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parenting

Turns Out My Kid is THAT Friend

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Every kid has that ONE friend. The “dumper” who goes into the playroom and just dumps. toys. everywhere.  The one that causes trouble, makes messes and encourages chaos.

My 4-year-old, Piper, is not that friend. But somehow she manages to turn all of her friends into THAT friend.

For years I’ve wondered why all her friends are so dang naughty! She’s not a toy dumper or a particularly bad mischief-maker but every single friend she has is horrible!

Her very first friend was her cousin, Michael, who is a year older than her. Those two are TROUBLE together.

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Once in a rented beach house they took every single board game and dumped out every piece and card into a giant pile and mixed them together.  They’ve dumped boxes of cereal on the ground and stomped in it, they went into my walk in closet and threw every single thing into a pile on the floor.

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But my favorite was when they got into a bag of nail polish, got naked (of course) and painted their entire bodies. Their “delicate areas” were meticulously covered. Super fun. My biggest regret in life is not getting pictures of the nail polish fiasco of 2016 but I was too busy calling the carpet cleaning company.

She has another friend Matthew who I adore but who I always told my husband was a serious trouble maker. These two once got into a potted houseplant, tore it apart and scattered the dirt EVERYWHERE. I couldn’t take my eyes off those two.

Recently she got a new friend, a sweet little three-year-old named Raygen.


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“Surely this friend won’t cause as much mischief as every other friend she’s had over,” I optimistically thought. NOPE. They constantly also get naked in the backyard, cover themselves with sand and paint on walls.

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Turns out when I left Raygen out of this picture I really was protecting the innocent.

“WHY IS MY DAUGHTER ATTRACTED TO THE NAUGHTIEST KIDS EVER?” I thought.

Then it hit me. Wait…who is the “common denominator” in all these situations? It’s PIPER!! She IS that friend! I’ve been living in denial!

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Piper is the youngest child and, by nature, lives to entertain. She thrives on making other people laugh. (Her favorite joke currently is to ask people how to spell I -Cup.) Well, what is funnier to any toddler than destruction of property? The answer is nothing. Nothing is funnier. It turns out Piper is creating havoc in order to make her friends laugh, and then they do it, in turn, to crack her up! Who doesn’t love making people laugh?

In fact, one time Matthew’s mom asked him why he did something particularly naughty and his response was “because Piper thought it was funny.”  I don’t know why I didn’t realize this sooner!

We had a new friend over for a play date this afternoon and I walked into the sweet little boy hysterically laughing. Piper had overturned about five toy bins and was walking around the room hitting everything with a hammer just for the sheer joy of entertaining.

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She’s basically all Three Stooges wrapped up into one tiny, adorable package.

So to every mother who I assumed had the naughty kid I say “I’m sorry.”  Sorry I always blamed them,  never assuming my sweet child was creating disaster in her wake.  And I’m sorry to every home Piper visits. Ever. For the rest of eternity.

Give Yourself a High Five If Your Kid Says This…

boy yellingThere is one sentence I believe every mother should own and wear as a badge of honor. In fact, maybe we need actual badges with the sentence printed on it, maybe bedazzled on, or in big bold letters… whatever works for you. When you hear that sentence, I think every mom should wear it with pride.

I heard it for the first time when Ben was 4 years old. I remember the day well. I’d just picked him up from preschool, and he wasn’t getting in the car as I’d asked him to do. After what felt like the 100th time  telling him to get in the car, I finally said, “I guess we’re doing this the hard way.” That’s when I picked him up and put him in the car myself. At 4 years old this was not okay with Ben. He always wanted to get himself into the car, so when I took that privilege away from him, my sweet, blond haired, blue eyed angel looked me in the eye and with all the loathing a 4 year old can muster he said, “I wish you weren’t my mommy.” There it was. Four years of parenting and I finally got hit with that zinger.

When I told my girlfriends about it, every single one of them said the same thing: “I’m so sorry” and “ I’m glad I haven’t had to hear that yet.”

As much as I appreciated the kind words, there is no need to feel bad for me. Here’s why: I believe that little sentence means I’m doing my job as a mom.

I wear that sentence as a badge of honor. That’s right, a badge of honor.

To me that sentence is simple: it means I’m the mommy and I’m doing what a mommy is supposed to be doing. I’m setting boundaries for your 4 year old self, and I’m sure I’m going to be hearing it when you’re 14 when I’m setting boundaries for your teenage self (God help me when that time comes.)

