Tag Archive | Parenting

Why won’t they just wash a dish every now and then?

My kids. Awesome. Really, they are truly awesome. I did a damn good job in the momma department. Serious kudos to me. Yeah, patting my own back. Someone’s gotta say it.

That being said, I’m going to admit to a little bit of spectacular failure on my part.

These kids, I say kids – they are 27, 24, 23, and 19 – these kids of mine have yet to master the art of washing a damn dish when they are finished with it! At the very least, they could load into the dishwasher. Sheesh.

*For clarification, the 23 year old girl-child no longer lives in my home, but I’ve been to her house, so . . .

I went wrong somewhere. I mean OK, they are kind, compassionate, respectful, loving and all kinds of other great stuff, but they don’t even rinse off their dishes without me losing half my sht to get them to do it. *sigh

Oh well. I still say I was a damn good parent. I’m putting this one on their dad.


He’s used the power of words against me – Fiend!

940853_10206929243363128_8250679111366109730_nMy son. My precious, precious, manipulatively genius son. He’s a bit of a wordsmith, he knows words hold some sort of magical power over me and he is not hesitant in the slightest to wield that power against me for his own gain.

He knows how it thrills me each time he tells me he’s written something, he uses that to his advantage every now and again. As a matter of fact, he used the magical and mighty force of the written word against me just yesterday.

A small bit of background, for reference – My Matthew, the second of my four children, will be 24 years old next month. He is, technically, an adult. A superbly fantastic and monumentally (at times) challenging adult. He is autistic, beautifully so. And bright, obviously so.

One of his loves is weaponry, specifically swords, which he has spent a pretty penny on over the years. They were meant to be decorative items, but they were often taken from the walls by he and his brothers (and sister), and used in actual, unsanctioned, swordplay. I put my foot down and decreed there would be no more swords (or airsoft rifles, or BB or pellet guns) purchased. He conceded and there has been relative peace in my kingdom and his money was channelled elsewhere. But then yesterday, he set out to create a loophole in which to trap me.

The following is the document I was presented with . . .

Long ago, in a different time when there were no electronics, where your livelihood was not determined by the size of your bank account, but by your wit and wisdom, one skill above all others was most prevalent, and that was the skill to hunt, for this was the age of survival. Sadly, unlike most animals, we are not blessed with bodies that are adept for the hunt, but what we lack in physical prowess we make up for in mental fortitude and that’s where our most valuable method for survival comes in, tools.

There are many tools that have helped us survive in the past, but above all others one tool helped us conquer the age of survival and that tool was the bow. The bow was the perfect weapon, unlike the sword were you had to train vigorously and still might be considered second-rate, the bow was easy to learn. It was devastating on the battlefield but kept you safe from most all weapons aside from other bows. Do not misunderstand, it was in no means flawless, after all the tool is only as good as the user.

I will be taking the next few minutes to address 10 important points I believe show that even in this day and age the bow is still a valid tool, and I hope we can leave here with the consensus that the bow is a valid exception to our agreed upon rule and that there will be no quarrel with its purchase this month.  

Point number 1. Archery is ideal for an upper body workout. It improves upper body strength as well as hand-eye coordination and balance.

Point number 2. Unlike with our swords, we will not be fighting each other, thus the likelihood of us being injured is greatly diminished.  

Point number 3. Not only do I want this, but so does Michael (and I’d assume Victor as well). Michael is his younger brother, Victor is his best friend.

Point number 4. You’ve made it known that you want us to spend more time outside, well with this we now have a rather strong incentive to do that.

Point number 5. It’s a potentially inexpensive hobby.  

Point number 6. We could make a guest appearance on CW’s ARROW.  

Point number 7. It is an Olympic sport so if we get good enough we might make it there.

Point number 8. I believe it is something that you can join us in and that we can do as a family.

Point number 9. Like martial arts, it can not only help strengthen the body, but the mind as well.

Point number 10. It’s simply fun.

Now with these ten points in mind, I hope that I’ve convinced you that this purchase is in fact valid and it is necessary, for the benefits far outweigh the costs.

Review – Lose the Cape: Realities from Busy Modern Moms & Strategies to Survive

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Entertaining, honest, and practical advice from real moms. I’ve read a few parenting books over the years, and by few, I mean three . . . The first two books completely contradicted each other and the third left me feeling like I’d read a manual on how to make certain your children will need intensive therapy by their late teens. Each were filled with do’s and don’ts and harsh judgments about your parenting skills if you weren’t doing things according to the advice they’d laid out.

