Time to Rock!

Well, it’s officially happened. I have begun rocking out to children’s music… even when the children aren’t around.

This morning, I let my son sit in the front seat of my minivan, which, for those of you keeping track, is still hanging on, bad transmission and all.  My son started going through my CD’s. He ran his fingers along them all – the case, strapped to the visor, a couple of feet above his head. He stretched his little arms, searching for just the right one. Then, suddenly, he’d found it: Kids Bop 4.

We proceeded to rock out to such songs as, “Life is a Highway” by Rascal Flatts and “Holiday” by Madonna. Of course, the lyrics and singers were swapped out, but still… Once “Holiday” came on… it was all over with. I was in full-on rock-out mode. I remember my mom doing this when I was a kid, mainly to the oldies station. I would shrink down in the back seat – hiding from anyone who might possibly see my – as my mom danced in the driver’s seat. A new generation of embarrassing mothers was born in the car ride this morning. I wasn’t dancing…. yet. Just singing. A lot.

My question to you folks: What songs are you rocking out to in the car? And, how are your kids handling that?

The Minivan…. No Turning Back

When I bought my minivan, it was a conscious decision to delve into the title some refer to as, “Soccer Mom.” My friends all snickered about my purchase. Now, six years later, many of them also have minivans or at least big SUVs, having figured out for themselves the perks of driving a minivan. More on that in a moment.

I am sad to say, my minivan is on its last leg. I have had a ’02 Honda Odyssey for over half a decade. It has been a good little soldier. It’s had the occasional problem, but mostly, it’s been a great car. That was until last week. It began hesitating and lurching forward and all the tell-tale signs of transmission trouble. After some research, it appears it’s about a $4,000 fix. On a minivan with nearly 200,000 miles on it…. not sure that’s a good investment.

Anyway…. this post is an ode to my minivan. I have no idea how much longer we have together, but I’ll take it. I’d love some input on what should be my next car – used, of course. Once you’ve gone minivan, there’s really no turning back. But, I’m willing to hear you all out.

Reasons I love my minivan

  1. What other vehicle can accommodate two adults, three kids, three dogs and all your stuff?
  2. It’s like a giant purse.
  3. Tinted windows – great for changing your children’s clothes in the backseat. (Or your own.)
  4. The acceptance of the general public that this is essentially a cattle-carrier for kids – certain smells and messes are to be expected.
  5. The built-in DVD player. This feature is only allowed in trips longer than 45 minutes. Of course, my kids still ask every time they get in…
  6. The back row folds down so your purse minivan can fit even more stuff.
  7. You can be the “Field Trip Mom,” taking a herd of kids in your car at once.
  8. Extra seats for friends who want to come over a play at your house or for brave coworkers willing to take a chance riding in your mom-mobile.
  9. Automatic sliding doors that open at the push of a button on your key ring.
  10. The sisterhood of traveling moms – the camaraderie of other moms knowing we’re all on the same mission.

Sick of Lying

Argh! Can we have a do-over to start my day? Please?

My kindergartener was sick yesterday after school. The sitter called and said he was not feeling well at all. Grandma picked him up and by the time I got home, all was well again. Apparently, he just needed to poop.

This morning, I walked to his room to wake him up. He wasn’t there. I could hear the cartoons from the living room TV upstairs. We don’t do TV during the week and hardly on the weekends. “Hey!” I called up, “You need to get ready for school. Shut the TV off.”

“What? No. It’s the weekend!” he replied.

“No, it’s Friday. You have school!”

“NO, I don’t. It’s the weekend!”

This went on for a while until I walked upstairs and shut the TV off and told him he’d better get ready or we’d be late. And there began the morning… The Morning of the Lies.

“I don’t feeeeeeeeeeeeel good!” he began to cry, out of nowhere, in the shrill whiny voice that makes every parent cringe. (Non-parents may mistake this whine as actual crying or a sign of a serious illness. This, however, is a rookie mistake. This kind of cry is easily detected by a parent who instantly recognizes it as what it is: A LIE.)

At this point, you may start thinking, “Oh, but he went home sick yesterday. Maybe he really doesn’t feel good!” Well, I have a solution for this. My lie detector test is my right hand. If, while the child is crying, I lift my hand to tickle them and they bust up laughing, they are NOT sick. When they are actually sick, they might smile a little sad smile and say something like, “please, mommy, no tickles. I don’t feel good.” But, no. Today, it was all laughs before resuming the shrill, “I don’t feeeeeel good!”

The line was repeated, over and over again. I went through the usual, “Do you really not feel good or do you want some attention?” Normally, he says he just wants some attention and we’ll play a game or something. Not this time. This time, he just wanted to stay in his pajamas and watch cartoons all day.

We went round and round all morning, including an actual slamming on the brakes in the driveway (flashback to childhood: “I will pull this car over!”) He changed his tune shortly after that and we were okay again. Until… I went to drop him off at the sitter’s. “I don’t want to go. I don’t feel good!” began again.

After finally getting him out of the car, I found myself fuming over this on the drive to work. Why must kids lie like that? How do you get them to just tell you the truth? And why is it that my kids pull this stuff when I know, full well, that if I would have tried this when I was a kid, I would’ve gotten a spanking. Are spankings the solution? Nasty flavored “medicine”? (My parents used to make me take Chloraseptic spray. Yuck! That really determined if I was sick or not…To be fair, the Chloraseptic folks seem to have come up with some less-nasty stuff these days…) What do you do? How do you get your child to understand that crying wolf and saying they are sick all the time is really a form of lying?

 

Or is this the way of my future?

