Friday, May 29, 2009

The official kick-off

The official kick-off of summer has begun in my house. The Jen Slipakoff way. Which is to spend the first few days of summer vacation doing absolutely nothing. And I do mean nothing. Staying in pajamas all day. Eating breakfast late. Eating lunch late. Improvising on dinner. The last two days have been pretty much just that. A whole lot of nothing. Chore list is growing, laundry pile is expanding, food in fridge is diminishing...and still, we're doing nothing. And it is good.

Friday night, Ethan and I shared a special evening. My neighbor (who happens to be Ethan & Eli's beloved teenage sitter) invited us to her dance recital. I took just Ethan and we had a great night. First, Ethan was beyond excited to see Kimberly. He was just adorable sitting literally on the edge of his sit panning the stage for her. Secondly, the production itself was extraordinarily impressive. The studio is called Praise Him With Dance so naturally there was a religious slant to the production. But it was so amazingly well done...very dramatic, very beautiful, very powerful (and all this coming from a Jew!). And of course, if you follow my blog, you know about my affinity for Christian rock. I've driven past this studio hundreds of times and never realized what a special place it was. At the end of the recital, they showed a photo slide show of photos taken over the years. There were several photos of the dancers, most of them children and teens, in full-costume, back stage before a show, hands joined and heads bowed in prayer. Those photos were beautiful. And spoke such a powerful message. During the recital itself, there were several young women who caught my attention. The looks on their faces as they danced to the music, it was as if they were in worship. And I guess, technically, they were. And their content, so joyful..they looked...enraptured. Truly. Even though I don't share their faith, it was moving for me to see.

I never gave much though to the concept of combining an activity you love with your faith, but seeing the recital on Friday was proof positive for me how fulfilling and significant it can be. And I thought about the recital today, as I sat with women from my own faith, from my synagogue, my community, my fellowship. The new officers for our synagogue's sisterhood were installed today, I as one of the co-presidents (along with my dear friend, Johanna, who I have admired greatly for a long while and am thrilled to be working with). I thought about those girls who at a young age seem to already know what it is taking me almost 32 years to learn. And I thought, as were listening to the installation ceremony, that though we may not have spent the morning dancing or in worship, that we were still doing G-d's work, that we were still strengthening our bond with Him. That we were still coming together, as a community, to strengthen our ties to one another, and through this opportunity to strengthen and serve our community and shul, we are serving G-d.

The main difference between this morning's experience and the experience I shared with Ethan on Friday night was that I did not have to worry this morning about Ethan disrupting everyone around him with his poignant commentary. During each break between numbers when the lights went down, the stage went dark and the audience sat in silence, Ethan offered up a comment for all to hear.

Between the first and second number, he proclaimed: "All I can see are exits!!".

During the second and third number he announced: "I'm bored!".

During the third and fourth number he asked if "Miss Kimberly" was ever going to "show up on stage".

And finally, during the fourth and fifth number he shouted, "I AM shushing!!!!".

He did much better after intermission, though after our neighbor gave him a peppermint lifesaver he informed the entire audience that his "cheeks hurt" and he "couldn't keep holding them out during the whole show."

My life is never boring.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Canvas Craziness

Ethan's pre-K graduation was held earlier this week. What a lovely event! The director of his school, who I absolutely adore, had something kind to say about each and every student. What's more is that I know these sweet comments were directly from her heart, and were not anecdotes that she'd simply asked the teachers to feed her so she would sound good. No, Raye Lynn loves each of these children as if they were her own.

(the least blurry photo of our family from graduation)

I'm sad that Ethan will be leaving the school to begin Kindergarten in the fall. Okay. That's a lie. I'm devastated. My soul is only soothed by the fact that Eli will be attending the preschool two mornings a week next year. Which he is so only doing because the thought of not having a reason to drive to that school each week left me feeling empty inside and I couldn't face it. How many parents can say that about their child's preschool? Not many, I bet. We are so fortunate to have found such a beautiful place to have our children learn and grow.