I guess you could say I’m a bit skeptical when a new parenting book hits the shelves. When I saw who the authors of this one were though, I was intrigued. I’m familiar with their blogs and didn’t hesitate when given the opportunity to read for a review.

Lose the Cape was nothing like those books. Alexa Bigwarfe and Kerry Rivera aren’t telling you what will or will not work, they’re telling you what worked for them. They’re telling you they get it, what works for one family may not work for another, they’re telling you you’re not alone in your quest and the same questions you have are the same kind of questions we’ve all had at some point in our parenting journey.

The book is filled with the voices of real moms, sharing their own bits of wisdom and advice. The underlying message is that moms are human. We don’t know it all and we shouldn’t beat ourselves up for it. There will be triumphs and trials and we will learn and grow right along with our children through each one.

From breastfeeding to meal planning, bedtime to mommy time, marriage and mom squads and so much more, Lose the Cape covers so many topics facing moms today. The book also includes a fantastic selection of online resources concerning the topics they cover as well as some fantastic mommy blogs.

I’ll definitely be including this in every baby shower gift I give from now on . . .

Get Lose the Cape – Realities from Busy Modern Moms and Strategies to Survive at Amazon now!

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And then they grew up –

Seems like only yesterday sometimes

Seems like only yesterday sometimes

I just signed what will likely be the last permission I will ever need to sign . . . it’s a bittersweet feeling. My babies no longer need my parental permission to attend functions, go on field trips, or participate in activities. Not legally. My youngest will be eighteen near the end of this month. Where did the time go? How did it go by so quickly?

I am so proud, more than proud of the young adults they have grown to be, but sometimes, every now and again, I wish they were my babies, just for a little while . . . I long to hold them close and feel them nestle their little heads against my shoulder and just listen to the peaceful sound of each little breath they take.

I wish I had known just how fleeting time really would be. I wish I had lingered a little longer in more of those moments I didn’t realize were passing us by so quickly. I know I cherished them and those memories carry my heart when I reminisce about when I was a mommy, when my children depended on me for everything; when they needed me more than they do now.

Memories sometimes fall from my eyes when I look back on what seemed like only yesterday and remember their little smiles and the sound of their laughter – and it fills my heart.

I have been so blessed. So, so blessed. They will always be my babies.

Crystal R. Cook

#1000Speak – Nurturing My Precious Garden

1000 Voices Speak

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A nurturer by nature

I planted seeds

and watched them grow

I tended them with care

kneeling in the sodden earth

I toiled and tilled and sowed

I sat and watched in wonder

as my garden

slowly came to life

I vowed to shelter

and to nourish it

to be certain it would thrive

And when the tiny buds

began to blossom

I cultivated them with care

I kept the weeds away

I quenched their thirst

and sprinkled them with prayer

My beautiful garden

continued to grow

it became a part of me

And the pieces of my heart

I’d planted

grew from those tiny seeds

Eventually the winds

dispersed their essence

to grow elsewhere on the earth

My precious flowers

found new life

giving joy with their rebirth

Those tiny seeds I planted

have grown so strong

the flowers bloom for all to see

And after all these years

in loving my care

that garden now tends me

Crystal R. Cook

#1000Voices

My Daily Grind – A day in the life

~ My Daily Grind ~

imageI often find myself wishing I’d written more as my children were growing up. I remember so many times thinking I was too busy to stop and jot something down, always assuring myself I would remember it later. The sad truth is, you don’t always remember it later. Things you think you could never forget are forgotten as the years pass you by. When they say cherish every moment you should listen, they really do go by too quickly.

When I found this particular writing in my shoebox of memories, I was able to recall this day so clearly as I read the faded words; until I pulled the crinkled, yellow legal pad it was written on out of the shoebox though, I had not. In my heart, it was only yesterday, but in reality, this day, and many more like it, happened many, many years ago.

When my kids were little, it seemed like they would be that way forever. Forever turned out to go by far, far too fast.

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It’s 4:30 a.m. when I awake and attempt to open my sleepy eyes. I can’t see anything, darkness surrounds me and though I try, I can’t seem to move. I’m paralyzed from my shoulders up. Intense  panic begins to set in. I feel trapped and suffocated. Just before pure terror consumes me, I take the sleeping baby off of my head and tell myself to stop being so dramatic.

imageI gingerly slide out of bed in slower than slow motion, partly because I am too stiff to move, and partly not to awaken the youngest of my blessed offspring. As I stumble my way into the bathroom I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I wonder if those are dark circles under my eyes or if they are the result of the mega battle Batman had with Godzilla yesterday.

