Spoken like a true mother

Maria, Mario and I sat down to dinner last night.  Mario had his toys next to him at the table, and within a minute of beginning to eat, he took out a Ben 10 figurine and started playing with it.  I began to tell him that he was going to be sent to his room if he did not stop playing and start eating but Maria interrupted me,

“Mom, I got it.  You just eat your dinner and enjoy. I will take care of this.” 

She proceeded to give Mario a lecture about needing to eat his food in order to get big and go to kindergarten.  She sounded just like me and Jon.  When he continued to play with his toy, I tried to chime in again.

She stopped me by grabbing my forearm.  “Mom, I really got this” she said as she grit her teeth.  She stood up and grabbed the toys from the table and placed them over on the other side of the room.  While she walked to the other side of the room, she told Mario he would only get them if he ate his dinner.  I thought that he would attack her for sure.  But instead he watched her take his toys and did not say a peep.  I can’t say that he chowed his food down after she talked to him, but he didn’t go hysterical either.  It was quite a sight.  I told Maria that she was going to be a good nanny.  She told me that there needs to be consequences. 

Yeah, my 7 year-old daughter is informing me that there must be consequences.  If I was skeptical before, I am no longer.  Maria had to be a mother in a past life.  Maybe even mine?! 

Meanwhile, she was back to her 7 year-old self tonight as we ate dinner.  She called Mario a “poopy-butt” and he called her “stupid.”  When I told them both to behave, she copped a seven-year old attitude and turn her chair from me.  There is my darling girl I know and love. 

After dinner, we scurried around to find shoes and clean up in order to go see the elephants that arrived in town for the circus.  They stop the rail car about a mile down the street and walk up Grandview Avenue.  We head over to see them every year.  This year, Sherri and Jessica and Eli and Isaiah met up with us to see them.  I had touted the event as a great time.  But this year was completely different from past years.  The route changed because the circus is at a different location.  We used to play around at the local park in years’ past because the elephants went right by it.  This year, we waited on the sidewalk in front of a friend’s house. 

Last year, there were more elephants and animals in the parade. I believe there was a clown, too.  It lasted for 20 minutes.  This year there were six elephants and ten horses and the parade lasted two minutes max.  Poor Eli and Isaiah.  Isaiah summed it up the best when he turned to Jessica and cried “That is it, mama?!”  To make up for the lack of entertainment, we let Isaiah and Mario wrestle in the friend’s lawn, which was more entertaining than the elephants.  

We walked back to the house, and said goodbye to Sherri and the crew.  The kids took separate baths, got on their nighties, and watched a show.  I put on my nightie, too, and listened to Maria talk about art class.  As I rinsed my face off with water, Maria said “do you know what, mom?” I said “what, pumpkin?” She said “I love you so much.”  Spoken like a true mother.



The Elephants

Playing at the park

We waited for an hour only to see elephants walk down Goodale Avenue in three minutes flat.  The annual circus came to town on Tuesday night, and as part of the festivities, the elephants get dropped off in our town and walk to the arena.  I think I have gone every year since Maria was two.  As we walked down the hill to Goodale Avenue, a group of eccentric, tattooed teenagers walked up the hill towards us.  Some were smoking, others drinking Mountain Dew.  I had a hunch they may have been with the circus gang, and we were worried that we were late so I asked them if they had seen the elephants.  They chuckled and replied “We have seen too many elephants – we are trying to get away from them!”  My hunch was right, and we weren’t late.   Alleluia.  

When we arrived, there were about 20 other families in the park playing on the swings and slides and glancing up at the street every few minutes to see if there were any elephants in sight.  We played around at the park for what seemed like a year since it was nearing bedtime when we heard a man drive by in a pick-up truck with a circus emblem on it yelling out his window “the elephants are coming.”  All of the parents scurried up the hill to the curb of the street squinting down the road to try to catch a glimpse of the mammoth creatures.  But, alas, no elephants. 

M&M watching the elephants

I looked around at the other parents who looked irritated about the delay.  The kids started to whine and pull at their parents’ shirts and pants.  Others complained about the gnats and the heat (including my little dears).   My mind went back to the man who yelled from his pick-up – he probably had no idea when the elephants were coming – he just liked to play that game to see a bunch of gaggling parents run at his command.  After all, who were we to whine and complain about the delay when he and the rest of his crew spent countless hours on a train and would likely spend countless hours preparing for the circus this weekend.  We, on the other hand, would head back to our quaint houses and snuggle into our warm beds for a good night’s sleep.  

I tried to keep that in mind as I listened to Mario complain about the gnats and itching and Maria complain about being hot.  One of my biggest pet peeves is the act of judging, and I find that I engage in that act when I am irritable, frustrated and tired.  So, I kept my spirits up by thinking about how grateful I was to have the time to spend with M&M, to get to see elephants walking by us, to have the energy to stroll the kids to the park.  And, then, ta-da!  The elephants arrived.  There was even a baby elephant holding onto its mommy’s tail with its trunk.  Precious. 

Maria acting like the 30 year old exec

When we woke the next morning, I took Maria to school.  It was her first day of going into her

Mario getting ready for the bike ride

classroom all by herself.  They are trying to prepare the kids for next year when they are encouraged to go into the classroom without parents.  She did pretty good even though I saw her furtively glance back at me with a sad little face.  Mario and I decided that she would be just fine and left to get the bike to take Mario to school.  It is an old beat up Trek with a child seat in the front.  We hopped on the bike and headed down Third Avenue.  On our way down, Mario pointed out the birds in the grass and the dandelions growing in the field off the road.  Excitement and wonder filled his voice, and I felt like we should be plastered on the front of a Norman Rockwell magazine.  All I needed was a long flowing dress as I rode my bike to top off the picture.  I walked into work feeling energized and again, grateful for something as simple as a 15 minute bike ride with my son.