Moxie Mom On Life and Kids

MOXIE MOM on Life & Kids

Unbridled Excitement

When Ty was little, around age four and five, he used to sleep in until 8:00 or 8:30 on Christmas morning. I thought it was because he was such a sensible, unexcitable child – so unlike his sister who, even at eleven, blasts us with her loud enthusiasm, whether complaining or cheering, and at four was capable of ripping open all the presents, not just hers, if we weren’t watching.

I am eating crow. I think Ty slept that late back then because he didn’t really get the whole Christmas thing. Now, at nine, he totally gets it, so much so he couldn’t get to sleep until close to midnight on Christmas Eve, long after his now-sensible sister had gone to bed. And had gone to sleep. I didn’t get to bed until late myself (directly correlated with Ty’s bedtime), and I must have not gotten to the REM stage because somewhere in the back of my brain as I was sleeping, I registered a very small noise. Something like a…oh crap, a door opening! In fact, it was Ty’s door closing, a teeny, tiny tap of a sound, after he’d silently emerged from his room to sneak downstairs.

By the time I got to the stairs to order him back to bed, the landing was already empty. I flew down the stairs to see a blurry shape (no contacts in) in front of the Christmas tree.

“Ty, go back to bed!” I stage whispered, utterly irritated.

He turned toward me, his hand already on an (unwrapped) Santa gift. “I was cold.”


“It’s 2:30 in the morning!” I stage-whisper barked. What I wanted to say, fought against saying, was, “It’s two-effing thirty. In. The. Morning.”

“Go back to bed,” I whisper-shouted.

“Leah’s up.”

“What!? Where?”

“On the couch.”

From my vantage point in the dining room, I couldn’t see the couch in the living room. “Both of you, GO BACK TO BED.”

They both shuffled past me, as I shot them crease-between-the-eyebrows glares. And we all went back to bed. Maybe they’ll sleep until 8:00, I thought.

Uh, no. 6:30.

I guess it could have been worse. My neighbor’s son didn’t go to sleep at all.

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Holiday Madness

Yesterday I drove out Northwest Rd. to the Fred Meyer on Bakerview for a few things I thought our house needed. Big mistake. I’m not kidding. If you need to pick up groceries, or anything else out that direction, don’t bother. Or go early in the morning if you have to go, because people are truly nutty. Sheesh. And I don’t think it will abate until the weather hits again. (To quote Subdued Mom, I say “bring it.”) 

Not only are people stocking up for the next storm that’s supposed to coming in (okay, yes, sensible), they’re in a kind of panicked frenzy, and they’re pulling stunts in their cars they would never normally pull. Add a layer of ice on the roads, and it’s really fun. All that on a road that’s not long enough to accommodate the cars coming off the freeway, as well as the cars going to and fro in and out of Fred’s too-small parking lot (no parking to be had, by the way), and the place looked like Seattle on a summer Friday afternoon. Except for the temperatures, of course.

So this morning, Curt and Ty are out doing secret things and I suggested, kindly but firmly, they head downtown to the Allied Arts Festival. Not a good place for groceries, but great for Christmas shopping.

By the way, I never did make it to the park to play in the snow with the kids the other day, and no one bonked any heads, and all was well. I knew I made the right decision. :)

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Snow Days

My kids and I have two kid buddies over for part of the day (because, after all, parents still have to work, and I have no article deadlines looming and my husband, who worked from home yesterday, said, when he found out 4 kids would be here today, “I think I’ll drive to work”—in Burlington).

Until 15 minutes ago, the house was feeling rather small, so I sent the kids to Elizabeth Park on their own—two 11½-year-olds and two 9-year-olds without walkie talkies or a cell phone. What I envision is someone going down the slide on a sled (yes, they plan to do this) and conking their head, but I’m trying to banish the image. In my parents’ day, folks wouldn’t have given kids on their own a second thought, and we would have roamed the region and likely come home after dark, and if we’d conked our head along the way, so be it.

But I am a millennium parent, and we think about these things, whether we should or not. Still, I need to be here to connect with Grandpa—the kids don’t know—who is bringing presents and might not have another chance if this weather keeps up (he has to drive 17 miles on rural roads), and quite honestly, I could use a moment. But after things are stowed and I’ve had my moment, I’m headed out to play in the snow with the kids. Not to check if anyone’s conked themselves. Really.

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Braving the Wind

Yesterday was by far the coldest Christmas tree experience we’ve ever had. I suspect lots of people were in this boat, and we actually debated about hoofing to our local Haggen to buy a cut tree, and also the possibility of waiting until next weekend, which I’m glad we didn’t do, but then we decided to brave the bitter temperatures and go to our regular haunt, Manthey’s Christmas Treeland out on Axton Rd.

Thankfully, the roads out in the county were clear—bone dry, in fact. We went out with some friends, all of us determined to pick a tree, quick, quick, and race for home. Our friends did just that. Somehow they were sawing away at the base of a tree before we’d even exited our car.

There was nothing quick about our tree choice, despite the frigid wind. “No, no, it’s too short.” “No, that’s too yellow.” “No, that’s too droopy.” We tromped and tromped. “It’s cold out here,” I kept saying. “I’m fine,” said Leah. “I’m not cold,” said Ty. “This tree better be significantly better than T. and D.’s tree,” my husband muttered, referring to the tree already tied to the top of our friends’ car.

When Leah finally pronounced a specific tree The One, and Ty agreed, the adults in the family said yes with barely a glance. Curt sawed it down in double time, and we all ran for the car.

“Funny how our trees always look the same once the ornaments are on,” Leah said later. I hope that means we picked a good one.

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Musical Inspiration

Last night the kids and their dad had an impromptu jam session with “The First Noel.” Ty played the cello, Leah her viola, and Curt his trumpet, while I was the designated groupie directed to the couch (I gave up the piano for sports in 6th grade). 

Halfway through the session, Ty looked up, his eyes shining. “This is AWESOME! We have our own band.”

This after I prodded Ty last week—again—to practice for his teacher, me having paid her at the beginning of the month, inhaling silently, trying not to think about the cost and wondering whether music lessons were the way to go. And then after Ty’s lesson yesterday afternoon, Leah declaring, “He get so much done compared to my school orchestra. Can I have private lessons, Mom?” Mental hitch: two taking lessons?  

This after Leah’s consultation with the orthodontist a couple weeks ago and the declaration that yes, she needs braces and more, to the tune of $5,000 or so over a couple of years, the going rate for orthodontia, any parent will tell you, all of it boiling down to chunky monthly payments,  a car payment on teeth.

This after receiving news of our annual health insurance increase, bigger than usual, and the news I will be jumping an age bracket (adding another increase)–due to change in the New Year just as the Christmas Visa arrives.

But even I—Ms. Practical Balance the Checkbook Every Month—can’t put a price tag on the AWESOME band, Leah’s infinite patience with Ty ( a rarity, I tell you) while he worked out the kinks on the song, her encouragement and positive comments, the musical camaraderie.

We may not be driving further than Birch Bay next summer, but the kids will be making music.

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