Tag Archives: Letter

Dear HD: An Almost-Four Letter

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Dear Happy Dude,

You know how once in a while, you just have a hard time saying goodbye to me during school drop-off? You’ll be fine for weeks at a time and then one day, you just suddenly wrap your arms around my leg and say, “No. You’re not leaving.”

And then, when I try to peel you off, your eyes start to water and I quickly remind you that you really, really love school? Eventually your fabulous teachers take over so that I can hightail it out of there and before you know it, you’re having fun and you forget that you really did not want me to leave. You know what I’m talking about, right?

Well, I have a secret for you…

Once in a while, this happens to Mommy, too.

Usually, it’s when we’re having a really good morning. You turn off the iPad and get dressed as soon as I ask. You don’t complain that your sleeves are too bumpy or that your shoelaces aren’t tucked in perfectly. We get out the door unfrazzled.

I drive you to school and we sing Backyardigans’ songs in the car. You say things like, “Remember that time I was brushing my teeth and the toothpaste hit the mirror when I spit? That was so cwazy!” and I say, “I sure do remember that” because it was only like an hour ago.

We walk hand-in-hand to the playground and you tell me things like, “Sometimes my friends are silly! And sometimes they’re just nice.” And when I answer, “You’re lucky to have so many nice friends,” you say, “I’m YOUR friend too, Mom.” And my heart. OY, my heart.

And then, on this kind of day, we enter the playground, you hug my legs and yell, “Bye Mom!” and run away.

“Wait!” I yell, “Come back and give me a kiss!”

You do and you look like this:

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And then even though you run away again, I don’t leave. I can’t. Not yet.

Yup, it happens to Moms, too. And today was one of those days.

I just found myself rooted to that playground mulch, watching you find your friends, wishing that I could just freeze time for a few tiny minutes and keep you in this place. This just-days-shy-of-four-years-old place.

Because HD, here it is… I really think you’re a perfect you.

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… EVEN THOUGH you were up three times last night complaining, “My mouth really hurts. My mouth still really hurts. Sleeping is not helping my mouth to stop hurting.” And then at 5:15 this morning, when I sleepily shuffled to the bathroom with you, you looked at me wide awake and said, “Do you know what yellow plus black makes? Because I don’t.”

… EVEN THOUGH you won’t eat anything that could even remotely be considered healthy except for applesauce from a pouch and MAYBE an apple slice on a good day (with NO SKIN). And if I do what the experts say and just put a vegetable on your plate, you will either scrape it off onto the table OR refuse to eat anything else until I remove it. Good times.

… EVEN THOUGH you’re still having too many accidents for my liking, including one that prompted me to post this on Facebook the other day:

“It is NEVER a good thing when an almost-four year old yells from the bathroom, “MOM!! Um, I got a little problem here!””

(Let’s just SAY I threw a pair of underwear, pants AND a plastic stool right into the garbage because I couldn’t cope with the mess.)

… EVEN THOUGH your addiction to The Backyardigans has almost surpassed that of your previous addiction to Cars and you walk around quoting Pablo, Tyrone and Austin all day which can get a TINY bit annoying.

Despite all of these things and the occasional whining and bedtime shenanigans, I STILL think you’re a perfect you.

I think that you striking a ninja pose whenever you see a camera is perfect.

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I think you being somewhat neutral on pumpkin-picking is perfect.

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I think you moving through life on your own terms, at your own pace is perfect.

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I think you’re VERY funny and goofy and clever and creative and usually quite calm and MOSTLY always happy. And all of that is perfect.

I think that after you turn four on Saturday, you’ll still be all of these things, but you just won’t feel like a baby anymore and my eyes will water for sure.

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Four = Big Kid. But it’s like I always tell you HD, you’ll always be my baby. And I’ll always think you’re a perfect you.

Love you the most… don’t even think about it.

xoxoxox
Mom

“YOU DON’T LOVE ME!”

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Hey Kids,

In one of my last posts, I mentioned how no matter what you do, I will always love you. One of my friends read it and asked me if I’ve gotten the, “YOU DON’T LOVE ME!” yet. Luckily, I haven’t but I’m sure someday, when you’re not getting something you want, like a video game or a car or a boyfriend’s approval, I’m going to hear it.

When that happens, I’m going to say something like, “Come on now, you know that’s not true,” and you’re going to say, “IT IS SO TRUE!” and then you’re going to try to think of ways to prove it. Well, I’ve decided to make it easier for you.

Here is a list of things that I’m currently doing and probably will still be doing when you are looking for the evidence of my un-love.

  • I yell at you. More than any of us would like.
  • I feel joy when Daddy offers to take all three of you out for a while. And maybe – just maybe – I express that joy out loud. With jubilance.
  • I don’t make it to every single school event like the Walk-a-Thon or Field Day or Readers Showcase. USUALLY I’m missing one to attend another, but I’ll admit, once in a blue moon, I’m missing one to attend Starbucks.
  • Sometimes when you ask me to play with you, I say Sorry, I can’t because I’m working. Heh heh. And I know that that particular jig will be up soon but so far you’re still buying it, so I’m still selling it.

Side note: When you do start to question my computer work, you should know that these are just a few of things I’m doing on the computer instead of playing our 18th game of War.

