Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Gift from the Easter Bunny

Back in April, we joined my family on a camping trip near Roswell, NM. The weather was perfect, we packed all of the necessary gear, and we planned for a nice relaxing Easter weekend.

During the night, Richard and I snuggled up in our tent and listened to the coyotes howling off in the distance. The night was cool and the moon bright. Sometime around 3 am, Richard started to wake up from a dream. At first, he was dreaming that he was in a bar, perched on a stool. Someone sitting next to him was kicking his stool and starting to get on his nerves. Slowly, as he awoke from the dream, Richard was confused why our cat was scratching herself at the foot of the bed. As he became more aware, he remembered that we were camping and that the cat was, in fact, not on the bed. But, if not the cat... what? He slowly lifted his head from the pillow and *squealed* (not really, but I had to make it sound funnier)! He none-too-gently poked me until I woke up and told me to LOOK AT THE FOOT OF THE BED! I groggily put on my glasses and picked up my head, too. There, sitting ON OUR BED, was a rabbit! Its huge ears were perked and it was staring directly at us! In a flash, it was gone. Had we imagined it? Was it real? I crawled out from under the covers and inspected the tent--yes, there was an access point where our smaller sleeping tent connected to the larger tent... so it probably was real. I covered up the hole with an extra blanket and I curled back up into bed.

A little while later (10 minutes? An hour?), Richard woke me up again: "I think it's BACK!" Sure enough, there it was--perched at the foot of our bed! I grabbed my pillow and said "Fine, I'm out of here." I unzipped my tent and leaned out--to see THREE MORE rabbits lined up outside our tent!

That was enough for me! I took my pillow and blanket and joined my family in their cozy (rabbit-free) camper. Later, while we were cleaning out the tent, we found little "presents" scattered all over our stuff, even in our suitcases and all around the bed! (They must've had a party while we were sleeping!)

The next week, I started to feel a little "icky." I was extremely tired, had achy muscles, and couldn't keep any food down. My first thoughts were swirling with images of Plague, Tularemia, and Anthrax! (These are all diseases that occur naturally in NM and can be carried by rabbits.)

By the end of the week, another thought crossed my mind... when was my last visit from "Aunt Flo"??? After worrying myself for a full week, I sat down and had a "chat" with Richard. Immediately he drove to Walgreens, picked up a 2-pack test and begged me to "do it now!" The instructions say that results may take 2-5 minutes... well, in less than 30 seconds, we had our answer--2 blue lines!

This is why we tell everyone that Miss Isabella is our little "gift from the Easter Bunny!"

Monday, February 02, 2009

Higher Expectations

The past 2 weekends were interesting experiences in child development and the role of parenting skills (or lack thereof) on said development.

Two Saturdays ago, I spent several hours with 4 kids (ages 10, 8, 7, and 5), trying to keep them entertained in my home and at Lowes (yes, the DIY store). This Saturday they were back (this time with their mom). The only way I would get suckered into tending to that many kids would be if they're related to me (and these 4 are). For the most part, these kids are relatively well-behaved, I suppose (compared to some of the really BAD things that they COULD be doing). However, I am continually surprised by the general lack of respect, manners, and consideration. By now, I probably shouldn't be surprised, but wow--I would've NEVER even THOUGHT of doing some of the things that these 4 do:

Put my shoes on the sofa.
Spill food on the floor and leave it.
Grab snacks from the counter (at somebody else's house).
Ignore my parents.
Say "I'm hungry" then not eat.
Say "no" when an adult asked me to do something.

How do parents get to the point where they just "don't care" about what their kids are doing, how they treat adults, or how they treat other people's property? Sometimes I think that maybe 3 kids was "enough" for these parents, but they didn't realize it until they already had the 4th. (Yeah, could you imagine that realization? "Dang it, honey, we should've stopped with 3, this 4th kid is just too much!") Or, are the kids simply a reflection of the parents' own actions, beliefs, and lacking niceties? Or, maybe you just have to "pick your battles," and trying to keep 4 pairs of feet off the sofa just isn't worth the fight?

It's easy to say, "oh, I'll never let my kid do that!" Eventually they will do some of the "thats." But, which of the "thats" are really just NOT ACCEPTABLE?

