Saturday, December 19, 2009

Chuck E. Cheese and Haircut #3

Sometimes Samuel and I sit by the fire, sip chamomile tea and discuss current events. Sometimes we write out complicated, Good Will Hunting type, math problems and work on them together. Sometimes we just like to make up Haiku's about the current health care crisis. But on days when we are not immersed in the day to day amusements of a family of intellectuals, you might find us at Chuck E. Cheese.

Today was one of those Chuck E. Cheese kind of days. The weather has been just rotten as of late and I can tell that the only cure for the cabin fever is to take my child somewhere where they don't care if he is let loose. Enter Chuck E. Cheese. The thing I really love about it is that his favorite thing to do is sit in the video games where you can drive the car. I say sit, because he doesn't actually want you to put any money in them. He just wants to sit there and twist the steering wheel. It's genius...no money spent on games at Chuck E. Cheese. No screaming kid as we take 10,000 tickets up to the counter only to find out that $50 won us a Spongebob eraser or a slap on bracelet. So today, after an hour of turning a steering wheel, running over the same light socket in the floor twenty times and pushing the coin slot button repeatedly on some jungle safari game, it was pretty much time for a nap. Oh, and did I mention the pizza and Sprite? That helped too. There are days when my "let's get out of the house" ideas don't turn out the way I expect them, but today was a slam dunk.

In fact, I was so cocky about my "toddler whispering" abilities that I decided it was time for another haircut. So after the pizza, we headed over to Pigtails and Crewcuts to get a quick snip before nap. "Every time we go this will get easier," I keep telling myself. I always chat nervously in the waiting area with other moms. They all reassure me that their "Jimmy" or "Alex" just got through the hating-the-haircut phase and there is an end in sight. I ask them if their kids screamed and yelled. "Oh yes," they answer with a knowing smile. I feel a little better about the scene that is about to occur..."this is totally normal," I remind myself. A pleasant woman who has dedicated her life (or perhaps just her 40 hour work week) to the grooming of children's hair calls Sam's name. My heart begins to palpitate. I reach down to pick up my son and that is when he stiffens every joint in his body and begins yelling at the top of his lungs...nay screaming, crying, yanking, fighting...I maneuver him into the chair only to look back and see the mother I was just talking to stare with her mouth open. Apparently little Alex objected a little less strenuously than Sam does.
My mom and I assume the "under normal circumstances this would look like child abuse" positions by throwing all of our weight on him as the hairdresser rattles off some "ideas" on how to appease Samuel. Finally my mother looks at her and screams "JUST CUT! WE ARE LOSING PRECIOUS TIME HERE!" So as usual, Sam gets an uneven, 60 second haircut, I lose ten pounds in sweat, leave a 127% tip and we all walk to the car feeling like everything that had just occurred was more than just a little wrong. We sit in the car for a few minutes to collect ourselves as the hairdresser passes us and heads to the Longhorn across the street. "Great," I tell my mother, "she's probably heading to the bar."

Merry Christmas from the Turners! Andy, Rachel and Sam!

Friday, December 4, 2009

And here I am...

I missed telling you about birthday #2...
I missed my list of things I'm thankful for...
I even forgot my password to this blog momentarily...

As I am about to write about the few things that are going on in my life that make my days seem so hectic and crazy, I want to share with you about a complete stranger whose blog I read the other day. Sometimes I begin linking randomly to other people's blog rolls. Its sort of like blog stalking. People's lives are fascinating. In the midst, I stumbled onto a network of blogs of people struggling with fertility. Some were finally pregnant, some were seeking other options, some were in the middle of frustrating and invasive fertility treatments, some were pursuing adoption. One blog broke my heart. A couple were blogging minute by minute updates from the hospital where their birth mother was giving birth to their son. It was a domestic adoption and I had somehow linked into this blog the weekend of the birth. It was very exciting. Yesterday, I went on there to see pics and get some more updates. Expecting to see a billion pictures, I was shocked by what I found instead. The blog had one long, tearful, post from a mother who has faced the most bitter of heartbreaking moments. After holding her son, posting pics, bonding and thinking toward a bright future with a beautiful blessing...the birth mother changed her mind. She could not bear the idea of giving up her child now that he was in this world. I get it. I'm a mother. I could not imagine handing my son over to anyone either. My heart is breaking for them both. No one wins. Two women, one baby. Someone goes home empty handed. I pray for them both and the baby. The adoptive mother is, as you can imagine, beside herself. So many people pursuing adoption have been through years of ongoing disappointment with treatments and negative tests and miscarriages and adoptions that don't go through. I pray that it happens for her. That she gets to hold her little one one day. Take her child home. I hope against hope, that she can trust again.

Everything about my fall has felt hectic. I have been teaching all over the map, I feel like I'm constantly hustling my son from one place to another, we've had appliances break, my grandfather is dealing with a very serious illness and yet everyday when I walk in the door, a two year old little boy screams, "Mommy," and runs to hug me. Everyday. I get to end my day like that. I get to hear the most precious laughter. I hear, "I love you mommy". In the midst of my crazy world and what I think are problems, I remember so many wonderful people out there who are hoping, praying and putting their hearts on the line to have what I have. So many would do anything for what I call hectic.

If you are a praying person, please lift up this unnamed couple. These two strangers that want a child more than anything in the world need prayer...lots of prayer.

My little boy, all of the sudden, turned two. It's cliche to say, when did this happen? But, seriously. When? He had a party with an 18 car train cake that I painstakingly decorated individually that he could not have cared less about. He did call it his "happy day" cake, but didn't eat any of it because he now had 487 Hot Wheels to hold his attention. Everyone came to Sam's birthday. He's so popular. Mine and Andy's stock went way up when we had a kid. We all sang happy birthday and he cried. We tried not to take it personally. It is never a good idea to put your self esteem in a toddler's arbitrary reactions and allegiances. All in all, it was a good party, a good birthday and I am amazed at how much more rewarding this job gets everyday.

For Thanksgiving, Sam carried on his tradition of getting sick. He's consistent. This year it was the Croup and an ear infection. I blamed it on teething for like three weeks and then one night he started barking like a seal and I decided that if we lived in ancient times, I would be asked to step down from my job as a Healer or Medicine woman. He was well enough to attend both Thanksgivings that we had and I was able to spend many days with him, although, it is hard when you have to keep them inside. No one apparently told Sam that he was sick so he highly objected to the insistence that he keep socks on, the sentence of indoor play only and the medicine that we had to give him twice a day (which I'm still cleaning off the ceiling). I seriously think that doctors should make dosages high enough to account for the backwash. It was easier to give my cat a bath than give him droppers of medicine. I'm just sayin'.

Now we look forward to Christmas. Samuel has shown zero interest in the Advent Calendar that I insist we open a door a day. He takes out the chocolate, puts it back in the door and shuts it. I'm now eating the chocolate myself. Does every first time mom expect her child to participate way earlier than they are capable of? I hope its not just me.

In case I go AWOL for the next few weeks, I wish you all a Happy Holiday. I pray that you get the proper amount of perspective to be thankful for your life even when it seems hard. I got a big reminder this week that I take my blessing for granted and I'm certainly going to go through the season with that in mind.

God Bless,
Sam's thankful mother