Tuesday, June 18, 2013

TSW?T: A Week Full of Pants

They Said What? Tuesday:  Volume 9

My 3-year-old daughter...
"Ouch!  Ouch!  These pants are ferocious!"
...as her feet were getting stuck in the bottom of her leggings, while she was wrestling against me trying to put them on.  Who knew pants could be ferocious.  Maybe 'ferocious' is the new 'fierce'?

"I want a muffin English, please."
...her breakfast request

"Do you have a chicken nugget in your pants?"
...totally unprompted.  Your guess is as good as mine.  The only information I can provide you is she was sitting at the kitchen counter and I was standing across from her.  There was a chicken nugget on her plate and I was, indeed, wearing pants.  That's all I got.

"I want another undersea dog!"
...her request for another underdog at the playground while swinging.  A little too much Little Mermaid on Disney radio, I think..."Under the Sea...Under the Sea..."

My almost 5-year-old son...
"My foot is almost 5 years old."
...explaining why he needed new sandals this summer.  And while I have never thought of individual body parts being a certain number of years old, I suppose he is correct.  Those feet of his are indeed almost 5 years old.

Me:  "Do you like your new haircut?"
P (while looking in the mirror):  "Yes!!  I don't even look like myself!"
Me:  "Who do you look like?"
P:  "Like a boy with short hair!"
...our discussion after he got his first hair cut of the summer.  This is the shortest it's ever been for him!

"Do you have to wear underpants when you're a grown up?"
...ladies and gentlemen, I will defer to you to answer that one for yourself, based on personal preference

P:  "Mom, why are eating by your husband?"
Me:  "Because I love him."
P:  "Oh.  I'm eating by my sister because I love her."
...our conversation at dinner.  And then my heart melted just like the butter on my garlic bread.

No matter what they say, You Are a Good Mom.


If you haven't already, be sure to stop by and check out the "You're a Good Mom" page on Facebook.  "Like" it and any new blog posts will be delivered right to your news feed!  Thanks!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Why We Love Dads

Dads do so much; for our kids, for our families, for us.  We love them them beyond words and beyond measure.  Here are just some of the reasons why we love them!  (and a little change to the blog title just for them on their big day!)

Dads fix things.  Like bikes and remote control cars and broken hearts.

Dads build things.  Like Lego towers and cabinets in the garage and self confidence on that very first bike ride without training wheels.

Dads listen. 

Dads worry. 

Dads pray.

Dads open things.  Like really tight pickle jars and car doors that have frozen shut and minds to all the amazing things to be curious about on a walk through the woods.  

Dads lift heavy things.  Like boxes and furniture and sleeping toddlers from the car to their beds.

Dads guide. 

Dads inspire. 

Dads encourage.

Dads watch things.   Like The Golf Channel and hours of youth soccer and purses while Moms are shopping.

Dads balance things.  Like work time and family time and checkbooks.

Dads laugh.  

Dads tickle.  

Dads wrestle.

Dads change things.  Like light bulbs and flat tires and temper tantrums into giggle fests.

Dads grill things.  Like hot dogs and hamburgers and potential boyfriends of their daughters.

Dads love.  

Dads love.  

Dads love.

Dads do all these things, and so much more.  I could never capture them all in a simple list.*  

Today is a day we celebrate Dads.  We celebrate them for all they do.  We celebrate them for who they are.  We celebrate them for how they love and care for their kids.  

You Are a Good Mom, and be sure to tell a Dad he's a good Dad today, too.  Along with wishing him a "Happy Father's Day," thank him for something incredible he does as a Dad.  

*I'm sure there is so much more!  What are the amazing things that your Dad does for you?  That your kids' Dad does for them?  That any amazing Dad you know does?  Add a comment below to keep this list growing!


If you haven't already, be sure to stop by and check out the "You're a Good Mom" page on Facebook.  "Like" it and any new blog posts will be delivered right to your news feed!  Thanks!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Sugar Packets and Chicken Tetrazzini

Sugar Packets, Anyone?
[Disclaimer:  For this story to make sense, you need to have this information.  On my mom's side of the family, I am the oldest cousin.  There.  I said it.  OLDEST.  My youngest cousin is 9-years-old.  I'm not going to tell you how big of an age gap that creates, but it spans upwards of two decades.]

