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Life lessons at Chipotle

14 Jul

So lately, Maura and I have been grabbing lunch at  Chipotle after summer school lets out – by that point of the day, we’re both really hungry.

It’s funny to think of how much Maura loves Chipotle.  We get burrito bowls.  She’ll eat the whole thing.  She’s a dainty princess like that.  But really, she’s in a body of a 12 year old about to grow some more girl.  Wanting to eat everything? That’s normal.

Now, since everyone else in the area also loves Chipotle for lunch, we encounter a huge line.  I spend our time in line giggling with her, reminding her not to bump into people, explaining “personal space”, reminding her to not cut ahead when the opportunity arises.  Okay, that sounds like she’s a sugared up monkey in line – she’s not.  She’s actually quite calm, and the reminders are just that – reminders.  One day, I started thinking about how much life skills are involved in waiting in line.  Patience, respect for others, turn taking – and she does so well every time.

I do think her favorite part is selecting what she wants.  Which is the same thing every time.  She does not want chicken.  She does want lettuce.  She definitely wants the mild salsa. We bypass the guac for her (hey, it costs extra!) And the staff is there being wonderfully patient with her, pointing to different options, checking with her what she wants before they glance at me for clarification.  They don’t rush us along even though there’s twenty people behind us in line.

I could order it all for her, but I won’t.  I let her have this chance to make choices.  In a way, Chipotle has become a safe, friendly environment in which to learn how to make choices and wait in line and other basic but very necessary life skills.  When she gets over-exuberant and yells “HI!” at all the staff with a big smile, they return the smile and the “hi!”.

There was one point, the second time we were doing this, as Maura got confused between lettuce and guac that I had a moment of “Oh God, we’re holding up the line!” – but that thought immediately turned to “Chill.  It’s not that big of a deal, we’re not taking up that much of their time, and patience is something everyone can learn.”  Because really, Maura learning this skill set benefits everyone.  And I’ve seen people be much bigger line hold ups there as well. It’s a lesson set for Maura, but it’s also a teaching moment for me – that it’s okay to let Maura do things at her pace in public.  To chill out about what others might be thinking.  To not be so hypersensitive myself.

Life lessons can happen anywhere, sometimes with a side of guac (which costs extra but is totally worth it!)

this is some serious business people!

this is some serious business people!

And then we moved

13 Jul don't I look thrilled to be alive and holding up a mattress in a moving truck?

Yes, the past couple of weeks have been chock full of moving fun.  The packing.  The sound of tape ripping.  The whining teens who mutter at you when you say “Can you move that couch over there instead?”

And all in the middle of the hottest temperatures ever to hit the PNW.

so. much. fun.

don't I look thrilled to be alive and holding up a mattress in a moving truck?

don’t I look thrilled to be alive and holding up a mattress in a moving truck?


We got it done, and with limited trauma to everyone involved.  Though it was touchy for a couple days with Maura.

Maura’s usually a duck when it comes to change.  She likes new things, new people, new places.  She had no issue moving to or from Ireland – as long as she had her suitcase and backpack, she was set to go.

Then there was this move.

She was cool with it all until she came home and saw her room dismantled.  Then she screamed.  She screamed and cried and didn’t understand what happened to her room.  Josh – being the awesome dad he is – said “Here, follow me.” and took her to where her bed was, in pieces, in the garage.  “This is mostly just ceremonial, but let’s do this.” he said as he opened up the back of the truck. “Here, let’s get your bed on the truck, want to put this piece of your bed on the truck?”


Piece by piece, they loaded her bed onto the truck, which calmed Maura.  Then we offered to get ice cream and all was even better.

The next day, we got keys to the new house, and started putting our stuff in there.  Maura started up again – partially because the girl refused to go to sleep until 11:30 pm the night before.  As her stuff went into her new room, she cried.  “My room broken!” she screamed as she ran off in a tizzy.

“For God’s sake Collin, can you put her bed together? Quickly?” we asked the eldest.

I took her with me to the now old house, and she screamed.  “House!’  Argh.  Cue more short, simple explanations about the  new house.
We got back to said new house to find her bed together.  I ripped open the bag of bedding and made her bed up asap.  “My room fixed!” she gasped with joy.

Sure kid.  As long as you’re happy.

And like that, Maura’s back to her duck status.  This morning a friend stopped by and she said proudly “My house!”, showing off her new home.

Now if I could just remember where I packed the rest of her clothes….

We’re already failing at summer vacation

22 Jun

It’s impressive really, how quickly our summer is going down the proverbial toilet.  Maura’s been officially out of school for an hour and we’ve spent most of it in a screaming battle of wills over screen time.

I’m thinking this summer, we may go Amish.  But then I won’t be able to get onto my computer.  And the teens would howl, which will make the dogs howl….

I may need a new plan.

Maura graduated from fifth grade on Friday.  Technically, she didn’t have to go to the “all of two hours” last day today.  But she did.  Just so I could savor those last quiet moments of peace.  Her teacher told me how another teacher asked if any of her students would show up – Maura’s teacher stated “Oh, EVERY ONE will be there.”  I said “Dang skippy!” We both laughed.  We both get it.

Also, after this past weekend, I needed that two hours of final serenity.  See, Saturday, I woke up and ran to the store.  I got milk and doughnuts and coffee.  I came home all Good Mom, and went to present Maura with a pink frosted doughnut.  She was thrilled to see said pink frosted doughnut.  I stared in horror at the puddle of chopped hair that surrounded her, and the scissors tossed casually to the side. I spent the rest of the day finding little locks of hair here and there as they fell off her head.

The good news is, the girl has such obnoxiously thick hair, you can barely tell.  The front of her hair is uneven though.

barely noticeable, really...

barely noticeable, really…

Then Sunday, I left the girls watching some bad Wizard of Oz reboot while I tried to read a book.  Only to hear the big sister yell “MOM!  MAURA’S BLEEDING!”

“From where?” I yelled as I ran to meet them.

“Her fingers!”

Somehow, Maura found a piece of broken glass.  I don’t know where.  I don’t know how.  She just found it, and held it, and sliced her fingers a little.  Her sister was more upset than she was by it all.  I washed off the hand, bandaged the finger, then realized that on her way up from the family room, Maura bled on the carpet, walls, hand rail…

It’s amazing how kids with innocent wounds can make a place look like a crime scene.

So yeah, this morning, I shoved that girl on the bus for that whole last two hours, so I could brace myself for summer.  Because we’re already failing.  And we have so much more to go.

I’ll be in the corner, rocking, if you need me.



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