Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I win

Lately, it seems everything is a competition with my kids. I know it's not just my kids - I've seen it with others too. I guess it happens more when there are siblings. "Why does she have more than me?" "Why does she get to go first?" "I'm prettier than you." "I have more than you!" I'm such a sucker for punishment that I'm the leader of my daughter's Brownie troop and I'm trying to teach the girls that it's important to work as a team. But, here comes my daughter pointing out the fact that she sold the most cookies and this girl sold the second most and Friend A sold more than Friend B and on and on. And, since my daughter is in her second year of Brownies and the other girls are in their first year, she has more patches than them - a fact that she needs to point out to me all the time. Really? Yes, I'm proud of you for your accomplishments, but they don't seem as great when you point them out all the time. Do I not praise them enough that they feel the need to read me their resume every day? I think I do. I also try to praise the act instead of the outcome so that they learn that hard work and effort are what is more important than the reward. Maybe it's good that my older daughter always wants to be first. Maybe it will help her in life later on. She'll be a leader and won't let people push her out of the way (like she pushes her little sister out of the way when they are racing). But I want to be sure my daughters are the kind of kids that don't make a big deal about who wins. I want them to be the kind of people who care more about having fun and doing a good job and working with the rest of the team toward a common goal. Even in trouble, my kids worry about what is "fair". If the older one gets a punishment, she is quick to be sure her sister gets the same treatment. I know an 8-year-old has no clue what is "fair." She's more concerned with what is equitable, but who am I to argue. I know where she's coming from. I'm a little sister, so I know how "unfair" life can be!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Mrs. Clean?

A clean house. Wouldn't it be nice if it just happened? If there was a button on the wall that you could just push and the floor would get mopped, the furniture dusted, the sinks and counters wiped down and every piece of dirt would disappear? Sure, that's just crazy talk, I know, but I think I would settle for a house that stayed clean for at least a day! No matter what I do, I can't keep up. It seems all I ever do is laundry, dishes, tidying, sweeping, vacuuming, dusting, you get the idea. We women have it rough. Even when we work outside the home, we've still got to come home and take care of it. Some people actually enjoy cleaning (crazy!) but not me. I'm more of the type of gal who likes things tidy but could really care less if there are water spots on my glasses. And speaking of glass, do I have to wash my windows too? I don't even think about stuff like that! And what's with cleaning things that are supposed to clean? Like, why do I have to clean my dishwasher? Isn't there soap in there cleaning it every time it cleans the dishes? I have to clean the vacuum and the mop and the sink. The sink? That should be a self-cleaner too! You're putting soap and water on it for crying out loud! But, in my house, that is one of the dirtiest things. Apparently, my daughter needs to squeeze toothpaste all over the sink before she puts it on her toothbrush. And then she must look at herself in the mirror when she spits out the toothpaste so it goes everywhere. And then she must rinse only half of it off her mouth and wipe the rest of the toothpaste on the hand towel and then she must throw that towel down on the sink before running out of the bathroom. The cleaning never ends!!!! Oh, here's another thing I never think about cleaning but apparently needs cleaning - the walls. What the heck is going on there? Do my children take liquid and squirt it on the walls? Do they have pencils in their hands and run up and down the hallway, banging into the wall? Do they take jelly sandwiches and paste them to the surface? Forget about light-colored walls. I don't really care about brightening and opening up my living space - I'm ready to paint every wall in my house dark brown. I wish I could be Martha-like, getting up at 5 every morning and actually enjoying the art of cleaning. I would have buckets of hot water and white vinegar and methodically scrub things until they sparkled. I bet Martha doesn't wipe her hand along a dresser as a dusting method. Do you think Mr. Clean would object to my using the washcloth from the girls' shower (when they're done with it, of course) to wipe off the top of the toilet? Hey, I'm doing my part for the environment. I'm not wasting paper towels or spraying harmful chemicals into the air. I think I could get used to dirt. Why not? My kids could build up a resistance to all sorts of horrible things once we develop a tolerance to dirt and germs. How about this - when I clean the microwave, I put a cup of lemon juice in a bowl and microwave it on high for 5 minutes. The juice boils and loosens and dirt and grease inside the microwave and clean up is a snap. Today, I'm going to boil about a gallon of lemon juice on my stove for about an hour and my hope is that all the dirt and grease in a 500-square-foot area will loosen up and I can clean the whole place in a snap. I'll let you know if it works. I might be onto something!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Lookin' good

