musings in mayhem

writer, mom, tutor, superwoman

Archive for the category “growing fast”


Preschool is serious business.

Not really, in fact it’s built on play. But they sure take the end of the year to extremes.

It’s the last week of Toots’s preschool. She went two days a week all year. Tuesday was a party in her class. Thursday there was a performance and awards ceremony. Here’s a peek. The whole thing was utterly cute. So cute it could kill an ordinary man.

That’s Toots in purple in the front row, with her class of Busy Bees. Behind them are the Froggies, 2 classes of the next age group up. 

We mother and educator types were slayed, weeped and wailed – not really, but we were a very teary lot. The Director for fourteen years also retired. It was said that her first students were entering college, entering the military and entering the workforce. She was incapable of reading her own speech. Toots’s teacher presented the Director with a bouquet, etc, having worked with her for five years, and had her kids under her care for four years before that. She could barely get through her presentation, utterly weepy.

And then today was the Picnic Festival. Toots started off shyly, which is odd, because shy is the last word to describe her. But once she settled in, she had fun, fished for candy and toys, got tattoos, blew bubbles with her friends. But no matter how many times she built the courage up to go into the blown up caterpillar, she could not do it once the air blasted her in the face from within.

I don’t have the slightest clue what has happened to this school year. A couple of weeks remain to the public school system for Mr. Cynic and Captain Comic. Mr. Cynic has his fourth girlfriend since September and will be a Junior next year. A Junior. I still can’t get him to drive though he has his permit. He doesn’t have a job. He is my baby, but he is taller than me (finally) and his voice is three octaves below mine.

Mr. Cynic smiling after his jazz choir concert. 

Captain Comic struggled his way into sixth grade and middle school, until the new school finally figured out how to comply with his IEP. Now, he is – for an aspergian – a social butterfly, eating lunch in the cafeteria with friends rather than his case manager’s empty classroom. He has joined the homework club, and stays after school to complete his assignments, again with friends, rather than having knock down drag out screaming matches at home with me over them. He finally is getting the hang of riding a bike.

This was taken on the sly of him at the doctor’s office 
when we went in for an acne issue a couple of weeks ago. 
He’s reading a pamphlet on childhood diseases, and thoroughly enjoying it. 

I don’t know about this growing business and how it affects the kids at the moment. But right now, this mother can barely take it any longer. How do I make it stop? 
 Just for a moment, though, because it sure would nice to one day not have quite so much laundry to do.



I’m having a weird week. I wake up every morning feeling very weepy. I want to put it down to exhaustion and possible perimenopausal stuff.  It’s odd, like a biological impulse to cry. I don’t feel sad or anything, just as if I will burst into tears over the slightest thing.

Then there was Toots’s Preschool Art Show this morning and “Muffins with Mom” event, where I received a bunch of little hand and footprints accompanied by sweet little rhymes.  I swear they’re trying to kill me with the cute. I couldn’t even read the I leave my Handprints everywhere out loud for Toots when I unwrapped it, without catching a lump in my throat and my eyes becoming inexplicable fountains.

Tonight is Mr. Cynic’s high school jazz choir – the one that was Grand Champion in the Myrtle Beach regional competition – Spring Concert.


I will need a large box of tissues.  I couldn’t even make it through my niece’s dance recitals over the years. I suppose I can just bring Captain Comic and Toots and go into parental management mode. Nah, it’ll never work. Not this week. I think I will just let the tears roll.

Happy Mother’s Day to the other weepers out there.


My first born turns sixteen today.

Fall 1996, Gaga & Papa’s house in Ct.

Tears start now.

Not because I’m sad, not because so much of my life has passed in that time, not because I mourn the passing of his childhood.

But because I am very proud of the child becoming a man before my eyes, as only a mother can know. Love keeps cracking me open to my own vulnerabilities and strengths that I discovered through growing him inside sixteen years ago and watching him grow, as best as I can without interfering with his fully realizing himself.

16 on 16:

1. He’s a very old soul, and a very old soul is he.
2. He sneezes a lot.
3. He plays a mean electric bass.
4. He’s teaching himself guitar.
5. He smirks, always.
6. He sings, really really well, competitively well.
7. He writes songs.
8. He writes books, has since he was in kindergarten.
9. He’s fragile, in good ways.
10. He’s strong, of spirit, not so much in body.
11. He is very very protective of those he loves.
12. He oozes into furniture, merges, becomes one.
13. He’s kind of a space cadet.
14. He has a very dry wit. (Hence calling him Mr. Cynic here)
15. He has good hair.
16. The girls think he’s cute, kind of like a pocket rock star.

