“Worry is literally betting against yourself.”

Before I even had children, I was worried about how I would pay for their college education.

I’m serious.

I’ve always been a worrier. I worry about pretty much everything. Like, all the time. And, despite helpful tidbits of advice from non-worriers, such as “just stop worrying!” I still do. I can’t help it.

I’ve received a lot of help over the years for my worrying, really my anxiety, but I still tend to worry. A lot.

When I did have my first child, I was told by someone, or I read somewhere, that as a mother, “It’s your job to worry.”

But, I’m here to tell you that’s not true. It’s your job to enjoy their childhood before it’s gone. It’s your job to feed and clothe them, and provide for them. It’s your job to provide them with emotional support. But, it is not your job to worry. If you don’t worry, you’re not being a bad mother (or parent). You’re just a heck of a lot better at dealing with reality than us worriers.

Where did we get it in our heads that it was not only our responsibility to worry, but our job?! As if we were getting paid to be worried. If that were true, I’d be the richest woman on planet earth.

This is where helicopter parenting comes from: worry. Worry that they will fall down and get hurt. Even though when we fell down as children, our parents were like, “Are you bleeding? Don’t get it on the carpet.” Kids get hurt, it just happens. No amount of worrying will prevent it.

And we worry they won’t do well in school. When in reality, all kids do well in some subjects, and not so well in others, and it’s up to us to find the weaknesses and help our children in those areas. Not to accost the teacher and demand that they raise our child’s grades just because. We can help our children, but we cannot learn for them, and no amount of worrying will help us in that area either.

We worry about their health. But this too is pretty pointless. All we can do is take the proper precautionary methods, and the rest is up to the environment. We can try to shield them from germs, inoculate them against diseases, get regular check ups, watch for early signs of trouble. But, they will still get sick, regardless of our worry.

And of course we worry about providing for them. In a world where resources are growing scarce, and money isn’t always there when we need it, we worry that we can’t get what we need. But, there are resources if we really fall into trouble. All we can do is get through one day at a time, making sure we have what we need, and hoping for the best tomorrow.

Me telling someone not to worry is the very definition of the pot calling the kettle black. But I’m going to tell you anyway: stop the madness, stop worrying yourself sick. We can’t sit back and enjoy their babyhood and childhood while it’s here if we’re busy looking at what might or might not happen to them in the future. And we worry ourselves into a tailspin of negative emotions. We get so caught up in fear and worry that we start to be worried for other people’s kids too. And then it’s just too much.

Don’t let fear take over your life, especially not where your kids are concerned. Your job is to love them. That’s it, really.

worry

What’s the Haps

Hi all. Now that it’s fall, and the kids are back in school, and everyone is back from whatever fabulous summer adventure they went on, I get asked a lot, “What’s new?” My answer is long and rambly, because there’s a lot of little random new things with me. Thought I’d share it with my bloggy friends too.

1. I got a nose ring. Not really big news. But, new. A modest tiny shiny stone of some sort. Most people don’t even notice it, even people I’ve known for years. When I point it out they say it “just fits your personality.” Which I don’t know how to take, I guess. But, it’s fun, and it’s one of those things I always wanted to do. Actually, when I got my eyebrow pierced 15 years ago (I’ve since taken that one out) I had regrets that I didn’t do the nose instead. So, another one checked off the bucket list. And I love it.

2. I am in school! I’m in an online program with Penn Foster for a vet tech degree. It’s like a nurse but for animals. I’m so excited, and can’t wait to be done and get a fun job. I have always had a love for animals, but it wasn’t until recently that I realized how intensely I love them and I want to work with them. I think it’s a combo of losing my 19 year old kitty recently, and through the magic of the Internet, seeing that there are so many animals that need help. Pets get surrendered at shelters and rescue organizations for the dumbest things, like “he pooped too much.” And all the abused and neglected animals, it just breaks my heart. With my degree I’d like to work with the SPCA or a shelter or rescue organization. It will feel so wonderful to get to work with animals every day, and make a difference in their lives.

