May 8, 2011

Dandelions and Jelly Kisses

On Mother's Day, I didn't wish for flowers. I didn't wish for candy, chocolate, or cake. I didn't wish for store-bought poems, or a dinner out with the other 13523413543 mothers who didn't have to cook tonight. I don't need any clothes, underwear, robes, or slippers.

What I got today was a hand-picked dandelion, a kiss from one face covered in dirt and jelly and another face moist with spit and/or snot, and an abstract crayon drawing that featured two smiley faces. And you know what? It was perfect.

There are days that I get frustrated because I cannot clean my kids fast enough before they fall down and eat a mouth full of grass all over again. And there are days I feel like if I hear "Show me this!" or "Look at that!" one more time I might lock myself in the bathroom until they reach puberty. And heaven help me - it's MAY! - enough with the Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer movie.

But in all of this I see something... I see innocence and curiosity. I see compassion, love, warmth, and understanding. I see creativity and expression. I see a passion for life that is so unique to toddlers. And it's when I recognize those things in my two beautiful children that I realize, hey!, this is what being a mother is all about.

Lainey and Owen, you are my stars and my moon. Thank you for bringing your spilled milk, wet kisses, jazz hands and high-pitched screeches into my life. The world, MY world, is a better place because of you two.

And to my own mother, who is my most loyal reader - and truly, one of my most loyal supporters all around: I work with you, day in and day out, and yet despite this I still look forward every day to coming in and sharing conversation with you. Sometimes it's about war, sometimes it's sharing a laugh at Lainey's latest quotation, sometimes it's commiserating over the gross overuse of the words "and" I know that you, just like every other mom on the planet, worry about things you did too much of or didn't do enough of when we were growing up. But neither of your kids are in jail, and we didn't grow up to be politicians, so you clearly did something right. You gave us love, support, and encouragement, tinfoil ornaments and camping adventures, and those things far outweigh the number of cans of Spagettios we have collectively consumed in our lifetimes. To paraphrase the great Mother Teresa - "We can do no great things, only small things with great love." Thank you for always showing us great love.

Happy Mother's Day to me, to my mother, and to every other woman out there whose life has been redefined by the little (sticky/poopy/giggly/furry/lively/slobbery) things only a mom can appreciate.

May 3, 2011

Monster Bug Wars

This sounds like a totally toddler-friendly TV show, right? Right?!

We stumbled upon this show a week or two ago by accident as my husband was flipping through channels. He paused, watching a few minutes as a giant man-eating cricket got into a fight with a tarantula. Me? I was grossed out. Nothing would make me want to change the channel faster than a spider with hair on it's legs. This show, courtesy of the Science Channel, pits two disgusting creepy crawly things against each other and some random people debate who is going to win and why. And they do it in such disturbing detail that it will make you simultaneously itch and have waking nightmares.

Suddenly, I hear a little voice from the sofa saying "Look at the spider mommy!" I turn around to find that my innocent little three-year-old daughter - who had been coloring obliviously at the dining room table - had cuddled up on the sofa, absolutely riveted by this epic battle. Complete with bug ooze. Horrified, I tell my husband to change the channel that very second before my daughter curls up into a ball and refuses to go to sleep for fear that a giant cricket might be lurking under her bed. He does, and a sudden cry of protest comes up from the little redhead on the sofa. "NOOOO, I want the bug show! BUG SHOOOOOOOW!"

My husband, who found some humor in this turn of events, puts the show back on, and she started giggling like it was Christmas morning and this was her big disgusting and hairy present. "They're going to fight! I think the spider will win!" **giggle** "Did you see him JUMP?" **giggle**

Who IS this child, anyway? Clearly, despite having been surgically removed from my womb, she is no child of mine...

Thankfully, the show was almost over and I thought that was the end of that. Until she asked for it again. And again. And then the next night, and the next night. "I don't WANT Dora, I want the BUG SHOOOOW!"

Apparently my fears of her being traumatized forever were unfounded. And yet again I am reminded that whatever I thought I knew about raising little girls was all wrong. We did, however, decide that this sort of death and destruction - despite being on a miniature scale - was not appropriate viewing for her and we eased her on to "A Bug's Life" instead. Thank goodness for me, because if I had to watch another furry spider wage war I probably would throw up in my mouth a little bit...

PS, In case you wondered, the cricket won. Easily.