Anti-Princess Mama

Dear Pretty Princess,

imageThanks a lot for nothing!  Because of you, a simple rhyming board book, my two-year-old twins now know what a princess is.  Because of you, they put on dresses and spin around, saying “ta-da.”  Because of you, there are a row of frilly dress-up dresses and tutus hanging to dry in my laundry room.  Because of you, all things must be “pretty” to be worthy.IMG_0694

Don’t try to say it isn’t your fault.  Before my son found you in the Little Library up the street from us, there were no princess in our house and therefore no “princess” in my girls’ vocabulary.  He thought he was doing something nice for his little sisters by picking out a book for them along with some books for himself.  I tried to intercept you before the twins saw you, but it was too late.  Before I knew it, I was reading, “One pretty princess puts on her crown.  To go to the ball, she must pick out a gown..” over and over and over again.

imageAt the very least, couldn’t you be a more modern princess?  I mean, blonde hair and blue eyes aren’t at all representative of my bi-racial family.  And picking the pink gown is soooo predictable.  At least the girls agree with me that the both the green and yellow gowns in your closet are much “prettier” than the pink one you chose.  Maybe there is hope for them, after all.

The bottom line is this: don’t get too comfortable.  As soon as I think I can get rid of you without causing massive meltdowns, it will be back to the Little Library for you.  Actually, now that I think about it, I don’t want to cause the same grief for another unsuspecting mother.  I will have to find another place for you to go where you can’t taint the minds of young impressionable girls.  Hopefully this is just a phase that will pass by soon.

Sincerely,

An Anti-Princess Mama

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Sugar

The first step in solving a problem is admitting you have a problem, so here I go:

I’m addicted to sugar. I love sweets!  I can pass up a bag of chips or a bowl of popcorn without a second thought, but put a brownie, cookie, or fun-size candy bar in front of me and I’m helpless to say no.

Tonight my parents and nieces who are visiting from Colorado came over for dinner.  My imagemom made brownie sundaes for dessert, one of my personal favorite ways to consume sugar.  After dinner I had a generous sundae and was quite satisfied.  But then, after the kids went to bed, the brownies started calling my name.  I wasn’t hungry, mind you.  But there they were: soft, chewy, chocolately decadence in a pan, beckoning me to take another bite.  So I did, just one.  But of course that wasn’t enough and I ended up eating an entire second brownie.  It was delicious, but I didn’t need it, and now I’m a little too full.

Step two is to try a solution.  I find that if I brush my teeth, I won’t get something to eat unless I’m really, truly hungry and not just in the mood to snack.  Starting tomorrow, I’m going to brush my teeth with the kids when they are getting ready for bed in the hopes of deterring myself from snacking the night away.

Step three is to evaluate your progress.  It’s going to be hard, but I’ll see how this goes!

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Snooked

My son was all smiles this afternoon when I got home.  His kindergarten teacher just started an “Author’s as Mentors” writing unit with a focus on Mo Willems, and Buddy Boy was brimming with the new things he learned about the author.

“Where is Knuffle Bunny?” He suddenly exclaimed.  “I have to show you something!”

Knowing Knuffle Bunny is a favorite of his younger twin sisters, he shot across the living room and dug through their book bin under the entry-way bench.  “I can’t find it!” He cried, coming up empty handed.

“It’s downstairs, then.  Go look while I start dinner,” I told him, pulling vegetables and chicken out of the fridge.  I finished peeling the carrots and had started to chop them when Buddy Boy returned up the stairs with a well-loved copy of Knuffle Bunny in his hand.

“You know Mo Willems writes the Pidgeon books, right?” He asked me.  I nodded.  “Well, look at this!”

He turned the book around to show me the page where the family is running through the park, his finger pointing to one of the other people in the foreground of the picture.  “Look at this!  He snooked the pigeon into the book!” The look on his face was pure delight.

“He what?” I asked, looking at the picture again.

“He snooked the pigeon into the book.  Isn’t that funny!”  His smile stretched from ear to ear.  “You know what?  He snooks him into ALL of his books!”