3. Speaking of animals, we recently got two pet rats. Their names are Laverne and Shirley, after the show, which was a childhood favorite of mine. (The vet called to confirm “Shirley and Laverne’s check up” and I was like wut. Somebody doesn’t know their 80s TV shows.) They are sweet and gentle and wonderful. I was worried that our cat would torment them and stalk their cage. She has a history. But, she seems like she couldn’t care less. They, of course, are terrified of her, but that’s easily solved. They really are a great pet for kids. Better than a hamster or gerbil because they can be easily handled, and smaller than a bunny or guinea pig for keeping in your house. And I have not been bitten once, not even a nip, they’re very gentle. Two more members of the family.

thegirls

4. Ferris turned three! I really should be dedicating an entire post to that, but who has the time? H’s really forming his little personality, and it’s so fun.  He asks for water all the time now. It’s only so he can fake belch, but whatever, he’s drinking water. Favorite phrases: “No.” “I hate it.” “I love it.” “Two minutes.” (As in, I’ll do it in two minutes, a phrase picked up from mommy and daddy.) He absolutely loves miniature people and furniture and animals, so we got him a dollhouse for his birthday. Big hit. And he’s hit the picky eating stage. He used to be my great eater, I bragged about it all the time. No more. In case you were wondering if a kid could survive and grow on milk and white bread, I’m here to tell you yes, it’s possible.

5. Bowie started second grade. His teacher this year is amazing. We are over the moon for her. She was immediately so much more supportive of his classroom needs and tolerant of his issues. I couldn’t be happier. There’s only been one major incident with another child, and even that was mild. This time last year, we’d already had two classroom meetings and a meeting with the principal, and he was back in OT. He’s now not currently in OT and we’ve not had a single call from school. I’m so happy. For me, but so much more for him. He’s figuring it out. I am so glad to see him growing and maturing in this way.

So, there you have it. Lots going on. But life is good. What’s the haps with you?

I Don’t Think I Know What I’m Doing Anymore

Bowie’s different than most kids.

He’s super emotional and sensitive and he’s like that most of the time. And he’s been that way for most of his life.

His response in a fight or flight situation is always to fight.

We’ve been told over the years that it’s his SPD. He is much more easily annoyed by things that you and I can deal with, or just plain don’t notice. A breeze. An itchy underwear tag. The hum of a truck parked outside of his classroom. Bright lights. A ticking clock.

One of the things that really gets him going is when another overly energetic kid gets too close to him. Makes too much noise around him. Pokes at him in some way. And continues to do that after Bowie has asked them to stop, which we’ve fought so hard to tell him to do over the years.

Yesterday he hit a kid on the head with his lunchbox (which is metal, btw) for following him around the schoolyard after Bowie had asked him to leave him alone. He told us he didn’t see an adult that could help him, and in his own kid words he told us he did what he had to do.

To add insult to injury, this is a kid that is not in his class this year, but was in his Kindergarten class and his first grade class. A kid that he has a love-hate relationship with. Most of the time they’re buddies and get along great, but when this kid, one of the “overly energetic” types I mentioned, does something Bowie doesn’t like, Bowie responds violently.

He is the roughest with those he loves the most, but how do I explain that to this kid’s parents? And now, after two full years of explaining the whole SPD situation to them, and apologizing profusely after every incident, and doing my best damage control and sucking up to them and planning afterschool playdates so they can “learn to get along better”, it has happened AGAIN. More violent behavior.

There comes a time when sympathy for Bowie’s situation runs dry, and he’s just The Kid That Hurts Other Kids. It’s easy for us to tell him 100 times a day to think before he acts, but not so easy for him to actually do that.

He’s rough with us at home too. All three of us. And we take it, over and over again, because we are so familiar with how hard it is for him to navigate life. We’ve seen him at his most tender times, we know how sweet and loving he can be when he’s got the energy for it. But, most of the time, we generally just don’t like being around him. He feels the safest around us, so he lets all of his emotions run wild in front of us. Anger. Frustration. Sadness. Unfortunately, those are the emotions he goes to first.

