Kid Battles I Refuse to Fight

Kid Battles I Refuse to Fight

There have always been battles between parents and their kids. Sometimes as parents it seems we spend entire days, weeks, and even years battling with our kids.  Just wait for those ‘tween years if you don’t believe me.  We battle to get them to do what we want, keep them safe, and most importantly not send us running to the nearest loony bin!

Because we love our kids and we do want them to be healthy and safe we keep fighting the good fight even though we know it means suffering the wrath of hormonally charged, prepubescent, crazy people.

I’m not going to apologize for making homework mandatory, even if the teacher doesn’t grade it. No, my kid can not have a can of Coke with dinner.  They will greet grandparents and other relatives AND give hugs upon arrival and leaving.  They will do their chores if they expect to get an allowance and no, they cannot spend their allowance on junk food in the school cafeteria.

All these non-negotiable rules don’t always make me Miss Popularity in my house but oh well.

Having said all that, I have learned that sometimes you really do have to pick and choose your battles or you will be fighting with your kids from sun up to sun down. So here are a few examples of where I have thrown in the towel.

Winter Clothes

What is it with boys and winter clothes? The temperature outside might be 25 degrees.  A blizzard could be swirling around with wind gusts of up to 50 miles per hour, and my teenager will stand there and insist that there is absolutely no reason why he can’t wear a pair of shorts and a hoodie to school.  I can’t tell you how many times we fought this one out with me yelling at him that he needed to wear his boots, coat, gloves, and you get the idea.  For crying out loud, we had four polar vortexes last year.  FOUR!  His reply was always the same, “It’s not that cold, mom.  I don’t need all that stuff and it doesn’t fit in my locker anyway.”

One day something in my brain finally snapped. “You want to freeze your ass off,” I yelled, “then go right ahead.” I bit my tongue and kept the word “dumbass” to myself since I know a mom really shouldn’t call her child (at least out loud) a dumbass. (It is perfectly allowable to think it several times a day, just don’t say it.)

So that day he went to school dressed for the beach, not a cold winter day. The next day he still wore a hoodie, but I did notice he put on pair of pants since the temp dropped down to about 22 degrees.  The miracle came on the third day.  He wore his coat to school, as well as his gloves!  It turned out that freezing his ass off for a couple of days was more effective than all my preaching.

Trumpet Practice

When my oldest first joined band I used to nag him day in and day out to practice his instrument. The teacher wanted 30 minutes of practice a day.  That didn’t sound too bad, until you realized that the English teacher wanted 30 minutes of reading each night, and the math teacher sent home about 20 minutes of homework a night. On top of that, every other night there was science or social studies homework, plus he had to memorize all of his Spanish vocabulary.

When you looked at his nightly work load it didn’t take me long to figure that if he was practicing the trumpet for 45 minutes a day in school, he would be just fine if he only practiced for a half hour or so on the weekends and skipped the thirty minutes every night. Each week I signed his band practice sheet without a single moment of guilt.

Cussing

I admit that I have a problem using sentence enhancers. A four letter word pops out of my mouth at least once a day, sometimes more often than that. (Hey, just be glad you can’t hear all the ones that roll through my mind all day long.) But, I tend to use the same words over and over.  Shit, crap, damn it, those really are my big bad words.  Okay, the occasional fuck is mumbled too.  Still, my teen was using a lot of cuss words and he was using them more often than I was.

I tried to keep him in check, even going so far as to censor my own mouth and cut out most of my cussing at home. He just kept letting them fly.

Then one day I was in the house while a group of five teenage boys were running around in the woods right behind my house. This moment was a revelation for me.  All five boys cussed NON-STOP.  Not only did they cuss, but that trash talked each other for over an hour.  I found myself blushing as I listened to them yell at each other and laugh hysterically.  I was never going to curb my kid’s potty mouth because I was hopelessly outnumbered.  So now the rule is no cussing in front of his baby brother.  Other than that, I give up.

So what battle of wills did you finally just said, “fuck it” too? I’d love to hear about it.
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Milestones That Fail to Make it Into the Childhood Development Books

Child Books

Everyone knows it is a big deal when your child says their first word, learns to walk, and is finally out of diapers.  Those are really big moments and we celebrate them when they happen.  But, there are some other really big moments that happen in our children’s lives that the baby books fail to take note of.  So this blog post is dedicated to the lesser known milestones that are ignored but oh so important for moms everywhere.

