Tag Archives: humor

Musings on Mothering

How many children do you have to have before you are actually qualified to give parenting advice? Even Dr. Ferber changed his stance on the ever popular Ferber method for getting kids to go to sleep after having a child of his own. Too many people who write books on parenting are giving advice from the perspective of only having a degree in child psychology, and maybe only have one kid. I go to my mother for advice—she’s the only one I know who’s really qualified since she has raised 12 kids. My younger sister is a close second. She has nine. I have four kids, and my right to give advice on parenting is very limited.

I hate it when parents of only one child (usually a mild, even tempered, obedient child who has never run away from them in the supermarket) look at a frazzled mother and say something stupid like, “I wish she would learn to control her kids!” or “don’t you think you should have used birth control?”

In order to even be able to start handing out advice, you have to have had a child who has done something horrible, like sneak out of their room after pretending to be asleep at nap time, and then quietly going into the kitchen and getting into the refrigerator so that they could get your eggs out and hide them around the house, breaking a few in the process, or like gleefully throwing cottage cheese onto the carpet because they wanted to pretend they were throwing candy in a parade, or getting out your maxi pads and sticking them all over the bathroom wall and calling them butterflies. Or my personal favorite, squirting chocolate syrup out on the white carpet, pouring milk over it, and then dancing in it. (Why did it take me so long to figure out how to lock the fridge? And why for goodness sake did I ever agree to rent a house with white carpet!)

I remember once, being infuriated with my sister because her 2-year-old little girl had pretended that my stacks of clean folded laundry were cakes and she had ‘frosted’ them with a large bottle of baby lotion that had been sitting out, and all my sister had done was take the lotion away and sternly say “no, no, sweetie!” At the time, of course, my first child was only a few months old, and had never done anything remotely obnoxious. If it had happened now, at least we would have both gotten a good chuckle over it.

And what can you really do about it? Take it away, and say “no, no!” while you try your best to look angry. There are a few areas, however, where I do feel qualified to give some advice. For example, never just nod and say “yes, uh huh, ok,” when your toddler is talking to you in words you don’t understand. For all you know, you have just given them permission to use your scissors to play barber. And if you have put your child down for a nap, make sure that he is really asleep before you go take a shower, or worse yet, fall asleep yourself, or you may find him missing when you wake up. Which brings me to the next thing—if you do fall asleep, first make sure you deadbolt the door and lock the top latch which you have smartly installed way up high at the top of the door, and then hide away, or better yet lock up anything with a long handle, like, say a broom, for instance, or you may find him being returned to you by a strange blue haired old lady who was nice enough to go door to door looking for you rather than calling the police. . . if you’re lucky.

How to Tell if You Are the Mother of a Toddler

You know you’re the mom of a toddler when nothing embarrasses you anymore. I know this is true because when my second son was 3 years old he once interviewed every stranger in the fast food restaurant we were eating at, asking everyone if they had penises, even the women. (Thank God there were only 3 other families there.) I was really starting to get annoyed at this strange fascination of his, because no matter how often I patiently explained to him that “no, I don’t have a penis, only boys have those,” he didn’t believe me, so it was actually a huge relief when he came barging into the bathroom one day and whipped open the shower curtain with a strange look of triumph on his face. He looked at me as if he just knew he had finally caught me red handed. As I frantically grabbed for the shower curtain, he shouted “Ha! Mom, you do have a . . .” a puzzled look crossed his face. “A big hairy thing?” Then he smiled and said “and you have bosoms too!” Then he closed the shower curtain and left. That was the end of it, and I am really, really, really glad.

Some other things that could tip you off that you are the parent of a toddler are:

1. When your child is missing, the closet in the entryway of your home is a perfectly logical place to look.
2. You have had to look in the middle of every clothing rack in Wal-Mart at least once.
3. You often look like your shirt sleeve has been used for a napkin. (Oh wait! It really has!)
4. White is not something you wear unless you have a babysitter.
5. It’s a relief to only have to give your child one bath in a day.
6. You lock the doors of your house with a latch that has been installed at the top of the door before taking a shower or using the toilet so your child doesn’t escape, and even then you are ready to run out of the shower naked at the slightest sound of chair legs scraping across the floor . . . (the news story of a toddler who escaped with the car keys and crashed the car into the garage while his poor mother was showering comes to mind)
7. Oh wait! Ha, what was I thinking? As soon as I get in the shower, I have instant company. And supervised toilet time . . . (“eeew mommy, you stink!” “Thanks sweetie!”)
8. Nap time is the only quiet part of your day. (Please! Pray that the toddler will take a nap!)
9. Anything nice you may have is either hidden away, or on a really high shelf that can’t be reached by climbing. (Ha! don’t you know there isn’t such a place? Must be why I don’t really have any nice things . . . )
10. If your child even eats one or two bites of his dinner, sometimes that is good enough.
11. You find yourself babbling to complete strangers at the play area in the mall, because you crave adult conversation.
12. Your house has at least one wall with crayon scribbling if you’re lucky. Otherwise, it’s permanent marker and it’s on every wall in the house. This will invariably happen right after you have painted. Thank goodness for magic erasers!
13. Your house is always a wreck, even right after you have spent the whole day cleaning up.
14. You keep baby wipes in your car and/or in your purse.
15. Milk and applesauce is a good lunch.
16. You often find yourself spelling out words such as C A N D Y, or P A R K in conversations.
17. Barney, Vegi Tales, and the Boobahs are necessary evils.
18. You have had at least one conversation as if Elmo were a real person.
19. You have either gone to the store with an odd assortment of barrettes in your hair at least once because your little girl was ‘fixing your hair’ and would have cried if you took them out, or you have pretended to be a dinosaur and that pancake syrup is blood to get your son to eat (or some other equally gory thing).