      • Researching your summer plans like art camp, lacrosse camp, ice hockey camp, general sports camp, swim lessons, swim camp, all-around sports and swim camp, space camp, music camp, farm camp.
      • Vacation planning: checking out drivable family resorts, dude ranches, amusement parks, houses in the Outer Banks, things to do in the car for twelve hours when you drive to the Outer Banks, legal and safe ways to drug your kids when you need to be in the car for twelve hours.
      • Shopping for clothes that have no tags, no seams, no ruffles, nothing but soft, loose fabric and nothing scratchy whatsoever. Oh and for “sports shorts and sports shirts… because that’s the only things I like,” says the Nibbit.
      • Dealing with official second grade class mom business and preschool politics – field trips and teacher gifts and end-of-the-year parties, oh my.
      • Organizing playdates and buying birthday party presents and more swim goggles.
      • Googling “Swimming Candy Birthday Parties… with Animals.”
      • Sure, it’s possible that I dropped in on Facebook for a minute here and there, but even THAT was to complain brag about you guys!

You get the point. Stop whining about my WORK. It’s important. For all of us.

  • I make you taste foods you KNOW you’ll HATE because they’re DISGUSTING. And then, to make matters worse, I refuse to give you brownie sundaes every single day.
  • I force you to look people in the eye and say, “Hello,” or “Thank you for the ride” or “Thank you for having me to your house for three hours and feeding me a nicer meal than I would have gotten at home.”
  • I get distracted when you’re asking me questions like “How is paper made?” or “Can we play Candyland every day, all the time?” or “Yesterday, when I was born, was it raining?” (all real questions)
  • I encourage you to try new things like riding a two-wheeler or putting your dirty laundry in the laundry basket or sleeping past 6-0-0.
  • I throw away some of your art. A lot of your art. Most of your art. But c’mon, is it really “ART?”
  • I say, “… in a minute!” too often. And then make you wait a tiny bit longer than that.
  • I’m always making you brush your teeth or go to the bathroom or change into clothes or pajamas or clean up your toys or [insert any of the many things I’m currently nagging you about when this becomes relevant].
  • I won’t always play one more game, give five more minutes, sing one more song or stay just a little longer.

OK, is that enough “proof” for you to throw at me? Go ahead, sling it. I’m ready.

But here’s the thing –  you will NEVER be more wrong than the day you think – or yell – that I don’t love you. There isn’t a more wrong sentiment in the world. That’s the absolute wrongest.

No matter how much I nag or how mean I am, regardless of my unfair rules or my embarrassing ways and most importantly, no matter how misunderstood you feel, you should always know that you are LOVED. You are my most important work. Even more important than shopping on Zappos.

You guys, you know I always want you to be happy. But that’s a tricky thing to say because right now, you would say, “Then just give me ice cream everyday!” and in a few years, you’ll say, “Then just trust that I won’t do anything stupid and let me stay out all night!” And so it goes.

I DO want you to be happy but not at the expense of the physical or emotional well-being of yourselves or others. So I’m not always going to give you what you think you need for happiness – a toy, a snack, permission. In fact, I will probably be saying no a LOT for the next 20 years.

But that will NEVER EVER EVER mean that I don’t love you. In fact, it will usually mean quite the opposite. And that is something you will probably not understand until if and when you have a kid of your own.

Because I do love you. No matter what you do. No matter where you go. No matter who you are. 

So go ahead yell “YOU DON’T LOVE ME!” all you want. You will NEVER be more wrong.

xoxo
Mom

PS. This is all true for Dad, too. He’ll probably say “no” even more than I will… but he loves you forever, too.
PPS. It’s likely that I’ve said some of this exact same stuff in past posts or letters to you guys. But this is a message that doesn’t get old. So roll your eyes and say, “Maaaaa! You already told us that like 100 times!” I don’t care. I still love you. See?

 

BIRTHS

2013: Year in Review

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Happy Holidays!

We’ve never been a family who includes a holiday brag letter with our card but we’ve been so ridiculously accomplished this year, it seemed unfair not to share it all with our loved ones. Please read on…

Let’s start with our youngest, Happy Dude (age 3). What a star he’s turning out to be! Why just this week, he broke his own previous records for nighttime tantrums AND hours logged on an iPad prior to 6:00am. He can name 18 of the characters from the Monsters Inc. franchise as well as EVERY SINGLE CHARACTER to EVER appear in a Cars movie!

We’re also proud of his ever-expanding palette. In the past week alone, he’s tried chocolate in seven different forms: bar, Santa, ice cream, hot, milk, Kiss and Teddy Grahams. And you would be truly impressed with the enthusiasm in which he protests fruits and vegetables. He’s managed to not [knowingly] ingest one single thing of nutritional value in the past twelve months!

Happy Dude started a few extracurriculars this year including Spring “Playing in the Infield Dirt” and Fall “Resting on the Sidelines.” Of course he received a medal for each which we took to mean he was the absolute BEST at both Dirt-Playing and Resting.

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HD’s other accomplishments include: organizing his impressive collection of toy cars by color on a weekly basis; saying KA-CHOW! a lot; and making this face:

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Onto the Nibbit (age 5)… The Nibbit’s ability to push, pull, pinch, tickle, tackle, wrestle and generally bother anyone in his immediate vicinity remains strong; his consistency and dedication to being what we have labeled, “Nibbity” is admirable.

Our middle child did try a bunch of new things this year… he started soccer and we later heard from the coach that “those elbows will serve him well in later years.” He played flag football, opting to ignore the whole “flag” part and tackle at will. And he continued to play baseball… which is not USUALLY a full-contact sport, unless you’re playing with our Nibbit! He also played a LOT of Wrestle Baby.

The Nibbit remains the biggest game-player in the house, as well. In fact, this past year he has established a full-blown addiction to a card game called Palace, which we’re told, in certain circles, is also called Shithead. (Those would be, DRINKING circles. So we have THAT to look forward to.) He also excels at Uno and War. You know, life skills.

