She’s got the moves like Jagger (or maybe not . . .)

I’d like to think that the truck full of young males headed to a landscaping job, sitting idle next to me at a stoplight, were cracking up at my dance moves because they were wowed by them and impressed by this forty-something’s swagger.

But I’m pretty sure they thought I looked like Elaine from Seinfeld.

“Mom, this is why I ask you not to dance.” Thanks a lot, peanut gallery!

Say WHAT?!

Offspring (age 4): “When we go to the library everybody is going to say, “what’s that smell?”

Me: (Hesitate –but curiosity gets the best of me.)  “uh, what smells?”

Offspring: “You! You smell like a turtle and a hamster fighting in a trash bag.”

SAY WHAT. I BATHED TODAY KID. I EVEN USED DEODORANT.

 

Even the dog is like, say what. Exactly Parker. (He contorted himself into this position all by himself. Looney toon household I tell you.)

Alert, alert: off-the-chart parental stress detected. Seek Peanut Butter immediately.

Imagine a parental stress continuum. At one end is the mythical and totally unatainable smiling happy family lounging on a white couch.  At the other end: stress-eating peanut butter out of the jar at midnight.

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Folks, you can guess which end I’m at right now. (There may or may not be a sticky peanut butter spoon in the sink from last night.)

Ever since Irma decided to come to town –which I am now realizing was nearly three and a half weeks ago (HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE)–life has been something, let me tell you. We had a lovely labor day where we were like, huh it looks like maybe a hurricane is forming or something, anyway, can you pass me some chips? And then Tuesday we we were like, huh, we should stock up on water shouldn’t we. Oh everyone is sold out? Cool, cool. From there it was off to the races.  Should we stay or should we go. Will there be enough gas to get us where we need to go. Will the sharknado destroy our house? (No, because there was no sharknado, sadly.) Will we all be stressed out and tired of living in a series of hotel rooms? YES YES WE WILL. Will daycare be closed a super long time? (OF COURSE IT WILL.)

And–this question needs no answer–will all this in some way impact my four year old??? 

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Why yes, all along this journey there was a bright-eyed and sensitive four-year old absorbing it all like a tiny little sponge. OH MY DEAR LITTLE SPONGE WHO NOW REFUSES TO SLEEP. And has been acting out, angry, defiant, and in one especially low moment spit her toothpaste foam onto my feet. 

It’s been a trying week to say the least. She hasn’t wanted to sleep, insisting that mama be with her. All week we were trying to solve the puzzle. What is UP with our kid? We asked her, are you scared to sleep? No. Are you afraid of monsters? No. (Spits on my feet.)

Meanwhile in adult-land, I’ve talked with several friends who agree with me that we (ADULTS) are just now starting to feel back to “normal” after Irma. By the way, you should get a load of my crazy kid, what on earth is up with her?!

Funny how hard it is to see what is often right in front of us.

And then, last night. Nearly midnight, I sat on my daughter’s bed with her, not saying much. Just chilling out. I’d finally surrendered to the situation. It was what it was. She wasn’t going to sleep, she wanted me with her, and there wasn’t a whole lot I could do about it.

Guess what happened. As she flipped through a book she started telling me that she’d been having nightmares. She couldn’t remember what exactly, but she was scared to go to sleep. Simply by being and letting her be she was able to let it out. Shake it off, shake it off (to quote the wise Taylor Swift). She went to sleep shortly after that.

Maybe she needed a week of letting off steam before she could reveal the fears underneath it all. Maybe I was too wrapped up in my own stress to be able to just sit and be with her until that point. It doesn’t matter in the end. We did what we had to do to get through it. We’re doing our best to get back to normal.

Regardless, I’m happy to report we’re no longer at peanut-butter-eating-out of the jar status. We have lowered several notches to the piled-up-laundry and copious-coffee-consumption levels–definitely an improvement, and definitely another inch closer to ‘normal.’ For that I’m grateful.


