Some days I need to remember to…

Smile more, yell less.

Play more, clean less.

Laugh more, worry less.

Compliment more, criticize less.

Love always.

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“Your children will become who you are; so be who you want them to be.” That anonymous woman, she’s a smart one.

 

During my five and a half years as a mom, I’ve had my share of days where I’ve felt like a failure.

Yesterday was one of those days.

Maddox had a rash on his legs and his daycare called and asked if it’d been checked out by the doctor. They thought maybe it was spreading and wanted to make sure it wasn’t anything contagious. Fair enough. I probably should have called the doctor anyway. He’s had this rash since Friday. I called the doctor and the earliest they could get him in was 4:10. I knew it would be the worst appointment of the day, but I scheduled it anyway.

Before I picked up the kids, I stopped at home to pack a diaper bag. Before I even got into the house I found a turtle in my garage. Anxious about the mysterious rash and the turtle in my garage, I wasn’t thinking when I opened the cabinet above my head. Maya’s gum ball machine fell out and gumballs flew everywhere.

Yesterday was one of those days.

I got to daycare and Maddox pointed at his red nose and said, “Libia, bite my nose.” 

We walked to Maya’s room and she said, “yay! you picked me up early, so we get to go swimming!” No, no swimming today, we need to go to the doctor. “But you said we could!”

Yesterday was one of those days.

We got to the doctor 30 minutes early. I know better than that. Big mistake with two kids and a  4:10 appointment, that will most definitely be more like 4:55 by the time we get called back there. The kids were hungry. The kids were tired. And, worst of all, they were bored. We waited for over an hour before Maddox’s name was called. Then another 30 minutes of stomping, yelling, wrestling and switching off the light later and the doctor came in the actual room.

She has four kids, so she gave me an empathetic smile and said, “who was stomping in here?” and laughed when Maddox responded, “me! I turn off light too!” She replied with, “ohhh, was it scary in here.”

And, then it went from bad to worse.

The kids were screaming and laughing, running and climbing, and every time the doctor would try to talk, the light would get switched off. There was one point where she put her hands up to her mouth like a megaphone and yelled across the room, “sounds like there are more than two kids in here, for sure.” I was mortified. It was mass chaos and I was the mom in charge, who wasn’t in charge at all.

Yesterday was one of those days.

I had one kid by the arm and the other under the belly, when she said, “Alright! We’re all through do you wanna go get a sucker or a sticker?”

Are you kidding?

“Sorry, there will be no sucker or sticker. I think it’s time for the doctor to go while you get your shoes on.” Then the crying started. The loud crying and screaming, “BUT. I WANT. A. SUCKER!”

Yesterday was one of those days.

We had a long, long ride home where we talked about things we do and do not do in public. And why those things we did do at the doctor’s office was disrespectful to the doctor and to mommy. “Maya, do you think 5 year olds are supposed to be turning lights off while the doctor is talking?”  And, then, of course, there was a punishment to follow, “no swimming for the rest of the week and you will write an apology letter to the doctor.” 

This morning as I moved Maya’s apology letter from the table to my purse, I smiled and said to Preston, “I’m really impressed with Maya’s handwriting and drawing.”

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Maybe I’m not such a failure after all. I guess yesterday was just one of those days.

“I thought you said we were going to have fun here?” Maya sulked. I looked down at her and replied, “Maya, that’s not nice.”

We’d never been to the Cheney Fair before. I’m not even sure if I’ve ever been to a fair ever, unless a teeny, tiny small town church picnic counts. Every August, my parents would drive my sisters and me three hours to my dad’s hometown.

I can remember the sounds.

I can remember the smells.

I can remember lots of little things, like watching the ferris wheel (and the kid that fell off. Never getting on another one of those), the smell of the tractor train that drove the kids around town.

I can remember how hot it was there. Always so stinking hot. I can remember the hamburgers and hotdogs. And, this mouse gambling game. Someone placed a mouse in the middle of a wooden table, as everyone eagerly waited to see if it would run into their hole.

I can remember people carrying beers, red solo cups of beer. I can remember my first year back after I’d gotten married, I got to enjoy my first beer at the Tipton Church Picnic. Best picnic ever.

I can remember the fast, loud voices of the auctioneers. The trinkets and trash that covered the tables under the high tents. I can remember the big room that had quilts hanging on the walls.

I had such fond memories of the Tipton Church Picnic. I  smiled as we pulled into the small town of Cheney, to go to the fair . It was country. I loved it.

I could feel sweat dripping down my back as we walked up to the gates. Not sure where we entered, but there was an open gate and a strong smell of farm animals. I’m sure this would do.