I love him very much, and I like him, too. He’s pretty darn cool. And speaking as his mother, I’m kind of glad he’s still a pipsqueak.

Valentine’s Day 2011, He let me do this.

I love you, K-Bear, Happy Birthday. 

ages & stages

The kids
Mr. Cynic is currently approaching his 16th birthday and is away on a trip with his high school competitive choir. I let him pack himself, and only asked a few did you remember type questions. There was a slight problem with a cufflink and studs order not arriving in time and Honey and I scrambling to get a second set the night before the bus pulled out of the parking lot at 6:30am yesterday. Of course a few hours after he was on the road, the online ordered set arrived, so now we own two. Men’s formal wear is now covered well in our house, who would ever have imagined that?

Captain Comic is approximately twelve and a half (August he’ll be thirteen, lord help me).  He takes a SPED bus to his middle school, and the policy in place until yesterday was that he got off the bus before the rest of the students disembarked from their busses because of his sensory integration issues with crowds. I received an email yesterday that he has been wandering the halls in the mornings and scaring teachers by jumping out from behind corners and doors. In effect, revisiting the topic of either keeping him on the bus until he is released with the rest of the students, or assigning a paraprofessional aide to him during that time period of the morning. I have been talking about his need for a para because of his wandering since Day One at this school last September. I have to say my first reaction was to giggle when I got the email, because I can just picture him and his delighted shifty grin as he jumps out and exclaims, “Waa!” at a select teacher.  He does it often at home.

Toots turned three two weeks ago today, had a princess party and promptly became a rather bratty one after that, with potty training regression included.  This morning’s tantrum was of great magnitude. She observes Captain Comic’s less desirable behaviors and parrots them. I told her and Honey that we will be having consistent use of time outs to rectify this, and we all need to be on board with it. Her behavior lately has really been unacceptable.

However, she does still have ample cute moments such as when we sat down to dinner last night:

Toots: Where’s my bruver [Mr. Cynic]?
Mom: He’s in South Carolina for his Choral Competition.
Toots: Well, go pick him up!

After writing off writing last week during the kids’ spring break, I decided it’s now or never, and conferred with Grandma to take Toots off my hands so I can get out of the house to write everyday this week for a few hours, while Captain Comic is in school, and Grandma is on board. Monday, I futz around the house while telling myself I would write all morning. I had it all laid out, and couldn’t get a grip at all from where I had left off when I last visited my manuscript. I am in the middle of the manuscript in a complete overhaul and found it very hard to work on a chapter that still felt like the prior drafts, when I needed to clearly move forward. I think most of my problem on Monday was that I just had not looked at it in well over a week.

Tuesday, I was excited, having looked at it the day before, to take the manuscript with me out of the house and to my writing group. I wrestled with the chapter, doubted every edit I’d done in this draft and questioned all the work I’ve done on the book in the past six months, which has been a lot of changes. I kvetched after a couple of hours, and sat back down in front of it and finally saw a way out of the problem I was wrestling with. Then the other writers in my group all started having similar issues with focus and what to do next and decided to break for lunch, right when I found the groove I needed.  It’s okay, it happens. I knew I would work on it again the next day at the library.

Yesterday, at the library, I attempted to continue where I left off the day before. It was like typing through drying concrete. The further I went, the slower it got. It was painful to watch myself go through that, because I know what I need to do. I’m just stuck in this middle of the book chapter and know what comes after is pretty well put together; I just need to get through this for the rest to make sense and flow well again.

So here I sit, writing this instead, so that I can process my way out of the concrete, while eating a late breakfast, because Toots was such a pill this morning before preschool, I couldn’t get my own stuff together for after her preschool drop off.  But as soon as I finish, I am packing this dang laptop up and heading to my windowed corner of the library to sit with my muse, if she will visit today. I think she will.


Last May 1, Toots stood at the top of the slide, surrounded by wisteria and I snapped one of my favorite shots of her. She was very contemplative.

Then Monday this week, she did it again. 