So, I’m starting to wonder, when is a kid just a difficult kid, and when do more drastic measures need to be taken?

He’s been in and out of occupational therapy for his SPD for years. And it helps him, it really does. But maybe he needs talk therapy. Maybe all those years of the adults in his life punishing him for just being himself has done some damage. Maybe it makes him depressed that there are kids at his school that are too afraid to play with him. Maybe he’s starting to turn some hatred inward because he’s so out of control of his own impulses.

All I know, is I remember the first time I laid eyes on him, and he lay in my arms so peacefully, just staring at my face as I cooed at him. So calm. I want to rewind and start over. Do it differently this time. Because surely it’s my fault that he’s like this now.

My sweet, quiet, calm boy is still there. I still see glimpses of it once in a while. But life has really got him down lately. And I don’t know what to do.

Bowieatbeach

Happy New Year

second grade

I have a second grader, you guys. A SECOND GRADER. Parenthood is the wildest of wild rides, and the absurdly fast rate at which your children grow is part of that wildness. It’s SERIOUSLY like you give birth, and then you blink your eyes and they are feeding themselves, totally potty trained, reading books, losing teeth, riding bikes, and all the other surprises that lie ahead.

Yesterday was the first day of second grade, and it started off with a bang. Well, a shake. There was a pretty sizable earthquake across the bay, and we felt a little rumble out here at the beach. I was sitting on the couch, trying to enjoy my cup of tea, and I felt the room rumble. I got prepared to yell at my kids to get back to eating their breakfast, and looked at them to find them eating their Fruit Loops like perfect angels.

The day seemed to go pretty well. He was also in an after school program for the first time ever, which has him in school until 6pm, which I worried would be too long of a day for him. But, all things considered, he held up pretty well.

I spoke today with his teacher about his SPD and all of his quirks, and she seemed really positive, and eager to help. So, I’m feeling really optimistic about this year. As you might recall, last year was a total drag and he had a really hard time. We’re hoping things are much smoother in second grade.

SECOND GRADE. You guys.

My Favorite Day

“What day is it?”
It’s today,” squeaked Piglet.
My favorite day,” said Pooh.” 
― A.A. Milne

I have been through the wringer lately, a story I will share with you another time. But, the experience has taught me to truly treasure the present moment. To open my eyes and take in every little detail I can, and recognize that once a moment is gone, it’s gone forever.

I tended to live in the past and the future a lot. I would constantly agonize or chastise myself over past events. I’d go over and over the event in my head, making a list of what I did wrong, what I could have done, what I could have said, how a different outcome could have affected my present day life.

And I’d do what’s known as “future tripping.” I agonize over what will happen to me and to my loved ones 10 years from now, 5 years from now, 1 year from now, in the next hour, whatever. And I was always in Worst Case Scenario mode. So, one moment I’m signing a permission slip for my older son to go to the museum, and the next, I’m imagining him having an untimely and grisly death in a giant bus crash. Ridiculous, I know. But, this is how my mind, namely my anxious personality, works.

I’ve learned how to deal a little better with all of that. To tell myself to just CTFD and sit with my feelings as I am having them, here and now. And to enjoy the precious time I have with my boys while they are young. I can already see that portions of Bowie’s “babyness” have gone away for good. He is maturing. Slowly now, but it will pick up pace. I can almost imagine him as a teenager now.

And as my boys have been on summer vacation, I’ve found myself wanting to flit and fly here and there with them, and just experience everything we can. Do what we want, when we want to. The moments are even more precious, now that I’m working part time. It’s only a few shifts a week, but that’s 3 or 4 bedtimes I’m missing, chances to wish them happy dreams and tell them I love them before they drift off.

I’ve learned outings with them don’t have to be huge productions. Full days at the museum, complete with dropping a small fortune on lunch there, and making sure to see every single exhibit.

These days, I’m content to sit and watch them run along the beach. Or go to the museum, see one thing, and when Bowie says he wants to leave, I say okay. Or we hit up the park with friends from school. Or we sit on the couch and read books together. This simple stuff fills my cup as much as any grandiose and overly complicated planned-out day.

