From the Mommy Files…

Archive for March 2010

No one likes a backseat driver. How about a three year-old backseat driver? I didn’t know this was even possible. She’d learned that red means stop, green means go, and yellow means “be careful, the red light is coming.” I didn’t know that she would use this basic knowledge to tell ME how to drive. A three year-old!

This morning we were driving to preschool. The street the school is on was closed because the city was cutting tree branches with large equipment. So we had to drive around, back out to the main street, then go all the way around – “no outlet” streets and one-ways would not allow us to cut through anywhere. So I got to a stoplight. It turned green while I was checking the one year-old in the backseat. “It’s green Mommy!” the three year-old shouted. OK, I thought, and just said “Thank you, Honey.” Well, we were in the left turn lane and with all the traffic no one was able to turn. “Why aren’t we going Mommy? It’s green,” she called. I tried to explain that there were cars coming in the other direction and if the people turned, they’d crash. She didn’t respond, so I thought that was it.

Guess again.

We missed that light, so we had to wait. Then came a little voice from the backseat, “Why didn’t you turn, Mommy?”  I responded, “It wasn’t my turn.” She then said, “Oh.” The light turned green again, and we were first in line. “Green!” she announced. I proceeded to the middle of the intersection and waited for traffic to clear so I could turn. “Mommy!” The voice seemed annoyed this time. “Why aren’t you going? It’s green!” So I began to explain again that if we turned we would hit another car. When we finally made the turn, a “yeah!” came from the backseat. All I could do was laugh to myself.

Now we approached another stoplight, and it was red. “It’s red Mommy. You have to stop!” I said OK, and tried not to let it bother me. Then, she announced the green, and again wanted to know why I wasn’t going when it was the go light. I don’t like backseat drivers, but a three year-old one? Come on! I felt myself starting to get irritated, and I reminded myself that reasoning with a three year-old basically impossible.

We arrived at school just fine, without the advice of the backseat driver. We saw another child in the parking lot. After exchanging greetings, my little one said, “you know, my mommy wouldn’t go when the light said go. I don’t know what’s going on.” The mother looked at me, chuckled and said, “You too?”

What is it about naps? We adults have an absolute love affair with them, and kids, well, they try to avoid them like the plague. I tell my kids, “trust me; you aren’t missing out on anything!” They still don’t believe me. When will they finally heed my words? When will they realize the value of the nap, the sheer joy of napping? Will it be, when they have their first hangover?  When they have to pull all-nighters studying? Or will it ultimately happen when they become parents themselves? Oh gosh – I hope it doesn’t take THAT long. Who knows, but I wish it would happen soon!

I remember reading something on Facebook a few months ago that had me cracking up. It was from a guy, in his late 20s. My husband and I both got a big kick out of it. It said: “Dear Nap, I’m sorry I was so mean to you when I was younger. Now that I’m older, I do realize how important you are, and I was wondering. Can we get reacquainted?” It was something like that and I loved it. I wish babies and kids knew (or at east could acknowledge) that naps were good!

I have heard many new moms say, “Heck, I’d kill for a nap right now!” And heck, I’ve paid for a nap! Yes, I’ve hired a babysitter to take care of things so I could nap. Naps are good and soooo necessary! Due to health issues, we didn’t have any family help. When #2 came a long, a dear friend of mine came to take my older daughter a couple of times a week, so I could rest when the baby napped. She saved my life!

I recall a time, when the girls were quite young, my life seemed like it was a series of naps. And I loved each and every second of those naps. For a while, I couldn’t sleep more than a few hours at a time. I was in nap mode 24/7! Now I find that I can sleep 7 or 8 hours, but no more, or I feel like I’ve slept too much. However, I can get up for ½ hour and then go back to sleep for a couple more hours. The operative word is could, because it rarely happens. I’m still in a sort of nap mode, I guess. Last weekend, my husband took the girls downstairs to give them breakfast so I could sleep in. Couldn’t do it! Thanks for trying, Honey. That was an awesome gift. I wish I could have taken advantage of it!

My 3 year-old pretty much refuses to nap. When, at the age of 2, we moved her to a “big girl room” with a “big girl bed,” she announced, “big girls don’t nap!” I remember the conversation. I said, “uh-huh!” and she said, “Nope!” Then I told her how much Mommy likes to nap, and that I’m a big girl. She said, “No you aren’t. You’re a mommy!” So now, do you get that, in 2 year-old logic? Big girls can’t nap, but mommies can. Hmmm….so how do we nap if the big girls don’t? Ah….the $64,000 question!