Any time my cousin can join us for any type of adventure, or even just coming over to play at our house, it is a very good day.  My kids absolutely adore her (as do I) and any fighting or bickering between brother and sister instantly evaporates the second she walks in.  She is creative and funny and loving and patient and all-around incredible.

She is also a big part of an "everyday" kind of moment that became "extraordinary" before my very eyes.     

A couple of weeks ago, my cousin joined us for a grand adventure to the Children's Museum.  How do you follow such an outing?  Well, by going out to lunch, of course.  So out to lunch we went.   

I ordered our food, then got the 3 kids settled at a table while I ventured off to gather silverware and drinks.  (This whole process was made entirely possible by having an awesome 9-year-old there.  Had she not been there, I'd have been trudging my kids all over to get drinks, napkins...no, wait right there.  Had she not been there, I would have zipped them through a drive-thru on our way home!)  After getting everyone's drinks, utensils and a huge pile of napkins, I headed back to the table to wait for our food to be delivered.  I started to lay everything out on the table and was listening in on the conversation at hand.

"And then you can take one sugar packet or the whole row.  You get to pick.  But if you take the last one, then you lose."

I instantly knew what my cousin was talking about.  I didn't have to see what she was doing or ask any further questions.  I knew.  I knew in my head.  I knew in my heart.

I looked at the table, and sure enough, she had sugar packets laid neatly in rows of diminishing lengths between her and my almost five-year-old son.

She was patiently teaching him a game my grandpa had taught me many, many years ago, when I was about my son's age.  It was one of many classic restaurant games my grandpa had taught me over the years.  It ranks right up there with York Peppermint "suckers" on toothpicks, too.

I think my granpda has taught that game to every single one of his nine grandkids, and played countless matches to keep the peace and pass many, many minutes of waiting for food over the years.  

It's hard to find the words, but to see my cousin teaching it to my son was amazing.  Amazing to see part of my own childhood being passed on to my son.  Amazing that despite our age gap, my 9-year-old cousin and I have this piece of shared history, of common experience.  Amazing that certain things pass the test of time, and will continue to be shared and passed on to generation after generation.

I'd Know That Tetrazzini Anywhere
My grandma on my dad's side of the family made hands-down the best chicken tetrazzini of all time.  

Of.  All.  Time.  

I am not exaggerating or elaborating here.  This is just a fact.  There is something about it that was just delicious.  The noodles.  The mushrooms.  The chicken.  The sauce...oh, the sauce!  I am getting hungry just thinking about it now.

I know some people a lot of "food memories" from their childhoods.  I am not one of those people.  

My grandma's chicken tetrazzini, however, is the exception to the rule for me.

The funny thing is, I had no idea that I actually had even a single "food memory" from my childhood until I got married.

From one of my bridal showers, I had received lots of recipe cards in an adorable little recipe box as a gift.  Cooking is neither a passion nor a talent of mine, so I clearly remember hauling that box of recipe cards out like it was a lifeline when I was a newlywed.  (Wait, what?  We're supposed to eat?  Like real food and real meals?)  

As I flipped through the cards one week, I came across a recipe for chicken tetrazzini, scribed in my aunt's unmistakable handwriting.  I pulled it out, thinking "Hmm, that sounds good.  Even better, I actually know what all the ingredients are on this very short ingredient list.  Sold."  I added the necessary items to my grocery shopping list, and was off to Meijer.

I will spare you the details of actually making this meal, but when I sat down to dinner with my husband and took my first bite of chicken tetrazzini, I was in shock.  It was like I traveled back in time 20 years and was sitting at her dining room table.  I could picture the white dish she used to serve it in.  I could picture the chandelier over the black dining room table.  I could picture my sister, my dad and my grandpa sitting around the table as she carried the meal in from the kitchen.  (Not the rolls, mind you.  Never the rolls.  Those were always forgotten...another cherished family story!)    

Needless to say, this had nothing to do with my cooking.  I simply carried out the steps written on the card by my aunt.  But by sharing this recipe, my aunt has re-shared with me part of my childhood I didn't know I had forgotten.  This dish has taken me there in an instant.  It was a gift she had given me, passed down from her mom to her and from her, thankfully, to me.  

Generation to generation to generation.

