Local St. Paul Mom Gives Her 11 Year Old An iPhone

It was reported yesterday that local St. Paul mom and blogger, Tracy Morrison, gave her 11 year old daughter an iPhone of her very own. The news broke shortly after school when Tracy’s daughter Eloise sent an email to a friend, and end of the message read “sent from my iPhone.” As all news travels in fifth grade, soon hundreds of tweens across St. Paul learned the news and shared the news of the iPhone with their own parents over dinner that night.

 

“I’m not sure what Tracy was thinking!” Said an anonymous St. Paul mom over the phone when we called for comment. “I thought we had an unwritten pact in this circle of friends that no one would have a phone until junior high. I feel like Tracy is setting a precedence and frankly it’s upsetting to our family.”

 

Hannah Johnson, a good friend of Eloise’s from dance also received an email and then an iMessage from Eloise later last evening, was quoted as saying “Eloise is lucky. Her mom is much nicer than my mom. I cannot believe she got an iPhone. I mean all I have is this iPad Mini that I can’t leave the house with.”

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Hailey, Emma, Emily, Sophia, Maddie, and Eva – all classmates of Eloise, said she was like so lucky, but still had mixed emotions about Eloise being the first of their friends to get an iPhone. They were trying to be happy for her, but at the same time spent most of the evening complaining to their parents as most tween girls do about how life was so unfair for them since they only had a sad little iTouches.

 

We reached out to Emily’s parents for an interview, but they declined to comment yet mentioned something about moving Emily to a convent out East where technology was not allowed.

 

“I think it’s just totally unfair to the other parents that Tracy just went out and did this without first notifying us.” Said Emma’s mother. “I’m really disappointed in the whole thing. I mean it puts undue pressure on the rest of us parents – both financially and socially. Being a tween is already a difficult time – and now Tracy is really making our lives pure hell because of this iPhone.”

 

We sat down with Tracy last night to find out what prompted her to give her 11 year old an iPhone after stating numerous times over the past year that Eloise would not have a phone until she was in junior high. And in fact wrote in her blog in 2012 that “she’d be damned if Eloise would have a phone before she turned 12!”

 

“Well, it certainly wasn’t our plan to give Eloise a phone this early. However, as parents I think we all need to grant ourselves some flexibility with the right to change our minds. A big lesson I’ve learned about parenting is to never say never. Sure you might intend to feed your kids all organic foods – but damn Cheetos are yummy. It’s the same thing with the phone. We’ve always planned to delay this day for as long as possible, but since she turned 11 we’ve been giving her more independence in staying home alone for longer, being able to go off with her friends more, and she has more afterschool activities. She’s also proven herself as incredibly responsible. Quite honestly though, this weekend we called AT&T because they were raping us with our current rates and it turned out we could activate my old cracked iPhone 4 that was just sitting in a drawer and put her on our plan and actually SAVE $40 a month from what we were already paying because it was now a family plan. I call it a win/win.”

 

When asked how Eloise was handling her new responsibility with iPhone ownership, Tracy mentioned that Eloise understood there were many rules on usage with her new phone and she would not have it at school with her nor in her room at home, and that there were many blocks on websites and everything would be tracked carefully.

 

We tried to reach Eloise for comment, but she did not return our calls. Instead we received a text from her with just “…’sup, yo, who r u?” and then a long string of panda emojis. So we think that Eloise is enjoying her iPhone ownership very much.

 

It will be interesting to see how the rest of the kids and parents continue to react and accept the news.

 

–St. Paul Fake Planet News, Mandy Johansson reporting

 

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Six Years Of Blogging And Now A Book

My six year blogging anniversary passed quietly last week. Celebrating my six year ‘blogiversary’ is kind of like how I handled my 45th birthday – locked in the bathroom alone with a glass of red and a dark chocolate bar as I pondered what I’ve really accomplished.

 

I started my blog as a blog. It had five readers and I shared silly, daily stories of my girls and cats. It grew to something a little bit more as I shared stories of loss and hope and I found my voice in humor.

 

After six years of blogging – fame and fortune have not come my way – except for that one viral post that made me step back and be quite comfortable really without fame and fortune.

 

Actually, blogging has given me something much better than fame and fortune – it’s given me friends and the ability to be fearless.

 

And blogging has made me become a writer.

 

Six years ago – or even three years ago I would never say “I’m a writer.” Me, who went to school for business and engineering and took many math and economics classes, and took only speech and debate as my required and very painful English class.

 

I wasn’t always adverse to English classes. I was a voracious reader as a child and kept a journal since I was eight years old. During high school I filled notebooks with poems about asshole guys ,and I submitted short stories to magazine contests.

 

Until that year of AP English when my teacher sucked all the joy out of reading, appreciating good literature, and creative writing. I sat in the back of the class refusing to participate, listen or engage. I wanted every book to burned, every piece of paper to be shredded, and every English class in the world to cease immediately. That’s how much she made me hate literature and the beauty and power of words.

 

I was an A+ student and near the top of my class, and I still smile when I see that string of Ds on my report card from that year of AP English.

 

However, I still remember the one and only assignment I completed for her. The assignment was to write a personal essay about a difficult time in our lives. At first I resisted – because completing an assignment for her was like cleaning my room when my mom asked me to. I was 17 and liked to push her buttons just like any adult who told me what to do. I told her that I had nothing to write about and did not turn in my assignment. I still remember her coming over to my desk, kneeling down to be eye to eye with me, and saying “I’m giving you 24 hours to turn something in. Just try doing this – not for me – but for you. Don’t make me fail you because you’ve failed yourself.”

 

That evening I sat in my room with some nameless punk music blaring and wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote about something very personal until my hand hurt and tears smeared the ink on my papers. I turned that first draft as my final paper into her that next day. The pages that were frayed, smudged, and with some margins filled in with edits – just like my life at the time. Imperfect and feeling still so incomplete.

 

Two days later she passed our essays back to us. I expected my usual ‘D’ as I did appreciate her effort to not fail me in her class, as god knows she wanted to see me again next year even less than I wanted to see her.

 

But instead there was a big red ‘A’ on the top of the page. Along with a note “Tracy, see what you can do when you write from your heart.”

 

And I find that still today – the best writing comes from my heart – and no, it won’t be with the best grammar or spelling, but it will always be me.

 

Which is why I’m thrilled to announce today that my words are in a book.

 

A little over a year ago, two amazing women came up with a writing series called “This Is Childhood.” They invited eight of us to join them to celebrate each year from age one to age 10.

 

I wrote about seven. My Esther at seven.

