Chip off the Ol’ Block

It’s when you see yourself in your children that you really start to worry for their future.

I’m officially worried.

My four year old is exactly like me; she’s a sensitive spitfire full of piss and vinegar who takes things too personally, wears her heart on her sleeve, and does everything possible just to get a reaction. Karma is in full force, people. Now I know exactly where that expression, “chip off the old block” comes from!

People say that it’s great to have a strong-willed child because she’ll stick up for herself and be driven later on in life, but that does nothing to help me put up with her ridiculous attitude until we get to that point (if we even make it to that point). And how do I know if she’s strong-willed and not just an A-hole? Or is that one and the same?

One of the best things about having kids is seeing pieces of yourself in them, but it’s also the worst. In one moment it’s endearing how much my daughter sounds and looks just like me. The way she says, “Seriously!” after dropping something on the floor, to how she responds, “What a bummer!” finding out McDonald’s ice cream maker isn’t working. I especially see myself when she throws her head back and laughs, eyes twinkling with silliness. She’s like a cuter, smarter, funnier caricature of me. These are the moments when it all makes sense.

But then there are the other moments, like when she throws a fit because not everything goes her way, which is my signature move. Or when she scrunches up her face in a terrifying scowl, crossing her arms in disgust before stomping off because it’s not her turn to choose a movie. Or when she bursts into tears because that little line on her sock isn’t lined up just so. These are the moments when I’m confronted with my own terrible behavior.

It scares us to see our children act like us because we want them to be so much better than us, to be everything we’re not, to not make our mistakes, and to know a happiness we’ve never known. And then despite all our exhaustive efforts, they end up exactly like us anyway.

My daughter and I are going to clash our whole lives because we’re too much alike. One day I hope we’ll sit and laugh about how she was as stubborn and feisty as her mama, and it’ll make me proud instead of crazy. But until then, as soon as her father gets home, she’s his problem. Come to think of it, that was exactly what my mom did with me, and once again it hits me that I’m more like her than I’ll ever know or admit.

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And So It Begins…

The day my three year old started preschool was a momentous moment in my motherhood career. I was finally going to get a little break and a breather while she was at school for three glorious, whine-free hours. I wasn’t going to be one of those moms crying her eyes out because she couldn’t leave her child, but I was going to be one of those moms with tears of joy streaming down her face doing a happy dance of freedom.

happy dance

Just like this

The morning of my daughter’s first day, she got dressed, donned her horsey backpack, and stood in front of the fireplace to have her picture taken. Once she would finally listen to my direction, and I was able to get a good one, we then took another one standing by the front door. And another one next to the car. Now that I think about it, I was trying to stop time, capture every moment before she was officially a student.

Driving her to school, I was nervous. How would she do at drop off? She’d never been to daycare and had only been left with family members up until then. Would she cry and scream? Throw a tantrum? To calm my nerves, I turned on the music. And wouldn’t you know it, that damn Frozen soundtrack was playing. Of course it was on, Let it Go. Of course.

let it go

But not the movie version, the Demi Lovato version, which made it all even worse. My eyes filled with tears. What the hell was wrong with me? I told myself I wasn’t going to cry. And there I was driving my daughter to her first day of school, realizing that this was the beginning of the end, and she’d be off to college before I knew it. Which doesn’t sound all that bad now, but let’s face it, it’s terrible. I’ll be so old and exhausted by then, that is, if I even survive the teenage years.

It was not so long ago that my little girl was a little baby, and now she was going to school for the first time, and the enormity hit me like a gust of icy wind. Here I was releasing her into the real world, sending her off to make her own path, and it was too much to process. Luckily, whenever I get emotional and overwhelmed by the feelings of motherhood, my kids know just how to distract me by having a complete meltdown or needing one of their million needs met. They keep me from over-thinking things, or thinking things at all, really.

So by the time we pulled into the parking lot, my avalanche of emotion stopped short by their cries to get out of their seats, and I was able to collect myself. We went inside her classroom, only after taking more pictures outside the door. Everything went well. She didn’t cry, she wasn’t afraid, she was a little unsure, but it didn’t stop her from sitting at the table and playing with the freshly made playdough. It went better than I imagined. She was ready, the only thing I had to do was let. her. go. Oh god, here come the waterworks again. Damn hormones.

