Thursday, May 14, 2009

Always a kid

Life Balance: a feat we try to achieve while searching to be the best that we can we, while simultaneously raising our children to do the same. This is the equilibrium in our inner life force whereby our heartbeat matches the divine force that exists all around us. When this life balance peaks, our sense of peace, joy, love and wisdom act as one with our very soul.

Mom's day with the parents is always amusing--for my kids. They love that my parents treat me as a teenager. It gives them great giggles to see a Mom they don't know, who get hollered at for not cleaning up the mess, told she drives too fast and gets a "what the hell are you wearing look" whenever she visits. I have come to believe its the highlight of their day, and often brings up funny stories for weeks after when they repeat my parents comments to me at opportune moments. Somehow, I can manage multi-million businesses but don't know how to dress myself or eat properly.

Well, I know my parents have nothing but love for me at they make the comments they always have. I often wonder if we just lose the ability to see anything else but the little children when we look at our kids. While its great to see in them the countless hugs, the bath time kisses and cuddle time watching a video on Fridays, its not good to only see the times they were human and let us down by making bad choices or not doing things the way we would have. Its a delicate balance and one we all fail at once in awhile.

I often thought an amusing TV show would be one with parents who second guess every choice they ever made with their kids. Every calammity that happens now is directly related to something in the past in their minds. We see the child climbing out of the crib and the parents laughing, and flash forward to the teenager sneaking out of the window late at night. But now the parents have the ability to go back, and change the original decision, and we get to see a new outcome. So instead of laughing at the child, they sit on him and refuse to let him out of the crib, and then a whole other set of problems develops, like the inability to walk or explore. Sort of "Back to the Future" for families.

The problem is of course, the reality would keep changing too much and who knows what the outcome would be . Severely messed up I am sure. Great TV comedy, but bad reality TV. It is pretty easy to second guess ourselves during stress about the choices we have made and how we got where we are.

Raising kids is a delicate balancing act and sometimes driving the boat backwards seems easier.
But the reality is that the wake of the boat is behind us. We can't turn around are have the water lay back down. We can't re drive the paths we have travelled, we can only go forward. We can't hit reverse, drive back to the hospital and put the baby back in (and who really wants to stay up all night teething again??). I often say during times of trouble that they can't be mine, I was drugged up and think I was given the wrong baby...but then my husband reminds me I didn't take drugs during the birth, it was only after that I needed to take meds to deal with permanent seats in detention, principals with direct lines to your office and modern day teenage rivalry via video tapes on You Tube and texting insults at the speed of light. What ever happened to crying over simple phone calls and passing notes in math class? Dorothy, we're not in Kansas anymore.

Despite all this, its still fun on a daily basis. Often we look back a year later and laugh about the crap that drove us to drink, like the time my son drove a go-cart 8 miles down Transit Road to pick up a friend, and ran out of gas on the way back. Of course, he had to call Dad to come pick him up. What a phone call that was. Or that Maggie regularly jumped on her twin Luke as a toddler to bite him on his back. "It was her only defense." I was afraid to go to the doctor with them for 3 years because I was sure they would think I was biting them.

So whatever it is the kids have done now, it will pass. It's too easy to see every wrong thing they ever did and not see how much they have grown and changed, or see the person they are NOW. Its the cause of many fights and also many hugs and kisses. Groundings become moments to reconnect and reconfigure. We need to try and adapt to who they are now, not the child they were.

All that being said, I have to go take Maverick out of time out. Its time for his sippy cup as we drive to go visit our new best friend, the high school principal.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Ant Farm

Life Balance: a feat we try to achieve while searching to be the best that we can we, while simultaneously raising our children to do the same. This is the equilibrium in our inner life force whereby our heartbeat matches the divine force that exists all around us. When this life balance peaks, our sense of peace, joy, love and wisdom act as one with our very soul.

Lovely spring time in Buffalo. The birds are chirping, and the brisk morning air envigorates my senses when I open the kitchen window. All seems right in the world, time to clean, time to garden, time to feel joy. Wait, who's that visiting again? Oh, its my friends, the carpenter ants.

Every year, we seem to get a few visiting us, wandering around the kitchen a few at a time. No big deal, and soon enough, they seem to move outside. This year, they came in early April with warmer temps. 6 or so came. We stomped them out. The next morning, maybe a dozen. We shooed them away, killed some with whatever chemical we had nearby. Next week, 2 dozen ants. Hmm, more spray, empty out one cupboard, wash around. Next week, baking cupboard loaded with ants. Open lazy susan cupboar with all oils, vinegars, tea, coffee, loaded. Open cereal cupboard, more ants. Ants everywhere, crawling the walls, in the bathroom, yuck. My beautiful center island gets piled high with all my food. It's 3 feet high with flour, sugar, cereal, pasta, oil and spices. I have emptied the cupboards, vacummed, scrubed. They just keep coming.

Crud, soon I am watching the little fellows march everywhere in neat uniform patterns. I think its a scene for an Alfred Hitchcock movie, where the ants take over my life, slowly eating all means of wood, destroying the infrastructure. I try to ignore them, use ant powder. Nothing. Finally laying on the couch, one crawls over me. That's it. Now I am mad, they are invading my precious nap time. They must go!

"Can I declare carpenter ants as dependents?"--me, 5 Am one morning

I google the carpenter ant. Nice, the worst thing you can do is use pesticides to kill them instantly. The queen just gets mad and makes more babies. Great, I am causing the queen to have to have more sex. Like its a tragedy for her, she's probably grateful for the action. I however, am sick of this. I look up the correct chemicals to use. I need to get ones to make them ingest the poision and take it back to the nest.

It suggests following the ants, to find the nest. 14 years of this, and we have never tracked down the nests, but I am on a mission now. I am possessed. I have a wild look in my eyes. All activity stops in the house, and we must get these damn ants out. I spend the day watching my own personal ant farm. We buy ant traps, and they don't seem to work. DH goes back to store to buys something else. I stand guard over them, following them.

DH comes back with powder. Another $50 bucks spent. We watch them, follow them. Check the garage overhang honey. DH crawls up there with flashlight, nothing. Maybe they are in the sofet by the breezeway. Open that up, nothing. The back patio roof. Nothing. I know, the crawl space. He spends an hour crawling all around and emerges looking like Peanuts character with a cloud of dirt following him around. He even looks like he has hair with the cobwebs and dirt clinging to his scalp. Nothing there.

Watch the little guys some more. I've got it, the stairs, they must be under them. DH knocks a hole in the back of the kitchen closet. Nothing. Well, I always wanted that closet to be bigger, now it is. We are out of ideas now. Spend the day dropping powder on them. Now I have white ants crawling over the kitchen, nice. A blizzard of pets.

The next day they seem to be gone. We wait the week, they haven't come back. Clean up, put everything away. Go outside, get out the chairs, enjoy the hot air. Wait. What's that? The ants are out here now. Get the powder, give me a beer, time to get back to ant work.

Oh the joys of spring. I think I'll say they are crawling in a virgin Mary pattern so at least I can charge admission when everyone comes to pray over them. With enough people, I am sure we can crush them. Not.