Batman can fly you know. Yep, that caped freak plowed me right between the eyes as I was innocently kneeling to gather laundry. I made one of those mommy rules when my vision returned. From that moment on, super heroes, their sidekicks and their enemies were no longer allowed to fly in the house or they would be sent to prison for an undetermined amount of time. The kids knew what that meant. Those plastic parasites would go into the garage and probably never be seen again.

Feeling quite certain it wouldn’t make much of a difference in my overall appearance anyway, I decided not to worry about it and made my way back to bed. I snuggled in knowing I was free to snooze the morning away. There was no school and that meant I didn’t have to wake up until I was good and ready to. My moment of rest lasted exactly a moment. I’d forgotten kids have some sort of biological clock somewhere within them set to go off at the crack of dawn on weekends and holidays. This time it was set for 5:00 a.m.

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I slid out of bed again and told them to play quietly so mommy could sleep for a little while. I knew before I said it I was deluding myself, but it was worth a shot. It’s 6:30 a.m. when I again regain consciousness. It’s the mind-numbing, blaring of the television stealing my slumber this time. I yell for the children to turn the blasted thing down and they yell back “Why?” I so very much dislike that word. “Because you’re gonna wake up the baby!”

It occurs to me as I watch a soggy little diaper running from the room I should have kept my big mouth shut. The television is soon quieted and I begrudgingly arise to prepare breakfast. I notice the absence of one hungry little mouth, I knew she would sleep late, I heard the pound puppies making a jailbreak around midnight.

After the corn flakes had been poured and the toast had been served, our first fight of the day erupted. Apparently, even though the bowls and cups are a matching set, they can tell the difference and began to duke it out over whose bowl was whose. The whole issue is dropped when the youngest of this trio of trolls throws his cup across the table sending corn flakes and milk all over the place. We almost make it to lunch without too much incident, just the usual stuff. “He’s touching me.”, “He’s breathing again Mommy.”, “He say’s I’m an alien.” So on and so forth.

Around 11:30 a.m. the girl child awakes. This haggard little creature stumbles into the kitchen and asks for breakfast. I explain to her it’s almost time for lunch and she can wait a few more minutes. This of course makes me the meanest and most unfair person in the whole world. In the most pathetic voice she could muster she says, “Even Cinderella got to eat breakfast.” I gently reminded her that Cinderella got up before the sun and made her own dang breakfast.

It always amazes me how acute a child’s sense of hearing becomes when the mention of food is so much as even whispered. Within seconds of the first lunch plate touching the table, all four of them were seated. Five minutes into the meal war breaks out over something and everyone is sent away from the table for a time out.

Everyone except the innocent littlest brother who unbeknownst to me, helps himself to his favorite items from each of their unattended meals and devours the stolen goodies before they return. They come back to find half empty plates and begin accusing each other of grand theft Cheetos. I make a mental note never to feed them all at the same time again and I replenish their food supply.

With full tummies, they retreat to other parts of the house to play and I begin to clean up and do the usual household chores. Next thing I know, gut wrenching screams echo throughout our home. I run to the bedroom as fast as I can to find a sobbing little girl curled up in a ball on the floor.

I just knew the boys had done something dreadful to her. They of course denied any wrong doing so I turned my interrogation to the injured party. “Did they hit you?” She shakes her head no. “Did you get kicked, pushed pinched? What happened? TELL ME!”

Through her tears she says, “He said the Beast doesn’t turn into a prince and marry Belle, he said he just stays a beast and eats her for dinner.” I tried to be sympathetic, I really did, but something came over me and as I rocked her in the comfort and safety of my arms I said, “Well honey, he probably did.” I am still to this day making up for that error in judgment. I can now recite every word of Beauty and the beast with amazing accuracy.

imageI realize as I begin to search for dinner items we need to make a trip to the grocery store. I tell the kids to get out of their jammies and get ready to go. Hey, it’s a holiday, if they stay in their jammies all day that means less laundry for me. I load them into the minivan and head for the store.

Now, I have a conspiracy theory about supermarkets. I think they have little devices in the sensors of those automatic doors that scramble the brain waves of young children. You know what I’m talking about, it makes their voices louder, it makes them become argumentative and it causes drastic mood swings.

