That would be a problem

Long ago, when we were young and stupid we decided that we were to be honest all the time and teach our children integrity. We would answer all questions accurately and scientifically, no matter how difficult or challenging. We would give them as much age appropriate information as their developing minds could handle. Yeah, we were morons.

Case in point:

Coming home from church last night, it was a little foggy and drizzly, and I was listening to Sassy tell me all about humility. I was reinforcing the lesson, blissfully aware of how soon I was going to be humiliated myself. One minute we are discussing kindness and showing our friends that we care about them by, sharing cookies, and the next words were off topic.

“Mommy, where was I when you were a little kid?” You know those little warning prickles you get?

“Heaven, you were in heaven.” I am trying to divert her attention back to the topic.

‘Then what was I?’ A kid who has a one track mind , that’s what. you get that from your father, why do you never ask him these questions, he gets the easy ones about quantum physics.

“Then you were a little tiny egg in mommy’s tummy. Then you grew” idiotically, I stick to the “agreement.”. You’d think 6 years of this would have taught me better, but apparently, I learn at a snail’s pace. I’m  stubborn, I get that from MY father.

“How did I get out?” This is where mommy tries not to drive off the road. I’m not sure the officer will give me a pass if i explain causing an accident to avoid the  babies question. But, I do consider it, maybe he has kids.

‘What?” Why does the playing stupid thing never work for moms? Has it ever once worked for you?

She repeated the question in case I’ve gone deaf and senile.. I stall. “What else did you talk about in class tonight?” She is having none of it. “Mommy, this is IMPORTANT.”

I take king Pushover’s name and his stupid ideas in vain, several times. Why am I listening to him? Every bad idea ‘We’ve’ ever had for the last decade has originated from his fertile little brain. I sigh.

“The mommy’s body squeezes the baby out. Can we talk about something else, please?”

“Out of her mouth?”

“No, not out of the mouth.” You know what, I think this kid enjoys seeing me sweat. I truly am starting to believe that she deserved what comes next.

I forestall the next question, “Out of part of the tushy that girls have.” Dead silence for like a minute and a half. I thought she had jumped out of the car in horror. Then , I began to hear little almost words.

Llk, Ullk. OUT OF THE TUSHY????” Hey, none of this was my idea, kid, if i had my way, you could order babies at Kleinfelds. Can you imagine the reality show about that?

I am sadly unrepentant. you asked for it, princess. Next time, you might want to stick to asking me about Beatles music, fashion, and chocolate. I can give you all the warm fuzzies you want about those.

“Mommy, mommy PLEASE tell me I was not born that way!!!??”

“You weren’t.” I had two c/sections. Lucky you.

“Oh good. because, That. THAT would have been a problem.”

I’m mostly recording this for posterity so I get it right when I have to defend it to her therapist someday. And also to remember to extract revenge on the king for his charming ideas. I foresee an alligator in his future between this and the canoe trip.

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Peace Talks

Dear Bloodsuckers (too hostile)

Dearest (ick, no, I don’t even address the king that way, what is this, little lord Fauntleroy?)

To whom it may

Dear mortgage people:

I think we’ve almost worked out a reasonable custody agreement of the family coffers. i personally am not happy about leaving the splendors of my tiny abode in mickey mouse’s backyard, but, in the tradition of trollops everywhere, you have reeled him in with your siren’s call of two garages. I am conceding defeat, only so I stop playing Russian roulette with my china ,in storage.

I am very impressed with both our maturity levels during this last negotiation. I didn’t denigrate your mother OR your horse, you didn’t raise our interest rate. I think we are learning. We can even exchange Christmas cards, if you like. Over in what corner? oh that, it’s just a little doll I made for Sassy, What pin in its forehead?? And this? Simply a little bedtime epistle I penned for her. Oh no, you don’t have to feel obligated to listen to it…I wouldn’t want to impose…if you insist..