And I’ve realized that it’s ok if they get dirty. If their clothes get dirty. If they have ice cream too close to supper time. If they fall asleep in my arms late in the day and I know bedtime will be a bitch, I let them snooze anyway. I soak up that beautiful moment and bank it away. I’d rather have memories of them laughing and having fun and being kids, than having to be the “don’t play in the mud”, “no sugary treats before dinner”, “it’s 7:oo, you should already be sleeping” mom.

A lot of people, especially older people, will tell you to “enjoy every minute” with your kids because “it goes by so fast.” Well, duh. But, this is about more than just my kids. It’s about enjoying moments with my husband. Sitting next to each other on the couch, making fun of Naked and Afraid contestants, sharing ice cream from the pint. This isn’t “special”, really, but I know in 20 years it sure will be.

And it’s about me too. Personal fulfillment. Not acting like a new day is something to be endured, but instead something to be enjoyed, and filled with purpose. I got a part time job. I have met new people. I enrolled in school to become a Vet Tech. I am reaching out to family more. I am making something of each day, and at the end of the day, I feel accomplished and satisfied. I used to feel like I was crawling to bed every night, and I didn’t know how I could get through yet another day. I read something somewhere (I can’t accurately give credit) that said basically that the phrase “tomorrow is another day” to a person with depression or anxiety is not a promise, but rather a threat. And I know that was true for me.

But, with the help of therapy, medication, supportive loved ones, and my will to carry on, I’m enjoying today. I’m not listening to yesterday and I’m not afraid of tomorrow.

my favorite day

 

Time Marches On

At the beginning of the last school year, a month or so after classes started, there was a new kid in Bowie’s class. I’ll call him C. He was put in the desk next to Bowie, and the two hit it off immediately. So much so, that C was moved to another desk entirely by the end of the day.

They were in cahoots right away. They were partners in crime. Allies. Joined at the hip. A duo unified against the outside world. From the moment they met.

Their energies are very similar, their interests almost identical. They played together every recess. There were playdates upon playdates. And as they grew to become the best of friends, we became close with C’s parents as well. And they actually helped us through a very difficult time this past spring.

The thing that keeps this from being perfect is that C’s family was here for C’s mom’s job, and were only here for the year. Meaning, they go back home on Friday. And home is Canada.

We have been promised a warm welcome if we ever find ourselves there, and we will probably plan a visit at some point. But for Bowie, it won’t be the same. His best friend will be thousands of miles away, not sitting across from him at the lunch table.

Bowie struggles to make friends. The combination of his sensitivity and emotional extremes and shyness make for a hard nut to crack. Most kids give up pretty quickly. C was an exception. He wanted to hang out with Bowie, and he accepted Bowie as he is.

We’ve told him that C is moving away. But, I don’t think he understands the real facts of the situation. And I’m really afraid of the day that it does all sink in. Especially since it will be the beginning of a new school year, and last year was, well, not awesome.

Have any of you had to handle this sort of situation before? With the age 7-ish crowd? When I was a kid, I was the one that was always the one moving away, so while I know what it’s like to have to leave a friend, I think watching a friend go might be a different sort of experience. I think he’s too old for me to get a book on the subject too, he’d probably just roll his eyes at me, and I’d seem insincere in my empathy.

I know we can’t protect them from everything. But, I’d like to, you know, soften the blow.

Help, Intertubes!

Trust

I worry. I’m a worrier. I mean, I WORRY. To say I kind a fret about stuff is an understatement. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been tightly wound. Very anxious. Just pretty tense, for the bulk of my existence.

It’s a problem that has come to a real climax lately in my life, and I’ve finally reached out for some help, and some relief. It’s slow going. I mean, after white-knuckling it for 36 years, the habit can be hard to break.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have a new part-time job. As it goes with most part-time positions, the schedule varies. And with school being out and all, sometimes it’s hard to finagle the whole child care thing. Sometimes my husband can be around, sometimes my sister-in-law can watch them, sometimes a fellow school parent can have a playdate. But, there are those days I need a sitter. And I’m shopping around for a regular one that we can afford.