Yesterday, I noticed a woman in the grocery store parking lot. The reason I noticed her was because it was hard not too. She had let go of her kids' hands to adjust her, um, decolletage. From the looks of it, she was making sure her boobs were more obvious instead of less obvious. Whatever. I think it's low-class, but that's me. I'm sure there are lots of people in this world that think it's okay to show everyone the goods. But, what I noticed about her (besides her adjusting her boobs) was that she was very dolled up. Her hair was done and her excessive makeup was perfect and she had lots of jewelry on and her outfit didn't have a seam out of place. Sure, it was a Sunday afternoon, but it didn't look like this lady had just come from church. She was wearing a sweatsuit. I just don't get this. I know track suits became wildly popular a few years back. Tons of people wore them, even if they didn't fit too well. Are these outfits still so popular? But, beyond that, why would you do your hair and makeup and put on jewelry if you're wearing a sweatsuit? That's the part I don't get. Where I come from, sweatsuits are for sweating. People wear them to work out or fat guys wear them because they're comfortable. Again, maybe it's just me.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Is it just me?

Do you ever see cars where the back seat windows are covered in stickers? I can just picture the children sitting in the back peeling their little stickers from their sheets and then happily sticking them to the window. See, if that happened in my car, it would be without my permission and my kids would be giggling thinking they got away with something. Is it just me that feels like this practice is insane??? Am I too controlling? Am I a bad mom because I don't allow my children to stick SpongeBob and Hello Kitty stickers all over the windows? Should I do it? Will it make my kids happier and more well-adjusted? I've got to know. Next time I see one of those cars, I think I'll stop the driver and ask!

Friday, April 16, 2010


Being a mom of two girls is so hard. There are so many struggles they face that boys simply won't - breasts, menstruation, weight... the list goes on and on. Today, a thought hit me. One of the things I don't want my girls to learn that they unfortunately will is that girls just suck. I mean, I love being a woman and individual women are wonderful and intelligent and generous and loving and so many other things. But once you get a group of women together? We aren't all that great sometimes. Consider the group of three girlfriends. That old saying "two's company, three's a crowd" really happens all too often. Two girls can get along. They can argue and usually work things out. Throw a third girl in the mix and trouble's a brewin'. Sometimes, the third girl has to pick a side. Sometimes, the third girl wants to come between one and two. How can I explain to my girls that this is just the way the world works and that they have to learn to get along with lots of different people at lots of different times? Last night, I was surrounded by a group of women who are all leaders and are teaching girls about community service, friendship and becoming a woman. What a difficult job this is. How are we, as women and mothers, supposed to teach these girls about humility and fairness? How can we teach them not to be bullies? How not to constantly criticize themselves and others? Tomorrow, I will be surrounded by a group of women that helped shape my college years when I attend my sorority reunion. I wonder how these women have changed, how they are changing the world. But as I think about these ladies, I think about my own struggle with being a mom of girls. It was hard enough when I was a kid but girls today face even more scrutiny than generations before. How can I teach my girls to forgive bullies when I can't even handle feeling wronged by women that I trusted and considered friends? I can barely get my girls to be nice to each other sometimes - so can I make sure they will always be nice to other girls? Why don't guys have these problems? I wish all I cared about was baseball!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Speed up

I am always in a rush, it seems. Well, probably because I am always late. Always. I don't intend to be late. I wasn't like this before I had children. So, I will blame them. I've been told time and again to start out earlier. If I plan to leave earlier then I can get them out the door and we won't be late. Yeah, that doesn't work. No matter how far in advance I start the process. No matter how many times I warn them that it's time to go.... nothing works. What is it with kids? They have so much energy the rest of the time, but when it comes time to put some shoes on and get out the door? Forget it. They can't dress themselves. They forgot to brush their teeth. They can't find the shoes they want to wear. They spilled water on their shirt so they have to change. They want to bring a toy. Wait, they need a different toy. Wait, why does she get to take more toys than me? They play on the steps. They race and fight and argue by the door. They need to look at themselves in the mirror. Oh, wait, I forgot something so I have to run back upstairs and get it. Then the little one forgot something too so she's got to go and get it. And I'm multi-tasking (like all moms do!) and have the garbage in one hand, papers and my purse and the mail and drinks and snacks and everything else we need in the car in the other hand. But, I have to put everything down and help someone with a shoe because my children seem to forget how to put on their shoes the minute they get near the front door. Oh man, now we're 10 minutes late for wherever we're going. And I still need to get gas or go to the bank or something, I'm sure. Today, I was late and I couldn't blame my kids. It was my fault. I didn't want to stop the project I was doing. So, I drove to school to pick up one child (and had to wait nearly 10 minutes for her to appear) and then had to fly back to pick up the other child and then get to the doctor's office for an appointment. I'm driving.... behind a tractor! Seriously, get out of the way dude. It wasn't just him, there were four cars between him and me so I had to wait for all of them to pass him before I could. Then I got stuck behind an old guy who liked to put on his blinker but never actually turned anywhere. Then, oh yes, the all-time favorite when you're late... a school bus! And it was a heavily-populated street because this bus stopped at every other house! Get to the doctor and there are four people on line ahead of me. When I finally get to the receptionist, she tells me "Well, you're a little late. I'll have to see if they can take you." Oh, this lady was about to get it. She gets off the phone and says "They've been waiting." How badly I wanted to snap at her, but I bit my lip because all I could think about was not wanting to do this again. I smiled and said "That's a switch. Usually, I'm waiting 20 minutes for the doctor to come in the room." And wouldn't you know, I went right back to the exam room and the nurse came in right away. But we had to wait 10 minutes for the doctor. And then she actually apologized for being late. Not that it mattered to me!

