If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know that my 5 year old son, Parker, LOVES the Disney Princesses (read the series here, here, and here). Every trip we take to Disney, he gets SO excited to meet them, and this year, he decided to kick it up a notch by PROPOSING! No, Tink isn’t technically a princess, but as a lady of Disney, Parker still loves her.
Here is the video of my little dude popping the question!
Cutest thing EVER??!!? Not that I’m biased or anything, but I sure do think so!
Parker is now concerned with how he will split his time between the ladies if they ALL say yes. I’m sure he’ll find some way to manage, because how could they possibly say no??
As a parent I oftentimes find myself at a crossroads between doing what I want to do, what I think is right, and what I NEED to do. There are days, weeks, even months, that no decision I make regarding my children is more than one of those things. If it’s right, it’s not what I want to do. If it’s what I need to do, it’s not what I think is right. If it’s what I want to do, it’s not the right thing to do.
Why not always just choose the right thing to do? It’s not that simple. Parenthood is never black and white. I find that I live most of my life with kids squarely in the gray area; just trying to figure it out, and hoping that I’m doing the best that I can. Not THE best, but the best that I can- and each day that differs. Each day, I may or may not succeed, and I’ve had to learn to be okay with that. It wasn’t easy, trust me.
When Holden started school two years ago, I found that the gray area I call home got a little bit more murky. Okay, a LOT more murky. He is capable, and smart, and he picks up on things quickly- but he’s also a struggling perfectionist, and when he doesn’t get something right on the first try, he has the tendency to absolutely lose his shit. That’s something we’ve worked on from Kindergarten until now. “Practice makes progress!” he’ll say, and I’ll pat myself on the back for teaching him that he doesn’t always have to strive toward perfection.
Still, as capable and smart as the kid is, like anyone, occasionally he finds himself confused or frustrated or stuck. It’s then that I will walk over to him, ask what the issue is, and try to get him to work it out for me. Usually, he finds that he can work it out on his own, and all is well. There are other times where I or my husband have to sit down and help him work through the process, and then there is meltdown mode. When a young kid gets SO confused or frustrated or stuck that they turn into a hormonal woman. You can’t use logic or reason with them. It’s just the end of the frickin’ world and that is that.
The school here asks us to PLEASE not help our children with their homework unless they absolutely need it. They prefer a more hands-off approach so that the children can learn to work through problems on their own. This is something I fully support. I’m not a coddler. I want my children to know that THEY can work through issues without someone else doing it for them; without someone else having to tell them how (if they’ve already been taught, and hell, sometimes even if they haven’t). It’s an important life skill!
Last night, as Holden went into stage 5 meltdown mode over a writing assignment, I yet again found myself at a parental crossroad. Do I help him, even though I KNOW he can do this assignment without assistance (he had just down an almost identical assignment the week prior without assistance) or do I help him, because he’s sitting at the table screaming that it’s too hard and he NEEDS help? I tried to reason with him, to calm him down and explain the assignment in multiple different ways, but he was just too far gone at that point. There’s no helping when they’re like that.
As I was discussing this situation with some other parents, and we were all laughing because I’d told him he “takes poops harder” than that assignment, someone said “Just be a mother and help him.”
First reaction: “Say whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?!” complete with head bobble and eyes wide in total disbelief.
Second reaction: BE A MOTHER?
Not many comments get to me, but this one stuck with me enough to write this blog. BE A MOTHER. What does that even MEAN, exactly? What was this woman implying? That I wasn’t being a mother because I didn’t sit down and do his homework for him? I wasn’t being a mother if I didn’t coddle him and give him the answer? I wasn’t being a mother because I didn’t sit down and help him with something he didn’t need help with, which I knew because I know his abilities and that he is smarter and more capable than he gives himself credit for?
Being a mother means making hard decisions, which sometimes don’t result in happiness.
Being a mother means doing what is best for the child, even if it isn’t fun. Even if we don’t WANT to.
Being a mother means sometimes having to be the bad guy
Being a mother means deciding when to help, and when not to
Being a mother means coming to the crossroads of right, need, and want, and having enough courage to pick a path and go down it, even knowing that in the end, it may not have been the best one after all.
