Don’t force Sunday school on the three year old…

Look.  Let’s get real.  The title should actually read:  don’t subject your screaming 3-year-old on the Sunday school teacher.

I’m right, right?  Can I get a holy Amen in here (Whoa, now…that was a little too loud. Smile wink smile).

But, in all honesty, my three year old fled and panicked today and did not want to be left in the huge Sunday school room alone.  So I did what I needed, I scooped her up, plopped her on my lap, and sat through church with her while I got to give her a million unappreciated kisses (as she loudly proclaimed in the service to Stop Kissing Her), cuddle her in my arms, hold and dance with her in worship, and take communion with her on my hip.  

And she was happy.  And I was happy.  And the Sunday school teachers were most likely ecstatic.  

Best of all????

These lovely selfies she took during the sermon time (insert scary laughter from evil selfie).

Praise Jesus???

Does this look like vacation?

I am fairly sure I don’t even need to write a lot.  

We are on vacation.  

But really???

Hashtag: life; reality; parenting; humor

No rest for the wicked…

Oh, wait.  I mean the mommies (smile and wink).

Greetings from La Jolla sunny California!

Dzien Matki — Mother’s Day in Poland

I am pretty sure I just ate candy my son gave me from his grubby fingers—and I am not sure the last time he washed his hands.  Or went to the bathroom and forgot to wash his hands.  I am actually gagging a little bit right now.  Really.  My stomach is not feeling so well.  Hashtag “truemom”.  EATING NASTY GERMS FROM GRUBBY DIRTY FINGERS.  Sigh.

Therefore, let’s just say that I am VERY VERY VERY happy to be celebrating the upcoming day about ME in Poland.  Dzien Matki.  May 26th.  Mother’s Day.

In Poland, Mother’s Day is the same day year after year after year.  Kind-of like Women’s Day, Wigilia, your birthday, your anniversary, New Year’s … MOTHER’S DAY!  It is set in stone and NEVER GOES AWAY!

Kind of like our kids, eh????!!!! (smile and wink)

Anyhow, this upcoming Mother’s Day I think that I am going to set expectations for my kids:

  1.  I am going to expect for them to make me frustrated.
  2. I am going to expect for them to make a mess.
  3. I am going to expect for them to NOT leave me in peace when I have to pee OR merely pick up the phone—EVEN THOUGH, moments before, they had forgotten about the very existence of me.
  4. I am going to expect for them to cry over their hair styles or crust.  YES—the crust on their bread.
  5. I am going to expect for them to have a small accident in their underpants—just enough so that they will not want to wear the same pair and not enough to make a mess on the floor.  The in between stage of wet.  Enough, however, where they will then declare that they must STRIP NAKED and be.  For the rest of the day.
  6. I am going to expect for my toddler to wake me at 3am.  Or 5am.  Or 6am.  And not at all appreciate that they day is about ME!
  7. I am going to expect for the pre-teen (nastolatek) to give me grief.  I don’t know about what.  About the volume of my voice or the fact that SHE CANNOT WEAR MY SHOES.
  8. I am going to expect for them to fight and argue about the 1 block.  On the floor.  When there are 1 million and 12 other blocks right next to the 1 block.  And there are 500,000 of those 1 million and 12 blocks that are exactly the same as the 1 block that they are rowing over.
  9. I am going to expect them to stub their toes, blacken their eyes, break their teeth, or scrape their knees.  I know this because it will happen.  My three year old currently has a black eye and a huge forehead mark from tripping onto the training wheel bike tire and also falling on the side of the trampoline.  All in a day’s work.  So I am going to expect a trip to the hospital, a broken bone, or a bandaged knee.  It will happen.
  10. And, lastly, I am going to expect a gazillion times over for them to tell me that they “Love me the most!”  And fight over it.  And cuddle me.  And then fight over cuddling me.  And then fight once again about who loves Momma the most.  Because it will happen.  I expect it.

And number 10 makes up for 1-9.

As I expect it should.

So, you see, Mother’s Day in Poland is really no different than Mother’s Day anywhere else in the world.  If you come from a dirt floor or a mansion that touches the sky, being MOM is full of a million and one expectations that always start with DISASTER…But that one moment (#10) will make up for all of the tornadoes that will come in and hijack your day.