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Well Brain Child Magazine picked up our series of essays and has published them in a journal that launches today. This journal includes not only our essays of childhood, but also provides pages for parents to write their own thoughts as their children experience the joy (and the hard) of just being kids. It gives parents a place to write from their heart. Which is where all of our best writing comes from.

 

However, for me, being included in this book is just the frosting on the cake. The cake is made up of many layers of love from getting to know the nine other authors and moms. Over the past year they’ve become friends, mentors, and women I admire more than anything. They are brave, beautiful, and giving. I’m so grateful that blogging has given me the gift of incredibly talented ‘writerly’ friends, who don’t think my words aren’t worth publishing because I am ‘just a blogger.’

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I stand among greatness my friends…

 

So thank you Allison – whom I’ve know the longest – for your friendship, your support in this endeavor, your brilliant writing, and the daily laughs and tears we have in this strange on-line space.

 

Lindsey, whose writing makes me want to write more. Her honestly and emotional availability and wisdom and talent come through in everything she writes. I’ve loved getting to know her and her beautiful family more.

 

Galit, my Minnesota sister and a ‘co-bringer’ of Listen To Your Mother to our fair state. We’ve become close, forever friends, and her writing will always inspire me to be more. I do not have the words to express my love for her. Also, she’s made me ‘almost’ like dogs.

 

Nina, another Minnesota friend. I’ve admired Nina’s writing for years, but now we are ‘in real life’ friends and I am forever grateful for her talents, kindness, honesty, and advice.

 

Denise  – whom I met through the ‘This Is Childhood’ series, and I am overwhelmed by her writing experiences and talents, and would follow her writing to the ends of the earth if she’d let me..in a non-stalkerish way of course.

 

Aidan – another mom of three girls and a truly beautiful soul. I admit to reading her blog archives because she is a master at her craft and deserves to be published everywhere. I’m honored to have my words close to hers. Also, I want to live in Manhattan.

 

Kristen’s writing inspires me, makes me think, and makes me want to hug her daily for asking the hard questions in a beautiful way. Her heart comes through in her essays in a way I can only dream of doing.

 

Bethany makes me laugh and cry and share with every word she writes. Her talents are immense and she almost..almost..makes me want to have a house full of boys. Almost. I find myself nodding along with her essays and wishing we could take a long run together. There would be so much laughter that just writing about that run makes me want to hop on a plane and show-up on her doorstep in a sparkly running tutu.

 

Amanda. Oh Amanda. Don’t tell her but I want to be her neighbor. I have these strange dreams of living next door to her, our six girls playing in the yard, our husbands enjoying a few beers together, while I run my fingers through her hair. OMG, I mean while we discuss life and writing, everything because I think we’re meant to be friends forever, and her words have forever changed me.

 

No matter what happens with  my writing and my blog. Whether I am published again, or I take my blog down before the 7th anniversary – I will always be grateful to count these women(and many others) as friends who’ve inspired me, challenged me, laughed and cried with me, and celebrated good things like being published in a book. SERIOUSLY GUYS, WE ARE IN A BOOK!

 

Buy it.

 

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Dreams #happymamas

My dreams were never that big when I was little. I wanted 150 cats, wall to wall white shag carpeting throughout my penthouse, to be a lawyer so I could put bad guys in jail, and to be a super model if I ever grew tall and had boobs.  I may have also dreamed of boobs.

 

None of those things happened. But that didn’t make me unhappy. It just made me realistic that 150 cats shouldn’t live in a house with white carpeting, and that deciding between being a lawyer and model was a super hard choice until I didn’t grow boobs or grow that tall or like reading such big books full of super boring laws.

 

So instead I became an engineer with hardwood floors and one cat.

 

Dreams do come true when you’re willing to tweak your expectations a bit.

 

I love listening to the dreams of my kids. From the small – “May we please go to McDonald’s as it’s been months!” To the sweet “I hope Truffle cat gets a sister sometime soon.” And the big “When I’m big enough I’m going to solve World Hunger and make sure every child goes to school.”

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I listen to these the same way that my mother did – with a smile and kind words that they can be and do anything they set their minds to. Except eat a McD’s every month. I won’t help with that dream. My mother encouraged me and never discouraged me even when she knew I’d never get very tall or grow boobs.  She also didn’t try to make my dreams come true for me – because that’s not what mothers are for. Except for the small things to put a simple smile on our child’s face. Like maybe I could have white carpeting in my room – but no cats.

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One of Eloise’s dreams came true this weekend. Eloise loves pandas. All things panda. All pandas. She is slightly obsessed with pandas. Her dream is to see a panda. Well her biggest dream would be to see a panda in the wild as she has written about panda endangerment at length for school projects, but seeing pandas in a zoo would have to do.

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We planned a trip to D.C. this past weekend for a wedding and spent our first day just watching the pandas. “I’m HERE!” Eloise said, “I’m really here!” And I melted into a parental puddle knowing that it’s not my job to fulfill the dreams of my children – but being their to witness them – is truly a dream come true for me.

 

This makes me a Happy Mama.

 

Join us each month with The Dude Mom and share a Happy Mama Moment of your own!

 

Team Happy Mamas are also teaming up this month with Thirty-One Gifts, makers of stylish and functional personal products and storage solutions, to give one happy mama a super happy day! One lucky mama is going to receive a $200 gift certificate to use on some totes or handbags or storage products or whatever floats your boat from the site. Totally up to you!

Now, enter to win below and don’t forget to link up your Happy Mama posts this week too.

 
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You Are Not An American

We actually watched Pitch Perfect last weekend after Astrid was in bed. I felt we needed to try after my Facebook blew up when I asked if the movie was appropriate for my kids, and if it was any good. Every person on the planet(or at least my Facebook friends) said it was Amazing! Fabulous! The Best! So Fun! The Feel Good Movie Of The Decade! So, who are we to miss out on that. A little sexual innuendo and crass humor won’t stop us from watching Pitch Perfect 42,560 times dammit.

 

And we hated it. All three of us. Like hated almost all of it. I texted a friend saying that I felt strange hating it so much because I was suppose to love it. My kids were suppose to love it too because of Music and Cups. And even that could not keep our interest.

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“You’re not an American.” She texted back jokingly. “It’s like how you like to grocery shop every day for like three apples and a pint of milk instead of stocking your fridge with 740 ounce bottles of ketchup from Costco. You’re not normal. Or American. Also, you are no longer allowed to watch Dance Moms or Project Runway. You are not one of us.”

