For all you parents of multiples out there…
Category Archives: children
Hearing this wouldn’t be shocking. Except it was from the mouth of my 3-year-old foster daughter.
I freaked out when I first heard her say it. I gently reprimanded. I talked about good words and bad words until I was blue in the face. Nothing worked.
“Just ignore it,” counseled my mother. “It will go away.”
“I can’t wait for it to go away! We’re monitored by social workers and case workers. She has a visit with her birthmom in just a week. If she says that in front of her they’ll take her away from us. We’ll be labeled unfit parents. We’ll NEVER get to adopt!”
I was clearly distraught. To me, this slip of the tongue, this bad mommy moment that this angelic toddler had heard and was now emulating, was catastrophic. This behavior had to stop and it had to stop NOW.
So, I continued with my reprimands, my explanations and peppered in a few time-outs.
To no avail.
Running into the grocery store for a few things, I was in a terrible rush. Her older sister was still at school and I was due in the carpool line soon. Time was limited. Trying to get Julia out of the carseat, her foot got tangled in the straps.
“Damn it!” she said.
I froze. I didn’t have time for explanations. I didn’t have time for reprimands. And I certainly didn’t have time for time-outs.
Searching my face for a reaction, she said it again more emphatically, “Damn it, Mommy!”
I remembered my mother’s words of wisdom. In desperation, I decided to take her, although ill-advised, advice. So, I simply scooped her up, placed her in the shopping cart and said, “We just need milk, carrots and eggs. And then, we have to hurry over to the school to pick up your sister.”
We shopped. We dashed to the school (well within speed limits, of course) and we went home. I made dinner. We read stories and played. We bathed before bed. We went to bed. We woke the next morning and started our daily routine.
Twenty four hours. Forty eight hours. A week.
All passed by without incident.
I never heard “Damn it!” from those sweet little lips again.
I hate it when Mom is right.
“Mom? Are you the tooth fairy?”
Stunned, I can’t look up from the puzzle I’m working on. “No, Sweetie. I’m your mom.”
My son walked away satisfied.
Oh. God. What did I just do? I lied to my son. But I was unprepared and I knew the inevitable question was next, “Are you Santa Claus, too?”
My husband chastised me. “You can’t lie. If he asks the question it means he’s ready for the answer.”
Well. That might be so. But maybe I’m not ready for the answer.
I’m not. Ready, that is. I fully believe in Santa Claus. Not in the concrete way that children do. But in the esoteric, allegorical sense. Think Miracle on 34th Street or the amazing Colonel Harry Shoup. And the Pollyanna in me clings to this belief for dear life.
I’ve tried to prepare for the inevitable. I’ve practiced speeches in my head. But I stumble and fail. I found this amazing letter that another mother wrote for her child. I’ve bookmarked it, hoping to be inspired when the time comes. But that moment will sneak up on me, just as it did the other day, and catch me by surprise. And I will bumble and fumble for the right words. I pray they come to me.
Think back to the time when you believed in Santa. This extraordinary man, who encourages goodness and kindness and magic. The joy, racing down the stairs, to see what was left under the tree. Finding just what you wanted and he only wanted a cookie, some hot chocolate and a carrot for his reindeer in return.
As my children grow older, I’m trying to come to terms that this magical time is ending. The mysteries of Santa will be revealed. And to those of you who have never lied to your children about this mythical man, you may now smile smugly as I wrestle with my lie and the fear that my children will lose confidence in me. I am a fraud, just as Santa Claus is a fraud, and I may never again be trusted.
“Will you put the dollar under his pillow?” I ask my husband.
“Me? Why me? You ALWAYS do it!” My husband is panicked and I try to get him to take the dollar.
“Well, that way I haven’t lied. I’m not the tooth fairy. You are.” Loopholes. I’m always on the lookout for loopholes.
“Well, I can’t. I mean. Uh. I don’t know how.” He stutters and stammers.
I glare at him. “You don’t know how? What is that supposed to mean? You slip your hand under his pillow, remove the tooth and leave a dollar in its place.”
He sheepishly trudges upstairs and I follow for moral support.
He tries to sneak his hand under the pillow but our son shifts in his sleep. “See? I’m going to screw it up.” He hisses.
I glare again.
