My goal for this summer is to spend more time with The Dormouse. I have to admit that over the past several weeks okay months, I've spent more time yelling at her than talking to her, more time brushing her off than listening to her, more time being generally irritated by her than appreciating her existence. Basically, I've been a crappy mother to her and I need to try and change that.

It's hard, once your kids get to school. The Dormouse's last day of school was this week and I can't believe this year is over and done with. I can't believe that nine months ago I
put my four year old on a bus and wondered if I was doing the right thing for her. Now I wonder if it was the right thing for me.

I've felt like this first year in school has hurt our relationship. Where before I spent a lot of time with her, talking to her and doing things with her, and sometimes I even felt like I was kind of rocking this motherhood thing, now my basic interactions with her have become all about getting her out the door in the morning and then getting ready for tomorrow in the evening. She wakes up and I start on her to get ready, eat, eat, EAT, for the love of all that is good and holy, EAT!!! (I have never seen a child who can drag out eating a bowl of cereal into a two-day adventure like this one), brush your teeth, get dressed, wait a minute you were dressed a few minutes ago why are you now in your underwear again, no you cannot wear a ballgown to kindergarten I don't care if you are reading a book about a princess, you are going to miss the bus child get dressed now, I don't care if you were planning on going to school in your bathing suit you're going to have to put some clothes on and no you can't wear your bathing suit under your clothes even if there's a chance it might rain so don't bother asking, oh and by the way you may not wear my shoes to school either so get THAT look out of your eye. You know, your basic get ready in the morning stuff. What? You don't go through that too?

Then when we all get home and there's barely enough time for dinner, homework, bath and she's in bed before I collapse into my own bed and realize I haven't exchanged a single sentence with her that didn't involve me telling her to do something. It's been even harder the last several weeks as I have been learning what it might be like to be a single mother. (Answer: it sucks and I'll be very happy when The KoH finishes up his part time employment opportunity scheme that was supposed to help us earn the money to add a full bathroom in our basement, but looks like that may not happen since I now believe that finishing this current employment opportunity is one of the actions that will signal the end of the Millennium -- and by then no one will care if we only have a half bath in the basement.)

So I am announcing it here, on the Intertube, that I might have some kind of accountability to follow through on my resolution. I plan to be a better mother from here on out. I do not want to miss these years of seeing the wonder in her eyes. I don't want to lose the chance to find out what she thinks about things. And I definitely do not want to establish a pattern where we simply go through the motions of being a family and then later when she's older I'm simply the annoyance in her life that she won't be able to talk to about life, decisions, and choices she has to make. I believe that's a pattern that gets set
years before a child gets to be a teenager and if we keep going down this road, those years are going to be much harder on us both.

So.... on her first day of summer, I took her to the library. And then when we got there an hour before we could go in because I have no idea when the library actually opens - I am that out of touch - instead of going home and getting in a few more minutes of work on the computer, we hung out at the park and in the garden and we examined all the flowers to find out exactly where the pollen is in each one and we followed bees to see which flowers they'd go to and then we checked out books to read together.

Then we came back to the house and made these for Daddy for Father's Day.

If you click to embiggen, you'll see these are cupcake and brownie sliders, icing condiments and sugar cookie french fries. No credit goes to me for this brilliance, by the way... idea was totally and completely stolen from Bakerella, who does a much better job of making them look real than we did, even up to the .pdfs she provided for the serving ware. What a nice lady.

All in all, not a bad first day's effort. Now for the rest of the summer.