Sure enough, there was the Pidgeon on the park-goer’s t-shirt.  I smiled both at my son’s enthusiasm for his new-found favorite author and at his invented vocabulary.  “Wow, Buddy, that is really cool!  We’ve read that book tons of times, and I never even noticed.”

Buddy Boy carried Knuffle Bunny into the living room while I finished up dinner, my heart full as I thought about how grateful I am that all of my kids love books.  As we sat down to eat, I couldn’t help myself.  “Hey, Buddy, what did you say Mo Willems did with the Pidgeon in his books?”

“He snooked him in!”

I laughed out loud.  Snooked.  I like it!

Headed South

How did the day start out so great and then head south so suddenly?  I wish I could forget, but it’s still so fresh in my mind…

A) I tried to go to Fleurt, a local florist and gift shop where my husband gave me a gift card for my birthday.  I was so excited to spend half and hour alone in the tiny shop, but when I got there, the sign on the door told me it is closed on Mondays.

B) I went down the street to the kids consignment shop that is sadly going out of business.  The owner was there, and when I asked her why she was closing, she told me the culture has changed and most people are ordering things online.  Her clientele dropped off pretty suddenly and she just couldn’t stay ahead.

C) The twins woke up from their naps with fevers.  They’ve had runny noses for a few days, and were coughing this morning, but now they are full-blown sick.  That means clinging to  mommy and fussy all night.

D) My five-year-old son had a complete meltdown over the fact that he didn’t get to play Zelda on his cousin’s phone before she left our house.  I’m talking all-out rage, directed towards his father because his dad took them all to ice cream and therefore “wasted” his game-playing time.

E) My husband was totally grumpy as a result of both C and D.

Luckily, there is always another day to go to Fleurt.  The end of another local business has strengthened my resolve to shop locally.  The girls perked up with the help of Children’s Tylenol.  My son and I practiced ways to calm down by taking deep breaths in between reading books.  And my husband…well, he’s still grumpy because he thinks he is getting sick.  But turning around 4 out of 5 is still pretty good.

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Priceless

Ferry ride across Puget Sound-$14.80

Hot dogs, marshmallows, chocolate bars, and graham crackers-$20.35

Pocket knife for whittling s’more sticks-$40.00

Dinner around the campfire with my family-Priceless

 

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Every Night

Every night

for the past twenty-seven months

I’ve put my twins down

then turn on

the baby monitor

 

Every night

for the past twenty-seven months

I do my chores around the house

holding in one hand

the baby monitor

 

Every night

for the past twenty-seven months

I settle down with my book and read

to the hum of

the baby monitor

 

Every night

for the past twenty-seven months

I cuddle up next to my husband

in the company of

the baby monitor

 

Every night

for the past twenty-seven months

I dream about the day

when I no longer need

the baby monitor

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This, Too, Shall Pass

There are way more brain cells in my head dedicated to random Pokémon facts that I would like to admit.  For example, did you know that:

  • Ponyta evolves into Rapidash?
  • Squirtle is a water-type Pokémon?
  • Pikachu comes from the Central Kalos region?

Well, I do! It’s the result of having a Pokémon-obsessed five-year-old who plays, eats, and sleeps Pokémon.  I wouldn’t say the brain cells are completely wasted.  My Pokémon knowledge has made me pretty popular with many students at school, especially the first grade boys.  They appreciate that I understand what they are talking and writing about, and I appreciate that connection to them.  But I do have to say that I won’t be sad if I never have to:

  • read another page from the Pokémon Deluxe Essential Handbook: the Need to Know Facts on Over 700 Pokémon (yes, 700!)image
  • play a round of Pokemon cards (why on earth would the game require you to have 60 cards in your hand–talk about taking forever!)
  • watch a gym-battle in the Adventures of Ash & Pikachu television series (seen one, you’ve seen them all)
  • or play “Pokémon Pet Shop” (actually my favorite Pokémon activity because my son made it up)

So, with that in mind, you will completely understand why I was so excited when my son told my husband on one of their bike rides, “Dad, someday when I don’t like Pokémon anymore, what should I do with all my cards?”  Someday…he said someday! That means there is a light at the end of this Pokémon tunnel.  I’m not sure how long it will take, but like I’ve learned to say in parenting, this, too, shall pass!

