The Baby Doll Effect

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You know you are the mother of a toddler when you have your first temper tantrum – that moment when you desperately want your child to do something, and they simply refuse.

Such was the scene in my son’s preschool earlier this week when each child was lovingly gifted a handmade pillow by the crafting ladies of the church. It was a beautiful gesture. Really.

Except my son didn’t want the pale blue pillow placed in his cubby. He wanted the vibrant floral one…with the obnoxious lace ruffle. His kind teachers allowed him to switch. And just when I thought I could let it go, I snapped.

I felt the need to justify his choice to every parent we encountered down the hall.

“Oh, yes, his sister will inherit this one!”

Clearly, something deep was happening. Why couldn’t I support my son’s decision?

Continue reading “The Baby Doll Effect”

When Hovering Hurts

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Every time I cut a watermelon, I have to ask myself an important question: Are you a helicopter parent?

My mother said it all began with my great grandmother Martha. She loved to give us little ones sweet treats, but my favorite of all was the melon she so religiously extracted the seeds from. What I remember most is her selfless smile when summer’s juices ran down our chins.

But, here in the twenty-first century kitchen, I weld a sharp knife whose blade mirrors the painstaking care I take in eliminating challenge for my children: watermelon seeds.

Sometimes I can’t help but wonder: Do I have it all wrong?

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It Rained Upon a New Fedora

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“You’re so hipster.”

If you are a mother who prides herself on being countercultural, this statement stings a little. I proceeded to shoot my husband the look.

“Well, you are wearing a fedora.”

Truth. Earlier that day, I had purchased my very first non-winter – dare I say fashionable – hat. It seemed like the perfect item to hide my exhaustion long enough to survive an evening of carnival fun in my hometown.

Only I didn’t plan for the rain.

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The Dance of Innocence

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Last Friday, I went on my first date with another man: my son. Several weeks ago, I learned of a local mother-son dance, and I couldn’t pass on the opportunity to watch my toddler thrash to fun music.

Well, at least this is how I envisioned our night would look. Continue reading “The Dance of Innocence”

To Potty Train A Parent

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It is NEVER a good idea to offer unsolicited potty training advice, especially when your audience is a mother strung out from a long night with a breastmilk addict.

One “sage advice” drive-by at our local grocery store comes to mind. I was staring off into space in the dairy aisle when an older gentleman made his presence known. At least the encounter began friendly.

“How old is your son?”

With these kinds of questions, the response goes one of two ways…

“Nine months.”

I remember readying myself for his next move. Senior citizens love touching babies.

“Wow, nine months! That was the age that I potty trained my son!”

[Insert polite head nods and a weak smile here.]

I remember parting amicably after he began to discuss that same son’s “issues” in adulthood.

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A Mother Nose

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On most days, parenthood feels like the dying of oneself. Life no longer revolves around you or your own independent decisions. Instead, you will likely find yourself last on the priority list at the close of each day. This does, however, offer a most amazing peace: your children are alive and you lived another day to bask in their glow.

I was experiencing the euphoria of this moment just before bed one night last week. It was approximately 10:00 p.m., and I was ecstatic about an early (at least for me) bedtime.

As I turned off our living room’s final light, I glanced at the rug that my children frequent during the busy hours of day. The toys, in classic toddler fashion, were strewn around the room. Make a note of that slide, I reminded myself.

As I completed the excited tango of a careful mother in the dark, it struck me. No, literally, our wooden doorframe struck me. Crack! My nose had failed in its attempt to move the wall.

Two doctor appointments and three x-rays later, the verdict was less than amusing: a likely fracture. I may have even laughed at myself if my face hadn’t been hurting so badly.

Continue reading “A Mother Nose”