The Tooth Fairy is a Cheapskate!

If we’re going to have these ridiculous childhood characters like The Tooth Fairy then we, as parents, need to come to a consensus on what is an acceptable reward for teeth. I can’t have my daughter going to school bragging that she got $1 and 2 starburst (don’t judge, it’s all we had in the house) when her classmate got 5 large from the supposed same fairy. Now my daughter’s going to think her teeth aren’t as worthy as her classmate’s just because this other girl’s father is apparently Daddy Warbucks.

It’s a funny thing, this Tooth Fairy business. We sneak in to take their tooth and replace it with money while they’re slumbering away. But then what do we do with the teeth? As of now I have two teeth in a bag stashed away in my dresser. That sentence totally makes me sound like a serial killer and reminds me of that one Gillian Flynn book with the creepy dollhouse. So, what to do with the teeth? Throw them away? Keep them forever and make a charm bracelet? (Kidding!) Hold onto them for a little while then bury them in the backyard? Or just throw them in the trash like a normal person?

Now that my daughter is losing her teeth, it makes me remember how she got her teeth. It takes me back to those sweet days of infancy. But it also reminds me that teething is one of the hardest things to go through for both the parents and the baby. It seems endless, taking years of sleepless nights dealing with a fussy, uncomfortable, rabid raccoon. Whenever my daughter was acting like this, I’d blame it on teething. I wish I could do that now. Now, she’s just a rabid raccoon aka defiant A-hole, I mean, six-year-old.

Maybe The Tooth Fairy was invented because it makes up for having to go through the trauma of cutting teeth and then having them fall out (or yanked out). My daughter was so excited to see the little pouch of treasure hidden under her pillow and promptly came in my room first thing to show off her prize. And when her classmate bragged about her $5, my daughter’s response was that The Tooth Fairy used glitter on her note and that made her happy, which in turn made this miserly Tooth Fairy smile with pride.

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Birthday Wishes

Dearest E,

It’s here! Your favorite day of the year and one of my favorite days of my life…your birthday!

Six years ago you came into our world and taught us the definition of happiness. You also taught us the definitions of exhaustion and frustration, but let’s focus on the positive, it is your big day after all.

When you turned 5 last year I couldn’t wait to see what your fifth year would bring. To say it was exciting would be an understatement. You flew on an airplane for the first time, played on your first soccer team, started kindergarten, and recently lost your first tooth, which is adorable btw. A lot of firsts!

You still love horses, cracking jokes, and you’d eat pancakes for every meal if I let you (and some days I do).

We hope you have an incredible birthday full of surprise and joy because that’s exactly what you bring to each one of our days. I’m beyond proud you’re my daughter and am so lucky you call me mama. You are everything good in the world and we love you!

Hope your birthday is as magical as you are. Happy 6th Birthday, Miss E!

Entitled to Happiness

Being a good parent means making sure your kids know they deserve the world but they’re not entitled to it. This coming from a very entitled baby of the family who threw fits when she didn’t get her way or a certain stuffed animal in a Colorado gift shop (which I still have btw).

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I was a brat. Plain and simple. Although if you ask my mom now she’ll say I was an angel. Ah, how the passage of time erases the bad and only holds onto the good. I can’t wait to reach this stage of parenthood.

I will be damned if I’m raising bratty children though. Sure, they’re spoiled beyond all reason thanks mostly to their grandparents, but hopefully they’re learning to be grateful for all they have.

We give our children everything because they are everything to us. But at some point we have to make sure they understand why we’re spoiling the crap out of them. It’s a hard lesson to teach when all we want to do from the moment they’re born is make them happy. So while I want to give them the world, they must learn that the world doesn’t owe them anything. The sooner they learn that, the better. I want them to be grateful not greedy, thankful not thankless, appreciative not oblivious.

The only thing I want them to be entitled to is happiness and it’s my job to teach them that it’s not found in a Colorado gift shop, or any gift shop for that matter, and it’s certainly not found wrapped up in glittery paper under the Christmas tree. But it’s found in the moments between. Those unpredictable moments of shared laughter and ear-to-ear smiles that turn into the memories we treasure most.

If this reformed brat can learn that happiness isn’t anything we hold in our hands, it’s what we carry in our hearts, there’s hope for them yet. And sometimes we’re lucky enough to do both.

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My Love/Hate Relationship With Motherhood

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There are times I really love motherhood–like at night when my children are in bed and there are times I really hate motherhood–like during the day when my children are awake. Ok, maybe hate’s a strong word, and I don’t “hate” it in the true definition of the word, but I sacrificed everything (including my lady biz) to become a mom so I’m allowed to say I “hate” it and if you disagree well nobody asked you.

I love making fun of motherhood while also embracing the soft, squishy Hallmark side of it. It’s this blending of inappropriateness with sentimentality that comes naturally to me.

I hate motherhood for taking away my sanity and ability to form one complete thought but I love motherhood for replacing it with the craziest kind of love.

