There Are Those Days

IMG_0921There are days that I cringe when I hear you running toward my room.  I curl up under the covers, pretend to be sleeping and pray that you decide to make TODAY the day that you learn to play by yourself.

On these days I am sulky and mean.  I yell at you for not moving your little legs to the table fast enough. I yell at you: Eat your waffles, I’m not a maid, you must drink milk/water/juice, stop asking so many questions, I can’t stand the dog, you’ll wake your sister, you can’t watch the iPad, you have to wear pants, you peed on the toilet, stop asking so many questions, I told you the answer already, we’re going to be late, I just need coffee, I don’t have chocolate, you can’t have chocolate for breakfast anyway, stop asking so many questions, don’t ask why…

I yell and yell and yell and yell because…

Because sometimes, my darling little child, sometimes when you’re a stay at home parent you feel like nobody ever hears you.  Nobody is listening or understanding. You can manage this feeling for a bit, for days or for weeks but then one day…one dark day when the child who you love more than life itself asks you for the 1000th time if he has to brush his teeth…

…on that day you’ll completely lose your mind.  You’ll wonder if you’ve gone insane, if anyone can actually hear you.  DOES your voice work? You’ll feel useless because if you can’t even teach your child that he has to brush his teeth every morning you MUST BE FAILING and soon his teeth will fall out and the dentist will judge you.  You’ll start looking for a desk job because at least at a desk job you’ll have more control over the results.

You’ll cry.

I cry.

Because parenting is the most rewarding but stressful thing I have ever done in my entire life and the guilt at not being constantly & overwhelmingly grateful is crushing.

Then you, my slow walking, darling little child…you slowly walk up and sit next to me, knowing that I’m overwhelmed.  I feel guilt that my almost 5 year old knows what the word overwhelmed means.  You hold my hand.

You tell me you’re sorry for asking about brushing your teeth again.

I tell you I’m sorry for yelling.

The clock tells us both it has been 10 minutes since all of this began and now it has already ended.

We acknowledge that it was a rough start to the day and vow to get McDonald’s for lunch.

High five.

…and I vow to be a better, kinder, more patient mother tomorrow…

 

 

 

Superheroes & Pirates & That Guy

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Harrison: When I grow up and am finally a REAL superhero…

Me: Wait, when you GROW UP?  I THOUGHT you were a real superhero now.

Harrison: (annoyed) Well…yeah, I mean, I AM but I still want to be one when I get older.  I don’t want to be a pirate or like…(cue about 10 solid seconds of him trying to remember who he doesn’t want to be like)…that guy, you know, THAT guy.  You know. You KNOW. That guy.

Me: …Hm. Yeah. I hear ya.

…really, pal, NOBODY wants to be THAT GUY.

 

 

To My Darling Early Riser

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Dear Darling Early Riser,

This morning when I felt your tiny baby fingers pawing at my face I felt a rush of anger. Opening one eye just enough to see that it was still pitch black outside I grumbled that it wasn’t time to wake up and to go back to your room. I pulled the covers over my head as I heard you scurry out, back through the dark hallway and into your bedroom where you would probably hurt your feet stepping on the millions of toys that litter your floor.

Chastised. Sad. Frustrated. Confused.

Because you didn’t understand why, when YOU were so awake and felt like playing, I was being such a grump.

I didn’t hear you crying because you do it silently, which makes it even sadder. But I just KNEW. Because I’m your mother and totally psychic about these things.

As I always do when something like this happens (when I start feeling overwhelmed/tired/frustrated with you), I start to imagine all the horrifying things that could happen to you. My imagination takes me from a normal scary thing (car accident/bike fall/stairs slip up) to things that I know are insane (a random plate of glass falling off a skyscraper and crushing you/ants getting into your bedroom and eating you alive/poltergeists). I do this and then feel immediately grateful that you are alive, healthy, sweet, loving and kind. It is such a morbid thing to do but it really does help me gain perspective.

I lasted maybe 10 seconds before hauling myself out of bed and coming into your room, where you were (I called it) crying silently in your bed.