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His other accomplishments this year included: learning the words to the popular Taylor Swift song, “We Are Never Ever Ever Getting Back Together” and wiping his own ass.  Also, learning the word ass. (Thank you, Home Alone.)

The Loud One (age 7) spent most of 2013 in her own happy head, as usual. She wrote and illustrated countless animal stories, in which animal characters found themselves in unusual predicaments and then other animal characters rescued them. Sometimes an unexpected ending presented itself… and the animal died.

In a surprising twist of her own, LO has become a fan of the urban sport called Parkour these past few months, which involves jumping off of high platforms, flipping on trampolines and spinning around scaffolding bars. We can only guess that she likes it more than gymnastics because she doesn’t have to wear that damn leotard… and she can yell as much as she wants.

Loud One also surprised us on the soccer field this year by actually playing.

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She is successfully navigating the turbulent waters of 2nd grade; in fact, her math knowledge has officially exceeded her mother’s, which makes homework time frustrating for everybody! Yay!

Her other accomplishments include: developing an ongoing written relationship with the Tooth Fairy; catching and trapping bugs and other small creatures; and mastering the Rainbow Loom.

Our family enjoyed several vacations this year including a trip to Turks & Caicos where KJ spent the week hobbling around on crutches and kmac sustained a water slide injury that to this day prevents her from doing push-ups. (Bummer!) Other travel adventures included catching fish, eating fish, catching lizards, feeding sharks and catching the uptown bus.

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Remember the cute Batman? Best Photobomb of 2013!

KJ continues to claim that his independently owned business is doing well, but kmac suspects he may be secretly playing golf 3-4 times a week. As long as he’s not home messing up her kitchen, she doesn’t care. His crown achievement this year has been successfully supporting the Yankees, the Jets and the Notre Dame football team without teaching his kids the f-word. (We are aware that the season is not over yet, so there’s still time.)

Kmac is proud to have become a living cliché by participating in all the usual school volunteer gigs and spending her days in yoga class pants. She writes a blog with a readership estimated at approximately 23, an 8% increase from last year. (Well, she thinks it’s about 8%, but she’s not really sure.)

Well, that about sums up all of our family news. Overall, it’s been an incredibly productive year, full of proud accomplishments, a fair amount of angry yelling but also, lots of laughter.

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We wish all 23 of you a very Merry Christmas (if you celebrate it) and a Happy New Year! May 2014 bring you all the things you desire – which, if you’re anything like us, include Margaritas and a LOT more sleep.

A Letter that Says Nice Things

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Warning: I get a little sappy in this letter to my kids. If that’s not your thing, I get it. Move along; come back another day. I’ll be bitching again really soon.

Dear Loud One, Nibbit & Happy Dude,

I have this vision of you guys someday pulling up this blog and reading through post after post in which I’m mostly complaining about you. Now, I may be giving myself too much credit; it’s possible that you’ll have ZERO interest in reading anything I’ve expressed here because well, I’m your MOM, and omg, why would you ever want to read anything written by your mother? I get it.

But on the off-chance you’re bored one day because all of your friends have gone to the mall but you can’t go because you’ve been grounded for lying to us about being at the mall last weekend when really you were at a person of the opposite gender’s house unsupervised and you decide to pull up this blog, in which case I say GET OFF THE INTERNET! (or whatever the latest World Wide Web Information Super Highway is called in the future) YOU’RE GROUNDED AND YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE ONLINE! But if you ignore me and continue onto this site: I want you to read this post. THIS one. The one you’re reading right now.

Because this is the one where I tell you that I think you’re AWESOME.

On Monday night, I took a good look at the pictures recently uploaded from the “good camera,” (as opposed to the iPhone, which we sadly use way more often). They were all taken over the past month or so… and I got a little verklempt. To a stranger, they don’t look like pictures of anything extraordinary, but a few just struck a chord.

First…

Soccer

LO, you have no idea how much Dad and I loved watching you play soccer this fall. Of course we loved watching you improve to the point where you were scoring and even more often, saving goals in every game, but it was so much more than that.

You wore the shorts. And the team shirt. And the shin guards and the socks. And the CLEATS! And you put it all on, by yourself. Every week.

You were EXCITED to get out there and be a part of a team of girls, many of whom you didn’t know in the beginning. Every week.

You cheered LOUDLY (like you’d do it any other way) from the sidelines when you were subbed out and I really think those three-person pyramids you created inspired your teammates in a big way. Every week.

I would jokingly say to other parents on the sidelines that what you lacked in ability, you made up for with enthusiasm. And volume. But honestly, you were pretty good out there! (I’m sorry that I sound so surprised, LO.)

You showed up to play, with determination and enthusiasm EVERY WEEK. And you made us so proud.

And then you gave us the “what? why are you taking so many pictures?” face, which was also great. Because it wasn’t long ago that you wouldn’t even put on the damn cleats. Now you’re a team player.

I know every parent in America has a photo like this one… doesn't make them any less special.

I know every parent in America has a photo like this one… doesn’t make them any less special.

 

OK, so then I got to HD’s birthday pictures…

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… and I felt really sad that my baby is three years old! My YOUNGEST kid is THREE. Three is the official not-a-baby age, am I right?

And while I’m excited for all of the things that having no babies may potentially bring, like sleepful nights and strollerless airport experiences, I LIKE babies. I’m the crazy lady who gets a little too close to your newborn and says things like, “I might just eat you up!” or “I need to take you home with me right now!” (Note to self: stop saying that to strangers or risk arrest.)

This inevitably leads people to ask me if I’d consider another baby and the answer is YES! I would consider it, if only it were not a medical impossibility. And also, certain to lead to divorce.