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My kids love music, popular music, top 40 music, Glee club music, and the song Cups. And even they did not enjoy Pitch Perfect. Maybe it was because the Cups song was only on for a total of about 30 seconds. Or because so much of the music was so poorly done. Or predictable. Or because most of the movie was one long dick joke(pun intended), and that’s not really a word we throw around in our home very often. Ever. Even the person who has a dick in our house doesn’t throw that word around.

 

But when they movie ended both of my kids just let out a “meh,” said it was just okay, wished there was more music and less talking(ha!), and that they didn’t really need to see it again.

 

I put them to bed and tried to process the whole two hour long “Dick Joke Movie” that I just watched. When I asked for public opinion about the movie – everyone mentioned typical light-sexual scenes on par with a PG-13 teen movie. That I can handle. That I don’t mind. That I don’t mind my kids seeing. But in my opinion the whole movie was about how crass can females and males be to each other in college and treat each other like pieces of meat and make fun of their dicks – whether through fake shaking around or through bad jokes, and go to frat parties and drink as much beer as possible. I don’t want my kids to think THAT is how we should talk to one another or act in college. All the time. Parties and crazy times in college – yes. Tweens now thinking this is allthetime acceptable behavior – notsomuch.

 

For me, instead of being a fun movie about changing your tune, letting go of stereotypes with lots of feel good music moments, it was more like my generation’s Fast Times At Ridgemont High with one good song in it. And I sure wouldn’t let my 9 and 11 year olds watch that. I would feel more comfortable letting my four year old watch it for just the music while the incessant dick jokes would float over her head. And those jokes did float a bit over my 9 year old’s head.  But at 11, at the age where you understand almost everything, but are still innocent enough not to know how teens may talk to each other in a joking manner – where you still don’t get many jokes, and are forming your own ways and opinions – I think this movie sucks. Sorry, that’s the only word I could find without making my own crude dick joke. Instead of a ‘meh’ – Eloise gave it more of an “Eww – I hope boys never talk to me like that.”

 

Call us prude, call of sheltered, call us crazy, call us not worthy of doing movie reviews  – but don’t call of Not American.

 

I mean sure, I’ve never shopped at Costco, I don’t buy toilet paper in bulk, we’ve never been to Chuck E Cheese, or purchased LEGOS. We’ve never taken our kids to Disney, we don’t listen to Country Music or watch The Bachelor, and we will never take in a meal at Red Lobster.  We don’t own white tennis shoes and you won’t find me wearing shorts.

 

But you will find us watching Frozen for the 354,687th time, watching Dance Moms, enjoying a Filet O’ Fish during Lent, and flying down a water slide with the masses.

 

None of this has to do with defining myself as American. It just means that I have my own individual taste for things. And don’t like dick jokes.

 

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Taking A Tumble

The email read innocently enough “Astrid is now the only child enrolled in our Monday morning gymnastic class so we will need to find another class for her to join. The following are your options…”

 

Strange though. It was now March, and this four year old class started in September. We had now spent the school year with our Monday morning ritual. Astrid has made friends with her four ‘tumbling-mates’ and I’ve made nice with the other moms. No one had mentioned dropping out or switching classes when we just saw them a few days ago. Astrid liked her gymnastic friends and class very much and at times on a Sunday night would say “Gymnastics is tomorrow so I get to see Hannah!”

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And as much as I’m not very good at making mom friends at these types of things – I did enjoy this hour each week with the five of us sitting in comfortable chairs, lattes in hand, watching our kids through the big picture window as we discussed school choices, the cold winter, and a bit of celebrity gossip.

 

If you are or have been a parent of a preschooler – you know how these weekly morning classes go – whether a music class, book group, ECFE group, tumbling class, or soccer – it’s a constant for the school year and part of your schedule. A place for your kids to try something new, a place to meet new friends, a place to fill a morning when you can’t fathom another long morning at home in the long winter, a place of comfort in your week that you count on.

 

But this was actually more than that. Gymnastic is something she loves. She can do forward and backward rolls, balance on the beam, and is learning to flip over the bar. She’s proud of herself and I love that about her. As we all know, these excursions into “Hey, let’s try this!” – whether violin, baseball, or chess club – can sometimes not go too well for anybody.

 

“I guess we will try Thursday night.” I wrote back. None of the new times looked great and I wish I had contact numbers for the other moms to see if they dropped out or moved to another time, as it would be nice for Astrid to continue gymnastics with them.

 

Thursday night was everything Monday morning wasn’t. It wasn’t just the quiet, small preschool class in the gym – but 10 classes going on at once – from preschool to the college team training in different corners of the smallish space. But a light came in the chaos ,while Astrid shed her snow pants down to her leotard, was that two of her friends from Monday were also in the hallway – including Hannah.

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Until they lined up and while Hannah and the other friend lined up in one place – Astrid was asked to line up with another group. I could see a bit of worry mixed with her own strong brave face as she watched her Monday friends go in a different direction. And I watched her through the window as she jumped, balanced, tumbled, and rolled with her new class.

 

“Did you have fun?” I asked her when she came out of class and she showed me her stamp on her hand from her new teacher.

 

“It was okay. Busy. But I wish I could be with my friends.” She said quietly as she sat on the dirty floor to pull on her leggings and socks.

 

“I’ll contact them tomorrow to see what we can do.” I told her. “But maybe that class is already full.”

 

I emailed the director asking if Astrid could be moved with her friends if there was room. Her answer surprised me.

 

“Oh, they’ve moved up to a more advanced level and Astrid is not ready for that yet. So no, they cannot be together. If Astrid wants to continue to do gymnastics she’ll have to stay at a lower level – which is the class she is now assigned to on Thursday nights.”

 

Lower level.

 

My first reaction was visceral “MY daughter? My daughter IS good and deserves to be with the more advanced level with the other four year olds!” And “Astrid – now you have to work harder and then you can be with your friends!” I sheepishly admit I thought that. Said that. Wanted that.

 

Until the next week as we drove away from another Thursday night class of Astrid watching her friends across the room and she said to me “I don’t like gymnastics anymore.”

 

After loving, and announcing it as her favorite activity for the past six months.

 

So I went back to the gym’s website to see what it said about the classes and of ‘moving up levels’ and of ‘handling of preschooler confidence and emotions,’ and all it had were age group classes listed. We signed up for a 4-5 year old class for the school year. And it was our expectation to be in it, and with consistency for the year. I know kids will be at different skill levels – just like they are for any activity – but to start dividing them up and showing them where they belong on the skill ladder at this age. Well that just hurt us both.

 

And made her start not liking something she started having a passion for.