“Once upon a time there was a witty, charming and fabulously dressed wise woman who was married to a wonderful, but easily seduced by power tools, man who wanted two garages. (familiar, whatever do you mean) He went into the town to see about a new hovel (any house with only 2 closets and a pantry you can’t store a can of baking soda in is a hovel, pal, no matter how new the roof is)

In the town, he met a kindly old wizard (I really like our Realtor, he rocks, so I can’t castigate him in print) who told him to beware the evil, soulless scourge of the (wait, you’re not leaving now, are you? We’re just getting to the good part. Truce is over…Was it something, I said???

a letter to my daughter

Dear Sassy,

I’m sitting here watching you sleep and waiting for lab results. it’s a very weird place to be. On one hand, I feel serene and so blessed, on the other my thoughts are racing. I’m in a place I truly hate to be, waiting… I’ve waited to be a mom for a very long time. I didn’t meet your daddy until I was 32 years old. then, I was pregnant three times before I was able to take you home.

Lovebug, you are the light of my life. When I dreamed of having a child, I never dared dream that you would be so amazing. You are so smart, kind, funny, and beautiful. You exceeded every dream I’ve ever had about being a mom. I love my life as your mommy.

I almost waited until tomorrow to make this post, but, then I decided to start it during the wait. Although, i pray that your challenges will be few, and easily resolved, the truth is that someday you will sit exactly where I am right now, sitting on the verge of your world crashing down and hope that everything is going to be fine.

First, I can almost guarantee you that the reality of what you are facing is not as horrible as you are imagining. the only time in my life that was not true was when we said goodbye to your brother.  I’m not saying that you should downplay the seriousness of the situation that you are in. I am sitting here right now vacillating between wanting to wake you up and pretend you had a nightmare so I have an excuse to snuggle you, and being grateful that you aren’t awake to see me like this.

Next, sweetheart, God is great, He is. I don’t want to sound trite because when I am walking in the middle of madness, I get very angry when people spout verses and platitudes at me when what I want is validation that this really and truly bites. So, i going to tell you that it is okay to be angry, go ahead, it’s okay.It’s better to yell a little and get rid of the ugly, than to keep it bottled up and play the “I’m fine ” game and then become bitter.

Lean on Jesus, tell Him that it stinks. He knows already how you feel. It’s better to talk to him honestly than to shut Him out, because you can get through it with Him , you can’t if you are not “speaking” to Him. I’ve tried it both ways, love, trust me. It’s not pretty

It is one day later, I’ve got my results, they are not what I wanted to hear, but, they are not terrible. Things are going to be tough, but not insurmountable. I’m far luckier than most. I cried anyway. This morning, it was all too much, I thought about you and all the things I want to see you do. I don’t want to miss a thing. It’s going to be spectacular. I grabbed a hold of your daddy and I sobbed.

Why am I telling you all of this? Because, I need you to know three things, I love you more than the stars, the moon, Beatles music and chocolate, if i have accomplished nothing more than bringing you into this world than I was a roaring success. Sweetheart, faith is important, it is necessary, and the world is going to tell you otherwise, but it is the truth. Third, be real. Although you cannot be ruled by your emotions, you need to validate them, even when they are not pretty.

Hopefully, my love I am going to be around to watch you soar. I plan on it, I truly do, but, if God has other plans, know this. I love you unconditionally, I don’t care if you are thin, beautiful or sweet natured, I will always be proud of you. You are my child and you are enough.

Love,

Mommy

My mini gangster

   Dear Mom and Dad,

     Thank you for leaving your dog with us for 10 days while you trekked back to the frozen tundra. Seriously, I mean it. having a practice dog for ten days seems to have cured Sassy of her desperate desire for a puppy. It might have been mommy’s ‘I do not pick up the fecal matter of animals i do mot want” rule or the way sparky stole the very last cheetoh off of her plate last night that tipped the scale in my favor, but whatever works.

    Also, it was very sweet to see how excited she was to be paid for caring for the pup. however, Sassy is smart and creative and she just asked to be paid to make her bed. Uh, how about no? i responded with my bill  for the amount of slave labor I do around here. She was not amused. We ironed out the differences between chores that are expected every day, and special jobs that are billable. Problem solved, right? 

   i was just patting myself in the ego at my extraordinary parenting win, when I sneezed. Sassy handed me a kleenex. I said thank you, she said “That’ll be $5.00, please.” Houston, we have a problem. I have given birth to a very polite but expensive extortionist. Al Capone would be proud. 

