Raisin in the Bun

I love breakfast. Love it. Cereal, pancakes, donuts, deliciously fatty foods in bright colors usually doused in syrup. Please and thank you.

My child on the other hand, hates food in general, breakfast in specific. So this morning when he asked for a ” warm cimmaman bagol”, I was surprised but happy to oblige.

Let’s fast forward about 10 minutes to The Emperor standing beside his toddler table, furiously pointing at his bagel and yelling ” Gremlins on my bagooool” at the top of his lungs.

Let’s also fast foward a few more mintures to me, sitting at a Lilliputian table staring into the soulless eyes of a Dora the Explorer placemat at as I pick all the raisons out of a cinnamon raisin bagel.

All of the raisins out of a bagel with  the word ‘raisins’ in its fucking description.

Yeah.

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Things That Go Frump in the Night

12:33.

5 hours and 3 minutes after bedtime and I’ve been onto the King’s room no less than 8 times.

The first time was to pee.
The second, it was too dark in his room.
The third, fourth, fifth and sixth times were because certain items around the room were scary.
The jackets hanging on the wall hooks. The wall hooks that look like puppy dog tails. The still fan. The lotion bottle….
The seventh time was a request to cover cold toes after the blanket moved.
And the last time was the oh so cliched glass of water.

There will come a day when this is all funny.
It’s not today and it sure as fuck isn’t looking like tomorrow.

Go. To. Sleep.

Imitation is the highest form of Parenting

My son has a delightful new habit. Well, he has lots of new habits, like asking a painfully drawn out “Whhyyy?” after I answer any of his questions, but although annoying at times, it doesn’t tend to get me into trouble. This other quirk, on the other hand, landed me some serious side eye at the grocery store.

We were out of bananas, cheese and yogurt. In our house, this is DEFCON Level: Extreme.  If tiny dictator should look up and not see potassium packed fruits hanging from the rack, he will immediately ask for  ‘a piece o cheese, please”. In the event that Mom has completely given up on maintaining a peaceful domicile and kept either stocked, the King will then ask for strawberry yogurt.

I use the word ‘ask’ liberally, because this isn’t so much a request at that point, as it is a frantic utterance exploding from his tiny vibrating hyperventilating person. 9 times out of 10, we don’t get to Yogurtaclysm. I can stave off the insanity at the initial request, but this time it is appropriate to say, Mama lost her damn fool mind.

I had none of this in the house, and since toddlers develop the uncanny ability to sense weakness I just knew that he would soon pick up on my distress and go in for the kill. I maneuvered my purse in front of the barren banana hammock and asked him to go put his shoes on so we could go on a ride to the store.  I held my breath as he furroughed his brow at my out-of-place purse, and sighed loudly when turned to put his flip flops on.

A few minutes and a grocery cart load later, I was feeling pretty darn good. We maneuvered into the express checkout lane and I was about to unload my three meager items when I noticed the 5 million purchases of the person in front of us. I stood with my yogurt-filled hand frozen over the belt.

“Can you count?” I muttered under my breath.

The King turned towards me and loudly exhibited his new habit “Mama, why you say “can you count?”

I frantically whispered, “Shhh Shhh Shh, I was just saying that this line is for 10 things or fewer. She has more than 10.”

He nodded his head solemnly, “She has more than 10.” I relaxed into myself until I saw him swiveling his body around “Hey you, Lady! This is spress lane. You have more than 10.”

The offending shopper and cashier turned to look at us, the King with his finger extended accusingly and me with all the fucks given ever written plainly on my face. I offered up a beatific smile and dropped the yogurt onto the belt.

Meh.

Meh

 

Wished Connection

You were the blond in a green top who was watching me with a judgey face as I continually tried to keep my toddler from leaping off of tall playground equipment, to his doom. I was the red faced sweaty mom running helter skelter begging my son to “put on his ‘listening ears’ or we’d be leaving the park.”

Our eyes met as you and your friend walked your children over to the slide to calmly play. You whispered something to your friend, you both snuck glances and snickered.

Firstly, fuck you very much. Secondly, as I know your kids are too young to be able to run yet, I have several hopes for your tiny tots.

I hope that they are smart. Like really really smart. So smart that they continually call you on your shit, as you seem to be chock full of it. 

I hope that they are healthy and active.; Usain Bolt-Active. It will bring me immense pleasure imagining you chasing after them as they run pell mell away from you as you attempt to corral them. 

I wish them captious appetites, and inquisitiveness, and stealth, and dramatic flourish and impromptu artistic urges, and light fingers and so much more. 

