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May 01, 2006

What do I need to do to get some service around here?

James smashed his face into the concrete yesterday.  His two front teeth are loose and may fall out.  He's two years old.  I didn't see it happen, and neither did his siblings.  I was upstairs checking my email, and the kids were playing out in the back yard (I usually assuage any feelings of guilt or fear about leaving them unattended for 5 -- ok, 10 -- minute stretches by reminding myself that the yard is fenced, gated and bolted).  I heard James start to cry, but since he's our crybaby anyway, I figured he was just whining and would stop eventually.  I went on with my surfing.  He didn't stop crying.

Today, I won't let him out of my sight.  The dentist said to avoid brushing his teeth and keep him on soft foods and ibuprofen for a couple of days.  Hopefully the damaged nerves will repair themselves and the region will not become infected (did you know a tooth can turn pink?  or brown?).  Every time I see him stumble, every time I see him wrestling with his brother, my stomach lurches.  When he got on his tricycle, I walked beside him, ready to catch him should he fall.

Having gotten over the pain, James is loving the extra attention.  Is it my imagination, or is he whining less than usual, and is Philip all of a sudden become Mr. Crybaby?  My poor children -- the lengths they need to go to gain my undivided attention.  The reality is that the mundane details of caring for 3 children -- feeding, cleaning, referreeing, schlepping from place to place -- take so much out of me that there is not much time or energy left to devote to the good stuff.  You know, the funny conversations, the tickle fights, the quality interactions between parent and child, the reason we had kids in the first place.

I'm not too good at making resolutions, much less keeping them.  So instead, I thought of making a list of ways I can find time to spend quality time with my kids and make each of them feel like they are the special one, mama's favorite, loved, and cherished.  I want to be able to glance at this list every so often and honestly say to myself that I can check at least 3 items.

1)  I will join my kids on the playground instead of sitting on the park bench.
2)  I will find room in my lap for everyone who wants to be there.
3)  I will run errands with just 1 child while daddy watches the other 2.
4)  When the twins are napping, I will read to my daughter instead of retreating to the computer
5)  I will let the kids help make dinner, even though it means I will have an awful mess to clean up.
6)  I will resurrect one of my husband's obsolete computers lying in the garage, so that one lucky kid can be working on his computer while I work on mine.
7)  I will watch TV with them and discuss what is going on.
8)  I will turn the TV off, turn the cd player on, and have a dancefest.
9)  I will ask my mother and my mother-in-law to send a postcard to each of them, during different times.
10)  I will hire a babysitter for some "me" time so I can recharge and be able to do items 1 thru 9.

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