In the end, however, you don’t mind.  Because it’s a nice feeling.  Being mom.

But NOT eating the grubby food from their fingers.  Leave that behind on Dzien Matki.  I am pretty sure that is not a nice feeling.

Not at all.

Happy Mother’s Day from Poland to YOU!

When You Are Raising a 4-Year-Old

DSC_0480

Several years ago, I was sitting in a meeting of International Women.  I was seated next to a beautiful Danish woman.  She had 2 children.  I had 1.  One 4-year-old daughter.

We bonded over that mere fact.

Being moms.

And, as we were virtually strangers, yet with something HUGE in common, we had a lot to talk about.

Okay—we had parenting and mom-ming and kids to talk about.

But it was one of the deepest conversations of my life.

We looked at each other and both of, respectively, said, “We are so thankful that we don’t beat our children.”

It’s as if we were leaning over to give one another high fives for keeping our children alive.

Like really.

We spoke on HOW difficult parenting is.  How hard it is to practice restraint.  How MUCH  you want to, well, basically, put your child in a VERY big box and shut the lid.

It was so refreshing to have an honest parenting conversation with another mom.  A mom that looked like she had EVERYTHING together.

Because parenting is HARD HARD HARD.

IT, your beautiful baby, your precocious toddler—turns FOUR…FOUR!

And you think…have I spawned the devil?

And these precious creatures we have spawned literally live to drive us bat crazy.  You feel as if you have no shred of self control left.  You literally have to physically leave the presence of your spawn.

Parenting is hard.  And I get so ridiculously crazy of these soft-spoken moms that are like “Blah, blah, blah…the beauty of parenting…AND MAKING BUTTER..” because I am all like…MY KID LIVED TODAY!!!!!

And I feel as if I should run outside and SHOUT IT ON THE ROOFTOPS!

And I feel as if they should literally make a MADE FOR TV movie about my heroism.

AND I.AM.NOT.KIDDING!

This woman.  This stranger.  She got all of that.  We talked for a long time about how people really should praise mommies for maintaining control.  We talked about parents that struggled with doing what’s right.  We talked about how much help we need as parents.

We need help.  The good parents.  The bad parents.  THE PARENTS.  We need help.

Because our job is the biggest in the world.  And it’s the hardest in the world.  And we have little little little people that trust us for safety and protection and life—as they should—even while they are trying to snuff that VERY life out of us.

Right now I am raising my second 4-year-old.  I say second, because my daughter was my first and she is now 10.

And she is the FINEST decade gal you will ever meet (decade gal is what she calls her 10-year-old self).

She is funny and kind.  She is smart and hardworking.  She is silly and fun.  She is outgoing yet shy.  SHE IS THE BEST!

I couldn’t ask for a more amazing child.

Yet when she was four—I thought she was the she-devil herself.  And I could hardly see straight because she drove me so insane.

And I PRAYED that we would BOTH live through that phase.  That phase of her being 4.

Stubborn.  Screaming.  CRYING…PUBLIC HUMILATION.  Up the wazoo.

I felt ashamed every time I walked in public with her because of her meltdowns and fits and tantrums.

I wanted to return this child I prayed so hard to receive.

And I thought I would never make it past this phase of being the WORST MOMMY EVER!

Yet here she sits at 10 as the BEST version of any kid I could imagine building on my own.  Like, literally, if I could design a child, this child would still not come out as great as my decade gal.

And so I have chosen to write this post today for me.  For you.  For every HONEST mom out there that is pulling her hair, just trying to survive.

I write this for the solidarity of US!

We do deserve high fives.  We do deserve made for TV movies.  We deserve honor and recognition that our children are alive despite the fact that we are now bald.

You are doing a fine job.  Maybe some days you want to cry because you feel like you are the worst.  But take a deep breath.  Go in the other room.  Cry.  And then breathe again.  Because your 4-year-old will not be a 4-year-old forever.

One day your 4-year-old will turn into your decade gal…and you will be able to look at your child and see that you have made it.  You have survived.  And you are doing a darn fine job of it.

Drink a coffee…Eat dessert.  And breathe.

Because the teenage years are just around the corner.

