Archive for the ‘the ones about parenting’ Category

When I first started this post (before WordPress lost several of my drafts) I intended it to be a funny story about Ava and how she is learning about life through books. Now it’s a not-so-funny story about how I’m learning through Ava and her books about life.

Take a quick gander over at the side bar at the recently published posts. There are literally three times that number of posts in the draft section of my blog and would be more if WordPress hadn’t decided to shave off a few. And that’s just blog writing projects. I have creative writing projects, crafty projects, house remodeling projects, organizational projects, cleaning projects, correspondence– I’m up to my ears in projects. And frankly I’m not making a whole lot of progress. I am, however, continually coming up with new ideas for new projects as if this is helpful. When the balance of the ideas starts to tip strongly to the uncompleted side, my mood starts to slide in the downward direction.

And this heap, well it’s about to send me into the depths of despair.

(Please note the open drawers and cupboard–one of my many endearing qualities, just ask Nate.)

Actually, I hid the pile in a Steve Madden shopping bag two weeks ago. Someone must have added a couple packets of yeast, because it doubled in size and is now taking up an entire place setting at my dining room table. Talk about an unwelcome guest.


Oh it’s hideous. A couple of weeks ago, my friend Christa asked other moms to share pictures of their messes in attempt to dispel the myths of perfectionism. There it is, Christa. Not that this is shocking as this blog is open source chronicle of my imperfections.

Somewhere in this heap is the medical bill and the lawn service bill that Nate asked me to mail ten days ago. There are stickers in there for the daily job chart I was going to make Ava months ago. There is also a library book I needed to return yesterday as well as the embroidery floss needed to complete the baby gift I still haven’t mailed. If you look closely you will see an ad that expired on Valentine’s Day. I probably don’t need to state that we are passed the midway mark in March. And taking up the bulk of the mess are heaps and heaps of Ava’s art projects.

People, I have never thought of myself as a saver, yet I have so much trouble throwing away Ava’s art. It’s ridiculous, but that’s another post.

Suffice it to say, this pile is driving me to write about it, not actually fix it, but write about it.

So let’s see if we (or just I) can learn from Ava and her recent life lesson.

A few weeks ago, I was in the kitchen slicing apples when I heard a little voice in Ava’s room say, “I’m down in the dumps. I’m down in the dumps….I’m down in the dumps!”

I walked toward her room and found her standing the midst of tutus, undershirts, plastic ponies, glitter wands, pink bottles, lacing cards, and pocket-sized princesses. “Blah! I’m down in the dumps.”

“You’re down in the dumps?”

“Yep, like Toad,” she said picking her Frog and Toad book out of heap.

She explained the state of her room (as though it wasn’t obvious) and how it was just like Toad’s room. We talked about how upsetting it was to have a messy room and that it wasn’t fun to play or sleep in a mess. We reviewed the story together, how Toad didn’t want to clean his room, but he couldn’t enjoy himself knowing that he would have to clean it later.

“Maybe if I put away all my jammies,” she said echoing Toad’s line, “I won’t have to do it later, will I?”

“No, you won’t.”

She starting sorting the matching tops and bottoms out of the heap and stuck them in their drawer.

“And if I pick up all my books, I won’t have to it later, right?”

“Right,” I said, as I helped her put her books on her shelf.

“If I pick up all my barrettes and tails now, then I wouldn’t have to later, will I?”

“No, you won’t.”

And with the hope of clean room set out before her, Ava cheerfully put away all the things in her room with increasing expectation and excitement. As though she was sent forth as a continual object lesson, she demonstrated how to tackle a project one piece at a time. In what seemed like merely moments, Ava was twirling around a delightfully organized room.

“Now, tomorrow I can take life easy,” Ava said throwing her arms up and landing on her bean bag.

I should hope so, you are only three.

As for me, well I still have the pile. Let’s see if I can put this lesson to practice.

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“Ava, please stop kicking. You’re splashing the water on the floor.”

“Mama, I can’t stop kicking.”

“Yes, you can Ava. Stop kicking.”

“But Mom, that’s that way that God made me.”

“He also made you to obey your Mama.”

“But Mom, He made everyone different.”

“Yes He did, but He also told everyone to obey their mamas.”

“Well Mom, you have to love me the way that God made me.”

Two questions:

1. What?

2. And when did she start calling me, “Mom”?

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    “UH!…Stop. UH!….Mama, why do these keep falling!”

    I looked up from the sudsy sink and over at Ava who was holding out her hand and dropping crayon after crayon on the kitchen floor.

    “What’s the matter, Ava?” I replied.

    Ava picked up a orange crayon, gripped it in her fist, held it over the floor with her palm down and opened her fingers. Surprisingly a flash of pumpkin plummeted through the air to add its hue to the free form art on the tile.

    “Why do these keep falling?” she asked.

    “Because you are dropping them.” Sometimes you just have to state the obvious.

    “But WHY do they FALL?” she asked again as she added yet another color to her collage.

    “Do you mean, why do the crayons leave your hand when you open your fingers?”

    “Yes,” she replied shifting her gaze from her art to her mother, whom she believed to have the answer to the question that had been torturing her for almost three minutes.

    I stared right back at her. I mean really how do you explain the laws of gravity to someone who still believes that contents of her nose are a nutritious (and delicious) afternoon snack, and that badgers live behind the couch in our living room. Have I mentioned that the badgers had babies? They have. Four of the them. Thankfully, badger babies are of the kissing variety, so they don’t pose any present threat.

    And frankly, I remember being absolutely stunned in fourth grade with this new knowledge of Newton, his apple, and his great laws. The simplistic, brilliance of it all was so exciting. Before that afternoon in Mr. Corson’s science class, I had never considered why when I set something down it stayed or when I dropped something it fell. I was feeling completely unqualified to answer this question and still baffled by the fact that she was asking it when I was interrupted the impatient inquisitor.

    “Why, Mama? Why do the crayons fall?”

    “Gravity, Ava. Gravity makes them fall.” Again, the obvious. It’s really all I have.

    “What’s Grabeny? Who is she?”

    “GraVity isn’t a person. It’s something God created to make things stay in the right places.”

    “But who is she? Why is she putting my crayons on the floor? I don’t want her to be put my crayons on the floor!”

    I attempted to reassure her that gravity was not some mischievous person out to spoil her art, but something good that God made. I told her that if we didn’t have gravity everything would float away. She cocked her head to the left and lowered her lashes. She didn’t believe me. My three-year-old doesn’t believe me. Like her daddy, she apparently needs facts.

    Not to be outdone by my daughter, I whipped out my clip-on tie, donned the charisma of HappyFunTime and hopped up on my chair to begin the pantomiming frenzy of Snack Time without Gravity:

    If she wanted the grapes on the table, she would reach for them but the grapes would float out of the bowl and then the bowl would float away. As she would keep trying to reach the grapes, she would be floating this way and they would be floating that way. And after all the work, she would be thirsty. So she would reach for her pomegranate juice, but the cup would go this way and the juice would float out of the cup going that way. And then the table would float and the chairs would float and mama would float away. She might not even be able to get to Mama for a hug! God is so good that He made gravity to keep the grapes in the bowl and the juice in the cup, and so she could give Mama a hug.

    “And that, Ava is gravity,” I said as I took my final bow.

    Of course the laws of gravity were in full force during my robust one-woman-show, so all of my props were now strewn on the floor. Ava’s eyes widened as she surveyed the scattered grapes, overturned bowls, puddles of pomegranate juice and of course me grasping for any bit of oxygen that hadn’t floated away. A little giggle escaped as she clapped.

    “Do it again, Mama. Do gravity again!”

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