P.S. Shameless plug alert–  speaking of hurricanes, I’m donating 50% of the proceeds from Etsy shop sales through Sunday to support Puerto Rico recovery efforts. The funds will go to the Sierra Club’s Maria Fund that supports just and sustainable rebuilding for the most vulnerable communities in Puerto Rico. You can donate directly here as well.

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17 easy steps to sleeping in as a parent!

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  1. Wake up to child staring you in the face.
  2. Curse as you realize your spouse is fleeing to the spare bedroom.
  3. Cajole child into chasing down other parent.
  4. Hide under covers.
  5. Yell across house to “remind” spouse he has dodged early wake-up approximately 1,572 times this week.
  6. Cheer for joy as spouse gets up with child.
  7. Run to spare bedroom.
  8. Wake up to see child staring at you while holding a toilet bowl brush.
  9. Reassure your child that yes, they can clean the toilet this morning as promised last night. (WEIRDO CHILD.)
  10. Yell across house to tell spouse to help child clean toilet.
  11. Wait for it. . . spouse can’t find the toilet bowl cleaner. Yell the location of the cleaner.
  12. Discover a dog has joined you in the bed. Realize soon it will be a child.
  13. Get up and lock door.
  14. Wait for it. . .child wails upon discovering door is locked.
  15. Wait two additional minutes for child to return to tell you “Daddy is making you coffee!” A SNEAKY PLOY TO GET YOU UP.
  16. Lie in bed wide awake smelling coffee.
  17. Admit defeat. 

 

Happy Saturday morning! At least I have a clean toilet AND coffee! 

Did I miss any steps? Share your own. Solidarity sisters.

(People seriously hate this place?)

I’m currently sitting by myself reading a Sunday NYT and drinking iced coffee. There is free wi-fi and all the children here belong to other people. It’s air-conditioned and there is an endless supply of twizzlers and US Weekly mags.

What is this heaven I speak of? Why, I’m at my regional airport, about to travel solo for a work trip. They pay me to do this can you even believe it?

Hashtag blessed.

Happy early (late) Father’s Day

“I have to tell you some-ting.”

Today the shortest and most precocious member of the household woke me up full of ideas. Could we surprise daddy with early late father’s day? Could we get a cat and name him Sparky Fur? (Sparky is the first name and Fur the last name, in case you were curious.)

At first I was all like, no we can’t have early late Fathers Day! (We missed the actual father’s day because the father was traveling. And then the whole family was traveling. And then the mama had to wait for the custom-ordered mug from Walgreens.com to arrive.) But then I was like, hello of course we can have early late father’s day. Sure the gifts aren’t wrapped and the child is naked (ALWAYS) and the husband is in stinky running clothes. But let’s be wild and crazy and just do it!

So we did. And I realized I also forgot to write in the card I gave my husband. I told him to project whatever it is he wants to hear from me onto the card. I think it would say, “You are the greatest husband and father especially with keeping the house clean and I’m sorry I never do the dishes because I can’t stand your refusal to rinse the dishes before piling them in the sink!” Maybe that last bit was me projecting. It’s ok, I’ll own it.

Anyway, hope you all had a very special regular on-time (or maybe even early late) Father’s Day!

(P.S. We are not getting a cat. And no we cannot get rid of the dogs to get the cat named Sparky Fur! I’m now convinced the only person giving love to our old lazy beagles is yours truly.)

Full Monty Moana (A show-and-tell cautionary tale)

 

Remember naked Moana from yesterday? I’d be failing you if I didn’t tell you the whole naked Moana story. But first, some background. 

It turns out that every Friday is show-and-tell day in my 4-year-old’s preschool room. I didn’t know and I was intrigued. What exactly had my kid bringing to class show-and-tell these last few weeks?

A recent Friday I asked if she shared anything. “Yes, mommy of course! I brought a chip clip!”

A chip-clip?

“Yes, a chip-clip!” 

(That’s right, my four-year-old brought to school a bag-clip thing you use to keep your bag of Lays closed.) I was a little worried.

