Getting Some Real Mail

My 7 year old daughter, Iris loves to write letters. She’s kept a steady correspondence with the Tooth Fairy over the past couple of years who exchange their letters through her tooth fairy pouch she keeps on her doorknob.

Her latest letter:

Letter to Tooth fairy

To Tooth Fairy,

My tooth fairy pouch broke, so I put it next to my bed. Can you ring the bells to wake me up (only on a school night) so we can think of things to fix my pouch?

Iris

P.S. Am I a fairy?

P.S.S. Did Jack Frost take all the snow animals?

Iris

Recently, Valerie over at Atlantamomofthree did a postcard exchange which I participated in because I knew my kids would love getting some “real” mail.

When we received our postcard, letters and some stickers the kids were so excited. They loved looking at the pictures on the postcard, they loved learning about another family and of course getting some fun stickers in the mail was an extra bonus.

Postcard from Valerie and her family

Postcard from Valerie and her family

My 5 year old son, Bency fell asleep last night clutching his sheets of stickers.

There is definitely something special about receiving something in your mailbox or I guess your tooth fairy pouch that just can’t be replaced with an email. You get to hold those pieces of paper containing the words that someone wrote especially for you. They gave you a piece of them that you will have forever.

Thank you Valerie and family!!

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To read more letters to the Tooth Fairy that Iris has written read the following stories:

She Believes in Unicorns and Other Fancy Stuff

The Tooth Fairy is Involved in the Case of the Missing Library Book

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My 100th Post And A Secret Revealed

In honor of my 100th post today I thought I would let everyone in on a little secret. Also, I would like to dedicate this post to my mom. She is hands down, the best mom in the world. She is also celebrating her birthday today! I’m so lucky to have her in my life!

I almost flunked my Creative Writing course my senior year in high school. In all actuality I should not have been passed.

I HATED high school.

I had such a hard time sitting still through those classes and focusing. I was the kid in the back of the class playing pranks and cracking jokes. I had some very nice teachers and many of the friends I had in high school are still my friends today. My friends were smart, studious and well-behaved. In fact, my best friend was Class President and Salutatorian of our graduating class. So, the disliking of high school was just due to the fact I couldn’t sit still and could think of a hundred other things I would rather be doing.

This is me, my senior year

My sophomore year of high school I got a job as a receptionist at a large car dealership. I really liked the owners and people I worked with but answering phones was a bit boring. I kept begging people to give me any of their extra work to do while I was in between phone calls. My co-workers happily handed over things that they weren’t able to get done and were suitable for a high school girl.

By my junior year in high school I went from working 17 hours a week to about 35. They had plenty of filing and data entry to keep me busy every day after school and Saturdays. I did very little homework. Somehow I had accumulated enough credits and a high enough GPA that I was eligible to graduate early my senior year. My boss at the car dealership had already been teaching me accounting due to my eager requests to have more work to do after school. When I told him that I was graduating early he offered me a full time position of taking over the accounting for the used car department. I jumped at the opportunity. The pay was really good and it meant I wouldn’t have to go to college.

With the money I had saved from my job, I went and leased a brand new purple S-10 pickup and put a deposit down on an apartment. I was all set to start my adult life and just had to wait a few more weeks until I actually graduated.

I thought everything was in the bag until my Creative Writing teacher approached me one day. She said that there was no way she was going to be able to give me a passing grade because I had only completed 2 essays out of the 15 that were assigned. I had only filled in 3 daily journal entries out of the 50 days that were required. If I didn’t get at least a D in her class I would not get to graduate early. She said I HAD to get an A on the last assignment that was due tomorrow or else she would fail me. The assignment was to write a children’s book. She had given us all a blank book 2 months earlier and had told us to begin working on it right away. I had not so much as thought of a title let alone began writing this.

That night I skipped work and as any normal person does, I sat down to write, illustrate and use a calligraphy pen to write a children’s book that had to be of grade A quality.

Ironically, I wrote about motherhood. The book was a tribute to my own mom. It was my way of letting her know I understood the perils of being my mom. As much as I rebelled and didn’t like her requests and rules; I got it. Now as a mother myself, I understand it all that much more.