So at 6:17 am I started my day with you. We made coffee and chocolate milk. I repeatedly hissed “SHHHHHH! YOU’LL WAKE YOUR SISTER!” because you have absolutely no volume control on your sonic boom of a voice. You watched Iron Man while I paid bills online and when you turned to me at 6:47 am, smiled your sweet smile and said, “This is the BEST DAY EVER” in your crazy loud voice I was filled with such joy.

I know that one day in the not so distant future I’ll be DRAGGING you out of bed at 10 am. You’ll be grumbling about my kisses while I remember how you used to always say “One more hug” at bedtime to slow the process down. I’ll offer you chocolate milk and you’ll smirk because chocolate milk is for babies. Instead of waking me up in the morning you’ll be super quiet because you’ll be sneaking in from a late night party where you’ll have tasted vodka mixed with kool-aid and made out with a girl named Oliva who’s number you didn’t even bother to write down because you were too drunk off the vodka/kool-aid concoction and now she’s going to go and tell all her friends that you’re a jerk because you kissed her and then just left her in the closet.

I know this.

So I will appreciate my short time with you as a sweet child who thinks I’m the most awesome person in the world because soon I’ll just be your old mom who embarrasses you by not dressing age appropriately.

I promise to be more patient. I promise to be more kind. I promise to not yell.

Much.

You kind of inherited your sonic boom voice from me. Nobody is perfect.

Kisses,

Mommy

 

Throw Away the Chips & Put on Some Mascara

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While socializing with Anna & Elsa, my daughter makes sure that even Grumpy Cat makes an effort to not look like a total mess.

One cold, drafty Sunday many years ago I was an enchanting 12 year old wearing a lovely deep blue lace dress and waiting for bible study to start when an awful girl named LeeAnn sauntered up and snarkily asked why I was “SOOOOOO” dressed up.

“For Jesus, LeeAnn. Your ripped jeans and NKOTB t-shirt make him cry. Jerk.”

…is what I wanted to say.

But I didn’t, because even at 12 years old I had class.  I also didn’t have much of a quick wit, so I was stunned into silence, appalled that someone could ask something so rude.  My boyfriend at the time (yes, even at 12 I had admirers) came to my defense and told LeeAnn he thought I was beautiful and gave her a look insinuating that she was not.  He then turned back to me and said something that I have parroted to many people throughout my life:

“I think it’s nice that you always look good.  She’s stupid.”

I suppose I don’t quote EXACTLY what he said since I’m no longer 12. My quote is more like:

“Don’t ever be ashamed to be the best dressed person in the room.  It is far better to be overdressed than underdressed.  Nobody ever throws an overdressed person out of a dining establishment and  you can get away with far more minor crimes if you’re wearing a lovely pair of heels.”

I have been off my A-Game with pulling myself together lately.  Sweatpants have made frequent appearances even though I don’t work out. My hair lives in a ponytail. I’ve worn sneakers with mismatched socks.

I consistently blame this on having 2 children but, honestly…

No, I won’t lie, it really is because of the children.  It is ALL their fault.  They are two of the greatest loves of my life, but they exhaust me to the point of wearing tacky clothing on a fairly consistent basis because I’m too tired to put a decent outfit together.

Today I will begin practicing what I preach to my children.

Darling Children,

*Dress for the life you want, not the life you have.

*Dress for great success, not for mediocrity.  

*Dress like you’re going to randomly see your own LeeAnn in Target and she’ll be wearing knock off Juicy Couture terry clothe pants and a coffee stained white turtleneck and when she sees you wearing a black shift dress with your hair in a trendy bun she’ll think back to the day she tried to fashion shame you and feel immediate regret.

*A single strand of pearls or a tie can make an incredible difference in any ensemble, and you can use both items to choke any muggers who think you’re rich and carrying cash simply because you look lovely. 

I promise, you’ll be shocked at how much better you’ll feel about yourself when you throw the chips away, peel off your sweatpants and put on some mascara.

“The thirst for revenge and fear of random social embarrassment is the greatest motivator in the world of fashion.” -Me

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Even at the always enjoyable young age of 2, my darling daughter has a unique and classy style she likes to call, “Anything But What Mommy Picks Out For Me”.

 

Dear Darling Children: Please Don’t Be Cheap (Round 1: Accessories)

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Photo curtesy of Redbird Vintage Box

Dear Darling Children,

Concerning accessories:

Be unique.

