A Mother’s Day Gift

I’m the terribly unsentimental mother who says the appropriate things about the priceless pieces of artwork given to me on Mother’s Day and then leaves them on the table for everyone to look at. I do this knowing full well that they will be ripped, spilled on, chewed on by a cat or eaten by a dog if we just wait a few days and then I can burn them guilt free in the wood stove while no one is looking. (Stop. Don’t judge. Don’t judge until you’ve been buried in your own flood of priceless artwork that required each kid less than two minutes to make. And if you are, and you’ve kept every paper your kids have given, kudos to you. And please be careful, those stacks of paper you are saving are no doubt reaching fire hazard level.)

But this year my Mother’s Day gift from Jane draws my eye every time I walk by it. I think about it almost daily when she and I are having discussions. It’s taken up residence on the wall in my office rather than someplace the dogs would chew on it’s popsicle stick frame. It is truly the most memorable gift she’s ever given me. It might even be a keeper.

Not because it’s so cute, or because I want to remember just how little and cute Jane was in the picture when it was taken or because she did such a nice job decorating it. No. It’s a keeper because I shake my head in incredulity every time I pass it.

“I love you because you let me have what I want.”

If you know Jane or you’ve been around here enough you may have gathered that she’s convinced she is something of a princess. This is not a character trait I try to encourage, quite the opposite, but I seem to be having limited success.

John saw her gift to me and jumped up and down going “OOO!!! OOO!!! You are the one giving her what she wants!!!” attempting to lay the root cause of our princess child’s behavior at my feet.  I rejected that assumption and I have a story to prove that I do not in fact let her have what she wants, a morning story…

Here is how basically every school day Jane has ever been a part of has gone.

Me -“Jane, it’s time to get up and come down stairs and have breakfast.”

Jane- “Uggghhhhh….”

Me-  (A bit later) “I’m making oatmeal/eggs/waffles for your sisters do you want some.”

Jane- (with a wail of despair) “I don’t know what I want!!!”

Me -” Okay, well come down and eat something before you run out of time!”

(Then yesterday’s chosen clothes are no longer fashionable/comfortable/fit and she has to find new clothes. I encourage her to hurry so she has time to eat.)

Me- (eventually) “Jane your oatmeal/eggs/waffle/food of some kind is ready.”

Jane-  (exasperatedly) “I don’t want [insert any food item here] and I need (socks/pants/shorts/some other shirt/a ponytail)!”

Then she goes and finds socks/pants/shorts/some other shirt/a ponytail holder while her sisters eat their breakfast, put their shoes on and get in the car. Occasionally I give her a count down of minutes remaining and remind her about eating.

Jane finally appears at the door. Then she cries about something.  Anything really, actual substance for cause of crying seems totally unnecessary. Crying is followed by demanding to know where her breakfast is, citing that all she really wanted was eggs/oatmeal/last night’s leftovers. I ignore all this and push her out the door handing her a granola bar to eat in the car.

Then I drop them all at school .023 seconds before the bell rings and the older kids get out of the car yelling at Jane for making them late – again.

It’s super fun.

90% of the school days this year Jane has run out of time to eat at home, demands to be allowed to sit and eat some random breakfast item at a time when we should be leaving and instead grumpily eats a granola bar or some such item in the car on the way to school.

Recently when I tossed a granola bar into the back seat she lost it.

“Why don’t I ever get breakfast? I don’t understand why this keeps happening over and over and over and over and over and everyday I don’t get breakfast and everyday all you feed me is a granola bar.”

All I could do was look at Ivy in the seat next to me with wide eyes and the two of us burst out laughing. (That didn’t make Jane feel better btw – put me in the terrible mother camp for that one, but it was early and I don’t do anything well early.) “I’m not sure either Jane, I’m not sure either.” I finally got out through my laughter.

Now everyday I look at that… “you let me have what I want.” and smile.

Maybe it’s her way of wishful thinking, if she believes long enough, and claps hard enough it’ll come true. In the meantime I’m going to keep it on the wall as a reminder that this girl may always, deep down, know that she is a princess no matter how the world treats her.

