Monday, October 25, 2010

Brevity is the soul of wit

"Brevity is the soul of wit." Well, I don't think I have ever been "witty" or very funny for that matter and this probably also rounds out why most close relations wouldn't classify me as ever having been "brief"... but in the interest of your valuable time, I will scoot on to the point. I like quotes just like this one. Always have liked them. This is probably due to the fact that most of them have been passed to me by my grandfather who I ADORE. This man had me read Dale Carnegie during my tween years. Those were some very handy dandy quotes for a person just getting started in the business of life. My "papa" passes on to me his funny quotes too. "Life is so uncertain that it's often best to eat dessert first." I love that, don't you? One of my former employers passed on a gem to me right after my PC crashed and I lost my entire Instructional Design Project. I capitalize it to defy grammar and illustrate to you how HUGE the project was. His "witty" quip was that "things are always faster the second time you do them." Now, as a stay at home mother of four darlin's, this little quote has come in quite handy as I try to get through my personal rendition of the Groundhog Day movie. He also used to say that "common sense wasn't common" and this he credited to Rousseau.  Now, only one trip to Wal-mart will confirm that one for you folks, but I often find it true in places you wouldn't expect as well. I have to be reminded of this one often; "no good deed goes unpunished." Have I told you yet that I love to help? It's a little disease I have and it usually lands me in a pile of you know what. I am usually following this one in my pursuit of helping; "bloom where you are planted". Here's one from my father-in-law that I love; "do it like you meant it." This man is a father of seven children all grown now. There is a genius in this man's quotes. He also interspersed his quotes with this creative "cave man" language that I suppose helped him to retain their attention long enough to absorb the quotes when they were young. They all still remember this lingo today. I would tell you all about it but I can't pronounce any of these "words" and I don't have the "code" for what each one means. Secondly, and I can't explain this, somehow they are sacred and seem not to be appropriately revealed to us non-cave dwellers.  I can't wait for Mr. Darcy to start the cave man language with our darlin's. Here's one that I learned in doing our homeschool research for the darlin's; "There is a fountain not made by the hands of men." This is from David Albert who writes about how children grow, learn, and flourish from the curiosity and drive welled up in each of them. I love this and I think of it often when my darlin's come to me with each new discovery. I think quotes are sort of like poems. They are knowledge pools that swirl around a fountain of realization. When your eyes are opened and you see something clearly, you want to share it-perhaps you cannot help yourself-and so the quote is born. It becomes trite over time as it is spoken repeatedly, but I try to remember the first time it was said and how true it was-the way you hear something that resonates with you for the first time. My grandfather told me a long time ago that "the accomplishment and success of one was the reflection of many." I think quotes are part of that knowledge heritage. As we set out to uncover the best person that we can be, how many small things touch us in crafting the single accomplishment we become? This leads me to Old Abe; "Whatever you are, be a good one."
Need a quote?

Monday, October 18, 2010

I broke out

 This past weekend was Mr. Darcy's 20 year high school reunion. I broke outta the darlin' funhouse to attend. It was a guilty pleasure. It's like this every time I break out. I have trouble sitting in a QUIET car with Mr. Darcy-ALONE. And not because he's delightfully witty and always smells like something fantastic. I simply cannot get used to the action being only in the front seat. Hey wait, don't get any ideas there. I was referring to the lack of chaos in the two rows behind me. I was able to turn on the radio as opposed to the squeaky kid CD that lives in our head five hours after we've gotten outta the car. I was able to put my lipstick on in the mirror. Yes, without having to stop, throw my lipstick down, crawl over the seat to calm the screaming baby or separate the darlin's from the non-stop you can't touch me game. It was like a graveyard back there-just the sound of quiet. I think the reason mamas don't like the quiet is due to the fact that the quiet usually means someone is doing something they shouldn't be doing. Like painting your nail polish on the new blouse you just bought. So if I head out for a date with Mr. Darcy and I have the luxury of quiet I am split right down the middle like a crazy chick. I hear this is called cognitive dissonance-two competing ideas. So I guess that is kind of like sanity and love of raising children-otherwise known as my normal state of existence. Frickity Frack, so as soon as we got to the party, and the much needed noise, we felt like two bona fide jailbirds. I was glad to find that we were in pretty good company. Everyone there had a handful of children-give or take-and most knew the chaos that is your life at the 20-year reunion mark. Will we all be twittling our thumbs at the empty nest reunion? Who knows. I did enjoy all this conversation, but really I am so dreadfully out of practice. Wouldn't you think a mama spending all day long with four smarty pants chatterbox darlin's would be on her game with the chatter at a social event? Yeah, you'd be wrong. Too many intelligent conversations going on in my house ALL AT THE SAME TIME. Heaven help me. Sometimes I think I am completely pyscho to be able to actually hear all four of them and rotate to each eventually with an answer. How in the world do I do that? Of course, later in my sleep I twitch. Maybe that has something to do with it. Everything in the mama hood eventually boils down to good ole yin-yang, right? ;-) So anyway it was very nice to talk to other non-juice-needing people. It was nice to dance with someone I don't have to lead-well, most of the time. It was nice to RELAX at a table with friends and eat my meal without having my sweet darlin's practice their vulture routine on my plate. But the night had to end and the dance music always plays out to that last cheesy song and it was time to get back to the Groundhog Day life we have chosen. Of course by the early a.m., I was really ready to get back to the juiced-up darlin's anyway cause I am totally crazy, twitching addicted to them and their sweet noise.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The darlin's go batty