In the meantime, I’m using one of those online services to book a sitter when I need one. Generally this has worked out well. But I always get that familiar worried gut, heart palpitating, can’t breathe feeling when I sign on to bring a stranger into our home and trust them to keep my kids safe and alive while I’m away.

The old me would have just said, “F it. I’ll just quit my job.” But, the new me, embracing life, working through my anxiety, relying on other people for help, I now say, ok let’s think about the reality of this.

On the site, you can see how many families this sitter has worked for. And how many of them really liked him/her. How many of them rehired him/her. You can choose one in your price range. You can ask the sitter questions before hiring them for the job. There have been safeguards put in place for me, I don’t need to worry about this to the extent that I am.

The other day, the sweetest most amazing gal showed up right on time (early, actually), learned my boys’ names right away and even started breaking up their brotherly-love scuffles before I’d even left the house. She was perfect. I asked her if I could hire her on as our regular, which she declined (dammit). But, it was such a relief. I went to work that afternoon walking on air, I was just so relieved that I could leave them in her care and focus on my own stuff.

I still worry like crazy when I have to leave them with anyone. But these sitters are actually better for my kids than I am. I mean, I sit at the park on my smartphone and lose Ferris half of the time. Sometimes I forget to cook them lunch until they ask for it. Some days we laze around the house instead of going to the park or the beach and blowing off some of their inexplicable energy. Sitters are great for all of that. They’re getting paid to look after your littles, and look after them they shall.

What about you? Do you get nervous about it or are you totally chill? Are you one of the types that didn’t hire a sitter until your child was like, 5? Are you a full-time working mom that relies on a nanny? I’d love to hear your childcare experiences, and if you can relate to my worrying.

Discard Pile

I’m reading this great book about tidying up your house. Her words seem a little hokey at first, and some of it feels impossible. But, we’ve managed to clear out a whole bunch of stuff already.

In the book, she has a system for the purging. You start with clothes and books, then tackle miscellaneous items, and then move on to the more sentimental stuff.

I’m having trouble getting started with the boys’ room. Because it walks the line between miscellaneous and sentimental. With each little t-shirt and toy I try to toss out, I get stuck in this sort of mom guilt nostalgic state. How can I throw away his very first toy that his Auntie brought to him in the hospital? How can I toss this shirt when he looked so gosh darn cute in it (when it still fit him)?

I know that they are growing, and will keep growing, but I guess I feel like if I keep this stuff around I can somehow delay the process. There are toys that both of them are much too old to play with. Though, those toys do tend to emerge every once in a while as their Toy of Choice for a day. So, then I start to think, will they miss it if it’s gone? Then what do I do? Your baby rattle went to live on a nice big farm with all the other baby rattles that little boys got to big for.

Or an item is tied to a specific event or a special day we had. How can I let go of the dragon stuffie we got on that trip to Portland when he was a baby?

And they have zillions upon zillions of Matchbox cars. I mean, possibly a full ton. I don’t know how to purge that pile. Some of those cars hardly get touched, while some of them remain very popular, and I have to wrestle them apart because a fight will erupt over it. And I don’t know which cars fall into which category.

There’s also a cache of toys I’ve handed down to them. A mish mash pile of old Fisher Price goodies and other such stuff that were still in perfectly good shape, so I handed them over. Those have double sentimental value. I remember fondly playing with those toys as a child, and watching them play with them. A new generation getting enjoyment out of them.

Don’t even get me started on the books. I love buying books for them. I feel like they are a good investment. I want them to enjoy reading. When I’m at a garage sale or thrift store I generally clear the shelf. But, truthfully, they’ve both outgrown some of the titles, and I really should just donate them so someone else can enjoy them. But then all the memories come flooding back of cuddling up and reading those books to them.

I have no qualms about tossing broken toys, or cheap Happy Meal goods, or the little nonsensical items that come in birthday party goodie bags. But, even those I wonder, do they still play with these? Will they miss them?

