Boys are Dumb

Elmo

Sometimes I feel really bad for my daughter being in a house of mostly boys. If it wasn’t for me, she’s be truly the only girl because even the cats are boys.

Don’t get me wrong, she totally holds her own against her brothers. She is after-all a tom boy and when that doesn’t suit her, she is bossy as hell which she comes by naturally because she is my daughter.

It’s just that no matter how much she tries to be like the boys, she can’t be a boy. Those natural born, genetically given, imprinted girl tendencies will always come out . She can’t help it which means no matter how hard she tries she, like me, will never fully understand boys.

For example, whacking a tree with a stick. The boys do this. They get great joy in performing this task and will go at it for hours on end but when asked to explain why? Why do they do this? They will just shrug their shoulders and pick up a rock to throw at other rocks.

It makes no sense to me. I have just come to the conclusion that there it must have something to do with the penis. There must be something in that organ that makes these acts make sense to them. And since I will never have a penis, I will never understand it.

Claire is slowly grasping this concept.

It’s difficult for her. All she knows is brothers and their weirdness and since she wants to be included with her brothers and their play, it’s a daily struggle. But sometimes, when she’s feeling girly and those female tendencies are at their highest and she can’t take it anymore.

“… yeah and then Elmo’s head will explode,” Jake said in between bites of waffle.

“Next his body. It’ll explode all over the street,” Quinn chimed in making Jake and Hayden snort with laughter.

“And his purple blood will be all over the place making the buildings explode,” Jake said, gesturing with his hands.

“The explosion will be HUGE… EPIC!” Hayden added.

“Elmo’s exploding head,” Jake said, now beside himself with laughter.

“STOP IT! STOP IT!” Claire yelled at the top of her lungs across the breakfast table which made the boys laugh harder and broke me of my Facebook reading trance.

“Claire, don’t yell,” I scolded.

“But mom,” she whined. “Make them stop. Tell them to stop talking about explosions.”

When she said that word the boys snickered and giggled again like they were all 13 and in a room where there was naked boobies.

I sighed at her request. My sluggish not fully caffeinated brain trying to comprehend what was happening.

“Boys, stop it,” I said halfheartedly, just trying to keep the peace.

Claire gave me her, ‘mom that’s totally not gonna work’ look because she thinks at times she is a better mother than me and pushed back her chair to take her dirty dishes to the sink. The boys once again started discussing Elmo’s head exploding and purple blood going every where.

“Why do they have to talk about exploding so much?” she said looking at me, waiting for an answer that would enlighten her.

“I don’t know,” I said after a sip of coffee.

She wasn’t satisfied and she stared at me, her eyes begging for knowledge and understanding.

Then I felt like I could keep the secret no longer. I had to give it to her, I had to give her the only answer that has been keeping girl’s (and women) sane since the beginning of time.

“Boys are dumb.”

 

Mama’s Losin’ It

This is my Body and I Love it for You

I lay on the couch on yet another snow day morning, another day stuck home with the children. At this point in time, I had lost count at how many days we had been home and had long stopped caring if the children ate, slept, pooped or wore clothes.

I couldn’t have told you when I last showered or even if my underwear was clean. Putting on a bra or real pants seemed like an impossible task for you see, we were snowed in but there was also the plague making it’s way through the house.

Snot was flowing and puke was spilling. This is the stuff that makes day drinking happen.  It was so bad, I knew the inevitable should happen… I had to clean the house.

But later.

I adjusted my position on the couch, turning more on my side and as I scooted my shirt pulled up revealing my stomach. I was playing on my phone, it didn’t matter to me.

She came out of no where as she often does when I’m laying down. It’s funny she never wanted to cuddle as a baby, always wanted out of my arms, miss independent so similar to me. But as the years have past, she never misses an opportunity to crawl on top of me and nestle her head just under my chin.

mother and daughter

She seems to need to be close, breath me in.

I never push her away even when she decides to cuddle at the most inconvenient times like during ‘wrestling’ between me and her father but that’s what happens when we forget to lock the door.

She crawled on top of me, sticking her bony child knee in my groin causing me to scream.

“Sorry mommy,” she said with a giggle but not stopping on her way up.

She lay her head down, I wrapped my arm around her and I could feel her relax. I continued reading on my phone and she began to trace the lines of my shirt.

She traced the scoop neck of my tank top and with a hint of mischief, let her finger slide over my breasting knowing that she shouldn’t touch it because breasts are one of those special parts no one gets to touch (at least for now, I’ll talk to her about ‘2nd base’ when she’s older).