 

Now I’m not one of those parents who believe that all kids should be equal in activities, no winners or losers, and medals for participating – but to squash kids at four years old in their first year at an activity? I’m not sure what the point of it all is. Maybe those other four year olds who are ‘more advanced’ now can keep their legs a little straighter on a cartwheel, but it’s not like they’re doing split jumps on the beam yet either.

 

So I emailed the gym director one more time and asked if there was another class we could try, and we found an opening on a Friday afternoon. It’s a small class, with some sweet kids, and she doesn’t have to see her old friends across the gym anymore. And when these lower level kids finished last week, Astrid ran to me with a smile to show me her stamp.

 

“Did you have fun?” I asked.

 

“Yes, mama – this was much more fun today. I guess maybe I’ll keep trying gymnastics for awhile.”

 

And we walked out of the gym hand in hand without a care in the world about her level. Because she had fun.

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Do you feel they should start diving kids based upon skills and levels at this age? What’s your experience?

 

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That Time You Vomited In My Face

My wake-up call this morning was a pink water bottle slamming into my nose along with the words “FILL THIS!” that were honestly not that sweet sounding from my four year old who was snuggled up against me all night. And when I say “snuggled up against me” I mean “stayed up  most of the night listening to the sounds that humans make when they are about to puke, so when she did, we had a decent chance of catching the puke in the bowl or even making it to the bathroom.”

 

And this was night two.

 

Which should’ve been night three. Because three nights ago I thought she was just fine when I put her to bed. Never think a child is ‘just fine’ when they’ve had a fever much of day, had not been able to keep any food down, and slept fitfully on your lap most of the day.

 

Because three hours after I put her to bed I heard the sound coming from the monitor that no parent wants to hear. The sound of vomit. Everywhere. This is also when I admit that I should know by now not to let my kids sleep with 45 stuffed animals, four pillows, eight blankets, and their American Girl Dolls. When a four year old vomits in their bed – they vomit everywhere and on everything.

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I remember a night of vomit in my own bed when I was about five years old, mainly because my parents still talk about this evening if I ever bring something up about my childhood that bothered me. They’ll say “Do you remember that night you woke-up sick and stood up on your bed and then turned in circles as you projectile vomited all over your room?” And then I can’t talk about any of those petty growing-up-injustices that I’m sure I made up because their cleaning up vomit out of carpets, curtains, bedding, clothing, furniture, brothers, and off of walls trumps all minor teenage angst I’ve been holding in.

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So that’s what I did three nights ago. And without gagging. Parenthood gives us several super human powers – but the greatest is that we typically do not gag when dealing with some of the nastiest things out there. We can turn off the feeling that this is probably the most disgusting thing I’ve ever done or smelled, and just whisk that vomit-caked child into our arms(even when wearing a dry clean only wool sweater) and gently bathe her off and change her into clean clothing all the while keeping our voices soft and soothing. We place her gently onto a clean surface with a warm blanket and begin stripping sheets and balling up blankets and animals so vomit doesn’t drip as we walk to the laundry. We rinse the soiled items in the laundry tub before washing and drying everything three times. Then we tiptoe softly back to our sick child and lay her on the bed that we’ve now prepared consisting simply of a beach towel covered mattress and a red plastic bowl.

 

Once they are resting, we change our own soaked clothing and shower away the chunks from our hair, put on clean pajamas and snuggle in next to them ignoring the stench that still lingers, and we both drift in and out of sleep awaiting the next wave of nausea, or the demand for water.

 

Because this is what we do as parents. Without gagging. Without complaint. Without notice that this is what we’re signing up for before they are born.

 

And we’ll never ask for thanks later that we did this for our children. We’ll just save this little memory as a little ammunition for later when our kids start telling stories about how bad we were as parents.

 

“Hey, do you remember that time you vomited in my face?”

 

That will shut them down.

 

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Zombie Mommy

“Mommy, I don’t like when you leave me.”

 

I don’t always like leaving you either. But sometimes I have to…and I always come back.

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“But if you were dead you wouldn’t come back.”

 

True, but I’m not dying anytime soon – so just for now, know that I’m coming back.

 

“But you will die someday and then you won’t come back and I won’t know you aren’t coming back.”

 

But by then you’ll be older and maybe a mommy too, so you won’t need me as much. So it will be okay. And that’s a long time from now.

 

“I’ll still need you when I’m a mommy.”

 

Maybe for some stuff. But not everything. You’ll have your own house and kids and life and even your own cats. And I’ll be very old when I die.

 

“Well even if you die when I’m a mommy and you’re very very old. I will still wish you were coming back.”

 

Me too.

 

“Unless you were a zombie. That would be super creepy. Don’t come back as a zombie mommy.”

 

I feel like I can promise you that I won’t come back as a zombie mommy and creep you out.

 

“Because if you did come back as a zombie mommy, I don’t think I could let you in my house.”

 

I understand and will respect your wishes if I did show up at your door as a zombie mommy. I wouldn’t let me in either.

 

“Okay, so don’t feel bad.”

 

I’ll be dead. I don’t think I’ll feel bad. I’m going to try not to be a zombie mommy ever.

 

“Promise.”

 

Promise. Now I have to get going to my thing.

 

“Okay, I will miss you, but please come back just as a regular mommy.”

 

Right, I’ll come back as regular mommy. Not dead. Not a zombie. And I’ll tuck you into bed. It won’t be creepy.

 

“This is why I love you so much. Because you’re not a zombie mommy.”

 

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LISTERINE 21 Day Challenge Results

There are many things I can improve upon when it comes to parenting…

1. Stop yelling

2. Serve more vegetables

3. Understand math so I can help with homework

4. Not forgetting my kids at school

You know, typical stuff that we all are guilty of. Right? Please tell me you’ve forgotten your kids at school, and sometimes vegetables are just hard to serve?

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One thing I’ve left up to them since they left ‘toddlerhood’ was tooth brushing and oral care(between dental visits anyway). They seem to do a good job at brushing and (knock wood) none of our kids have had a cavity and the dentist has always mentioned that they do a decent job.

 

However, since we all have been taking the LISTERINE 21-Day Challenge – we are focusing even more on lifelong good habits and doing more than just brushing, since brushing misses 75% of your mouth.

[Read more...]

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She Loves Me Anyway

I make a lot of mistakes as a mother. While our oldest daughter will always officially be our guinea pig, our trials and errors do not belong exclusively to her and to talk about ‘from the couch’ one day. Her sisters will join her there.

 

I would not call myself a ‘mean’ mother, but I am a ‘firm’ mother. This doesn’t mean that I haven’t yelled. Because I have.

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I’ve also apologized more times than I can count because I am not above mistakes and I’d prefer a relationship of mutual respect with my kids.I don’t want to be their boss. I am here to be their guide.