Children are a gift, and I sincerely wish that as they grow, your children continually give and give and give until you can’t take any more...love.

Oh, one last thing.

I hope your children grow up to be kind,because although you haven’t set a very good example for them, children aren’t born hateful judgmental sweatpant wearing shrews. They become them.

But you know that already, don’t you?

 

 

The Keys to the Kingdom

I flipped over my purse, dumping its contents onto the countertop and watching a lip-gloss roll over the edge.

“Where are they?” I muttered for the umpteenth time.

Let me set the scene for you; It’s 15 minutes AFTER we should have left the house to be fashionably late to anywhere and I still can’t find my keys. On top of this, contractors are coming to the house in a few hours to redo our floors and our downstairs is not its usual organized chaos. I have no idea where anything is, let alone where I stashed my keys the night before.

I threw a wistful glance at the key hook by the door as I opened the babygate to dash upstairs and check my night stand one more time.

Nope. Not there.

I’m starting to glisten. I’m late to my crossfit class. The King might miss breakfast at school and I’m resigning myself to waiting for DeconPapa to return home from the fire station to chauffeur our negligent asses around.

“Mama, can I have a banana peas?” the King asked. I nodded absentmindedly in his direction as I broke a banana from the bunch and handed it to him.

EUREKA! I had definitely taken my keys outside when I walked the dog the night before, maybe I dropped them in the grass. I pushed the patio door open  and strode out into the backyard, King at my heels. Somewhere between Sherlock walking the fence line and using a stick to dig through the trashcan, I reached out and broke the banana for my son.

Sherlock

I did it without thinking, the banana was closed so I opened it. Logical, right?

Wrong. He started wailing.

“ I want to do it! Lemme open it!”

“King, it’s open eat your banana. Mama is still looking.”

“Nooooooooo!”

Now I’m  sweating in earnest, well in my armpits and upper lip mostly but at this point, who frickin cares? I can’t find the bloody keys and I’m being followed by a screaming 30 pound menace demanding that I use voodoo to magic his banana closed again. My patience is shot and my eye is steadily twitching. 20 minutes late…and climbing.

I turn back to my discarded purse when I hear the resounding thump of something heavy being thrown away. He had my full attention now.

I cocked my head and gazed at him from the side of my eye like a velociraptor “ Did you just THROW away that banana?”

He sensed that the atmosphere had changed drastically, but stuck to his guns. “ I want a new banana.”

I pounced, “ You don’t just throw away food!”

As I escorted him to his timeout corner, I threw all the cliched-classics at him;

  •  Have you lost your ever-loving mind?
  • There are children in this world who are starving and would give anything for that banana!
  • Maybe some time out will help you reflect on what you’ve done.
  • Wait until I tell your father about this!

No shame in this Mama’s game, I turned to resume my quest for keys and asked him ” Do you think bananas just grow on trees?”

“Yes Mama, on banana trees” He replied. Smartass.

…….I see what I did there.

Seeing me calmer, he asked me if he could bring his toy cars to school.

“Sure, honey go get them.” I told him.

“Cars go vroom. They go fast, but they need keys to drive.”

I muttered “Ain’t that the truth” under my breath, and inhaled sharply as the King pulled my keys out of his toy garage.

“Now we can drive, Mama. I have my keys.”

Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in and do not fucking freak. Breathe out.

We rushed to the car and had backed down the driveway when I noticed that my child had no shoes on. Oh for pete’s sake…..

Not sure

 

 

Locks of Love

The minutes after bath and before bed are precious in our house. Everyone is winding down and the King especially, is extra sweet and asks for cuddles.

This evening, I decided to spend some time detangling his tiny mane. We sat, legs crossed, on the floor as I combed a homemade shea butter through his tangles. His little movements sending up wafts of the lavender oil I’d whipped into the balm.

I inhaled deeply, and the King turned around with sleepy eyes;

 “Why you stop singing, Mama?”, he inquired.

It took me a moment to realize that I’d been humming tunelessly into the darkened room as I combed his hair, and resumed my singing.

“Thank you, Mama.”

Staring at his small back, as he flipped through the pages of a Berenstain Bears I was reminded of sitting on the floor with my Mom, when I was little. I remembered her hands deftly moving through my hair and easing the days adventures out of my locks. I remembered the way she praised the very things about my hair that I hated. Where I was embarrassed at the way my hair defied gravity, she extolled its thickness and strength. I felt beautiful under her hands.

Sighing at the decades old feeling, I pushed the brush a final time through his hair and tapped his shoulder.

 “Ok SugarPea. I’m all done.” I told him.