  In other news, they have delayed our house  closing for another two weeks. King Pushover is ready to explode and I am ready to move to Abu Dhabi. I think I am going to need more chocolate!

 

A dear John letter

Dear Google: (the semi colon lets you know that I am serious)

Let us get something straight. When I Google brownie recipes, i do not now, nor will I ever “really mean brownie protein balls.” the fact that you would even consider that as a viable suggestion leads me to question if you ever knew me at all. I am truly hurt by this as what it really means is that you like everyone else in this house, pay absolutely no attention to me at all.

I am already on the verge with you, because when Sassy asked me why Ben Franklin wore a coonskin cap, you made me wade through 9 pages of foderol about IF he wore one before noon. We have already discussed my need for concise answers before my first cup of coffee, preferably ones that require no debate.

Further, a girl who has just spent a week schlepping around Disney for a week in the middle of August has clearly lost her ever loving mind, and having to debate the subtle differences between fudge cake and fudge brownies will   probably cause her to lose her tenuous grip on sanity. Add in a  five year old who now has decided that she must be Mary Poppins for Halloween(did i mention that I am a knitter, not a seamstress) and you can see why chocolate brownies are going to be a major part of my coping strategy today???/

 

 

 

 

 

Perspective: occasionally I have it

I’ve always wanted to be a mom. Even in my career driven 20’s, when I was not sure I wanted a husband, I was sure I wanted to be a mom. My path to motherhood was a very bumpy on. King Pushover and I have a funny dating story. Although my grandfather and my father in law were very good friends (as much as two grumpy super annuated farmers can be friends) and my dad worked with my father in law for years, we never met until our 30’s. My sister even graduated with King. I am a year older than Yoga barbie, so we still never met.

My road to motherhood has looked very different than I had planned. The plan was for the king and I to have several children, kind of like the Duggars but with way better hair, and no j obsession. our reality was that i had several pregnancies that resulted in 2 live births.

My son was born 8 weeks early with a congenital heart condition called Tetralogy of Fallot. I won’t get into the struggles of his journey as they were many, and harrowing. We just don’t know each other well enough for me to give you all the specifics. suffice it to say that at 8 weeks old we said goodbye.

Losing our son changed many, many things in my entire life, it challenged my faith, shook apart many things in my marriage and left us reeling. 12 weeks after losing little man, we found out we were pregnant with Sassy. All of my prayers at that point, were angry. I alternately, yelled at God and begged him to spare my baby. It ws the most vulnerable and real I have ever been about anything in my life.

Also, it changed my perspective on parenting. Sassy would be a different kid, if I had parented her before little man. Instead of the joyous ,and wonder-filled child I am raising, i would have an anxious performance driven pile of insecurity. She would have spent many hours in therapy blaming her fears and feelings of inadequacy on us, and it would have been true.

Little man taught me to celebrate every small victory, every ounce of weight gained was cause for a party, that success should be measured by the small victories, not by someone else’s definition of it. Although, i wish with every fiber of my being that he was still with us,I can say without rancor (after much therapy and chocolate) that i was blessed to be his mom.

Last night i received fresh perspective on that. You see, Sassy is 5, she is testing her boundaries and the limits of my sanity. She  has discovered that she doesn’t always like the rules, that being a “big kid” is not as much fun as she thought it would be, ad that her daddy isn’t always going to back her up.

yesterday afternoon found us in the middle of a war between king and sass, and neither one was backing down. Mommy was quietly planning her escape to Aruba, when she got a less expensive (although slightly less fun) strategy to end the madness. “does anyone want to go see the frozen fireworks tonight? If you two can get along for a minute, it can be fun.” Sassy is frozen obsessed, so she was easy. King is obsessed with bright lights and exploding things, so he was good as well.

The fireworks are spectacular, truly worth your time. Even better for me was watching Sassy vibrate with excitement as her favorite songs came on. When “Let it go” was played she was trembling as she sang her little heart out and did all the motions. Her beautiful blue eyes were sparkling with pure joy. She was breathtaking to watch. It reminded me of how blessed I am to be her mom.

