Monday, July 11, 2011

Bits of July.

Well, summer is in full swing here at the Libutti house... which means I've got three little tanned people meandering around my house 24/7 looking for "something to do." And eating snacks. Lots and lots of snacks. And drinks. All I do is load, run, and unload the dishwasher.

Other happenings around here...

- Jenna was quite impressed with the displays people put up of bunting for the 4th of July and seemed to really like just saying the word "bunting". And conjugated it like this: "Look, Mommy! Those people bunted!"

- We've had quite a rash of after-bedtime ailments popping up, including suddenly-appearing sunburn ("It really BURNS!"), multiple bugbite inspections ("It really ITCHES!"), growing pains in the legs ("It's really SORE!"), and my personal favorite, a stinging and itchy eyelid ("It really HURTS!"). Thankfully, I learned in Mommy School that cool, wet paper towels applied to all of these ailments does the trick. Some of the stories told to me are so preposterous that I turn to Michaela or Jenna and calmly say, What exactly do you want me to do at 9pm about that?

- Alec has been taking naps in his crib- instead of me sitting on the couch holding him- for about a month now. IT IS REVOLUTIONARY. First of all, I feel like I get a nice break during the day; secondly, I can get something accomplished; thirdly, my brain is no longer rotting from watching several hours of tv every afternoon; fourthly, he sleeps an insane amount of time. Like, four hours. Sometimes I have to wake him up. Seriously. He also has started going to bed awake and stops whimpering before I even leave the room. When I think of how many hundreds of hours I held my babies until they've fallen asleep... but then again, I love holding sleeping babies. That's how this all started.

- On a related note, I had a dream last night that I went to an OB appointment and found out I was preggers, but left without asking when my due date would be. I guess by the fourth baby, you're really laid back about that sort of thing. But I am NOT pregnant.

- I have come to the conclusion that the most under appreciated job I have is of family press secretary/ head of communications. I spend an insane amount of time emailing, facebooking, calling, and talking with my family, friends, and playmates of my kids, cultivating and maintaining relationships with the people in our life that we love. If women didn't take on this role, families would have no friends to socialize with and would not be as close to their family members. Once I became conscious of it, I started mentally keeping track, and I am amazed at how much time it takes and how little it is noticed or how it is passed off as Mommy Time. No, not really- remembering important dates, events, and asking how something went is not just for my benefit- it's for the whole family. Moms, especially, are so immersed in social contacts, and I wish there was a more formalized way to thank them for the efforts they put into fostering close relationships that the whole family benefits from.

- Michaela has Girl Scout camp this week, and goes from 8am til 5pm. I am frankly shocked at how much I miss her today.

- We went to Lake Taconic yesterday and met Dan's whole family there, which was great. We had a wonderful day but got a semi-flat tire on the way home (a skinny strip of the tread pulled away from the car and started slapping the road and the underside of the car). We pulled over on the side of the Taconic Parkway, a big, grassy area in the shade and proceeded to change the very first tire of my life. Dan of course had done it before- they learn that in Man School, apparently- but I kept giggling and thinking of the famous tire changing scene with Ralphie and the dad from A Christmas Story. I'm pretty sure that at one point, when I had to hand Dan the lug nuts to secure the spare onto the car, I said, Ohhhhhhh..... fuuuuuuudge.... but Dan, who was sweating and dirty and nervous that the car was going to fall off the jack and kill us, didn't appreciate my humorous reference. And just like the Dad in the movie, we timed ourselves and from start to finish, we gauge it took us about 20 minutes. Not bad. And the Queen Mother of all swear words was not even close to being uttered.

- I am very close to forming my own Daisy Girl Scout troop for Jenna. I am really excited about it. Just have to confirm my assistant Troop leader and I am good to go.

- Michaela and I started a project to make a scrapbook album that is all about school. We will put her school pictures and class picture in it, along with some candid shots from times that they have a little performance or some kind of party or event. On Friday afternoon I sat down and went through years of digital pictures of Michaela's first days of school, Christmas programs, moving up celebrations, and the like. It was a great trip down memory lane for me... and the shock of seeing Michaela at Jenna's age, knowing that Alec will be that age before too long, made me all misty-eyed. Because it seems like that little girl with the pudgy cheeks and curly hair is gone from me now, replaced by this angular, straight haired girl, who is the same but different. I remember that when Michaela turned about 2, I started forgetting when and where each picture was taken, like my brain is a memory disc that got filled up and had to start rewriting itself.
You can look at these pictures, and know it is your child, but it is your child of that moment, not the child of now, and that child in the picture is gone and can't return.
It's a little mourning, looking at these pictures, even though you have the luxury of still hugging and kissing and loving your kids. On the other hand, there is such a richness to living all these years more with your children, seeing them older and more mature, with more developed personalities and interacting with you, a more mature and developed parent. You have more history, and both parent and child have grown together.

- Alec has started shaking and nodding his head, and I am always a little surprised when he answers me, because I am used to my questions merely being rhetorical to him.

- All three of the kids love love watching Bubble Guppies in the morning, but Michaela has pointed out that Mr. Grouper, their teacher, doesn't seem to be very prepared to teach them. "When one of the Bubble Guppies comes in to the classroom and suggests a topic, Mr. Grouper always goes along with it. He never says, No, I was planning on learning about _____ today. He never has, like, a lesson plan." Astute observation, Mimi.

- Current popular foods at the Libutti house: Hershey bars, strawberries, cheese sticks, tacos, Ritz Crackerfuls, fruity Cheerios, and of course, watermelon. Newly rejected: pizza, meatballs, steak, and mozzarella bites. (It's like they don't even know they're Italian...)

- I just finished a book called Caleb's Crossing, and it was utterly magnificent. It was about the first Wampanaug Indian from Martha's Vineyard who went to Harvard back in the 1660's. And as you well know, I was a Pilgrim in my former life so much of the book was very familiar to me. It was written by Geraldine Brooks, who wrote Year of Wonders and People of the Book, both excellent, thoughtful reads.

- There is nothing like getting 5 yards of mulch delivered to your house to truly appreciate the "joy of home ownership". Spreading it almost killed both of us. But it looks great all freshened up.

- We went over to my parent's house on Saturday to go swimming. We went without calling first, which we almost never do, and found their house empty when we got there. Using all my detective skills honed from watching an episode of Dateline NBC the evening before. we deduced that they were probably out to dinner with some friends. After they came home, we filled them in on our detective work and my mom somehow said something about (I can barely type this) how it was good that we didn't catch them in an intimate moment.

"Frankly, it would be less horrifying to come over here unannounced and find you DEAD than interrupting you two DOING IT," I told her.


Anonymous said...

I guess children NEVER get over the pure DISGUST of thinking of their parents as ANYTHING except brother and sister! What a great July (so far) recap! Busy month and it is only the 11th!!!! What joy to read your beautifully written observations BUT I cannot totally identify with your wistfullness of the kids' earlier years-I could not WAIT for my kids to grow up BUT I do have to admit I do NOT want our 5 grandchildren to grow as quickly! Love, Mom

Anonymous said...

I MARVEL at how you can find time in your busy schedule to write such entertaining, insightful blogs! THIS aspect of your role as communicator-in-chief is certainly noted and appreciated! Love, LW

Anonymous said...

Wonderful insights! And it is true: Parents are "neuter" in their children's view. :o)