When I see these signs I feel a little twinge--like I want to be part of that family. They say they're sorry, they say they are funny! They are loud and encourage each other and they make messes but we all know they are the "fun, totally crafty and good-mom type" messes. Or the type of messes that say, "My house is messy because we're so busy living around here-- and I don't have time to do the laundry because I'm busy engaging in meaningful ways with my children!". I want to be that mom, I want to live in that house. If I pause and breathe deeply, I think this sign might apply to Spahnville too.
But truthfully, if I was to create a sign that resembled Spahnville at this moment in time, it would probably sound more like this:
In our Home, We wake up so freaking early. We dream of sleeping past 6:30. We rush around. We eat cereal for every meal. We yell and nag.We love stuffed animals! We whine for snacks.
We complain when we're given the wrong gift stuffed animal. We cry about stupid things. We whine when it's mealtime. We scream especially if someone asks us not to scream.
We cry. We cry a lot. Someone is usually crying. We whine. We whine a lot. Someone is usually whining. We smile when it's quiet and then get frustrated and yell at each other. We have power struggles over pants. So we don't wear pants. We love to be together. We love alone time too. We look forward to bedtime. We battle bedtime. We bribe at bedtime. We wonder if we're doing it all wrong. We hope we're doing something, anything, right. We get by and hope it's all okay.
Does it sound too negative? I'm not sure I want that hanging on my wall-- I'd rather have the light-hearted and fun one that sounds all breathless and airy from the loving and fun things that family is doing. But the problem is that I feel that sign is just a bit too..... optimistic for me.
Lately, I've felt a lot of anxiety and stress and weirdness (cabin fever maybe?) that can't really be explained. (Although strangely, it all started coming to head right around the time of the inauguration...). I feel dis-jointed, like I can't really get moving and motivated and back into my routine. I keep reminding myself that this is also a phase, heavily determined by the fact that Anna does not sleep well at the moment and the entire world knows how I poorly I function with little sleep. But even in that haze, I notice little sparkly gems that happen in our daily life-- like spotting the back to an earring in the carpet-- they catch me off guard but make me stop and notice and look a little closer.
Here are my current gems:
-Shopkins-- I think he now has something like 50 different characters, and he knows exactly which players are rare or super rare or can't be found at Target. He plays with them often, although I haven't exactly figured out exactly what he's playing when he has them all lined up on his bed. Much to Charlie's chagrin, Anna loves his Shopkins too-- and often will often plan a quick heist with the sole intention of plucking one little creature from the bed and running away with it-- before tossing it over her shoulder or shoving it into the nearest plant in hopes of destroying the evidence that she took it.
-Harry Potter-- Charlie was gifted the illustrated version of the Book1 and has been hooked ever since. It's a little advanced for him (in terms of both vocabulary and comprehension of the story), but he has fallen in love with the idea and of course with the main characters as well. As a result, we're planning a (pretty spectacular) Harry Potter themed birthday party, with plenty of magical elements.
-Star Wars--Although SW has taken a backseat to Shopkins and HP, the force is still coursing through his bloodstream. He loves all things galaxy and empire related, and has no problem watching Return of the Jedi for the 30th time. (Or whichever one has the Ewoks...)
-Any Sports--Football during football season (He's thrilled with the outcome of the Super Bowl although it was a little touch-and-go there for awhile), Basketball during basketball season, Baseball during baseball season, Soccer during soccer season, etc. etc.
-Playing Quidditch on his broom downstairs. This has got to be one of my favorite things to "not watch". (Mom! Don't watch me! I'm playing Quidditch!) As you can imagine, he straddles a small broom and runs around our basement pretending he's flying. Not only is this a sight to see, but.... he commentates the whole thing.... (wait, it gets better)..... in an English accent! It is a sure-fire way to smile even if one is having a terrible day. Nothing like a 6 year old American boy shouting, "Here he comes! Oh you bettah watch out, I reckon he's mighty fahst tha' one! Oh look! Charlie Spahn 'as spotted the Snitch! I think this is it! He might be, he could be, YES! Charlie Spahn has got the Snitch!!"
