Monthly Archives: February 2018

I’m telling my mom on you.

I like to think I’m a mature person. Mature-ish at the very least. Especially since I became a mother. Because when the world hands you a screaming, leaking lump of fragile human clay and expects you to keep it alive for 18 years, you grow up a bit in spite of yourself.

I can now even say the word Uranus without giggling.

Usually.

But let me tell you, the first time I heard my own mom scold my misbehaving kids, telling them they better behave and listen to their mother or else, I gloated. Oh, I gloated so hard.

(Internally, of course. I am mature-ish, afterall.)

But you could not have wiped that Cheshire Cat grin off my face with a jackhammer.

“Oh yeah,” I thought to myself. “Memaw just put the smack down on you. Who’s a stupid poopy-head now, tiny humans?”

I’m not necessarily proud of this. But then again, I’m not necessarily ashamed.

It can be lonely at the top of the family hierarchy. Heavy is the head that wears the crown made of macaroni your offspring made you at day camp. And nowhere is this more evident than when it comes to disciplining.

Now that my kids are 4 and 20-months-old, respectively, my days have devolved into one long verbal parade of “no.” Oh look, there’s the “Knock It Off” float. And the “Please Stop” marching band. And the “Don’t Do That Again” men in the funny hats riding the tiny cars.

And, perhaps my personal favorite, the “And That’s Why We Don’t Stick Our Hands In The Toilet” cheerleaders.

It’s exhausting. Especially because you have to constantly be vigilant about disciplining. And correcting. And punishing. One tiny little inconsistency and BOOM. The whole wobbly stack of cards your authority rests on comes crumbling down.  

Because small children are relentless. And merciless. And love nothing more than finding a loophole in your disciplining and squeezing their squirmy little tooshies through it.

So, when someone else with familial authority steps in and disciplines your children while simultaneously giving credence to your own parental authority, it feels like one of those deus ex machina moments in a book or a movie, where the hand of God comes down and fixes everything.

At least for the next 15 minutes.

This is particularly a big deal for me since both my mom and my husband’s mom live far away. Which can make it feel like my husband and I are ruling on a remote island that is constantly under threat of a coup from the restless peasants. Just last week they were screaming “LET US EAT CAKE!” while trying to bang down our bedroom door as we huddled under the blankets, clinging to each other.

But when either one of our moms comes to visit, oh…oh, it’s like watching Cleopatra riding into the city with her giant army of weaponized cookies and stickers, ready to take over and restore order.

Because grandparents, and especially grandmothers, enjoy a different sort of authority. Parents, by necessity, usually end up becoming dictators. Otherwise chaos reigns. But grandparents are more like benevolent royalty. Since they are a degree removed from the children, (unlike us dictators who are forced to live side by side with them), Grandma and Pop-pop can show up, shower them with jewels and snickerdoodles, and earn their obedience without any bloodshed.

And it just so happens that my mom is in town this week for a visit. Which is why I am out in a coffee shop right now writing this, disastrously mixing up my political and historical metaphors in peace, instead of strolling the hallways of the gulag that was formerly my house.

What’s going on inside my house right now? I have no idea. And better yet, I don’t care. Because a divine parental authority even more ancient than mine has taken over.

And for this week I say, hell, let ‘em eat cake.

 

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One thousand birthday hats

Here’s an interesting question you’ve probably never been asked before: Did you know it was possible to be bad at celebrating?

Me neither.

And then I had kids.

My children are awful at celebrating. Just terrible. Holidays, birthdays, anniversaries. They’re hopeless. They’re even bad at those faux holidays like National Talk Like A Pirate Day (you should hear their sorry excuse for a pirate accent).

I’m hoping it’s just their ages but it’s getting to the point that I’m slightly worried this may turn into a permanent part of their personalities.

Take this past Christmas, for example. First of all, I had to wake them up. A baby and a 3-year-old. I woke THEM up. The only day of the year their sleep-deprived mother would happily get up at 4 a.m. and they decide it’s the only day of the year they want to sleep in. And then, after every present they opened, they wanted to STOP and actually play with that gift instead of ripping into all the other brightly wrapped packages like demented honey badgers. You know, like the rest of us red-blooded Americans do with our presents.

Before that was our anti-climatic Halloween. After getting candy at maybe six houses, my oldest proclaims “ok, let’s go home now.” I mean, who does that? A tiny human dressed like a Viking riding a dinosaur apparently.

And don’t even get me started on Thanksgiving. Eight hours of cooking only to have both of them eat a roll in under three minutes and ask “can we have pie now?”

And those are the major events. They’re even worse at the holidays on the JV squad.

On St. Patrick’s Day, they didn’t want to leave the house. My red-headed children. On the holiest day of the year for redheads. Those selfish un-fun offspring of mine also refused to wear the tiny leprechaun outfits I bought them even AFTER I explained that Mommy and Daddy might be able to score a free beer at a pub if they would just play along.  

Valentine’s Day? Forget it. Same with Easter. Last July, when my youngest turned one, it’s like she didn’t even KNOW it was her birthday. And neither could care less about the fact their mommy and daddy will be celebrating eight years of marriage this month without any attempted murder charges on either of their records (no small feat, thank you very much).

