Citrus and Sibling Rivalry

2013-01-16_11-14-16_140I murdered this poor grapefruit. It was a full-on massacre that took place at my desk earlier this week. You see, I’d eaten one earlier in the week, the traditional way – bowl and spoon , and somehow managed to end up with pink pulp in my hair. My coworker was very concerned when she spotted it in my hair. She may have thought it was flesh of some sort.

When I decided to eat another grapefruit later in the week, I thought peeling it was the best option. I was wrong. There was a sticky mess. Everywhere. But, not in my hair.

This is all lead-up to a story about a dose of sibling rivalry I witnessed the other day amongst my children. My ten-year old daughter loves grapefruit and when I told her that morning she could have one as an after school snack, she was thrilled.

When I got home from work that day, she mentioned something about the grapefruit and I asked, “Oh, did you have one?”

She replied, “Yes!” in a very excited manner.

It was then I noticed my first grader shaking his head, disapprovingly, side to side. I asked if he’d had one as well. “Oh no,” he said, “I didn’t want to get hiccups.”

Now, you’re probably confused by his response, as was I. At first. Then, I recognized the look on my daughter’s face. It was a look she was trying, desperately, to cover up. It was the look of, “You schmuck, you fell for that? Oh, I so got away with this…”

Knowing, full well, what my daughter had done, I asked my son, “What do you mean you don’t want to get hiccups?”

“Oh, mom! Grapefruits give you hiccups!” he answered, with that, “I can’t believe you didn’t know that!” tone.

I looked at my daughter, then back at my son. “Grapefruits do not give you hiccups and you are welcome to eat them. And you,” I turned my attention to my fourth grade daughter, “you need to share. Nicely.”

What’s the weirdest example of sibling rivalry you’ve witnessed among your children?


Growing Pains are a Real Pain

My poor little monkey was up again last night with growing pains. This poor kid has suffered through growing pains so much in his seven years of life that I wonder when he’ll ever catch a break! (Not in his leg… you know what I mean!)

He was up sobbing his eyes out, clutching his legs. When this happens (and it happens often) – we go through our arsenal of cures.

  1. Rub his legs
  2. Tell him to do some slow breathing
  3. Put a heat pack on it
  4. Do stretching exercises
  5. Take a bath
  6. Take some ibuprofen
  7. Pray on it

Usually, some combination of the above will fix it enough for him to fall back asleep. But, as parents, we all know that once we wake up from a restful sleep to a child in pain, it’s hard to fall back into blissful sleep again.

Do your kids suffer from growing pains? The doctors say it will pass. What’s been your experience? I remember having brutal growing pains as a child. So does my ex-husband. I imagine my poor kiddo is just going to have to suffer through it. Anyone have ideas on preventing them from happening in the first place or anything to add to my arsenal above?

The Chuck E Cheese Phenomenon

Chuck-E-Cheese-Logo1I have learned certain things over the course of my life. Things like dress in layers to cover up my innate ability to spill on myself, or always tell someone where you’re going if you decide to travel in winter in Alaska. Then, there are other things I have learned. Things about motherhood. Things about places like Chuck E Cheese, where we celebrated my son’s third birthday. It’s a venue where we have often celebrated birthdays, both for my children and other young friends and relatives.

As soon as you walk into the doors of Chuck E Cheese (whatever happened to the small door intended only as a child’s entrance? Did they take that out?) you can feel a shift in the universe. I imagine it’s like a kid version of Vegas. What happens at Chuck E’s house stays at Chuck E’s house. That is, until now. Here are my observations about the Chuck E Cheese Phenomenon.

  1. Your children will beg you for pizza every day of the week. But, the moment you place pizza in front of them at Chuck E Cheese and tear them away from the games long enough to consume their meal, they will hate every fiber of your being as if you were trying to force them to eat shards of glass.
  2. Much like prom, your child will likely end up in tears by the end of the night.
  3. No matter how many tokens you buy, it will not be enough.
  4. You will leave with something sticky on you.
  5. Your child will leave sweaty, amped up, tired and cranky – all at the same time.
  6. Energy reverses itself simultaneously providing your child with endless energy while sapping you of every ounce of remaining energy.
  7. A kid will get stuck, sobbing incoherently, in the tubes of play land. You (or another parental volunteer) will climb up, rather ungracefully, to rescue the child.
  8. Once you have rescued an inconsolable child from the tubes of play land, that same child will begin screaming that they want to do it again.
  9. Your bank account will shrink like a contestant on The Biggest Loser.
  10. Your kids will beg you to come back, no matter what.

A Birthday Bash and Bawl

happy_birthdayMy youngest turns three tomorrow. I have been simultaneously looking forward to and dreading this day for quite some time now. While I always count down until my children’s next birthday, (“Just two more sleeps until your birthday!”) this one has been a constant, ticking clock in the background of my life for the last couple years. When my son turns three, his father and I move to 50/50 custody.

Currently, I have the majority of custody. But, as part of our court agreement when we divorced, that all changes in just a few short hours. I was more than hesitant to switch to 50/50 custody. In fact, the mere thought of it still makes my stomach seize up and catches my breath. But, in the best interest of the children, I agreed to split custody. Now, here it is, the reality of my decision staring me in the face.

My baby boy is turning three. That means in just 15 years, he’ll be graduating high school. And out of those 15 years, I get half. I get half as many days of dropping him off at preschool, half as many times of taking him to get weighed and measured at his checkups, half as many chances to kiss him goodnight. And it’s not just him. I have a seven-year old boy and a ten-year old daughter. That means half as many chances to see him tear down the road on his bike or tell me excitedly about his day. Half as many chances to brush her hair or let her paint my toenails or show me her latest drawing or other work of art. Half.