My teacher gave me an A+ on this book. She handed me a hand written note as well. She told me I needed to continue to write. It was a very lovely letter and the basic message has stuck with me… I can do things, possibly great things, if I try.

That was 20 years ago. Sadly, I have written very few things creatively until beginning this blog. I feel great remorse for not applying myself in school and giving my teachers and parents such headaches. I hope by writing this blog I have in a small way made up for not completing my assignments and journal entries. I hope I have now truly earned my passing grade.

Here is the book I wrote that basically saved my life:

book cover of my book Fletcher

Fletcher (written and illustrated by me in 1993)

I woke up this morning to the sound of my mom’s screechy voice yelling, “Get up, Fletcher. It’s 7:30. You’re going to be late.”

“Who cares?” is what I thought. Mom had laid clothes out on a chair for me. I found my old, red t-shirt and muddy, worn sneakers and put those on instead. I managed to wet my hair enough so I could comb down all the parts that were sticking up. Mom screamed up the stairs, “Hurry up and come down here so you can eat your breakfast.”

I quick brushed my teeth and went in my room to feed my hamster, Marvin. He was wide awake and spinning on his wheel. I got Marvin a year ago when I was eight. At the time, Dad said I wasn’t old enough to have a pet. He said I’d forget to feed it and it would die. I told him he was wrong and through a little help from mom we convinced him to let me get one. It’s been a year now and I’ve taken real good care of him-not one problem. As I stood there watching Marvin I was interrupted once again by my mom’s scream, insisting I was late. She sounded really mad this time.

I rode the banister down the stairs even though mom always tells me not to because I might break my neck. As I stepped into the kitchen mom immediately began to scream. She asked me, “Why do you always have to be so pokey?” She said she should have named me Dillydally. I wonder what makes moms so crabby. Maybe there’s a crabby mom flu that goes around.

Mom placed a bowl of Fruity-O’s in front of the chair in which I sit every morning. She had to add, “Eat Quick,” as she threw me a spoon.

As soon as I was done I grabbed my backpack and coat and got ready to leave. Mom came into the kitchen with a wool hat in her hand just as I was about to head out. She told me to take the hat with me because the weather was starting to get cold. I told her I was too big for hats, and then slammed the door. Two seconds later mom was hanging out of the house yelling, “If you ever wear that raggedy red shirt and those awful sneakers to school again, you’re grounded.”

As my feet pounded against the pavement, the gears in my brain began to churn. Instead of following this sidewalk to school, as I did every day; I thought of running away…

The sidewalk led me to the jungle where I was a big-game hunter and carried a bow and arrow with me at all times. I was free and there was no one there to yell at me. I made friends with the monkeys and took showers from the elephants. It was a great life until I got hungry. I just couldn’t make those bananas fall down from that tall, towering tree. I tried shaking the tree but it just wouldn’t budge.

Next, I tried climbing the tree but only managed to get a few feet before sliding back down. I tried finding other food closer to the ground but nothing looked familiar and mom always tells me not to eat things that I don’t know what they are. Finally, I gave up and sat next to a lion drinking from a pond. I was really hungry. I wished mom was there to make me something to eat.

I felt the jungle was no place for me so I left and journeyed to the Arctic. There I was a powerful dog sled racer. The dogs and I drove around all day practicing for the big race. Sometimes we would rest, eat and play in the snow together. Life was great until I got cold. My ears, hands and feet started to feel numb. I tried rubbing my hands together and jumping up and down but nothing helped. I wished mom was there to give me a warm hat and mittens.

The Arctic was too cold for me so I traveled to the Oceanside to try my luck at deep-sea fishing. I sat on the end of the dock and dropped my line. I didn’t get many bites but that’s okay because I probably wouldn’t have been able to reel up anything too heavy anyway. When the sun got too hot I would simply jump in the water and swim and dive with the dolphins. I darted in and out of the coral reefs as I played tag with the swordfish. Everything was going wonderful until one day when an older man came up to me on the dock and said, “You’re too young to be a deep-sea fisherman. You’ll have to get off this dock.” No fair. I wished mom was there to tell him I was old enough. She always stuck up for me.

