Vicissitudinous Parenting

My 3 yr old melted my heart earlier this week.  He's been a late bloomer in regards to his speech but we continue to immerse him in words & books as we try to encourage him to feel safe enough to use his teeny voice.  So when he snuggled up close to me and finally uttered "I yuv you, Mama" it was just one of those moments I'll remember for all time.  Too bad the sentiment did not last very long for him.  Somewhere between a non-savvy lunch concoction (who knew he would turn on hummus pita and crave home-made pickles that were on last week's no touch list) and him not wanting to nap, I lost favor in his eyes.

Mama and T selfie with 2 semi-cut-off heads.

The next morning at breakfast Tristan declares to me "I kinda yike you."  (The "L" sound is replaced with a "Y" for all his words if you're at all confused by my spelling.)  Wait a minute, pint-sized cutie-pants ... Yesterday you loved me and today you, and I quote, "only kinda yike Mama."   Ouch.  I don't know if I am strong enough for this vicissitudinous parenting where his developing language begins to show me where I rank in his opinion.  My friend from high school would often use the word "vicissitudes" meaning the ups and downs of life and I have also come across it in Jane Austen novels describing highs and lows of daily life.  I believe I am in the thick of this vicissitudinous parenting and am struggling that my 3 yr old can now rate his experience with Mama.  When you think about it, it's a very rocky ledge where we walk in the parenting realm.  We want to make a positive difference; we want to be kind and loving; we want them to learn all we can teach them.  For a quick example of this, we were driving home from the grocery store and Tristan asked why there was a cross with a purple scarf draped over it.  Yea!  The teacher in me seizes that teachable moment and I explain to him all about purple being the color of royalty and how Jesus was the king of the Jews and he died and rose again at Easter.  Do you know what he took out of my eloquent and spiritual speech?  That he has a purple minion he will hide with Easter eggs.  No Jesus.  No dying and rising.  Just Despicable Me 2's purple minions that he has never watched but loooves to talk about.  Sigh.

Tristan sighing with one of his yellow minions.

Yet do you know what T-man said well after unloading all the groceries?  "Yuv you again, Mama."  Apparently I got back on his good side ... Must've been that free cookie I let him have from the grocery store.  My response is always the same of "Well I love you no matter what."  Even if he says he doesn't love me because of some poorly timed potty training episode where I had to wash the entire futon by hand.  Even if I make him share his prized manatee with his little brother and he freaks out.  Especially then I yuv him 'cause I am the Mama and that's what I do.

Brother snuggle-time.

And though we don't use the word "hate" in our house I am sure the day is coming when outside influences make that phrasing a possibility in my little guy's vernacular.  I don't know how I will emotionally handle the first "I hate mom" speech but I do know that the vicissitudes of life will soon bring him back around to needing me or loving me for something or other.  It'll be crucial to not take it personally when it does happen and to voice the very same response of "I love you no matter what."  And in the meantime I am going to soak up these random spontaneous bursts of love from my little man.  Because I yuv him to pieces and through all the ups and downs.

Tristan walking his crocodiles outside.




Olympics Bring Out the Lazy Sloth in Me

I look forward to the Olympics, both summer and winter, pretty much from the closing ceremony 'til they open up at the next venue two years later.  I love how America comes together for 2 whole weeks to root and cheer for our champions all the while heckling and mocking those who attempt to beat our Team USA.  And might I add that most of us have never shaken hands with the USA athletes nor been a part of their lives, yet we use the informal "we" like they come to our 4th of July BBQ's and melt jell-o squares on the hot patio along with our cousins.  For example I may say to my hubby, "You gotta see how much of a lead we have in the slalom."  I personally do not have any lead in the slalom, as you should see my black diamond attempts in more of a Best of Sports Bloopers light, but somehow "we" have a lead when an American teammate is doing well.  I know I have been guilty of interchanging the pronoun "we" with that super athletic person I have never met yet share a close affiliation with just because she lives only 870 miles away and we stand behind the same stars and stripes.  I jump on the "we" band-wagon though I have not participated in any of the strict training regiment of these super-human athletes who could probably bench-press me without breaking a sweat. 

Skiing in Colorado, in pure Robyn form.

Oh yes, no other games can fully focus on toning one's body to do practically impossible feats of strength and agility, all the while encouraging me to sit on a couch for 3 hours screaming at the hockey ref as my only exercise.  Ice cream scooping during commercials or less active sporting events like curling is an important part of Olympics for our family, or else my toddlers may confuse me with a couch sloth.  My break between half-pipe and ski jumping is to bake some butter-laden chex mix with my kids just in time to wolf it down before the medal ceremony.  I watch the shooting and skiing biathalon in between my own biathalon of folding and sorting laundry.  On all other 50 weeks out of the year I am not glued to the tv for 5 hour increments of body-numbing activity all in the name of fitness, but for this 2-week stretch it is important that I carve out time to watch each skiier, skater, and insane bobsledder from my barcalounger.  Okay, I don't have a barcalounger unless you count the one our neighbor threw out his side door and it sat through 3 whole seasons of weathering away in the elements.  But that is for a different blog post entirely... a post on the loveliness of some Americans we call our neighbors.

Lounging around with my little guy during the Olympics.

I do have to say that as much as I love this Olympic couch judging at which I have become very impressive, I am a bit disappointed this year in my favorite event, ice skating.  I remember the Viktor Petrenkos and Brian Boitanos of my youth, who were Perfection embodied... and I cringe as I watched every single male skater fall on quad and triple attempts.  Whatever happened to skating a clean and stunning program rather than trying to fit in elements that do not fit the styles of the skaters?  I would much rather see my hero skate without the trace of "ice rump" on his rear because he fell so many times but can still land on the podium.  I went to bed around midnight after the men's long program feeling betrayed that all of the men showed such severely flawed programs laced with falls and bobbles and wobbles of doom.  This is the Olympics, people!  I expect performances that will blow me away, and this year, they just blew.  And don't even get me started on the ladies' skating program.  I might get too riled up and sound like the newly embittered Ashley Wagner who missed the podium.  And perhaps I am a tad unrealistic with my expectations of others and myself since I think I skate like a Gracie Gold when no one's watching and it's probably more like a Will Ferrell to the casual observer.

Everett's hockey helmet, aka Dairy Queen ice cream cake cover dug out of recycling & put on his own head.

So now I must try to get over the still fresh defeat of my ice hockey men's and women's teams losing games that really should have been theirs.  Playing ice hockey in college just stays in my bones, though, and I feel it when my national team is slighted... there I am again talking about them like they are my bff's!  So anyway, here's my public warning that I will be training up 2 young boys in the art of ice hockey, so the Olympics better watch out in 16-20 years.  And here I sign off from my couch and computer in hopes that "we" have a better Olympics next time, where miracles can and will happen again.

Watch out, Hockey-town, here comes the Wells' boys.

Tristan giving a "sitting ovation" in his new Olympic sport of bucket sitting.





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