Be daring.

Be classy.

Be willing to spend more than $10.

I once bought a pair of earrings for $5.67.  A pair of little monkeys that I thought would be amusing for a zoo excursion. My ears broke out in a horrifying rash that continued to attack my face for the next month.  After spending $700 at the dermatologist the rash subsided.

I am now too terrified to wear earrings, so don’t ever buy me a pair as a present.

Invest in the proper accessories or risk looking like a vagabond.  A cheap handbag will immediately make you look like a tourist who is trying desperately to fit in while visiting the city of New York.

My advice, follow the 3 V’s:

Vintage, Vuitton & Vogue

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Photo curtesy of Redbird Vintage Box

Vintage:  You typically can’t go wrong with vintage accessories, unless you have terrible taste.

Vuitton:  You typically can’t go wrong with Louis Vuitton, unless you go fake.

Vogue:  You typically can’t go wrong with what Vogue says, at least until Anna Wintour passes away.

As I used to say all the time before meeting your father,

“If you want a gentleman, you must be a lady…if you want a lady, you must be a gentleman.” -Your Mom

That quote obviously applies to more than your appearance, so if you’ve decided to be a swearing, loud mouthed, public cheddar cheese potato chip eating harlot then no amount of classy accessories will help and there is very little I can do for you.

Making smart decisions in life can be difficult, Children, but a decision that should never be too hard is to always buy quality over quantity.  This will not only help you in your outward appearance, but it will also do your soul good to know that you won’t be throwing away your purchases in the near future.  This reduces waste, which helps the environment.

Help save the world, Children. Don’t buy tacky & cheap accessories.

Every little thing helps.

I love you, my little darlings.

Mother

 

 

 

 

 

Quote

Spider-Man

IMG_0305“I sure hope there aren’t any spiders. There probably are. I sure hope they don’t bite me…but they probably will. When they bite me I hope it’s the Spider-Man spider and it turns me into Spider-Man.”

-my son, dreaming big on a nature walk

Dear Darling Children: Don’t Swim in the Ocean

IMG_8227Dear Darling Children,

You have asked me 7 times now since we moved to Florida if we could go to the beach.  I fear you are too young for me to give you the true answer as to why I don’t enjoy going, but I feel comfortable writing the reasons here since by the time you’re able to figure out how to navigate the internet you’ll be at least…7…8…when are children learning how to navigate the internet these days?

Hm. If you aren’t yet 7 years old, don’t read this post.

One day, about 6 years ago, in response to a question about accompanying me to the beach, a friend of mine said:

“Um…I NEVER swim in the ocean.  Think of all the dead bodies in there from all the shipwrecks and shark attacks and stuff.  Gross.  No way, not gonna do it.”

While her response was a bit tackily phrased, it changed my entire world, not to mention my views on The Discovery Channel.  This was something I had never even thought of before, something so obvious and yet…not.  Because who likes thinking about death?  Obviously not a classy lady like me.  I’m no undertaker or a sullen teenager or a politically crazed voter who so wanted Jeb Bush to be president but now has to come to terms with the fact that it will never happen and posts angrily about it on Twitter with the hashtags “whygodwhy” “movingtocanada” and “byebyeamerica”.

No, Darling Children, I don’t constantly think about death.

But after my friend shared her views on human decomposition in bodies of water, I do think about it whenever I’m near the ocean.

My advice to you today, Darling Children, that will help you in your future lives is:

***Don’t Go in the Ocean***

*Swim in highly chlorinated pools: I realize that horrifying creatures like sharks and alligators do occasionally meander into a random pool, but the chances of you being eaten alive in a pool are still significantly slimmer than if you were swimming in the ocean.  Or a lake.  The chorine will kill off any bacteria that could have otherwise festered itself into an open wound.  While your eyes may burn due to all the chemicals, it will be far less aggravating in the long term than losing a leg to a Great White or accidentally snorting dead fish & human particles up your nose.