I love motherhood for showing me how good life was before kids came along but I hate motherhood for making it so damn hard to complete anything.

I love motherhood for helping me find the funny in stressful situations but I hate motherhood for creating all the stress in the first place.

Motherhood makes us into schizos who fiercely love our children and fiercely hate all it demands of us. So it really is a fine line between love and hate and the trick is to straddle that line like a mother…a mother-effin’ boss.

 

 

Time Flies When You Don’t Want It To

This too shall pass is simply a polite way of saying you’re screwed for now and parenthood is an endless loop of waiting for things to pass. So basically, parenthood = you’re screwed. Math has never been my strong suit, but that’s an equation I can understand.

At some point in parenthood you might find yourself wishing the time away because it would make life a little easier. Like just a few months ago when I was grumbling about our lunch routine and how awesome it was going to be when the big one had lunch at school. Cut to now and I’m sad that the three of us won’t have that time together. WTH? I was seriously just complaining about it and now I’m getting all sappy over it? Parenthood is such a weird thing because what drives us crazy one day will be the very thing we miss the next.

It’s so hard not to look to the next stage of my children’s lives even as everyone is telling me to cherish the time while they’re little because one day I’ll wake up and they’ll be starting school, and before I know it, they’ll be full-blown adults. Some days I’m like, yes, I want to be as present as possible and soak up every second with my amazingly brilliant kids and other days I’m like if they don’t leave me alone my eye is going to twitch so hard it’s going to pop out of my head.

So I’m finally learning to be careful what I wish for when I’m busy wishing things would pass because it’s taken me this long to learn that I might be screwed for now, but not forever.

Shake it Off

Maybe by teaching my girls not to care what others think I’ll finally be able to learn it for myself.

Last month my daughter skipped up to her classroom wearing a panda mask. Happy-go-lucky until we got closer and someone said, “Lookit!” while giggling and pointing which made everyone laugh. My daughter ripped off the mask and broke into tears, thinking they were laughing at her. It hurt my heart because I don’t think they were making fun of her, I think they thought it was funny, but it didn’t seem that way to her. It saddened me knowing she’s going to have many moments like this because, as we know, kids are cruel and we all deal with some sort of bullying at one point or another.

It took me back to my sixth grade bully who said I stared too much, which I still do…and that I needed to get a tan, which I still do. I now realize that staring was just my way, part of my process of writing and observing the world around me. And the tan thing, yeah, I’m naturally pale, this skin freckles and burns, it was not intended for the sun. While my pint-sized bully may have just been stating the obvious, he was trying to hurt me, however, I knew that his opinion never really mattered. Maybe this was because I had older brothers who teased me anyway so I was used to empty, lame insults, or maybe it was because my parents instilled a strong sense of self from an early age.

We all get picked on, we all get our feelings hurt, but it’s what we do with it that’s most important. My daughter is still young so to explain all this to her would’ve been overwhelming, but I wanted to do the right thing, tell her the right words so that the next time she feels this embarrassment she’ll be able to laugh it off and not take it to heart, but all I could do was hug her and act like it wasn’t a big deal.

I would’ve reacted the same way. It’s taken me a long time to be able to laugh at myself and I still struggle with it sometimes (just ask my husband who has been glared at more than once for me misinterpreting his laughter). So when I picked her up from school I told her that the girls were laughing because her mask made them happy and they thought she was being funny not that she looked funny.

I love that she wore her mask. I want her to embrace her silliness and individuality and have the confidence to do what she wants and to stand up for herself when anyone tries to make her feel small. So, in the immortal words of Taylor Swift, I ask her to shake it off. I guess it’s never too soon to learn that the haters are gonna hate so never let them see you sweat…or burst into tears.

Fun in the Sun

I don’t know what I was so worried about…traveling with kids is a piece of cake. Wait, did I say piece of cake? I meant, takes the cake, as in, takes every ounce of energy and patience you’ve got saved up.

All kidding aside, our trip went very well. Almost too well. Going there the little one fell asleep for two glorious hours and I didn’t even drug her (although I thought about it beforehand). While she snoozed with her head on my lap, I held my breath and watched an entire movie in one sitting! It all seemed too good to be true.

Don’t get me wrong, traveling with two small kids who depend on you for most everything is a big pain in the ass. However, much to my surprise, flying was one of their favorite parts of the trip. The little one squealed with delight when we landed. See below.

From the moment we got to the resort we jumped in the first pool we saw and stayed until we were all pruney. That’s how the whole week went, only getting out of the water long enough to eat ice cream and slather on more sunscreen.

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Between all the swimming and sunblocking, I finished a good book and even had time for one tropical cocktail.

We saw some gorgeous sunsets…

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had a celebrity sighting…

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and only brought home one stowaway…

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So am I glad we went? Yes, because now they can’t say we never took them anywhere, I mean, we had the best time and made a million magical memories to last a lifetime. Would I do it again? Ask me again in a couple months when I’ve fully recovered, I mean, of course…in a heartbeat. (wink wink)