My grandmother passed away when I was 11 years old.  That was not nearly enough time with her, but I am thankful for those 11 years.  I am thankful for all she shared with me...her kindness, her compassion, her humor, her wisdom, and her amazing chicken tetrazzini.  I will forever think of her every single time I make it.

When the Everyday Becomes the Extraordinary
I feel beyond blessed to have these precious moments, these pieces of everyday life, to serve as reminders of those who have come before me.  I am so very thankful to be part of incredible families that have generational ties and connections.  I consider it a privilege to have been given memories and experiences and stories from my grandparents, great aunts and great uncles; from my parents, aunts and uncles.  It will be my honor to continue to pass these things on to my own children, and someday grandchildren, and to add our own new memories and experiences and stories to the mix, too.

It doesn't have to be anything special or anything grand.

It is shared with family, and then re-shared and re-shared and re-lived and re-lived countless times.

The everyday becomes the extraordinary.

Sugar Packets and Chicken Tetrazzini.

You Are a Good Mom, and just as there were Good Moms before you, there will be Good Moms after you.   What have you received?  What are you passing on?  When life and love and laughter are passed from generation to generation, extraordinary things happen.


If you haven't already, be sure to stop by and check out the "You're a Good Mom" page on Facebook.  "Like" it and any new blog posts will be delivered right to your news feed!  Thanks!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

TSW?T: Farts and Orphaned Caterpillars

They Said What? Tuesday:  Volume 8

My 3-year-old daughter...
"Morgan's lovey fart?"
...her very puzzled reaction after my prayer of being thankful for "Morgan's loving heart."  I don't know if she was surprised by the fact that I said 'fart' or the fact that I was thankful for it.

My almost 5-year-old son...
"Your bedroom just hits the spot.  Your bedroom is where I should be because it feels just fine."
...his argument for why he should be in my room instead of his room at bedtime 

"Goodbye little caterpillar!  I hope you find your Mom! I love you!"
...the emotional goodbye to the caterpillar we had been checking out for a grand total of 2 minutes on our walk

"We did not take a nap and we still have a good attitude.  Isn't this a funny day?"
...if by 'funny' you mean completely out of character and only true for the 3 minutes before that sentence came out of your mouth, then yes, yes it is.  The funniest day ever.

No matter what they say, You Are a Good Mom.


If you haven't already, be sure to stop by and check out the "You're a Good Mom" page on Facebook.  "Like" it and any new blog posts will be delivered right to your news feed!  Thanks!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

"Parent"dox: If You Clean It, They Will Dirty It

Sunday Night "Parent"dox #15:  If You Clean It, They Will Dirty It

This "parent"dox is not incredibly clever or witty or insightful.  (Just setting the bar low and giving you an easy out if you're not up for reading this entire post.)

It is this simple truth:  If you clean it, they will dirty it.

To elaborate upon it a bit further:

If you have cleaned it, it will get dirty.  Soon.

If it is already dirty, it will not get any dirtier.  It will remain at that level of dirtiness from now until the end of time.  That is, of course, until you actually clean it.  (When it has been cleaned, please see the above statement.)

Two recent incidents in my house have made this amply clear.  

Warning: They both involve bodily fluids.  Fear not.  You're a Mom.  I know you can handle it.

Sheets, Sheets and More Sheets
Washing sheets always seems like such a big job to me for some reason.  

First, there is the taking off of the sheets.  In my house, that means one bed that has bed rails on both sides and one bed that is part of bunk beds.  Neither of these are extremely easy tasks.  Next, there is the washing of the sheets, and the remembering to move the sheets from the washer to the dryer.  Then comes my least favorite step in this whole process, which is putting the sheets back on the bed.  Remember the bed rails and bunk bed thing from step one?  Doubly un-fun when it comes to putting the sheets back on those beds.  

Here's where it gets complicated, though.  I need to complete all 3 of these steps within a reasonable amount of time, meaning after my children wake up in the morning and before they have rest time in the afternoon OR after rest time and before bed time.  This puts a bit of a time crunch on things and does not leave much wiggle room for distraction or forgetfulness on my part.  

You should know, both of these things run rampant in my world.  