I don’t feel bad he said it, because I said it too. I said it to my mom when I was little. I always said it when I didn’t get what I wanted, or she said no, or she didn’t do something I wanted her to do. Basically I said that one sentence when my mom was putting boundaries up, or when she was teaching me life lessons. Life lessons that at 5 years old I didn’t much appreciate. Okay, okay, I said that one sentence A LOT as a teenager, and I didn’t much appreciate what she was trying to teach me then either.

I know why I said those words: to hurt her, to make her feel bad, to make her think there were better mommies out there.

I know that’s why Ben said it too. So I looked him in the eye and said, “I know you do.” That’s all the acknowledgement I gave that sentence.

What I really wanted to do was raise my arm in the air and high five myself because that sentence acknowledged that in some small way I’m not totally screwing up this parenting thing. Every once in a while, I’m getting it right, and at the end of the day, that’s all I can ask for.

Guess what? Three years have passed since Ben first said those words… Joey turns four this week and I haven’t heard the same sentence, but I think it’s a different version of the exact same sentiment: “Mommy sometimes I don’t love you.”

That’s another badge for me.

Reposted from www.boisenewsmom.com with permission.

The Road Trip When I Finally Snapped

375671-priestley-childrenAhhh the family road trip. Mom and dad in the front…mom trying to listen to talk radio…dad trying to listen to techno.  Kids in the backseat fighting. It’s par for the course, right? Except this past summer when Mom. Finally. Snapped.

There we were- only about an hour outside of Boise when Brighton and Deacon were screaming at each other in the very back of the mini van. Deacon dropped his binky (which we can’t live without in the car) so I asked Brighton to get out of her seat belt and get it for him. He kicks her in the head when she’s bending over and she starts wailing on him. They’re screaming at each other, hitting, scratching, and she’s whipping him in the face with her Rapunzel Barbie’s uber-long hair.

That’s when I had enough. I said “give me that Barbie!” She threw it up to me and in a split second the window was rolled down and Barbie was held hostage out the window going 80 miles per hour. I looked over at Aaron for confirmation about what I was planning to do and he gave me a slight nod like a mob man confirming the execution of a traitor.  I let that Barbie fly.

I see her in the rear view mirror- long hair and purple dress- flying through the air. And I see the car behind me swerve to miss her.  I can only imagine what he’s thinking.  When Brighton realized what I had done (and that I hadn’t just pretended to throw her out the window) she freaked out. I felt terrible but showed no remorse and Aaron looked at me and mouthed “I can’t believe you just did that!!”

For the rest of the trip her prince Ken doll was my prisoner in the front seat. Every time she started misbehaving the window rolled down just a little bit and out his head went. The rest of the trip was a breeze.

Role Reversal

courtesy: Kris Millgate/www.tightlinemedia.com
courtesy: Kris Millgate/www.tightlinemedia.com

I’m loud. I’m impatient. Those are the two reasons I don’t golf, but my son wants to golf. He may be the only person I know that is louder than me. He’s also impatient and we both have painfully short attention spans. We are not what you call a ‘greens’ dream team, but here we are with clubs and a cart on a late summer afternoon.

I chose our tee time for a reason. Idaho Falls offers Big Hole Golf for beginners every Saturday at 4 p.m. and when the kids come to play, the better golfers stay away.

The holes are double the usual size, but the green to get there is still the usual forever distance. I’m on swing 10 of a par four and I’m only halfway down the fairway. The hit and miss is killing my muscles. The hit hurts my arms when I slam into the ground. The miss messes with my back when I swing myself into a knot.

“You have to bring your arm up high and swing really fast so your ball will fly,” my son tells me as he sends a ball sailing with his driver and I dig up another chunk of sod.

I’m not issuing any rules or being bossy on the course. My son is and I’m letting him. He loves hacking at the ball, choosing clubs with his eyes closed and off-roading the golf cart through the rough.

Since I’m not playing parent, I try his approach and find golf really is fun. Hacking at the ball makes me laugh. Choosing a random club keeps play interesting and driving in the rough is certainly a more exciting ride. Reversing roles with my son is a great idea and he loves playing the grown up while I pout about my terrible score.

The next time your child wants to try something new and you don’t know how to do it, try it right along with them. You don’t have to be a know-it-all to enjoy it all.

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