Her finger reached my exposed belly, “Mommy, your shirt is too small. I can see your belly.”

My normal reaction would be to quickly pull down my shirt, covering a part of me that I’m not the most proud of, that’s not ‘perfect’ and don’t want people to see. My body would tense and cringe. I would usually swat her hand away as she tried to touch it, telling her no. But this time, this time I decided to just let her touch.

I decided the message was to important.

I want to raise a strong and confident daughter. I want her to know she’s beautiful because she is. I want her to embrace her imperfection and know that she is perfect because she is who she is and there is no such thing as the perfect body. I watch her watch me as I look in the mirror and do my makeup. She questions why I wear it, what I like about it. She watches me dress and stress over clothes that will hide those areas I don’t like. She hears me say things like, “Ugh this makes me fat.”

She sees my insecurities…. I need to let her see my confidence too.

My body is beautiful. It’s healthy. It’s strong. It’s sexy. It’s done amazing things; pushed on another’s chest to make blood pump when their heart had stopped, turned on a man I’ve known and been with for more than 17 years and most importantly, my body has given life to 4 children, 3 of whom lived inside me all at once.

I want her to know that I am proud of this body of mine and I have earned every scar, freckle, wrinkle and stretch mark. Well, some I earned and some were just given.

She traced the stretch marks on my stomach, buried her finger deep in my belly button and poked my stomach to watch the squish wiggle. I didn’t say a word, just watched her, let her see I wasn’t ashamed.

Her hand went flat and she placed it on my stomach then laid her head on my chest.

“My momma,” she said. “…pretty and squishy.”

I kissed the top of her head and held her close. She stayed a few more seconds and just like that she was gone but I can only hope the message, though it will need re-enforcing, will always stay with her.

 

 

Six Year Old Sex Ed

Sex-Ed

“Mommy, what’s that circle thingy under my penis where the pee comes from?” Jake asked from the top of the stairs.

It was just after bath time. The kids were getting pj’s on and I was finishing cleaning up dinner. I set the dish down that I was washing, grabbed a towel and walked over to him,  “What?” I said, very confused.

“That circle thingy under my penis has all the lines on it, what is that?” he asked again, not really clearing things up any.

I just looked at him, for the life of me I couldn’t figure out what in the world he was talking about. Circle thing?

“Jake, that is your pee sack,” Quinn jumped in and clarified. “It holds all your pee.”

Finally the light bulb went off and I understood what he was talking about. Jake was asking about his scrotum.

Now, I kinda think that because I don’t have a penis, I shouldn’t have to teach the boys about theirs. I will talk vagina all day long with Claire but I am not the penis expert in the house. I wanted to call for Jeff to field this line of questioning. He has a penis he should answer the questions but I am a nurse for goodness sake, I can handle this. It is just anatomy.

“Boys,” I began, “that is not your ‘pee sack’ or where pee comes from, it is called your scrotum and it holds your testicles.”

They just looked at me and immediately both their hands went south and began to fondle.

“What’s testmacles?” Quinn asked.

Oh man. I totally opened that door. Now how was I supposed to explain what testicles were for without going giving a full sex ed lesson. I was walking a very fine line.

I decided being honest and scientific was the only way. Let the questions come, I am good at dancing around things and confusing them with science and big words if needed.

“You need your testicles because they make something that you will need to make a baby. Then you will need a mommy and a daddy to make a baby.” I said.

“How does that work?” Quinn asked, being ever curious about the way things work.

Oh shit. Deep breathes. I can do this.

But before I could figure out an appropriate answer to Quinn’s question, Jake asked, “Well are they, um… bone or metal? Because I really think I should have some medal in my body.”

Say what?

I tried to process what Jake was asking and stop from self from laugh so hard that I would need to change my underwear as Claire busted from her room, naked as the day she was born.

“I HAVE A VAGINA!” she screamed while running.

Both boys giggled at Claire and I knew that I loosing hold of this little anatomy lesson.

“Testicles are not medal or bone. They are organs and squishy,” I tried to explain but Claire doing her version of naked aerobics was more interesting, then listening to me.

“Claire.” I said, “Will you put your vagina away.”

As the words spilled from my mouth, I shook my head. Oh the things I have to say as a mother. Also, if I ever have to say that again, especially during those teen years, it will be too soon.

