Throwback Thursday: Swimming: “F*cking Sh*t” Momma

Here is another oldie but goodie to kick off the summer of 2020 – although we might not see in the inside of a public pool for awhile yet…

I came up out of the water and wiped my eyes off so I could scan the pool. Treading water in the deep end of the rec center pool, I tried to locate my daughter as the waves grew larger. Kids on inner tubes bounced above increasingly larger mountains of water created by the pool’s wave system. It took me a minute to locate her in the shallow end of the pool, bobbing crazily in a red life jacket, her head poking out above a clear, over-inflated inner tube. Our eyes met.

“Fucking shit,” her sweet little mouth formed the words as she glared at me.

Not the last time I would hear those words over the course of the two hours we were at the pool. They have become my daughter’s new favorite way to irk me when I’m not doing what she wants me to do. I’ve discovered that the only ways to reduce her use of these new words is to surprise her with random outbursts of the words in conversation and ignore her when she uses the words. Slowly, their attractiveness as one more way of naughty-making is becoming less appealing.

“Hey Momma! If you don’t come over here and carry me, I’m going to say F-u-c-k,” she announced from the pool stairs.

I swam small laps, as some strange little 6-year old sat on the pool stairs repeating “fuck” over and over. Whose child was that? What a weirdo.

Eventually, the cursing died down and I swam over to her. She hopped on my back and we floated around together. “Momma, I love you more than anything in the world,” she whispered in my ear.

Sigh…

Solo Mama: Thought for the Day

“Don’t say anything while we are in the store. Otherwise I will explode into flames with frustration.”

This was directed to me from the back seat as we pulled into Walmart by you know who (the fiesty child). She muttered in all the way into the store while holding my hand, like a horror movie demon. That and the matted hair made it even a bit more frightening. Of course I talked most of the time we were in the store. She’s still the most gorgeous little girl I’ve ever seen.

Solo Mama: Parenting Your (x) Grader

This past week I picked up a couple of parenting books at church. Specifically, Parenting Your Second Grader and Parenting Your Fourth Grader. I figure I need all the help I can get. As I checked out with the cashier, she smiled and said, “Let us know what you think. We are really interested in feedback about these books.”

(Sure. I will get you some feedback if I survive the journey. As I write this, my second grader is choreographing a dance to Dance Monkey next to me at the table. Obviously I haven’t gotten around to reading about how to parent her.)

As soon as we got into the car, my fourth grader commandeered the fourth grader book and asked if he could read it. He hates to read so I was pleasantly surprised. I figured “Why not?” He might as well get a heads-up on all the voodoo I’m about to be work on him.

The first thing that happened was that he got a huge smile on his face and said, “Momma, look what’s on page 80!!” His sister demanded to know too. I knew too well from already having skimmed the book. “Yeah but look what’s on page 86!” I replied.

Page 80 started a chapter on sex, and page 86 was the beginning of the chapter on technology. My daughter immediately demanded to see the second grader book to see if sex was covered in her book. It was. Both of the kids were now super excited that these parenting books were finally going to force me into conversations about sex. Since last weekend, I’ve been asking friends with older children how they broached the subject with their kids early on. I always thought I’d be the cool parent and be able to talk about all this easily. Not the case. I just don’t think I should be telling an 8- and 9-year old about sex? The books don’t actually tell me to say, they just offer “stems” like, “I’m so glad you asked about that” or “Can we talk about this at another time?” (I will be using that one a lot), or “What kinds of things have you heard about sex?” (Do I need to cite the source for these questions? Are they trademarked due to the fact that they are in these books?).

I was especially interested in any guidance about technology. A suggestion for my fourth grader on this topic was sitting down with him while he played games or watched YouTube videos on the iPad. Last night, I cozied up next to him and the iPad on the couch and he freaked out. “Momma! What are you doing????”

By now, I’ve read both books cover to cover. My son has also read the fourth grader book cover to cover. At the very least, the books will make me think about my parenting. They also offer sections for reflection. Like “What do you hope to be true for your child in 468 weeks regarding (x)?” (The amount of time until my son turns 18). The most helpful part is that they offer phrases and sentiments that your child needs to hear at their respective age based on their social and emotional development.

If anyone reading this knows of any accessible (I am able to read them while stuck in traffic) and fabulous parenting books, please reply or shoot me a message. I’m not sure how much I will be able to digest along with my “on the job” parenting training, but these books have peaked my interest. Now, back to Dance Monkey.

 

Solo Mama: Never Do This

If you’ve read any of my posts over the past couple of years, you have probably read some of my daughter’s “Never Do This” statements. At times, she gets on a roll and will bother me every few minutes while watching a video, playing with her toys, listening to music, or just riding along in the car.