After attending such a sweet ceremony, I was filled with warmth (or as Ethan would say, "my bucket was filled up".) So it was with this full bucket in mind that I placed (yet another bid) on the fantastic canvas that Ethan's class helped to paint. I'd already been outbid earlier that week but my full bucket was prompting me to place another bid. I was a little hesitant writing down the amount of money that I would have to part with if I indeed won but I considered it a worthwhile donation to the school. I mean, it wasn't exactly a down payment on a new house, but not exactly couch change either.

A few hours later, I heard the good news that I'd won. (Or in Ethan's words, "winned"). When I picked Ethan up from school, I victoriously loaded the prized canvas into the car. Still high on the adrenaline of winning, and so pleased that I would have something tangible to commemorate Ethan and the departure of his beloved school, I excitedly asked him to point out which heart on the canvas was "his". (Each child was given a heart to paint which was then affixed to the canvas).

He looked at me like I was crazy and said, "Oh, that? Yeah. I didn't feel like doing that so I just left mine plain and white."

I searched the canvas for the unloved, unpainted, plain, white heart. I'm sure you already know that I didn't find it. My euphoria came crashing down around me. "What!?", I said. "Everyone in your whole class painted a heart except for you!? And now it's ours!?".

Ethan said, "Yeah. I didn't want to." Sensing that I might have been a little disappointed, he kindly and helpfully offered, "But don't worry, Mommy!! Next time, I promise I'll do it! Okay!?", and then cheerfully turned his attention back to his Star Wars guys.

For a good three minutes I considered calling the person who had bid before me to offer her the canvas at the price she'd bid. But then, I decided that in addition to really loving the canvas that I really loved the story behind it. When I'm old and gray and have that hanging in my house and my grandchildren ask me about it, I can tell them about their silly daddy and tell them the silly story about how that canvas came to be ours. And I will always fondly remember his pre-K graduation day.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Lops of Laughs

What can I say about the past couple of weeks except that my life is a comedy tour? The following stories are actual events in my actual life that have actually taken place. I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried.

Ethan's class is apparently singing a song for graduation. This song will not be a surprise to me on graduation day because he has been singing it non-stop. Or will it???? You see, I think that perhaps, it MAY be surprising to hear the actual lyrics rather than the lyrics that Ethan has interpreted. Something about charring his future, waiting his turn....I think something in Hebrew (I hope, otherwise the refrain is made up of totally unrecognizable words of the English language....) It is going to be a cliffhanger for sure.

It began on the way home a few weeks ago, when Ethan asked me what a lop (pronounced l-a-w-p) was. I told him that I didn't think lop was a word. He insisted it was. A few days after that mysterious conversation took place, I heard him singing his song about "creating a lop that lasts". Aha! Our conversation suddenly made sense and I asked him if the word he meant to say might be "love", as in "creating a love that lasts". His reply: "No, Mommy. That doesn't even make any sense. A love that lasts! Ha! That's ridiculous! It's lop."

Fast forward to another week. I picked him up from school and I could tell he was very anxious to tell me something. As he was dancing and jumping around with excitement, we had the following conversation:

Ethan: "Mommy! You were right I think!"

Me: "About what?"

Ethan: "About lop! I think you were right that it wasn't lop in the song!"

Me: "Oh yeah?"

Ethan: "Yes! It isn't lop. It's bomb."


In preparation for Ethan's birthday celebration at school, I called the kosher bakery to order some cupcakes. I told the person that answered the phone that I wanted to order two dozen kosher cupcakes. Chocolate with green frosting. She asked me for the all the typical information that an order like that would require and when she asked for my last name, I hesitated for a minute, wondering if I should put the order under Slipakoff, or the pseudonym I like to use that is MUCH easier to spell which is Adams. At the last minute, I decided to go with Adams.

When she said, "And how do you spell that?", I knew I made the right choice. Slipakoff would've done this poor lady in.

After I carefully spelled out A. D. A. M. S., she moved on and asked for my phone number. Which I cheerfully provided. To which she replied:

Wow! That's a lot of numbers.


Ethan stunned me the other day by asking me, "Mommy? What's that secret place where the babies go?" Eh!?

I stammered for a second and quickly thought how to handle this question, Should I go for the full on "talk" or just try and breeze through by playing dumb?

My answer went something like this:

"Um. Uh." Gulp. Then a squeaky, ".....the uterus.....?"