Anyway kids, the point is, Happy Dude will always be the baby of our family. And it’s hard for me to accept that he’s three now.

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Although if I’ve learned anything from the other two of you, three-year-olds aren’t really THAT close to full independence. Almost-five-year-olds are still pretty needy. As are seven-years-olds. So, I guess I’m still good. 🙂

Listen, I love you guys. Even if you read some of this blog and start to think otherwise, know that I really think you three are something special.

I vent a lot here, and make a lot of jokes, but ultimately, you’re my favorite people in the whole world. I think you’re truly funny (when you’re not being stupidly silly) and amazingly interesting. I’m confident you’re all pretty creative and there may even be a degree of intelligence (but that really remains to be seen). Also, I’m fairly certain you’re growing up to be compassionate and kind, which is most important in my book.

Lastly, I love to watch you chase tackle hang conspire laugh with love each other. Those moments are always my favorite part of the day.

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Love you always infinity,

Mom

PS. Nibbit, I realize this letter is a CLASSIC case of middle-child-negligence … LO rocks the soccer field, Happy Dude turns three and the Nibbit… is ignored. Despite no specifics mentioned here, I think you’re fantastic. And you’re somewhat skilled at taking selfies, as well.

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Note to readers: It’s possible the sentimentality induced by the photos were prompted by the fact that it was Veteran’s Day and I had spent most of the day sobbing at the videos of the surprise reunions between soldiers and their families. (If there is a soul out there who can watch one of those things with bawling, I’d like to meet you. And knock on your heart of STONE.) Thank you to all of our service men and women, and their families, for sacrificing so much of their lives, so that we can enjoy ours freely.

A Letter of Clarification

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Dear Offspring,

It’s possible that, given my current state of caffeine-deprived and calorie-deficient, I’ve been slightly crankier than usual. But it’s for my long-term health, goddammit so I would hope you could support me here.

But noooo, instead you guys are all “Mommy, this pizza is so delicious! Mommy, why aren’t YOU having ice cream? Mommy, aren’t you tired of smoothies and soup?”

Cruel. Just cruel.

Cruel. Just cruel.

SABOTEURS!

Anyway, cranky or not, there are a few things I’d like to clarify as we move on in our life together:

  • You’re NEVER going to be “done sweeping” at 2:00am. 2:00am is the middle of sweeptime. If you wake up at 2:00, you should promptly remind yourself that Mommy and Daddy are still happily sweeping and you should be as well, AT LEAST until 7:00am. 7:00am is an acceptable awake time. (Although you know we’re suckers and we’ll give the iPad at 6:00.)
  • You can have Cookie Crisp OR chocolate chip waffles. Not both. Do I look like a gigantic pushover to you? Wait, what? Cookie Crisp has less sugar than Cheerios? OK, nevermind. Mother of the Year!
  • I have brought you to the playground (you’re welcome)… but now you expect me to play with you, too? That’s why I had THREE of you. So I wouldn’t have to do that stuff.
  • Do you think crying, “I want Daddy to put me to bed!” upsets me? Because it doesn’t. I want Daddy to put you to bed as well.
  • When I say “Knock it off!” I don’t mean it literally.
  • When I say “Now!” I do.
  • Pajamas can be worn at least three times before washing. Unless you’ve peed on them. Also, please don’t pee on your pajamas.
  • Underwear and socks need to be washed after one wearing. Yes, even if you haven’t peed on them. BECAUSE I’M THE MOM AND I SAID SO.
  • Because I’m the Mom and I said so” is a perfectly acceptable answer to many questions despite what the newfangled parenting books say about respecting our kids and honest communication. And yes, despite what you think now, you will absolutely say it to your own kids someday.
  • Whenever you yell, “I wish Amanda were here!” you should know, NO ONE wishes Amanda were here more than I do. Trust me.
  • Throwing a fit when you lose a game is a surefire way to be sure no one will ever want to play games with you. Man up and shake hands.
  • On the other hand, gloating when you’re winning is equally ugly. It’s a fine line between good-natured smack talk and unsportsmanlike conduct. Keeping your mouth shut is always a safe bet. (This kind of works in life in general as well.
  • “Please put those dirty clothes in the laundry basket” means exactly what it says. Here are the things it doesn’t mean: throw the dirty clothes in the hallway outside the laundry room, throw the dirty clothes on the laundry room floor, put the dirty clothes over your head and walk around with zombie arms saying “WHERE IS THE LAUNDRY ROOM?” in a spooky voice.
  • Yes, I DO work. YOU are my work.
  • No, you cannot have “all of the shoes that light-up.”
  • Yes, it is true that carrots help you see better.
  • No, not by actually sticking them in your eyes.
  • Even when you’re telling me that I’m mean and you don’t like me, I still love you.
  • But I’d like you more if you’d stop telling me that I’m mean and you don’t like me.

Yours forever in the laundry room,

Mom

To the Nibbit, with love (I swear)

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Dear Nibbit,

I love you. Let me repeat that so you really hear it. I love love love you.

But, I have to tell you something (and I want you to know that I say this out of the-above-stated love): You are DRIVING. ME. CRAZY.

Like driven-to-the-edge-flailing-on-my-tippy-toes-waving-my-arms-in-circles-to-maintain-my-balance-on-the-edge crazy. (OK, so that didn’t really sound like it was so much “out of love.” Sorry. Let’s get out of it.)

You stop when I need you to go; you run when I need you to slow down; you stand when I need you to sit and when I need you to stand? You collapse on the floor like the top scoop of a melting ice cream cone. Plop. And it’s just as tricky to scrape you back up off the floor. I say yes; you say no. I say please; you say something to the effect of, “Blah blah blah baby diaper!”