I enter the store as quickly as possible to avoid prolonged exposure to the mood altering rays and begin my shopping enjoyment. My youngest son spots the bananas first thing and begins his usual repetitive request, ba-na, ba-na, ba-na. The sweet little tones of his baby voice soon dissipate into the torturous screams of a hungry troll. Screams, by the way, nobody else in the store want invading the empty space between their ears. Dirty looks, vicious glances and irritated stares ensue. Do they think I am enjoying this? I bag up a bunch of ba-nas and put them in the cart. This seems to anger the troll even more so I give him one.

Ahh . . . Peace and quiet. Does my silencing of the beast appease the angry masses? NO! Now the lady with the screaming kid is stealing a banana! I soon lock eyes with the most annoyed of my judgmental, mental being the key word here, grocery store patrons and it’s on. The starter pistol has been fired. Ready, set, GO!

I follow her wondering if she knows what a grave mistake she has made. I keep pace with her throughout the store, down aisles I have no need to stroll through. I forced her to endure the antics of my brain scrambled children for at least thirty minutes. By the time we reached the checkout line she looked haggard and seemed to have aged a few years. She knew she’d been beaten and took her place in line behind me.

Once we were home and the groceries were put away, I engaged in a heated debate with one of the boys about why it is not polite to belch your ABCs in public. He had some good arguments, he gave it his best shot but I was victorious. I always win with the good old, because I said so, rule.

imageI changed the third diaper of the day, figured my checkbook, did a load of laundry, I even paired up the socks.  I watered the plants just to see if they could be resurrected, mended a boo-boo, refereed three fights, read a story, issued four time outs and put Mr. Freeze in prison. I didn’t even know he could fly. I made a joke that made me the coolest mommy in the world, don’t ask, I can’t remember what it was. Finally, after about a half a dozen other things I sat down . . . for about ten seconds.

Screams of pure terror were coming from the back yard. Racing for the door I imagine countless heart wrenching reasons for these horrible screams, none of which I encountered when I rounded the corner. What I did find, was an insanely frightened two-year old with an ant crawling on his shoe. No blood. No missing limbs. Just an ant. Relieved, I flicked the ant off his shoe and held my trembling son. Poor thing, his little heart was pounding. I did a very good job keeping my laughter at bay until he recovered.

At around 4:30 p.m., the daddy-o walked through the door. I was still smiling when he came into the kitchen. “You look happy.” he says in a thankfully relieved tone. “What’d you guys do today?” I told him of the ant encounter and my victory at the supermarket. He laughed about the ant but thought I was a little mean for torturing the lady at the store.

I start dinner and the whole house is unusually quiet. The baby-man was watching Pooh Bear for the gazillianth time and the other three were in the back yard creating an insect village. My dear husband disappeared into the garage and I enjoyed the serenity and harmony of my world. It lasted long enough for the water to boil.

imageMy now not so dear husband storms in ranting about some missing tool which he soon finds right where he left it The children begin to fight over the custody of a rolly polly bug and the baby’s diaper explodes. Calmly, I tell every member of my loving family if anyone wants to eat dinner they had better take care of whatever problems they had and leave me alone or I was going on strike.

The kitchen cleared out and I continued on with my duties. My darling spouse unwillingly changed the diaper, I heard the usual ewws and ughs along with comments like, “What the heck do you feed this kid?” and my favorite, “When was the last time you even changed him?” The rolly polly escaped in the heat of battle and the kids where once again hunting for new pets.

Shortly after 5:00 p.m. the children sit down and quietly consume the nutritious, balanced meal I’d lovingly prepared for them. They rinsed their dishes and skipped off to brush their teeth. Their father made sure they were bathed and ready for bed. He read them a story while I relaxed and unwound in the shower. Once again refreshed and revived, I snuck in to say prayers with them, I snuggled close and kissed them goodnight and they fall fast asleep.

You didn’t buy into a word of that did you? In all honesty, they did eat dinner quietly. Hot dogs, mac & cheese, corn niblets and milk make for a nutritious meal, right? It really was lovingly prepared. The dishes actually sat on the table until about 10:00 p.m. and I think at least two of them brushed their teeth.

Daddy wiped them down with a washcloth while I rinsed some unknown substance off my hand. Then we said prayers and gave hugs and kisses. Then there where drinks and bathroom trips and more hugs and monster under the bed checks and more kisses. All in all, it took the Sandman a little over an hour to find our house and guide them off to sleepyville.