Being a mother means doing your best to teach your kids right from wrong, good from bad, and all the gray area in between. Showing them the way, and hoping they can one day be confident enough to pick a path for themselves.
Holden finished his homework this morning. Without help.
I made the right decision this time. That might not be the case next time, and I’m okay with that, because that’s what “being a mother” IS.
In the ninth (I think?? Maybe 8th. Fuck if I know! I was young, and unable to drive, okay?) grade, as a member of my school’s chorus, I got the opportunity to travel to Orlando Florida for a choral competition. Me and my fellow vocalists, along with the school band, were THRILLED. Not only did we get to compete (which we all loved to do, since we were pretty frickin’ fabulous), but since we’d be in Orlando, we got to hit up a bunch of the amazing theme parks while we were there.
It was a week of parent-less (yet heavily chaperoned) fun!
Since I live in Virginia, the school had rented charter buses to take all the choir and band students all the way down to Florida. A 13+ hour trip. Charters are far more comfortable than cars, but put that many kids in a bus for THAT long? Well, you’d better make sure you’re prepared for a numb ass, obnoxious group activities, and being stationary. This meant making sure you dressed comfortably and brought enough snacks and music not to lose your damn mind before the third rest stop.
People wanna make jokes about band geeks and chorus brats, but there were some cute guys along on the ride, y’all- so as a young lady (read: completely boy-crazy), comfort was going to come second to looking good.
My mom had just bought me this super cute pair of wide-leg drawstring khaki pants (I cringe even typing that now, but they were IN back then!). They were soft, they made my butt look good, and they were comfortable enough for a very VERY long bus ride. Armed with those, a bookbag stuffed full of snacks, games, and CDs, and a giant duffel bag, my mom dropped me off in front of the school and drove off as I was tossing my bag under the bus.
Now, this was before having kids made my uterus hate me, so I could actually accurately predict my menstrual cycle- and if predictions were correct, that sucker was going to start at any moment. Our first stop once we hit Florida, OF FUCKING COURSE, was a water park- so the pads I’d always used just… I can’t even… No fucking way. I’d NEVER used a tampon before, but the concept seemed pretty simple and I had no other choice. I had my mom buy me a box, and that got tossed into the duffel that got tossed under the bus. There was no conversation about my shiny new hoo-ha plugs. No directions given. Not even a second thought. I guess my mom figured tampons are a way of life and this kind of knowledge just came to women naturally? Yeah…. this wasn’t going to end well.
“FIVE MINUTES UNTIL WE LEAVE! IF YOU NEED TO GO TO THE BATHROOM, NOW’S THE TIME”
Girls being girls, my friends and I rushed off to give ourselves one last once-over. Well, not me. I actually had to pee, and that was when I saw it.
A Big. Red. Stain.
On my NEW khakis. ON KHAKIS! OH MY FUCK! Absolutely mortified.
In a panic, I tried to scrub it out in the stall with toilet paper. Nope. Wasn’t happening. And I wasn’t going to just walk up to someone’s MOM and say “HEY LADY, I BLED THROUGH MY PANTS! CAN YA OPEN THE BUS JUST TO GET MY BAG SO I CAN GET NEW NON-VAGIFIED PANTS AND A TAMPON OUT IN FRONT OF ALL OF MY CLASSMATES?”
No. Look, these days- I wouldn’t even hesitate, but I was young, and I was shy, and openly talking about your period was just something NO ONE DID then. Not at that age. Certainly not with boys present.
Mother cuntbag whore shit fuck! There went being cute AND comfortable. I was going to have to hide this blood stain. For 15 hours. In close quarters. FUCK MY LIFE!
That wasn’t the climax of this story. No, it gets worse.
If anyone saw the stupid bloody stain on my new pants, they didn’t say anything. At least, not to my face. I made it to Florida without committing social suicide, and our first stop? A water park. YAY BLOODY AND BLOATED AT THE WATER PARK! IT’S ABOUT TO BE SHARK WEEK UP IN THIS BITCH! But at least I got to get those damn pants off and BURN THEM!
