Timeline to Happy

Jane and I had an accidental head bonking that spiraled out of control.

Perhaps if you haven’t bonked heads with a small overtired child that might not make sense. But let me explain, it goes a bit like this.

You are the mom. You accidentally bump head with your own child. Your child completely FREAKS out because clearly you are out to kill them, never mind that the head bump made your own eyes water, you are the mother and that is not important. Instead of accepting your heartfelt apology gracefully, or even reluctantly the child lashes out kicking and yelling. Which makes all the sense in the world because you were trying to maim them by clocking them with your own temple. Then you, the mother with the hurting head, yells back at the child who’s trying to beat you up with their tiny pokey fists and feet because even though you know it won’t actually help anything your head hurts and none of what happened since heads banged together makes sense anyway and besides by this time you have “HAD ENOUGH!”. The child then runs off crying because they hate everyone, in particular, you. 

After we retreated to separate corners for awhile, Jane came over and gave me this note.29

This is clearly a time line to happy. At 2 o’clock Jane is sad because we bonked heads and yelled at each other and she will slowly get happier until 5 o’clock when she is back to being extra happy.  I know this because she told me.

Luckily for all of us, Jane didn’t check the clock before making her time line and before long I was able to answer her constant inquires into the time with 4 o’clock! Sure enough, half a smile showed up right on schedule.

A while later I served cheese sticks.

“WHAT?!? MINE ARE HOT?! EVERY TIME YOU MAKE THINGS IN THE OVEN THEY ARE HOT AND YOU KNOW I HATE THAT!… I ONLY LIKE THINGS WARM!”

Thinking I could circumnavigate the ongoing disagreement we’ve been having over the last year that revolves around the necessity of heat to cook things, I checked the time.

“Jane! It’s 5:00! You can be all the way happy now!”

I thought that was a brilliant maneuver on my part – no such luck.

Suffice it to say we needed to start over with a new timeline.

 

 

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True To Nature

I have sweet, kind girls.

I also have kids and kids are by nature boundary pushers, button mashers and tiny manipulators.

My girls have discovered the wonders of youtube and all of the terrible trash that has been produced for kids that it contains.

I, like any good mother, use their smidgen of trash screen time to leverage as many chores out of them as possible before handing over a device.

They, like any kids worth their salt, do their best to wheedle and cajole and push for all their worth to see just how much extra time they can get.

Today my sweet girls found me in the kitchen and presented me with this:

For the record I’m pretty sure they intended to say that I am a person who draws rather than a drawer. However, I probably hold more of their stuff than I do draw things so maybe drawer is more accurate.

I, like any good mother, made admiring noises.

I, like any experienced mother, was touched and also suspicious.

And those sweet, kind, girls of mine, like any true, red blooded kids, waited no more than a half a heartbeat after I expressed my thanks before blurting out- “Can we watch more videos now?”

I have sweet, kind girls.

I also have kids and kids are by nature boundary pushers, button mashers and tiny manipulators.

Showers

“When was the last time you showered?”

“You better go take a shower.”

“No, you can’t just put your hair in a pony tail, go wash it.”

“Because you can’t remember the last time!”

“No, you have to.”

“Because you can’t remember the last time, that means it’s been too long!”

“AND WASH YOUR HAIR SO WE CAN BRUSH IT!!!”

“Did you wash your hair yet?”

“Okay, but don’t come out until you wash and condition it.”

“Did you wash it?”

“Go, get back in and wash and condition it!”

“Because we will never be able to get all the snarls out otherwise!”

*Thirty Seven hours of brushing and crying and whining later…*

“There, all nice and smooth and shiny!”

dscn8577-2sm

Unrelated photo. And yet it seemed appropriate anyway…

*sigh*


When was the last time I showered?

Damn, I can’t remember.

*Go to use shampoo and conditioner and find empty bottles.*

*Try to brush hair.*

*Fail due to large snarls.*

*Throw it all in pony tail anyway.*

*sigh*

A Reminder

Do you have anything that you pull out, look at, shudder and then hide it back safely away where it belongs?

I have a draft of a blog post hiding at the bottom of my overly large pile of drafts like that. It contains nothing more than this innocent sentence:

“Mom, guess what? I’m just going to fallow you around wherever ever you go today!!”

Occasionally I flip through all my started and discarded posts looking for inspiration and I run across this one and shudder.

There are probably mothers who could look at a memory like that with full hearts and happy smiles.

I can’t.

Instead that sentence brings me back to days of diapers and mandatory naps. Days of more children than arms and kids that needed help with all the things. Days that there was always at least one kid clinging to me and I wished for nothing more than to walk at a normal speed. Days that remind me just exactly what it felt like when I wished I could jump right out of my skin with it’s clinging children and head for the hills. Days that I’m glad are behind me.

