Life in General

The Mommy report card

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Probation.

My two year old is on probation.

Well, she didn’t actually use those words. But I’m pretty good at reading between the lines.

The preschool director is really a good friend of mine. I know she would do anything to help me and make my life easier. But she was stuck.

My adorable and mischievous two year old was making life in the toddler class very difficult for his teachers. And no form of discipline was working.

So maybe he needed a break from school…

I couldn’t argue much because I knew  exactly what they meant. When I blink, he’s on the counter.

If I blow my nose, it costs me a bag of cereal spread across the floor.

He’s the second of all my kids to master climbing out of his crib before he should be.

But you see, he’s the happiest kid around. He doesn’t even know what the word tantrum means. Because life is FUN and he doesn’t want to waste even one minute of fun to have a boring tantrum.

And his smile. He’s a charmer. He knows how to put on the sweet as sugar smile with the matching tone to shout “Mo-mmyyy!” as soon as he sees me in the morning. He makes my heart melt.

But he’s the reason that every cabinet, refrigerator and door handle in the house has a lock.

And now the preschool was telling me that he was on probation. If he couldn’t follow the rules, he would need to take the month off.

I try to get control of my thoughts.

He’s on probation, not me.

So then why do i feel like I’ve been given the dunce cap?

Why do I feel like I just got a big fat red F on my mommy report card?

Hold on a second! I tell myself.

This is not your first child!

You’ve already proven yourself to yourself.

This is your 8th child you are raising through the lovely toddler years, with the ninth to follow not far behind.

You’ve done this before without probation!

This is not an F!

So then … why does it feel like it is?

I make a mental note to speak to my husband about it later when the house will finally  quiet down.

Eventually they’re all asleep.

I start quizzing my husband.

You think we messed up with this one? Was I not strict enough? Did I do something different?

My husband is pretty amused. Something tells me I’ve put him through this string of questions before…

He assures me that there’s this thing called P-E-R-S-O-N-A-L-I-T-Y. And it’s something you’re born with. And this two year old was born with a lot of it. And it has nothing to do with him or me or my husband or his siblings. This is his nature, not a result of nurture.

I know he’s right. But it’s so hard to separate myself from it!

It’s an interesting phenomena.

When our kids achieve successes we want, we pat ourselves on the back.

But if we take credit for their successes, then that means we are to blame for their failures too.

And I disagree with both. The lines often get blurred and there’s something we easily forget.

Each child is their own person. Their. Own. Person. Not a copy of ourselves. Not an outlet for everything we meant to do as a kid. Not a make-up for what we missed out on while growing up. But their own person. Their successes are theirs. And so are their failures.

We are the cheering squad. We encourage, we guide, we lead by example.

But the outcome?

It’s not our report card. It never was and it never should be. Because if it is, then we’ve really missed the point. I know it’s not possible for me to really be there and help any of my children if all I’m seeing in them is me.

I need to see them for who they are and help them be the best version of themselves. And I need to be OK with them not fitting the mold I want to stick them into.

My toddler is on probation. Not me.

He’s adorable. And he was born with a personality and energy that surpasses mine. And it will serve him well through life. 

Right now, his preschool teacher can’t handle him. There is no report card.

And that’s life. We’ll figure it out. He’ll be ok, and so will I.

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Life in General

Boys will be boys…and maybe that’s ok!

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The house is spotless and I try to hold on to this weekly moment in time – the minute after my house cleaner leaves and the seconds before the kids sail through the door; the moment when every toy is away, the counters are bare and sparkling and the floors are swept and mopped – and the smell of shabbos is in the air.
Cooking is done. Challahs are ready. And there’s actually some time to just enjoy the Friday afternoon.
I happily realize that I will be getting more than just a mere 20 seconds of quiet and a clean house; since the sun is shining and the rain has finally stopped, the kids decide it’s a perfect day to play outside.
I couldn’t agree more!

Continue reading “Boys will be boys…and maybe that’s ok!”

Life in General

Book Review – Is It Shabbos Yet?