 

I forget things. I’ve forgotten my kids at school and activities. I forgot Astrid once as she slept in her car seat that I put down on the sidewalk while I loaded the car. But thankfully had just pulled away from the curb when I realized my grave mistake.

 

I’ve been taking an ‘in the car’ body count since that day.

 

I’ve forgotten field trips and important papers to be sent back to school. I’ve forgotten birthday parties and important parts of costumes or projects that I was suppose to buy for them.

 

I’ve fed them junk food and drive-thru and don’t buy organic fruit.

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I’m inflexible and probably not as warm as they’d like sometimes.

 

I work from home, thus the line between “Is mommy working” vs “Is mommy not working” is blurred and most of the time I feel like I’m failing at both.

 

Mornings are hectic no matter how early we rise or how organized we seem and I’m always short with them as we hustle out the door. As the bus pulls away I always think that if this is the last time we see each other – what will they remember about me.

 

I hate playing games(except cards), don’t understand make-believe, I’m a horrible artist, don’t craft, don’t allow glitter, and I don’t love play-dates…here.

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I’m the type of mom that gives her kids plenty of opportunities for independence and learning. You won’t find me trying to entertain them on the weekends. Sometimes I wonder if maybe I’m too detached.

 

I have faults too long to list – just like any human and mother.

 

And when I feel overwhelmed and that I’m doing it all wrong.

 

I need to remember one thing.

 

Kids are kids.

 

And their simple needs are love and security.

 

And if I search though the life of each day of chaos and busy and schedules and short tempers and toys everywhere  – I see love and security everywhere for them.

 

I don’t need to play Monopoly or dollies to give them that.

 

And even if we’ve had a bad morning, I am still greeted each day with a picture from Astrid.

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A picture of us(without clothes…with our belly buttons showing…ahem). But us. Together.

 

That’s what Astrid sees. That’s what she knows and loves. And she draws me a picture of us every day. I have 240 of these so far. And if you think I’m making a book. Well you are correct.

 

“Mommy, you’re my best friend and you’re the best mommy ever.”

 

And any mommy guilt I have disappears.

******

Join Amanda of Dude Mom and 11 others as we celebrate being Happy Mamas each month. Join us and let’s start a movement together.


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Pitch Perfect

I was excited to pick-up the movie Pitch Perfect for $10 at Target yesterday. We’ve all heard some of the songs and it seemed like a fun movie for me and my tweens to watch on a cold Sunday afternoon. But my 11 year old deemed it inappropriate for all of us after watching for about three minutes. She really questioned my judgement of letting her eight year old sister watch, having her four year old sister in the vicinity of the movie watching, and how I thought something rated PG-13 and set in at college could possibly be an appropriate movie choice for any of them.

 

So we turned the movie off, they popped in Despicable Me 2 to watch for the 250,000th time, and I did some work while I heard the three of them laughing in the family room. “Silas Ramsbottom..” Hee hee.

 

Since Eloise left me questioning my parenting, I did what every mom does in 2014 and I consulted Facebook. Is Pitch Perfect appropriate for kids ages 8-11ish? The answers ranged from “Not appropriate at any age, because awful!” to “I let my 5 year old watch it and most goes over his head.” and “Not appropriate for my kids.” also “I watched movies like that when I was little – it’s a great opportunity for conversation.” and “My 11 year old watched it and came out unscathed.” to “I loved it but won’t let my kids watch it yet.”

 

And the “It leads to great conversation” argument always cracks me up – because while Pulp Fiction and No Country For Old Men would also lead to some interesting conversation in our home – I sure as hell am not going to show those particular movies to my eight year old.

*****

I saw my first Rated R move when I was 11. We lived in a very small town and in 1980- both Little Darlings and The Blue Lagoon were released. I rode my bike to town with a few friends and we were all carrying notes from our mothers…

 

“Tracy Morrison has my permission to watch Little Darlings today at the theater. Signed, Ginny(Tracy’s Mom)”

 

When you live in a small town – the theater owners knows you, your dog, your dinnerware pattern, and your mother’s handwriting.

 

And I sat there and giggled with my friends for hours. There were no conversations in our house that were off-limits and I am sure I rode my bike home and asked my mom a few questions about both of those movies.

 

But I was also that very curious girl who asked her mom about sex when I was five, insisted on knowing about everything by the time I was seven, knew everything by the time I was nine, so by 11 – a rated R movie was nothing. I was also that girl who was reading VC Andrews at 10, Judy Blume’s Forever at nine, followed up shortly with her ‘smash-hit’ Wifey, read Are you There God It’s Me Margaret so many times by fourth grade that I had to buy a new copy as mine disintegrated, and stayed up late on weekends to watch horror movies.

*****

My parents didn’t say no to me when it came to books I wanted to read, movies I wanted to see, or music I wanted to listen to. My parents did many things right(with a few questionable moments), but the one I admire them for the most is letting me decide what I felt appropriate for myself.

 

Even if it meant watching The Blue Lagoon when I was 11, because wow that was a bad movie. I kind of know now why my parents didn’t go with me to the movies that day.

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And I want to say that I appreciate how everyone parents their own children, and how they decide how media is available to them.

 

But I am choosing not to censor material for mine. I mean sure I won’t be giving them a note to go see The Wolf Of Wall Street at the theater next week, but within ‘reason’ – defined by each parent differently – I say watch it, read it, love it.

 

And I’m finding that my kids are finding their own barometers for what they want to read and watch and what they are comfortable with when it comes to media.

 

Case in point – Eloise read The Fault In Our Stars a few months ago. I had recommended it to her(and know many parents who don’t think their 11 year olds are ready to read it) and several of her friends had read it, so she indulged for a weekend. The book has some pretty mature topics – death, being a teenager, grief, love, and a light touch of a sex scene.  And Eloise did not enjoy it – mainly for those heavy subjects. She told me she felt uncomfortable reading some of the parts, and also didn’t like becoming so emotionally attached to the characters who may die. It made me remember Eloise’s experience with reading and watching The Hunger Games – it was Rue’s death that hit Eloise hard. The rest of the story sat fine with her. And while I let my kids watch The Hunger Games- I completely understand why some parents don’t.

 

I’m just grateful that my kids are already starting to establish their own limits for what material and subjects they enjoy and what bothers them. That’s when it’s my job as a parent to have those conversations, appreciate what my kids are curious about, and determine together what’s appropriate.

 

I don’t want to shelter my kids and I’d rather have the important discussions at home instead of on the bus, and I’m glad that Eloise is already drawing a line on her comfort level on certain subjects. I completely respect that and hope her peers do too.

