Some people call it Faking it Till You Make It. I prefer to think of it as Acting the Part or Experimenting with Awesome. [read more at HowDoesShe.com]
Archives for April 2015
They Call Me K-Dawg
I was recently filling out the paperwork for my new dentist.
Name: Kathryn Thompson
Preferred Name: ???
Hmmm… Not nearly enough people call me K-Dawg. I would prefer it.
So I typed it in and forgot about it. Fast forward a few days and I’m sitting in the lobby in my yoga pants, drinking lemon-infused water and reading a YA novel.
The door cracks open. A dental assistant looks around the lobby, sees me and smiles.
“K-Dawg,” She says sweetly, “We’re ready for you.”
I head back with her and she is all professionalism.
“What brings you to our office, K-Dawg?”
“It’s nice to meet you, K-Dawg.”
“Do you see this picture of your tooth, K-Dawg? That amount of discoloration is normal, K-Dawg.”
The only indication that she’s winking at me on the inside is how frequently she says my name. If my preferred name were, say, Kathryn for example, I doubt she’d feel the need to use it at the end of every sentence.
“You know, you can just call me Kathryn if you like,” I offer.
“Oh no. You said you preferred K-Dawg and I want to respect your wishes.”
This could have come across as snotty but she’s openly grinning at me now and I know that by typing that one little word, I’ve made a friend. I’ve made an office full of friends. Every member of the staff, from the receptionist to the Dentist refer to me only as K-Dawg. Apparently the system is automated so whenever they walk into the room to speak to me, the name K-Dawg appears in bold letters on their screens.
A week after my visit a card came in the mail, thanking me for coming in. I know they send these cards to everyone but I like to think that K-Dawg’s card was a little more personal. K-Dawg’s card was a little more fun.
Because K-Dawg needs mad props, yo. Because K-Dawg has a monopoly on small town phatness.
W is for Worm
Often when I come to pick Wanda up from school, I find her down in the craft area, rushing slowly and methodically to complete whatever craft project they’ve been working on that day. The other kids are at circle time or have finished circle time and are getting on their coats and Wanda is plugging away, gluing eyes on a penguin or covering her body in glitter on its way to a sparkly one-legged pumpkin monster.
She has one of those magical teachers who lets them do the crafts their way or not at all if they don’t feel like it and if Wanda just HAS to finish putting the spikes on her ninja slug, then Teacher Kira moves on to circle time without her. This pleases me.
Wanda’s not the only kid to take this creative license and run with it. A couple of weeks ago I was helping the kids make delicate spring flowers at the craft station and one little boy looked at me like I’d misplaced my mind, gestured at the supplies and asked, “Where’s the red marker?”
“I didn’t know we needed a red marker. What do you need a red marker for?”
Um… Idiot. “The fire.”
Because we must always draw flames enveloping our lovely construction paper spring flowers. Now I know better and next time I will DO better.
Well today when I picked Wanda up from school, she was the last man standing at the craft table. She sat carefully gluing segments of a slithering creature, each labeled with a letter, W, O, R, M.
“Cool, Wanda,” I said, and because I am the nicest mom ever, I added, “I like your caterpillar.”
“MO-OM! It’s a W-W-W-Worm!”
Apparently W is the letter of the week. Teacher Kira let them hold actual writhing worms today because writhing starts with W.
“Riiiight. A worm. Got it.”
She flipped over the last piece of the worm body and… AGGGG, like a puzzle piece in a survivor challenge, the last one did not fit. She had put the glue on the wrong side of the paper. So I voted her off the island. The end.
I kid. I kid.
She was distraught and threw the piece down in despair, her head flopping back in defeat. “I glued the wrong SIDE!”
“It’s okay,” I said, “You can glue it on like this.” I pinned the tail on the worm.
“Agh,” she said, “It looks weird.”
“I know,” I retorted, “That’s the point. W-w-w-weird. Weird starts with W.”
She shrugged, agreeing.
You can’t argue with alphabetics.
It’s Only Routine, Ma’am
Brandon Mull obviously has kids because he’s using some quality subliminal messaging in the third book in his Five Kingdoms series. All the cool kids in the ultra-modern realm of Zeropolis use the slang term “tidy” to mean good, awesome, sick, buck, or super fly. What are those darn kids saying these days in the magic-deficient earthen-type world? Cause in Zeropolis they say “tidy.”
“Wow. Your new spikey blue hair cut is super tidy.”
“You are good at the techno-baseball. That was a tidy catch you made with your glove of catching.”
“Your room looks so good since your mom made you throw away everything that you hold dear. Tidy!”