I look at that terrifying sentence and thank my lucky stars, individually and by name, that my kids continue to grow and learn. I thank those stars that I didn’t run for the hills so I can enjoy them now in ways that I couldn’t before. And I thank them for the knowledge I have on those days when I still want to spring out of my skin and head for the hills. The knowledge that, whatever terrible phase we are now in, this to shall pass.

Gold Stars

I want to get gold stars again.

Little shiny stickers so the world knows I did something well.

Today I correctly answered this tricky question on the first try:

“Mom! What’s that other word for wrong?”

“Left,” is, of course, the answer.

I think I should get a gold star for that one.

A little shine during one of my typical slapdash, seat of my pants day of mothering to remind myself to stand taller.

I know lots of things!

…just not how much toilet paper we have or where the thingamabob is or who’s got gym class today or what we are going to eat for dinner…

But I know lots of other things and so do you!

I want to get little gold stars for them again.

Don’t you?

(And no, we don’t teach our children that being left handed is wrong or evil or that that particular direction has anything to do with the devil. Geeze what do you take me for?!?)


This half written post from earlier this year was pulled out of my file of drafts tonight. Thank you NanoPoblano for the incentive to rescue it and it’s little gold stars! nanopoblano1

Wishes

Today Jane said that the two of us should each make a wish.

She wished to be a fairy-princess-mermaid.

I wished for a nap.

She was quite disappointed in me.

I understood. I was too.

Unfortunately, I’ve found one of the great truths of motherhood to be that more sleep is actually your dearest wish.zinnias

And, sadly, neither one of our wishes came true today.

It’s okay though, Jane says we can wish again tomorrow.

 

The Fear of “What If?”

It’s possible that the longer that John and I go on being parents, the worse we get. Now, I can hear you all protesting already, but hear me out.  In the beginning, when you bring a new baby home and are suddenly faced with, you know, keeping it alive you try really hard to make sure you don’t mess it up. And as the kids grow and hit new milestones you continue to try really hard not to mess it up because, “WHAT IF?” Those are the two scariest words ever when you are a new parent.

But life happened and John and I went back to doing what John and I do (mainly activities that involve an avoidance of early mornings executed with spontaneous but poor planning) and we discovered that most of the “WHAT IF?”s are actually not so bad. I’m pretty sure my kid ate part of a dead shrew once… she was fine. Another of my girls wore the same dress for a week, child protective services did not take her away from me. I have experienced forgotten water bottles, snacks, diapers, wipes, wallet, shoes and underwear not to mention winter jackets on a Northern Wisconsin trip in December.

And you know what? It was all fine.

Inconvenient? Yes.

Fine? Absolutely.

Does this make us look like stellar parents? Probably not. Are our kids learning to take extra responsibilities for themselves because their mom is never going to actually remember to pack anyone a snack? I sure hope so.

This brings us to John’s company sponsored trip to the zoo this last weekend. Parents still in the “WHAT IF?” stage would have done a fabulous job of planning the day. Free zoo pass, multiple free animal shows to watch, free food over the lunch hours, free face painting… JaneIt was going to be awesome!

But…zebra

-John and I let all our kids have sleepovers the night before.

-Which of course had us leaving much later than we should have in the morning (and yes all the kids were tired and grumpy).

-Which meant that we had to feed them on the way to the zoo.

-Which of course we didn’t plan for because of the free food at the zoo.

-Which meant that when we got to the zoo they weren’t hungry and because patience has never been my strong suit, I encouraged us to go see animals and come back later.

-Of course we lost track of time and missed the food.

-Of course we lost track of time and missed the animal shows.

-Of course we ended up having to feed the kids on the way home because they were starving.

-And, of course, at one point we looked wistfully at a family with coolers and snacks and water bottles and a child being pulled in a wagon and wondered why we didn’t do that.taiper

But I know why we didn’t, we’ve lost our fear of the “WHAT IF?”

And now I can tell you, What if you go to the zoo completely unprepared over tired and miss almost all the “good” stuff.

Well…Jane Clara and a lion

You’ll still get to be eyeball to eyeball with the big cats. Watching the giraffe run will still amaze everyone. There will still be contests to see who can find the animal in each exhibit first and the kids will still have to pull the two of us away from the octopus.  You will spend too much on a snack, or two, it’s true. And there will be whining kids. (But isn’t there always?) You will discover that everyone would actually rather see the velvet peeling off the caribou’s antlers than watch the sea lion show anyway and you’ll teach your child that tapirs are not the same as armadillos. Your lack of handy wheeled device to carry all your nonexistent snacks will have you zipping in and out of all the exhibits and when a tired little girl says she can’t walk anymore, you can sympathize with her tired legs and skip to the next animal house together.Me and Jane (Clara too)

Yes, we’ve lost most of our fear of those two words, for certain we would be better prepared parents if we carried a bit of that fear with us still but I think we are doing just fine without it.