Riding it out

This weekend felt long.  

We had Maria’s friend Janira over on Friday night for a play date.  Mario got himself all worked up wanting to be near Janira even going so far as to ask for her autograph on his arm.  If she didn’t have any self-esteem prior to coming to our house, she sure has it now.  Maria gets annoyed and begs Jon and I to keep him away from her.  It works for a bit but then he sneaks upstairs to see them.  Every once in a while, if he acts like a pet dog or a new-born baby, the girls will allow him to play with them.  If he refuses to engage in the act, he is not wanted.

Saturday brought a hectic morning getting Maria ready to go over to Janira’s house for a play date and a movie and getting Mario packed up to spend a few nights with Grandma Ionno.  I hit the road at noon to head to Hamilton, Ohio for my cousin’s baby shower.  I was praying for sheet cake – I will take on a two-hour drive in the pouring rain with no issue if I know there is sheet cake waiting for me.  Alas, no sheet cake but there were cute, yummy cupcakes.  And there was good conversation with Meg’s sisters and nieces.  There is always a lot to talk about with them since I don’t get to see them much during the year.  They are down-to-earth and make me laugh.  We have two weddings this Spring for two of the cousins so Maria is in seventh heaven – she loves seeing the gowns and the ceremony and rockin’ it out at the reception. 

I got back to the house with only my hubby sitting in it.  Strange, yet peaceful.  No kids screaming.  No pulling at my shirt. No begging to play a game.  I actually got quite a few hours to just veg yesterday.  I thought a little about work and a little about tasks in the coming week but I spent a lot of time just listening to music and the scenery.  Just being.  Nice. In the evening, Maria traveled to the horse show with Grandma Meg and Peepaw.  She didn’t get home until 11 pm – Jon and I only stayed awake by watching Indiana Jones.  When she got home, she had an attack of the giggles.  She ignored our demand to sleep in her own bed (we allowed her in our bed because her neck hurt and we both were freaking out she had some strange disease).  She laughed at everything Jon said or did.  He sneezed, she laughed.  He said “goodnight”, she laughed.  Finally, Jon stopped talking and we all fell asleep. 

We woke up on Sunday morning at 7 am (can our kids ever sleep past 7 especially when they go to bed so late?!).  Jon headed to Marietta for a few hours.  Ri and I spent the first hour or so of the morning cleaning up her room.  We (actually just me!) gathered a lot of clothes for Baby Grace and a lot of toys for Goodwill.  After a bit, we both realized we were hungry and jumped in the stroller to head to Bob Evans.  It was packed – we got there just a bit late and all of the drunk college kids were strolling in with their hangovers.  We turned around and went to McDonald’s for sausage burritos and hash browns.  Not quite the same but it filled our bellies. 

On the stroller ride home, Maria seemed a little sad.  I asked her what was wrong, and she kept telling me nothing.  Finally, she admitted that she just wanted a play date with someone.  I told her we’d need to clean up a bit before someone came over, and she went into whine mode crying “Mom, what do we need to do?”  It got under my skin.  I thought what do I need to do to make her more appreciative of what she has and what more do I need to do to make her more willing to do chores.  How could I raise a daughter that thought she could just play all the time and not do any work?  How did I raise a daughter that was so moody at times?   

We stopped at the park before we headed home.  As I pushed Maria on the swing for the tenth time, it hit me.  I promote this behavior – I just stopped at the park after I told her we needed to go home and clean!  I help them clean their rooms after I tell them to clean their rooms themselves!  I go everywhere with them and take care of their every concern!  Ugh, no wonder she is acting this way.  What a dumba–!!! 

I sat her down after the swings and talked with her about my irritation.  I explained to her my epiphany and how I wanted her to be independent and respectful and driven, and how I had fostered a dependence on me by doing a lot for her instead of having her do it.  I explained that I did that out of love for her but that sometimes you need to push someone out on their own in order to show your love.  I told her that I was going to do that more and I needed her to work with me.  I looked down at her and she looked up at me.  Her reply: “Ok.”  I am quite sure she was thinking “what a whack job” but she has too big of a heart to say that to me. 

We went home and cleaned up some.  I also realized how ADD I am when it comes to housework.  I clean one thing and start on another but then I get side-tracked on something else.  Maria only follows in my footsteps. So, we have another day, another week, another year, to work on it all.  We threw down the dirty laundry and biked to pick up Janira and to Orange Leaf for a big ol’ yogurt with cookies and M&M’s sprinkled on top.  Much more fun than housework.  Then we went home, and the girls created a spa for me.  They filled bowls of water with flower petals and “mint” (green leaves from the plants outside) and scented lotions.  They got kitchen scrubbers and gels and a brush.  

I must admit that they did a half-way decent job.  Janira gave a mad foot rub and Maria rubbed my head with hair gel (I looked like a peacock afterwards but who cares when you get your hair pulled!).  They were just getting started when big ol’ bumblebees came swarming towards us surely smelling the scented lotions.  We made a mad dash inside and closed up the spa.  Barbies came next, and when I asked Maria to clean up before we took Janira home, she promptly abided.  My girl.

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