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If you have little kids, chances are you can recite the book “Is It Shabbos Yet?” quicker than you can remember your cell number.
I’ve been reading it out loud for 13 years now and I offer you my personal book review.
It starts off with sweet little Malkie waking up Friday morning and wanting to know if it’s Shabbos yet – to which her mother says not yet, first we have to go shopping.
Now, in this day and age, we all know the power of the written word on little impressionable minds.
Do you understand what we are teaching our kids here??

Continue reading “Book Review – Is It Shabbos Yet?”

Life in General

It used to be MY kitchen…

 

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I used to be in charge of my kitchen. It was my domain; simply put, I ruled it.

My husband does some frying and creative cooking but ultimately; I have full control.

Or had.

Until  the kids got bigger.

The joy of not having to make lunch for everyone – they can do it themselves! Oh yeah, I’m was determined not to spoil them. These kids I’m raising, I want them to know how to make their own breakfast or lunch and clean up after themselves. I’m a proud non-helicopter mom; I foster independence! And my boys-their lucky wives!

I watch admiringly and feel quite proud as my older 5 hustle around the kitchen, preparing their lunch menus.

And they are quite creative, complete with secret recipes and sriracha sauce.

I sit on the couch and stare, and then it hits me.

Who’s cleaning up?

I know they will attempt to. Of course, I’ve taught them how to clean up after themselves.

But I also know that it is I who will pick up the slack.

And suddenly it’s not so exciting anymore.

I look at the counters; there’s the panini maker, the pop-up toaster, the Ninja blender, the can opener, 2 cutting boards, three knives and half a dozen egg shells. 

My 6 year old is making his secret tuna recipe that includes every squeeze bottle from the refrigerator,  my 7 year old has some avocado concoction going on with half my spice cabinet, my 9 year old is making the perfect grilled cheese sandwich, my daughter is peeling potatoes and my 12 year old, whose appetite seems to be growing by the hour, is making a protein smoothie, 2 bagel sandwiches and some other things I can’t keep track of. And someone is opening sardines.

Sure I’m proud of them; and amazingly overwhelmed with the action in what used to be my kitchen.

I want them to do this; but do they have to use every utensil I own? And appliance?

I hold back from at least 2 dozen “don’t forget to clean up” reminders; I don’t want to spoil their excitement. And independence.

But I don’t want to be left cleaning up sardine spills, it’s my absolute pet peeve!

I look at my 2 little ones happily munching on cream cheese sandwiches that I made for them with the use of only a plastic knife. So simple! Suddenly I’m having second thoughts about this independence thing..Maybe being a helicopter mom isn’t so bad after all…

I know they’ll clean up.

I know there will be slight oversights that I’ll be dealing with. Yucky ones. 

I want them to this.  But I want my kitchen the way I want it.

I don’t want them to be asking me to make their sandwiches. But I don’t want to be cleaning 12 bowls and 14 forks that only 5 people used!

I know the answer. I know what I have to do.

Like everything else in motherhood.

We give. We teach. We hope. We pray. And most important of all, we learn to let go.

To let go of things being the way I want. Letting go of the reins and letting them be their own little selves.

Even at the price of my kitchen.

 

Life in General

First world problems – wait till you see #9!

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It’s a problem we as a society are facing and it’s only going to get worse.

Even those who claim to be spared will wake up one day and realize they aren’t spared after all.

It’s a challenge here, in our first world country, and it’s not easy.

You do your routine check up on Facebook. You see a friend posted a picture of a beautiful sunset on whatever magical island she escaped to.

She’s a pretty good friend.

One you lose touch with every now and then, but thankfully Facebook catches you when that happens.

You want to show you are still in touch. And you want to show you are genuinely happy for her vacation, although you’re really feeling green with envy.

So you hit comment.

You start typing “wow!” when you realize the 8 comments above say the same thing, some with three !!! and some with only one; but either way, it feels too scripted to also say “wow!” even if you add another four exclamation points for good measure.

So you opt for “Amazing!!”– double !! to show you really mean it and you’re a closer friend than the others.

But just as you are typing it, some phantom commenter slips ahead of you and says “Amazing!!” With the double !!. Now what!?

Ah-perfect solution. You are a closer friend.

You really mean it.

So you quickly type “WOW-Amazing!!” and one-up all the other commenters.

See, you really are a good friend.

But then it gets harder.

It’s someone’s birthday.

Whoops, you had forgotten.