 

And if it means that we watch Despicable Me 2 on a Sunday afternoon instead of something PG-13 – I say good for my tween to enjoy cartoons for as long as she can, because the being a kid time of our lives is already much to short.  I love this girl and her sweet innocent choices that seem pretty pitch perfect to me.

******

Do you set ‘rules’ for reading, media, or movies with your kids?

 

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Will Winter Ever End

No.

 

No it won’t.

 

The winter that started in October will not end. Ever.

 

That’s what entered my mind at five this morning. I woke up in a bad mood because we lost power during the winter storm last night that dumped nearly a foot of snow on us, brought winds up to 35 miles per hour, and dropped temps down below zero again for at least the next week.

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But I wasn’t in a bad mood because of the winter or the storm. And I wasn’t even in a bad mood because of the loss of electricity. No, I was in a bad mood because without electricity there is no INTERNET or COFFEE. These two things are what sustain a modern woman in the year 2014.

 

Oh I know – I should be thankful for the beautiful things in my life – my health, my kids, my husband, my wonderful neighbors, the roof over our heads, the food in our fridge, our furnace still works.

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But none of that matters without INTERNET or COFFEE.

 

And I know, this could be the ‘aha’ moment where I realize I lean too much on INTERNET or COFFEE. But at the time – without INTERNET or COFFEE – I say “SCREW YOU” ‘aha’ moment people who look at the damn silver lining. We cannot be friends anymore until I have INTERNET and COFFEE.

 

So I took a long run to get my mind off my loss loves. But instead of taking a long run, I ended up with a short run – mostly because it’s hard to run in 12″ of fresh snow without falling down dead of a heart attack, and if I died the morning that I did not have INTERNET or COFFEE – well that’s like a modern day Greek tragedy – and also my run was cut short because of all the cars to push out. I helped get six cars out of the snowbanks covering our streets.

 

And no, St. Paul still hasn’t plowed our street if you’re wondering.

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I also found out that I am a better driver-outer than a pusher-outer. So I got to drive six strangers’ cars while they had to push themselves out. All men. And only one of them asked me if I had experience with a clutch. “I”m old!” I told the young chap “All old people learned to drive on a manual transmission car!”

 

So after I got home, and school was officially cancel; we bundled up, packed up Astrid on the sled, and headed to the coffee shop for INTERNET and COFFEE. We dined on a nutritious breakfast of sprinkled donuts, hot cocoa, and a HUGE MOTHER OF A COFFEE, and then played in the deep snow all the way home.

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And Mama got a new attitude. With coffee that cleared her head and an internet fix that connected her with the world again – she brought focus back to where it did matter – to the people right in front of her.

 

And she enjoyed a beautiful snow day with her kids – knowing they were safe and warm in their house – surrounded by the people who mean the most. And not missing electricity at all.

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Until the power came back on and everyone went back to their own personal ‘i’ devices, mom made some coffee, and no one had to talk to each other the rest of the day. Back to normal 2014-style.

 

The end.

 

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A Little More Conversation

My Valentine’s Day was spent with my constant companion.

TALK-TO-YOUR-KIDS

She’s pretty sweet and honestly a wonderful date. I told her she could pick anywhere to go for a special treat, and she picked Starbucks. She wanted a ‘coffee’ and a cake pop and a chocolate croissant for later. And she didn’t want to take anything to go, no she insisted that we sat and had our treat.

 

We sat on the tall stools that line the window. She wanted to watch the people go by and honestly I think she just likes being up high.

 

She ate her pink cake pop quickly, wiped her mouth, swept the crumbs on the table onto a napkin and then said “So.”

 

So? I replied.

 

“Let’s have some conversation. What do you want to talk about, Mama?”

 

Conversation? That sounds lovely. I want to talk about what we should see when we visit Washington DC next month. Will we see the pandas?

 

So we talked about Washington DC and how after the pandas she wants to go to the White House but hopes she doesn’t meet Barack Obama because he’s a guy – and she’d rather meet a woman. And asked how instead we could meet Michelle. After the pandas of course. And after we had exercised as much conversation about DC as we could, I asked her what she now wanted to talk about.

 

“Triangles.” She said. Then she turned around on her stool and found all of the triangles in the coffee shop. Then rectangles. Then squares. Then circles. And your cup is not a circle -even though I tried to pass it off as one. “No Mama, that’s a cylinder. Let me show you the difference so you don’t get it wrong next time.”

 

We had conversation for about an hour. No phones, no internet, no TV, no laundry, no chores, no work, no other people. Just two people having a conversation.

 

And I’d forgotten how beautiful it is to just sit in a coffee shop with a friend and immerse myself into the spoken words of another person. How great things happen at coffee shops and astounding creativity. How I can spend hours and days and weeks in my home with this amazing little curious person but still not pause long enough to really talk to her.

 

Pause long enough to find out there are 47 triangles to be found in our neighborhood Starbucks.

 

I think we need more coffee dates.

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How You Know It’s True Love

In Spanish class they were given the materials and instructions to make one Valentine. What they did from there was up to them. Children came out of the room immediately handing cards to their moms or dads, sisters and brothers. But Esther handed us nothing and instead simply said “I have a special card that I made today.”

 

I assumed she just wanted to present her masterpiece to us upon our return home.

 

Esther walked in the door, removed her snowy boots and dropped her backpack to the floor. She took off her mittens, hat and coat and knelt down to unzip her backpack. She reached in and carefully removed a card and skipped into the living room calling for Truffle.

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But she didn’t need to call for Truffle as he was already bounding down the steps as he does each day at about 4pm when his sisters return from school.

 

Typically Esther reaches down for him, picks him up and over her shoulder, where he nuzzles her face and purrs for several minutes.

 

But yesterday instead she got down on the ground and read him the Valentine’s Day card that she made only for him. Her favorite Valentine.

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And as she finished I heard her say “No one will ever love me the way that you do, Truffle-man. You are the best kind of love of all.”

 

And if you’ve ever loved a pet – well I think you know exactly what she means. Unconditionally.

******

Astrid came home yesterday when a bag full of Valentines from her preschool party. There were tattoos, chocolates, cards, and stickers. One of the sets of stickers had several Cupids on it.

 

“What’s that guy, Mama?” She asked, not familiar with the baby cherub archer man.

 

Oh, that’s Cupid. Cupid helps people fall in love.

 

Astrid climbed up on my lap, grabbed my face in her hands, and looked right into my eyes and said “We didn’t need a Cupid to make us fall in love. We just did that right from the beginning.”