He tries again, barely slipping his hand under the pillow and gives up. “I can’t find it. It’s not there.”
Ticked, I snatch the dollar, slip my hand under the pillow, immediately find the tooth and replace it with the dollar bill. My glare has now turned icy and menacing.
“You made a liar out of me,” I snarl.
My husband just stands there, with a sheepish grin.
I guess he’s not ready for the inevitable either.
I just had to share this pic, taken from the Maria Montessori site on Facebook.
Pure, simple, utter joy.
May you have a little in your day today.
Most people who stumble upon or actually choose to peek in on my blog are moms. Almost all are parents who want to raise healthy, happy, well adjusted children. You find practical advice on head lice (it’s still my #1 seller! Go figure!) or find solace in my anecdotes. Or, in laughing at me, you sit a little straighter, knowing you can top Jane in parenting ability.
Now, I’ve never claimed to be a parenting authority.
But I know someone who is.
Madeline Levine, PhD., author of Teach Your Children Well: Parenting For Authentic Success, uses “cutting edge research and thirty years of clinical experience” to help us be the parents we want to be. The best kind of cheerleader for our children. Encouraging, supportive, and nurturing. Her book shows us that superficial success is not what shapes an authentic self.
I am familiar with Ms. Levine’s book The Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage Are Creating A Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids. I found it so interesting, I decided (since I’m not eligible for the giveaway – and I’m cheap) to request her newest book from our library. There’s a waiting list. Out of the 7 copies, all are checked out with a wait list. Looks like Amazon.com is going to squeeze a book out of me this month. Yep. I don’t want to wait. She’s that good.
Harper Collins has graciously offered a free book (read: GIVEAWAY!) for a reader of my blog. Simply comment below and share a proud mommy/daddy moment, a learning (aka bad mommy/daddy) moment, or simply respond with “I want a free book!” Any comment will do. I’m not picky.
Comment before 12:00pm, EST on Monday, August 13th 2012 and a random winner – from the U.S. or Canada – will be chosen. (Yes. Your fate lies in the sticky fingers of one of my sons.)
Thanks for reading!
And have a happy parenting day full of highs and short on lows!
Update: And the winner is……..Naptime Writing! I guess your two entries increased your odds just the right amount. That and the fact that my son rolled your lucky number on the dice. Congratulations! And thanks, too, to TKW, Robin, Velva, Rudrip and Cool Joe for playing.
(Jane clears throat and steps gingerly onto her soapbox.)
My name is Jane.
And I nursed my son longer than 2 years.
Go ahead. Start slinging the arrows. Label me crunchy granola. Slap the handcuffs on my wrists and haul me away to crazy-mommy-jail. (Do they have Starbucks? If so, I’ll go willingly.)
I didn’t plan on nursing for so long. I knew I wanted to breastfeed. (Because, after all, that IS what my breasts were designed for, contrary to popular belief.) So when my pediatrician asked me if I’d given any thought to weaning I answered, “Yes. I read it’s best to nurse until a year old. And that’s when I’m planning on stopping.” She smiled a knowing smile and handed me a pamphlet on the latest statistics (7 years ago) and said, “Well, the World Health Organization now recommends breastfeeding until age 2 or longer, whichever is best for both mother and child.”
This was new thinking for me. But after exhaustive research (because I’m really a research nerd-junkie at heart) I decided to practice “child led weaning” or natural weaning. Yes. I said natural weaning. Because if it’s forced, it is un-natural. (I’m on my soapbox so I can say this.)
Now, I wasn’t the perfect crunchy-granola mom. I tried to practice a “don’t offer, don’t refuse” approach to the “natural” weaning process. But I succumbed to societal pressures. If we were in public, if guests were visiting who wouldn’t understand, I’d gently redirect and say, “Not now.” Sometimes I’d offer an explanation. But he didn’t really care. A redirect was fine.
But the fact that I was still nursing at (OK. I’ll admit it.) 3+ years of age? It was my dirty, little secret. (And not THAT kind of dirty, little secret. If that’s what you were thinking? Please. Just leave now. There isn’t enough room in the blogosphere to convince you otherwise and I’m not about to try.)