It’s a close friend but not closest friend but certainly close enough that you don’t want to give away the fact that you’ve forgotten it.

So you race to their wall – ignoring the fact that Facebook reminded you, link to wall included – and go for it.

You’re going to post a Happy Birthday.

Gulp, you’re #16 in line.

That does not make you look like a very good friend.

Or like you remembered on your own.

You go for CAPS, half a dozen exclamation points and call in the reserves – you add  a cake, a party hat and some confetti  🎂🎉🎊.

There, now you’ve done it. Proved your friendship and your memory.

I can’t help but wonder, how were we ever able to express our deepest feelings and sentiments without having an emoji to prove  it?

The thought that maybe all these years people have been reading my texts and emails wrong is just too overwhelming to think about😩😩!

How would someone possibly know you went for a haircut if they didn’t see this 💇??

Or that a picture of a friend eating ice cream is really eating an ice cream and nothing else if it didn’t include 🍦🍧.

I mean, I can tell people I’m happy but when they see 😀😃😄 then they know I’m really having a good day.

How did anyone ever show shock or surprise without the help of this little guy 😮😲

Then there’s the LOL. That is a bit more complex.

Well, depends how funny the said statement is.

Sometimes it warrants a polite lol. Not that funny.

Then there’s the things that really tickle you that you actually chuckle, to which you respond LOL.

And then there’s the stuff that’s really hilarious and you LOL!! Followed by 😂- and laugh loud enough for everyone in the quiet room to turn around to give you a look or loud enough to blow your cover and your kids come running, having discovered you’re looking at your phone. And if you get a LOL with this guy 😂-  and multiple !!! definitely start looking into doing standup comedy.

How about the random message you get that says how are you.

In other words, just saying hi because i feel guilty we are out of touch but I’m not really interested in the answer.

But what about if it says how are you? Punctuation included; this nuance goes a long way. I’m being polite and dropping you a line.

But if you’re really genuine, then you go heavy on the punctuation. How are you?!?!?

Have you ever had a friend posts a picture of her adorable two year old covered from head to toe in toothpaste.

The kid is really adorable – especially because it’s not your kid and you are not the one cleaning up the toothpaste.

“So cute!” you’re about to type.

But that doesn’t sound real enough. I mean, this is your friend’s kid, not just a random kid.

“Oh my, hilarious!” Nah, you can do better if you really mean it.

“Love love love” followed by 😍, and a few more 💗💗💗 to show the mom you feel for her, having to scrub off that gook.

There, that looks genuine.

One of your friends posts a birth announcement.

Yikes, how did you not know she was pregnant, could it be you were out of touch that long?

Now is not the time to publicly show that.

There’s a picture of the 14 minute old baby, making her debut.

Well, all you can see is the tiny nose and scrawny hands sticking out of the ugly hospital blanket.

“Ohhhh precious!” you’re about to chime in.

Even though the past 96 people say the same thing.

And really, the scrawny hands, the tiny squished nose…

You keep it safe and stick with the “ohhh precious!” as it seems to work for everyone else.

A friend is angry. The friend is venting to the world that she got stuck behind a slow car on the way to somewhere important and then came late and spilled her coffee on her new shirt. There’s probably details to the story missing, like that this friend also left late, but now is not the time to ask such questions.

I mean, this is really a hard spot – they definitely need support. That’s what we are all there for. To support each other through good times and bad.

Poor friend. You want to show her some support.

A generic “hugs!” is not enough for such a crisis.

You opt for the “hugs!” but an extra !!,  and then this guy 👹👹to show you’re also angry at the slow driver she was stuck behind because it’s that drivers fault this all happened and then a 🍺   to show you understand the deeper meaning and relationship of that cup of coffee.

Hardest of all are the times that you really don’t know what the poster is trying to say. You don’t know if they are happy or angry, if the food is good or bad, if they are bragging or complaining – you just can’t make heads or tails out of it. And that’s what this  Image result for like button   is for. Hit the like button and move on. You acknowledged, you showed your presence, and your good to go.

Yes, it’s a tough world out there. And it’s only gonna get tougher💪.

Oh, and about #9?

There is no number nine.

But how else are you supposed to get anyone to read anything these days.