Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Things I've learned: Red Pepper Edition

This weekend I learned the following:

1.  Hot peppers and mundane lunchbox peppers in our CSA box look identical.
2.  When your four-year-old tastes the end of a hot pepper and says "its not spicy," she has no idea what she is talking about.
3.  Never pop a giant piece of pepper in your mouth unless you are certain it is not a hot pepper.  This is especially important if that piece has the white part and a seed on it.
4.  A glass of milk, yogurt, half of a banana, or a second glass of milk are only temporary fixes for an intense problem.  Shoving your entire face under the kitchen tap and leaving it there until your nervous system realizes that you are not dying seems to be the best approach.
5.  If, in all the confusion, the juice from a hot pepper gets in the nail bed of your thumb, it will burn off and on for approximately two days.  This is irksome, but it will pass.
6.  I do not like hot peppers.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Malcolm's Baptism


Malcolm's baptism.  Also known as the time Sasha's blood pressure reached record heights.

I was lovely, it was fantastic, but it was not what I had expected.  We've always done our baptisms after mass.  Through a series of unexpected -- some might call sneaky -- events, we ended up doing this one during mass.  It was the Warner hour at church that morning and everyone tuned in.  It started with us, it ended with us and there was a lot of US in the middle.

I've been trying so, so hard to stay in the moment, forgive myself of my shortcomings and do anything else Brené Brown might suggest, but it is so, so hard when you are stuffed in the front two pews of the church with your closest relatives and six children under the age of 6, all of whom prefer the Great Outdoors to the oak confines of a narrow church pew.

My mom came armed with crackers.  And Oreos if things got desperate near the end.  I was armed with a breast full of milk, just in case the man of the hour -- literally the whole hour -- decided to voice his concerns about his baptism's scheduling conflict with The Morning Nap.  By the end, our rations were depleted.

"Highlights?" you ask.  Besides the obvious usual baptismal moments, these are my two favourites:

1. You know all those quiet moments of reflection that happen during mass?  One of those times my niece, who is three, announced "Daddy, let's go.  I don't see Jesus here."

2. My nephew spent most of the water pouring and blessing part chilling on the base of the baptismal font.  Eating goldfish crackers.  Plotting.  I'm not sure what he was plotting, but man, he has an adorable mischievous face.

I think it all went well.  No one died or anything, but it did take me about two hours and four post-baptismal cinnamon buns to calm down and stop blushing.  I am so glad it happened, but I am really happy it is over.

Friday, 18 September 2015

Scarlett's first week of school


Things have been a little sideways here at the Warner household.

We are struggling to get everyone into the regular school routine.  For Perth's newest Junior Kindergartener, it has been especially burdensome.  There have been highlights, but for the most part, it is really, really difficult.

She started on Friday.  Saying good bye was hard, but she had a good day.  On Sunday night, I told the kids they had to get to bed early because school was the next morning.  Upon realizing that school isn't a one time deal and she had to go back tomorrow, she said (through tears):
"Mom, I'd like you to retire me."

I told her that no one can retire until they have lived a long time and had grey hair.  Sensing a Monday morning disaster, we decided bribery was the best plan: she woke up to a sticker chart.  She marched on the bus without incident.  According to Nevin, who will get a sticker for saying hi to her at recess (it was the best we could think of, all things being equal), she cried as he dropped her off and cried the entire recess after he said hi as he stood with her on the other side of the fence.  Put on your motherhood shoes for a moment and dwell on that visual: two children separated by a chain link fence, one being strong and the other devastated.  Man, I need yoga, wine and a tissue.

The next day I had to carry her, sobbing, to the bus stop.  As I held her, she told me:
"I wish we could go on a ginormous vacation, even longer than summer vacation, and not come back until my hair is grey."

Bribery was no longer effective.  I had to carry her on the bus and peel her off of me.  By the way, our bus stop is on one of the busiest streets in Perth, so half the town had the pleasure of witnessing this tragedy.  (Granted, there are only two streets that go north-south but that just furthers my case that literally half the townsfolk are watching.)

This morning, she didn't scream as the bus rounded the corner (small victory!), but she cried as I held her.  Between sobs, she said:
"Mommy, I'm trying so hard to be brave."

So, here we are.  My daughter is heartbroken over leaving the nest and her straightforward honesty breaks my heart every morning.

But here's where things get redemptive.  This post isn't entirely about the trials of starting school or the adorable things my daughter says.  It is also about community.  Because while we are living these hard moments in the busiest-street-in-Perth fishbowl, people are rallying around us.  Her teacher has emailed me unsolicited reassuring pictures of Scarlett making friends.  Her bus driver stopped by her classroom at lunch to say hi in a more neutral location.  And called me after the first peel-my-child-off-of-me incident to say that Scarlett had calmed down right away and it was okay.  And got Scarlett a little dollar store present for being brave.  My friends who have asked me about the transition have listened with sincerity when I've unloaded my truths.  I went to the local hardware store, and one of the salesmen stopped me, introduced himself, and said in the kindest way that he sees us on his commute every day and was wondering how we were doing.

Yes, this is a hard moment, but we are not in it alone.

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