Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Divide and Conquer

I’m coaching softball. And by “coaching” I mean herding fifteen 7-8 year old girls around a ball field for an hour twice a week.

I don’t get a horse and I don’t get a dog. But I do get three assistant coaches.

I think I’d prefer the dog.


Tonight is our second official practice of the four we’re allotted before games begin. I say official since one of our other coaches has kindly – foolishly, ignorantly, questionably – offered his yard for extra practices if necessary. Mind you, “necessary” is a relative term here.

Can the girls benefit from more than four practices?

Seeing as though, many are afraid of the ball, and most have never even played a friendly game of catch before, yeah more practice would definitely be beneficial.

Is it appropriate to invite fifteen first and second graders back to your house for private tutoring?

Not in my mind. Maybe it’s the paranoid mom in me having read far too many news articles that started out this way, but….red flags. Everywhere.

Another important thing to note here is that even twenty practices aren’t going to change the fact that these girls are seven and eight. This is their first foray into the sport – even a sport for some of them – and winning is not even on the docket. Granted that’s because we can’t technically keep score, but also because few would even know what constituted a “score.”

Have I mentioned when I told them all to meet me at first base to kick off our first practice, fewer than a third actually settled for the correct bag? /sigh

But all – not including the new girl who couldn’t be pried from her mom’s thigh – at least stayed in the dirt. Bonus!

So, tonight we start again. This time I feel a little better armed for the battle. I still don’t have a horse or a dog, but I’ve some ideas on how to better utilize the eager dads wanting to help. I’m not drawing comparisons.

Nor am I ignoring them.

That said, their eagerness means I’m not going in alone. There are still more of them than of us, but we’re bigger. We’re stronger. And I have a whistle.

Divide and conquer.

That’s the plan.

Divide and conquer.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Our $7000 Landscape Addition OR Yet Another Reason for Mom to say NO!

It’s hot here in Lansing, Michigan. The actual temperature is only 78. Not all that impressive, really, unless you factor in the humidity. The air truly feels as if you could slice it with a knife. Even the plastic kind I allow the children to use. Three small bodies in this house with me, all wanting to cuddle, add not only degrees of happiness but of heat. I’ve opened the windows, anticipating - or rather desperately hoping for - a cool breeze. The trees are perfectly still. But I still hope. My oldest not-yet-in-school asks innocently why mommy hasn’t turned on the air conditioner.

“We bought a new truck, baby.” I tell him.

He looks at me understandably confused, but lets it go, and returns to Scooby-Doo.

Even I struggle with my new static answer.

“Why can’t we have the good pizza tonight, mom?

“We bought a new truck, honey.”

“Can’t I have new sandals this year?”

“Hello? The truck?”

“We haven’t gotten a new Wii game in months.”

“What’s that in the driveway, darling? Yes, that’s it. The truck.”

Said truck sits there in the driveway most hours of the day. We’ve owned it a week. Bought it with a full tank of gas, and are still well above the ½ tank line.

The kids are slowly beginning to understand that an inevitable “no” waits at the end of most their requests, even if they don’t understand the “whys” of it. Picking up on the importance of this new purchase, they’ve taken to altering their inquiries.

Now it’s:

“Can we take the new truck to the store today, mommy?”

“Of course not, darling. I’ve told you gas is too expensive.”

“Aren’t we going to drive the new truck to Grandma’s house so everyone can see?”


“No, sweetheart.”

For days, they were actually very excited about the new family vehicle. They crawled around in it. Got a ride around the subdivision in it. Since then, it’s sat rather sadly in the driveway next to the Granger cart. I’ve contemplated buying a tarp for it, as it’s become a source of some shame.

Nothing like announcing to the world you couldn’t care less about the oil crisis.

“We’re paying $4.15 a gallon.”

“Hey, check out our new truck!”

But, yes, I can own up to our purchase. It was a heck of a deal. Probably close to half the blue book value. Never mind what that says about the industry or the resale value.

Never mind how it shadows all our new spring flowers from the sun, leaving them wilting and weak. It’s like the gold-laced oil is leaking straight from the tank and into our soil.

But hey we got a new truck!

But seriously, we can fit our entire family – carseats, boosters, diaper bags, and all – and with still enough room to breathe its fumed air. That’s a bonus, right? We’re a two-car family again. And trust me, with 2 adults and 5 small children, two vehicles is pretty much a necessity.

There’s few things more stressful than calling Dad, 25 minutes away, out of an important business meeting to pick up our vomiting daughter from Elementary school, all the while mom sits at home, 5 miles away, ready and more than willing to “make it all better.”

Ok, so that never actually happened, but in my stressed-out, prepare-for-the-worst, mom-brain, it was an inevitability.

