Posted on July 1, 2012
“Mom, look! Friends!” Brianne excitedly states.
It seemed the discussion we’d had a month ago about the mayflies being harmless has finally managed to sink in. Either that, or more-likely she forgot about it and decided herself that these bugs are fun to pick up by the wings and make ‘friends’ with.
At four years old, I find that the stubbornness that surfaced at three has now matured into “I’m right-” ness. Funny, isn’t it? How they go from bombarding you with questions…straight to telling you what the correct answer is. Or, what they think it is. On a toddlers level, the things that they are so-called ‘right’ about are the things they couldn’t be more far off from the truth on.
“Mom, those aren’t hands (on a clock) those are pointers.” she states.
It’s hard not to laugh right in their face sometimes. I don’t want to deter them from making hypotheses and exploring the world on their own level, but I can’t just let them believe that fire ants really catch on fire…or that little babies really do like it when you poke them in the eyes…or that the kid on the playground really did push too hard on purpose even though I saw the whole thing happen… I have to interfere at some point, right?
Boundaries. That’s what the parenting books call them. It’s a tough thing to establish. I’ve gone from the physical boundaries that ensure my kid won’t take off running wherever and whenever they choose…to now the negotiation boundaries. There is only so much say my kids get with me. Only so much opinion they get to express at this point…before negotiations are over…and whether they understand yet or not why they are going to do what I asked…it’s time to do what I asked.
Without boundaries, absolute chaos. No manners, no sweet, polite requests. Enforcing them makes me feel like a drill sergeant. Nonetheless, I feel safer knowing my kids will stick by me in public places, and do what I ask. Lots of days I feel like border patrol. Now that my oldest is four, she likes to tell me where she thinks her boundaries should be.
“Mom, I’m just going right over there, okay? I’ll be right there in the next aisle….by that slide…in line for that ride…in the lake up to my belly button…it’s fine, mom…it’s fine.”
“Brianne, we’re having chicken and peach rice pudding tonight for dinner.” I inform her. She looks at me like I’m crazy and immediately backfires, “I’m not very going to eat that.” Nice.
All it takes is a ‘no’ or a ‘oh, yes you are’ from me for her to dig her heels in and state her case. Whine, beg, plead, pout, stomp…flat out refuse. Go ahead kid, throw it all out there. Get it all out of your system and then do what I told you to do in the first place.
It’s exhausting to refuse to negotiate with a four year old. There are certain days of the month when I just don’t possess the patience it requires to be calm about it. One of those days that cause me to wake up the next morning ready to start a day that is NOT yesterday…and then realize I’m in for another one. Those are the days when I explain to her what being grounded is, how long a whole week…or month…without TV is, and what it feels like to do all of your chores and not get any allowance on account of one day’s bad behavior. It’s on those days when I have no patience, that she has no patience with me, either. And her two year old little sister just yells, “MOM” at the top of her lungs demanding to listen to ‘Baby-baby-baby-oh…” all day long in the background.
Soon, we’ll be at XC practice by 8am every morning, and there will be no room for morning slow poke shenanigans. I swear they can sense it. That’s why they’re ramping up. Ugh, I hate hurrying toddlers. It just makes them lolly gag even more.
“Brianne, did you make your bed? Go to the bathroom? Brush your teeth? Trace your alphabet letter of the day? Eat your breakfast? Get dressed?”
She just looks at me like I’m nuts. Mind you, she’s been happily doing all of these things all summer long, on account of our extremely successful chore chart and allowance system. As she trudges off to the bathroom, I follow along to make sure she washes her hands. Distracted, I get there after she’s already gone potty…but she’s standing there looking bewildered.
“Did you go?” I ask.
“A spider came out of my pee.” she said…pretty seriously.
I had killed a spider in there earlier that morning, and just threw him in the toilet dead to go down with the next flush. When I told her that, I thought she’d be relieved. But, how silly of me, she’s four.
“No, Mom. I peed it out.”
Explained again, that I killed the spider.
“No, Mom! I seriously know that spider came out of my pee.”
Whatever. The spider came out of your pee, kid.
Everything, and I mean everything, is a debate. And argument. A test of willpower. To quote my favorite TV Show of all time, “Serenity Now!!”
It’s in these streaks of ‘bad’ days that I miss the good relationship I have with my daughter, and it reminds me that those dreaded teenage years are right around the corner. As much as I want to instill good manners and proper behavior in her, I also have to remember to listen to my daughter. I know when I’m having an off day I pray for a little extra sympathy and understanding from the world around me. I’m sure that’s how she feels, too.