I yelled good-bye to the dolphins and headed for the mountains. The weather was perfect-bright sunshine with a tiny breeze to ease the heat. There was silence as I climbed the steep mountainside. A few hawks and coyotes howled and sang out to me, cheering me on to the top. Everything was peaceful. There was certainly no one up there to yell at me. I considered living here for the rest of my life.

All of a sudden, as my arm was reaching up and I was moving closer to the top my left foot slipped and I felt myself sliding down the mountain. My heart raced as I lost control of my body. Suddenly, my hand reached out to a rock stuck out from the mountain. I gripped it and held on tight. I instantly came to a stop. I had never been so scared before in my whole life. I wished my mom was there, she would have told me that I shouldn’t climb that because it’s too dangerous for me.

“Fletcher? Why are you walking so slowly? Don’t you know you’re going to be late for school? Here, hop in.”

Mom drove up next to me in her car. I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to see her in all my life. I jumped in with a smile and we headed to school. I had a minute to spare when we arrived. I’m lucky I have a mom or else I would have been late.

I leaned over and kissed my mom good-bye then I ran up to school to meet my friends.

Thank you to everyone who has read my blog Motherhoodisanart! Have a wonderful weekend!

Sincerely,

Melissa

Oh My Gosh

My 7 year old daughter, Iris, was a dream child. Starting at a very early age she would sit very quietly and flip through her books. She never once colored on a book or tore them. She would play toys all by herself and when she was done she would put them away. She never threw a fit about taking naps or going to bed. When we moved her to the “big girl” bed at 2 years old she never once tried to get out of it. She ate healthy food without bribes and has always been eager to learn.

As she got older, she became the voice of reason in our house. Last year, I made green colored popcorn for her to bring to school for St. Patrick’s Day. I told her to tell her class it was “Leprechaun Poop.” She told me, “Mom, that really isn’t appropriate to tell children.” Don’t try to say the word “stupid” in our house, even if it’s in reference to the coffee pot because it is brewing to slow. You will get a tongue lashing from her. My husband has been on the receiving end of her scolding several times when he says unkind things to drivers on the road or to the television when his football game is not going the way he likes it.

The craziest thing she has ever done was go through a period in Kindergarten where she would write her name with 2 s’s. She said her Spanish name was pronounced “I-REES” and was spelled, “Iriss.” I have no idea where she came up with this and there was no convincing her that she had to write her name with only one “s.”

Yesterday, I found a TRUE sign of rebellion.

When Iris was little I found an old school desk on the side of the road in bad shape. I brought it home, painted it and gave it to her for her 3rd birthday.

Iris sits at her desk almost every night writing stories, poems and lists. She dreams, plays and plans at this desk. I personally think she is getting too big for it but she refuses to let it go. She loves her desk. It has been well used and is showing its years of love.

I’ve been throwing around the idea of repainting it for her until I noticed something written on it yesterday.

The defacing of the desk with “Oh my gosh”

Oh my gosh!

This is truly a sign of rebellion if I ever saw one. Not only did she deface her desk but the words themselves speak volumes that she is ready to kick that “good girl” image!! I just know tomorrow she will be asking me to buy her black hair dye and black lipstick. Perhaps she’ll want a tattoo also. I’m sure a nose piercing and skipping school is right around the corner from that. Of course, I’m anticipating the request of spray paint so she can go deface store fronts with “Anarchy Rules!”

When Iris got home from school, I asked her why she had wrote, “Oh my gosh” on her desk. She froze and her eyes got huge and full of worry. She shook her head and was certain she had no idea what I was talking about. She slithered off to her room very quietly.

I stood back and smiled. Perhaps we’re okay. I don’t think she’ll be asking for that hair dye any time soon and as for “Oh my gosh”….I kind of like it. I’m not going to repaint her desk. It’s been loved and shares some secrets with my daughter. It’s at her desk that she dreams, plays and plans!