And so begins her journey to success, and Mummy’s journey to freedom.

Why I Cried

Why I Cried

 

Two Candles

Happy 2nd Birthday to our little Cheeto!

177

My baby turns two today and that fact makes me want to cry both happy and sad tears simultaneously. Happy because she’s that much closer to getting out of diapers, sad because she’s that much closer to getting out of diapers. Happy because she’s getting bigger and finding her voice, sad because she’s using that voice to scream at her sister.

Since I can barely keep up with anything these days, I had to make sure I wrote her a birthday letter before it was too late.

Dear Miss Bear,

Happy Birthday, Bun Bun! 2 years old going on 20. Your little voice is one of my favorite things in the world. It’s just so sweet. Everything you say is followed up with “Mama” and it melts my heart. However, we need to work on your pronunciation some more. Whenever you say the word, frog, it sounds exactly like duck…but with an f. So naturally, your father and I ask you which animal says “ribbit” way more than we should. Just don’t let me catch you saying, “Frog you, Mama,” anytime soon.

You are quite the little pistol, so it’s a good thing your Bambi eyes and blond curls make up for your fiery,  yet loving, personality. You need that though to put up with your older sister as she gives you enough competition as it is. The two of you together run the show around here, and I hope you are as thick as thieves your entire lives (although I don’t condone any actual thievery). Most of the time you guys are fighting over toys, and soon enough it will be clothes and the bathroom, but there are moments when you hold hands and laugh together and those moments fill me with so much joy.

Two years ago I hugged your little body against mine for the first time and it is one of my most treasured memories. Now you hug me back and squeeze me with all your might and it is the best feeling in the world.

We had an absolutely perfect day playing at the beach, running from the waves, squealing with delight, my three favorite faces ever.

Happy Birthday our darling girl. We love you!

Welcome to Parenthood, Check Your Life at the Door

At times, the first year of parenthood is a literal shitstorm. And on top of that, it’s a shitstorm of emotions.

Our lives change overnight. One minute we’re just a couple of normal, carefree people and the next we’re mothers and fathers in charge of a tiny infant who we want to have the very best life. But we’ve never done anything like this before, so we feel as though we’re screwing them up no matter what we do.

Now that my kids are toddlers, it’s hard for me to even remember the first year of parenthood. It’s all such a blur of random memories. Thank god for pictures because a lot of it has been lost to sleepless nights and crazy chaotic days or just my own self-preservation.

And speaking of pictures, #NewDad, is an awesome new picture book for adults.  A first time dad documents his journey into parenthood with humorous photographs and funny anecdotes that we, as parents, can all relate to. When I say “picture book” it’s almost like his Instagram account has jumped off the screen and into your hands. The opening page is a photograph of the author, Josh Gloer, resting his head on the steering wheel of his car while the caption reads, “Just took a nap…at a stoplight.”

newdadBeing a new parent is utterly exhausting and this sums up every parent’s life well beyond the newborn stage. You think  you’re just going to close your eyes for a brief respite, and the next thing you know, you’re drooling and a police officer is shaking you awake.

From being sprayed with spit-up, to “nailing” a work presentation with poop on his arm, to being in bed on a Friday night by 9 o’clock, Gloer captures the quintessential milestones in the life of a parent perfectly. Never do we feel more unprepared and more unsure of what to do when we become parents, but the best thing to remember is that we’ve all been there, it’s normal, and as Gloer puts it, “If you’re a #NewDad…you get it.”

What I Love About Motherhood

My mom has told me repeatedly that babies are cute for a reason…it keeps us (parents) going. With all my complaining about motherhood because I’m exhausted and beat down I decided to write a quick list of the moments that keep me going and to maybe prove to you that I do indeed love my children.

The Top 10  Moments I Love the Most

1) When they’re quietly reading books together

2) When they’re napping

3) When they hug each other

4) When they’re napping

5) When they wrap their little arms around my legs

6) When they’re napping

7) When they smile for no other reason but they see me

8) When they’re napping

9) When their laughter is the only sound in the whole entire house

10) When they’re napping… for the night and I don’t have to hear them for 12 glorious hours (if I’m lucky)

Obviously there are a million other things I love about my children (and a million other things that drive me absolutely insane too) but I thought if they ever come across my ramblings then maybe they won’t hate me as much if I throw a sappy one in there every now and again.