It’s on these days that I know she’ll want extra ‘Mommy cuddles,’ and it seems she appreciates not having to even ask. I honestly need them as much as she does. It’s in these moments that I feel the bond between my daughter and I growing.
Best buds are always there for each other.
Posted on April 17, 2012
Brianne is my oldest daughter, and she just turned four. For four years, she has been my little buddy. Being the first-born, it’s equally as hard not to favor her a little than it is to be harder on her because I don’t know any better as a parent yet. All in all, though, we’ve become best buds. Hopefully, she’ll still feel that way when she’s a teenager. I’m banking on a ‘No’ there, and planning on being heart broken when the time comes that she doesn’t want me around. Although I have hope that she’ll remain my best buddy forever, my realism in the matter causes me to want to celebrate a little extra now, while she still thinks of me as her ‘best bud.’
When Brianne asked me for a Little Mermaid party for her 4th Birthday, I was all in. I loved that movie as a kid, and now she loved it. Too cool. Load that on top of a sentimental need to mark her birthday with the fact that I love to plan parties and you’ve got one heck of a birthday celebration for a four year old. Call me crazy, and I probably am a little, but I LOVED every minute of planning Brianne’s Birthday party. Most likely more than she did. Her party became such an event, that we bonded just planning for it.
After scouring the Internet picking out ideas from other Little Mermaid parties and organizing them into a Pinterest folder, we began tackling one project at a time. Passing out invitations at school that were rolled up like messages in a bottle. Picking out decorations to make her party look like it was on the bottom of the ocean. Grandma (this is where the gene pool comes into play) having an artist make a toddler sized stand up cut out of a mermaid for the kids to take pictures with …and showing up with boxes of ‘under the sea’ treasures to load in goodie bags for her friends. Not to mention the very talented friend of hers that made the most incredible Little Mermaid cake to match a picture Brianne picked out off the Internet.
When the day finally came, she and her best friend set up the games she had picked out …dolphin ring toss and fish bean bag toss …and planted the beach balls we had blown up for everyone to play with. Meanwhile, I tasked my family and a few friends to attack the kids chairs with blue and green streamers to make it look like seaweed, while I set up the purple and blue colored table cloths, plates, and cups. The paper lanterns acting as sea bubbles on the table was one of my favorite ideas. Brianne and her BFF covered the tables with Little Mermaid confetti and little plastic fish…and fish masks for each place at the huge kids table. We even had The Little Mermaid movie playing on the wall in the background. It was awesome.
It was as much fun to decorate as it was to watch the kids whip beach balls at each other when they showed up. I have two girls, so I was definitely not ready for wrestling boys. Add macaroni and cheese pizza and sugared up birthday cake to 25 pre-schoolers and madness ensued. Brianne had to show all her friends what a good runner she was, and made 50 laps around her own birthday party.
One might say ….shoot, even I said …that this is what happens when you spend too much time on Pinterest. Really, though, I would do it all over again in a heart beat. Brianne loved everything, from her color coordinated outfit and tierra to match her party, down to the balloons and shell whistles. She let all of her friends help her open her presents, and hugged each person after she opened her gift. She’ll talk about that party all year.
We’ll all remember when my baby turned four. ( Which is great, because I’m not sure we’ll be hosting 25 pre-schoolers ever again!) I self-admittedly get carried away with just about everything …but it sure does make for some great memories. I hope that when Brianne looks back someday she’ll realize that all the effort is out of love for her. It may appear that she’s spoiled …and she is …with my love. I’d do anything for her…even make 30 marshmallow octopuses with candy eyes and legs for her birthday treat to take to school. Hey, they’re only little once. Bring it on, Pinterest.
…and now …
April, 2019, and Brianne just turned 11. Though much has changed, she is still in love with ocean and The Little Mermaid. She wants to be a marine biologist, and we are still best buds. It is getting a little trickier as she grows up and reaches for independence, but I am still all in. I’m so grateful I started this blog to remember all of these moments, and glad I took the time when I had the time to “go big.” Time is speeding up, now, and she is almost as tall as me. She dreams big and works hard, and I love to encourage her. Brianne, most importantly, loves Jesus, which brings all who know her joy.
Happy 11th Birthday, to my beautiful ballerina, kind-hearted trumpet playing kiddo and future marine biologist.
Posted on January 17, 2012
Apparently more fascinating than any toy money can buy ….it’s the remote control. In particular, my remote control. The one I grab groggily in the morning to catch the Today Show …oh, who am I kidding with my pre-parent nostalgia …the Disney Channel. Adjusting to my new normal, the morning person I’ve always been is now desperately trying to put off the clamoring for breakfast and get an few extra minutes of sleep.