I know what you're thinking.  Take one set of sheets off, wash them, and while set one is washing, put a second, different set of sheets on the bed.  I know, I know.  But here's the thing.  Then I'm actually going to have to unfold a perfectly (well, not perfectly, but you get the picture) set of folded sheets, and even worse, I'm going to have to now fold the sheets that come out of the dryer.  This is creating an entirely new step of work that can avoided with just putting the sheets from the dryer right on the bed.  

I'm all about efficiency.  Or laziness.  It's your call.

(Those of you with more than 3 sets of bedding to regularly wash or actual top bunk beds you have to change bedding on, God Bless You.  I mean that from the bottom of my heart.  God.  Bless.  You.)

I remember watching an episode of Oprah a few years back and she made a comment about how she liked to have new sheets every other day, because the first day they felt clean and the second day they felt OK, but by the third day they felt used and like they needed to be changed.

I love Oprah.  I really do. 

But every other day?  

I would absolutely love to hang out with Oprah and having her spend the night at my house would be beyond amazing.  But after watching that episode, I learned I'd have to ask her to leave after the second night because the sheets at my house will never be changed every other day.  Never.  As in ever.  As in even for Oprah.

In theory, I wash the sheets once a week.  In reality, I get to it every other week.  In times of desperation, it's more than two weeks and I am not going on record as admitting how long that can be.  Please don't judge.

(This has turned into a super long back story on the deep, underlying issues I apparently have with washing bedding.  There is a point to all this rambling.  Somewhere.)

It had been one of those "times of desperation" in our house as far as washing bedding goes.  During that entire undisclosed amount of time, all was good with all things bedding related, including any type of night time bodily fluid incidents from either of my children.  

I finally got around to washing all 3 sets of bedding and got them back on all 3 beds just before bedtime.  I was actually feeling pretty accomplished and glad to have that unfavorable task completed.  

Unfortunately, you already know where this is going.

In the wee hours of the morning (emphasis on wee), I heard the all-too-familiar cry from my son's bedroom that I knew instantly as the "I had a accident because I was sleeping so soundly" cry of shock, fear, embarrassment and uncomfortable-ness all rolled into one. 

So yeah, those sheets were clean for a good 6 hours before I was washing them again.  

Days and days and days and days and days of being dirty?  Nothing.  One night of being clean?  I should have known that would be an accident-filled night.

Cute Monkey Bath Mat
You now know about how much I despise the whole process that is washing sheets.  You'll be relieved to know I do not have such a relationship with bath mats and bathroom rugs.  I actually don't mind that task, because it's fairly easy and straightforward.  However, you should know, I get to washing those mats and rugs even less frequently than I wash sheets.

The other day, my kids got paint on the cute monkey bath mat in their bathroom.  (Don't even ask...that is another story for another day.  Remind me at some point and I'll tell you.)  Not a big deal.  As I put both of my paint-covered children in the bathtub, I tossed the cute monkey bath mat right into the washing machine.  

After air drying for the rest of the day, I put it back in their bathroom just after my kids had finished their bedtime routine of brushing teeth and going to the bathroom.  It was actually not even totally dry, but it was close enough and I wanted to put the drying rack away before bed and check that off my list, so there you go.

I went downstairs, and before long, I could hear the pitter patter of little feet and a "Mommy!"  I went upstairs to find my 3-year-old standing on the cute, clean, not-even-dry-from-the-washing-machine-yet monkey rug.  She looked up at me with her big blue eyes and said "I didn't make it!"

So close.  So very close.  She tried to get from her bed to the potty, but as she said, she didn't make it.  Needless to say, the damp bath mat was just a little bit more damp at this point from her contribution.  

It had been clean.  For one entire hour.  And back into the washing machine it goes.

Such is life when you're living in a "parent"dox.  But you know what?  I wouldn't change that for anything.

You Are a Good Mom because you keep on washing stuff, even though you know it's just going to get dirty before the day ends anyway.  Keep at it, Mom, keep at it.

If you haven't already, be sure to stop by and check out the "You're a Good Mom" page on Facebook.  "Like" it and any new blog posts will be delivered right to your news feed!  Thanks!!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Patience is a Virtue (or so I've been told...)

Breathe in.  Breathe out.

Find your happy place.  


Oh, I'm sorry!  I didn't see you there.  I was just in the middle of trying to not completely lose my mind.  Or my temper.  Because I've already lost my patience for the day, and I really hope I can find it before dinner time rolls around.