I sometimes forget how much I love my life. I miss making money and feeling like I’m contributing to our household, but, The reminder of how important my role in our is was incredibly powerful. I’m going to have days where I forget, days when I am discouraged and bitter over the sheer amount of minutia in  my day, but I will have this picture in my mind of my baby girl singing her heart out, and then I’m going to take a deep breath and let it go.

Enter The practice kids

     I have one sister, she is obnoxiously talented, beautiful, charming and smart. Let us call her Yoga Barbie, because  although I love her, I’m still a resentful of the fact that she only gains 9 lbs during her pregnancies and has never labored more than 25 minutes for each of her 4 pregnancies. See what i did there, now you resent her too.

 

    I tolerate Yoga barbie because she is wickedly funny, has incredible fashion sense, and makes chocolate truffles. Her maraschino cheesecake truffles are a thing of beauty, and I really hate cherries. It behooves me to stay on her good side. Besides, she has provided me with 4 practice kids. (More commonly known as nephews.)

 

     Everyone should have a set of practice kids. Someone to try your parenting theories out on in limited doses so that no therapy is required on either side. I would like to claim that i was so good at practice parenting that I’ve never made a single mistake with Sassy, but dudes, i have Been that broke-down mother that you  see and think you know, I don’t think she was cut out for this. I have yelled out “All right, all right, if it’ll make you quiet, you can eat chocolate chips until you become one!” In my defense, it was right after a church service, where Sassy stood up mid-sermon and announced that “Daddy and Pk4 had tails, but her and mommy didn’t” The king tried to crawl away quietly, but couldn’t slide under the pews. I admired that preacher’s aplomb so very much that we changed churches so that it didn’t happen again.

    Sassy should be eternally grateful for each one of those practice kids. They have cured me of all my “notions’ about parenting and how i was going to totally rock at it and have stepford children, blah, blah blah.all the experienced mothers here are laughing at  with me.

   Practice kid ! looked a great deal like me when he was little. Yoga barbie used that to her advantage whenever pk1 did anything hugely embarrassing. She perfected the “For shame..what kind of mother are you..get that kid under control” look. 

     Pk1 once went to pre-k with my picture. It was show and tell day. He stands up and announces “This is my Aunt Mist. She looks really nice, but she’s actually a evil super-genius!” love that kid.

     pk2 is an artist. He has the temperament. He is wildly creative and also wildly impatient. Sassy is the only person on the planet that he is patient with. He has spent her entire life telling her that he is her best friend. As a result, he is the current reigning favorite cousin. He often tells me “Mist, i love you, but, It’s not my job to tell Sassy no, and I’m not gonna do it.”

      Pk3 is brilliant, creative and in the grand tradition of little brothers everywhere,devious and sneaky. He makes an aunt proud!He is also our outdoors kid. He and king pushover are pretty tight, mostly because they share an interest in weaponry and blowing things up. Pk3 can also spin just about any tale and you will believe it at least long enough for him to escape from the room.

     Pk4 is Sassy’s almost twin. There are only three months between them. Pk4 is my only hope. He seems to be the only other person in the universe that can tell Sassy no. he does it rarely, but it does happen. Pk4 is his own person. His loyalties lies with whoever has the bacon (as long as they do not try to eat any) and his mom. That is it, every one else in the world is simply competition for the bacon. The only time I’ve ever seen him take a shine to another human being was with my friend V who happens to be vegan and also kosher. Pk4 loves her. 

    Pk4 also says exactly what he thinks. He pulls no punches. Once I was discussing how much fat was in a dish i was preparing, and he thought I had called him fat, so he responded “I’m not fat! You’re fat! bubble butt!”

   Since Sassy is essentially an only child, her cousins are more like her big brothers, and they are all super protective of her. As soon as they found out I was pregnant with her, pk2 said “Mist, if you HAVE to have another baby, can you at least make sure it is a girl? I have enough brothers!”  Sure, I’ll get right on that.