We were only given a few short minutes to grab our bathing suits and towels out of our bags, and to get changed. Where were we to get changed? The bus bathroom. The TINY bus bathroom. All 40 or so of us had about 10 minutes total to get this shit done (no, I have no idea why we were in such a rush. To this day it seems completely ridiculous). Needless to say (but I’m saying it anyway), I didn’t have time to give my current predicament the attention it deserved. I didn’t just have to get changed, I had to put in a tampon. For the first time ever. In a tiny bus bathroom with 39+ other students waiting for me.
A) I’m sure they thought I was eating a fucking snack in there. This was before the time of silent tampon wrappers.
B) The instructions were like Ikea directions to me. It all made sense, but didn’t make sense, and in the end you just get frustrated because you’ve wasted more time than you have, and you just wing it.
C) You should never “wing it” when it comes to your vagina unless we’re talking about pads, and then you should ALWAYS wing it.
Once more, I avoided social suicide. It seemed that no one noticed I’d taken longer than everyone else in the bathroom… or maybe they were just so excited about WATER PARK that they weren’t paying attention. Either way, I was relieved.
All of the students broke off into groups, mine was one of about five or six females, all of whom I considered my closest friends. Pretty quickly, I could tell something was… off. As much as it pained the painfully shy me, the off feeling was TOO off not to mention.
“Y’all…. this tampon feels like it’s going to fall out.”
Now, before you make a “like throwing a hot dog down a hallway” joke- there had been NO SEX ever. Mmmkay? Let’s not go there!
“Yeah… I don’t know. I’ve never used one before and it just feels like it’s falling out!”
“It’s not supposed to feel like that.”
How the hell was I supposed to know?? I mean, cramming cotton up your hoo-ha doesn’t sound like it’s supposed to be comfortable at ALL, so for all I knew, this weirdness I was experiencing was totally normal.
I shrugged it off for the time being. What else could I do? Anything was better than wearing a pad in my bathing suit, so a little bit of discomfort was acceptable in my eyes.
Two water parks. Universal studios. Medieval times. Choral competition after choral competition. Twelve hours of walking and singing and laughing and celebrating and water slides and roller coasters. Five days I spent in sunny Florida, wearing tampons with the plastic applicator still on. OH MY HOLY MOTHER OF WHAT THE FUCK?!
I’m not a stupid person, y’all. And just think about how much smarter I was before kids ravaged my brain!
As simple as a tampon seems, to a young girl who’s never used one, it’s a fucking Rubick’s Cube. I had NO IDEA that in order to properly ‘wear’ a tampon, you had to push the cotton OUT of the plastic using the plunger. I didn’t even know there were terms for these things. I just pulled off the bottom and thought I was good to go. Yes, that was embarrassing to type. I know you were wondering. With a pad, you just pull the damn paper off and stick it to your stupid underwear. A tamp should have the same amount of steps,yeah? Doesn’t that make sense?? THERE ARE A LOT OF PIECES TO A TAMPON! This was before the age of Google! DON’T YOU JUDGE ME!
Ladies, what I’m saying is this- take your daughters, sit them down, and explain to them in horrifying and awkward detail how pads, tampons, and everything along with the menstrual cycle works. It doesn’t matter if it’s uncomfortable, or if they blush or try to get away. A little embarrassment is worth not having them walking around feeling like their vagina is falling off. Take it from me.
Parenthood should come with warning signs. Flashing ones. Everywhere. They could say things like “STOP! You have a booger on your shirt!” or “Brush your damn hair!”, or maybe a flashing neon one that says “Your kid is going to have a meltdown today, stock up on booze!”
A few days ago, it really would be helpful to at least have one that said “Your kid is gonna pee in every bathroom they see today. Don’t send them into the bathroom alone!”
My 5 year old thinks he’s a grown ass man. He “can’t” wipe his own ass, but he’s a MAN now, and I had better accept that or prepare to feel his wrath. Whatever. I try to encourage some of his independence. I mean, why not? I can’t wipe his ass forever. Well, I COULD, but I WON’T. Oh heeeeeeell no! So, when we walked into school to get his brother and he announced that, yep, he had to pee- I sent him into the boys bathroom alone. I mean, GOD FORBID he goes into the girl’s bathroom, or even the single-stall handicap bathroom with me, HOW DARE I EVEN SUGGEST IT?!
