I never cease to be amazed by how quickly babies learn what is important.  Evey has, at a mere eight months old, discovered the critical fact that spoons=goodness.  Though she has only been fed baby cereal (yuck, in my opinion) and a few mashed fruits, she knows that when someone is eating with a spoon, she wants it.  I don't know if it is from looks on the faces of those eating ice cream, pudding, or even jello, or from some other body language that we no longer pay attention to as we get used to seeing it, but babies know that whatever we are eating, as long as it is on a spoon, is worth stretching, reaching, wriggling, almost jumping out of the safety of protecting arms to get.  She sees someone eating with a spoon and she gets so excited - bouncing up and down, kicking her feet, and reaching with every inch of her body to try to get it.  Once or twice I have given in, letting her lick a tiny bit of chocolate from a sundae off my spoon - which was a terrible idea because it simply re-affirmed her already established ideas of spoon specialness.  Forks - not so intriguing.  They just hold stuff like a salad or casserole - but spoons, that's where the good stuff is!!  I can't help but agree.

Today it rained, and rained, and rained.  Since I live in the desert, that is a huge deal.  Perhaps a rainy day may be synonymous with sadness sometimes, but in the middle of the summer, in the desert, it is a miracle.  My kids and I sat out on the porch and watched it.  We just sat and watched the water fall from the sky and the gutters overflow.  Well, it's not too long before the kids just can't take it any more.  First an arm, then a leg, then the whole body dancing in the rain.  My first impulse was to stop them - if they get drenched I'll have to change clothes and do laundry....but I checked my self-preservation instinct and sat back to enjoy the show.  They then moved on to the overflowing gutter running swift with rainwater.  Big alarms here, right?  Children should not play in dirty gutters on the side of the street!  Again, I checked myself, watched vigilantly for cars in the distance, and let the dams get built, the leaves race, and the glorious splash dances ensue.  Childhood perfection.

Last night, while trying to get the kids to bed, the baby started making goofy squealing noises that set the kids off giggling.  Once it started, it got completely out of control.  Trying to stop it was like trying to roll back the tide.  I would just get everyone quieted down, then one would do that holding-back-the-giggle-snort, or the baby would squeal, and everyone would explode all over again.  As a good parent, I must get them to bed.  I must control!  Except it got to me too.  Suddenly I was giggling just as hard, which made my husband finally lose it too, and there we were, a whole shaking, jiggling, rolling-on-the-ground mass of giddy.

Lesson learned from these two seemingly unrelated instances?  Let it be, sometimes.  I try so hard to do all the right parenting things, taking my kids to the zoo, to the children's museum, to Disneyland.... so that they will be well-rounded and have a full childhood.  But sometimes it is too organized, too planned, too artificial.  Sometimes the fullest moments of childhood are organic and spontaneous - despite the mess, chaos, and extra work involved.  The payoff is miraculous, because  those times that I override my adult brain turn into magical moments - the ones that crystalize and become precious gems that I wouldn't trade for anything on this earth!!
As I am just a beginner at this whole blogging thing, I have the distinct impression of myself easing into a very cold swimming pool - first the toes, then to the ankles, then slowly on in.  Many times though, I feel that the pool floor suddenly takes a drastic plunge and I'm in over my head.  It's not the technology I struggle with, a lot of it comes from being unsure as to what I expect from blogging.  Am I recording for myself or hoping to attract an audience?  Jury is still out on that one, and I just try to tread water.  And why, when I read other blogs, do I feel, not inspired but hopeless - like, "well, they are so good at this, why waste my time?"  Stupid, when I have taught hundreds of students that everyone's voice offers something unique and valuable to the world.  

In gasping for air, I have been reading online advice for new bloggers.  Mostly it just pushes me further into the deep end and turns me off to blogging all together.  For example, Mom blogs are huge, and the more pictures and details the better - but if you value your privacy at all, and to protect your children and family from online predators, don't post pictures, give details, or worst-of-all-sins - use their real names.  The suggestion: use nicknames for your kids.  Great!  Fantastic!  I already have trouble attaching the proper moniker to the proper child!  Though I swore I'd never do it,  I go through the classic parent stereotype roll call - "Seth..Isaa..Lil..I mean Chloe!" My husband assures me that it could be worse - we could have pets.  He grew up thinking that his nickname was "Fluffy," because his Mom called him that more than the dog who actually owned that name.  So add to the already chaotic name game an online handle for each child and you might as well commit me now - I'd be loony bins in no time!

So maybe I totally suck, and have no clue how to be a hip blog, but hey, I'm still writing - that's something, eh?
I am the lucky member of a small percentage of women who have hyperemesis - meaning that when I am pregnant, I am unbearably crazy sick - usually needing IV fluids just to stay conscious.  It is torture, physical and psychological, for all nine months.  Silver lining?  I lose weight!  With my last pregnancy I lost 20lbs total.   Forced bulimia!  Down side?  I gain it back, despite all of my efforts to keep it off.   It is absolutely unfair.  I mean, the price I pay during all those months should at least buy me the right to a little chocolate now and then! 

And that's where I'm at now eight months after having a baby- watching the scale drift upward in frustrated hopelessness.  Reading articles about how all I need to do is move around for at least 20 min a day to maintain, more to lose.  Move around?  I have five kids!  Unless I'm asleep, I don't stop moving around.  How is that perpetual motion disqualified as weight-fighting movement?  So I try to move more.  With no time to exercise in the traditional way, I have created my own aerobic workout that I should definitely patent.  Here's the gist - while doing dishes, do squats; while folding laundry, jog and do lunges; while dusting, do the chain-step; lift kids for resistance training.  Whatever housework or child-care task needs doing, it can double as a workout!  I could call it Despercise - exercise for the desperate.  Or Momaerobics. Can you just see the informercial for the workout video?  "Get it all done and tighten that butt in just six weeks!"  Seriously, I could make it on Oprah with this one! 

Unfortunately, the scale disagrees that it is a proper workout. Dang! 

My kids were discussing vacation with me and asked if the motel we were staying at would have a cat pool.  "I am going to swim in the cat pool as soon as we get there!" They exclaimed.  What, you might ask, is a cat pool?  So did I.  Anyone who has ever questioned children knows the insanity of trying to arrive at any kind of logic, but finally I discovered that their "cat pool" was derived from "kitty pool,"  which is a hop-skip-and-a-jump from the true origin -"kiddie pool."  These several years of my children playing in water and just now I'm finding out that in their minds swimming is somehow related to cats!  And, as I always do, I can't help but wonder if there is a lesson to be learned here on communication and listening practices.  How many times do we misunderstand each other, like that classic game of telephone, without even realizing it?  I know my husband and I do it to each other all the time, and only find out after some mutual frustration that we are actually saying and wanting the same things, only stated and understood differently.  So I'm vowing now that every time I feel judgmental or wonder at someone else's motivations, I'm going to think of cats in a swimming pool, and hope that it recalls to me that we never know what is going on in other people's minds.  
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