Below is a collection of a few of my favorites. Just for a laugh. It is important to note that due to the tedium of reading my job “title” over and over, I omitted the “Momma” from the start of each warning. Make no mistake, each warning is prefaced by at least one “Momma.”

Health and Safety (General Well-Being) Warnings:

“Never open your mouth while you are in the water. You might swallow a crab.”

“Never look up when someones says ‘there’s an airplane.’ They might rob you.”

“Never hide in a fireplace.”

“If you are suspicious, just walk away!”

“Never let anyone look in your purse unless it is a trusted person.”

“Never hold out a shiny coin. It will attract stuff that will eat you.”

Warnings Related to Bunnies:

“Don’t ever build your tent by a pile of rocks because a bunny could throw rocks on your tent.”

“Don’t ever put a string on a tree and hang from it because a bunny could come and cut the string and you will fall down.”

General Advice:

“Never get embarassed when you are on a stage.”

“Never put a heavy pumpkin on a boat.”

Momma’s Warnings That Are Often Overlooked by Children:

“Never show your momma videos from the backseat of the car while she is driving 75 miles per hour on the highway.”

“Never point your arrow or your airsoft gun at your sister.”

“Never spell out profanity on your trash can or refrigerator with magnet letters. Especially before family visits.”

“Never give up the possibility that you can aim straight into the toilet bowl when you pee.”

 

Solo Mama: Single Parent Overload

Whhhoooooaaaaa!

I hit Monday night, at the end of a long weekend (Dr. King, I celebrate you AND I also celebrate sanity AND there are too many Monday holidays over the next few months), and I realized I was on the verge of losing my mind. I was anxious, irritated, and had a very short fuse. Does this sound familiar to any parents with an extra day tagged onto the weekend? I’m blocking any Facebook parents who post cute, smiley, huggy-family pics from their long holiday weekend snowmobiling, ice fishing, taking a cooking class, posing with Mickey at Disney World, adopting a cat, getting matching tattoos, attending a major sporting event, soaking in hot springs or skiing at ??? (I don’t even know where it’s cool to ski anymore). Insert LOL emoji here. Especially this past weekend.

I’m an introvert, and every introvert knows that you need time alone to recharge. Time alone over the past 10 years=non-existent. In addition to being an introvert, I hold myself to standards that are simply not achievable. Our little family was non-stop from Friday night until Monday night with activities, friends, family, typical weekend chores – groceries, laundry, house cleaning – and by the time I realized I was tapped out on the final evening of the long weekend, it was too late.

Back to the time alone piece. Every parent knows that once you have children, you are never alone. They follow you everywhere, like tiny little poltergeists, they appear from out of nowhere and they are usually bleating “Momma. Momma. Momma” and then they disappear as mysteriously as they appeared.  As they’ve gotten older, “Momma” is just the stem to a monologue about a random piece of trivia that they’ve encountered on YouTube. The other day, I opened up the browser on my phone, and the first page was titled “How do I be a girl in Roblox?” Really. Everything about them is shocking. And it never fails, the moment you’ve hit your word quota for the day, one of them launches into a speech about Tones and I and how they imagined she would look based on her voice in the song “Dance Monkey” or they ask you about sex.

It is also a one-way street with these people. The other day, my daughter and I were painting clay animal figurines, and I brought up what I thought was an important topic. I wanted to know how she felt about it. After she answered my first question, she said, “Momma, can we not talk anymore? I’m trying to concentrate.” I will need to remember that line the next time they want to discuss the body styling of Mustangs versus Camaros in the car or ask me what world events I might be hiding from them (my son accused me of purposely withholding current news from them about Iran last week).

I hit a wall Monday night. I need to notice the warning signs before everything caves in. I need to be better about going into my room, closing the bedroom door, and hanging up my “Keep out” sign and escaping even just for 30 minutes. It might just make us all appreciate each other more as well. For others who hit this wall on a regular basis, I see you.

 

Watching Them Grow (and loving it)

A friend recently asked me what my favorite part of parenting is (don’t end a sentence in a preposition). I told her that it was watching the kids grow up into their own unique little personalities. When they were small, it felt like they were tiny extensions of me. Now they feel separate and different, with only hints of traits that have been passed down from my side of the family.