Charlie continues to be the best big brother in the history of 6 year old big brothers. He will not allow Anna to leave the house without running to her and shouting, 'Hug and Kiss!". He helps her out-- getting socks and shoes on (even though, truth be told, he probably could use the help more than she could. She graciously accepts help from him and nobody else.)
The flu is making its way through both elementary schools, churches, town centers, etc. etc. etc. Because we're leaving for Arizona in a week, I recently told him that he needs to wash his hands (with soap) as much as possible. This includes stopping and washing every time his class passes a bathroom in line for something. (I don't care what your teacher says, I'm the mom and I said so!) He was actually okay with these orders until I delivered the final blow: Keep your hands and fingers out of your nose and mouth!
Charlie looked up at me with a look of fear and uncertainty and asked, "But Mom!! What if I have to wiggle my wiggly tooth!?"
Current Obsessions: Aside from her (probably inappropriate) obsession with her blanket and pacifier, Anna is obsessed with anything that she is not supposed to have. A few big ones that come to mind...
Beer-- As soon as a cold (alcoholic) beverage is cracked, Anna is at our heels begging for "a little sip". Although we deny her the sip when she asks, she has been known to climb up on chairs to retrieve the forbidden beer from the back of the counter before taking her "liddel sip". She slurps the side of a can or chugs the hoppy brew straight from the bottle, and always declares, "Dat yummy!" as she sets it down. Yes, we realize how in appropriate this is and we're working on it.
Food-- Anna's love language is food. Especially processed junk food, which we (thank god) don't have a ton of. She's especially fond of fruit snacks and crackers, but will settle for beef sticks and yogurt and applesauce. She enjoys most fruit and will tolerate sauteed veggies or glazed carrots. She would snack on plain bread or un-toasted waffles or dry cereal all day if we let her. I vaguely remember Charlie being the same way at her age so I'm hoping this is a stage that will soon be outgrown.
Scissors--Anna loves to "cut wif paper" but sometimes doesn't ask permission. I try to be a laid-back parent, one who encourages activities like cutting that strengthen those little fine motor skills.... but when you notice that your daughter is "cudding dis paper" in your checkbook, you realize that maybe there is a fine line between laid-back and neglectful....
Knive--Oh knives. Much like the scissor thing, but with knives. I always let her use butter knives, but because these are allowed, she no longer wants to use them. Instead, she's interested in new paring knives or steak knives. Both of which, are sharp enough to fillet my own fingers (hypothetically speaking?) so there's no way she's gaining access to them. However, just because access to knives has not been granted, does not mean that she's not trying to gain it. (As in, she's constantly trying to get the knives)
Chairs-- For a gal who's just shy of 3 feet tall, bar height chairs are a girl's best friend. Our chairs grant her access into a world where she is not readily welcomed. Anna drags chairs around our house and uses them like step-stools to access hard to reach places like counter tops, closets, dressers, the fridge, and the pantry. Because of this, our chairs can often be found on top of the table and counter-- which makes it look like we are in a constant state of floor-cleaning.
Baby Wipes--Oh my god. The baby wipes. Charlie played with wipes occasionally but Anna is obsessed with them. We have several gallon sized baggies with 'unused' baby wipes that Anna has pulled from the wipes container and strewn about the house. No, I take that back. She usually cleans her baby doll's bottom, (Ew Baby! Dis is gis-gusting! Ew Baby! You is stinky! Ew! Gwoss!) and then leaves a trail of wipes around the house.
Vic's-- This could also be any kind of cream, lotion, essential oil (that was one of the worst), toothpaste, whatever. She loves to open up the lid (half of the battle!) and then smear whatever is in the container all over her.
We have a million fun stories of Anna-- she's got great sayings and the best facial expressions of any toddler. She loves to change her clothes (the other day went to daycare wearing shorts over leggings, a tank-top, and rain boots) and is officially a size 4T shirt and 3T bottoms. She loves baby dolls and feeding them and burping them and changing their very dirty diapers. She's a busy girl with the tiniest little ponytail who keeps us all on our toes and is incredibly fond of saying, "I dis so bizzy!" and "I NOT doing any-fing!"
At the end of the day, I'm grateful for Spahnville. It's hard and messy and achy but I like coming home to these heartbeats. Basically, my rustic family sign would read,
Spahnville: I like it here.