I imagined that one of those big flashing signs appeared and it said “Pick your battles wisely”, so I shrugged and sent him off into the wild yellow yonder to do his business. It’s not like we were at the mall surrounded by crimes of fashion and weirdos. It’s a small school in our neighborhood, and since it was near the end of the day, it was empty. There wouldn’t be any other boys in there for Parker to have some kind of hose battle with, covering himself and the place in pee (WHAT? I DON’T KNOW WHAT GOES ON IN THOSE PLACES!)
“Don’t fall in!” I called after him. Ahhhhhh, man. I’m so funny. Parker didn’t agree. With a huff, he was gone.
While I waited outside the bathroom door, I kicked my feet as one minute went by. Admired my boots as two minutes went by. Remembered I’d forgotten to wear socks under my boots as three minutes went by. Four minutes went by and I’d started to worry that the kid actually HAD fallen in. OH LAWD, WHAT IF HE FELL IN THE PEE TROUGH?! WHY ARE BOYS BATHROOMS SO TERRIFYING? I was tempted to go in after him, but… well… it’s the BOYS bathroom. No mommies allowed! This is why we usually go into the girl’s bathroom. CURSE INDEPENDENCE!
Just as I was about to alert the pee-thorities–
“I need help!” his little voice called from the depths of the bathroom.
“I can’t pull my pants up!”
“Yes you can! They are PANTS. You PULL THEM UP. Just do it!”
His voice started to sound more panicked “NO I CAN’T! THEY WON’T PULL UP! I NEED HELP!”
“Well, I can’t come in there. It’s the BOY’S bathroom! I’m not a boy!”
“MOMMY!” panic turns to terror, “I NEED YOUR HELP!”
That sign telling me to pick my damn battles lied to me. It should have told me to pick this one like an old crusty booger!
People are beginning to stare. The janitors that were waiting for all the kids to get the hell out so they could clean. Kids walking down the hallway. Teachers. Parents. All the while, Parker is still yelling to come and help him from in the bathroom, getting more and more upset with every time I insisted he be the man he claimed to be and just pull the damn things up. It was no use. There was only one thing I could do! I HAD TO! Since I couldn’t go in, he was going to have to come out. I told him to come to the entrance of the bathroom and I’d help him.
I don’t know what I was expecting to see. He’d gone in wearing jeans and a heavy winter coat, so maybe he’d just not been able to finagle his pants back up because of the bulky jacket getting in the way. That’s totally plausible, right? Maybe he’d just gotten so flustered that he was all hot and sweaty, and when you are sweaty or just getting out of the shower, jeans will NOT pull up, and you just lose your damn shit like Ross wearing leather jeans on Friends (who remembers that debacle??)- but as he emerged, I couldn’t contain myself.
He’d nearly something about Mary’d himself, and I’m not talking about Cameron Diaz. I’m talking about Ben Stiller. With the zipper.
Now, before you cringe and scream and run away, there was NO wiener caught in zipper action. It was slightly more pathetic, but dare I say, just as horribly hilarious.
This is the point where it would have been nice had there been a giant sign saying “SCREW THE RULES AND GO IN!”
I am going to try to describe this scene while still keeping a bit of the child’s modesty in tact (even though he gave me complete permission to tell this story in full).
For some reason, kids think that, after using the restroom, the best idea is to pull up both their pants and underwear in one swift move. I mean, I guess in theory it’s faster, but it is NOT more effective. More often than not, I’ll find my kids with their underwear bunched up into some kind of weird bulky thong looking thing poking out of the top of their pants. It’s ridiculous.
That is what Parker attempted to do, without unbuttoning or unzipping, and got stuck. Junk and all. He came waddling out, pants at his thighs, doodle in the wind, and one little tear rolling down his face.