Saturday, April 10, 2010


I've decided that my kids are nuts. Not always, but a lot of the time. And I'm just going to roll with it. I swear, when I'm not looking, they do shots of crazy juice. Often, people tell me how wonderful it is to have girls. They say "Oh, boys fight and wrestle and blah, blah, blah...." Have you seen my girls go at it? They are insane! They hit and kick and poke and pinch and lick and bite and push and yank and do things to each other that little ladies just should not do. They climb on top of my car. They jump in the mud. They pick up creatures and anything else they find on the ground. They don't seem to care that being a girl means they should wear dresses and have nicely-brushed hair. They should sit nicely together and giggle and paint each other's nails. The only time they get along is when they're ganging up on me! Fine, girls - keep sipping your crazy juice. Mommy's got a little special juice of her own to drink.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Picking my battles

Lots of people, when giving you parenting advice, will tell you to choose your battles. It's sound advice. It's probably something that parents have to do every day. Sure, you can eat your spaghetti with a spoon but you may not have ice cream for dinner. Yes, you may wear your Snow White costume to the library, but you may not wear it in the bathtub. Stuff like that. You have to decide what is the bigger battle. Is it worth the fight? Allowing your children to do some silly stuff that you don't really agree with is just part of letting them grow up and learn to make good decisions. If people don't ever make mistakes, they don't ever learn how to fix things and do them the right way. I say this because I hope people aren't so quick to judge other moms when they see that kid in the Snow White costume at the library. When I pick up my little girl from pre-school, I see girls there with perfect braids in their hair and they're wearing the cutest little outfits and look all sweet and spiffed up. Then, there's my kid wearing shiny green shoes, purple leggings and a pink dress. If there was something in her hair, she's pulled it out by now. There's my oldest too. She thinks that wearing blue pants and a blue shirt is matching colors. If I give her grey pants, she says blue and grey don't match. So, she wears a royal blue long-sleeved shirt under a light blue short-sleeved shirt and navy blue pants. She doesn't understand yet that the blues don't necessarily match each other. But, she likes it and that's good enough for me. This morning, she went to school in flip-flops. Yes, it was raining outside when she left the house, but I let her wear them. She had a valid argument. When she went to school on Monday, it was 70 degrees and lots of kids were wearing flip-flops. Since she found out the footwear was allowed, she was excited to don hers to school. Okay, but it's raining. But, Mom, it's not fair that I don't get to wear them. Sure, go ahead. I know when she comes home, she'll have regretted her decision. I know she'll be sitting on the school bus and in class this morning with wet feet sliding around on her wet shoes wishing she didn't wear them. But that's okay. That's the consequence of her decision. She will learn that wearing flip-flops in the rain is not always the best idea. She will also learn that her mother is always right. But that's a battle she'll have to deal with on her own.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Through their eyes

Do you ever think your children are melodramatic? Are they little drama queens (or kings)? Do you wonder why everything is such a big deal? Why having the wrong color shoes is the end of the world or not finding the exact place where we left off in reading the story last night means bedtime tonight is in a complete shambles? Why do kids think the smallest problems are so important? I guess it's because those problems aren't small to them. To us, they overreact to minor glitches. But, if you flip the coin, they overreact to minor joys and we find that adorable. Today, I watched my children hunt for Easter eggs. At first, the oldest one was upset because we had to wait to stage the hunt until the little one came home from church. I thought it was going to get ugly. She was making a big deal of it, but she came to her senses. I thought things might get out of hand when they realized there were only three gold eggs this year instead of four. But, they handled it well. I think on a normal day, these little problems would have been made into big ones. Maybe the excitement of the day made all the little problems stay little. Then, they opened up their eggs and the tiniest treasures became the biggest gifts. So, being dramatic was super cute. Seeing those jelly beans and chocolate eggs through their eyes, watching them help each other find eggs and seeing how surprised they were to find them in odd places - it was the sweetest thing. So, all the drama they saved for their mama today - well... mama loved it.