1.  The day your child finally learns how to drink WITHOUT backwash.  I can’t even count the number of times I had a beverage of some kind and once a small child took a sip out of it I was done with it.  After one sip I could see bits of food particles and gunk now floating on the surface.  Yuck!!

sitting-on-toilet

2.  The day your child finally figures out how to wipe their own ass.  Sure, you just successfully potty trained your kid.  Kudos to you!  But your days of poop are far from over.  For the next year or two you are still going to be wiping your kid’s ass, only now you have to bend over them and look down into a toilet bowl to do it.

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3.  The day your child graduates from a 5-Point Harness Car Seat to a Booster Seat.  This was a big day for me.  Buckling a child into a booster seat is so much easier than struggling with all those straps and fasteners, especially when your child is bundled in heavy winter gear.

4.  The day your child is tall enough to reach the sink and get his or her own cup of water.  It always happens.  You sit down in front of the TV for five seconds only to have a child ask for a snack, or a glass of water, or something!  Then on day your kid figures out that they can get it themselves and that is truly a magical moment.

5.  The day your child learns to buckle their own seatbelt.  I can now walk to my car, open my own door and sit down.  Seriously!  No more walking to the other side of the car, waiting for a child to scramble up into the booster seat and then reaching across them to buckle a seatbelt I can’t even see.  Both my boys can now get in the car, close their own doors, and buckle their own damn seat belts.  Halleluiah!!

6.  The day your child finally learns to wipe their own ass really well.  Yes, technically I already covered this topic, but there is wiping your ass, and actually cleaning your ass.  It is my experience that boys in particular don’t really learn to clean their ass until they are about 11 years old.  Every now and then I will do the laundry and come across a pair of underwear so disgusting I’m not even willing to put them in my washing machine so I just throw them out.

7.  That magical day when you can actually make your child do manual labor!  This summer my oldest has mowed the lawn every week, helped to stain a 50 foot deck, and helped my husband to rip out a chimney.  I am starting to understand why farmers back in the day used to have a dozen children.  Free labor!

Please feel free to add more magical milestones if you have one that I did not think of!!
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Always & Forever My Baby You Will Be

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Last night I was lying in bed with my youngest reading him a bed time story and saying our prayers.  My oldest used to come in the room and listen to the stories and say prayers with us but about two months ago he stopped.  He now brushes his teeth, calls out good night, and goes in his room and shuts the door.  I follow him in to grab a quick hug before he shuts off the light, but the hug is more for me than for him.  He doesn’t need a hug and a kiss from his mommy anymore to go to sleep.

But Casey is still young and refuses to go to bed without his night time ritual followed to perfection, and I am happy for that.  Last night after we were done he kneeled on his bed, gave me a bug hug and said, “I love you mommy.  I’m giving you an extra hug because I know you like hugs.”  My heart just melted.  I do love hugs, and kisses, and cuddles, the feel of holding my little boy close, the unconditional love of a mother and child.

I stared at his little face, his blue eyes, rosy cheeks, and a thought hit me so strong.  In two weeks my baby is turning six-years old.  In a week he will start 1st grade.  My baby hasn’t been a baby for a very long time, but he is still small, and sweet and cuddly, but time refuses to stand still.  He is growing, and soon he will choose friends over me.  Soon, kisses in public will be embarrassing.  Soon he will tell me he doesn’t need to hold my hand in a store.

“Casey, promise me you will stop growing,” I asked.  “I want you to stay this size forever.”

“Okay, mommy,” he replied sweetly.  Then he thought for a moment about what I had asked him to do and he said, “But I don’t know how to stop growing.”

“I know.  Mommy is just being silly.  I am so glad you are my little boy.” I said.

“Me too,” he replied and gave me another kiss good night.

“Do you know how much I love you?” I asked.

“All the way to the moon and back,” he answered immediately, “and I love you all the way to Pluto.”

Then he rolled over, tucked his tiger under his chin, and grabbed a handful of his wobi before closing his eyes.  I turned off the light and shut the door.

I can’t freeze time, but I can take a minute to write down these brief but wonderful moments before they slip through my fingers.  Children will grow, become independent, and leave us one day, but the memories we make we will carry for a lifetime.

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