But why?????

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I have never been one to lie or, at least, be good at lying. Ask my mom. She used to get me to rat out my older brother and sister all the time. She could always tell when I was holding something in, especially if it had to do with my siblings.  My nose might not have grown to give me away, but my eyes would get big and round. “Yes, mama. I’ll tell you everything! I had my ear pressed against the door anyway so I know exactly what brother and his friends were talking about!” I guess I didn’t have the best poker face.

I remember as a child having a conversation with my grandmother about lying. I posed the following scenario:

“Grandma, what if someone asks me if I like their dress and it’s hideous? Do I lie and say they look great?”

                 “No, you compliment them on something else. Tell them it’s a lovely color.”

“What if it’s a gross shade of green or brown? I’d be lying if I told them the color was nice.”

                 “Then… tell them their hair looks great, just change the subject and move on.”

Now that I’m a mom, I feel like I lie more than I’d like to. It’s like diarrhea; it just keeps flowing out, sometimes offering relief, other times causing a big mess. It’s often in good humor, but most of the time I just need my kids to moooooove on and stop whining, so I lie and change the subject (kind of like what my grandmother was telling me to do? Okay, not really). That being said, here are some of my favorite and most overused lies I’ve told my kids:

If you keep whining, the birthday fairy will come and change you back to ______ (whatever age they were previously).

The music on the ice cream truck means they’re out. They’re just letting everyone know.

You can only go to Chuck E. Cheese when someone is having a birthday party. (This one has backfired — My oldest wants her sixth birthday party there. Please pray for me. I’m hoping she changes her mind/forgets by that time.)

If you don’t brush your teeth, they might turn black and fall out while you’re sleeping (see previous post).

Cucumbers are just green watermelons.

The purple lettuce leaves were made just for you; the salad people know purple is your favorite color. Wasn’t that nice of them?

Every meat they eat is chicken: chicken turkey, chicken fish, chicken sausage. It’s always going to be chicken.

The TV has run out of batteries for the day. Only daddy know how to charge it, so we have to wait until tonight.

If you don’t go to sleep soon, you won’t grow tonight. You might even wake up shorter.

Obviously, lying to your kids isn’t the best idea. We tell *them* not to lie, and then turn around and do it to them all the time.  (Santa Clause, Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, anyone?) Sometimes, it’s the easy way out and it’s a lazy parenting-peanut butter sandwiches for dinner-skipping baths kind of day. We get frustrated and overwhelmed. Our kids won’t back off, so we lie and cross our fingers that they quickly move on to the next thing because we simply can’t handle another, “But why???”

“Why can’t we go to Chuck E. Cheese? Because it’s not anyone’s birthday and I’m not in the mood for all of you to catch a new strain of influenza. Please. stop. asking. me. We can go to a different play place that’s way more fun and has a lot of…no, you don’t earn tickets, but it also doesn’t smell like feet.”

I’m really, really, trying to be more patient with my kids and fib to them a little bit less, although they’re starting to catch on:

“Mom, (yes, my five-year-old calls me “Mom” and has since she was two because she’s trying to break my heart and grow-up too fast.) you’re totally joking. There is no birthday fairy, right?”

              “Erm, um…no? I mean, hey look, sister is walking!”

“Mom, she’s been walking for a while.”

 I can only change the subject so many times, though. It used to work when I’d say, “You asked and I said no. I gave you an answer. Asked and answered.” Now, not so much. The older my five-year-old gets, the more I’m dreading the teenage years and the endless questions that I’m very much not prepared to be honest about. “How are babies made? Because Jesus loves you.”

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Burnt Sienna

Y’all, sometimes we have to stretch the truth when it comes to parenting. What am I saying? We do it pretty much all the time. We say, “Okay, in just a minute” when our kids ask us if they can have/watch/eat/play with/destroy something for the seventy billionth time, and it’s one of those days where you just can’t even. We earnestly pray they forget and move on to something else. It’s just what we do; it’s part of the job, right?

Yesterday, I told my kids I needed to trim their finger nails. They were basically talons and I was tired of getting scratched. Plus, Heaven only knows what kind of ridiculousness was under there. Okay, you got me, I’m too much of a germ freak to let it get THAT bad, but there was something of a, shall we say, burnt sienna color that I pray was either play dough or mud under my three-year-old’s nails. We’ll go with play dough.

So, of course, the dramatics were on full display with my big and middle. They are normally compliant, but they threw me a curve ball for some unknown reason. You would have thought I was preparing to amputate their hands. This mama fights fire with fire, though. I can be JUST as dramatic, my friends. So, I Googled “World’s Longest Finger Nails” and, of course, there were some pretty funky pictures. See, my husband and I have played this game before. We used to show our oldest daughter pictures of totally decayed teeth so she would stop fussing about brushing and flossing. Y’all, it worked. In fact, if we happen to skip flossing because it’s one of those nights where we’re literally seconds away from clocking-out of parenting for the evening, she will FREAK OUT! “No!!!! I don’t want teethy holes!!!!!!” Dang it.

Anyway, I show them these pictures and I prematurely claim myself as the victor of this battle. While they did *eventually* acquiesce to having their nails trimmed, they spent the next half hour, a full thirty minutes, trying to figure out how in the world these people manage to “wipe their booty.”

