January 22nd Went Like

It is a truth universally acknowledged that I have the makings of a decent mother and a wretched housekeeper. Lots of people who love me accept this, and I think I’m getting there.
But let me tell you about today.

I started to. Earlier. I started two posts. I tried to make some stuff funny that wasn’t really funny at all… like the toddler dumping Gatorade powder all over the carpet. Wait, that’s not exactly accurate. She was dumping Gatorade on dried up food that was on some crayons that were in the hole in the bottom of the sea on the carpet.
I also tried to joke about how much sleep I’m not getting, but that’s not very funny either. I erased everything because I was crying at that point, and I decided to try again. I started writing out life’s present mysteries, but… that sucked even more.
Because I don’t know lots of stuff about stuff, probably because I don’t remember what life with sleep looks like. And then I watched a commercial online, one of those heart-string tuggers, you know? and I cried again.

I felt failure packing up all around me.
I decided I was falling short in every possible area. Physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, socially. My parenting? Please. Don’t. Don’t talk about it, don’t bring it up. I’m the worst. I’m just sure of it. And my housekeeping?! I don’t think it is possible to be WORSE than I am at housekeeping.

It was a sad place to be. For like, an hour.
After that, I morphed into some kind of emotional gladiator. I felt proud of my messy house because it is just PART of me. I began sort of strutting around, like, ‘yeah. this is me. this is how I do. or don’t do. or something.’
I took the kids to the store for milk and while buying milk, Lacy.
(I have to pause here and mention that she is not contagious anymore. She is scabbed over. Scabbily Scabs. She said, “okay mom, I’ll go in the store and if ANYONE says ANYTHING I will just say, “it is zits, I have zits.” And I smiled big and told her she was funny. I remember lying to people about my zits though, “I fell…” so I guess she gets that from me?)
Lacy stopped me in the middle of pulling milk from the cooler and said, “I want to cook something FRENCH for dinner.”
Today is Friday, and we loosely follow a tradition called “Fancy Friday” where we eat dinner off of real plates and use a tablecloth and candles. Lacy decorates the table and we make dinner as a team.
Earlier this afternoon, while I was reveling in my messy -sitting next to but doing nothing about clean laundry on the couch -Lacy made French Toast for lunch. I guided her, but she did it all. It was delicious. SERIOUSLY.
Lacy loves to bake and cook -she loves the kitchen. As I took huge bites of the two gluten free pieces she made me, I wondered if maybe something else I should strut around with -aside from my mess -is the cool stuff I pass to my kids, like cooking. I’ve spent hours in our kitchen with Lacy in the sink, on the counter, at my feet. I love it, and she saw me love it, and now she loves it.
“This,” she said, as she ripped up gooey pieces of syrupy bread and munched, “Is so good. I want to clean the kitchen and cook for THE REST OF THE DAY.”
She remembered this very ambitious vow right next to the milk at the grocery store.
“I want to make a FRENCH dinner,” she said, though her tone was mostly, “We are going to make a French dinner.”
I googled, “easy french dinners” and found a recipe I couldn’t pronounce but had about 1/2 of the ingredients at home. We bought what we didn’t have and hauled our loot to the park. I meant to go home, but it was warm outside and the park was there and…
We finally made it home, cleaned up and made a french dinner. A Fancy French Dinner.
I had to Google how to pronounce what that is.

Alice loves that video. She calls it, “Coco Blah.” I heard her watching it and saying, “What?” after the first pronunciation and then, “oh, Coco Blah.” after the second.
We loved the Coco Blah and started making plans to make it again as soon as possible. like tomorrow.
Lacy and Trent decorated the table, and Lacy said, “I hope you don’t mind. I didn’t ask, but I set out chips and salsa too.”
Because nothing goes better with Coco Blah than chips and salsa, don’tchaknow.

In the middle of the meal, Lacy pointed out that the sparkling cider looks just like pee. Trent giggled about that while Alice reflected on her own cider and affirmed that YES IT DOES. And then she went pee and came out without pants. or underpants.
She handed a diaper to Danny.
“No,” he said, “You’re a big girl.”
“But I want to be a baby,” she said.
“Life is hard,” I shrugged, “I mean, we took her away from nursery and now we are taking away her diapers.”
“I don’t like primary,” Alice said, “I’m a nursery gwil.”
Gwil = girl.
“But you’re a big girl, and you can use the potty,” Danny said.
“I want to be a baby and I want to be a nursery gwil.”
“You know why she hates Primary, right?” Danny looked at me.
I won’t bother you with where she gets that, I will only say that two days ago Danny rearranged all of the clothes in my dresser drawer and now I can’t find anything in all the organization… so the clear offender is him, right? Because that’s just crazy making, right?

