Posts tagged ‘being a mom’

August 27, 2015

Arden’s Mom

Owl bag puppet copyYesterday began the 1st day of the new school year.

I was nervous.

And excited.

And it wasn’t even me starting school.

Last year, shortly after Arden started first grade. Picking her up after school one day, she told me that her Art teacher was going to a different school and that she was sad. Upon clarification from her teacher, the students weren’t required to have art all the semesters. The Art teacher would be back at their school mid-January. So in the meantime, the kids would have nothing. Arden looked at me so sad.  Honestly, the thought of school without it devastated me. I realize that sounds dramatic, but as a kid, that was my life. I LIVED for Art class. Each of my teachers were amazing and I loved them. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without their guidance and encouragement. At that moment, I knew I was going to have to do something.

I approached Arden’s teacher with the idea, which she was all for. Lo and behold, I would also be able to bring Cam. I’d like to mention that her teacher had the patience of a saint. With 3 kids of her own and being in her thirteenth year of teaching, she was so laidback, but firm, we couldn’t have gotten any luckier. I walked into the classroom the first day and Arden’s eyes just shown. She could barely contain her excitement. I, on the other hand, was hugely apprehensive. I’m used to just making things with one kid, not 20. I nervously waited for the students to finish their assignment before I launched into what we were going to do. The room was just buzzing!  So many wound up little people, wondering what was happening next. At some point, introductions were made, but the kids paid no mind and simply referred to me as “Arden’s Mom.” A title I’d never thought I’d be so proud of, but has come to completely thrill me to the being of my soul. Mama with feather art head dress copyNative american head dress with feathers and paint tree art copy art turkeys copy

And so, for the next 3 months I came in once a week to do projects with the kids in Arden’s class. I had tons of scrap cardstock that I was finally going to put to good use. Most of the other materials I had on hand and the kids already had glue, scissors and markers. While Arden was a whiz at cutting since she was 3, a lot of them still needed practice. I’d make up templates and have some things made ahead of time, while still leaving them to work on the skills they needed.

Some kids were more than happy to follow my basic instruction, but most often than not, their minds and creativity took over. Everytime, they’d swarm around me like baby ducks, asking for assistance or proudly showing off their work. One boy’s paper bag owl puppet, became a Minecraft-type owl complete with a sword for an arm. One kid, instead of making the porcupine out of toothpicks, asked to make Sonic the Hedgehog out of toothpicks. One girl, no matter what the project, always managed to turn it into something with a dragon. I wasn’t an Art teacher and we weren’t technically in Art class, so why not? We had that freedom.

Then there was Cam. In his carseat, he’d either nap or rock himself. He never cried. Maybe because, at all times, at least 1/3 of the class would be out of their seats to play with the baby. Doing silly stuff to get him to smile or try to feed him a bottle. As time went on and he grew, they delighted in seeing the new things he was able to do. The teacher would remind them to get back in their seats and finish. They would, only to be replaced by new kids eager to make the baby laugh.

My time there went swiftly. Once the actual Art teacher was back, I cried. When I would drop off Arden to her classroom in the morning, I’d still have kids asking when I would be back to teach them Art. I was able to come in a few more times after that, for holiday parties or for science experiments, just so we could have an excuse to make things together and play with a baby.

I think of all this as I drop off Arden yesterday and feel a bit sad. I hope I will have some opportunity to come in and work with this new class. To get to know the kids and see some of the returning ones from last year. Just then, I see Arden’s teacher from last year and ask for a hug, which of course, makes everything better. porcupine from art class mrs uncaphers copy

May 12, 2015

~*what I know now*~

For years, Mother’s Day has always been a reminder of the one I lost. It was difficult and has always made me angry and resentful. I’d see friends photos, smiling with their mothers or hear them say about how they practically talk to their mom every other day and wonder what that was like. Intrigued, to have someone that cared to hear about my life and accomplishments. To lend a hand or give me advice. Who was totally on my side and there to guide me as I tried to figure out life and how to navigate it. Who, if I made a mistake would say it was okay and that I could just start over or try again. I don’t know what that’s like, nor will I ever. I have always felt exposed. Out on a pinnacle. Alone.

