping dessert if they got to have a cupcake after school, and how they bounce up in a happy mood even though the last thing they said before falling asleep in a puddle of tears is "I hate everyone in this house and family, even Lucy!" and how they can come racing to greet me when I get home even though they were sobbing when I left because they couldn't find anything to wear and they didn't want to go to school "after this day" and they didn't even *like* anybody in this family.

It's wondrous and a great lesson for me as an adult. And it takes some getting used to. I've always admired a good grudge. I even publicly expressed my admiration for Heathcliff during a senior English class in high school while we were reading Wuthering Heights: I said I admired him because he could carry a good grudge.

Which is all fine and good, until you need to forget the tears and recriminations and furious frustrations of 3 hours ago and see the world in all its sunny glory (until the next spate of tears).

I find myself brought up short when I'm still thinking in terms of L or K being upset, and they only have the excitement of telling me what they did in school on their mind.

Uh... didn't you hate me this morning?

Actually, the "I hate you" stuff tends to roll off my back. Maybe because I said that sort of thing when I was a boy? (Though in my defense, I don't *remember* saying anything like that, and luckily, neither does my mother. She also doesn't remember where she put her phone, but that's neither here nor there.) It's more the shift from a black outlook to a rosy one. It throws me off. I expect a particular approach and then, whop!, they've completely reversed direction. And I'm talking about the down-to-up switch. The up-to-down switch seems more to occur in the moment, while I'm there watching, and can be triggered by something as seemingly inconsequential as.... a missing sock, or a pair of leggings that worked fine yesterday but for some reason are sagging today.

All of which is pretty normal in our world, and it's all good. All I need to do to remind myself of how good things are is to swing by their beds after 9pm and look down at their sweet, snoring, snuffly faces. And try
not to think about the odds that in 3 hours I'm going to be up and snuggling with someone for 10 - 60 minutes.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

sunshine come on back another day...

it's another Twisted Sister Sunday, and today we're remembering back when it was sunny and warm (uh, like, 3 days ago?!?).

beach treasure
(which we did not take home!)

"Falinter" has hit hard here in the PNW, which isn't bad (rain = green vegetation), but means darkness, darkness, which means... needing to remind ourselves about sunnier days.

some sort of sisterly beach dance
involving shells and yells and smiles and piles of sand....

Friday, October 19, 2012

it's only me who wants to wrap around your dreams...

or, How to Turn a Daddy to Mush.

There's a pre-Halloween phenomenon around West Seattle that involves gold-painted pumpkins which show up unexpectedly and temporarily in various places. They are accompanied by a sign that says to put your hand on one, close your eyes, and make a wish.

taken this morning at 0-dark:30
(no wish, because who needs one today after last night?)

Last night M and the girls met me at the dock and we ate at the new restaurant (Marination Ma-kai) there at Seacrest. Walking in we happened to spot one of the wishing pumpkins, and so we all took a turn.

Almost immediately after making her wish, K tried so get me to listen to her wish. "Daddy, do you want to know my wish?" and I brushed her aside, thinking that you need to keep a wish secret (even though it doesn't say so on the pumpkin sign).

We went inside and ordered our meal and sat down and again K asked if we wanted to know her secret and when M said "Yes!" she said "I wished that Daddy had a good day."

After I blinked away some stray water that had gotten into my eyes I told her: "Your wish just came true."

K: What?
me: Your wish just made my day a good day. A great day.

And she, of course, said "What?" and I repeated myself and M hugged our oldest daughter who still wasn't sure what I meant but it didn't matter.

And then L said "I wished that for Christmas I got that Lego Horse thing that I want."

And I hugged her too, because after all, what's more age-appropriate than wanting a Lego Horse thing for Christmas?

Monday, October 8, 2012

... what the #$@! was i thinking...

Both M and I have been pushing at work, both of us with deadlines and too much to do in too short a time, and as a result we've been up too late and too early and a bit crazed. So, already stretched thin, I had one of those days at work where you get in feeling like you're a couple of espresso shots short of normal, and then there are recurring issues that have been raised and ignored and... and so you respond to a message that gets under your skin and you Reply All instead of sending the response just to the person who needs it.... and then you realize you just f-ed up. And things spiral and you end up barely salvaging your reputation and your personal sense of self by sending a public apology (along with private ones), and so when you get home that evening you're wrung out and even more exhausted than you would be otherwise, given that you've been getting up at 5a and working until 11.30p..... It was that kind of day for me last week.

K, during another ukulele session

But I came home to my family and we ate dinner and I was quiet and a big down and we all talked about our day and I explained (in very general terms) how mine had gone and in response to the girls questions of "why you did that Daddy?" I had to say "I made a mistake. I apologized and there's not much more I can do about it", and then we moved on.

Later, as K and I sat on the couch starting to read our next Boxcar Children book, we had this conversation:

K: Why did you ... what happened at work again?
me: I sent a message I shouldn't have sent. I was mean to someone. It wasn't right.
K: Why were you mean?
me: I made a mistake. I was tired and upset and I said some things I shouldn't have said.
K: What did you say?
me: I told him he wasn't doing a good job.
K: Why?
me: Good question. I shouldn't have. But I was tired.

and at this point I could tell that K was getting embarrassed..... for me? I'm not sure, but she ducked her head and almost couldn't speak and it hit me that 1) I loved this girl who would feel this much about something her daddy did, and 2) that I ought to make sure I was clear about what had happened. So I told her:

me: Grownups make mistakes sometimes. It's not just kids. I shouldn't have said what I said, so I apologized to the man I said it to.
K (looking up from under her arm): Was he mad?
me: I think so. But he was nice, he accepted my apology, and we have to move on.
K: Do you wish you hadn't said it?
me: Yeah, yeah I do. But I said it and once you do something like that, you can't unsay it. If you feel like you made a mistaken, you need to apologize.
K: (silence, thinking)
me: It will be ok. He accepted my apology.
K: And it will be ok?
me: Yeah. I still feel badly, but there's not much more I can do. We all make mistakes sometimes.
K: You still feel badly?
me: Yeah, I do.

and when she was quiet a bit longer, I asked if she was ready to read and she said she was.

How much of this sinks in, I'm not sure, but it was a shared moment I was glad to have. And it made me realize that this daughter of mine might just be developing some empathy, after being the one baby on airplane flights who didn't start crying when every other baby did, who would watch and not react.... I hope I can do right by her. After all, she helped me feel better.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

... i'm gonna wash that sister....

It's Twisted Sister Sunday,  the Who you lookin' at? edition:

I know the time is coming when I won't be bathing the girls any longer, and while I think that's appropriate and just part of the progression of growing up, I'm still enjoying it at the moment (usually) and they're still comfortable with it. So I still get opportunities to catch them like this.