 

 

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Do You Want A Donut?

Jane often wakes me up by telling me she wants to eat breakfast. I, never a morning person, shamelessly attempt any delay tactic I can think of in an effort to stay under the warm covers.

The other morning I was woken by her sweet little voice demanding breakfast and my foggy brain had an epiphany. Grandpa Moose had dropped off donuts the day before and there were a few left! Smug with the thought of extra time in bed and a happy donut-eating child, I asked in my best lure-the-children-to-the-van-with-candy voice, “Do you want a donut for breakfast?!?”

And then Jane, like all children, effortlessly popped my beautiful fantasy bubble.

“No. I want breakfast not a donut!”Jane

Out of bed I crawled to make her something totally responsible and appropriately breakfasty while I tried to determine if, with a response like that, I’m doing this parenting thing all right or totally wrong.

Starting The Day Off Right

I remembered the incredulity as I dropped the kids off at school this morning. The sad scorn I felt for those parents that would send their poor children off to a long day of school without a proper breakfast. They were heavy on my mind, those poor nutrition-less children and the worries that surround them. How could they make it through a day of learning and activity without a good healthy start to the day?

I was thinking about those deprived children because I had just watched in the review mirror as my own kids ate old stale Cheetos from a bag Clara found in the back. I had just thought how odd it was that they’d even want to eat something like that much less in the morning right after – Oh shit!

I forgot to feed my kids breakfast.

I dropped them off, wished them well, figured it was a good thing we never clean the truck and that Clara gets a snack within an hour of getting to school. Made a mental note to be nicer in my head to people because you never know what the circumstances might be and headed to the gas station.

I got out to pump gas and looked down at my slippers.

Moral of the story: Don’t judge, you never know what motherhood may do to you.

Other moral of the story: Some people just don’t do mornings.

Bee-Beep, Bee- Beep, Bee-Beep!

Bee-Beep, Bee-Beep, Bee-Beep!

The house is on fire!

I elbow John’s sleeping figure.

He doesn’t move.

Bee-Beep, Bee-Beep, Bee-Beep!

….No, that’s not the smoke detector…

It’s the alarm going off- we’re late!

I poke John.

He doesn’t move.

Bee-Beep, Bee-Beep, Bee-Beep!

…I peer closely at the alarm clock, 4:23, alarms do not alarm at that time in this house…

It’s the cell phone!

I poke John.

He doesn’t move.

Bee-Beep, Bee-Beep, Bee-Beep!

…It’s not the phone…

THERE IS A PERSON IN OUR ROOM!

I poke John.

He doesn’t move.

Bee-Beep, Bee-Beep, Bee-Beep!

…Oh – It’s Jane…

She wants breakfast.

I poke John.

He doesn’t move.

Bee-Beep, Bee-Beep, Bee-Beep!

She tells me she needs yogurt.

I look at John…  give up, and get up.

Bee-Beep, Bee-Beep, Bee-Beep!

I follow Jane, toward both the yogurt and the beeping.

It’s the refrigerator door alarm.

Jane appears to have  been up for sometime.Jane in the fridge

Sadly for her I do not serve breakfast at 4:30AM.

The next twenty minutes crawl by in a sleepy, horrible, tangle of whining, crying, and waking of sisters only ending after a terrible game of musicale beds.

Finally, Bee-Beeping silenced, kids settled, I find my way back to my own bed.

I poke John.

He lifts up his arm to make a space and I scoot back under the covers with the sudden, suspicious anger that he was feigning sleep earlier.

But John is warm and his arm is heavy over my chest.  I snuggle in, sigh and barely have time to mentally forgive him before I drop headlong into sleep.

 

And that is an unfortunately true story of my wee hours of the morning this week. Clearly my brain has absolutely no idea how to function at that time. Grabbing my camera as I walked through the house was a minor miracle! I am again linking up with Northwest Frame of Mind  and her 1 Day 1 World project.  Check out who else was up between Four and Five this week.