I took a deep breath. I wanted to continue teaching them about their bodies. This was good stuff to know. But  now all three kids were giggling and jumping around naked. Body parts were going every where.

I sighed, my lesson was done.

And as the three started scooting their naked butt on the carpet like dogs  I yelled… “ALRIGHT!  PLEASE PUT YOUR PENISES AND VAGINA AWAY!”

Yup, subject closed.

Quiet at the Dinner Table

A lot of times when we sit down to eat dinner, I am just quiet.

There is no real reason. I just don’t feel like talking. I think it’s because sitting down to dinner is my signal that we are in the home stretch. The witching hour is drawing to a close and bedtime is around the corner. It’s time for c0-parenting and mostly importantly, it’s probably the first time that I sat down in hours.

I just want to be quiet, be still, eat. And by doing this, I am open to listen.

I hear things like, “Yuck. I am not going to eat this.”

“This is gross. It can’t be food.”

“Is there any bessert?”

But every now and again I hear,  “Thanks for making the food, mom.”

My heart just melts. It doesn’t matter that the one who said it said it because the others were complaining about the food and he is trying to stay on my good side. He said it and I’ll take it.

I look around the table and the people sitting there, the people most important to me in the world and sometimes I get overwhelmed. There is this feeling that washes over me that I can’t explain. It steals my breath so that I couldn’t talk if I wanted too.

I study each person, really looking at them. I remember who they were when they were small and see who they are now.

I don’t feel worthy.

I yell. I scream. I cuss.

I focus on my own needs sometimes more then theirs.

I don’t want to read a bedtime story.

I don’t want to look at this one quick thing.

I fail.

And I do it over and over again.

I constantly question, ‘am I enough?”

But then one of them will catch my eye and smile at me or come over and put their arms around me in a  hug. They don’t know it but it’s in those moments that they save me. They reaffirm that I am enough, that I am what they need most.

children around the dinner table

I can’t help but smile at them. Their chatter makes me laugh. Especially the conversations from the littlest ones while they discuss the drama that is kindergarten.

“I like it when Ava kisses me,” Quinn says with a sheepish grin.

“Ew. Gross. How can you like that” Jake answers with a disgusted tone. “Girls are yucky.”

“No they are not,” Quinn defends himself, “Girls are pretty and I like it when they kiss me. Like when Ava does and Olivia and Kelly.”

I want to say something, tell them there is plenty of time for kissing girls, tell them that 5 is not the age to be worried about kissing but I stay quiet. I just listen.

“My teacher says that kissing is just for your family,” Claire announces, proud to tell of her classroom.

“But I can’t help it if the girls are always kissing me. I want them too. I don’t want to tell them no,” Quinn says exasperated.

“You could run away,” Jake adds.

“No. No. Don’t do that,” Claire adds, “Girls don’t like it when you run away from them. Just marry them instead.”

I can’t hold it in anymore and I laugh. I laugh until my sides ache and I’m gasping for breath. On one hand they are so young and have no idea but on the other hand, they know exactly how it works.

“You all should eat now,” I say when I can breathe again. “We can discuss who you are going to marry another time.”

There is a silence that falls around the table, only the sounds of chewing with the occasional burp and giggle.

“I don’t want to kiss any girls,” Jake says, breaking the stillness of the room.

“You don’t have too,” Hayden says speaking up for the first time. “because maybe you will can kiss a boy. You can’t help who you love or want to kiss.”

I can’t help but smile and my sweet insightful son. He’s right. He has no idea why, to him is just that simple. Love is love.

And that is why I listen. They are so young but so wise. They see the world as pure and beautiful.

I’m supposed to be their teacher but each day, if I can forget how the ride my last nerve and sometimes cause me to wish for a padded cell in the loony bin, they teach me something.

And that is why I’m quiet at the dinner table.

We are not in Toddler Clothes any More

I stepped off the escalator, careful not to get my foot eaten by the steps, a big fear of mine, and was greeted by a very happy sales clerk.

“Welcome,” she said with a glittering smile, “How can I help you?”

I understand it’s her job to be friendly and helpful but I didn’t want either. I just wanted to look around and shop in peace.

“Thanks but I am just looking,” I said, pleasantly.

She did not take the hint, “Any thing special?” she asked.

“I need to get some summer clothes for my daughter,” I said, hoping that if I gave her a little bit of detail she would feel like she was doing her job and leave me be.

