The Parent Hood

For little girls, it’s time for bed

Last night, my youngest daughter – the only one who cannot read yet, not fully – brought me her bedtime story book.  It was Dr. Seuss’s Cat in the Hat and I thought to myself about how much I hate that stupid book, how many times I’ve read it over the years to each of my five daughters.  It occurred to me that my youngest was on the verge of being able to read for herself so perhaps my time of having to read that was near its end!  Yay!

And then I realized that perhaps my time of having to read that was near its end.  And suddenly my emotions were completely juxtaposed from where they started.  That was the inspiration for the poem I wrote, which brings a little tiny tear to my eye when I read it or contemplate this reality.

As parents, we do get sick of doing this or that when we feel we have to do it so often, when it seems an imposition or a mind-numbing repetitive task.  But if we contemplate never doing it again – having the need for it behind us – it does rather put that particular thing in a new light.

I will miss reading stories to my children once this last one becomes a full-fledged reader.  So for now, until that day comes, I will embrace reading even the most annoying of stories to my little girl.

For little girls, it’s time for bed
But first a story to be read
Come on, Rae, pick out a book
It’s getting late now go and look

Your sister’s reading Little House
Perhaps you should choose City Mouse?
Oh, Funnybunnys? One more time?
You love the ones all full of rhyme

Anything by Dr. Seuss
My budding little Daughter Goose
Tonight we’ll read Cat in the Hat
There’s nothing more inane than that

I’ve read this book for years and years
To many little daughters’ ears
You are the last to bring a book
And climb up on my lap to look

At all the pictures while I read
“Just one more time” you always plead
Sometimes I’m stern and I say NO
I point upstairs and say “Now go!”

Tonight I’m feeling less of that
Tonight I like that tall-hat cat
I’ll read to you when it’s bedtime
I’ll read you books that always rhyme

I’ll read them twice if you just ask
I’ll smile big and do this task
And that’s because I know, my dear,
Before too long you won’t be here

Up on my lap with smiling face
With sticky hands and warm embrace
Soon you’ll be reading by yourself
Old books will draw dust on the shelf

And I will come to miss that cat
That stupid cat who wears that hat
So come here, Rae, and sit with me
While you still fit upon my knee

While you still need your stories read
And on my shoulder, rest your head
And I will read when it’s bedtime
I’ll read you books that always rhyme

I’ll read them twice because you smiled
My youngest and my last dear child
‘Cause time will fly until you’re grown
And reading to one of your own 

reading in the park

By |April 17th, 2010|Indiscriminate Drivel, Mother Goose on the Loose, The Parent Hood|Comments Off on For little girls, it’s time for bed

Karma doesn’t wear a coat

jae and rae in winter coatsIf I think back across the years of being parented by my mother, all the things I learned from her, all the wisdom she imparted, there is definitely one thing that stands out.  Something that she drilled into my head over and over across the years.  Something of import, a thing that every child growing into adulthood needs to learn along the way.

This, then, is her legacy.

The advice is simple and straight-forward.  Eight measly words:  IT’S COLD OUT THERE.  PUT ON A COAT.

My mother has barked this at me as recently as this past winter.  Me, in my 40s.  (People!  I’m in my 40s!  When did that happen?)  I’m pretty sure if she thought she could get away with it, she would clip mittens onto the ends of my coat sleeves.

When I die, my grave stone will be etched with a message done in an 18-point font (probably Pepita MT, because I love that font) that says “Here lies Linda.  She never wore her coat.”

I really hate coats.  They’re such a pain in the ass.  I especially hate traveling with them, having to deal with them in the airports and on the airplanes.  When I’m home, my outdoor exposure is pretty limited.  I go from the garage to the house, from the house to the garage, from the parking lot to the office, from the office to the parking lot.  (If I took Mother-May-I GIANT steps, I could get from the car to the office in about 15 steps.  Mother may I?  Yes, you may.  In fact, you must.)

Occasionally I may have to walk from the car in a parking lot to the supermarket door or the gym entrance or some such.  But it ain’t much.  That’s what I’m telling you.

I’m not doing any downhill skiing.  I don’t have to walk to school uphill both ways in the snow.  EVER.

It’s not like the olden days, the pioneer days.  It’s not like I need to tie a guideline from the house to the barn so I can go out in a blizzard to feed the livestock and find my way back to the house using the guideline, because Pa Ingalls totally knew of a dude who thought he could navigate back from the barn without a guideline and they didn’t find him until the spring thaw.  No, I’m serious.  I read it in a book when I was a kid.  Winters were brutal then – they all totally needed coats.

