Thursday, February 23, 2017

Life with Lola

Lola just told me that next week is Spirit Week and on Monday she and her classmates are invited to dress up as their favorite TV person or character for school.

"You should dress up as me!" I said, not seriously.

She looked at me, very seriously, "Um, no."

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Up in the sky!

Thanks to a ten-minute heads-up from my dad last night, Ray and I were able to very quickly bundle up the girls and run outside to look at the sky.

The International Space Station was passing overhead.

He has this app on his phone that allows him to point it up at the sky and it identifies everything up there. (I think I have that right.) Anyhow, between my dad's directions and the cell phone technology, we found the fast-moving bright light pretty easily.

Seriously, that might be the worst photo I've ever shared before. But, if you look super closely, there is a very small, bright dot quite a ways up there above Ray's head.

Fortunately, seeing it in person was a lot more impressive!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017


At the tail-end of last year, after I once again found myself speaking too harshly, too sharply to my 8-year-old daughter, I pledged to do better.

I then went four complete weeks without raising my voice to Lola. This is probably not very momentous to many people (I mean, it really shouldn't be that difficult to not yell at your kid), but, to her, to me, it was momentous.

I'd been noticing that she and I were ... not having not troubles necessarily, but at the least they were hurdles. Communication was becoming stilted. We still came together and had some fantastic mother-and-daughter times, but they felt fewer, less frequent.

And while, yes, she is getting older and tending to pull away more to her own room more often, I'm smart enough to know that my constant disapproval was wearing her down.

So I forced myself to stop. Not to stop caring, but to keep myself more in control of myself and how I respond to various situations. My main goal was to stop yelling so dang much. But it was more than that, it was focusing on positivity and allowing my 8-year-old to actually be an 8-year-old.

I won't say it's been clear sailing. I've still had a couple of moments that I, again, reverted to anger. (And, of course, regretted it again!)

But I'm trying.

And, it's working.

She, herself, has noticed and I've found that we're connecting in ways that we never did before. She's asking me more and more for "girls time," when she and I can go off alone for a bit to talk about older-kid topics and the confusing world around her.

The best part is seeing her simply becoming her, more and more each day. Sure, most of that is just her getting older and growing more confident with herself and her own personality. But I truly do feel that the change in how I'm responding to her is playing a smaller role in that as well.

I'm just happy to see her happy. Not that she wasn't before! It's just, so much more genuine these days. It's a true happy. Not a holding-back happy.

It's Lola happy.

Motherhood. It's the hardest best thing, right?

Happy Valentine's Day.

Monday, February 13, 2017

I promised!

Lola went through a phase two summers ago when she could very easily fly across the monkey bars, but, for whatever reason, just could not bring herself to try the very similar monkey rings, just not trusting that she could do it.

The first time she refused to try, we kind of brushed it off and figured she'd be more ready the next park visit. Then, we got more irritated when she refused the second and third times. By the fourth and fifth times, we were well into negotiation stage. Ice cream anyone?

After that failed, I decided to see if she could think of it another way. I told her that I'm often afraid to try certain things myself but then actually love doing them. Look at me and TV!

You will feel so great afterward, I said, when you finally challenge yourself to do it.

She just looked at me, "Mom, you were too afraid to go on the Yeti at Disney World."

This is true. In 2015, I didn't ride Expedition Everest, which was at that time the most thrilling roller-coaster there that Lola could ride. (And, really, as far as coasters go, Yeti isn't super duper extreme either. I just hate drops. Hate.) I rode it in 2013, twice actually, and did enjoy it. But the difference, or so I told myself, was that in '13, I could ride with Ray. I didn't have to be the brave adult, as I would have had to in '15, when I would have had to ride only with Lola (Millie was too young/short).

"Fine," I told Lola that summer. "If you do the monkey rings, I'll ride Yeti with you. I promise."

I folded my arms, confident I'd called her bluff and still thinking about that ice cream.

But. Kids. Darned if Lola didn't look me square in the eye, jump from that stupid platform and fly across those stinkin' rings. Leaving me well in her dust.

"Mom!" She ran over to me, shrieking with excitement when it was all done. "You have to ride Yeti with me now!"

"Uh-huh," I agreed, not so convincingly.

"You promised," she warned. "The next time we go."

She repeated that a lot in the last 18-some months. But since I stopped working full-time, we've been pretty insistent with both girls: No more big trips until Mommy goes back to work. It became a kind of refrain in our house: Maybe when Lola is 10...

But then came Christmas, when, yeah, we surprised them again: 37 days until we would return to Mouse-land.

"Mom! You're going to go on Yeti with me!" This was almost the very first thing Lola said when she learned we were going. The girl forgets nothing.

Ugh. Have I mentioned how much I hate drops?!

Take a look at this: This is me on the new Frozen ride. Seriously, this "drop" is teeny. Tiny, tiny. Not much to it at all.
I was terrified.

But, yeah, I promised. And, really, as much as I moan and complain about them, more often than not, I actually do enjoy the rides once they're done, once I know what to expect. It's just getting me on them that's difficult.

Take me on Space Mountain: I love this ride. But it scares the crap out of me. Every time. Meanwhile, Lola looks almost bored? Ha!

Anyhow, on our fourth day down there this trip, I finally did it: I rode Yeti with Lola.

"Mom, put your hands up!"

"Um, no, I think I'll be just fine with my arms down here."

"I'm going to put my hands up."

"OK, you do that. I'm going to sit here and keep my eyes closed the whole time."


But then, it was done. I survived. And Lola had a great time, which was most important. She asked me if I liked it and I said that while it is not my favorite, yeah, it was pretty fun. But, no, I do not want to go again.

So what was my favorite? My favorite is also Millie's favorite: the less-extreme-but-super-fun Mine Train ride. Which tells me I'm in trouble when she finally does get tall/old enough for Yeti... Eek.

Gosh, we had fun.

So much fun.