Whenever there is a change in the season, that means it’s time to sort through the kid’s clothes. I have to pass on the smaller boy clothes to my sister for her son, go through the hand-me-downs that Hayden and his cousin wore for Jake and Quinn and do an inventory of what still will fit Hayden.

It’s a process that leaves me asking, why do kids have to grow so fast?

When it comes to Claire, that is a whole different ballgame. People in my family seem to only make boy children so there are no older cousins for Claire to get hand-me-downs from. Clothes for her involves a process.

I used to do a lot of shopping for her on Ebay, buying large lots of clothes but the cut throat last minute strategic betting that happens on Ebay was just too much for me. I don’t have time for that and often times the prices gets so high, it’s cheaper to just buy them new.

I know people use Craig’s List to find clothes for their kids but I am scared of Craig’s List. I will chat up strangers on the Internet on Twitter until my fingers are numb but talk to someone and then meet them via Craig’s List to exchange money… I run scared to hide under my bed.

My usual plan to get her clothes without spending a small fortune and having Jeff tell me the shopping budget is gone is to scour the clearance racks in the stores. I watch for sales and even use coupons. Plus it’s shopping and I love shopping.

I sighed.

I just wanted to be left alone but I didn’t want to be rude. “Well, she kinda needs it all being that she is the only girl. I think I will just look around and see what I can find.” I said and then started to walk away.

“Well, we have shorts and really cute shirts here and oh I bought this for my friend’s girls. Isn’t it cute? I just love it so much…” she went on.

I smiled and nodded and slowly backed away. She continued to talk but I turned my attention to the clothes around me. I pulled a pair of shorts from the rack and held them up.

“Seriously?!” I said under my breath. “Is this a joke?”

I pulled at the fabric, would this even cover her butt?  My goal here was not to get my 5 year old daughter shorts that allowed her vagina to hang out. I save those for me. I wanted to get her clothes, that covered her for the summer.

And that’s when it hit me… I was no longer in the toddler section of the store. Gone where the cute rompers, sundresses and tee shirts with little sparkly ice cream cones on them. Apparently clothes for  little girls go from fully covered toddlers to skanky bare it all Brittany Spears wanna be’s.

photo (1)

I sighed again.

Well maybe when she is 25 and trying to find a husband can she wear clothes like this but not now. She is already able to collect little boy’s phone numbers with a smile, heaven help me if I allow her to wear a shirt that bares her midriff.

“How about this?” the sales clerk said as she thrust a mesh shirt with rhinestones at me. “This would be so cute with a little tank top or bra.”

I looked at the woman.

“Um, no.” I said, “I’m dressing a little girl. Not a street walker.”

And with that, I went in search of the toddler section. One more year in toddler clothes is not going to hurt her.

How I Know My Daughter will be a Good Mother… Someday

mother and daughter

My darling daughter,

I know that you are aware tomorrow is Mother’s Day. You have been making cards and pictures nonstop for about a week now and I love every single drawing you made. Especially the card where you wrote, “Mom and Dad, I hope you know to love me the most.” The cuteness is just too much to take sometimes.

There are some days I watch you and I feel so blessed to have you for my daughter and then in a about 5 minutes you will do something that will make me was to strangle you. It’s just the nature of the mother/daughter relationship. Don’t believe me, just ask Nonna. I am sure upon occasion Nonna wishes she could clock me up side the head.

Someday, I hope that you will choose to have children. Since you are 5 now, I hope this day is like in 20 years. I would love to watch you as a mother. Learning the joys and trials that come with it.

I can already tell that you will be a  fabulous mother and here are 5 reasons why.

Communication. As a mother, you need to communicate with your children, a healthy open dialog is good. All the books say to get down on the child’s level, look them in the eye and talk to them using words they understand. Yeah, as you know…. I ain’t got time for that. So yell. I know that you will excel in this because you learn from the best, me, and it is your choose form of communication for your brothers.

Sleep. Once the seed of a new baby is planted in your belly, you will never ever ever sleep the same again. Pregnancy sleep is crap and then once that baby is out, the gloves come off and there is no sleeping. I am glad you are getting yourself accustomed to this now since you regularly wake up in the middle of the night to tell me random things like there is a dragon in your room or the house might catch on fire.

Relationships. If you are going to want to have children, you are going to need a boy. I will explain exactly how and why you need a boy in a few years but just know that you will need one. This is an area that you don’t struggle in. Already, you have the men in your life wrapped around your little finger and don’t get me started on all the little boy phone numbers that you bring home from school. Yes my love, there is a chastity belt in your future. Again, I will explain more when you are older.

