Tag Archives: parenting

Like Giving Birth

Why do my girls need Daddy so much? I don’t know.

I’m sitting here, completely available and the five year old has enlisted Daddy to write the story she is making up and that’s when the three year old completely ignores me and goes to DADDY to try and get him to play. He is busy writing with a leg up on the chair like Usher sitting on his Voice throne. The three year old, not getting the imediate results she wants forces her head threw his propped up leg and looks up at her daddy’s face saying in a whiny voice, “Dadddyyyy… PLAY WITH ME!” The five year old replies, “We are writing a story here,” in her perfectly 15 year old sarcastic, sing song voice. Mercy, we are SCREWED later…

Daddy looks over at me and comments on the three year old’s approach to getting attention (the crawling threw his leg thing) and says, “It’s like giving birth.”

I look him right in the eye and say, “No. It’s not.”

A Lesson in Absolutes for New Parents

As a new parent, I gave in to the hormones every other day and made “absolute” statements all the time. Like most new parents, I was terrified and in awe of my new baby. She was perfect, she was innocent and suddenly, I had motherly instincts of protection and they were in overdrive. This instinct is where the “absolute” statement is born and it usually begins with, “My children will NEVER….” or, “We are planning to make sure our children always…”

Let’s take a look at some of these statements I made when I was a new mother and see how I measure up to my own expectations, shall we?

“My child will never eat at McDonalds!” – until I am on a long car ride and in a small town that I don’t know and there are only little local dives that look… frightening. McDonalds might be the only reliably awful thing around. I pull into the McDonalds faster than a Nascar racer. McDonalds, in all its unhealthy glory will be the only place I can find where my babies can run free in the play place and get out the wiggles while I refuel on a Caramel Macciato. Not only do I take them there on trips but whenever I need to get out of the house, have very little money and only want to have to watch one exit because when there are two of them and one of me, McDonalds suddenly becomes HEAVEN ON EARTH!

“We are planning to make sure our kids only watch a half hour of TV a day and then only after they have had educational blah blah blah blah and/or while I’m doing their hair so they will sit still.” – until I am crazy tired and one decides to wake up at the crack of dawn and ask for food. I get them a frozen waffle, a sippy of juice a nice long TV show and whew… back to bed for mommy. Not only do I allow them to watch outrageously more TV than I ever planned, but the happiest moment of my life was when my oldest could wield the remote on her own (thank you NETFLIX for giving me the ability to have a queue that I can fill with only children’s programing and no commercials) and make her own frozen waffles in the toaster.

“My kids are never going to have Disney Princess stuff. It gives them all the wrong idea of what’s important.” – until I go into Walmart. I live in a small town and sometimes there is no other option and after many purchases against my former statement, I noticed that although my girls are princesses, there is nothing wrong with it and whatever… they are not being abused or taught to be abusers so… I’m cool with it.

“We are planning to make sure our kids only go into school after they are 7 or 8 and never go to a daycare.” – until we both get jobs, need jobs and can’t afford the luxury of being stay at home parents. We were offered a slow introduction to school for our kids and free childcare by my mother and well… who can pass that up? It’s FREE! And who can say what is going to happen in the future? I’ve seen many a kid come out of daycare and be PERFECTLY HEALTHY! There is just no other way to do it sometimes. The luxury of being a stay at home parent isn’t always practical.

“I will never yell, spank, or freak out. I will always have a discipline plan that I stick to.” – until the first time my child back talked to me and then I was like, “My head is EXPLODING!” Do I make mistakes, change my mind constantly about what we want to do, and deal with completely unforeseen circumstances in the middle of an expensive theme park experience that cause us to think about letting our kid act out without the normal consequences just so we can get our moneys worth? You better believe it.

“We are planning to only have babysitters that we know very well and have had a thorough background check.” – until we haven’t had a date night in months and need to have a conversation without a kid using us as a jungle gym or interrupting us OVER and OVER! “Mommy, um…. mommy, mommy mommy MOMMY?!” “WHAT?! Can’t you see I’m trying to have a chat with DADDY?! Give us a second?! Now… what the hell were we talking about?” That’s when I called everyone I knew and finally settled on a friend of a friend who I had never met and said, “Have at it,” and we went out and never looked back.

I could go on and on about what I planned to have my child learn to read before the age of 3, or how I planned to potty train them to cut down on the cost of diapers (you don’t potty train them, they train you and when they are ready to use the potty, if they are 2 or 6 or 25, you will most likely not be able to MAKE them do it any faster than they want to), or any number of plans I had for them that were completely impractical.

I can’t tell you how often I have walked through the mall and seen children and thought, “Not my kid. They will NEVER do that.” And then they do. And what can I do but deal with it in the best way I know how? I am only human and so are my children and so are those other parents. I hope that parenting is teaching me something important that I never thought I needed to learn… to be less judgmental.

The conclusion I have come to is that I should just keep my mouth shut about the absolutes (usually spoken to a friend when watching someone else parent their children), communicate with the other parent in a fluid and constant way and realize that every situation will warrant a new way of “dealing.” Parenting is not right or wrong… usually. As long as there is no abuse, we are all doing the very best we can and what more can you ask from sleep deprived people growers?

I’m a Mom… Perfect and Real

I read a lot of blogs. I used to have my own blog but since I became a working mother, I only guest star on my husband’s blog. I am on Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter.

I get bombarded by “PERFECT PARENT” blogs all the time touting suggestions on how to save time when making meals, how to save money on groceries, how to make your own clothing, grow your own food, save on your energy bill… You would think mothering was a study in living off the grid!