Some days I’m closer to the edge than others. Some days I can do all the right things… diffuse our stand-offs with humor, tolerate a little more freshness, maintain an admirable degree of patience, etc. and I am able to keep a respectable distance from that precipice.

But other days? Not so much. And I am sorry about that.

But you push, buddy. You push and push and push and then JUST when I’m about to topple over into the abyss of really losing my shit, you look at me with those giant, blue seaballs and they open so wide that I can see all of you – mischief and silliness and laughter and more than a little bit of crazy – and I wonder if maybe you’re just trying to figure it all out.

Maybe you’re just trying to figure out how much you can push. How much we can take. How to make yourself heard. How to gain some control. How to get some attention. How to differentiate yourself from The Loud One – who gets to do everything first – and Happy Dude – who gets to do everything cute.

Maybe that’s it? Or maybe I’m giving you too much credit. (I do worry that this is what parents of brats tell themselves.)

Me too, Marilu! But sometimes it feels like I don't have a choice.

Clearly, I need this book.

 

But I don’t think so. Because bottom line, I know you’re awesome.

I think all of this crap (and by “all of this crap,” I mean, “all of YOUR crap”) – the freshness, the defiance, the physical aggression – is going to slowly disappear dissipate decrease. Or at least you’re going to get a grip on it. I think we’re going to get a grip on it. We’re going to get out of it. Hopefully soon.

I can’t wait for that day. Because the Nibbit, you are funny and sweet and smart and affectionate. And I can’t wait to be able to play card games and ride bikes and build forts with you without having to take deep breaths and count to ten, physically pry you off of your brother or say any of the following:

  • Please keep your hands to yourself.
  • Do not tell me what you’re NOT going to do.
  • I don’t want to ask you again.
  • If you can’t be a good listener, I will have to [remove some type of screen you’re your life for the next xx period of time.]

 

I write this today because, believe it or not, I don’t want to complain about your behavior anymore. To you, to Dad, to Aunt Lori or to any other mother that will listen. I’m tired of venting about you. So now, I’ve gotten it all out there. And now, I’m going to try to stop. I’m going to try to coast through the rest of this phase (please Lord, let it be a phase) with as much patience as I can possibly muster.

I’m going to focus on your awesomeness instead of your, well, Nibbitness.

I’m going to take a lot of deep breaths.

I’m going to step back from the edge. Because trust me, I don’t like to be there.

All of that said, if this is indeed “just a phase,” it would be really fantastic if you could maybe just… end it?

Love you to outer space on a rocket ship like the one we saw on YouTube and back,

Mom

A Love Letter

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Dear Loud One,

It’s Valentine’s Day Night and millions of people are putting roses in vases right now and cramming into crowded restaurants to whisper things like “I’m so happy you’re my Valentine this year!” and “This has been the best year month week of my life! I will love you forever!” and exchanging heart-shaped boxes of calories that the girl will probably end up devouring the following weekend when the guy tells her that he just needs some space and that “it’s not HER, it’s him” which we all know is a BIG LIE but when you’re hearing it, you manage to convince yourself that this may actually be the ONE TIME that line has been said in total and complete honesty and…

<breathe>

Loud One, here’s the thing. Valentine’s Day is a hyped-up, sort-of-fake holiday that has gained momentum over the years thanks to Hallmark, Russell Stover and Tiffany. (And Kay’s but only because we simply cannot avoid those commercials with the stupid jingle Every kiss begins with Kay’s, even thought we have a DVR. How do they do that?)

BUT. You will not be immune to Cupid’s charms. There will come a time when you yearn for the mushy cards, the heart-shaped boxes and the little blue magic box. These desires may pass; they may not. Regardless, there are a few things I want you to remember about this “holiday” and the person you choose to spend it with.

1. Your Valentine of the future MUST treat you well on this day (and all days, but that’s obvious) unless it’s been mutually agreed upon ahead of time that you will just ignore the hype and not buy any presents (in which case, he should still get you a tiny, little something anyway because you’re the best and he couldn’t resist.)

Side note: Most boys DO NOT understand that last part. Take my advice and tell them up front that what you meant by “Let’s not exchange gifts,” was really, “Why don’t you just buy me a little something?” They’re boys, honey; they can’t help it.)

2. Don’t ever settle to be anyone’s second choice Valentine. If you’re not somebody’s OBVIOUS first choice, than grab a few of your kick-ass girlfriends and open a bottle of wine/soda/chocolate milk/juice box (depending on how old you are) and celebrate your independence. This won’t always feel easy. Sometimes it will feel sad, but you’ll obviously have Ben & Jerry’s there to cheer you up because let me tell you LO, those boys will ALWAYS be there for you during the rough times. And just know… this too shall pass.

3. Don’t give your heart out to just anyone who will take it. You know how you brought 21 Valentine’s hearts to school today? And you gave one to everyone including the boy who’s not always that nice? And then everyone just stuffed them in their homemade heart boxes and some of those kids didn’t even say thank you? Well, that’s PERFECT for 1st grade; that’s exactly what is supposed to happen when you’re six years old.

But when you get older, you should save your Valentine’s heart for that one special person who’s going to open it, love it, appreciate it and not squish it into any box. They may even want to keep it pressed between two pages of a heavy dictionary or encyclopedia to protect it and take it out years later and remember how special it made them feel. (“What’s an encyclopedia?” you ask? Hmmm… it’s like a written version of the Internet.)

4. On the other hand, don’t hold back either. Always be confident that your Valentine’s heart is special and worthy. Sometimes you’ll have to take a risk and a deep breath and hold it out unsure of how it will be received. If it’s taken and appreciated, exhale and smile.