My little ones have lots of toys, but what really gets their engine runnin' is good old fashioned cardboard, glue, tape, and rubberband kinds of concoctions. Mr. Darcy calls this "arts and crap". This week it was bats drawn on cardboard with black magic marker. I watched with mild amusement while all the other thousands of dollars in toys went completely ignored so they could focus on the paper bat family. The bats live in the window, fly around and have campfire adventures in the closets. They hunt for food in my pantry and sleep upside down on the furniture with the lights off of course. I have been instructed that these are not the blood sucking bats, but instead nice, friendly, fruit bats. Bat books from the closet have been retrieved and re-read to the cardboard bats mind you. Stellaluna is a lovely book in case your darlin's like bats too. I remember when my first darlin' was a baby and we used washed-out detergent bottles, juice jugs, and throw-away plastics to entertain for hours before we got all the toys... The kitchen floor was often littered with these "treasures" and I loved watching my first darlin' make his own play from nothing. He knew the sound of the one tile in our kitchen that was hollow underneath from tapping things on top. Toys are overrated these days if you ask me. I know it sounds old fashioned but toys on the shelf now have one way of play, one result over and over again, and it doesn't take kids long to master and toss it aside. We use blocks, train sets, kitchen play, books and the like but even these multiple outcome toys eventually get boring. What really goes the distance is junk and dirt. Things that they can turn into something. I've seen the darlin's create robots, rockets, and cardboard houses from utter scraps of trash. I am always amazed at the raw imagination of a child. They call the door hinges "butterflies" and they make boats of leaves and grass. Sticks in the yard become magic wands and swords for "fencing". One of my children can turn two sticks into four different things in under a minute. Don't get me started on what they do with rocks and where they stick them to sneak them into the house for these covert creative projects. When I can nurture this third eye of creativity I certainly do, but isn't it hard with all the competing blinking lights and too-loud sounds of today's obnoxious toys? We have lots of these "lovely" things in our house too, just like many of you, but late at night the battery fairy visits these toys and completes a batterectomy. Of course, the next morning mama is magically out of batteries and can't seem to find any more at the store to replace them. Oh well. I guess the darlin's will just have to get outside and grab some rocks and sticks. I just hope they don't aim them at the window! 
Free paper toy templates online:  Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Perspectives on a darlin'

Explaining things to an inquisitive six-year-old can really bring you back to your principles if you know what I mean. The other day my sweet darlin' had a moral question about how to treat his brother. You know one of those "can I hit him back mama?" questions, followed closely by one of those "you said I should stand up for myself" statements. What's a girl to do with the conundrums of mama hood without losing principles in the process? I am by no means an expert in the field of fairness. Life is full of inconsistencies best I can tell. I do admit I have tried to make a study of it but as near as I have figured out there is no such thing as true fairness. I studied concepts in logic and fairness theory while at Bama, a mo-million years ago, and remember just this truth from the whole class. Fairness is determined from each individual perspective involved in the scenario. You can divide things every which a way but it comes down to perspective, really, and that is ALWAYS subjective. I suspect this aligns in all aspects of life as well. I tend to be skeptical of the purported "objectivity" of media and authors for this reason and find I gravitate toward those with an admitted subjectivity so we're all on the level. What's wrong with having an opinion anyway? We've all got one right?  As common as a nose as the saying goes? So my "opinion" for the darlin's moral conundrum? Figure it out for yourself dear, sans blood if possible, and get some principles and subjectivity for yourself.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Unwind the clock

What goes up must come down. What goes in must come out. These phrases lacked their gravity before I became a parent. Now I know that I should have bought stock in Pampers wipes and invested in four of those little vacuums that automatically run around your house picking up gunk instead of all those baby extras. Sigh. There is nothing like a reality check to get you in a position of humility, and children do just this service for us adults when we are most comfortable in our otherwise unrestricted schedules. You know-manicures, pedicures, outings with the girls WHENEVER we wanna head out the door, or a lazy day of reading or walking in the park to clear your head. Now I have to plan a month ahead to get to the local salad bar. It's challenging, but I will be first to admit that the parenting "brakes" are more gift than not. I never took time out before to slow down since I was always chasing the next project or career move. It's easy to get sucked into this project and that volunteer opportunity but once it's not about you anymore, you quickly learn a "no" to others is often a "yes" to your family. It is no longer possible to keep up such a pace and living in the present moment is about all we can manage. I remember before we had children our friends would say they couldn't commit to an event, could only come for a little while, or at the last minute, they couldn't come at all because of little ones. Now I get it-really get it. It has been a refreshing change to s-l-o-w down and really smell the roses even if it means you look like a total flake. And don't you forget to smell the roses while you are dealing with the ins and outs of darlin's. You will need the air freshener regularly - trust me. Most of my friends and relatives know me to be fairly uptight, and by that I mean "wound tighter than a German clock" uptight. I remember one-darlin' days and that sort of slowed me down a little. I became a little more unreliable to family and friends in service of the little one's constant needs. I needed to plan a bit more, but the hysteria of trying to do everything kept on keeping on. Then two darlin's were in the house and things got a bit more hectic and we became neurotic about outings.  Having two boys felt like four tots to us and you can guess how many parents you need to get "four tots" out the door and safely back again. Just as we adjusted to the feel of two very active boys, three darlin's were tugging on my skirts ALL AT THE SAME TIME and I did have to "shelve" the never-ending-to-do-list for a while even if it did make me twitch a little before I fell asleep each night. Now that darlin' #4 is here, well folks, Martha Stewart has left the building. I try to get to the stuff that would otherwise keep me from sleeping at night but the rest of the silliness got lost under a stack of last year's Christmas cards. I believe without a doubt God intended for me to have just such an experience in the mama hood. Only four darlin's could have coaxed me into slowing down and relaxing a little. To tell you the truth I am enjoying the break even if it wasn't directly my idea. God is great to us like that.