Farmer's Market

Another happy Saturday morning spent at the Farmer's Market. It didn't start happy. Someone wanted pancakes for breakfast and all I wanted to do was get out of the house as fast as possible. Ever have a Saturday like that? Once breakfast was settled we headed over to our local Farmer's Market. The fresh herbs were amazing and we found the most beautiful purple spring onions. There was one lone vendor at a table with the smallest selection I've ever seen. While chatting, he told me (okay I asked) that he had a one acre farm but was working towards expanding. I bought nearly everything he had. Which really amounted to some Kale, the carrots you see above and a few other vegetables. You've got to support someone with such a worthy dream! Monkey got to select nearly everything and I loved seeing his excitement over discovering heirloom tomatoes. He refuses to eat them (thus far) yet thinks they look cool. I spent about forty dollars yet like having vegetables in the fridge that are grown locally, taste like actual vegetables and are as free from pesticides as possible.  It's also an hour during which I refuse to check the blackberry. Now that he has his stitches out (thank goodness!) we are making the most of the summer by spending as much time in the water as possible. And we'll have a fresh salad to go with whatever the men decide to grill. Ahh, Saturdays...

Pinky Promises

When I was a child I remember the importance we placed on a pinky promise. My friends and I would share secrets and then hook our pinkies with solemn intent to never tell our parents who did what or to reveal our secret crushes (outing myself to reveal mine as an 80s James Spader and later Johnny Depp!). We watched with eagle eyes for the slightest sign of the only jinx free way to get out of a promise - the crossed fingers. I personally never liked the crossed fingers. It was technically an accepted "out" yet the shame of using it was too great a price to bear. I preferred to settle for promising to try...

My parents made sure I knew that giving my word was tantamount to giving blood. They set an example to follow by never promising me anything unless they knew they could and would follow through. In contrast, I noted my own feelings towards the people in my life who could (and frequently do), lie very easily. I learned very early on that there was a significant consequence to dishonest words -an utter loss of  trust and respect. I still hear my father's voice telling me that "your word is your bond - it's the most important thing a person has to give".

Today my own son insists on the "Pinky Promise" - a respected and highly useful ploy to ensure parental follow through. He is too young and innocent yet to insist that I remove the "try" from my promise. Example: I promise to try to pick you up early from after care or I promise to think about taking you to the Lego store and letting you pick out a $300.00 over priced set. (Although I do technically think about it, my thinking usually takes about three seconds on that one). Although I dread the moment he will insist on a straight answer, I know I will have the courage to face his disappointment. Much better to disappoint him over a temporary want than in his mother's character.

Yet I was amazed and touched recently when, during a Pinky Promise (to take him to the park after we ran errands) he made the following comment: "Our family always keeps our promises. We are a promise keeping family!" He said it with such conviction and sincerity that I wanted to cry.

Someday he will be hurt when someone betrays him. He will be surprised the first time a friend reneges on a their word. He may even mourn the loss of a relationship destroyed by an inability to share trust. The world is full of dishonesty but we are teaching him to be able to identify it and to be wise to what he can depend upon versus what is not real. We are teaching him to be someone others can depend upon. His character is being shaped by the role models around him, including teachers, family (including ourselves) and friends. No one is perfect but he is recognising the value of trying your best to be decent and truthful and to treat others with a fair mind.

I am proud when he sees a commercial and then disdainfully remarks that "those people are trying to trick me into asking you to buy me sugar cereal because they think kids aren't very smart".  It is not his catching the trick that I am proud of - it's the clear dislike he demonstrates for the lie itself. We are setting an example of what it means to keep your word - and that is the value of a pinky promise.

The Laundromat

I have really taken the convenience of having a washer and dryer for granted.  I realised this last week when my washing machine broke up with me.
Refusing to gyrate or spin, it did not even leave a departing Dear John letter before it severed all ties. My husband did his best to intervene but mending this relationship was not to be. 

We are currently waiting the arrival of my new best friend - and looking on the bright side, the new machine is the energy super star I've been wanting for a long time. Thursday cannot arrive fast enough.

Laundry was piling up, however. Even though we are on hiatus from camp while Monkey mends, he still goes through a lot of clothes. So early this morning the little man and I went to the laundromat. I have not been to one since my college days and it was unexpectedly fun.

Being a recovering germophobe (2% recovered thus far), this trip did include some initial cleaning with organic products but otherwise we enjoyed a few simple pleasures. We studied our quarter stockpile and picked out all the states we don't already have for his collection.  When I realised it would take only 45 minutes to dry mulitples loads of launry, we decided to dry our clothes there as well to save time. Monkey enjoyed rolling the carts around and helped match socks. We even walked to a nearby diner for breakfast while our clothes were drying. Fun times and clean clothes to boot!

No Jumping in the Pool!

"There has been an accident at the pool and your son is in an ambulance on his way to the hospital".
I could have lived the rest of my entire life without hearing these words. Without the second that ticks by as slowly as an hour, when your vision expands and contracts to the leaping beats within your chest.

After confirming that he was fine (define "fine" to a mother who is in a meeting 50 minutes away from that ambulance that is speeding along an unfamiliar path), I clutched the directions that appeared in my hands (thanks to amazing co-workers) and stumbled quickly to the parking lot. I don't even remember the drive with the exception of reminding myself not to hyperventilate because if I crashed the car it would take longer to get to him (Realise now that this was not logical).

Entering the hospital it felt like a super heated GPS unit was attached to me. I moved through halls and doors, asking directions and moving before the person had stopped speaking. When I entered the room he was waiting in, it was with a fake, calm smile on my face. I was determined that he not be upset with my reaction. His small frame was covered with a hospital gown, his eyes glued to the cartoons dancing on a nearby screen. I fought against the urge to smother him in my arms, which would have clued him in that there was something really wrong with him, and simply kissed and touched him wherever I could. Between the sweet, damp counselor (still in her bathing suit and camp T-shirt) who had ridden with him in the ambulance and my son, the story gradually unfolded.