Good thing I don’t live in pioneer days, huh?  Mostly because I don’t think I could handle the lack of high speed Internet.  Also, slightly less important, because I have no desire to milk a cow and the thought of unpasteurized, unrefrigerated, full-fat milk makes me want to barf.  (Hey, look – my spell-checker didn’t put a red squiggly line under the word barf.  Congratulations, Barf, for making the big leagues!!  I always knew you would find your way up.) ( Ha.  Pun.)

And so I’m at peace with my position on coat-wearing.  Yes, yes, I definitely am.

But these KIDS – these devil’s spawn that I have given birth to!  What is UP with them and the not wearing of the coats?  I mean, sure, we’ve enjoyed some mild winters of late (thank you Global Warming!) but this winter has been pretty cold.  And they’re all “Eh, big deal… I have this here flimsy hoodie on, I’ll be FINE at the bus stop with the wind chill of ten below, Mom.  Quit yer nagging.”

I deserve this.  I totally do.

Let’s just hope I don’t get everything else I deserve in the realm of parenting with Karma at the wheel.

Hold me, I’m scared (and slightly chilly).

A Christmas Story

snowglobeMany years ago, there was a mother.  No, a mommy, really.  There was a mommy and she loved her little girls.  She wanted to start a new Christmas tradition that was all theirs, something special they would look forward to every year.

“A snow globe!” she exclaimed with delight.  “I’ll choose just the right special snow globes, one for each of my two girls!”

And so it had begun.

Every year, the mother would search high and low for the perfect snow globes.  Some of them were very expensive!  But the joy on the face of the children was worth ten times the price.  Each year, the little girls were excited to discover what sort of snow globe Santa had chosen for them that year.

And so it continued.

The mother had more daughters and folded them into the snow globe tradition.  Eventually, she was buying five snow globes for five daughters.  One year, she thought she spotted an eye roll when the snow globe was unwrapped.  Maybe not.  Perhaps she imagined it.  None the less, there wasn’t the same magic around the snow globes anymore.

When she had to have a new wing built onto her home for the storage and display of all the wonderful snow globes, she began to suspect she had a problem.  While it was true she had no cats at all, it was clear she was in the running as the crazy snow globe lady.  Still, she couldn’t stop.

In 2005 came the realization that two of the daughters had moved out into their own places and taken no snow globes with them.  What could this mean?  Had the tradition outworn its welcome?  Was the snow globe magic gone?  And if Armageddon were to occur, could the family even drink the water from the globes for survival?  What good were the damn snow globes anyway?  Stupid tradition!

If only she had saved all the boxes, then the snow globes would have retained their value.  She could have sold them all on eBay to other crazy snow globe collectors and perhaps raised the $2,800 necessary to buy a Wii on the black market.  Live and learn, she thought to herself.  Live. And. Learn.

Alas, the snow globe tradition ended after 2005 but each year when Christmas was imminent, the mother had to stop herself from window shopping.  From stopping in the San Francisco Music Box Company store and touching the beautiful globes on the shelves.  From visiting the Disney site’s snow globe section.  From thinking about the snow globe tradition and how much it had meant to her, to them, when it was at its peak.

Sometimes at night she’d go into the special snow globe wing of the house (which was really not a wing at all but a set of glass-doored shelves in the little girls’ bedroom – pardon the literary license) and looked at them… the Tinkerbell one from when Amber was crazy for Tink, the Eeyore one which was Katie’s favorite character from Winnie the Pooh, the carousel horse one when Katie was into carousel horses,  the dolphin when Amber was into dolphins, the Noah’s Ark one for Sarah’s first Christmas, the ones with the girls’ college mascots from when they were in college, and so many more.  All those snow globes, all those years.  Each one representing a special Christmas memory, a special time in the lives of these girls.  These wonderful girls.  So many years collecting them.

Sometimes she would lift one up, blow the dust from its dome, and wind the key on the bottom just a little, just enough to hear a few seconds from “It’s a Small World After All” or “You Are the Wind Beneath my Wings”.  Maybe from “Brahms’ Lullaby” or “Fur Elise” or any number of other sentimental and sappy tunes.  Snow globes always have sentimental and sappy tunes.  That’s the part that makes the mother cry, right?  Those sentimental and sappy tunes… hard to keep a dry eye.  Because of the tunes, you know.

Late one night, when everyone else was sleeping, the mother snuck online and found a beautiful snow globe with Big Nutbrown Hare and Little Nutbrown Hare that said “Guess How Much I Love You” on the front.  Quietly, quickly, when no one was looking, she snuck it into her shopping cart and did a swift check out.  When the package arrives, she will open it in private, listen to the “Ode to Joy” music that comes out when she winds it up, and then she’ll sneak it onto the shelves behind the glass doors in the little girls’ room.  It will be her secret – no one else needs to know.

And they lived happily ever after.

By |December 12th, 2007|Indiscriminate Drivel, The Parent Hood|Comments Off on A Christmas Story