When I was in my early 20’s, I read a book titled ‘Motherless Daughters’. The only thing I can recall from that book, was that once I had my own child, my own daughter, that I would start to heal. I wanted a daughter so badly, not for that reason, because I didn’t actually believe it. Although when I see her play, at times I see myself. My little girl self. What I would be like just having fun, enjoying life and not worrying about my mom being sick and who would take care of me next, if anyone. It’s bittersweet. I am glad I can give that to my children, but deep down still crave it for myself. In my mind, there is a part of me that feels like my mom gave up. Like I wasn’t worth living for, even though my adult self rationally knows how badly ill she was and how it consumed her.

Arden feeding ducks Mothers Day 2015 copy

I can tell you, that having children has done wonders for me. It has brought me back to myself and continues to do so. It’s a daily struggle though. Part of me always thinking I would be the mom that plays and always has fun. In reality, my practical side is making sure Arden has worked on her homework, gotten in the shower readying for bed or dressed for school. It’s me telling her to stop playing with her brother and finish her dinner. I’m always hurrying, trying to be on task and it rather sucks. The other day, she was singing and my thought was “Oh my gosh! Just be quiet, life is not a flippen’ musical!” At that mere thought, my hand flew over my mouth, because I have ALWAYS been of the opinion that life should have a soundtrack, just like in movies. It genuinely disappoints me that doesn’t really happen, so I try to help it along and play music all the time instead. That thought though, left me panicked, horrified and so relieved I hadn’t said it outloud.

Cam on first swing FP mothers day 2015 copy

Yesterday, we started out having the best day. Joel has always gone out of his way to make Mother’s Day special for me. There was brunch, gifts, a nap, the park. And then we pushed it. We went out to dinner and it was a disaster. Cam sat in his car seat fervently grabbing and kicking a laminated drink menu beside Joel. He would screech if you tried to take it away or offer him a bottle. Arden, despite advisement not to, managed to eat 4 rolls, which she threw up all over herself as we were getting ready to pull out on the street heading home. As I water boarded my daughter in the parking lot in front of onlookers (because her hair was full of vomit), I couldn’t help but feel that this was not how my special day was supposed to end. Annoyed and frustrated with smelly, crying children.

Today is a new day and I tell Arden that we all start over. I try to explain that I know that 4 rolls is too many and try to prevent her from getting sick by telling her so. That moms know lots about cause and effect. She is intrigued. I hope she will listen next time, but she probably won’t. And in that moment, I realized that even if my mom had been around to give me advice, I probably wouldn’t have listened anyway.

Erin Arden Cam FP mothers day 2015 copy

October 1, 2013

A little bit of Arden

Arden has been home sick the last 4 days and as much as she dislikes her sneezing and coughing, I think she is secretly pleased to have a reprieve from her demanding school schedule and be catered to instead. I love that she still has a ‘little voice’, as in it has a sweetness, a baby-ness to it. There are many times however that her personality is much larger than her small self and parenting her becomes a challenge. Take for example several weeks ago, when I picked her up from school. She has a habit of just spouting out randomness. It’s my job to hurriedly categorize in my brain from whence the scenario has occurred that she is referencing. This is one such instance.

Arden: Mama, I’m sorry the bird shit on your mat.

Me: What? (Did she really just say shit?)

Arden: I’m sorry I spilled the water on the rug in the car when I stood on the jug
and then you had to pull the mat out of the car to dry and the bird shit on it.

Me: Ummm. Okay, thanks? (What do I even say to that?) I’m laughing so hard I’m shaking.

Me: Hey Arden, you know you shouldn’t say that word.

Arden: What word? Shit? I’m not supposed to say ‘shit’, Mama?

Me: No, because it’s an adult word. (How can I even make this sound like a reprimand when I can’t even keep it together with a straight face.)

Now I know why my dad had so much difficulty when I blurted out things as a kid. One time when I was 6, it was shortly after he met and married my step-mom and I was getting in trouble for dawdling with breakfast. I was called into the living room to be questioned why I took so long to eat. I said I didn’t like the pancakes. I explained that they were too starchy and stuck in my mouth. My dad lost it and laughed out loud, while his new wife grew super angry. (Believe me, I didn’t make friends that day.) But seriously, along with her roast, those damn things sucked the moisture out of your soul every time.

Arden takes a minute to take it in, then launches into a new topic. I hope that she grows out of it, but I know better. This little girl with the sparkle in her eye and sassy smile/smirk has definitely gotten my genes.

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