I flipped him around as quickly as I could so that no one else would see his .. well… everything, tried to stifle my laughter, and got all of his stuff in order, zipped, and ready to be seen by the public once more. The kid doesn’t feel the sting of embarrassment just yet, but at that moment, I knew that HE knew I had saved him. And possibly my future grandchildren, too.
There’s a sign that says “Applause” over my head right now. I just know it!
So I hit a beaver on my way in to work. Yeh. I’m gonna let that sink in for a minute. I’m sure there is some kind of joke…but I feel so damn bad I can’t think of one.
Although as I sit here and think about the events leading up to me hitting him…I’m starting to think he was a kamikaze suicidal beaver. I’m serious. He saw me coming.
I was taking the back way to work like I normally do…and if any of you have been on my page since the beginning you know I have a torrid past with animals…especially animals I hit with a vehicle. Remember the Kevorkian Mobile? Let’s see there has been a deer…a baby opossum…oh and I didn’t hit the llama with my car but I wanted to after it spit a loogy in my hair…and I drove home looking like “There’s Something About Mary”.
Anyways…driving along and I come to a straightaway that always floods because the river is right by the road…and sure enough it had flooded and now there was ice on that straightaway. I see this lump of something kinda standing up. I admit my eye sight isn’t the best anymore…I had glasses but I left them on the roof of a car and ran them over (that’s a whole ‘nother story) so that “lump” could have been a toddler for all I could see at that point. So I slow down and as I get closer I realize it is an animal…a pretty good size animal…and that animal is standing on its back legs, staring at me…like into my soul.
Holy sh*t it’s a beaver. Awwwww cute little beaver standing on his big boy legs. (this running monologue is going through my head…ok I admit it…I was saying it out loud )
I am now kinda getting concerned about the fact that Mr Beaver is not moving and my truck is starting to slide a little. “Ohhhh Mr Beaver you need to scamper home. Seriously Beaver. You need to get out of the way! BEAVER move your beaver ass!!!”….and that damn thing still isn’t moving. So I think maybe he is trying to be initiated into a beaver gang and this is part of it….we got ourselves a Badass Billy Beaver up in here. I could almost see him saying “Come at me bro”…Now I’m a little annoyed.
Finally the last few moments are there…his little beaver life is flashing before his eyes…I’m honking the horn like a lunatic…yelling out my window “Come on Billy Beaver! You have a full life ahead of you! Knees to chest you friggin suicidal beaver!!!!”…..I try to swerve…on ice…and damn near go over a ravine…I felt the BUMP BUMP of beaver butt getting ran over. I come to a stop and look in the rearview mirror and the beaver is lying flat on his back. He’s dead.
Now….as my long time readers know…I kinda have this morbid curiosity to walk up to animals I have hit and just make sure he’s really dead…once again I have no friggi’n clue what I am going to do- I mean I’m not Dr Doolittle….I don’t have healing hands for shits sake. BUT this time I didn’t! I fought the urge to get out of the truck and check on him.
So I sat staring in my rear view mirror…waiting…no movement at all…poor little beaver…he will never get to use those cute little bucky beaver teeth again….hmmmm I wonder what their tail looks like up close? NO! DAMNIT! Snap out of it! Stay in the truck! Focus ya weirdo! I start to hum a little song about brave beavers…maybe I will call it the Ballad Of Badass Billy Beaver…
Meanwhile the beaver has now sat up…I’m assuming dusted himself off, made sure he didn’t crap his little beaver furry pants…and TURNS AROUND AND MEAN MUGS ME THROUGH THE REAR VIEW MIRROR—like I did something offensive!!!
I got the hell out of there…stupid mothertruckin beaver. Moral of this story? Beavers…they can take a pounding.
Parker Proposes to Tinkerbelle- with video! goo.gl/fb/CXNheh
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If you have a daughter, make sure you tell her EVERYTHING about tampons so this NEVER happens to her! holdinholden.com/2015/01/the-…
The Terrible Tale of My Very First Tampon goo.gl/fb/MroHc1
A fantastical collection of the most horribly HYSTERICAL inappropriate artwork by kids! holdinholden.com/2014/04/horr…