HOWEVER, I also read blogs from people who are “REAL PARENTS.” These people also apparently read a lot of blogs and somehow, someone elses’ success at grocery shopping or feeding their child only organic food or homeschooling the next Einstein makes these REAL PARENTS feel inferior. They write with a bit of a chip on their should confessing to yelling at their children and locking themselves in the bathroom to cry over a failure to be the PERFECT PARENT. The PERFECT PARENT will then retort with an angry tirade about how the REAL PARENT should be more grateful to even have their little brats at all!

Let me just say something about all of this. I love the REAL PARENT. I also have the feeling that if I don’t become an alcoholic, I won’t make it to my kids graduation day alive. I have been known to stand with the refrigerator door open and spray whipped cream into my mouth as a coping mechanism for whining.

I also love THE PERFECT PARENT. I love reading about some parents epiphany about how to make a single shopping trip last all month, how to make pillowcase dresses in 20 minutes, and look at pictures of smiling kids happy and healthy in a loving home.

I get both sides of the aisle because I don’t think there is an aisle. Yes, there are angry parents who will tell you that if one grain of sugar passes the lips of your child’s mouth, all their teeth will fall out and you will be responsible for their autism if there is mercury within a 500 mile radius of your home. There are people who never wanted children and had them by accident or because of social pressure and now don’t know why they ever did. However, this is not the norm.

We are all excited when we (even if it’s just one month out of the year) are able to do stuff with our family that makes something in our life easier or better. We all revel in the acclaim we receive when someone says, “Wow! How did you do that?” We want to share our knowledge and learning with other parents who are as desperate as we are to make life just a little bit smoother. Isn’t it nice to take that one extra step one day we have more energy so we can rest on one step the next day when our child decides she is going pee every 5 minutes ALL DAY LONG?

We also all have those times when we need to take a time out and say, “OK, what the hell is that thing in the highchair that just spit my homemade baby food in my face? SATAN?” And take a bath, and get a babysitter and spend the night in a motel crying and come back a better parent after.

So let’s not hate. Let’s not allow someone sharing something awesome they have discovered make us feel like less of a parent if that particular exciting bit of step-taking doesn’t fit into our life. Let’s not get all up and upset when someone feels like their only outlet for feelings of failure that day as a parent is to confess on a blog or Facebook. Let’s not participate in the freak out! Let’s encourage each other because damn… these kids didn’t come with an instruction book and we all need all the help and encouragement we can get.

AM I RIGHT? Can I get an AMEN?!

All the World is a Stage…

This afternoon I was treated to a stage show by our five year old. It was really cute to see her create a story with princess magnets. Oh I just love the imagination of this child.

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Our next stage will be a cardboard box with a window cut into it, and some curtains.

 

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A captivated audience

 

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Snow White who lives in a Snow house and who is searching for love.

 

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A bad guy coming to take people away.

 

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A young girl waiting for her prince

 

Adventures in Babysitting

Although I don’t actually remember these events occurring this is how they have been relayed to me in bits and pieces.

One summer when I was about 2, my parents asked my 9 year old brother to watch me. My brother was more interested in watching cartoons then me. I decided to look for my mom, who was working as the summer camp nurse. I exited the front and headed down the front steps. I started walking down our street – naked. Well, I had a diaper on. But being naked makes for a better story.

My journey continued down the the side of the state road until I was in front of our local elementary school. As I walked down the road looking for my mom, cars kept passing me. Finally, one gentlemen decided to stop and pick me up and figure out who I belonged to. He found the house and left me with my brother again.

The details are a little rough about whether the gentleman was a policeman or not. Somehow, social services was called. They came out to the house and discovered that there was no child abuse, after talking with my mother. There are many unanswered questions. Who was the stranger who picked me up? Was he a policeman? How did he find my house? How did I get so far down the road and not get hit by a car? Why did this person leave me with my brother AGAIN and him not even notice who he was, his face, his profession… nothing?

To this day I am convinced that gentlemen was my guardian angel and I am still alive because God was looking out for me. I live today to retell this tale and to constantly give my brother grief for neglecting me.

I Wish You

I wrote this a couple of years ago for my wife’s blog.

You know how sometimes your parents wish that you will have a child just like you were. Well mom you told me so…

When I was little, I would I would wake up in the middle of night and in order for me to get back to sleep I needed my parents. I would attempt to crawl into bed with mommy and daddy. My mom would be terribly annoyed at the fact that I would not stay still. I was always told to climb in on daddy’s side of the bed.

Well, mom has her revenge. It doesn’t matter what child it is. They both like to wiggle, twist, and turn until they they take command of the bed. Callie tried to say that our bed would be a sacred place where no kid would enter. That’s been over since the day Abby was born. Out of pure necessity, one kid or the other or both are often in our bed making sleep a little harder. What makes it such a trial is that we can only fit a queen sized bed into our little “master” bedroom. Maybe someday, we’ll get our bed back but for now, we are cursed to deal with what we dished out to our parents when we were little. For now, it is fun to have little girls that want to snuggle.

Horseland

Recently the girls have been watching Horseland on Netflix. They have instantly fallen in love with the idea of riding horses. With their arms holding imaginary reins they proceed to gallop, side step and jump over fences. Each girl will race each other through house, stores, and parking lots, pretending they are in a horse competition. The winner receives the BIGGEST TROPHY ever.  It is quite the sight to see. However, I just sit back and chuckle to myself and think about Monty Python and the Holy Grail. King Arthur and his merry knights galloping through the country side being followed by their squires clapping coconuts.