And if not? Call me immediately. You can cry and I’ll remind you that sometimes love sucks and also, because I’m your mother, I’ll probably say that he’s an asshole and doesn’t deserve someone like you. And then I MIGHT, without you knowing, find him and just hurt him a little bit.

5. Lastly, keep the faith. You’ll spend many Valentine’s wishing you were with someone… or someone else. But on some February 14th far in the future, you’ll end up on the couch, eating take-out and watching Mad Men (or some show set in the 90s) next to the Valentine with whom you were always meant to be.

Just like me and Dad.

You’ll always be MY special Valentine, LO.

xoxo,
Mom

This will probably be appropriate at some point in your life. Hang in there.

This will probably be appropriate at some point in your life. Hang in there.

PS. To the Nibbit and Happy Dude, I have some Valentine’s advice for you guys, too. Don’t eff it up. Treat girls well. Buy teddy bears if their age ends in “-teen” and jewelry if not. And if they tell you that you’re “not exchanging gifts this year,” get them a little something anyway. It doesn’t take much boys; man up.

2013 Resolutions: You Can Be Better, Kids

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Tomorrow marks the First Anniversary of the official launch of WhoNeedsANap.me! Woohoo! What’s that you say? You are SO RIGHT… we really SHOULD celebrate with Margaritas! I like the way you think. I’ll meet you at that Mexican place and we’ll toast with rocks and salt to a fantastic year.

Seriously. I’d like to just say a big THANKS for all the time you guys spent reading and commenting this year. Whether you commented here, via email, on Facebook or to my real live face, I very much appreciate ALL of your feedback. I’m having a great time sharing my deepest and most sarcastic thoughts and I love to hear that I’ve made you chuckle or better yet, snarf coffee all over your keyboard.

That said, I think the timing is PERFECT for me to discuss my 2013 New Year’s Resolutions. I would have written this sooner, but KJ and I were already putting my first resolution into practice:

Resolution #1: Leave the kids with Aunt Lori and Amanda more often and enjoy life without the f***ers. Seriously, my sister is one of those people who truly enjoy the chaos that five kids (ages 2-9) under one roof provide. She thinks “ENERGY!” I think “SHUT UP!” But she claims to really love it and since she is the BEST SISTER EVER, who am I to deprive her of something she really loves?

So, we dropped the three of them off and left for Miami this past Saturday.

January 5th and I was already kicking ass on my resolutions. Nice.

Miami was fantastic. I kept expecting to see jLo or Don Johnson but sadly, that did not happen. We did enjoy poolside cocktails for most of the day on Saturday and then had a fun night out, which oddly enough, remains a bit fuzzy in my mind.

Side note: Since Santa did NOT deliver my hangover-free Margarita (what’s up with that, big guy?), I was a bit intrigued when friends whom we don’t see often enough leaned over to me at some point that night and said, “Pssst kmac, want to know how to avoid a hangover? We’ve got the answer… it’s this secret capsule of herbs…” I was all, “What the wha? This sounds AWESOME!” They continued, “… it’s this all-natural herb called MILK THISTLE. Have you heard of it? Take it with 32 oz of water and you will NOT get a hangover.” [I think there was another secret ingredient but like I said… it’s a bit fuzzy.]

Of course, I was too drunk by then to remember the words MILK THISTLE, but I’m totally going to try it next time. (And by next time, I mean TOMORROW NIGHT. Remember? Our MARGS??)

Considering the main point of the weekend was to attend the BCS National Championship (KJ is a Notre Dame alum), the trip went all sorts of downhill once that damn game started. But despite the atrocious loss and the fact that our rental transportation was a suspicious looking white van which resembled a vehicle one might use to lure in young children with candy, the weekend was a huge success.

Resolution #1. Check check.

Moving on.

Resolution #2: To write my kids more letters. If I die soon, as I’m pretty sure I will every single time I step on an airplane, I want my kids to have a box full of letters to read from me for all of life’s big events. You know, “To the Loud One On Her Wedding Day” and shit like that. I figure if I get diagnosed with a fatal disease, I’m going to be too busy eating Cadbury Mini Eggs by the pound and watching crap TV to write letters. And then there’s the whole I-could-get-hit-by-a-bus-tomorrow deal. So I’m going to start writing them letters. And I’m going to start RIGHT NOW.

This one is actually to-be-read while I’m still alive – like tomorrow, at breakfast – so consider this practice.

Dear (and sometimes not-so-much) Kids,

It’s January 9, 2013 now. This means nothing to you, other than Christmas is over and you have to wait another 350-ish days to get another boatload of presents.

Have you heard about New Year’s Resolutions? They’re like little goals that some adults set to try to improve themselves during the upcoming year. They usually say things like “exercise more” or “eat healthier foods” or “be nicer to my spouse even when he is being a jackhole” or “stop flipping the bird to all those g-damn awful drivers” or “quit hoarding stuff and find the cat” or “enjoy tequila on a more regular basis.” You get the point.

Well, as your Mother, I’ve decided to make some resolutions on your behalf. Because as much as people will tell you that you’re perfect just as you are, those are the same people who write and read blogs about rainbows and unicorns and sipping a cup of tea in the midday sun and, I’m sorry, but THEY ARE WRONG.

Nobody is 100% perfect. I mean you guys are close – the Loud One’s poetry is perfect and the way the Nibbit proudly sang “Six Geese of Weighing” every time it was his turn to sing during The Twelve Days on Christmas Eve was perfect and yes, Happy Dude’s way of saying “Hi Mommy! You want to pway cahs and twucks wit me?” whenever he sees me after not seeing me for 42 seconds is perfect BUT GUYS, (spoiler alert: big life lesson coming up) THERE IS ALWAYS ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT.