“Oh wow a chip clip, huh? So what did your classmates say when you showed them the clip?”

“They said it was red!”

It was indeed.

This is where I should’ve known better and stayed out of my daughter’s affairs. Let the child bring whatever object she likes! Stop worrying about the potential frowns of her peers who perhaps don’t appreciate the fine spring mechanisms of the chip clip. My commitment to raising a resilient child rather than a child protected from every hurt was suddenly thrown out the window. Buh-bye!

 

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Good-bye good intentions!

After that Friday I started reminding her that Friday was show-and-tell day.  Which brings us to naked Moana. 

We were running late that particular Friday. I reminded my daughter it was show-and-tell day and I started suggesting toys within my sight: how about curious George? Or her toy camera?

She grabbed Moana. Moana was missing her skirt. Are you sure you want to bring Moana? Yes, she was sure.

(I don’t need to tell you that Moana’s skirt was nowhere in sight.)

I made a split-second decision–we would take (half-naked) Moana to school. I mean, all kids play with half-naked dolls, right?

When we arrived to preschool the other kids greeted my kid. . .by lifting their shirts and exclaiming LOOK AT MY SWIMSUIT! Friday also happened to be “water day” where they could wear a swimsuit and play in sprinklers and kiddie pools. My kid lifted her dress and showed her suit to her teacher, Miss M. Miss M. looked slightly horrified and said, they are always such exhibitionists on swim day!

Before I continue, let me tell you about Miss M. She is a grandmother of two. She loves to tell stories and teases the children about how all birthdays are going to be cancelled except hers, which is met with roars of laughter and NO MISS M!! At a recent school event with parents Miss M. read aloud a book about a bunny and when finished said in a conspiring tone to the parents, “I have another story about a bunny–how my father once held a party for his friends and had someone dress up as a bunny to convince the drunk guests they were REALLY losing it, but that is a story for another day!”

So when I casually mentioned to Miss M that speaking of exhibitionists, “Oh hey, Z. brought a half-naked Moana doll for show and tell, aren’t kids hilarious?” I was not expecting her to freak out.

But freak out she did.

To make matters worse, somewhere between home and school, Moana’s bikini top flittered away and Moana went from being half-naked Moana to becoming Full Monty Moana.

I’ve never seen Miss M look so appalled.

I was squirming now.

Oh, well all kids end up playing with these dolls naked, right? I bet the kids won’t even notice, I laughed nervously.

Miss M’s face: still horrified.

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Say what.

“Oh, well you just don’t know what they will grab to bring for show and tell do you! I didn’t even realize she grabbed the naked doll, silly me!” (YES I TOTALLY THREW MY KID UNDER THE BUS.)

I just kept talking and talking as one tends to do when situations are awkward. I finally realized maybe it hadn’t been entirely appropriate to bring this doll to show-and-tell. I asked Miss M if she wanted me to take it home with me– because really, I could, no problem!

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OOPS. me channeling Jennifer Lawrence but with less awesome hair. (Giphy image)

No, no, it was fine, she assured me, still with her deer-in-headlights look. 

This is the story of how I learned to BUTT-OUT OF SHOW-AND-TELL.  Don’t ask, don’t tell. Sure, kiddo, bring more chip clips!

(And hey, do you have an extra one? Maybe I’ll use one to keep my mouth shut.)

Epilogue

After all this transpired I ran into another parent and mentioned the Moana incident. The parent laughed and said, yeah, one day their daughter brought a zippered jacket to class show-and-tell. Huh.

Turns out that four-year-olds know exactly what they are doing thank-you-very-much. Chip clips welcome. Naked Moanas, not so much.

 

 

 

The contents of her Frozen backpack (age 4)

  • A naked Moana doll (they are always naked)
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Poor moana is always missing her clothes. (Photo found online.)
  • oak tree twigs of varying lengths (quantity: 2)
  • a penny (she loves coins)
  • a small glass jar for placing her collections

File this away to Things I Don’t Ever Want To Forget about My Daughter at Four.