One Fabulous Thing

…because each day has at least one.

04.11.2010 Life is Grand May 4, 2010

Filed under: Family — onefabulousthing @ 9:09 pm

When I was first dating my husband, he told me one day that he had just gone to his grandmother’s house to get some pointers from her on his golf game. Apparently, she was the winner of some league championships back in her day at the local country club, explaining that she needed to do something with her time while her husband worked on his game. This made me think two things:

  1. What a sweet guy
  2. This woman sounds like someone I need to meet

I was right on both counts. You know how everyone seems to like to give new parents advice about getting babies on a schedule – no this way, not that way! –  and how you will spoil them if you pick them up too much, blah blah blah? Well, my husband’s grandmother told me this upon the birth of her first great-grandchild: “There is so much that is hard and cruel about life, you show that baby every kindness you can, don’t worry about what people tell you to do.” Amazing.

Over the past few years it has become a family tradition to spend the Sunday of the Masters golf tournament with my in-laws and my husband’s grandmother, and today we did exactly that. To be clear, out of respect for my husband’s grandmother’s wishes, we were not rooting for Tiger (“Shameful business!”). Since I am not a big enough golf fan to be riveted to the screen for every second of the round, I spent some of the afternoon sorting through clothes that had been handed down to my son from a co-worker of my mother-in-law, who is currently raising her great-grandson with her husband.

We have been the lucky recipients of approximately a ton of little boy clothes in beautiful condition from this woman over the past year, and we are so grateful for her thoughtfulness, and good taste in clothes. Grandparents are meant to spoil their grandkids, so when you have great-grandparents raising a child, you can only imagine how many adorable swim suits and sweater vests result from that situation.

So there I was this afternoon, surrounded by the generosity of a great-grandmother I had hardly met, with a stomach full of food provided by my son’s grandparents, watching my mother-in-law patiently walk my son around the neighborhood to see the big kids play basketball, and then all of us laughing as his great-grandmother taught him to play peek-a-boo by covering his eyes with his chubby little hands, and I could only think about how lucky this child is to know the love of so many generations.

So, Fabulous Thing #101: Love, passed down.

 

04.06.2010 One Moment in Time April 13, 2010

Filed under: Family — onefabulousthing @ 10:26 pm

I’ve been spending a lot of time at work over the last few months, even when I haven’t physically been at work. Fortunately, my son gets up early and goes to bed early, so we get some good playtime in before work and I have been getting some good work in after bedtime. Today though, with the sun shining and my increasingly steady-on-his-feet and adventurous boy on my mind, I rearranged my schedule a little to make some room at the end of the day.

With that time, I picked my son up early, with the intention of heading to the playground near our house for some pre-dinner outside time. This was not a truly spontaneous outing, since I had hoped that morning that it would be possible and had brought a little bag of animal crackers and my son’s water bottle in preparation for a stop on the way home. We headed home from daycare well ahead of afternoon rush hour, and I hoped that the playground wouldn’t be too overrun with big kids. I regretted not bringing my camera, as I was pretty confident that the mixture of sunshine and swings would make an irresistible photo opportunity.

I pulled into the playground parking lot, noticing that there were plenty of baby swings free, and gathered my cell phone and the refreshments. I switched out my work shoes for the sneakers I had thoughtfully stashed in the car that morning. It felt good to leave my work bag behind in the car, and I promised myself that I wouldn’t worry about getting dirty, even if it meant some extra clothes needed to go to the cleaners this week. I opened the back door of the car with a big smile on my face, ready to make my son’s entire week with the fun we were about to have.

He was sound asleep. Like, mouth hanging open, head slumped over asleep. It was OK though, he always wakes up a minute after the car turns off. I sat on the seat next to him and waited. And waited. “But I brought you snacks,” I whispered. He slept on.

A few minutes later I returned to the driver’s seat and took us the few blocks home. When we got there, he stayed asleep in his seat. I opened the car windows and sat on our steps, enjoying the last of the afternoon sunshine and the quiet of our neighborhood. It was lovely, actually. When at last he stirred, we went inside to let the dog out and have some playtime before dinner.

My son was delighted to let the dog out, like he is every day. He was gleefully mischievous about pulling things out of the snack drawer before dinner. It made his week to corner the Roomba and scamper away shrieking when it turned back and came at him. He didn’t miss the playground one bit.

This experience made me think about a training I had attended, and the companion book I purchased and read long before my son was a twinkle in my eye: The Biggest Job We’ll Ever Have. The whole book is great, and I am happy to have been reminded of it so I can go back and read it now that it is more personally relevant to my life.

The piece that stuck with me was a story that the author recounted about this idea she had for a roadside picnic on the drive home from a family vacation. She packed a lunch, with visions of pulling over by an idyllic, flower-strewn meadow to enjoy their meal. As the drive went on and it became apparent that such a setting would be hard to come by on their trip, her husband offered alternate suggestions. Unswayed from her vision, the author and her family ultimately ended up picnicking on some grassy median in front of an office park or some such place, the whole bunch miserable and probably wishing desperately for a McDonald’s.

Years later, that story came rushing back to me. I could have stuck with my vision and woken up my son. But would he have enjoyed the playground then? Would it have been the carefree, idealized experience I hoped for? Probably not. More likely, he would have sat listlessly on a swing with the late afternoon sun in his eyes, wondering why I had awoken him from a nice warm snooze in the car to dangle him from some chains and take crappy cell phone pictures. It might have been nice for me, if I’d been able to look past that, to feel good about doing this fun special thing with my kid. But I’d really be missing the point, I think.

