Shopping for trouble

mylittleponyWe often see lists of what people fear most, and some old mainstays are public speaking, death, flying, vomiting – but I bet if there was a subsection of mothers with young kids taking that survey, “spoiling my child” would be on there somewhere.

Because no one wants that. It’s not good for mommy and daddy, not good for the kid, not good for other humans. Everybody loses, right?

So nearly every parenting decision is haunted by this anxiety. Your every instinct drives you to want to see your child happy all the time – but you’ve got to teach her, too, that sometimes, you don’t get what you want, and that’s just how the world works. Period.

Then there’s that temptation to just avoid the “store showdown” all together.

This is why, when I need to buy birthday presents for other kids, I usually bend over backwards to do it on my own – on the way home from work, or on a day I’m working from home and running errands.

Today, though, as a means of getting Lily to preschool without a fight (this was one of those very occasional “but I don’t WANT to go to preschool” mornings), I told her I’d pick her and Neve up a bit early and take them shopping to pick up gifts for two little cousins’ upcoming birthdays.

In a way, this was a good thing. It got me what I wanted – a battle-free morning – and it would take care of a task that needed to happen before tomorrow afternoon.

The down-side?

On the drive there – we weren’t even in the store yet – Lily says, from the backseat, “Can I get something too, Mommy?”

Oof. Continue reading

“Putting the tree in the garage”

The enormous tree limb that's now taken residency in our garage.

The enormous tree limb that’s now taken residency in our garage.

On Monday, while I was at work, I got an email from a neighbor who was concerned about some gigantic tree limbs and branches that had fallen from our old cottonwood on Saturday, shortly after we’d hosted a big backyard birthday party for (now five year old) Lily.

The unwieldy limbs had fallen onto a section of my neighbor’s garden, near the big bounce house we’d rented for the weekend. And right when it happened, my neighbor came to let me know (I’d been inside the house, doing post-party clean-up), and then she helped me lug the biggest limbs onto the grass, a few feet from her garden.

Since then, though, I’d just left them there, assuming Joe and I would get around to breaking them down when we got the time. Ha, ha.

But Monday’s evening forecast called for rain, so my neighbor was afraid – probably justifiably – that a truckload of little cottonwood saplings would spring forth in both our yards if I didn’t take action right away.

“OK,” I thought, still seated at my work desk. “Change of plans.”

I called Joe and asked if he could come home a bit early, before I got the girls from preschool. The answer was “no.” But he insisted that I wouldn’t be able to do the job myself, and that it would take me at least an hour.

But never underestimate the determination of a mommy willing to cut corners.

Yes, I proved my husband wrong on both counts. I arrived home from my commute at about 4:30, and because I usually get to the girls’ preschool at about 5 p.m., I went to work immediately.

Whirring with activity while still in my work clothes, and breaking off branches while holding limbs to the ground with my foot, I packed three yard waste bags as a cloud of cottony fluff funneled around me. When I’d broken down all I could – in a half-assed manner, naturally, with big branches sticking out over the tops of the bags – I dragged the paper sacks into the garage, leaving an enormous, 15 foot, stripped hunk of tree on the ground.

Though it had taken the strength of both me and my neighbor to move it two days before, I thought it worth trying to move by myself, now that it was a leaner version of itself.

So I squatted down, grabbed hold of the thickest part of its circumference, and stood with it in my arms, pulling it into the garage.

And at about that moment, the clock in downtown Farmington chimed five o’clock.


I tell this story not to underline what a fierce bad-ass I am – though that would be an awesome bonus – but rather to explain how this experience is emblematic of my day-to-day life since becoming a parent. Continue reading

Most parents’ worst travel nightmare? Check.

deltaIt’s painfully fitting that Joe and I flew too close to the sun, metaphorically speaking, and flapped our waxen, melting (parenting) wings for dear life, while sitting on an airplane.

Yes, we recently experienced every parent’s worst nightmare while trapped in a claustrophobic, man-made aluminum bird, and felt the discomfort and disapproval of a couple of hundred people that suddenly fell dead silent.

Better yet, my mother- and father-in-law were seated just a few rows back.

Ohhhhhh, yes. It happened, people. And – fortunately? unfortunately? – I lived to tell the tale. Continue reading