He snapped his book shut, jumped up and raced out of the room. His bathroom door banged open, and I leaned forward to see him standing on tippy-toe, straining to see himself in the mirror. He hopped down and returned to his room.

 “My hair is curly!”, he informed me importantly.

I stifled a smile, and returned his serious look “Why yes, yes it is.”

He looked up at me, with the crinkles his grandmother’s eyes wear when she smiles and told me “It’s curly like your hair, Mama. It’s beautiful.”

It is sweet King. It really is.

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Mouthfuls of Honesty

I went to the land of all things red and bullseye-y, AKA MomMecca AKA Targét AKA Target. In fact, it should come as no surprise that I frequent the crimsoned be-speckled aisles of Targét. It’s just downright delightful, and it smells like popcorn and Starbucks and bankruptcy.  Also, I always feel like I’ve won when I leave clutching shiny bags full of things that were decidedly NOT on my list, but that were SUCH good deals that I would have regretted not picking them up……..*blink blink*

Ermahger Terget

Anywho, on this such occasion I was feeling awfully dapper and wanted to try on a few tops I had eyeballed in the juniors section. Age and reason notwithstanding, I ambled into the fitting rooms to see how I would look in said juniors tops, from three different angles (SPOILER: More mirrors ≠ Better).

I pulled the shirt over my head and was turning to see if I was sporting serious back fat, when I heard a tiny voice.

“That no look good.”

I froze.

“Because of your belly Mama.”

I whipped my head around, looking for my oh-too-honest spawn, only to find nothing. Understanding finally broke through when the ‘helpful’ voice supplied;

“Mama, I like the blue one. Dis green one makes you look funny.”

Ah, not my mini-me.

For her part, this mother was handling it well. Well, better than I would have handled it. Visions of myself clutching Target tween clothing as I crouched bawling in the corner of the fitting room flitted through my mind.

Crying

She did none of that. She calmly told the little fashionista that she also preferred the blue one, but only because blue was her favorite color and she liked that.

The answering “Mhmm” ended the little exchange and I shuffled my feet back, away from the door, as the pair passed my fitting room.

I didn’t continue trying on the rest of the shirts, I bought them. I love bright colors and bold patterns.

Is that all that really matters?

Bullseye.

Femi-Mini-Me

Decon Mama capeI have a confession to make.  When I read bedtime stories to my son, I sometimes switch up the gender roles. Shes become hes.  Daring princes become brainy princesses. Cackling witches become megalomaniacal warlocks. And caring fairy godmothers, become equally nurturing fairy godfathers.

I do this not because I’m hoping that one day a bra burning matriarchy will clutch humanity to its amble bosom but because I want my son to grow up knowing that the world is full of all sorts of people, in varying stages of discovering their best selves and human beings are as diverse and resilient as they are remarkable.

I’ve been doing it on and off for so long that I have stopped paying attention to it, until last night. I was sitting on the floor next to my son’s toddler bed, my arms possessively encircling his tiny body and holding a collection of fairy tales loosely in my fingers.  I shuffled through the pages in the twilit room, and stopped at the title page to ‘Sleeping Beauty’. Clearing my voice, I began to read.

Sometime around the beautiful ball to celebrate the new baby( which I realized in hindsight I’d been referring to with the generic pronoun ‘it’ ), the King tapped my arm, signaling that he wanted to interject.

“Yes, King. You have a question?” I prompted.

“Uh-huh. It’s ok he fall asleep, Mama. The Princess is gonna save him!” he asked me sincerely.

I nodded dumbfounded for a few seconds before answering, “Yes Sugar, she will. She’s going to beat the mean fairy, but let’s get there in the story. Ok?”

He nodded excitedly and put his head back down and we continued the story as if nothing had happened, but for me, in that moment, my heart was swelling with pride.

I’ve always considered myself a feminist. My parents raised me to believe that simply being a woman didn’t mean that I was starting the race a lap behind, even though there were people that may treat me as if I were.  When I realized that my son, who idolizes his firefighter father’s work and practices Ninjago ‘Spin-jitsu’ on the couch, was honestly beginning to understand that a princess was capable of overcoming clichéd insurmountable forces and rescuing a don-in-distress, I felt like I could REALLY do anything, like I could actually be a catalyst for change.

Our children may  be a patchwork of our eyes and our knobby knees and the dimples on our cheeks, but they are ultimately sewn together with threads from the world around them. I don’t want to raise a child who lacks the imagination to see other people, in all their manifestations, and this gives me hope that I’m not.

This parenting thing, it can be really rewarding if you let it.