*****

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Eloise came over this morning and stood very close to me. Then she took her hand out to measure where the top of her head now hit on my face.

 

Right above my nose.

 

I thought you were coming over for a Valentine’s Day hug. I said.

 

“Ha!” Eloise responded. “In a few months I’ll be taller than you. I just wanted to remind you of that fact.”

*****

Happy Valentine’s Day, my friends. May you find and have all the kinds of love that ring true.

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Take A Swish Selfie With The LISTERINE 21-Day Challenge

I’m not a mom that hovers. In fact I’d like to think of myself as a pretty ‘hands-off’ mom who likes to teach/show a skill and then exit the room and let them have at it. Unfortunately this doesn’t work when you teach your kids how to brush their teeth.

 

If left to their own devices I believe that tooth brushing goes something like this for a five year old:

Step 1 – put a glob of toothpaste on the brush about the size of an apple.

Step 2 – get lots of toothpaste all over the sink, floor, and their body

Step 3 – run toothbrush under water and watch most of the toothpaste go down the drain

Step 4 -smear the paste that doesn’t make it down the drain, all over the sink and faucet

Step 5 – put toothbrush in mouth and suck off water and remaining toothpaste for just a few seconds

Step 6 – get more water and suck that off of the brush too

Step 7 – put toothbrush down and leave water on as you leave the bathroom

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Sound familiar? Did you know that even good brushing misses 75% of your mouth? (And in kids – if they brush like mine do above – they miss about 99% – ha!).  So until my kids can get into a good habit of brushing their teeth properly – both with technique and duration – I do hover over them. Even over my 11 year old. (Don’t tell her that I said so). Because oral health is so important. I also tell them horror stories of my root canal to keep them brushing longer!

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20 Ways You Know That Your Preschooler Has A Tween Sibling

There is a seven year age difference between my oldest daughter and youngest daughter. When my oldest daughter was four I took her to music classes and we’d sing and clap to repetitive and traditional children songs, play with scarves, and roll balls back and forth to the rhythm of these songs. I remember smiling really big and thinking that this is what good parenting was all about. I bought Raffi CDs, we watched Baby Einstein movies, and I admit to spending $150 to attend a Wiggles concert. Twice. She loved Sesame Street and her stuffed Elmo tagged along with us on every outing, we had play-dates with other kids and their moms, and I spent more time picking out her preschool than we probably will for her college.

 

You know – we did the required first kid things. And while it’s typical for you to be a little less focused on doing all of the ‘right’ things with your third child, since now a trip to Target is considered just as enriching as a trip to the zoo, what I wasn’t prepared for was that my current preschooler would spend so little time seeking out appropriate preschool-age activities and more time wanting to be like her tween sisters.

 

And when this third child entered preschool and started making friends of kids who were the oldest in their family – well those parents may have questioned my parenting. As they should. Because my child is rapping to Low by Flo Rida while their child is rightly appreciating Puff The Magic Dragon.

 

But in about five years, when maybe their third child is in preschool and they have a fourth grader at home – well come see me my mother-sister and we will just laugh together. While the kids play in the other room and dance to music that we cannot believe we let them listen to. Because as sweet as a four year old is, a four year old with tween siblings is inevitably a bit precocious.

 

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1. Your preschooler says  ‘Well duh’ for almost every answer when taking her kindergarten readiness test. The evaluator just shakes her head, gives your daughter a perfect score, and jokingly tells you that she’d probably be fine in third grade too.

2. Wears Rainbow Loom bracelets all the way up her arm like all the cool kids do, and has mastered the coolest color combinations and wants a double/triple in all neon green.

3. Asks why her closet is full of pink and pretty clothing, tights and dresses that twirl, and cute mary janes, when she’d really rather shop at Justice and wear peace signs, bling headbands, and Taylor Swift concert t-shirts. A trip to Claire’s trumps a trip to the children’s museum any day for her now. “And when can I get my ears pierced, Mom?”

4. Has never owned or asked for character pajamas – and only wants tank tops and flannel pajama bottoms like her sister. You sadly fold and giveaway the Tinklebell nightgowns that her sweet sisters wore when they were little. The Disney princesses that ruled our life for years with older daughters has made way for reruns of iCarly and Shake It Up.

5. Hears a friend singing Wheels On The Bus and asks if you’ve ever heard that strange song. You realize that this child has never even heard London Bridges. When asked what her favorite song is she says it’s a toss-up between Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream and Mirror by Justin Timberlake…and she also can sadly sing along to Blurred Lines.

6. You don’t have to carry around kid song CDs -instead you are ordered to turn on KDWB(the top 40 station) before the minivan is even turned on.

7.  She is used as a real doll by older sisters as they apply make-up on her to practice for their dance performances.

8. She knows full dialogues from the latest Sam and Cat and Good Luck Charlie episodes. She has never seen Sesame Street. In passing she has seen a large yellow bird. She asks what his name is. You feel like a preschool mom failure.

9. Is treated like royalty when she goes to her older siblings’ schools. Tweens gather around her, pick her up, tell her she’s the cutest thing ever, tell older siblings how lucky they are to have a baby sister. We don’t have to wonder why she is so spoiled. Ever. Or loved.

10. Has a hard time making friends as she talks like she’s 11 instead of 4 and KNOWS WAY TOO MUCH and SHARES. SHARES SO MUCH. Play-date invitations are few and far between.

11. Asks friends to come for sleepovers instead of play-dates because that’s what her sisters do. Now you have to awkwardly explain to the other mom that yeah, I don’t really want your 3 or 4 year old to spend the night. EVER.

12. Has never visited sproutonline.com or ABCmouse – but can kick some serious Just Dance butt when Roar comes on. Can possibly twerk.

13. Knows how to order dinner at the sushi bar and knows what gourmet cupcakes and real frosting should taste like. The sweet sugar icing on character cupcakes from Target just won’t suffice. She knows what ganache is.

14. Can work the iPad and can download music better than any parent. Has Minecraft houses and stuff and you just stare at her and wish she would play with Little Ponies.

15.  Has seen PG13 movies whereas her sisters at four years old had barely seen their first movie and it was most definitely rated G. Sorry, but this girl loves Harry Potter!

16. Is convinced that she should be able to stay home alone too like her sisters if you just run to the store. “I’ll be just fine, Mom!” Honestly, she probably would be – but you’d rather CPS did not pay a visit.

17. Instead of the sweet calls of ‘Mommy” and “Mama”  – at times she also thinks your name is really “MOM” or “MOTHER” said in the most OMG I cannot believe you just said that kind of tween voice.