But first she danced a smidge.

I love this kid. The other two are pretty cool, too.

look what she did

While I was sequestered away with Captain Comic on Sunday afternoon for hours, look what my little Toots did all by herself:

Looks like we have another writer in the house. She won’t be three for another couple of weeks.

Proud mom. 


This morning as we were all readying for the day, Toots walked up to me to request specific snacks to take with her to preschool.

I have a bunch of food allergies, etc, that her pediatrician advised we keep her away from until she’s three, then we can introduce them incrementally. First she walked up holding one of Grandma’s granola bars, I read the ingredients and had to tell her no. Then she went back to the pantry, where she can now reach to open the door, and returned with a pack of microwave popcorn.

Toots (with big inquiring grin): cannI haf pahtorn?
Mom (unwraps plastic but doesn’t move to make it just yet because I was in the middle of something else): Sure.

Next thing I heard from the kitchen is the sound of the stool scooting across the floor, then the door of the microwave opening, then closing, then beeping on and starting.

I darted into the the kitchen with a big pat on Grandma’s arm on the way, as both of us grinned at each other. There she was sitting in front of the microwave, proudly demonstrating her patiently waiting dance on the stool while watching the bag puff up and rotate. When it started popping, she patted out a little beat on the countertop along with the popcorn.

Toots (turns at the sound of my footsteps entering the room) Yook Mommy, I makin pahtorn!

the teen

I don’t mention as much about my oldest as I do the other two. So I will share a tale of him now.

Saturday, I took Mr. Cynic out for a driving lesson, not in the high school parking lot, but on actual roads.

I nearly died. The boy panicked as we approached a main road and started veering off to ‘pull over’ to avoid it by having me drive us back into a subdivision from the main road.

Because we live in a coastal plain, the roadsides here have culverts for flood control. He nearly drove us into one, a near barrel-roll, passenger side – me – first.

I can hit some pretty high notes as a soprano. Never this high, except maybe while I was giving birth to him.

My driving lessons with him do not generally involve screaming, but I had said “Don’t!” about seventeen times in quick succession before screaming “Stop!” in an operatic fashion.

Think the Queen of the Night Aria from Mozart’s The Magic Flute – without the surrounding tune. Just that flute-like high note near the end.

I suggest when you get to this stage of parenting to take a few more trips around the big parking lot in your area.

Eventually, I got a pretty good laugh from it. After I stopped shaking violently. He’s generally a cautious kid, hard to get him to drive over 20mph. I taught his father to drive with him and his brother strapped in toddler and infant seats in the backseat, way back when. So I know I can do this, and survive to tell more tales.


toots has a great idea

Toots started riding her bike.  I will post evidence below.  In the meantime, this evening, she rode her little bike around the house and:

Toots: See ya later!  Bye!
Grandma: Where you going?
Toots: I’m going for a ride!
Mom: Where to?
Toots: I’m going to ride to summer!  Okay, Byyyye!

I wish I thought of that.

Last night she peddled herself for the first time. Witness:

toots’s fabulosity

This morning I met with Toots’s preschool teachers and Honey for her first Parent Teacher Conference. Thankfully Honey’s work is pretty close to preschool, so he could bop over to the meeting and back to work easily. It’s his first PTC.

We knew she was fun, smart and imaginative already, but it was nice to have official confirmation.

To quote from her teachers’ notes:

…is a delight to have in class. She has strong communication skills. She is very smart and extremely imaginative, especially during free play.

…also interacts well with her peers. She plays well with others, including others in her play. She is always willing to help others.

Of course, she is not perfect, and that is good to hear, too.

…does need to work on following directions, especially during circle time and clean-up time. She also has problems sitting still.

Thank you for sharing her with us.

They also said that her imaginary play has a logic to it.  She’s not wildly imaginative, there’s always a story to it.  The other day, she was in the play car on the playground. She was going to the store, but hadn’t decided yet what she was going to buy when they asked. Then the car got stuck in traffic, and then she accidently drove into the river and had to escape from it before she drowned, completely acted out with swimming across the playground sand to safety.

I’ve got a neat kid. Three of them, in fact. This big imagination stuff with logical storylines must be genetic.

And she’s not even three yet. 🙂  That’s my girl!

Toots in the day after christmas snowstorm in VA

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