I am in a constant state between wanting to banish them to their rooms forever and laughing until I cry because of something they just said or did. Noah getting into my “Hot Guys and Baby Animals” book and reading it and summarizing it for me (“Momma, it’s basically about guys and their pets. But one guy was totally naked in a park. You couldn’t see his privates though.”). Neelah yelling at me at the park “Look momma, Noah can pole dance!” as my son jumps onto a pole and swings down it with his legs in the splits (I have watched the video of this several times and never stop laughing). Both of them binge watching My Little Pony and Beyblade together on Netflix. Volunteering with Noah’s improv class at school and watching these amazing little people catch on to clever comedy and perform some decent sketches. Neelah asking me last week what the word “sexy” means and I told her it meant “cute.” For the past week, she has been telling everyone they are sexy and describing other kids as such. I finally decided that I had to come clean. I told her that “sexy” means you want to have sex with someone. She still doesn’t know what that means but she has stopped calling me and other kids sexy. Whew.

All of it blows my mind. I am constantly in a state of “Wow! I can’t believe they are so cool and they live with me!” For the longest time I had them convinced that they had come out of my butt and we had always marveled about how people so wonderful could come out of my butt. Again, I had to come clean with that too.

It’s strange to sit and process where their personalities come from. Differing from most families, I have no idea what personality traits have been passed down to Noah from his father’s side and from Neelah’s side, my knowledge is limited. Noah has amazing patience and the ability to quickly and successfully regulate his emotions when he is upset or angry or sad. That didn’t come from me. Neelah has an amazing sense of style, sweats a lot, and is grumpy about 90% of the time and those traits did not come from me. I always wonder what it would have been like to know their fathers and be able to say “oh yeah, that’s from your side of the family” or “he/she is definitely your child.”

In any case, I am pretty sure that anyone with kids reading this knows to some extent what I’m talking about. If you haven’t thought about it, stop and do so. It really helps you appreciate them as a wonderful gift. I promise. 🙂

Solo Mama: Don’t ever do this…..

My daughter makes her mark on my world every day. Every single day. She makes me laugh, she makes me cry, she makes my head spin, she makes me clench my teeth and raises my blood pressure. Lately she has been on this “Momma, never do “X” because…” mission. To the point where I’ve had to start keeping a list of everything I should never do.

I’m not sure where this recent focus has come from. She has been watching a lot of YouTube lately, but from what I can see, she mostly watches a really upbeat cute blond girl with an Australian accent talk endlessly about DIY projects – how to make a cute and colorful stress ball out of a balloon and cornstarch that you can tie to your backpack with curling ribbon, how to create a bright and attractive pencil pouch so you can sneak candy into class, how to make a fake cactus out of painted rocks and a flower pot to decorate your room when you can’t keep plants alive. The list goes on and she always has ideas for DIY. I can’t keep up and it has started to become a source of stress due to all the random things I need to keep on hand. 😑

Anyway, I felt compelled to share my list to date of things I should never do. Maybe it will also help some of you who had ever planned to do some of the following things give them a second thought.

  1. Don’t ever build your tent by a pile of rocks beause a bunny could come and throw rocks on your tent.
  2. (For God) Don’t ever build a volcano next to where you think a street might be some day.
  3. Don’t ever put a string on a tree and hang on it because a bunny might come and cut the string and you will fall down.
  4. Don’t ever hide in a fire place.
  5. Don’t ever play hide and seek in a car. Once, a little kid did this when his mom was on a date and he was stuck in the engine for 30 years. He survived by drinking oil.
  6. Don’t make a store with lots of money otherwise no one will come there and you will be broke.
  7. Don’t ever try on anything if you don’t know what it is, you might turn into a mermaid.
  8. Never use berries as lipstick. They could be poisonous.
  9. Never leave the house and go anywhere without making sure your purse opens.
  10. Don’t eat random things. You might be killed by people who don’t like America.
  11. Always check the boxes in your mail. Read the tag first to make sure it’s not a bomb.

She makes me laugh ❤️

Play date (aka when a saint offers to host your children at her house for a few hours while you are at work)

What’s new this week? Well, my children had a play date with a family they have never visited before.

The mother picked them both up after school. Nerve wracking. What can my children do to embarrass themselves and me between 2:30 and 5:30 at a new family’s house? I was at work, holding my breath. At 4:30, I jumped out of my seat, packed up and flew out. I set my map and headed north.

How fancy will their house be? Will my children already have mentioned how much cleaner and bigger their house was than our house? I was sweating now. What is my daughter telling the mother? It was my son’s friend and my daughter was invited along, despite my warnings to the mother.

“She likes adult women. She thinks she’s a grown up too. She will talk your ear off. She might not say age-appropriate things. She likes painting. Give her some paints and some paper. She will leave you alone.”

The mom reassured me that it would be fine. She didn’t mind. I was pretty sure my daughter would be telling this mom a bunch of weird things about me and our family. Or asking her questions that were too personal.

To my relief, the strangest exchange was my daughter asking the mom if she was Jesus’ mother (they share the same name). Not bad. My daughter painted in the basement the whole time, churning out miniatures on small wooden panels. My son, along with his friend, were acting a bit like crazed maniacs when I arrived.