Tomorrow, while my baby boy opens his presents at Chuck E. Cheese (yeah, I know, I never learn) I will watch him with tears in my eyes. I will remember to cherish every moment – some good, some not-so-fun – that I get with him and his brother and his sister. I will happily play all the sticky games and eat the crappy pizza. And then, that night, after I lay them all down to sleep, I will sneak back into their rooms and kiss their little heads and whisper how much I love them. Then, I will go to my room and cry.



Just Wait

mother-teaching-tween-daughter-to-apply-lipstickI distinctly remember being upset. Mad. Frustrated. Outraged, even. I wanted my period to start. The other girls my age all had their periods already. But, not me. I pestered my mom with questions, constantly.

“When is my period ever going to start?!”

“How come everyone else has their period but not me?”

“It’s not fair that my period hasn’t started!”

When my mom took me to the pediatrician for my next check up, he did all the usual checks and balances. Then, I started my inquisition on him, asking the same questions and pleading for him to tell me when – an exact date – my period would start. When he came back with a stifled laugh and said, “a couple of years,” I couldn’t have been angrier. He went on, “Don’t rush. Just wait. You’ll have your period for years, decades even. And believe me, you’ll wish you could come back to this day and stop yourself from wanting it sooner.” Boy, was he right.

Now, decades after that conversation and decades in to, “Womanhood,” my own daughter is starting the questions. When will she get her period? When will she get boobs? When can she wear a bra? What about pubic hair? When can she wear makeup? When can she start shaving her legs? And here we go. I find myself giving my daughter the same speech my mom gave me.

How many times in our lives do we spend looking forward to something else? As girls, we beg for our periods to come – until we’re wishing we could just get a break. As moms and dads, we look ahead to the next developmental step – sitting, crawling, walking, kindergarten. And we forget. We forget to just stop and enjoy what we have, when we have it. It reminds me of that country song, “You’re Gonna Miss This.”

My youngest son turns three next week and I just want to hold on to him and all the memories of the little things he does. I want to cherish the moments when my seven-year old son tells me his ice cream is, “so damn good.” I want to tuck in a keepsake box the memory of my ten-year old daughter peppering me with questions about pads and tampons one minute and then running to play with her giant stuffed animal the next. And yet, time slips away.

Do you find yourself falling into this phenomenon? The day-to-day stuff, doing laundry and the dishes, creeps in and before you know it, your baby is graduating high school? What would you tell your children (or yourself, for that matter) to “JUST WAIT” about?

Bleary-Eyed Christmas Day

christmas-disappointI hope you all had a lovely Christmas! It’s been busy around here, as I’m sure it has been in your house.

Christmas Eve was a lot of running around – with that panicked, “Did we get enough for (insert name of child here)?” We were among the throngs of crazy people at the stores who had not completed their Christmas shopping. However, we made it out of there alive – and headed to church. The service was beautiful. We didn’t have the kids with us – they were with their dad for the night. Sometimes you need to be able to really focus on the message without having to stop down and wipe someone’s butt. Frankly, I think that concept applies to pretty much everything.

We didn’t get the kids until 10 Christmas morning. We’d already done all our wrapping, so we weren’t up late assembling toys or frantically taping paper and ribbons to things. In fact, we stayed up – but out of choice – to watch a movie and share some wine. That all added up to us being able to leisurely wake up, shower and be ready when the madness began at 10. The kids tore into their presents with pure vigor. And for once, the pictures didn’t show a set of bleary-eyed parents, sitting with coffee in hand, disheveled hair and still in pajama pants. By the way, I think that would be an awesome series of photos…

When we were done opening presents, my daughter sat there, with a clearly disappointed look on her face. I asked her what was wrong.

“I don’t think Santa got my letter,” she replied, sadly.

“Why? What did you ask him for?”

“A laptop, iPhone and an iPad. But, he didn’t bring me any of those things!”


Is now a good time to repeat the “Realistic Expectations” speech?

What did your kids ask for that they didn’t get? Or… anyone willing to share their awesome bleary-eyed mama pics?


The Countdown (and up) Begins

Christmas-tree-decorations-by-specialist-giftsIt’s just one week away from the big day – CHRISTMAS! Or, if you’re counting in advent calendar chocolates like my kids are – just seven more candies.

We’re nearing Christmas day and I’ve not yet finished my shopping. I have a few things – but not everything, by any means. And, don’t my kids know it! I made the mistake of wrapping some gifts when the kids weren’t around this past weekend and putting them under the tree. Here I thought I was being proactive. Nope. Now I remember why I don’t do this. The kids immediately began counting how many presents each one of them had and who’s present was the biggest. Ugh.

This year, my kids will spend Christmas morning with their Dad. We get them back at 10am, so they can have special time opening the presents at our house, too. And, if this week’s counting is any indication, they will be tearing through the presents – mentally calculating who got what.

Some years, we have followed the three-gift rule. It was good enough for Jesus. I think it teaches kids to not be greedy and to put the focus back on what the season is really about. Having said that, I DO want to get them something they really want. However, my daughter sent her letter to Santa without letting me see it. When I ask her what she asked for, she only rattles off expensive electronics that I have no intention of buying her. My first grader wants a BB machine gun. This is also not happening. And my soon-to-be-three-year-old wants a “Wee-wee.” That means car, by the way. Or truck. He doesn’t differentiate. But it has to be orange.

What are you looking forward to in these last few days of Christmas? Oh, and what are YOU wishing for? I’ve asked for socks. Yep, I’m a mom.

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