 

Obsessed with Books

We go to storytime every week.

It’s our religion.

I don’t know if it’s more for me or for my daughter as I’m just as obsessed about getting new library books as she is. It must be what Carrie Bradshaw felt every time she passed a shoe store. My palms get all sweaty and my heart skips a beat seeing all the book spines lined up.  I want ALL the books and I want them now!

I can’t help myself from perusing the shelves while my daughter sits and listens to the librarian read aloud. For the length of those three books, I’m in hog heaven imagining I had time to read at all. I end up checking out books that I know I’ll never finish–a classic case of my eyes being too big for my stomach. If that’s not an addiction, I don’t know what is. I could care less if my little girl is behaving and listening while sitting criss-cross applesauce, just let me look at books and imagine sitting in a quiet room, or better yet, an island in the sun with my book and a daiquiri.

I wanted to pass on my love of reading and books and I think it’s already taken. She loves to read all day, sometimes choosing them over watching a movie (which makes me really proud). This is what the corner of her dresser looks like at all times:

Library Books Galore

So I’ve decided to start writing about our favorites. I’ve come across so many children’s books that I absolutely adore that I want to share them with someone. Whenever the storytime lady reads one that I’ve already checked out, I yawn and shine my knuckles on my crusty shirt, “We read that ages ago. Get with it, lady.” Not really, but I do feel some sort of smug satisfaction that we indeed already read it. How stupid, huh? I can’t help it.

Our newest batch of books includes Crankee Doodle, Little Oink, and Hank Finds An Egg.

Hank Finds An Egg

Hank! My Hero!

I instantly fell in love with the photos in this book. It features an adorable little teddy bear named Hank who *surprisingly* finds an egg in the woods!

There aren’t any words in this book–which is somewhat an issue for a writer as myself–as the story is the guts of the book–however without words, it gives the writer in all of us a chance to create our own story. The author, Rebecca Dudley, created a storybook with whimsical pictures and a heart-warming storyline featuring a bear who wants to return a lost egg to its rightful owner. When we see all the trouble he went through to get the egg back to its home, do we then, truly understand Hank and his journey.

There’s something truly magical about Hank and his quest to get the egg back to its nest.

mama and hankHe’s a gentleman in an age where chivalry has died. Sure, he could go ahead and eat that egg when the economy has tanked and he’s ‘hankering’ for a Whopper but all he gets are some sprouts and berries. But no, he goes and delivers that egg to its Mama, like a true gentleman. There should be more dudes like Hank in the world. Out, not just for himself, but for mankind.

Check out this enchanting book if you still believe in happy endings…and I’m not talking about the kind at the massage parlors.

Another Birthday Letter

To Our Kooky Lil Bundle-of-Fun,

Happy 3rd Birthday Lovey Bear! You might as well be turning 23 today instead of 3 because you’re just so grown up now. You are quite the little character, telling tales using your hands like an even tinier Roberto Benigni. In fact, you look a lot like him. Same crazy hair, miniature body, and insane excitability. I’m going to enroll you in Italian classes tomorrow to complete my vision.

You

You

Him

Him

 

That old cliché is true…it seems like just yesterday your father and I were bringing you back from the hospital, staying up all night holding your precious little body, and staring at you with such wonder. We couldn’t wait to hear your little voice for the first time or find out who you’d become. I know you have a lot of growing and changing still to do, but I love who you are and will love who you’ll be no matter what. You are so smart and want to discover as much as possible. You love horses and balloons and books. Your favorite song is Alphabet Pony and you love interpretive dance. You make me laugh the best laughs of my life and that is everything.

We took you to Disneyland for the first time (cause you were free) and your favorite part was the carousel and picking out which color saddle you wanted. You loved A Small World and Dumbo and had more sugar than real food. You picked out a pair of glittery red Minnie Mouse shoes and you wore them home. All in all, it was a great day and I’m glad we could go.

I hope your birthday was as special as you are. Daddy and I love you like crazy.

All my love,
Mama