I like Mr. Mull.
We made it through spring break with very few injuries although Wanda described her adventures as “discovering new kinds of scabs.” She says she doesn’t fall down on purpose and she doesn’t like getting hurt, but one good thing is she can always discover new kinds and shapes of scabs… “and that’s good!” Love the attitude.
Another thing that’s good is throwing out half your belongings and that’s just what we did in the kids’ rooms and with their stuff throughout the house. Their rooms look awesome and they actually want to be in them so everyone is happy but the mice who are looking for the crumbs and plates of food I found under their beds. The mice and bugs hate everything about our spring break adventures. P.S. We have never had mice in the kids rooms, but oh how they would love it there.
Now, the whole week wasn’t as epic as the 12-hour clean-a-thon day one. We slept in some and played a ton of games but we made it through every category of stuff and now I’m on to the rest of the house. Today I emptied every darn thing out of the freezer and deep freeze for the first time in the nine years we’ve lived here.
I found a can of frozen juice with an expiration date of 2007. We have purchased two new refrigerators since 2007 and the can of juice has moved from one to the other to the other. Yes. That happened. But now it is on its way to the happy landfill in the sky and I am left with only food I would actually consider preparing for my family.
It’s strange that I would keep horribly freezer-burned food for years because, “I don’t want to waste it.” But the truth is, if it’s got a greenish tint, is covered in frost, and I would never, even in a zombie apocalypse, consider serving it to my family, then it’s already wasted. Now, keeping it in there just wastes my energy and space.
It’s the same with any item I purchased and am just hanging onto because I feel guilty about wasting money. I wasted the money the minute I bought it. Now I get to choose if I let that poor choice determine the way I live indefinitely.
I have the same issue with food on my plate or in the fridge. I frequently overeat in the name of not wasting food. Truthfully, the food waste is even greater if I eat something my body doesn’t need or want. Would I rather waste the food in the trash can or waste it in my body as if I’m some sort of living breathing food disposal unit? Because it hangs a-ROUND once I place it in my body. And not in a good way.
So now that the kids’ rooms are done and the kitchen is done and my clothes are done, I start on all the rest of the house and as I start on all the rest of the house I feel the need to put some solid habits in place to care for the things I’ve been blessed with and the people I love.
I’m starting simple.
Three non-negotiables, as recently brought to my remembrance by StressFreeHomemaking.com.
1. One load of laundry from start to finish every day, folded, put away. It may sound strange, but I think my problem was I was cleaning too much laundry on any given day. Cleaning it’s the easy part. I couldn’t keep up with the folding and putting away.
2. Dishwasher run each night and unloaded first thing in the morning. I’m pretty good at this already but I’m going to try running it every night regardless of how full it is so I can start the next day with a clean slate.
3. Dinner planned and ingredients thawed every night for the following day. There’s something embarrassing about how shocked I am every single night that we need to eat something around 6pm. Again?! We just ate dinner yesterday!!
I’m also doing my best to follow a basic weekly cleaning routine. I’ve looked at several and this is the one I’m using for now because it’s simple and the printable is cute.
I’ll let you know my progress and how long the routines last. Consistency is hard, unless it’s consistently eating chocolate. I can do that.
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When All Else Fails, Discard All of Your Personal Effects
When I was little my mom would make us clean our rooms. It was a bitter wind that blew on room cleaning days because… how dare she? She taught us life skills and we wept bitterly.
Now I have kids of my own and I’ve taken room cleaning to a whole new level. It’s a level born of necessity. It’s a level born of not doing a thorough cleaning or decluttering in the nine years we’ve lived in this house. It’s a level that combines the Grinch with Dr. Robin Zasio from Hoarders. On their walls I left nothing but hooks and some wire.
I recently read an AWESOME book about decluttering, nay THE awesome book about decluttering, I’ve read a few and this one is true. What I like so much about her approach is that it’s less about getting rid of stuff and more about choosing to keep the things that bring you joy and only the things that bring you joy. You can have something and it can be nice or useful but if it doesn’t spark joy, you don’t need it. She also talks about how to let go of things with gratitude once they’ve fulfilled their purpose in your life. It’s very Zen.
Thank you for being such a fun pair of socks and fulfilling your purpose by being on sale for a dollar. I had so much fun purchasing you and wearing you once. Goodbye.
Thank you for being a fun scarf that I received as a gift. I felt very loved and surprised when I received you. That feeling of love and surprise were your reason for existing. But that doesn’t mean I have to like you or feel guilty for not wearing you every time I walk past you in my closet. Farewell.