Finally, I have an example of something that one of the kids did/said that totally threw me off. On Sunday, only one of the kids came over. He had been playing video games most of the day and was taking an "eye break." He was watching the work that his dad was helping us with and I decided to offer dessert. So, I asked him, "Hey, would you like a banana split?" He didn't look up at me, but mumbled "yeah." I said, "well, the catch is, you have to come in here and make yours while I make mine." His response (still not looking at me) was, "well, nevermind then." WHAT?! A kid turning down a banana split because he has to make his own? His dad tried to talk him into doing it by telling him that he could put on his own toppings (and I listed out the ingredients that I had: vanilla and strawberry ice cream, whipped cream, chocolate syrup, and caramel syrup). Still, no go, the kid didn't want to make his own food. I said "okay, your loss" and went to make mine. Well, after I piled up the toppings in my own bowl of ice cream, I walked over to show them (and share a bite with Richard)--and told him "it's too bad you didn't want to make one, it came out really good!" And he said "well, I guess I'll make one now." I told him, "sorry buddy, but I already put all the stuff away. Maybe next time."

Was that mean? Should I have made it for him? Should I have let him make it after he saw mine and changed his mind? I think I did the right thing.

I was even more glad when later: I asked him "hey, would you help me carry a bag of trash down to the dumpster?" (we had several loads of trash to take) and he said "no, I don't think so" (and kept on playing the video game)! I asked him "Why won't you help me?" And he IGNORED me! I even tried reasoning with him: "I cooked lunch and dinner for you, let you play my video game all day, and you still won't help me?" After I had taken all the trash out (3 trips), Richard asked me why he didn't help and I said "I don't know, either he's lazy or just wimpy enough to let a GIRL do all the work." Was that mean? Probably, but apparently "reverse psychology" doesn't work on this kid either, because he didn't even bat an eye. He even had the nerve to ask me if he could go back to playing the other video game!

I just hope that I can instill values in my kid(s) so that they will be motivated, creative, compassionate, helpful, respectful, and considerate people. I hope I never get to the point of just "letting it go."

Sunday, February 01, 2009

One More Week

So, I'll be heading back to work next Monday (Feb 9) and I have very mixed feelings about it...

On the one hand, I have been in desperate need of adult interaction (besides Richard) and escape from the house. However, the thought of leaving my "tiny" baby with someone else (who isn't related to me) makes me sad and a little uneasy.

I have never been the type of person who could "stay home all day and watch soaps and eat bon-bons." Pretty much since day one, I have managed to maintain the household chores (as a week-long process), take daily showers, and keep the baby fed, clean, and mostly content. I do also enjoy watching my General Hospital, taking long afternoon naps, and joining any available family members for lunch. I feel truly blessed to have a stable job that allows me to take off two months and still make enough money to cover the bills. These two months--spending time (all day, everyday) with my DAUGHTER--have been incredible, amazing, and unforgettable. I wouldn't trade any one of those days (even the most difficult of 'em) for a day anywhere else. But, I realize that it's time for me to "let go" a little bit and return to the "real world" of 8-5 work, schedules, and, thank God, ADULTS.

I don't necessarily feel anxious about not being with her (we've had grandma and grandpa babysit several Saturdays), it's just the thought that she could be trapped in her crib, in a room with nine other babies, crying those huge alligator tears... and nobody will notice her (pick her up, hug her, tell her she's loved)... (okay, I need a minute... I'm tearing up again...) Don't ge tme wrong, I think we picked an excellent daycare. It's a part of a church (which doesn't mean it's perfect, but does give a little more peace of mind), the teachers seem to really enjoy being around the babies (bless their hearts), and it's less than 5 minutes from my work (close enough to visit during lunch). But how do you leave your BABY with people who don't know you (or her) and have to tend to the needs of nine other babies who are equally demanding (probably more) and adorable (probably not)?

What if she says her first word to them? Or takes her first step into their arms? I can see it already. I pick her up one day and read through her "daily report" to see the note: "Isabella said 'mama' to Ms. so-and-so today." !!!

Okay, enough of that... if I keep that up, I'll be crying all night!
Since this is going to be my last "available" week to blog "all day," I'm going to make a very serious effort to post a few more times... I'd like to share a few more stories with y'all before I go on hiatus again.

Until next time, take care, and happy blogging!
I also wanted to say that if you're interested in seeing more Adorable Baby pictures, you can check out my photobucket!