I am blessed with people in my life whom I share traditions with. We watch our children grow together. They bring me joy well beyond a generic word like “blessed.” Each year, for as many years as my youngest has been alive, we gather at Christmas to exchange gifts and create christmas memories to hang on our trees. These memories: beaded off-center balls, reindeer with too much glue, pictures of children years younger under glitter and foam; are treasures of magnificence. We hang each on branches every year in prideful spots. These ornaments, complete with thumbprint-smeared reindeer heads, go in the front of the tree. We’re proud of our inability to craft at our house. To visitors it appears we’re all a bit special-needs with glue but we see laughter and disastrous glitter accidents and children aching to be with their friends.
This year I drew my friend’s seven year old son. This kid is an old man trapped in a young-person’s body. While my children run around in their own imaginations, this kid talks like an adult. Since I was completely stumped as to what to get a man-child of 70 trapped in a 7 year old’s body, my friend tells me to just get an iTunes gift card. It’s what he wants, she says. I’m thrilled. “You kidding? Easiest Gift Ever.”
On the way home, this quiet, polite young man opens up to my friend. He said, and I quote:
“Oh my gosh! Could you believe that she got me that gift card?!?!”
“I just told you the other day that I wanted that and she got it for me!”
“She must know me so well!”
“Well, we have known her a long time”
“Wait- do you think she’s a wizard??”
“Wizards know stuff- stuff that people don’t tell them”
“Oh no- she’s not- she’s a WITCH!” Witches are even bigger than Wizards and they are girls”
“Also- witches have balls- big balls that tell the future”
“I bet Leslie has a big future ball”
........Yep- she’s definitely a witch- which is weird because I have never even met one before”
“So I got a gift card AND I met a witch!”
And with that, I hope your holiday is as joyful, and as unexpected, as my friend’s son. May reflections on the year bring you happy memories and may looking ahead give you much joy for the future.
Thank you for reading all seven years running….
My children were playing “little fucker” at Home Depot?
Now, look, before you get all judgy, let me just preface this with a post I wrote two years ago to prove I have no idea what I’m doing as a parent. Ok? I had a plan. I had a theory. That theory sucked.
In retrospect, the “time and a place” mantra could work. Teaching your children that anyone can say anything as long as it is the appropriate time and place is rather discerning. I don’t want to shield my children from the world but would rather teach them how to navigate the gray areas of society including cussing, standing up for oneself and when an appropriate toilet joke is funny.
I guess at 5 and 3 they’re not discerning yet.
Case in point:
Mr. Flinger and I took the entire family to Home Depot. (Clue One: that’s best to do on a date because children lose their ever-loving-minds.) We have expectations that mimic parents of the 70’s. We tell you to sit in the cart and you will sit, wait, talk quietly among yourselves until we have thoroughly discussed the options of shiny silver and chrome for the new locks to the house AND YOU WILL LIKE IT.
The children looked at us with wide eye, “But we don’t have any toys,” LB gasped. “Use your hands. You know what makes a good toy? Your hands. And? You won’t lose them and you’ll never get them taken away,” Mr Flinger solves the problem. (Side note: This has been repeated to me half a dozen times so it did in fact make an impression.)
The children begin playing “where is thumpkin” and other hand gesture games appropriate for their age.
The discussions went forward about types of locks, shiny locks, keyed locks, locks of what size and shape and on and on and on until I hear, or I think I hear, one child say, “Hey.. Fucker!” and the other reply back, “Hey! Fucker!” I glance up at two men standing next to the cart where the children are sitting. Their expressions are both half laughing half shocked. I stride over, “Did they just say….” “I think so,” replied one man. “Oh, uh, I don’t know WHOS kids those are. No, I’m kidding, I’m the proud mother.” He looks me up and down and says, “Oh, you’re their mom?” “Yes, and .. uh.. I’m sorry… Uh.. lemme just move them…”
I lean forward as the children continue their “little fucker” play which involved a thumb telling the other thumb he’s a little fucker and then the other thumb quips, “hey! fucker!”
A proud mother indeed.
Since that time I’ve changed some things around here. I now say “Oh MOTHER OF PEARL” and “For PETES SAKE” and “HOLY MOSES.” I like to think I’m still a little badass. In fact, sometimes I know I’m in the company of other mothers when someone shouts out, “SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!” in exclamation.
Having children truly does change you in ways you never could anticipate. It’s true. Those little fuckers.
My daughter talks. She talks. And talks. And talks. A few days ago we challenged her to be quiet for five minutes. “Just FIVE minutes. I’ll buy you a pony!” the mister bribed.
She failed at 2 minutes 5 seconds.
She talks through everything: coloring, playing with her mice. (Oh, yes! she has invisible mice! You know? Like Cinderella? Or the crazy cat lady in the psych ward?) She talks about her friends. She talks so much she even narrates her poop.
The other day I was standing there waiting for my daughter to pinch off a tootsie roll listening to her talk. “Oh, my poop hurts, Mom. It makes my bottom HUURRRRTTTTT OWE OWE OWE.” (I use this time to talk about Fiber, the importance of eating your veggies at dinner and fruit for snacks instead of crackers. Oh, that’s right, there is no sacred moment I will not use for my own mothering.) She continues, “Sometimes I pee when I poop. Sometimes I just poop. Today I’m just going to poop.”
I glance around the empty bathroom and check my watch.
“Are you done now, sweetie?” I ask.
“No. I have this much more” she holds up her hands showing me a little space. “Like my mice are this big? I have that much more poop in my tummy.”
“Sometimes my mice go poop in the big toilet. Sometimes they go in the little toilet.”
“Sometimes when I poop a big one, it splashes my bottom with the water.”
That one caught my attention.
Kids: So honest.
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