Housekeeping. This is an area that I have failed you in. I am not a good example on how to keep a house clean. I just don’t like to clean and by the look of your room, I know cleaning will not be your strong suit. Let’s just hope that whoever you choose as a life partner will like cleaning.  If not, I fear you may be featured on an episode of Hoarders.

Avoidance. Every good mother needs to master the skill of avoidance. Don’t want to do the dishes? Avoid them until there are no clean dishes and either the dad does them or just buy new ones. Don’t want to deal with the latest child drama? Grab you phone which will get you to the Internet and hide.  Since you regularly play on the DS to avoid doing what I ask, I have no doubt you will continue to master this skill.

There you have it, my sweet girl. I think motherhood will suit you, again in about 20 years and not sooner. I am sure as time passes, I will be able to add to this list but for now, know that I love you and Happy Mother’s Day to me and all the other mothers out there.

He Won’t Marry Me

Kindergarten Love Gone Wrong

“What was that?” I asked mainly of myself since Jeff as wearing headphones playing a game.

I didn’t expect a response and he only glanced up as I walked up the stairs. I had heard a loud thump which I thought maybe was a child jumping around instead of being in bed sleeping.

When I reached the top of the stairs, all was quiet. I opened the door to Jake and Quinn’s room slowly, hoping to surprise the perpetrator but I found all was still and as it should be expect Quinn’s bed was empty.

Then I knew what the thump was. Quinn had fallen out of bed. This was not an uncommon thing for this child. He needs a seat belt when in bed, always has. Most nights, he will sleep on the floor by choice. Why the floor is more comfy than his bed, is beyond me

I scooped him up, which of course startled him and he began flailing and smacked me in the boob. I laid him back in bed. I tucked him in and turned to kiss Jake on the forehead. I slipped out of the room quietly as I had come in, rubbing my wound. Once in the hall, I decided I might as well check on Claire.

I opened her door a crack and that’s when I heard the first sniffle.

“Claire?!” I said as I opened the door wide enough to walk in. “What is it, honey?”

When she saw me that is when she lost it. Her sniffles because full blown body shaking sobs. Big crocodile tears rolled down her face and snot dripped from her nose. She was ugly crier just like her momma.

I stroked her back and let her get her cry out of her system . I had no idea what was wrong. I thought that maybe she had a bad dream about tornadoes and fires, the two things she fears the most. I also knew that sometimes, a girl just needs to cry.

“H-h-he w-w-w-won’t,” she started in between sobs, barely able to talk, “m-m-m-marry m.e” Then she broken down again.

I hugged her close to my body, confused. “What?” I asked.

“Landon won’t marry me,” she spit out at me and wiped her snotty nose on my shirt.

“Oh honey,” I said hugging her and stroking her hair while trying not to laugh. I could tell to her this was a really big deal and I didn’t want to down play but I also want to convey that 5, almost 6, was way too young to trying to find a husband.

“You and Landon are friends, right?” I asked and she nodded, “Well then why don’t you just play together on the play ground at recess?”

“Because I want to play on the monkey bars with Mason and Landon and he wants to play soccer,” she answered.

“Did you ask him to play on the monkey bars?” I questioned.

“No, I just ran away and he was supposed to know that is what I wanted.” she said and began sobbing again.

It was then that I had a premonition into our future. I saw her and I sitting together in about 10 years, 15 going on 16, her body so big it won’t fit on my lap but me wishing it could as I tried to comfort her because some boy hurt her.

“I don’t understand boys,” she sobbed, “I tell him what to do but he won’t listen.”

“Oh honey,” I said, again trying to hide my smile. I just rubbed her back and let her cry.

When her little body stilled, I kissed her head. She pulled away from my hug and laid her head once again on the pillow. “It will be ok,” comforted. “I promise, it will.”

She sighed.

“How about tomorrow, before recess and before you run away from him, why don’t you ask him to play with you. Ask him to play soccer or on the swings. He can’t read your mind, sweetie. You have to use your words.” I said trying to teach her one of the most important lessons a girl can learn about relationships.

“Ok, momma.” She said.

I leaned down and kissed her head. “Sleep now, my sweet girl. Sleep.”

With her eyelids getting heavy, I slipped out of the room and silently closed the door behind me. “Worrying about getting married at 5 years old. Now that’s funny but oh so sweet.”