If you’re an overall tidy type of person, and often toss things out, please tell me how you handle your kids’ items. Is it harder for you? How do you decide what goes and what stays? Am I just being a sentimental weenie about the whole thing?

toys

Seven

It’s so hard to believe Bowie is turning 7. Last year I thought the same thing about 6. Six seemed like such a big number for such a little boy. And now 7. Each year older a kid gets is like moving one point on the Richter scale. It’s just one more, but exponentially more different than the last.

His birthday always seems to fall right around the time the school year is wrapping up, which makes it all feel very formal and official. And so I hereby decree that he shall now pass on to the next year of his life.

He asked me to tell him a funny story about the day he was born. So, I said, “the first thing I ever said to you was, ‘thank God you’re finally out.” Which I thought was funnier than he did. But then I told him about how he didn’t cry, he just looked at me very intently, and I said little things to him and he held my finger tightly. And he said, “That’s ’cause I’ve always loved you, mama.”

This year has been a positive one, despite having a teacher that was very unwilling to help us with his SPD issues in the classroom. He is excelling in math and reading, and is making friends (that’s kinda hard for him to do). He’s still acting out, but the incidents are fewer and further in between.

At home he’s become more agreeable, more helpful and more loving toward us. He’s finding lots of new hobbies and interests. He cannot get enough Minecraft these days. He plays the game on all of the electronic devices in our house, he watches YouTube videos of people playing Minecraft, he has Minecraft figurines, Minecraft Legos, Minecraft books, book marks, pencils, clothing…so much Minecraft.

But, I figure it’s a safe game for him to be playing. We limit his time sitting in front of a screen. But, what I mean is, he’s learning while he plays, and it allows him to explore his creativity. He comes up with, and then builds, some pretty impressive stuff. It’s also something that gives him a great sense of pride, in a world that gives him few opportunities for that.

Seven is walking the two blocks to Auntie’s house all by himself. Seven is no more training wheels. Seven is showing signs of growing out of the worst of the SPD. Seven is helping out around the house. Seven is learning to tell time, count money and tell mom what kind of clouds those are in the sky. Seven is less fanfare around a lost tooth. Seven is wearing boxer shorts, not little boy underpants. Seven is getting kissed by a girl on the playground.

It’s hard to believe he’s turning 7, because you’d think after 7 years of parenting, I’d have more of a handle on all of this. But, the truth is, they are always changing, growing, evolving into the adult they are going to become. Every day is a new set of challenges, and I’m sure I’ll feel as clueless at 17 as I do at 7.

Seven is traditionally a lucky number, and I have high hopes for him this year to come.

bowie's 7th

Things it’s a Good Idea for Moms With Boys to Get Familiar With

In honor of my good friend M who just had her first child, a gorgeous baby boy. I hope I don’t scare her too much! Just know you can handle it all, mama, that’s the magic of motherhood.

1. Poop. And the fascination thereof. The questions. You’re at the grocery store innocently swiping your credit card, and suddenly he asks you very loudly so the cashier and bag boy and fellow shoppers can ALL hear, “Mama, why was my poop green today, but brown yesterday? And sometimes it has corn in it.” Oh, and skidmarks. Not the road-meets-tire kind. Go to the store, get a bar of Fels-Naptha, (also on Amazon) it’s a miracle worker with the skidmarks, for realz.

2. Pee. There’s so much pee. They don’t get the “aiming” thing for quite a while. In the beginning, you can guarantee yourself a good, spa-quality face wash if you don’t cover that thing. In the mornings now, I completely disrobe Ferris before putting him on the potty, that way he can just rinse off before breakfast. Bowie still goes sitting down. Because, well, why rush that mess. I’ll be dealing with it soon enough.

3. Snot. Boogers. They usually end up smeared on you, or the nearest surface. No matter where they are. Public bathroom stalls, the dinner table, the Starbucks counter, the shopping cart, the back of their brother’s shirt, the art museum wall.