I don't know about you, but I've been struggling a lot lately with being patient.  I wake up every morning thinking "This is it.  This is the day.  Today is going to be different.  I am making a choice to be patient."

And then my kids wake up.

And while I'm still talking myself into a lovely little patience-induced coma, somehow the living room is already trashed, I've made them breakfast which they've only picked at, my formerly somewhat picked up kitchen is now just a pile of dirty dishes, crumbs and half-open boxes of toaster waffles and yogurt containers, and my children have found some earth-shattering, life-changing issue to argue about.  Like who got the yellow cup.  Or whose feet are touching whose chair.  I'm talking serious dilemmas here, people.

Needless to say, I've been feeling like I need a little help to replenish the ol' patience supply here.

Can I Get a Vitamin for That?
I'm all about those lovely prenatal vitamins you choke down during your pregnancy.  (I mean, sure, I felt like I was burping vitamin breath for 3 hours after I took them, but my hair and nails have never grown so much in all my life.)  Prenatal vitamins work wonders and give that little tiny baby growing in your belly everything he or she needs, and help Moms out with all that nutrient business, too.  But what about after that sweet little bundle arrives?  Don't Moms still need, no deserve, some continued help?

I propose this:  Postnatal vitamins.

You would begin taking these postnatal vitamins as soon as Baby arrives, and well, for the rest of your life.  They would continue to make your hair and nails grow at an astonishing rate, but that's not all.  They would (get ready for this...you may want to sit down...) grow your ability to be patient by leaps and bounds.  

You would also be able to sign up for a booster pack when each of your children turn 3, and then again when they turn 13.  And again at 23, as needed, if they move back home.  

Just a thought.  Anyone out there with me?

Real, Not Perfect
I don't mean this post to be a huge "whine fest."  Really, I don't.  (OK, it may contain a little venting.  Which is a second cousin to whining.  Dangerous, I know.)  I simply want it to be real.  And this is where I've been this week, struggling with being patient.  I love my children dearly.  That has never been in question for even a second.  I love them beyond measure, and cherish the minutes and hours and days I have with them.  

But sometimes, if I have to ask them one more time to put their shoes on or explain why they need to pick up the pain-inducing Legos spread across their bedrooms, I feel like I'm going to lose my mind.  

I'm learning it's not just one thing that sucks up all my patience.  It's all the little tiny things that each chip away at my patience little by little, bit by bit, day after day, until poof!, my son dumps an entire container of season salt on his zucchini after I've told him we need to do it together and it's like my world is ending in that moment.  Oh no!  Not the precious $3.95 bottle of season salt or 4 bites of zucchini that have been ruined! Whatever shall we do!  There is clearly no coming back from this catastrophe.  

In these moments (well, it's usually after these moments) I have to remind myself of a few things.  

I am not perfect.  I am human.  

My kids are not perfect.  They are human.  

While I am certain, beyond a shadow of a doubt, our family is not perfect, I am also certain, beyond a shadow of a doubt, of this: We are real.  And honestly, I wouldn't want it any other way.  I don't want to waste precious time with them trying for any of us to be "perfect."  I would so much rather soak up the time we have with each other, all the while being real and imperfect and learning how to do life together.

And sometimes being real means acknowledging when my patience is running low.

So yes, sometimes I find myself apologizing to my kids for using "strong words" (raising my voice).  And yes, sometimes I find myself having to share my feelings about why I felt upset or frustrated when I've asked them for the fifth time to brush their teeth and haven't gotten so much as a response, let alone anything that resembles toothbrushing.  And yes, sometimes we all need to go to our rooms for a little extra quiet time, Mom included, so we can take a second to calm down.

I am not perfect.  I am human.

My kids are not perfect.  They are human.

My hope is that from all my imperfection, they are learning it is OK to be real, to be human themselves.  I hope they are learning how important it is to share how they feel, to apologize, and to make things right when they've done something they wish they hadn't.  

Not Everything You See and Hear is "Real"
All around us, we see images on diapers boxes of Moms of newborns peacefully holding their sleeping child, all the while looking radiant and glowing and well-rested, for crying out loud.  We see commercials with toddlers smiling and laughing while reading books and playing soccer with their smiling and laughing parents.  We see Pinterest posts about school age kids happily baking organic muffins or making their own clothes or building something out of pallets with Mom or Dad by their side.  We see Facebook posts about all the amazing things parents are doing with their amazing kids, and it's like you can just feel the patience and "perfectness" oozing out of them.  