We have a lot of work to do this year, you and me. (Notice how I’m including myself in this? I’m a team player, kids… we are in this together.)

Let’s begin.

Family Resolution #1: Improve our tones of voice. It’s simple: YOU stop whining and I’LL stop yelling.

Look, I strongly dislike the way you say, “Maaaamaaa? Whyyyyyyyyy caaaaannnn’t I have juuuuiiiiccce?” and you don’t like the way I yell, “KNOCK IT OFF OR I’M GOING TO LOSE IT!” (Which of course prompts you to think, “Um, isn’t that what’s happening right now? Because if not, what exactly does ‘losing it’ look like?”) So let’s both just agree that from now on, we will speak to each other using an appropriate volume and without adding syllables to words where they don’t belong.

Family Resolution #2: I’ll start cooking if you start eating. If I make something other than chicken nuggets or mac-and-cheese, you’ll say something other than, “EWWW! Do we HAVE to eat THAT? THAT does NOT look good AT ALL!” Deal?

Family Resolution #3: Let’s all stop saying “No” so often. (Happy Dude: I’m talking to YOU, buddy.) I’ll say, “Let’s put your pajamas on,” you’ll say, “Sure!” You’ll say, “Can we pway cahs and twucks for a third hour?” and I’ll say, “Yes, the Nibbit would love to!” Done and done.

See how easy this can be?

Side note: Here are some things that I am honestly going to try to say yes to more often, for real life:

Will you read this to me?
Can we go outside?
Will you ride bikes with us?
Can I have a hug?*

*Lest you think I’m a terrible person for EVER saying no to this one, you should know that the Nibbit uses hugs as emotional blackmail when he’s in trouble. He makes his big, blue eyes as huge and round as possible and trembles out a “Can I have a hug first? You know, before I go to time out for burning down the garage?” The Nibbit is THAT good. So yeah, sometimes the hug is rejected. Sue me.

Family Resolution #4: Eating less sugar (me) and eating more fruits and vegetables (you). The Nibbit is pretty good about eating healthy foods and Happy Dude will eat any fruit or vegetable as long as its puréed and comes in one of those pouches. The Loud One? Not so much. Apple slices and string beans (and sometimes strawberries, but only if they are perfectly sweet and ripe which lasts about one hour of one day) and that’s it. Which makes lunchbox-packing a bit of a challenge. So, how about if I eat less M&Ms and you give citrus fruits a try? Cool?

Can we agree to try ONE of these foods this year?

Family Resolution #5: Let’s all sleep more! Here’s the deal: you promise to not wake me up at 5:30am and I promise to not yell at you at 5:30am. This seems very fair to me. I swear that I will never wake YOU up and scream things like, “GO BACK TO BED OR YOU WILL BE IN BIG TROUBLE.” But when you wake ME up in those wee hours? All bets are off. I am simply not responsible for anything I say. Especially when suffering from a hangover. I am not myself. I should have taken the Milk thistle.

Family Resolution #6: Be kind. We’ve talked about this guys; it’s always a work in progress. But I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, kindness is the most important thing. How about if you invite the new kid to play Adopt-a-Puppy with you at recess or share your favorite excavator with a friend and I won’t snap at Daddy when I’m stressing out and he asks me how he can help. I know! I do that! It’s terrible!! But don’t judge; I’m working on it and that’s what these resolutions are for.

OK buds, to sum it all up, each of you is fantastic but we, as people, can always be better. I think we’re on the right track here. If we can keep our goals in mind and stay motivated, 2013 will be the BEST. YEAR. EVER. Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.

Love you to the Moon and to Florida and to Outer Space and to the Jersey Shore and back.

xoxo,
Mom

A Letter to the Graduate

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It’s been an exciting few weeks in this house, particularly for The Loud One.

As most of you know, she “graduated” from Kindergarten. And although there was no official ceremony, no miniature cap and gown, no teeny tiny diploma, and no faculty member telling them “You Are Not Special,” there was a fun little gathering in the classroom with snacks as well as an interesting assignment from the teacher.

All the kids and parents were asked to write a letter to the child’s future self, to be read when she graduates from high school. God-willing. (I’m sorry, but have you SEEN “Teen Mom??” Only two of them have high school diplomas. The others have mug shots.). The letter was supposed to talk about the things she learned this year and the kind of person she is and her hopes and dreams. She really nailed it with her own letter to herself… it said something along the lines of,

“You rok. You had a grat yeer in kindrgrden. You love puppes soooo much. You can’t hav one tho.”

THAT pretty much sums it up.

As for my letter, it was fairly generic… “Wow, you’ve had such a great year! You’re awesome! I love you! I seriously hope we have a chance to read this letter because that would mean you ARE ACTUALLY GRADUATING FROM HIGH SCHOOL!”

We sealed them up and labeled them as instructed, “To be opened June 2024.”

Then I gave it more thought. And – shocker – I realized that I had a bit more to say. I won’t add the addendum to the envelope because it’s already sealed and that would be cheating. But I will post it here and hopefully she’ll read it someday when she’s not mad at me for talking too much and I’m not embarrassing her by the way I breathe. In and out, in and out. Over and over again. GAWD.

Dear Loud One,

OK. I know that you’re going to change every year. I’m not a total idiot, despite what you’ve believed for the past six years. BUT I have to imagine that some of the biggest changes are happening right now, in these early days. It has been incredible to watch you grow this past year… probably even a bit sweeter because we had some rough times back in the olden days, when you were like three-and-a-half. Ugh, you don’t remember, but you were fairly nightmarish.