4. Dirt. It’ll be on them about 2.5 seconds after you get them dressed in the morning. Just get used to it. Don’t send them to school in anything white. ANYTHING. Dirt just becomes a way of life. What’s that saying? Boy: noise with dirt on it. ‘Bout sums it up.

5. So that brings up the next one: noise. It’s loud. And I don’t know how they can sustain it for the hours that they do. Even their general dinner table chatter is just LOUD. And, sorry to say, they do not come with a volume button. Between the rocket ship blast offs, lightning-speed car races, screaming fights with each other, throwing heavy objects around the house (not through a window if you’re on of the lucky ones) and the overall just bumping and crashing into things, and the the wailing and crying that ensues. And in elementary school, life becomes a walking commentary. “Did you see that rock? It was shaped just like this tool I have in Minecraft. Hey, can I play Minecraft at home? Because there’s this [minecraft type building/weapon/person/what have you] that I just HAVE to make. I’ll do my homework super fast. Madeline said it wasn’t a lot of homework. Maybe we can go to the park. Hey, are we going to the beach this weekend? Maybe Cal can come.”  Just go out and get the biggest, fattest jar of ibuprofen the Costco guy can legally sell you.

6. Sand. Take off their shoes outside, before entering the house. TRUST.

7. Matchbox and Hot Wheels. They multiply overnight when no one’s looking. They’re often left in a precarious place where a 6 a.m. bleary-eyed mom or dad will slip on them. And you’re required to know where The Red One is at all times. Not just a red one, THE red one, the chosen one, the Messiah of their 1,000 piece car collection. (Which changes daily, of course.) And until you have guessed which one it is found it, you’re the worst parent ever.

8. Legos. This I know is a multi-gender issue, along with the little cars. But, when you’ve got two kids of the same gender, they tend to get the same presents, only slightly modified. One gets a rocket ship lego building kit, one gets a race car building kit. And when they are inevitably destroyed, and the pieces get mixed up, let the fist fights and lego hurling begin. (And that’s how it happens that you step on one in the middle of the night and the pain makes you wish you were in hell instead.) I know I’m the no-sharing mom and everything, but I do bend the rules for this one. I try so hard to stick to the plan. “You can have that one very special orange piece which is essential to the integrity of the structure you’re building, when you’re brother is done with it.” But every once in a while frustration kicks in and I just say, “Give it to your brother. Do it. Give it now. Just do it.” Forced sharing, shame on me.

9. Penises. Now, I know you have to be semi-familiar with them to have landed yourself in this boat. But, just get used to hearing the word a lot. And having questions asked that you can’t answer. And watching them twist and bend and stretch in ways you never knew they could. There will be questions too about where’s mommy’s penis? What happened to it? Did you do something to lose it? Did you just never grow one? Any Puritan attitudes you had toward genitalia in general goes out the window completely.

10. The phrase, “Wow, you sure do you have your hands full!” They’ll say this when you’ve got one boy, but when you’ve got more than one, whoo boy. You laugh sheepishly and say, “yep, I sure do.” When what you really want to do is scream in their face, “Good, I’m so glad you can see that! Now would you mind cleaning up that pasta the one just spilled, and grabbing that gallon of  milk the other one is about to throw while I just try to GRAB A GODDAMNED BAG OF FROZEN CORN, FOR F#$%’s SAKE?!” And sometimes you might get that ballsy person that asks, “So, are you going to try for a girl?” Go ahead and slap them right across the face.

11. Milk, bread, cheese, milk, Goldfsh, yogurt, milk, cereal, did I already say milk? Have your job directly deposit your paycheck to the grocery store’s account. Though they be little, they eat like they’ve been starved for a week. Five times a day. And then ask for more.

12. But, the love. Oh, nothing I can say here will prepare you for the love you’ll have for them, despite all that stuff above. Like your heart is just split right open, and their little hearts are nestled inside. When they hug you and kiss you and tell you they love you, you are a puddle on the floor. Every damn time. Never gets old. Thank goodness for sons. Thank goodness for daughters. Thank goodness for parenthood.

bear in sink