Somehow, this particular remote control has become the toddler’s favorite pretend one. More annoying than trying to coax my cat out of my older daughter’s room before bedtime, is trying to locate where my number two child has stashed my remote control. Sans a mom sigh, I vacate my comfortable stop to unearth the abnormal place she’s guaranteed to place it …in her shoes (the next obsession), kitty’s food bowl, big sister’s closet, her high chair…
Annoying as it is to locate the dang thing when I need it, watching her interact with it as if there’s a person talking to her on the other end is pretty priceless. It’s one of those things that we’ll soon forget about over time, so I’m glad I’m writing about it.
Our memories seem to be aging twice as fast now that our children are stealing all of our sleep and encroaching on every comfortable creature habit we ever had the three decades prior. Somehow the things we thought we’d never forget about our girls, we find reminiscing about when we run across old photos and videos. Racing my oldest daughter down the street (pretend starting blocks included…funny, since I could never use them properly myself.). Teaching number one how to walk down the street to the lake- every day, holding both her little hands …coaxing her along. There’s seemingly so much time with that first one.
Already, at one and three, there are things that get lost in the shuffle of all the fun and frustrating memories we’ve accumulated thus far. The telephone remote control will surely be filed away and replaced with other hilarious ….and maybe not so much so …idiosyncrasies coming our way. Right now, number two spits out new adorable words and phrases everyday, and number one recites things I’m quite sure she shouldn’t be saying yet at all.
“Who is it, Lo Lo? Who’s on the phone?”
Putting the remote on her shoulder and looking up at me as if I’ve interrupted important negotiations, she replied….
“Zszszszzpseeeee…..Pa Pa! Hiiiiiiiii! Hi, Papa!”
…then ran out of the room on her tip toes to finish her conversation in private.
Happy Channel Surfing…
What we know now …
“LLLLLOOOOOO!!!!” Number one, now ten and a half, yelled to her sister, “CAN YOU COME TURN NETFLIX ON?!”
This is common scene, and when I wrote the original post no one knew what Netflix was. Number two is still obsessed with the remote control …thought she is the smallest and youngest in the house, Lo is the only one who can work all six remote controls and three TV’s in the house without a hitch. Instead of calling Papa on the remote control, she became the first of my two kids to master texting, emoji’s and FaceTime. Papa even has a bitmoji, thanks to her.
Life is exactly how I thought it would be, and why I started this blog. I forgot about the remote control phone, and am so glad there are so many memories here to laugh about all over again. It’s the reason I started this blog …
Happy Memory Surfing …
Posted on June 9, 2011
“Eat your Cheerio’s before they get soggy.”
After a brisk morning run, that’s how my day begins …every day.
We all endure tests throughout life. They shape our character and reflect all the repeated quotations that have stuck to and motivated us throughout our lives.
“Be a leader.” “Don’t Worry.” “Just Run.” “Don’t judge.” “Be Happy.”
We accumulate all this knowledge and then start scheming on how to get our kids to catch on to it faster than we did. And then the kids arrive…and everything we ‘planned’ to do becomes comical when blasted in the scope of reality. Things that were once fun now take so long to get ready and unready for that it swallows up the fun and spits it out into a poopy diaper. Where’s the inspirational quote to deal with that?
Life’s beautifully challenging.
My latest? Dinner. And how to get my kid to eat it. How about that one? Isn’t there a famous mom somewhere that has a motivational quote to get your 3 year old to eat? Bah. ha. ha.
Regardless of what food I feed her, it takes a minimum of an hour and 45 minutes for her to eat dinner. Every single night I bother, ignore her, bribe her, threaten her to get her to eat her mother loving dinner. I cannot follow the advice of the parenting magazines and let her go hungry …or offer her an alternative to make herself. Please… Not. Going. To. Happen.
In light of her older sister’s poor example, my 11 month old (who started to refuse to eat mashed up food at 7 months) continues to eat everything I cut up into pieces for her …with one tooth.
My latest tactic is ‘The Take Away.” No dinner? No blanket. No dinner? No ballet. Which at the moment is crushing for her …she dances all over the house in tutu’s and grass skirts and hasn’t even taken a class yet.