Good question…

 

Please, no more coffee mugs, and buy the darn Expos.

Yes, this is a weird title, but that’s because I want to address two important back-to-school topics: teacher gifts and school supplies.

Some parents like to give the teacher a little something at the beginning of the year. Let me start off by saying that this is absolutely not necessary or expected, but it does put a smile on our face. Also, we just might be a little less inclined to imagine driving bamboo sticks under our fingernails when your child gets up to sharpen their pencil for the twelfth time during first period on the first day of school.

What you can offer us, however, is your time. I’m not saying you have to be the room parent, but offering to bind some books, or cut out some laminated die-cuts of Fall paraphernalia for our bulletin boards so we can pretend like the weather is cool and refreshing and not causing our thighs to stick together during recess duty…it’s golden to us!

So, time. Please just put it out there: “We’re so happy to be in your class, Mrs. Ticonderoga, please let me know if there is anything I can do to help you out this year!”

If you do want to give something tangible (and know, we are much obliged), please, for the love, we don’t need any more “Teaching is a work of heart” or “Teaching is my superpower” coffee mugs. It’s sweet and we definitely do love our coffee (L.O.V.E.), but I promise you we have seven of them in the teachers’ lounge, eighteen at home, and a couple floating around in our classroom being used as pen holders or catch-alls.

What I personally love receiving is school supplies. You can even add a pun (teachers love puns – we might even steal your idea for our own kids’ teachers if we haven’t already Pinned it). Putting “I’m excited to grow in your classroom” on a pack of rulers, or “I can’t wait to sharpen my skills” on a pack of Sharpies…adorable!

Speaking of school supplies…yes, we know the list is long. We do our very best to keep it short and sweet. We search through our cabinets looking for every last pack of construction paper or glue stick so we can knock something off the list. I saw a Facebook post recently where a parent said, and I kid you not, “The teacher should be responsible for buying the supplies. Why do we have to buy them their Expo markers?!” First of all, I’m afraid my black Amex is being used to fund my various vacation homes throughout Europe and the Caribbean. I do apologize. Secondly, we DO buy a ton of stuff for your kiddos! Are you kidding me right now? Walking down the school supplies aisle as a teacher is akin to a toddler waking down the candy aisle. WE WAN’T IT ALLLLLLLLL!!! We don’t need any more Flair pens, but look at the NEW COLORS!! I’m not even joking, like I’m getting tingly all over thinking about it. So, yes, we do buy things for the kids who aren’t able to buy their own. We don’t want them to feel singled out. Heck, we buy our students shoes, coats, and backpacks if they need it. I used to buy cute hair ties and fix one of my student’s hair every morning because she came looking like a hot mess every day and I could tell it was troubling her. So yeah, please buy the items on the list. Please buy the name brand. We aren’t being snobs; the off-brand stuff is crap and won’t last until Halloween.

Lastly, please buy the Expo markers. They aren’t for us. We covet our own Expos. They are forbidden from being touched by little hands, lest they get smashed against the white board the first time they are used during indoor recess, because we all know the first week of school isn’t complete without indoor recess.

Your kids really do use the Expos you buy. We use them to check understanding on little white boards, they use them during centers, and sometimes we even let them write on their desk with them! (I know, we’re awesome like that.) Help us out, parents! We want to have an amazing school year and we’re so excited to meet your children!

Also, teachers like giftcards.

But first, screen time

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Okay, y’all, I have a confession: My kids have screen time first thing in the morning, every morning, so I can wake-up niiiice and slowly.  I have never been a morning person. NEVER. Ask my poor mom.  I always wake-up groggy, confused, and sore all over.  I’ve come to grips with it, my husband has accepted it, and my kids love it. After all, they get to spend at least half an hour watching Thomas, Little Baby Bums, or whatever other show my oldest happens to click on while browsing Netflix.

It is a lifesaver, though.  Living with an autoimmune disease is no joke.  It’s a physical and mental battle to convince myself to start the day.  Part of it may be that I know as soon as my feet touch the floor, I won’t get to rest until my husband walks through the door in the evening.  Part of it is that I used to get up at an ungodly hour every morning when I was teaching. The other part may be the anticipation of what’s to come that day: potty training, making meal after meal with a zillion snacks in between, searching for a toy that my son absolutely has to have at that very exact moment in time or the world will end, carrying a clingy baby on my hip and doing everything one-handed, or playing pretend with a very precocious five-year-old when all I want to do is sit down and drink my coffee while it’s, at the very least, tepid. No, sweet girl, I do not want to  sit on the foam mat with a blanket on my legs and pretend like I’m a mermaid. I want to lounge on my bed with a blanket on my legs and a good book and pretend like it’s the weekend and I’ve tagged daddy to be “it” (sorry, hun).

I love my babies.  I love how empathetic they all are, how helpful they can be to me and each other, and how creative their little minds are.  I also love how screen time can temporarily babysit for me in the morning. Do I lie to the doctor when they ask if my kids get X amount of screen time or less per day?  Maybe a little.  But, guess what? I need a little TIME to get moving in the morning, people. Just a few precious moments to mentally prepare for mommy battle.

My husband keeps pointing out the schedule change that’s soon to come with our oldest starting Kindergarten. I keep changing the subject.