Frankly, I find it pathetic that only 57% of women in the U.S. even try to breastfeed their baby, compared to the 98% in Sweden, Norway and 94% in Rwanda. I understand that for some women, breastfeeding isn’t an option due to health issues. I get it. I truly do. But when a 6 month pregnant woman in my bookclub says, “Oh, no. We’re not going to breastfeed. My husband and I just aren’t comfortable with that.” And she shakes her head with disgust, with a grimace on her face? I’m the one who is disgusted. (And I tried to hide MY grimace but as you all know, I do not have a poker face.)
And I tried. I really tried not to make a comment about the fairly recent Time magazine cover “Are You Mom Enough?” with the 3-year-old nursing. But hold onto your hats, because here I go.
First of all, I never, ever, ever nursed my 3 year old standing up with him on a step stool.
Second. If you can’t nurse for whatever physical reason? You get a big, fat automatic pass at breastfeeding. No questions asked. But if you “can’t” nurse because it grosses you (and your husband) out? Maybe you aren’t mom enough.
Third. I understand that Time was trying to elicit a response with their shocking cover. But really. Natural weaning and attachment parenting practices should be a non-issue. They are practiced all over the world. ALL the heck over. We’re the ones with the issues that we need to just get over. Plus, different strokes for different folks. Stop the judging and start supporting each other. Maybe more moms would see the light.
And D (now you really know I’m angry because I’m mixing up my argument structure), that blog that wants to punch people in a place that would really hurt because they tick them off? You can be on your soapbox but please back up your argument with facts. Attachment parenting does not mean that you nurse until your child can spell “delicious and refreshing breast milk” and they co-sleep with you until middle school. I know you’re trying out the Time magazine shock technique, but honestly? You come across sounding mean, angry, hostilely judgmental and insecure in your own parenting skills. But since that’s the point of your blog, I’ll just stop there.
Yes. I’m a crunchy, granola mom. By accident. Because that’s what felt right for me and my child. At that time in our lives. In that moment. I didn’t ask for anyone’s permission. I didn’t ask for anyone’s opinion. I just did it because that’s what felt right. And sadly, for me anyway, I honestly can’t remember the last time my son nursed. It had tapered off to a point that one day, a day I will never remember because it felt like any other day, he decided it would be his last. He didn’t need it anymore.
As it should be.
(Stepping off my soapbox, and ducking from the arrows, I just want to say whatever is was that YOU did about feeding your infant/toddler/child? It’s your business and your business alone. I don’t care what you did. I know what I think is best but that’s just it. It’s MY opinion. Not yours. You go off and have your opinion. Just don’t want to punch me in the throat because of mine.)
…crying children were like nails on a chalkboard. Now? I frantically search until I find the source to make sure a parent is there taking care of the distraught little one.
…I slept as late as I wanted to on the weekends, which wasn’t very late, but still. I slept until I wanted to get up. Now? Wake up call in our house is 6am. Every day. Every. Single. Day.
…my husband and I could have a little romp in the hay, mid-afternoon, take a little nap afterwards and do it all over again. Now? We have to schedule time. And then keep/remember/have the energy for “the date.” Afterwards we say, “Mmmmm. That was nice. Let’s not wait 3 months for the next time, k?”
…having the money to go out was no big deal. We did what we felt like. When we felt like it. Now? We have to tack on $40-50 more to the budget for the babysitter. Ouch!
…I always remembered to shave my legs. Now? Please don’t look!
…I had seen every single Best Picture nominee for the Academy Awards. Printed out my ballots and threw a big bash so we could eat popcorn and Twizzlers and comment on the tuxes, dresses, and speeches. Now? Do they still have those awards shows? After our nightly Curious George episode our tv is off.
…I loved my husband. Now? I adore, cherish, am continually amazed by, LOVE my husband. He is such a wonderful father.
…hugs were nice. Now? Hugs are sticky, slimy, sweet smelling, cozy little wonders all day long.
…my skin was fresh with not a wrinkle in sight. Now? I’ve earned every single “laugh line” quite honestly. My children set me into a fit of giggles at least once a day.
…I wondered how I was going to make a difference in the world. Now? I’m shaping the future with my bare hands.
(Sorry for the re-run. My sister is in town (for 10 days!) and she doesn’t even know I blog. And I’m not telling her now. So, I’m going to be a bit scarce. I’ll try to sneak online but in the meantime, here are a few of my favorite posts. Enjoy your week!)