In the midst of the chaos I try to relax the situation with some conversation, and ask her if she dreams of being a ballerina one day. (…because I’m a mom, and inside I am dying to encourage her to follow her dreams …which she’ll most likely read as me being too pushy …it’ll be awesome.) She just looked at me puzzled, trying to pull the literal answer out of her butt …or her nose. Then she broke out into giggles as her little sister spiked her hair up with spaghetti sauce. Her reaction made me think back a few months ago, when she told her then 9 month old sister to “Stop looking at me.”
Chill out, mom.
“Stop looking at me.” Isn’t that how we all feel, sometimes?
But lately when I feel that way it’s causing me to stop and look harder. To sit back, calm down, and relish in the moment. Just as fast as 11 years have gone by since I stepped on the track to do a workout (which I did this week …streak over …legs sore.), soon my daughters will be dating, graduating, leaving, and the quiet will cause me to take on such a fury of hobbies I’ll most likely go insane. Maybe it’s just time to bump wine time up a little bit, sit back and let the madness unfold. So what if dinnertime is 2 hours of minuscule bites, giggle breakouts between sisters, 15 spill disasters, and anything but eating…
I will miss this.
Ok, so now my babies are eleven and nine …Brianne still dreams of and lives for ballet. Lo is still biggest crack up we’ve ever known. Dinnertime is still obnoxious and now we have a dog who’s paws up on the table just waiting for someone to sneak her a bit that’s too chewy or crunchy. Most mornings I’m up before everyone else for coffee and QUIET. This momma is NOT doing track workouts, but did run a half marathon last fall. (I’m averaging a year of rest into between races to pay homage to all the injuries that occur in my oldness. Shhh -It’s fine.) I’m savoring every crazy minute of all of it. It’s going fast. We’ve got a junior high kid in the house this year. Both my girls are beautiful, fierce and brilliant which terrifies their dad into complete denial as the boys start to notice. Life is not easy, hardly ever, but always worth it. Soggy Cherrios and everything.
Posted on February 28, 2011
Ahhhh…the last day of February.
Thank. The. Lord.
Let’s be real. This is the time of the year when even the most avid ‘I love the change of the seasons’ peeps want to hibernate, and we all get sick. Too tired of wearing hats, winter coats, boots, pre-heating the car for 15 minutes before we get in it. It all gets a little tiresome come the last day of February, so we get lackadaisical and end up with disgusting sicknesses. My family is no different. Right now, yogurt is our Pepto …hey …don’t knock it ’till you try it.
Think about it. When the sun comes out and the outside thermometer reads 3o or above, the spring coats come out. The same forecast in January? We’re not venturing out without the down puffy coat. I’m constantly reminded of how pre-mature my Spring fever is by the frozen lake at the end of my street. Just in case I get the urge to start looking for green shoots of life popping up through the ground, Mother Erie stands there to greet me with 10 foot chunks of busted up ice chunks to remind me that it’s still February.
The stores don’t help either. Do you know that if you happen to wait until February to buy a winter boots you cannot just go out and buy another pair! You’re left to squeeze your growing child’s foot in until they return to the stores in August. The flip-flops are on the end cap at Target but we’re in the middle of an ice storm.
Flip flops on the end cap in February remind me how many snowbirds are down in Florida, and how many of my friends from college actually moved South like I planned to. While they are surrounded by blue water and palm trees, I’m looking out my window wondering if I should call the power company before that freshly cracked limb falls on the wires. I’m usually not this salty about where I live. I do love The Land …it’s just been way too long since I’ve hugged a palm tree.
Last day of February …I salute you. Buh-bye.
St. Pat’s Day is coming …will we be slathering on SPF or scraping snow off the windshields? Who. Even. Knows.
But we’re one step closer to Sunny and 80…
Wow! The very beginning of Sunny&80. The first post. It’s amazing to see what God has done in my life and with this blog. Fresh on the facebook scene, I remember the feelings of frustration I felt watching old friends live in the warm places I longed to relocate to. Since this post, my parents have relocated to a permanent background of palm trees, too. And my brother. In fact, I’m the last of Five Alive still residing in The Land. But I’m not frustrated about it anymore. Though the angst to leave rises up now and again, I have learned to defer the urge to move for more of God wherever I’m at. Joy in the journey. He’s not a God of coincidence, so I know I’ve been placed purposefully …and I won’t miss a move if I’m focused on Jesus. There is great peace in working hard with what He’s given us, loving the people in our lives well, and watching expectantly for Him to meet us there and make a move …
I hope I’ve been able to pass along the encouragement and love He’s shown me through Sunny &80. This blog is a record of the life I’ve lived. It’s my prayer you see Jesus through it …because He’s been with me every word of the way.