So, I’ve been decluttering for weeks, prepping for spring break when the real fun would start. And it started today. All of these steps are to be accomplished with the kids’ assistance.
Step one. Wash all the laundry in the entire world so we’d know what clothes we had.
Step two. Remove everything from my children’s rooms but their furniture and their clothes, which we heaped up on their beds. Books are lined up along the walls in the hall to be sorted later. Everything else is staged in various rooms throughout the house by category.
Step three. Deep clean every crevice and baseboard and vacuum under the furniture.
Step four. While moving furniture to clean, agree that the kids can put their furniture anywhere they want it, even if, especially if, that furniture placement is completely an ordinance of crazy town.
Step five. Sort their clothes one piece at a time, donating anything that doesn’t fit, doesn’t look good, or doesn’t make us feel happy.
This is where we stopped tonight after working pretty much solid from 9am to 9pm.
Steps six through a billion. Repeat the sorting process with one category per day throughout spring break, taking time each afternoon to do something fabulous as a reward. By fabulous I mean getting a free ice cream cone at Ben and Jerry’s on the 14th because it’s free ice cream day or buying new bedroom curtains at IKEA on Friday if we’ve gotten all of our cleaning done.
The trick here is that they love their newly cleaned and stripped rooms so much that I’m hoping they will be loath to add too much junk back into them and I think it’s working. A few choice quotes from today:
Wanda – “Hey mom. It’s weird. I actually like cleaning.”
Laylee – When asked to choose one thing she’s thankful for to add to our family prayer, she said, “I’m thankful for cleaning.”
Yes. That happened. I did not faint or cry. I didn’t even twirl my mustache or cackle with glee. I just added it to the ever-living prayer. We are thankful for cleaning. Yep. Because that’s a thing that average 12-year-olds say all the time.
Magoo – I want to add as few things back to my room as possible because it’s awesome right now.
To my credit, I was DJ-ing some wicked sick tunes while we cleaned and I let the level of silliness climb about 86.3% higher than I’m generally comfortable with. I also helped them move their furniture into (and I cannot emphasize this enough) possibly the weirdest and most-likely-to-make-Feng-Shui-certified-home-decorators-bludgeon-themselves-with-their-own-energy-cures configurations possible. Because I am the nicest and most chill mom ever and because I had the nicest and most chill mom ever who let me do wickedly stupid things with my furniture when I was a kid and because Laylee said moving things around would make it feel like a whole new room and I could not argue with that.
Twelve hours and one category in and we’ve gathered 2 big black garbage bags of trash and 3 big black garbage bags of donations. And Laylee is thankful for cleaning. So basically the apocalypse is nigh. Stock up on wheat and ammunition.
An Open Letter to Teacher Kira
Dear Teacher Kira,
You don’t make the weather. The kids do that. I’ve seen them. You don’t even make snacks. That’s the moms. You’re really only responsible for one thing of importance as a preschool teacher and it’s making and distributing months.
You started the year with “Subtember” and that wasn’t bad. It rolls off the tongue nicely, Sub-tem-ber. There were those in your class who thought Subtember might just be the only month we’d have all year and they were okay with that, but after around thirty days things changed.
Wanda came home with an announcement. “Teacher Kira gave us a new month today! It’s called OCTOBER!”
Oh, that Teacher Kira. She’s so creative. And the hits kept coming. November. December.
Sure, things got a little boring when we got to the fourth BER month in a row. Yeah it was winter. BERRR. Cold. We got it. So I was glad when you changed things up in the new year and put a little more effort in, stepping it up to four syllable months.
January. February. Wait. We’re not getting in another rut here, are we?
Wanda was excited. “Mom,” she said, “Teacher Kira is going to give us another new month next week. I wonder what it will be!”
“March,” I said because I can see the future.
“The new month will be called March.”
Her eyes got really big. “How do you know?”
“I just have a feeling. The new month will be called March.”
She laughed, marching in place, “Ha! March? That’s hilarious!”
It’s a verb. It’s a command. It is, in short, epic month creation.
Teacher Kira. You outdid yourself with March. What next? A five syllable adverb? The next month will be known as Undeniably? You amaze me.
But just when I thought you couldn’t possibly up your game, you proved me right. You knew you couldn’t top March so you gave up and hit us with April.
April? Really? Two syllables. It doesn’t even have an action that goes with it. April. There are still eight weeks of school this year and already you’re phoning it in.
What next? An ambivalent month that can’t even make up its mind?
I sure hope not.
You’ve got three weeks left to come up with something amazing. Don’t let us down.