So, now, we’ve rectified the vomiting child dilemma with a bank account depleting truck dilemma.

Per usual, my second-guessing mommy-brain has now reared its inevitable head, so to speak.

So, yes, it’s hot here in Lansing, and looking to get even hotter. Struggling not to repeat the horrible “when I was a kid” lines to our children, I just point to the truck when requests for the air conditioner arise.

/sigh. It’s going to be a hot summer.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Everyone is Good at Something...Right?

My oldest daughter can jump rope…..backwards. I can’t manage to employ those eyeballs I’m supposed to have in the back of my head.

My middle daughter can whistle nursery rhymes. I am practicing making their punishments rhyme.

Roses are Red
Violets are Blue
Who’s never leaving their room again for as long as they live under this roof by these rules while showing respect and consideration for everyone else who resides in this house and whom we call family?

My oldest son can repeat every word uttered by “heehee - she’s preeetty – heehee” Gabriella in High school Musical. On a bright, sunny spring morning after an invigorating 2 mile run, with sweat glistening under my oddly-bunched nursing pads, with my head thrown back draining an ice cold Aquafina water bottle, overcome with endorphins and the muffled sounds of hungry children and impatient dad escaping through the walls of our home, I can almost remember high school. Though, the musical accompaniment in my memory is more of a sad, dreary, ballad lacking the bouncy, giggly, squeals of young bliss.

My youngest daughter can beckon all the dogs of the neighborhood with one screaming tantrum. My screams go unanswered. My tantrums, ignored.

My newborn can…..sleep. I’m a mom.

To Do

Overwhelmed with my day to day To Do Lists, I’ve decided to make a Life To Do List. Large-scale, likely unachievable, highly unbelievable, and grossly over exaggerated seems like the way to go. If I’m going to make a list of things I’d like to achieve in my lifetime, I think it makes the most sense to either make a monumentally long list of easily attainable goals so as to never run out, or a relatively short list with tough to achieve goals. And since I’m lazy, short wins!

So, I’ll jump right in with “Climbing a Mountain.” So...doable...eventually, and with much training and dedication. I’m not thinking of any mountain in particular, as…..well, I’m not that familiar with mountains. There’s Everest, Vesuvius. Yeah, that’s about the extent of my mountain knowledge.

And Lord knows a list of this magnitude can’t be complete without “Writing a Book”. So…..there it is. I’d like to write a book. I’ll go one step further and say I’d like said book to get published. Maybe it’ll be about the full-time, OCD, vein, impatient, overly-critical, somewhat-judgmental, yet mostly-happy mom of 5 who climbed a mountain. I’d read it.

Next, I’d like to take my kids to Disney World. Now, this strikes me as the most reachable goal, but for my already-stressed checking account. 7 people traveling 2 days to Disney World, staying in a moderate hotel room, and all visiting the park for a couple days? My credit card companies are already giddy with anticipation.

That brings me to NEVER winning the lottery. Yup, I don’t ever want to receive a large sum of money that didn’t result from working my butt off. Other than my rear end in dire need of refining, I’m convinced nothing good can or will ever come from that sort of windfall. People change, families change, friends change, and rarely are any of those for the better. Now, immediately this seems like a ridiculous goal. I mean, it should be as simple as just never buying a lottery ticket. Problem solved. However, we have gracious, loving, generous family members who consider it a pleasant surprise to present loved ones with a ticket to the latest shot at free Millions. And quite simply, I don’t have the heart to reject their kind gesture. Which brings me here, and it’s really more of a hope or a dream. I’m game for increasing the Child Tax Credit, granting automatic financial aid for furthering the education of kids from large families, or even free groceries for any length of time. Any of those, I can live with. And appreciate.

So, let’s see, I’ve covered physical goals, intellectual goals, parenting goals, and monetary goals. I’d say that just about covers it, except maybe one last superficial want of an exhausted, sweatpants donning, mop-wielding mom. I want my team to win Fantasy Football just once. That’s it: one victory over the 11 arrogant, statistic-spouting, smack-talking men who likely only invited me into their league as an easy obstacle on their own quests for victory.

Here goes…

Monday, August 20, 2007

Let's Review

Being a mother of 5 is undoubtedly the most challenging job I hold. Of course, it also happens to be the only job I currently hold, unless you count being a wife, and today’s a good day, so I won’t count it. Tomorrow may not fare the same.

My children are 2 months, 2 years, 4 years, 6 years, and 7 years. Although I dye my hair, it’s not for grey, only vanity. My temper is mostly in check. My patience, no thinner than normal. Although, I can’t promise my normal would equal anyone else’s normal. I did, after all, have 5 children.