Then Maya saw the rides. She was so excited! image We walked through the whole area, none of the rides were open. Wtf. What’s a fair without rides for kids? Well, rides they could actually ride on, not just look at. Lame. Apparently this was the first year they weren’t open all day. We weren’t the only ones sad. That’s when Maya sulked, “I thought you said we were gonna have fun here.”

So I promised them sno cones. Please, God, please let there be sno cones. image We walked some more, hoping to see a few kids games. Nothing. They did score a free football and pom poms from the cable company booth. Although, I think my monthly cable bill helped them pay for these trinkets.

Then I heard music and saw little girls dressed in black sequence tops, silver glittery leggings and puffy, pink skirts dancing. A talent show! Things were looking up. Well, until when we actually did look up and saw a sky full of dark clouds.

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As we drove home all we could hear was the shrieks and giggles of the kids in the backseats, waving their pom poms wildly in the air.

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I guess that’s why it’s called a fair. I can’t tell you it wasn’t a fair experience. Maybe we’ll try again next year.

As I was placing my items on the conveyor belt, I heard, “Get over here!”

I mean, I really try not to judge parents at stores, because I’ve been there. Trust me. I would never, ever claim to be the best mom. And, shopping with my kids is normally less than glamorous. I do, however, try to whisper when scolding my kids in stores.

I, then, let out a sigh of relief, because, at this moment I was shopping alone.

I watched her small child wander through an aisle and back up toward the front of the store. After a really harsh, “Where were you?”  the scolding, clear as day, continued, “You’re driving me crazy!” and “I’m really getting annoyed!”

At first I started feeling bad for the kid. Then I started feeling bad for the mom. She was probably just having a really bad day. But, come on lady, use your inside voice when yelling at your kids. It’s making me uncomfortable.

Really, though, I promise, I’ve been there. There was this one instance, I can remember it like it was yesterday (and it was over 5 months ago). All I wanted to do was buy some bananas at the grocery store. Just one small thing of bananas. That’s it. I debated going before I picked the kids up, then I thought, “Nah, it’s only a thing of bananas and the kids like going places.”

Enter grocery store: 

Maya: Can I have a cart? 

Me: You don’t need one, we’re just getting bananas. 

Maddox: Me cart! Me cart!

Me: Maya, what about if Maddox pushes one of the small carts and you pick out the bananas.

Maya: OK!

Enter the produce aisle:

Me: Those are great, now let’s get going.

Maddox: Me nana! Me nana!

Me: Maddox, we don’t need any more bananas.

Maya: Maddox, how about I put the bananas in your cart and then you can push them.

Me: Maya, that was very nice sharing.

Maddox: NO! Me nana!

Me: No, buddy, we don’t need any more bananas. (As I start moving all of the bananas from the lower shelf to a higher shelf)

Then comes the waving hands, stomping feet and then the worst happened… He dropped to the floor of the produce aisle and he licked it. He. Licked. The. Grocery. Store. Floor!

I was so embarrassed. I’m not even sure how we got from the produce aisle to the check-out, but we did.

At this point, I was mad, but I’d kept my cool. At least to the outside world, I was calm. Inside I was so mad.

But, then he was very adamant about carrying the sack of bananas. Except it was too heavy for him so he kept dropping it. Every time I’d ask if he wanted help, he’d firmly answer, “No! Me do it!”

After the fifth time, I finally picked him up, under one arm (this kid weighs at least 33 lbs), with his little legs kicking and flailing about and his loud scream piercing my eardrums. Then I grabbed the bananas with the other hand and asked Maya to follow me to the car. I was sure someone would think I’d stolen him from his loving mom and dad.

Once to the car, there was more screaming, kicking and back arching, as I attempted to strap him into his carseat. Of course, all of this was done while keeping my head buried in my chest, to shield the judging faces of the shoppers passing by.

I closed his door and walked around the car to finish buckling Maya in. Just when I think I’m going to burst out crying, she so kindly says, “Mommy, it’s a good thing I was so good in there. Maybe next time you should go to the store by yourself.” 

Yes, Maya, maybe next time I’ll go to the store by myself.

PS, I just signed up for a free webinar tomorrow: Get Kids to Listen without Reminding or Yelling. I’ll let you know how that goes. (:

After dinner is always when my kids have the most energy. We’d already built a dozen towers out of  blocks, the puzzles weren’t puzzling, and I’d had about enough of the beatdowns, someone was going to slam their forehead into the coffee table. And, I’d done enough cleaning yesterday.

“Who wants to walk to park? We can take the spray bottles.” Even though it was almost 100 degrees, it was nice to get out of the house for a while.

We grabbed our spray bottles and headed out the door. I always seem to forget how long it takes this little two-year-old of mine to walk down the street. First it’s a stick. Then it’s a bug. Then it’s a rock. Every. Thing. Needs. To. Be. Sprayed.

Are we ever gonna get there?