My one year-old gets upset at nap time. She is terribly afraid she will miss some momentous and wonderful thing that her big sister might do – because big sisters always do momentous and wonderful things – and has a fit when she even sees her bed. It takes her a bit to settle down, but most of the time, she does. I must confess, she is a better napper that the first. We had trouble getting there, but we did. #1 gave up the morning nap at 9 months. Fortunately for me, #2 still naps most mornings, and in the afternoon.

Now by afternoon, as most moms can attest, I am dragging my butt. So I try to get my 3 year-old to lie down on the couch with me, so I can catch a few zzz’s.  Some days it works, but other days, she’s so squirmy or is in the mood for multitasking. You know, read a book, but play with toys and sing a song. All when you would love just 15 minutes to snooze. Whoever said mommies never get a break…was telling the God’s truth!

After one of the girls was born, I made a comment once, saying, “When am I going to get some sleep?” The response – “When your kids are 18.” Something tells me there will be sleepless nights then too – with different issues at hand. What can you do? I guess naps will always be my best friend, well, my second best friend.  I’ll keep trying to get my daughters to appreciate napping. We all could use a recharge, couldn’t we?

OMG! Did I really say that? Yikes! I swore I would NEVER say that! You know what I’m talking about – the things your mom used to say to you that you SWORE IN A MILLION YEARS YOU WOULD NEVER SAY. I did. I said it. I can’t believe that came from my mouth!

One day, it was lunchtime for my 3 year-old. She’d requested her favorite, mac and cheese. I served her lunch and asked her to come to sit down. After a while, she came and sat at the table and basically goofed around. After about ½ hour of trying to cajole her into eating, (yeah, you’ve been there too!) I asked her why she wasn’t eating. She replied, “I don’t feel like eating.” I asked if she was hungry, and she said she was. Then I asked why she wasn’t eating. She said, “I don’t want mac and cheese.” I reminded her that she requested it.  We went back and forth a few times. Ultimately, she said defiantly, “Well, I don’t want it!” And then it came out of nowhere. “There are kids in the world that don’t have any food!”  I didn’t realize at first that I said it. To that, my little one responded, “Really?”

So I hadn’t yet determined if she was being sarcastic or she was genuinely interested in hearing about these kids when it hit me. The horror! My mother used to tell me that all the time. I was a very finicky eater and there was a lot I wouldn’t eat. My mom would repeat that mantra over and over. My response? “Well, then send them my food!” I think that quip made her angrier than the fact that I didn’t eat. IN MY MIND, I SWORE TO MYSELF I WOULD NEVER SAY SUCH RIDICULOUS THINGS TO MY KIDS. Well, I guess I just ate my words! How did this happen? What is happening to me? My mother has taken over my brain! HELP!!! What’s next?

Meanwhile, my daughter was speaking to me and I didn’t say anything; I couldn’t hear her as I was reminiscing, thinking about my own refusing-to-eat days. While a part of me wanted to simply ask her what else she wanted to eat – she has to eat, and well, in a way I wanted to forget that I uttered the words I said I would never say – I stuck to my guns: “Come on, it’s not a restaurant! You asked for mac and cheese.” She told me she wasn’t going to eat it, so I took it away, and told her she’d eat it for dinner, but there was no other lunch, only that one. She went to play and 20 minutes later, came to ask if she could eat her lunch now. “Mommy,” she said. “I think I am ready for mac and cheese now.” I took it out of the refrigerator and set the plate in front of her. To my surprise, she said, “I’m glad we have food to eat, Mommy.” “Eat your lunch, Sweetie,” I said, and walked away, thinking, “Mother knows best.” Isn’t it amazing how much smarter our mothers get, the older we get? I didn’t want to admit it, but she’s smarter than I gave her credit for.

Another day I said something else she always said. And I realized that sometimes there just isn’t an explanation, or you’re just so frustrated, and you can’t say what you’re really thinking. Oh, I think you know where I’m going…that timeless phrase: “Because I’m the mom and I say so!” Well, we’ve become mothers. Why wouldn’t we say the things we learned from the example we had: Mom. Now, the question remains; will I share this little story with my mom? And more importantly…what other fun sayings will come out of my mouth?


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BooBoo BeDoux

Bebs LaRoux

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