It’s days like today, when the youngest is asleep, the next two are relaxing and watching tv (not for long enough to give me guilt), and the oldest two are playing peacefully (or at least quietly) upstairs, that I feel solid in my sanity and even pride in my abilities. Seeing as though this is my job, I deserve a review of sorts. In the end, there will be no demotions or promotions. No raise. No celebratory lunch. There will probably be self back pats and self-initiated hugs from the children. And really, that’s quite rewarding in itself.

I did mention today is a good day.

The only thing that could make this job “perfect” would be a monetary compensation simply because it does, as they say, “make the world go ‘round”. And more importantly, buy Lucky Charms and frozen chicken product. Alas, the only thing consistent and dependable about this job is the stress level and sleep-depravity. Onto the review.

My responsibilities are my children, obviously, and the various animals also residing here. The animals are still alive, and the children somewhat happy. + 8 points (one for each subject).

Their nourishment has been adequately supplied, and mostly with healthy choices. I’ve ensured they all have enough energy and yet not so much to disturb the delicate balance that is my sanity. + 10 points (discerned from a too-long-to-reference algorithm)

Their entertainment is self-provided at the moment. Given the rarity and instability of this task, success is obvious and absolute. +50 points (same formula).

The noise level of the house can currently be assessed as “dangerously quiet.” I’m erring on the side of throwing-all-caution-to-the-wind, and calling it a success. + 40 points

The cleanliness and organization of children (and pets) and home cannot be determined at this time, as walking from room to room constitutes imminent danger. + 10 for prior success in this area.

So with an overall 118 points, I declare my job well done, and up to snuff. As a result, I will continue on in the same capacity with inconsistent day-to-day results, but overall most goals achieved and maximized. As the oldest two fight over which Barbie belongs to whom, our four-year old grows frustrated at Diego once again losing Mama Scarlet Macaw, the 2 year old attempts to change her own diaper, and the baby roots at his own forearm, it seems this review ended none too soon. The celebrations will have to wait…at least until tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Overheard in the Davidson House

Joey: Why is 7 afraid of 9?
Baby Mia: drools
Joey: Because 7 ate something.
Baby Mia: drools
Joey: Get it? 7 ATE something. You don't get it.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

So, I'm Writing a Book

I decided I’m going to write a book. It really wasn’t as simple as it sounds though. In part because I’ve actually already written the book. Eighteen years ago, as a matter of fact.

So, in fifth grade, I wrote a book. It rambled on where it should have been brief, it climaxed too late, and it lacked overall direction and focus. In short, it was written by a ten year old. Despite its obvious shortcomings, it was a good story. Good enough to win first place in the fifth grade and send me (and it) to a special young author’s conference. High honors for a ten-year-old, I assure you. A little sad for a twenty-eight year old, possibly. Still, I reread that book and see its potential. What I hope is that the potential is in the story itself, and not just the precocious little girl writing it.

For years I’ve dreamed of rewriting this book and seeking publication, but those dreams have always faded before pen even hit paper, or more accurately before fingers hit keyboard. Motivation isn’t my strongest quality. Which is to say, it may not be a quality of mine at all, but seeing as this is all still a dream, I’ll embellish. Perhaps this should be a New Year’s Resolution, but I rarely have success at those. For now, I am daring to speak aloud (via cyberspace) my goal. In doing so, I’m hoping to hold myself accountable.

I will rewrite this book.

I will submit it for publication.

I will continue to write/edit/resubmit until it’s accepted.

I will remember these promises tomorrow, the next day, and the day after that until my goal is reached.

Step one: accomplished.

And so it goes…..

Tuesday, February 08, 2005


I’ve happened upon another hypothetical situation I thought I’d share.

So, there’s a 3-month pregnant wife suffering discomfort in her lower back due to pregnancy-related growth and expansion. She’s engaging in an odd frog-like stretching position in the family living room in an attempt to quell the pain. Her loving, and very thoughtful, husband notices the situation and voluntarily crosses the room and begins to rub her back. He simply wants to help his wife, and possibly quiet her whining. It’s a win-win situation.

And then it happens.

Wife thanks him for his kindness and makes a small joke about her widening midsection, saggy pants, and unflattering position. They both cautiously chuckle at her “plumber-like” appearance. To which the loving and very thoughtful husband then adds:

“I can see your stretch marks too,” and proceeds to attempt to cover said marks by adjusting her clothing.


Wife tenses.

Husband “umms”, “errrs”, and “uhhs” for a good 10 seconds.

And life goes back to normal.

Personally, I think the hypothetical wife should remind the hypothetical husband of their 3 ½ hypothetical children and how they came to be, and then send him out into the sub-freezing night air for ice cream, but that’s just me.