 

Little Kids, Big Hearts

Haven’t we all had a moment when we thought our child was the sweetest thing on the face of the planet? When the child you were just counting to three with, threatening to send them to time-out, does or says something that absolutely stuns you and sets humanity right again? Each one of my children has done this at some point in their short lives. My kindergartener told me the other day on the phone that he hoped my lip healed soon after my accident. My daughter is constantly looking out for the well-being of younger children around her. And my toddler just knows the exact moment when you need a hug… or a laugh.

Today, while squinting from the sun (even though it was overcast) and battling a headache from Monday’s car accident, I drove my way to a car shop in Eagle River to get my tires changed over. Yes, yes, I know studs were supposed to be off earlier this week, but that whole Jeep vs. Minivan thing really threw my plans for a loop. While I sat there in the waiting room, listening/cringing through the “bzz-bzz-bzz” of the tire changeover, I started talking to the woman behind the counter. She saw my minivan, put two and two together and asked me if I wrote a mom blog. Alaska’s a small town, people.

She started to tell me about her kids. She had a baby on her hip and another in school. She told me about how her nine-year old daughter did an amazing thing the other day. It’s one of those “proud to be their mom” moments. I’ll let you read it in her own words. You’ll soon see why she’s one proud mama.

10 inches

I should start this story off from the beginning. This is the story about an amazing little girl named Aubree. 

 Aubree is your typical 9-year-old. She is in 3rd grade, plays volleyball, loves her family and friends and has an extremely huge heart and tons of compassion for everyone. In October of 2011 my youngest sister lost a friend to a battle with cancer. This was devastating to us all. Aubree was very touched by his story and wanted to help in any way possible. Konnar would often show her pictures of Cody. She made a comment one day about him losing his hair. She said, ” I hate cancer it is not fair for kids to get sick and have to lose their hair. I am going to give them mine.” And that is where our story begins… 

 Aubree came to me and told me that she wanted to give her hair to kids who needed it. “Because kids like Cody with cancer shouldn’t have to go through this.” I said okay and told her that we would look into options for donating her hair. Locks of love is a non-profit organization which takes in hair to make wigs for kids 21 and younger. I took Aubree into my friend Jen who is a hair stylist. Jen explained to Aubree it takes 10 inches in order to donate. Aubree didn’t think twice, she was committed and knew this is what she wanted to do. 

 Aubree’s hopes are to spread the word to help out other kids in need. And to one day find a cure to end cancer. A lesson can be learned from this small little girl. One small step can change some one’s entire life! 10 inches is simply that. It will grow back. It gives hope and joy to children who have cancer. 

Crash and Tan

So, we start here. My minivan had an unfortunate collision with a Jeep Monday night. Thank God, my children were not in the car at the time. A woman drove into the back of me on the evening commute, before I had a chance to pick up the kids. Went to the ER. “Minor Head Injury” was the official diagnosis. It had an accompanying drawing that totally cracked me up: a sketch of a head slamming into something. Lovely. Yeah, that’s about right. Brain/Mind feels like mush today.

My ex picked up our children from day care after I called him in a panic, while waiting for the cops to show up. (They arrived really quickly, by the way!) Later, when talking to the kids on the phone, they asked if I was okay. I told them about my face hitting the steering wheel and my fat lip.

“Can I see?” they asked.

“The car?” I asked.

“No, your face,” they answered.

Nice. Gotta love the morbid curiosity of children. It actually didn’t look too bad. A tad like Angelina Jolie lips- but only on my left side.

Of course, after being involved in an accident myself and reading the tragic story of the mother who ran over her child, I dreamed about my toddler running out into traffic. Terrifying. I hate those dreams.

In other mom news, did you all see the story about the mom arrested for allegedly taking her five-year old daughter tanning? A good friend of mine’s sister takes her daughter tanning too. It seems all too “Toddlers and Tiaras” for me. Having made my Judgey McJudgerson comment there, what do you guys think? Is it okay to take your kid tanning? At what age do you reach the tanning threshold? My kids and I are all pale. Tanning would be a bad, bad idea.

 

A Quick Drive to Town

My children and I have to drive to town. Sounds simple enough, right? Wrong. We will be gone a total of, lets say, four and a half hours. My kids have deemed this trip appropriate of massive packing. We are literally headed to Costco and then a friend’s house. They’ve packed:

blankets – one per child

baby dolls – seven of them

a stuffed animal

a giant bag packed full of God knows what.

 

But, do they have socks or shoes on their feet? That would be a no. Guess I’ll go take care of that now…

What’s the weirdest thing your kid has ever “needed” on a quick trip to town?

OH and I’ve been noticing some really bizarre/funny posts from my friends regarding their children on Facebook. One friend was pretty sure her kid was plotting to kill her. Another one was praying she just had PMS… otherwise, she was confident she might just hate her family. Send me your short and sweet Facebook parenting moments and I’ll compile them for a fun read.

The Whipping Boy

In elementary school, The Whipping Boy was required reading. It’s about a bratty prince who is always up to no good. But, in royal society,  no one was allowed to lay hands on the prince. So, they brought in another, poor, unfortunate kid to get whipped for him: hence, the title.

I found this book at a garage sale a while back and, in a moment of nostalgia, bought it to read to my kids. We’ve also read, with success, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, also an award-winning book. 

My kids have been listening to me read The Whipping Boy to them on and off over the last couple of weeks. Although it’s only 89 pages, I was beginning to think they were losing interest or, at least, not paying very close attention to the plot. That is, until our car ride home yesterday.

My kindergartener was asking me what we were going to do when we got home. I jokingly said, “Oh, we’ll be giving you 97 spankings. Sound good?” To this, he quickly replied, “Actually, mom, you’ve been named my whipping boy. So, you’ll be receiving 97 spankings. Sound good?”

 Note to self: add “reading books to children about ridiculous forms of punishment” to the list of other Brilliant Mom Ideas that have backfired… Will I ever learn?

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