An Ode: To Quiet Time

Some days just don’t go well. 

Today was one of those days. Let’s just say that THINGS WENT WRONG.

So I made up a song – to the tune of O Christmas Tree. I know it’s August (don’t ask.)

I’m not a professional songwriter, but this little ode to our mom-mandated afternoon “Quiet Time” came very easily today, let me tell you: Image

I cook breakfast most every day 

Toast, bacon, eggs and cheese

Then by the time I clean it up

They’re asking for a snack please
Orange juice and yogurt on the floor 

There’s gum stuck to the kitchen door
Oh Quiet Time, oh Quiet Time

Your hour is so inviting.

 

They dropped popcorn down in the couch

There’re kernels everywhere

Somebody left the scissors out

So someone cut their hair

They broke a lamp they slammed the door

Dropped eggs all over my clean floor

Oh Quiet Time, oh Quiet Time

I wait for you all day. 

They poked an eye and bruised an arm

And then they skinned a knee

They banged their head, they lost a tooth, 

They fell out of a tree
 The 2-year-old can’t help himself
Yanked every book down off the shelf

Oh Quiet Time, oh Quiet Time

When will you ever come? 

 

Pee in the hall and on the wall

This kid can’t seem to aim

The soup I tried to make for lunch

Has burst right into flames

The dog keeps barking off his head
 Someone is jumping on the bed

Oh Quiet Time, oh Quiet Time

Please get here if you can….

 They tracked in footprints made of mud

They spilled a vat of juice

Dumped glitter in the microwave 

And clomped around like moose

I’ll count my losses, close the door
 Collapse onto the bedroom floor
Oh Quiet Time, oh Quiet Time

Please give this mom a break!

 2:30 has finally come

I can’t believe it’s here

If there’s no fire or broken bones

You’d better disappear

Call me a bad mom, I don’t care

I’m ready to pull out my hair

Oh Quiet Time, oh Quiet Time

This hour is so inviting!

 

My nerves are fried, I need a nap

My patience is all gone

I need a moment to regroup 

So please leave Mom alone…

To check Facebook or watch TV

Or read a book – or two or three

Oh Quiet Time, oh Quiet Time

I’ve missed you, missed you so.

 

I love my kids, they know I do

But Mommy needs a break

A bubble bath, a Hershey bar

And maybe a cupcake

So close your mouths and shut my door – 

“Nice Mom” will be back after 4:00

Oh Quiet Time, oh Quiet Time

I love you oh so much!

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A Mom’s Rant – Brought to You by “Bench-marks”

Today I had a conversation with a mom who is worried about her son. He’s the same age as Jed, and so naturally she asked me what Jed’s “doing.”

She asked if he knows his ABCs. If he’s counting. If he’s potty-trained. If he’s talking correctly – you know, all the “bench-marks.”

He’s not even THREE.

She asked this out of honest concern, because she has been told by various people that her little boy is “behind” developmentally. Instinctually, she thinks he’s fine and that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with him, but other people are trying to convince her otherwise.

I repeat, he’s not even THREE.

Okay, so here I will begin my rant:

Kids will start all of these things when they are ready. If a child’s own parent doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with him, then who are the doctors, the daycare workers, the nannies, the teachers, the “professionals” to say that there is? Isn’t the parent is the real expert when it comes to their child?

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not here to bash anyone. Of course, sometimes professionals need to be consulted. But what I’m saying is that, generally, we seem to be trying to make our kids “keep up” with completely different kids on some imaginary scoreboard.  

Sadly, our society steals childhoods away. To “stay on task,” to “keep up,” our children are consistently forced to do things they aren’t ready for – and to learn things they don’t even need to know yet.

And this poor mom came to me, worried to death because her son isn’t saying the “right” words yet. She’s in tears because her child, who has only been on the earth for 33 months, wants to run around and play and explore instead of sit still and learn about colors and letters from the pages of a workbook.

I just want to reiterate what I think we all know deep down inside: all children develop at their own pace! At different levels! At different ages!

Just because a six year old isn’t “reading” yet doesn’t mean he’s “slow” or developmentally challenged. It just means that it hasn’t clicked yet! And just because a 3-year-old doesn’t know his ABCs doesn’t mean he won’t possibly ever make it into a good college.

Please, don’t rush him. Don’t label him. Don’t push him. He’ll do it when he’s good and ready, and it will come easily… without tears. Arrggh.

Albert Einstein said, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

We can’t pigeonhole our children and expect them to thrive. We can’t rush them into learning things they don’t even want to know. And we certainly can’t count on other people to tell us what’s “normal” when it comes to our kids. What’s normal for some is most definitely NOT normal for others.