It's not to say that these things aren't wonderful and aren't part of parenting, because they are.  They do exist every now and again and we should enjoy and celebrate them when they happen for us.  

But that's not the day in, day out part of parenting.  That's not the "real" part of parenting we come up against in our most difficult moments.  There are parts of parenting when we struggle to be patient.  When we try to dig into our patience reserves, but find them empty.  When we need to take a step back or lean on others to help us get through a day, an hour, a moment.

I guess all this rambling just to say this...if you find yourself taking lots of deep breaths or trying to find your happy place or counting backward from 100, know you are not alone.  Don't beat yourself up if you've been "human" in any given situation; if you've reacted differently than your "this is exactly how I'm going to parent" before-you-actually-had-kids-self had planned out how you would react.  

Be kind to yourself.  Extend grace to yourself.  If you need to, make amends with whoever you need to, even if that means making amends with your kids.  It doesn't make you any less of a parent.  It makes you more of one.  

Whether it is a day filled with an abundance of patience, or you feel like you're running on your last ounce of patience, You Are a Good Mom.  Hang in there.  Tomorrow is a new day.  You will get another chance to wake up and say "Today, I will be patient."  You will get another chance to make it happen.  And who knows?  The FDA may be close to approving that postnatal vitamin any day now.  


If you haven't already, be sure to stop by and check out the "You're a Good Mom" page on Facebook.  "Like" it and any new blog posts will be delivered right to your news feed!  Thanks!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

NQ(B)TSWT: Swirlycase and Toothpaste

Notable Quotables (Becomes) They Said What? Tuesday:  Volume 7
Because I am the most indecisive individual on the planet, this little weekly collection of quotes from my kids is changing names once again.  Alert the media. 

My 3-year-old daughter...
"Let me show you some toothpaste!"
...singing along with Justin Timberlake to "Suit and Tie" on the radio, in which the actual lyrics are "Let me show you a few things."  Look for her version on iTunes soon.

"Remember the bippy boppy goo guy who hit Cinderella in the head?  'Member that?"
...her addition to our retelling of Cinderella at nap time. 

My almost 5-year-old son...
"I see the word Mom.  It's everywhere!  It's in uppercase and lowercase and SWIRLYcase!"
...referring to the Tervis cup I got from my mom for Mother's Day.  From now on, I will be calling various fonts 'swirlycase' or 'fancycase' or any other type of 'case' I can think of. 

"Maybe we can take her to the vet!"
...his contribution to the discussion my husband and I were having about the plan of action for my daughter if she continued to not feel well.  This line was used very innocently today.  I fear, however, it may be used not-so-innocently when the teenage years arrive.

No matter what they say, You Are a Good Mom.


If you haven't already, be sure to stop by and check out the "You're a Good Mom" page on Facebook.  "Like" it and any new blog posts will be delivered right to your news feed!  Thanks!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

"Parent"dox: "I Need You to Help Me Do Everything By Myself!"

Sunday Night "Parent"dox #14: "I Need You to Help Me Do Everything By Myself!"

Oh, the unspeakable joys of a very independent, very strong-willed three-year-old girl.  

I've been told time and time again that her personality will serve her well as an adult and she'll be assertive and she will be able to speak her mind and and she will be able to really pursue what she wants in this life, and that is all fantastic.  And I agree.  I am thankful for who she is and who God made her to be.  

There truly is great joy, but sometimes it is unspeakable because it's buried under all that independent, strong-willed-ness she's got going on.

Every single thing she does all day can turn into a power struggle in the blink of an eye.  The hard part about this is the number of tasks she faces in a day that are just slightly out of her independent reach.  She either lacks the strength or the height or the manual dexterity or the speed to do them on her own quite yet.  I can honestly see where her frustration comes from.  Unfortunately,  we don't always have the time for her to try and power through things on her own and Mom or Dad has to step in and help her or (Heaven forbid) just do it for her. 