About 20 minutes later, Alice emerged triumphant from the bathroom and earned herself a trip to the convenience store for her own pack of gum. Is this prize outlandish? It MIGHT be viewed that way, but here’s the thing: Alice is TERRIFIED of the toilet. She faced the terror, and I’ve been promising her for weeks her own pack of gum if she’d go number 2 in the proper place (it IS Fancy Friday, after all).


The kids agreed on helping Mom clean up dinner when we got home from the store. And instead of helping, they fought and teased and got louder and louder. Pretty soon, they were throwing bits of food… and I was cleaning alone.
So I stopped.
“You guys said you would help and you aren’t. We had a nice dinner this Friday, but I’m cancelling Fancy Friday for next week because this behavior just isn’t okay. I’m sorry you’ve made this choice. You need to go to bed now.”

I was bummed. I like hanging out with those kids, especially on Friday nights.
A few minutes later, Lacy came out to cry and apologize and ask for some anti-itch meds. I told her pain is easier to handle when there is PURPOSE behind it.
I’m reading some Viktor Frankl right now, and he’s the man. The Finding Purpose in Pain man.
“Having chicken pox right now is hard, but when we think about how having them now means our body is getting STRONGER -SO STRONG IT WILL NEVER GET THEM AGAIN -then it feels better inside, even if our outside is still hurting a lot.”
“Right,” she nodded, we’d had this conversation last week.
“So you’re hurting right now. That’s normal and we usually DO hurt when we make a choice we didn’t really MEAN to make.”
“Right,” she sobbed a little harder.
“If we can find a reason for the pain, give the pain a job… won’t that help?”
“Like… what can you learn from tonight?”
“To never be distracted by TRENT!”
“Orrrrrrrr to walk away from people who try to keep you from your goals?”
“Okay, yeah.”
“Something to think about, right?”
I looked up to see Trent watching us from the hall.
“I’m feeling sorry too,” he said.
Lacy scooted out of the kitchen and off to bed.
“How are you feeling?” I asked, pulling him close.
“Like tomorrow will be JUST. LIKE. THIS.”
“Like what?”
“Us. Going to BED all EARLY.”
“Yeah,” I nodded, holding his skinny little arms -this kid just won’t EAT, “It will be like that.”
“Did you know that when you think yucky thoughts, yucky things happen?”
He shook his head and looked up at me with those lovely, large brown eyes I just can’t get enough of -so expressive.
“I was doing yoga yesterday and listening to a very smart man say that the most powerful tool in our body is our imagination… that if we imagine bad stuff, it kind of starts happening. Like if we imagine that Mom will be sad and send us to bed early, then it is more likely to happen. BUT if we think about staying up LATE and imagining all the fun we will have, thinking of good and happy and cool things to do, THOSE kind of things are more likely to happen. Does that sound like an experiment you’re willing to try?”
“Just need a paper and pen to make a list,” he said, perking up.

And as they went to bed, I decided something.
1) I’m PMSing. Because so many emotions. It is other-worldly.
2) Dr. Pepper doesn’t get enough credit for its medicinal purposes. But today it got me to a park and through a fancy meal of Coco Blah and salsa when only a few hours before all I really wanted was to have Joy drag me around while I touched everything and turned it sad.
3) Something I said to Lacy hit home as it came out of my mouth.
“I’m glad you’re my mom. You’re a good one,” she said.
“I am!” I said, “I AM a GOOD MOM and a terrible housekeeper!” Lacy laughed.
“And I’d rather be a good mom and terrible housekeeper than a bad mom and a great housekeeper.”

So here’s to today! And being a woman! And being me! And potty training and French and trips to the store for milk that turn into fancy dinner plans because structure really IS the worst!

Hormones are the worst. I think even Jane Austen would raise her quill to that.


  1. Bestpost. Seriously. GREATparenting inspiration! AndJaneAusten. Youcanaddreallygoodwritertoyourlist!

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