Before we even see the park, Maya hears the giggles and screams from the neighborhood pool. “Can we go look at the pool?”

Joy fills their little eyes as they watch the happy kids splashing around. Uncertainty fills mine as I think about all the things that could possibly go wrong inside that gate.

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“We’ll go swimming next weekend with Daddy. Let’s go to the playground and play on the slide and swings.” It’s safe there. No one can drown. You can even climb up the slide.

Well, if you’re careful and don’t fall off the slide and break your neck.

The fourth of July has never been a big deal for me. When I was a kid, I don’t remember ever lighting one firework. And, I don’t remember ever being sad about it. Now since I’m older, the constant popping and banging of fireworks, a week before and a week after the fourth, annoy me. All of those obnoxiously-loud pieces of paper filled with gun-powder are a huge waste of money.

There, I said it.

Yesterday, when I picked Maya up from daycare, she proudly help up her handmade, bubble-lettered sign, “I heart the 4th of July!”

“That’s really cute, Maya. What do you love about the fourth of July?”

“You get to light fireworks!”

Oh, yeah, Maya, about that… Did you not get the memo? I don’t really like wasting money on fireworks.

But, before I could actually say that, Preston looked at me and said, “Just because we didn’t do fireworks when we were little, doesn’t mean our kids won’t when they’re little. But just a few. I don’t really like blowing up money.”

So, today, after we picked up the kids from daycare, we stopped by a tent by our house and bought a few small sparklers, a few really big sparklers and one small rocket. Maddox really wanted it.

And tonight we lit a few dollar bills on fire and watched them burn away into a sparkly cloud of smoke.

SPARKLERS

It was awesome.

“Is this Maya’s second year in tball?”

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“Um, no, this is her first year.”

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“Wow! She is really good! And I love how she smiles at everything! I love watching her play.”

When Maya started t-ball I never expected to hear how good she was. And especially not from multiple parents. The smiling part, I expected.

It’s not like I didn’t think she couldn’t be good at sports, but I’m not exactly an athletic person. I think, all I lack is the coordination and self confidence. Ha.

It’s a good thing she got her athletic gene from her dad.

And, her awesome smiling gene from her mom.

Who doesn’t love a smiler?

So, we got home after 9 pm last night. That’s late for our family, but I’m trying to forget about time and make memories here.

Anyway, back to the memory-making… We were at my work picnic, outside, for five hours! My kids were filthy, but they had a blast.

We walk into the house, peel the chocolate popsicle-stained clothes off our dirt-tanned little gingers and throw them straight in the washing machine. The clothes, not the kids.

Then, Preston marched their dirty little hineys to the bath.

As I flipped the washer to on,  I heard two screeching kids and Preston yelling, “the pilot light is off, I’ll go get it, you watch the kids.” There was no way these kids were staying in a freezing cold bath. So, now we had mud dripping from the side of the tub where they jumped out.

Great. Guess I’ll just drain this.

Then I heard Preston yelling something from the basement, but I couldn’t understand what. I ran down there to see water in the utility room around the water heater.

“That’s dead, isn’t it?”

“Yep, and I snapped the water shut-off valve clean off.”

Perfect. Just what we need at 10 pm. A broken water heater, just waiting for the bottom to fall out and spew 50 gallons of water throughout my newly finished basement, and two muddy kids. And, did I mention exhausted? These kids are normally in bed 3 hours ago.

“Do they just go to bed like this?”

“Um, no, they are disgusting, they’ll just get a cold bath. It’ll be just like the pool. You jump in the shower while I throw the kids in the bath.”

For the 30 seconds I was in that ice-cold shower, all I hear is blood-curdling screams from the kids. Torture. Complete torture.

By 10:30 pm the kids were in bed, we were showered, the water heater was draining in the sump pump and then I heard Maddox quietly talking in his crib, “Daddy, I pooped.”

Sigh.

Why did I think making memories was such a good idea?

I’m pretty sure after five years, Preston knows he’s getting this gift for Father’s Day. But, it never gets old and I love comparing the kids year after year.

I found my letters at Hobby Lobby and painted them white. You can use any letters you want. These are perfect for us because DAD is spelled out in Maddox’s name. That way I don’t have to keep track of extra letters because they’re already hanging on in his room. (;

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It’s Teacher Appreciation Week, this week. So I got on Pinterest and did a little searching. I can’t remember exactly where I found this, because I saw tons of different variations. I customized my own, because that’s what I do. Enjoy! I know Maya’s teacher will. (:

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PS, I thought it was a nice touch to have Maya help me pour in the M&Ms into the jar and write her name on the bottom.

Here’s a downloadable PDF if you want to customize your own! Your kid’s teacher will thank you. (:

And, because I love you guys, I’ve made one brown instead of pink (for all of those boys who just don’t like pink).