Monkey was in the pool, heading to the surface when his friend J jumped into the pool. J's chin connected with Monkey's head and both split wide open. When I arrived at the hospital, Monkey was perfectly calm, although I suspected it was partly due to shock. Seeing the dried blood and the 1 1/2 inch wound was an out of body experience.

When a twelve year old girl walked in the room and introduced herself as the resident intern that would be caring for him, shock wore off and the mama bear in me came out. I explained that, although I did not want to offend her, I would need an experienced physician to evaluate my son. She left to retrieve him. The camp director and counselor stayed with us throughout and we got busy researching whether staples or stitches would be better. I got enough reception on a borrowed cell phone to call our pediatrician, whose nurse recommended stitches. It made sense. Plastic surgeons do not use staples. Closing the wound was critical yet I envisioned him as a grown man, perhaps with a receding hairline, traumatised by the scar that his mother could have prevented if she'd only she'd questioned how to reduce this possibility.

Apparently staples are faster (excellent) but there would be some pressure as the doctor pressed the stapler down on his head (revolting). The stitches would take longer (bad) but the result would be a finer line (hopefully) where hair would re-grow.  So after conversing with Dad to make sure this was a team decision, we went with stitches.

It was the single most traumatic event in my life since his birth. Not sure yet where it places in his life but I'd guess it was the number one suckiest thing ever. They placed his arms in a pillow case behind his back while several adults held him down. I held his shoulders down while trying to soothe him. Three days later and I still feel nauseous with the memory.

The end result is that he received 6 stitches and is just fine. I have also made good on several desperate promises I made in my attempt to distract him from a needle repeatedly piercing his scalp. Examples include letting him sleep in our bed for a week, allowing him root beer with lunch yesterday and unlimited Wii time for an entire day. We still owe him a Lego train set and I am pretty confident we will be reminded of this tomorrow while running errands. At six he is learning to milk parental guilt - something to watch out for but in this case we are okay with it.

In one of those heart wrenching moments of parenthood, we nestled with him in a mound of pillows and bed covers the night it occurred. Drowsy between us, I whispered that Mommy was so sorry this had happened to him. That if I could I would take the experience and pain for him a million times over for myself if only to prevent him going through that. He roused enough to lay a hand on my cheek and told me to "Never say something like that. I will never let you have pain like I did today, Mommy. I will never want you to be hurt." I am often surprised by the depths of his generous and loving heart but he undid me that night.
No swimming or crazy, active activities for ten days. I know he is a boy and all children have their bumps and bruises. But for the next eight days I am going to just be grateful. My natural inclination has been to feverishly plot how to avoid this from ever reoccurring. Yet the reality I am still struggling to accept is that I cannot put him in a bubble. As he gets older, my influence and ability to protect him from any and all accidents will continue to lessen.

I also struggled with the illogical guilt of being at work and not with him when this happened. If I had been there I could have made sure they were not jumping into the pool, If I had been there I could have prevented the accident or...yet the reality is that I could have been standing right next to him in the pool and been looking elsewhere in that instant. I could have been distracted with a conversation with another adult or looking at my child and not seen the approach of the just-as-unsuspecting-of-what-will-happen, fun loving jumper, who was also injured. I do look on the bright side that this was not the worst case scenario and this experience ensures others will be more vigilant with children playing in pools. I hope this is true.

Time helps gain perspective and it helps that he is safe and running around again. And although I wish this had never happened, it does help mend us a bit that he thinks it's cool that he rode in an ambulance and that he may have a scar like a pirate.

Early Morning Workout

I am finally forcing myself to find the time to exercise. For my schedule that means heading to the gym at 5:15 in the morning. Since I am not a morning person (*understatement alert!) this commitment has meant an entire shift in my day. I have to go to sleep earlier in order to avoid hitting the snooze button one too many times. I have found that I actually enjoy getting up and out so early. It is quiet and I get to see sights I normally miss. Like early morning light shining upon dewy flowers that I had to stop and inspect below.

Baby Bunny!

Early summer brings lots of unexpected enjoyments. We spotted this baby bunny on the road on our way home. It was so tiny! We were worried he/she might become hurt so I parked and gently approached until it hopped back to the grass and trees.

Excellent Train Game

I recall long car rides in the summer. My sister and I would have notebooks and little else. We would count slug bugs and scold the moon for following us. Today's children have technological entertainment with the push of an icon. It is not so unusual these days to sees kids on iPads at the pediatrician's office or at restaurants. I still do a double take every time.

A recent train ride made me realise just how dependent we have come to rely on Angry Birds and other Itouch apps for an odd half an hour of silence - with minimal demands to "look!" at something. When my battery unexpectedly died (okay, to be honest I forgot to charge it the night before), we were faced with a tragic circumstance. 75 minutes on a train with nothing to do but look around at real live people (to give him credit, no one was doing anything remotely interesting). I pulled open a section of the New York Times, handing him a crayon from a pack I keep stored in my handbag and challenged him to circle all the "the" he could find. If he found twenty he was a winner for sure. To my surprise he not only accepted this vague reward, he actually found 54. Even more surprising that he earnestly lent his attention to his task. We heartily congratulated him and then challenged him to find the word "and".  On the train ride home we requested pronouns before twisting the pages into airplanes and badly done origami.  It was fun for him and gave us a few more minutes without hearing the famous line all parents cringe to - "Are we there yet?" Even better, it made me mindful to SUT (stop using technology) as much when desperation calls.