Moving on.

Academically, you learned so many things this year…

    • Basic addition and subtraction (your math knowledge just about equals mine now)
    • Introductory Spanish (I mean, how many people can sing “Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes” to their baby brother, in Espanol??)
    • Most importantly, how to read (still in progress, but you’ve come a long way from here).

But it’s your emotional growth that’s so incredible. (Wow, that sounds so therapistee.) Some examples…

    • You’re still not thrilled with fitted clothing, but instead of melting on the floor into a Puddle’o’Whine, you can articulate your discomfort and work it out.
    • You still struggle with holding the pen the right way, but instead of throwing writing implements across the room when frustrated, you realize that it’s something to work on. Progress!
    • When, for the first time, you told me that someone was mean to you, it’s so cliché, but I wanted to kick the shit out of that boy. Or at least let Happy Dude bite him. But you had a much better solution. You said, “I probably won’t invite him to my birthday party.” (Nevermind that this was in February and your birthday is in August. I respect that advanced planning.)
    • And lastly, you are not afraid to show your goofy sense of humor. More and more often, I see you doing and saying things just to get the laugh. I have NO idea where you get this!

Finally, let’s talk about my hopes and dreams for you. There’s really only one.

Stay true to yourself.

This is one of those annoying clichés that grown-ups throw around that’s impossible to understand until you’re the annoying grown-up throwing it around.

Here’s what I mean: for the first few months of school, you would often tell me that you played by yourself at recess and everyday, I would worry. “Does she have any friends? Why is she playing alone? Is she too shy to talk to the other kids?”

As time went by, I realized that this was completely 100% MY problem. You were totally happy to play your own games, in your own world, a world which was probably populated by puppies and dragons and frogs and lizards and dolphins. You were not concerned with what the other kids were playing or more importantly, with what they thought about you.

That? That lack of concern? HOLD. ONTO. THAT. As hard as you can. Call it indifference, call it confidence… call it whatever the hell you want. But just hold onto it so tightly that it becomes a part of you that cannot be lost.

It’s hard. It is SO hard to not care. Last week, you asked if you could get a haircut. Like all of it. You have wanted this “boy haircut” for over a year. But when the time came to do it, you hesitated for a moment because you wondered, “What if the other kids laugh because I look like a boy?” I held my breath for a second, but then you answered your own question, “I don’t care. I’ll just think it’s funny. It WILL be funny if I look like a boy!” And you did it. And the whole freaking salon walked over to check out the almost-six-year-old badass who was cutting off all of her hair.

Oh God, if I could just bottle that … MOXIE … I would save it all up and re-distribute it back out to you as you entered the pre-teen and teenage years where peer pressure and social norms and snotty bitches and assholey jerks (sorry, couldn’t think of a better descriptor there) try to SQUASH your spirit.

I promise to always remind you that YOU are fantastic and YOU are good enough. I know there will be days where you’ll roll your eyes at me and tell your BFF, “Oh puh-lease, my mom is like SO SUPER annoying!” but if a teeny tiny part of you believes me, than I am SOOO super NOT caring if I’m annoying.

So, I sort of lied when I said that I only had one dream for you. Because really, I have many. I want your life to be full of true friendships and solid relationships. I want you to be confident and pursue your ambitions with an unwavering belief that you will succeed. And I want those ambitions to be moral and beneficial to our world, somehow. I want you to want to make the world a better place for the people you love. And maybe even for people you don’t know.

But ultimately, I think staying true to yourself will lead to all of that. Because you are fantastic And you are good enough.

So that is what I hope for you.

Love infinity,

Mom

PS. Oh, and I hope you’re better at math than I am. Because it’s embarrassing when I have to text your Dad or uncle for help on some pretty basic stuff.

PPS. I hope you like Margaritas someday because it would be fun to drink them together. You know, when we’re friends. 

An Open Letter to Cancer

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Dear Cancer,

I hate you. I hate you more than anything else in the world. I hate you more than cilantro and the stomach flu. More than waking up at 5:30 am everyday and wearing high heels. I hate you even more than when I forget it’s my turn to wake up with the kids the next morning and drink three too many Margaritas. (And THAT really sucks.)

I don’t throw the word “hate” around lightly, but you? You’ve earned it.

It happens every year… May rolls around and Mother’s Day approaches and I’m reminded once again of what you’ve taken from me. What you’ve taken from my family. You’re an asshole.

You swoop in on people when they least expect it – good people. People’s moms. People’s uncles. People’s fathers-in-law. People’s cousins. People’s friends. You knock the wind out of them – and us – and then you try to beat them down. Sometimes you win. And that’s why I hate you. You steal what’s rightfully ours. Painfully. Yes, sometimes you win.

BUT.

Sometimes you lose. More and more often, you lose. HA! I love it when you lose!!!!

When you lose? Best. Feeling. Ever. (Even better than when your husband says, “Go back to sleep. I’ll get the kids.”) When you lose, we rejoice. We gloat. We high-five. We ugly-cry. We hug. We celebrate your miserable failures.

Because cancer, you’re a bully. A mean, vicious, non-discriminating bully. But you know what happens to bullies? Eventually, they fall.

You should know, your days are numbered. You’re weakening. And we’re getting stronger. The doctors. The patients. The survivors. The fighters. The mothers, uncles, cousins and friends… we’re ALL getting stronger.

You’re going down.

I hope I get to see it. I want my Mother’s Day back.

Stand Up to Cancer.

 

 

 

 

 

PS. Sorry for all the profanity. Sometimes name-calling helps.