18. She also makes “Please knock” and “Private – stay out” signs for her bedroom door.

19. Does ‘homework’ each evening when her sisters do theirs and tells you to be a little quieter so she can concentrate on her maths.

20. And the best tween habit – can do all of the chores her sisters can – from laundry to dishes to vacuuming floors. Dang, now why didn’t you teach your older kids how to do these important chores earlier?

 

What did I miss on how your littlest tries to keep up with their tween or teen siblings?

 

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Dear Justin Bieber, They’re Watching

Mom, what’s that machine over there that is telling you that they’ll drive you home?  Esther was looking past me to the wall beside the bar.

 

We frequent this bar almost weekly as kids eat free on Sunday nights.

 

I turned around to look at the ‘drive-home’ machine to see what she was talking about, and it took me a few seconds to figure out exactly what it was. And when I did figure it out, it became the perfect time to explain to my kids what drunk driving was and why it was dangerous.

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“You know Esther how sometimes dad or mom have a glass or beer or wine? Well when you drink beer or wine – which is called alcohol – you don’t ever drive a car because it’s both illegal and unsafe. You are putting your life and the lives of others at risk if you decide to drive if you drink. That machine allows you to blow into a straw and it tells you if you’ve had too much to drink to drive. Then if you have had too much – it provides phone numbers for taxi services, or I guess you could just have a friend drive you home if they haven’t been drinking.”  I tried to explain in most simple terms that I could.

 

That makes sense. Esther answered quickly. So what’s it called if you get stopped by the police if you’ve been drinking?

 

“It’s called getting a D.U.I – Driving Under the Influence.” I answered, and then followed up with “Do you want to know what that means exactly?”

 

Oh! Esther said and her eyes kind of got brighter so I could tell she knew what I was talking about. That’s what Justin Bieber got arrested for. Now it makes more sense. I never did like his music anyway. 

 

So I’m comforted by the fact if I need to talk openly with my children about getting arrested for anything – I can just find some famous teenager to use as an example and skip all of the boring details explaining why it’s bad. So thank you Justin for getting arrested. And for giving us another learning touch-point of reminding our children that famous people aren’t(and aren’t looking to be) role models – that’s our job.

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My Children Are My ‘Want To..’ Hands Free Mama – A Review

I snuggled up to her in bed. She spooned into me as I wrapped my arms around her and took in the freshly bathed sent of her hair. Her fleece pajamas felt warm to my touch and she relaxed into me like the perfect puzzle piece against my stomach, neck and chest.

 

“Will you tell me a scary story, Mama.” She asked.

 

A scary one before bed? Really, is that what you want?

 

“The scarier the better!” She said.

 

In her dimly lit bedroom I could still see the wonder in her eyes and smile on her lips as I started the scary bedtime story for her.

 

I’m typically a “Let’s do this bath/books/bed thing quickly!!” kind of mom as the end of the long day cannot come soon enough. From an early wake-up to breakfast to bus to work to dance to homework to dinner to bed – the days of parenting can be long and tiresome. And by 7pm I’m reaching for the quiet and for the alone.

 

And I cringe to admit that maybe I’ve blown off her story requests with an “I’ll tell you extra stories tomorrow.” or “Let me think of something even better to tell you in the morning.” and sadly “It’s bedtime sweetie, no time for stories tonight.” More times than not…

 

But I made time this week. More time than usual as I realized how fleeting this ‘telling stories’ part of childhood is. How my 11 and 9 year olds read by themselves in their rooms with their lights. Their books are filled with complicated words and few pictures, and many of their stories I’ve never shared. How soon this little one in the fleece pajamas with reindeer on her feet, and baby fine freshly washed hair won’t ask to hear my stories anymore.

 

So I stayed.

 

And told a story of sisters getting lost in the woods and the calls of wolves scaring them from the forest and how they had to run to stay safe together. As I made ‘real’ wolf howls and panicked voices, her grip tightened on my arms that kept hold around her.

 

Her grip relaxed at the end, when of course the sisters made it home to their mom and hot cocoa after a stern “That’s why I tell you to never wander in the wood alone at night!” Then she turned to face me and I kissed her nose as she wrapped her still so very small arms around my neck and said “I’m glad you were there to protect me. Now I can sleep better.”

 

Soon I could hear her heavier and steady breathing humming on the monitor downstairs, and each of those breaths slowly entered my mothering heart with calm.

*****

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This moment took five minutes. Yet it’s a short moment with a long impact that my sweet girl will always hold in her heart. Those days that mommy stayed and held me as she told me stories.

 

I could’ve instead spent five more minutes on Facebook or answering work emails or writing another blog post. (All of which, I really still do have time to do).

 

But I’m not going to let those five minutes of joy that I can and will spend with my children be the “I have tos” of my days…oh no those are the “I want to moments…”‘ that I need more of. MY “I have tos..” are my work demands and the emails. And sure – I have to mother – but not because I have to. Because I want to. And choose to be present for my children every single day.

*****

I just finished reading Hands Free Mama by Rachel Macy Stafford.

Hands-Free-Mama-Book-Review

Distracted parenting. Can you relate? And this isn’t to shame anyone(ME!) on the phone at the playground or answering emails instead of playing Monopoly(oh help me god). But it’s being present when you can be present. Rachel’s words, commitment and journey of grasping what really matters has inspired me. Her new book is full of ways to make your parenting life(and mixed with your professional life) meaningful and fulfilling by learning to grasp and appreciate the moments that really matter. Her book gives tips on unplugging and making real connections.

 

One of my favorite lines from Rachel’s Hands-Free Pledge is…

 

” I am letting go of distractions, disconnections, and perfection to live a life that simply, so very simply, consists of what really matters.”

 

Every chapter hit me in soft spots and hard as I mirrored my parenting in hers. And I had many a “Me TOO!” moment as I recognize how busy we’ve all become. Her chapters are full or beautiful stories and insightful tips about Awareness, Presentness, Simplification, and even Forgiveness.

Tips and lessons that I want to model for my own children as they start to enter the social media space.

Her book is a beautiful and gentle reminder not to let our lives, our only one, pass us by.

 

I have so much gratitude to Rachel for sharing her words with us. And I would love for you to check out her book. It will make you think, cry, and maybe make a few tiny changes, that will make all the difference in your days. And your world.

 

Like my world – which includes bedtime snuggles and stories with a reindeer-footed preschooler who won’t want to hear mommy’s stories for much longer.

 

So join Rachel and go hands-free. Discover what happens when you choose to open your heart—and your hands—to the possibilities of each blessed moment.

 

Her books is available here…

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Christianbook | iBooks (Apple) | IndieBound

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