Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Sometimes, You Just Don't Win

Today, we experienced a little tragedy. One of our new pets, a sweet baby chick, passed away, for whatever reason baby animals sometimes do. I, of course, was quite distressed. Believing that my children would also be distressed, I took the proper measures to ensure that Chicken Little received a viewing and memorial service.

(Cue emotionally moving piano ditty)

I wrapped the tiny bird in a tissue and laid her in a box, put her name on it, and prepared myself to explain to my children what had happened, and how we’d never ever see the chickie alive again, and death is a part of life, and of course little birdies go to heaven, and sometimes those we love die, and we miss them, and we hope to see them again some day, and we will all feel better in time.

They could have cared less.

Oh, initially they were concerned, and my daughter even said “I so sad, Mommy,” but it was nothing compared to the tears she shed a short while later when I wouldn’t give her a jelly bean.

But despite my dismay at their lack of emotion (and the unfortunate amount of emotion I dealt with), it got me thinking.

Sometimes, you just don’t win.

In the third grade, I was in a spelling bee. I’m not going to lie – I was G-O-O-D good. I could spell words like arrogance and vanity without so much as the bat of an eyelash. Over the course of the bee, I beat out every other girl, and most of the boys. It was down to the final three. I was up first. The word was: “rhyme.”

I had studied. I knew this one. But for the life of me, I could not remember if the word really had an “h” in it. I mean seriously. What kind of a word is that? A silent “h”?

“Rhyme… r…” I stared into the audience at my mom, half-hoping she’d give me a sign. Come on Ma – H, or no H?

“…y… m-e. Ryme.”

Sometimes, you just don’t win.

I’m not the only one who doesn’t win. We’ve all had our moments. Even our beloved celebrities have had theirs. Like when Britney Spears went loony and shaved herself bald. Like when Tiger Woods wrecked his SUV and simultaneously revealed that he was a lying, cheating scumbag and forever stained his title as “Only Professional Golfer 50% of Females Can Name.” Like when Taylor Swift dated Taylor Lautner and no one could make up a celebrity couples’ name for them.

Sometimes, you just don’t win.

Like when my younger brother was playing with my daughter, tossing her back and forth, over and over… and she threw up all over him. Or when I slaved over a homemade cake for my mom’s birthday, didn’t let the layers cool long enough, and the buttercream filling melted and spilled out all over my car on the way to her party. Or when I was clipping my baby’s fingernails in church and totally snipped the tip of his finger, causing him to bleed and scream murderously until my husband took him out and left me to sit in shame for the rest of meeting.

Sometimes, you just don’t win.

And really, isn’t it true, that we are all fighting, every day, in a battle we will never win? Just like our sweet baby chicken, we live as best we can, battling against age, against illness, against death – until the moment comes when we are expected to give it all up, to willingly secede from one life and move on to an unfamiliar place.

But, you remember, my children weren’t overly concerned with this loss. Maybe it’s because they haven’t had enough experience in real loss – in death – just yet. Maybe they’re ignorant. But maybe, in their innocence, they are simply more accepting, more resilient, and more prepared to give up what was never theirs to begin with.

Sometimes, you just don’t win. And that’s ok.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

10 Things You Don't Want to Hear Your Small Children Say

I’ve been a mom for a little over four and a half years now. I’ve had my share of joys, sorrows, and poopy diapers (some days it feels like more than my share in the latter). I’ve been through illnesses, sleepless nights, and more shouts of “You’re making Mom psychotic! You’re making Mom psychotic!” than I’d like to admit. I’m not saying it makes me an expert. I’m just saying you should listen to every word I say in case I slip in some golden nugget of magical mom advice you will never survive without.

So almost five years into the job, there are days I feel like I’ve got it down. I am, after all, a casual parenting master. I’ve figured out the Zen of Motherhood – 10 dirty diapers balanced by 5 minutes of giggling and tickling, 5 hours of sleep balanced by 10 minutes of staring at the ceiling during naptime – Zen. It’s great. But then there are those days… Those days when my kid pees in the Walmart checkout line, those days when even having sister wives wouldn’t be enough, those days when words come out of my child’s mouth, and I have to deal with the consequences.

10 Things You Don’t Want to Hear Your Small Children Say

1. Mommy, I need to go potty. It’s always in a store with no public restroom, one where you can’t find the restroom, or one where you have to ask for a stupid key to open the restroom. By the time you can get to the potty, you’re risking hearing the next line:

2. Mommy, I peed. I bet you wish you’d packed that extra pair of pants now, don’t you?

3. Mom, (insert child’s name) is bleeding really a lot! But kids exaggerate, right? Doesn’t matter. Whether there is actually a lot of blood or not, someone is bound to be screaming, there will be no Band-Aids in the house, and you will threaten to take them to get stitches just to make them stop crying.

4. Mommy, it was an accident! It wasn’t.                    

5. Mommy, I don’t feel good. Once this has been said, it is almost always too late. You might as well jump out of the way, because it’s likely to be only a matter of seconds before your child pukes. And it’s likely to be projectile, and you’re likely to be somewhere with carpet.

6. Don’t be mad… Has anything good ever followed this line? NO.

7. Mommy, (insert child’s name) broke your (insert valuable object).

8. HOLY S***! Oh yeah. Right in front of Grandma.

9. Mommy! (Insert child’s name) is playing in the toilet! There’s definitely pee in it. Probably more. And you may or may not have to fish valuables out.

10. Daddy said I could! Since when is the sperm donor the boss? I grew your little body inside of mine and pushed it out when you were fully developed and not a moment sooner.

I am the boss.

If you hear these things from your kids a lot, keep your chin up. It could be worse. In fact, from what I’m told, I’ll be re-writing this list when my kids are teenagers, but the consequences will be way worse. So I’m just going to sit back and enjoy this while it lasts! And if you want my expert advice  humble opinion, you should too.