Monday, June 25, 2012

Kids Don't Like To Clean

Ever since it was confirmed that my kids' brother would be coming to visit in July, I've been trying to get the house in order.  Some of my effort has gone towards deep cleaning, some has gone towards putting cute little pictures in the bathroom that no 12 year old would ever care about, and some has gone towards trying to more effectively maintain the house, so it won't be a big deal to get things clean when it's time for the visit.  This week, a lot of my effort went towards trying to make sense out of Antwan and Lizzie's room. 

When we moved into our 3 bedroom house, each boy went into a room and all was as it should be and was expected to be.  Then, came Lizzie.   And, nothing was as it was expected to be, but, in the end, of course, it was definitely how it should be.  We quickly crammed all of Antwan's stuff into William's room and the boys entered the wonderful world of room sharing.

Then came the night that I set up my FLIP camera to spy on my darling, room-sharing, sons.  We knew something was up, but didn't know what.  When we watched the footage of the lights going on and off, the dance parties, and William sending Antwan off to the pantry to get them snacks; we knew it was time for a change.  So, the very next morning, I crammed all of Antwan's stuff into Lizzie's room.

And, ever since then, it's been an unorganized mess.  Trying to combine the Little Mermaid and Lightening Mcqueen is tricky.  Although, the current mutual respect for Batman has simplified things.  So, I spend a lot of time coming up with new organization (I use the word "organization" loosely) systems that never work.

But, knowing that a caseworker will be looking around motivated me.  I knew it was time to figure the room out. 

Lizzie and Antwan didn't share my inspiration...

So, I explained to him that we had to get it clean.  I used my latest, favorite expression. "If you want your brother to come visit, your room has to be clean."   It worked!  They cleaned. Sort of. :)

Lizzie's definition of cleaning is, apparently, throwing the toys elsewhere...
And, Antwan's definition of cleaning is putting them all into a pile....

He is proud. :)

So, I did what I do best.  I put some cool Batman stuff on the wall and promised myself that I'd work on it tomorrow. :)

(I didn't work on it tomorrow...)

Monday, June 4, 2012

The Little Things Are Big Things

I try to remember to appreciate the moments and to take advantage of the opportunities to make memories when I see them.  Despite being extremely grateful for my children (and I am!),  it's easy to lose track in the constant chaos of every day life.  There are days when I collapse into my recliner (assuming that Brian hasn't gotten to it first) and realize that the day was a blur.  I remind myself, again, to make sure to have the moments with the kids because this doesn't last forever.  They are growing before my eyes and, despite my best efforts, I can't seem to make it stop. 

The other day, Antwan also gave me a reminder. 

We were at Karate class.  It was Saturday morning and there were a dozen other things that I'd rather be.  Most of them involved my recliner.  But, the kids love it and it's important.  During the week, they have separate classes, but on Saturday, it's a family class and they are all in the same class.  So, this is also my "me time."  The first few times, I watched them with rapt attention.  But, soon, I started to take advantage of the opportunity to play with my cell phone while they learned their punches and kicks. 

At the end of the class, some of the kids were earning their stripes, including mine.  After participating in a certain number of classes, you earn a stripe.  A stripe (black tape wrapped around the belt) earns you the next belt once you have enough.  The kids have already earned enough for their orange belts, but have to wait for the next graduation ceremony to officially get the orange belt.  So, this stripe didn't count towards the orange belt, but towards the one after that. 

So, it was cool, but not surprising.  And, as they were getting their stripes, I got a text message.  Like any good person who is addicted to her cell phone, I started to send a response. 

Then Antwan yelled across the room, "Mommy!"  I looked up and he's holding his belt, proudly, and with his eyes saying "Look!"

Now, I can justify that the message was from my parents and they wanted to know what time we would be meeting them for lunch.  Or rationalize that they had already earned their next belt, so it wasn't that big of a deal.  But, I won't.  The fact is, it was a "smack-me-in-the-face" reminder that I need to be there.  Really be there.  And, I want to be. 

I can't pretend that I'm never going to text when I'm with them.  (Cause that would just be crazy.)   It's also likely that I might write a quick blog while they play because I don't want to forget what I want to say.  It's definitely possible that as I typed this, they came and interrupted, so now I have to wrap it up. 

But, sitting at Karate America, that Saturday, I set my phone down, watched with rapt attention, and reminded myself that the little things are big things. 

And, I want to be there for their little things, their big things, and everything in between.

All striped up!