I immediately felt a mix of sympathy, admiration and gratefulness for this mom. She had taken on a huge risk, supervising these two squirrels, her older son, and Vincent Van Gogh junior, who might have very well cut off her own ear during the visit.

I am so thankful for people like this in my life. People who are willing, whether they realize it or not, to lend me a helping hand by welcoming my children into their home. ♥️

Was v Were

Was v were. I never thought I’d be THAT mom.

“Momma, I were at school yesterday and -” my daughter starts.

“Was. You was at school yesterday.” I’m such a jerk.

“You was not at school yesterday, I were.” Correct. I were not, you was.

“No, I WAS at school yesterday, NOT I were.” My final attempt at teaching good grammar.

Her, exasperated: “You was not at school, Momma! I were.”

Like a nightmare flashback of Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s on First” in the making. Where are the cameras? I’m being punked.

Keep in mind, my correcting her is VERY recent. I’ve listened to was/were reversals for months now.

“Momma, if Reiny and I was at school together, is it was or were?” We are on to something here. If I can’t communicate this concept, maybe with the help of a stuffed reindeer, we will be golden.

“Ahhh, yes. If there is more than one of you, it is were. If it’s just you, then it is was.” I am pleased she is making the plural form connection, which we’ve touched on a few times.

“Momma, where is Reiny?” Uh oh.

“She stepped out back to smoke a cigarette.” Me, trying to cover for the fact that I forgot Reiny at home when I came to pick up the kids. Along with their snack.

“Reiny doesn’t smoke.” Seriously? Then who is leaving their butts outside my back door?

“Then she is at driving lessons, with Alec.” I took at stab here. Last week, my daughter swore Reiny had enrolled in driver’s ed.

“Reiny hates Alec. He makes fun of her in ballet class. Plus she doesn’t drive, Momma.” This is all news to me. In fact: Newsflash. Reiny doesn’t smoke, drive or take ballet. And who is Alec? We don’t know a single person named Alec. Yet these are all things that YOU, child, have told me she is doing over the past week when I ask YOU where she is. I was just playing the game.

“Ok, baby. I have a confession. Reiny isn’t feeling well and she’s at home in my bed.” I come clean. Kind of.

“Did she throw up?”

Oh my goodness. Really?

“I don’t know baby. She were not throwing up when I left her this morning.” BAHAHAHAHA! So bad.

And now you know why I am rechecking my medications, giving up gluten, catching up on past church messages, listening to soothing classical Indian ragas and meditating like a boss. All in my free time.

I Can’t Keep Go-Gurt in Stock

“Maybe we should go shopping tonight,” my daughter suggested as we walked in the door after returning from the after school program.

“Why shopping? What do you think we need?” I asked.

“We are out of yogurt again,” was the reply.

“Well, it’s not my problem that you and your brother consumed 16 tubes of go-gurt since we went to the store LAST NIGHT!”

“That was 3 nights ago,” says brother.

We have problems with time tracking and targeted consumption at our house. I can’t keep go-gurt in stock. Sour Patch Kids Go-Gurt flies off my refrigerator shelves like box fans at Walmart in August.

These kids get so pinpoint focused on one type of snack or food and then you can’t keep enough of it at home. I like diversity. It’s the key to a good life. With food and my kids however, the name of the game is sameness.

What’s for dinner this week?

Pancakes and sausage. We must eat this every night. If the kids come home and momma’s mixed it up with hamburgers and French fries, all hell breaks loose. This was pancakes and sausage week.

“Momma, what do you have for a snack?”

“Graham crackers.”

“I hate graham crackers. I’ve hated graham crackers forever.”

No, in fact, you haven’t. I thought we were still on graham cracker for snack week. It appears we transitioned to yogurt smoothies week and I didn’t get the memo. The kids only drink yogurt smoothies now. Graham crackers are passé. Hated even.

“Momma, can we have dinosaur chicken nuggets for dinner this week?”

Shocked. “I thought you hated those?”

Look of mild confusion on son’s face.

“No? When did I say that?”

Hm. Ok. It’s dinosaur nuggets and tater tots week. Search back of freezer for dinosaur nuggets to see if they have expired since the kids’ last love affair with dinosaur nuggets.

My freezer is full of once-loved food items, just waiting, like sad, worn toys, to be loved again by my children. Sometimes when I see expiration dates approaching, I will say at dinner time (over pancakes and sausage):

“Hey, remember those turkey meatballs that we loved to eat every night last March? Wouldn’t it be great to have those again?”

Blank stares on children’s faces.

Sigh. Looks like that bag of meatballs won’t be making a comeback before its time is up…