At 10:52 p.m., my husband gently kisses me goodnight and my eyes slam shut. I am rudely awakened not long after by the deafening sounds coming from my snoring soul mate. My perfect husband, the love of my life, I pinch his nose shut until he grunts and rolls over. I say a prayer and thank God for getting me through another day and then finally, I sleep.

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It is 4:30 a.m. again. I awaken and all is dark. I can’t see. I can’t move. I feel as if I am being suffocated. Trapped and helpless, terror begins to take over.

In a desperate attempt to save myself, I take the sleeping baby off of my head and gently place him atop my husband’s precious face to muffle the snoring and I drift back to sleep . . .

Crystal R. Cook

If I were to say, “Cherish every moment.” Would you be offended?

Time-Flies

Lately, I’ve noticed a trend among newer moms, many of whom seem to be banding together and bonding over something some of them seem to be annoyed and insulted by, and I’m having a difficult time wrapping my head around it.

I’ve seen it on blog posts, on Facebook, and on Twitter, it’s a thing now to be angry at a certain something being said by moms who have already been there, done that, and thrown away the stained t-shirt.

It can be said in different ways, but the gist of this offensive comment is this – cherish every moment – Somehow this has become an affront to mothers with young children. They don’t want to hear it, is it really such a dastardly thing to say?

I’m trying to put myself in their shoes, because the truth is, I’ve been in them before. Admittedly, it was a while ago, but I certainly haven’t forgotten how it felt to walk in them. How it felt to pace the floor with a crying baby in them or chase after an energetic toddler in them.

I haven’t forgot how it felt at the end of the day when I could finally slip them off for a while. I haven’t forgotten any of it, because sometimes, it really does seem like just yesterday I was wearing them.

When my kids were little the same sort of things were said to me, cherish every moment, they’ll be grown up before you know it, make the most of every minute; and other such sage words of wisdom from moms who managed to survive parenthood. There were even moments I was relieved to hear it to be honest, because there were days I really needed those words to remind me there was indeed a light at the end of the diaper strewn tunnel I was living in.

I respected those words, I held on to them and I tried my best to heed them. One day I was standing in line at the grocery store with four little house trolls all vying for my attention in one way or another, not cherishing the moment at all and listening to some woman remind me how fast time flies, and then the next, I was that woman. I was the one standing in line behind a frazzled and tired young mother just wishing I could tell her that the moment she was in was going to be nothing more than a speck of a memory in what will seem like such a short, short time.

Now, when I find myself wanting to offer up what I thought were kind and comforting words to a young mother, I bite my tongue. What if she doesn’t want to hear it? What is she finds offense in it? It makes me sad because truly, there is no offense intended.

I’m not trying to be condescending or make light of the struggles they may be going through. I’m not making the assumption that they don’t already cherish every moment, or that they in fact need to be told time passes quickly and that in what will seem like the blink of an eye, their children will be grown and those mommy shoes will be tucked away in the back of some closet of their minds.

In some ways, I want to say it because I remember and sometimes long for those days again. I say it because it’s true, and if I could have stretched out those moments and made them last a little longer I would have.

It’s not meant as an insult, it’s never meant as a condemnation of some sort. It’s not meant to mean anything other than what it means . . . cherish every moment. Maybe I say it to comfort myself, to assure my own heart I made the most out of every day I had with my young children. Maybe I say it because time is still going by so quickly and every second I spend with my children now is all the more precious to me. I don’t want it to move so fast and it still is.

Moms need each other . . . it doesn’t matter at what stage of parenting we’re in, we belong to a sisterhood who should be encouraging, building up, and protecting each other while we cherish every single moment. The day will come we all walk in similar same shoes at some point . . .

Seems like only yesterday sometimes

Seems like only yesterday sometimes

Today became yesterday
before I knew it had passed,
I pray my sweet memories
of each moment will last.
When tomorrow arrives
I will cherish the day,
for I know that it too
will pass quickly away.
In the midst of a moment
precious memories are made,
we wrap them in love,
in hopes they won’t fade.
We gather them up,
tuck them safely away,
inside of our hearts
to look back on someday.

Crystal R. Cook

I wrote this little poem years ago, I recall just how I felt when I sat down to pen the words to a page. I’d had a moment of heartbreaking realization, time is fleeting. I could not believe how fast my children had grown. They were still babies then really, now those mommy days have passed , some days it truly does feel like it was only yesterday.

Time really is fleeting.