When Kindergarteners Write

This morning my calendar was blocked out to grade kindergarten information writing pieces for one of our teachers who is on sick leave.  Normally, grading on-demand writing assessments is not something I look forward to.  But when kindergarteners write, it’s usually pretty entertaining.

The first piece that caught my eye was this one. IMG_0703“All About Recess Disasters” for those of you not fluent in reading kindergarten writing (it is a special skill primary teachers possess).  As you can see from the illustration, recess is a very dangerous place, full of blood, tears and liars, as depicted in this next picture: IMG_0706 Who knew?

The highlight of my reading, though, had to be this piece: IMG_0704Yes, you read that right, “All About Loins.”  Such a mature topic for kindergarten!  This eloquent and articulate information book taught me that loins have paws, legs, ears, and eyes.  And then, using a sophisticated craft move, the author saved the best fact for last: “Loins have fur.” IMG_0707I had no idea I would have such an educational morning!

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Lunch

I hate packing my lunch.  It takes way more time than it should.  I do it at night since I am not a morning person and mornings at my house are rushed.  I have a pretty good routine down:

  • main-dish (usually left-overs)
  • fruit or vegetable
  • salty snack
  • sweet snack
  • peanut butter and jelly sandwich

Usually I eat my PB&J around 10:30, my lunch around 1:00, and save a snack to eat after school.  Last night I packed all of the usual items, but for some reason it wasn’t enough today and all my food was gone by 2:00.  So now here I am at the end of the day, my stomach growling and no snack.  I guess it is a good incentive to leave work closer to the time I’m officially done instead of when I usually leave!

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No Need Jacket!

“No need jacket,” Baby Girl B declared.  My two-year-old twins and I were heading out the door to see a friend who lives just a few blocks away.  Although the sun was shining, there was a cold breeze blowing and jackets were necessary.

“Yes, we need our jackets,” I said as I helped Baby Girl A into hers and zipped it up.  Turning back to B, I held up two options.  “Do you want your purple jacket or your rain coat?”

“No need jacket!” B insisted, dodging out of my reach.

I quickly caught her and plopped her down in my lap, intending to put her jacket while I distracted her. “We’re going to see Mommy’s friend.  She has a new baby! The baby might be sleeping.  Shhhhh!  We’ll have to be quiet,” I told the girls while I pulled one sleeve on.  I thought it was working, then all of the sudden…

“NO NEED JACKET!” B yelled, twisting away and ripping the jacket off.

Hmmmm, what to try next? I thought. “OK, B, your sister and I are leaving.  If you don’t wear your jacket you have to stay here.”  I opened the front door, let A out and blocked B from learning.  “Good bye!  We’re going because we have our jackets.”

I closed the door and B immediately started to howl.  I waited a few seconds, my hand still on the doorknob, then opened the door.  “Are you ready for your jacket?”

“No need jacket,” B glared at me grumpily.

I checked the time on my phone. This was taking way too much time. “Yes, you need a jacket.  No more playing,” I let her know as I grabbed the jacket from the floor and scooped Baby Girl B up in my arms.  We wrestled around for a moment, B putting up a good fight, but I finally got the jacket on and zipped up. There, finally, hopefully that’s that.

“Come on, girls!  I’m going to get my sunglasses out of the car.”  I opened the door and dug my sunglasses out of the glove compartment.  I cleaned the lenses quickly, put them on, and turned around just in time to see…

Baby Girl B unzip her jacket and fling it across the grass with glee.  “No need  jacket!” she laughed, dancing away from me.

I grabbed the discarded jacket and chased B down.  “That’s it!” In a moment of genius, I managed to get the jacket back on B, but this time I put it on backwards and zipped it up her back.  I couldn’t help but smile as she twisted and pulled, trying unsuccessfully to get it off. “Alright, let’s go!” I said, back to my good mood, and headed off down the street.

Baby Girl B quickly forgot about her jacket as she became engaged in our walk, but I couldn’t stop smiling at her backwards jacket and the zipper up her back. It was a small victory, but when you’re outnumbered by two-year-olds, any victory is worth relishing.

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