…also…

*Always swim with a buddy:  This isn’t something you should only do as a child. I can’t begin to tell you how many people I know who have been seriously injured or killed because they went swimming alone in the ocean.  At least 2, but I’m terrible at keeping in touch with old friends so it could potentially be 500. 95% of the ocean is unexplored territory.  If a mutant alien type shark/care bear hybrid creature rose from the deep spitting tiny puppies at us, we shouldn’t be surprised because NOBODY REALLY KNOWS WHAT IS REALLY DOWN THERE!  Don’t be arrogant and assume you know all there is to know. Swim with a buddy, so when you make the inevitable decision to frolic in the ocean that buddy can come and let me know that you were carried away by pirates and I shouldn’t wait on you for dinner.

…and lastly…

*Don’t ever go skinny dipping: You’ll die. Watch Jaws or any other ocean centric C- or below movie to brush up on the statistics.

Have fun with your life, Darling Children. Live it to the fullest.

Be adventurous! Be brave! Be daring! Be fearless!

But don’t be a fool.

Stay out of the ocean.

I love you, my little darlings.

Mother

 

 

 

Dear Darling Children: Learn to Cook

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Dear Darling Children,

Hello.

Today you woke me up at 5:45 am and asked me to make you cinnamon toast.  I said no and you started sobbing uncontrollably, not so much because of the toast situation but because YOU REFUSE TO SLEEP UNTIL A NORMAL HOUR AND ARE EXHAUSTED SO YOU CRY ABOUT EVERYTHING!

Stop it.

Stop waking me up and immediately asking me to make you GOURMET MEALS!

You ran back to your room, slamming your door in righteous anger and waking up your sister in the process.  Thus, my day started off badly and I was unable to get myself out of the darkest of places and into a mood appropriate for the promised park excursion.

So we didn’t go to the park.  Partly because of my mood, partly because it started storming and I didn’t want to ruin my shoes or risk either of you getting pneumonia. Instead we went to Target to get cleaning products.

I let you con me into getting the humongous cart you deem “super fun” so you and your sister could sit next to one another.

Mistake.

While your sister hit you in your left eye repeatedly for no reason other than the fact that she is an angry little toddler, I stared longingly at the Starbucks conveniently located at the front entrance of Target, wishing that it was instead a wine bar with an attached daycare.

Everyone left Target frustrated and a little twitchy.

All of this could have been avoided if you only knew how to cook for yourself.  Unfortunately, at 4 years old you are a little bit on the short side and your common sense skills haven’t quite kicked in yet, which would make figuring out the proper sugar to cinnamon ratio a bit difficult.

One day you’ll learn.  Hopefully soon.  Or perhaps you’ll learn to like cereal.

My advice to you today, Darling Children, that will help you in your future life, is…

 ***LEARN TO COOK ***

*Have at least one meal you do well.  This is all you need and is more than enough to fool a potential life partner into thinking you’re far more talented in the kitchen than you really are.  I speak from experience.

…also…

*Always keep fresh fruit in the house.  This not only gives visitors the assumption that you live a healthy lifestyle, it also helps you actually live a healthy lifestyle. If you don’t keep frosting filled chips a’hoy cookies in the house, you can’t eat them.  I tell myself this on a daily basis and have so far been mildly successful at not purchasing those delicious cookies.  There is absolutely no proof that people who live a healthy lifestyle always outlive those that live a grossly unhealthy lifestyle, so still err on the side of caution when dared to sky dive or swim in the ocean. Eating fruit doesn’t make you a superhero, no matter what numerous random marketing ploys may suggest.

…and lastly…

*Don’t eat fruit chews or gummy candies.  These will kill you.

I did eventually make you cinnamon toast.  I’m not a total monster.  At first there was instantaneous regret when the sugar seeped into your brain and turned you into a psychotic hyped up crazy person.  Then you ran up to me with wild hair and socks on your hands in the middle of your sugar & cinnamon induced puppet show and sweetly said…

“Thumbs up for stinky socks, Mother.  Thanks for the cinnamon toast, and MAYBE you should buy me some gloves or puppets so I don’t have to wear old stinky socks on my hands anymore…”

…why does my heart just melt with you?

At what age will cuteness no longer be a factor in how long I remain irritated?

I hope the age is 97, but common sense tells me it’s probably going to be 12 or 13.

Such is life.

Learn to cook. It will make you a more accomplished person and of great use to me when I’m old & feeble and can no longer drive myself to McDonalds.

I love you, my little darlings.

Mother