It’s not entirely their fault, I suppose. I mean, children are perpetually living in the present and feel they deserve cake at any given moment. So, it’s understandable they just don’t “get” the big deal about special days. (Whereas us adults are caught in a horrific loop living between the past and the future, skipping the present entirely, and feel guilty eating cake even if we do deserve it. Which is probably why we do love holidays and birthdays so much. It forces us to act like kids for a day.)

Plus, in all fairness, my youngest just figured out was an elbow was so the intricacies of societal celebrations might be a bit above her paygrade.

But next weekend will be the real test. My oldest will be turning 4-years-old. The first birthday he’ll probably remember and the first that he gets to have opinions on.

So far, the outlook isn’t great seeing as how I’m currently more excited than he is. Here is how our conversation about his birthday plans went:

Me: What do you want for your birthday, baby?

Him: Oh, um, how about some presents?

Me: Sure. Yeah. Any specific ones?

Him: No. Just some presents.

Me: Awesome. That’s really helpful. What kind of cake do you want?

Him: Oh, um, how about carrots?

Me: Like, carrot cake?

Him: No.

Me: So, you want carrots instead of a birthday cake?

Him: No. I want cake.

Me: Well, that clears everything up. Anything else?

Him: I want a birthday hat.

Me: I WILL GET YOU A THOUSAND BIRTHDAY HATS.

I’m still determined though to make it the best birthday ever. Because even if he may not get the big deal, I do. His life deserves to be celebrated in a big, big way. Because he is amazing. Because he is smart and wonderful and kind and funny. Because the world is a better place with him in it. Because the beginning of his life marked one of the greatest days of my life. And because every day since that first day has only gotten better.

Now, does anyone know where I can buy a thousand birthday hats?

 

To Whom It May Concern (yes, you)

I didn’t want it to have to come to this. No one ever does. Love means never having to hire a lawyer. Or at least it should.

But, alas, here we are. It is indeed regrettable but unfortunately necessary at this point.

And so, it is with a heavy heart that I must inform you, dear children, that you are in violation of our prenatal agreement.

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Actually, you’ve both been in violation of various parts of it for quite some time now. Remember Section 1, Subsection C, Paragraph 2? Thou shall not give the mother stretch marks?

(Note: I don’t really know much legal jargon so I just mixed in a bunch of Biblical vocabulary to make it sound more official. Also I was getting high on cheeseburgers every day during the drafting of the original document so I can’t really be held responsible for my state of mind at the time).

Well, I do have stretch marks. Lots of them. My hips look like they’ve been mauled by a cranky tiger.

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But since you both kept up your end of the Principal Birth Accord and came out healthy and with the appropriate amount of digits, I’m willing to waive the Stretch Mark Clause. Especially in light of the fact that you have both remained healthy and have kept all the aforementioned digits in excellent condition. (Although I do feel it pertinent to remind you at this juncture that Section 5, Paragraph 6 forbids those digits from coming within three inches of the nasal area).

However, I need you both to immediately cease and desist with any and all public tantrums. A fetus is able to hear inside the womb starting at around 16 weeks, so I know you heard me when I said “you are never allowed to flop on the floor, kicking and screaming, while occupying space on public property.” This is what’s known as a verbal agreement, kids. Which is legally binding.

Probably.

Which means that last week, when the two of you threw a simultaneous tantrum inside the grocery store because you both got the exact same number of stickers from the cashier, which made Defendant No. 1 mad because, and I quote, “I wanted more stickers than her,” and made Defendant No. 2 mad because, and I quote “MORE ‘DICKERS, MOMMA,” you were in violation of Section 8, Subsection K, Paragraph 2, AND Paragraph 7 (the latter of which specifies that any and all tantrums may not be about something ridiculous and/or dumb).

And did you or did you not kick my bladder in acquiescence when I asked you to agree that thou shalt never complain about what I cooked for dinner? Let me refresh your memory: You both did. Hard. In fact, one of you agreed so heartily that I peed myself a little.

And yet, almost every meal that is not composed of just a giant bowl of ketchup is met with a resounding chorus of whining and various other dramatic theatrics. Meaning you are in violation of Section 10, Paragraph 37, also known as the “Shut Up And Eat It” stipulation.

And I think we can all agree that last night’s flagrant disregard of Section 17, Paragraph 1, commonly referred to as the “No Pooping in the Tub” restriction, was highly regrettable and caused no small amount of distress, both mentally and physically, for all involved.    

As is noted in great detail in Section 26, Subsection F, Paragraph 3 through 119 of the Prenatal Agreement, I love you both very much. Which is why, despite these unpleasant legal matters, I am still willing to act as your Maternal Unit with the priviso that you reread and reacquaint yourself with the particularities of Section 45, also known as the “Knock It Off” contingency, and Section 48, also known as the “So Help Me” eventuality.

Cordially Yours,

Momma

 

Dinner.

(Based on a true…and disgusting…story)

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