Iris’s beloved desk

Be Wrinkle Free

Mondays are laundry days here at our house. Tuesdays are ironing days unless laundry day exceeds into Tuesday… then Wednesdays are ironing days.

I love ironing day.

I didn’t always love ironing. It is the most incredibly boring, tedious task in the world. There is a proper way to iron. My mom tried several times to teach me the correct way. Once again, not being a fan of proper ways or following rules I devised my own unique style of ironing. Martha Stewart would not approve.

I for one do not care if the creases in my husband’s pants are crisp and perfect. I do not care if every ruffle on my daughter’s dress is wrinkle-free. I get the majority of the wrinkles out and go on with my day!

When I was pregnant with my three kids, my mom would stop by the house occasionally to see if there was anything to help with. I think I said, “No” but would then mutter something along the lines of “I don’t care if this whole house comes crumbling down.

My mom would delightfully grab the overflowing ironing basket and begin humming, ironing away and rejoicing in the fact she finally got ahold of those pants to put the creases back in their place.

Nowadays, the ironing basket is never overflowing. My best ideas come to me when I’m ironing. It’s a task that requires no thought and leaves my mind open to wander and ponder. If I were to just sit down and close my eyes nothing would pop in my head. I guess I require doing something with my hands and it has to be the most boring activity to really get my juices flowing!

A few months ago we were in the market for a new washing machine and dryer. The salesman showed us the top of the line model claiming you never have to iron again….the dryer takes care of it for you. He said, “See these pants, I pulled them out of the dryer this morning and just threw them on and came to work.” I may not have “Martha Stewart” expectations but my qualification for being ironed and his were completely different. Not only did he not have creases but there were wrinkles everywhere and the cuffs were really messed up! In defense of “high-end” dryers, this guy had blood-shot eyes, smelled weird, and had serious bed head. I think he was actually still half asleep and forgot he actually pulled these pants from underneath a couch cushion and not “straight from the dryer.”

I smiled and told him, “We’ll take the middle of the line option…I like to iron.”

My source of inspiration

The Mystery of Who Put the Kettle On

The other day, our almost 2 year old, Cesar, was walking around the house repeating the word, “Polly” over and over. I asked my 7 year old daughter, Iris, why he was saying this. I thought maybe there was a “Polly” who made a guest appearance on his favorite cartoon Dora the Explorer. Iris said she didn’t know but perhaps he was trying to say the nursery rhyme, “Polly Put the Kettle On.” I didn’t think that was a possibility since we hadn’t covered that particular ballad during our daily “Nursery Rhyme 101” lesson.

Of course, this then lead into us trying to sing “Polly Put the Kettle On.” We got through the first verse an then both Iris and I were stumped. Who took the kettle off??? We went through a series of names and couldn’t agree on anything. I then turned to the computer to look up this impending mystery of who did this amazing act of taking the kettle off.

My curiosity was quickly satisfied and it turned out it was Sukey!

The website where I found Polly Put the Kettle On also had a brief history about the song. This nursery rhyme was published in 1797. It was written by a man who had five children. Two of the children were girls who liked to play tea party (Polly and Sukey ..real name Susan). Polly would put the kettle on and Sukey would take it off. Their father was so amused by this that he wrote a song about it:

Polly put the kettle on,

Polly put the kettle on,

Polly put the kettle on,

We’ll all have tea.

Sukey take it off again,

Sukey take it off again,

Sukey take it off again,

They’ve all gone away.

Now, I don’t know about you but I find this absolutely fascinating that a poem with only 16 different words and only 4 different sentences was not only “published” but has been around for 215 years and kids still know (or kind of know this rhyme today…it actually doesn’t even rhyme) and sing this!

There are authors out there who have spent years on their “masterpiece” and cannot get published. My guess is this guy did not spend days or sleepless nights penning this and it has lasted the test of time.

The moral of the story: Write what you find amusing or interesting. Someday, someone will be in need to find out “who took the kettle off” or something equally important!

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Cesar reading his nursery rhymes