So, Fabulous Thing #96: Letting a sleeping kid lie, and letting go of my expectations for the afternoon.

 

03.28.2010 This Just About Sums It Up April 1, 2010

Filed under: Family,Household — onefabulousthing @ 8:45 pm

Sunday was the day for housecleaning at Chez Fabulous. This is how we amused the kid (and ourselves) while we did our chores:

Helping

I hope this is a trend that continues.

So, Fabulous Thing #87: Channeling my inner Tom Sawyer.

 

03.27.2010 The Oreo Gene

Filed under: Family,Food — onefabulousthing @ 8:36 pm

As you may have noticed, it’s Girl Scout Cookie Time. My husband and I were taken in by some young enterpeneurs this morning that had set up tables in front of a few of the stores nearby, to the tune of a box of Thin Mints and a box of Peanut Butter Sandwiches, FKA Do-Si-Dos. Who can resist cookies for such a good cause?

This afternoon after lunch, I impulsively (delightedly?) opened the Peanut Butter Sandwiches and handed one to my son (and two to my husband). He has never had a cookie before, being toothless until a few months ago and all, so at first he flipped it over in his hands, examining it from all angles.

Then, he grasped each half and twisted them apart.

As though he had been doing it for years, he raised the side with the peanut butter filling to his lips, took a bite, and grinned at us. He waved the cookie at us, as  if to say, “Do you guys know about these? Fantastic!” He finished off the filling side, turned the plain side over in his hand, and fed it to the dog before asking for a new cookie. That’s my boy.

So, Fabulous Thing #86: Nature wins over nurture…and Girl Scout Cookies win, period.

 

03.20.2010 First Day of Spring March 21, 2010

Filed under: Family,Style,Weather — onefabulousthing @ 9:09 pm

The first day of spring found my son and I on the beach before lunchtime. We headed to the paint store in the morning, where a lovely and knowledgeable woman helped me select the appropriate products for painting the wood trim in our house as part of my Spring Cure efforts, then carried the things out to my car for me so I could wrangle the kid.

After that, we poked around a consignment store and found a Raggedy Ann and Andy toybox on wheels that should be helpful in decluttering his room, with the added bonuses of adding a retro touch to the decor and saving one thing from the landfill.

Next stop was supposed to be a gardening store to pick up some soil to start seeds, but my son’s patience was wearing thin. Because I am a lucky duck, our route home from errands passes right by the town beach. It was such a gorgeous day I decided to pull in and see if the baby wanted to feel the sand in his toes for a while. He did.

I happened to have my camera in my purse in case I saw any home furnishings that inspired me, but it turned out my inspiration today was less stationary and more sandy.

We stood holding hands at the edge of the water, and let the icy cold waves lap at our toes. Two very nice girls watched my purse and our shoes. My son made a beeline for some other child’s shovel and pail, and I made a mental note to get him his own as soon as possible.

At home the windows were all open. The baby ate his sunflower seed butter and jelly sandwich with a small side of sand, then crashed for a nap. When my husband got home from golfing and the baby woke up, we went for a walk around the neighborhood and talked about very important things and very silly things.

Back at home, the baby went down for bed and I cooked dinner. There were pastries for dessert. We didn’t go to bed too late.

Welcome, spring.

So, Fabulous Thing #79: I can’t find one thing about today that wasn’t fabulous.

 

03.13.2010 Honesty March 15, 2010

Filed under: Family,Happiness,Work — onefabulousthing @ 9:52 pm

This is a day in which I did not get my hair cut. I did not do the work I had brought home, I did not read for pleasure, I did not get any work done on my garden. I got the time wrong for my hair cut and found myself without childcare and at music class during that time. There were too many puttering things that got in the way of work and reading. The rain put the kibosh on gardening activities.

I felt at loose ends all day, with too many things to do and not enough time to do any of them well. The baby is (as always) teething, and his palpable discomfort was like a low mosquito buzz in the back of my brain. When he was in bed and our dinner was on the table, I clinked beer bottles with my husband and said: “I think I’m all done. I’ve done the ‘working mother’ thing for about a year now, and it was really cool at first. Challenging. I liked stretching myself to cook all of our food from scratch, and bring our lunches, and keep a clean house. I’ve done a pretty good job of it, I think. But I think it’s time I earned my badge and bowed out.”

In response, my husband looked at me and said, “OK.” Of course, he didn’t mean it, any more than I meant what I said. There is a certain part of me that would love to drop out, tend my garden and my child (children?), and tidy my house. Or not. Sometimes it’s nice to let that part of me have a voice, and to have it be listened to.

So, Fabulous Thing #72: Speaking the truth…or at least the truth of the moment.

 

03.11.2010 Quittin’ Time

Filed under: Family,Household — onefabulousthing @ 7:52 pm

The end of my day usually looks like this: Leave work with no time to spare to get the kid at daycare, spend five more minutes getting out the door because someone needs something… pick up the kid, his dirty diapers, and his dishes…drive home…schlep the kid, his stuff, my stuff, and the mail inside…schlep the dog outside then back inside…dishes in the sink, diapers in the pail, laundry in the hamper, kid’s dinner on the stove…kid in the high chair, food in him and on him, our dinner in the oven…naked time, bathtime, pajama time, bedtime for the kid…dinner for us, dishes, next day prep…collapse on sofa, The Daily Show from the night before.

Today it looked like this: Pick the kid and his stuff up, come home, leave it all in the car for later, collapse on the sofa with the kid to play tickle games and let him explore my cell phone. He called Nana accidentally. She loved it. Dinner was leftovers all around. We all lived.

So, Fabulous Thing #70: Not doing it all.