Yes!", he said, "The uterus! That's what I meant!"


And then today at Ethan's school, I overheard the following conversation:

Sweet little five-year-old girl #1: Ouch! Wah! I just got punched in the nuts.

Sweet little five-year-old girl #2: What are nuts?

Girl #1: You know. These. (points to nether regions)

Girl #2: Where?

Girl #1: You know. Your Baaaalls.

Girl # 2: What are balls?

Girl #1: These things. Here. (points again) The two things.

Girl #2: OH! The two squishy things you mean?

Girl #1: Yeah. The squishies. Balls. The nuts.

So, if anyone is trying to reach me, I'll be in the bathroom mirror plucking gray hairs.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Some days are better than others

They surely are. Today, not better than most, but I suppose better than some. Started off with Ethan throwing a HUGE tantrum. Which he always seems to do on days when I need the morning to go smoothly. I was on schedule, down to the half second, when disaster struck, throwing me a full 23 minutes off schedule and I think that Adam might've even promised Ethan that he would spend the night in his room with him (you know, since the first time he did that it was so successful...more on that later, but let me assure that if my sarcasm didn't shine through, it was NOT successful). I was meeting a woman from my MOMS Club at the bank this morning since I am relinquishing my president role at that end of the month and she is taking over as treasurer. I did my due diligence to ensure that I scheduled the correct parties to be at the bank, and wouldn't you know it, but the facts I was given were not indeed factual. Chaos ensued at the two (unhappy and very cranky and wiggly, I might add) children, combined with her little one did not make for a pleasant visit for anyone, but I do think that the waterfall of meltdowns (not to mention the stench of Eli's nasty diaper that needed to be changed) helped to persuade the bank manager to be flexible with their policy. Especially when we told her that if we had to return to the branch, we would have to bring MORE children. She looked truly terrified.

After almost 90 minutes (yes, NINETY) at the bank, we still didn't have quite what we needed but it was easily solved and the least of my worries. It did require running to a friend's house and then running back to the bank (this time, since I had to run in and out, I did the unthinkable and locked the kids in the car and ran in quickly, ensuring I stood near the window where I could see the car perfectly). Luckily, the spot by the door was open and I was able to park there, otherwise I would've had to torture myself (not to mention those around me) with wrangling the kids into the bank again. And seeing as how it went smoothly earlier in the day, they would've been excited to do that a second time. And to be honest, I think sitting in the police station persuading a police officer to give me my children back would've been preferable to dragging both of them, in the rain, back to that G-d forsaken bank. Not to mention, it would also be free babysitting.

Did I mention it was cold and rainy (which I didn't expect this morning..the seconds that it would've taken me to check the weather were not accounted for in my early morning schedule) so both boys were dressed in shorts and tee shirts shivering in the car on the way to the bank and I felt so badly that I stopped to buy them both sweatshirts? Oh? I didn't mention that? At least I gave Eli a fresh waffle for breakfast. Last week, Eli's breakfast consisted of some old, hard pieces of waffle that he discovered in the crevice of his car seat. I looked back in the rearview mirror and saw him happily munching and crunching away and it took me a few minutes to realize that I never handed him his usual morning waffle...but I was so glad that he was eating something for breakfast, I didn't stress too much over the details of how he got his hands on said breakfast. I did, however, take my car to the car wash to use the free vacuums (which sucked up a bib that was on the floor and then stopped working) the following weekend.

So I mentioned the cold and rainy weather. Did I mention that we are going to a birthday party in it this afternoon? An outside birthday party? Where I will be sitting in an hours' worth of traffic on the way home? Good thing I love my friends and their kids! I'm predicting that dinner will be picked up at the drive thru and eaten in the car on the way home. While watching a dvd. Yes, I'm pretty sure that's how it is going to go.

Now, I am taking my life in my hands to wake up Eli Peli to get ready to go to the party (that is after I find old shoes for Ethan that can muddy and some old rain boots that Eli can wear). Wish me luck. I need it. I also need a few Advil. And a few margaritas.

One of these days I will write a post that highlights the positive aspects of my parenting abilities. Today is not the day for such a post.