Here are a few snippets from recent days with her need to do everything herself...
  • We delivered a gift to her great aunt at school.  Her brother gave the gift to said aunt.  Four seconds later, my daughter asked for the gift back so she could re-give it to her aunt herself.
  • I carried her to the car from our house.  As soon as her little kicking feet hit the ground, she marched her self right back to the door we had left and walked the same exact path to get herself to the car completely on her own.
  • I attempted to put her tennis shoe on her foot, as we were running late to get to her tumbling class.  As soon as I let go, she took off not only the shoe, but also the sock, in order to do both tasks on her own.  (She also likes the "one-up" or "I'll show you, Mom" move, as well.)
  • After unbuckling her from her car seat, I set her on the ground.  She climbed back into the car to jump down herself, all the while telling me "I do it! I do it!"
I could go on and on, but you get the idea here.  The inspiration for this post, however, occurred a few days ago when I was trying to get her into her car seat.  As you can imagine, she wanted to walk from the house to the car, climb up into the car herself, climb up into her car seat herself and click in the 3 buckles on her car seat herself.  Because we weren't on a time schedule and this particular battle wasn't one I was up to fighting, I let her do everything on her own.  After about 5 minutes of messing with the car seat buckles (which she isn't strong enough to click on her own yet), she looked up at me and said:

"Mom, I need you to help me do everything by myself!"

And there is was.  In her independent, three-year-old way, she had revealed yet another "parent"dox.  I absolutely adore the way she made this statement, too.  She said it in a pretty serious tone, with a furrowed brow, as if I should have known this all along.  It perfectly sums up how she feels about every task she faces throughout the day: she wants to do it by herself, but if she's not quite there yet, she wants me close enough to be able to step in and give her help.  Not full-out help.  Just enough to nudge her into independence.  

Rip the fruit snack wrapper just the tiniest bit so she can do the rest on her own.  Move the cup closer to the edge of the counter so she can reach up and grab it herself.  Untwist the toothpaste cap just one turn so she can complete the task on her own.

In our very best mother/daughter moments, she'll look up at me with her big blue eyes as she's trying to do something all on her own and ask "Mom, we do teamwork on this?"  I cherish those moments when she's not only willing to accept a little help from me, but when she actually asks for it.  Not out and out says "I need help" of course, because that is not in her DNA.  But for her, it's as close as I'll ever get.  And I'll take it.

Who Doesn't Love a Good Framed Needlepoint ?
Growing up, my mom had a little framed needlepoint sign hanging in our downstairs bathroom that read:
"There are two lasting gifts we can give our children.  One is roots.  The other is wings."
I don't think I ever fully understood this sentiment as a kid, even though I read it in excess of a million times, I'm sure, while washing my hands.  Now that I'm a parent myself, it has become evident how much wisdom those words contain.

Even though my children are still quite young, I'm beginning to see that this quote captures the essence of parenthood.  On first glance, it may seem that we provide roots early in the lives of our children, and as they make their way into their young adult years, we switch gears and provide wings.  I am learning, though, that this isn't the case, and with most things related to parenthood, it is not so clear cut.  No matter their age, we have times when we are providing roots, and times we are providing wings.  Even as a grown adult with a home and family of my own, there are moments I still look to my parents for roots.  Even though my daughter is three-years-old, there are moments when the very best thing I can give to her as a parent is wings.  

We are in a constant dance with our children...sometimes we take the lead, sometimes we follow their lead.  I'm trying to learn the steps as I go, but it isn't easy.  I know there are times when I've stepped on my kids' toes, when I've held them too tight as they've tried to twirl or spin away.  I know there were times when they needed me to hold on a little tighter and direct their steps a little more, and I came up short.  

Each day, though, I am learning.  I only hope that each day I'm getting a little better.  

I hope that when my kids look back, they will be able to recognize the times where my husband and I have provided them with roots, and also the times where we've tried to give them wings.

I hope they'll be able to say "Mom and Dad, you helped us to do everything by ourselves."

And if I'm dreaming big, maybe they'll even say it without screaming it at me from the back seat of my Minivan while I'm trying to wrestle them into their car seats.

When you're providing roots and wings, when you're learning the dance steps as you go, when you're helping your kids learn to do everything themselves, You Are a Good Mom.

If you haven't already, be sure to stop by and check out the "You're a Good Mom" page on Facebook.  "Like" it and any new blog posts will be delivered right to your news feed!  Thanks!!

<a href="http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/5303171/?claim=rf3pekbhrph">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>
site design by designer blogs