So don’t worry, moms. Don’t let it bother you. Your kids are precious. They are special, and they are yours. Don’t feel pressured by what all of the other kids are doing – just focus on what your kids are doing. And enjoy it!

So… what is Jed doing? I’ll tell you.

He’s digging in the dirt. He’s singing songs he made up himself. He’s climbing, throwing balls, catching bugs, playing with his sisters, riding his tricycle, peeing in his diaper (and sometimes on the floor), making countless messes and asking endless questions.

If your son is doing more than that, great. If he’s doing less than that, that’s great too.

Jed’s just busy being a little boy, and in my experienced opinion as a professional mom –

He needs to keep on doing that for as long as possible. Image

Livin’ in the Land of Doubt

Turns out the Land of Doubt has a pretty nice wildflower garden.

Turns out the Land of Doubt has a pretty nice wildflower garden.

When you know better, you do better.

Hopefully.

At least that’s what Dr. Phil says.

But we idealize moms, don’t we? Moms are never wrong – they are patient and loving and sacrificing and “Mother always knows best,” right?

That’s a huge pedestal to get up on, and honestly, I am not a very good climber.

Everyone talks about how wonderful it is to be a mom. And it is. But it seems like no one tells us that it’s also going to be an experience full of frustration, fear and anxiety. It is the most daunting task any woman ever takes on and it is HARD. I am constantly worried about things that I never even thought about before – and it doesn’t get any better as they get older. It just changes into different kinds of worries.

I strive to be a good influence on my children; I know the stakes are high and I am the one who’s responsible for teaching them the difference between right and wrong. But I get frustrated and I get angry. And I fail myself (and them) – over and over again – right in front of them.

We don’t like to focus on the mistakes we make, right? Every bump in the road is a chance to grow, right? Stay in the present, right? Do the best you can with what you have, right?

Wrong… at least for me. Most people that I know can only focus on one mistake at a time. But not me! I am a multi-tasker! I can think about a thousand things I’ve done wrong, all at once. I can think about them until I’m drowning in a sea of what-ifs and if-onlys.

I could very easily take up residence on Second-Guess Street in The Land of Doubt.

Am I doing the right things for my kids? Is homeschooling right for them? Are we reading the right books? Are we going the right places? Am I praying the right prayers?

Do I spend enough time with them? Do I ask the right questions? Do I set a good example? Do we have enough family time? Do they have enough friends?

I guess that’s a job hazard when you’re a parent. You never know if you’re doing it right. There are no real progress reports, no tangible measurements of success until the end result. And the end result is that your kids are grown! And by then, it’s too late! TOO LATE, I TELL YOU.

Whew. There’s that anxiety I was talking about. Do you see my dilemma? Do you have the same one?

Of course, like any parent, I only want what is best for my children.

I don’t want to spend so much time worrying about the what-ifs that I forget to seize the moment… but it’s all a learning experience.

Hopefully I’m learning to know better – and do better, too.

Me Do It.

I repeat: Me. Do. It.

I repeat: Me. Do. It.

“We go – we go – we go for a walk? Down da stweet? To da stop sign?”

“Yes, buddy, we can go for a walk. Do you want to put your shoes on?”

“No, I not want shoes. I fine.”

We started down the street, the summer evening air cool around us. Birds wheeled by in the pinkish sky, taking one last fly-by before going home to their nests. Jedidiah, who’s “almost free,” if you ask him (2 ½ if you ask me), put his chubby little hand in mine. He found a pebble to kick along in front of him using his stubby little bare toes (one big toe is painted a shiny turquoise-blue, thanks to his big sister.)

Next, he decided to step up on the curb and walk it balance-beam style. “Me do it,” he informed me, pulling his hand from mine. “Yep, you can do it,” I said, watching him balance on the cement, one foot in front of the other – steady now…steady….

“No, ME do it,” he insisted.

“That’s right,” I said, “you are doing it.”

“No, Mom! ME! Me do it!”

“Yes, Jed, YOU are doing it! All by yourself!”

“ME! DO! IT!”

“That’s what I said, bud. You are doing it!”

He stopped and looked at me, apparently frustrated by my ignorance. He took a deep breath and said, “ME. ME. ME DO IT! ME!”

Suddenly, I realized what my very literal son was trying to tell me. I said, “Oh, you mean ‘I do it. Jed does it.’”

“NO, MOM! Not Jed dooze it! ME DOOOOoooo it!”

I laughed and agreed, “Okay, Me. Keep on doing it.”

He smiled, stopped and threw his pebble down the storm drain to hear it plop into the puddle below. Then “Me” hopped back up on the curb and made his way to the stop sign.