 

Record the delights in your heart

nun-family-in-the-fall

I pulled out a journal that my mom sent me for my 40th birthday the other day.  There is so much for me to write and see and say, and I wanted to begin to record.

But pulling out my journal brought me back to the last several years of my life and marriage.

If you have followed this blog since its inception 3 years ago, you would know that my husband and I have had to work really hard at our marriage.

One point, while we were receiving professional help, my husband was journaling.  It was a good thing.  Yet is was a VERY depressing thing.

While it was both cathartic and healing—it was just SO SAD!

And every time I read it, it was hard to read.

Hard times in life are hard.  And we need to share them with someone we trust—but that doesn’t make it easy.

So when I pulled out my journal…during a hard day of just being me, being mommy, being wife, I decided to do something different.

I decided that I was going to write about the joys of my day.  And while my children sat screaming and crying and throwing fits, I remembered that ONE moment of the day where they were pure joy—

And I wrote that.

And I giggled while I wrote.

And I shared with my husband what I wrote.

And we smiled.

Through the tears, through the difficulties, through the hard—we smiled…because, really, there was something to smile about.

Take for example, my family photo above.  My 2-year-old delight (sarcasm inserted here) cried and pouted and shouted throughout our entire photo session.  She was tired.  She was sleeping.  And she is two.  TWO.  That, in itself, is an answer for everything 😉

She did not want to smile for any photo.  It was impossible.  And as much as we tried, we just could not get that ideal and dreamy family photo that I had envisioned on the drive to the palace gardens where we were taking photos.

So we had to come to the conclusion to either leave her out of photos or just go with the flow.

And we did both.

When she wasn’t in the photos, we clicked magnificence.

When she was, we just had so much fun with her two year old pouty expressions…capturing not perfection but real life.

At the end of the day, when the gardens were about to be locked up, we wandered to the exit and just let the children run and play.  After all, they could get dirty now that mom had what she wanted.  That is when the sun actually came out.

No, dusk was on the horizon, but our 2-year-old Josephine ran and played and laughed and smiled.

And that is when my husband took back out the camera that he had already packed away and started to shoot.

And that’s when we saw her smile.

You know…It’s good to record life.  The ups and downs and all arounds.

But sometimes we especially need to record the joys—because they remind us to smile!

 

 

 

I’m just a little drama…that’s all.

I was dying today talking about my life with friends that I only have the immense love & privilege of seeing one time a year when I fly from Poland to the States to see and be with my parents and family.

DYING…

Like…I was on such a roll—sometimes I don’t know how I pull myself off of the floor and actually walk around in this life-like motion at all.  I should be more like Walking Dead Momma—and my kids should be GRATEFUL for that momma.

Anyhow—it totally dawned on me today that I am just a bit of drama.

You see, I thought my daughter was all of the drama.

I thought she got it from her daddy.

He is the Drama King.  I made him a crown.

But today when I was recounting all of my guilt trips and psycho parenting moments with my children and my HOW DARE MY HUSBAND SAY THAT stories, my peeps…my tribe…those that will ALWAYS tell me the truth told me that I was the drama.

SAY WHAT????

I literally had no clue.  HERE I WAS—blaming ALL of the drama on pretty much EVERYONE else in my family.

It’s kind of like those that have problems with everyone they meet—turns out it is THEM!  Yep—the ones with all of the problems.

Apparently, out of the mouth of true friends, I am that THEM.

But, please, please, please, please…let’s totally keep this a secret from my husband.  I still need him to think that it is ALWAYS ALL HIS FAULT!

I need this.

It is what is best for the family, right?!

(smile smile wink wink)

So Forty!

nunsintorun

Like I am so overwhelmingly 40 that someone could write a book about 40 based upon my life.

I bloat—and automatically 3 people ask if I’m pregnant.

I say—“No.  I am not pregnant.  Just 40.”

One kind man looked confused and said, “Thirty?”

And I said, “No, 40…And I am not having any more  (bold and underline this, please) children.”

He went on to tell me I still have time for one more…

I went on to tell him a thing or two…(Okay—nice things 😉 ).

I have two small kids and a 10 year old.  The ten year old is an angel because she can shower and brush her teeth all alone.

The others—it’s like, “What’s that?  You need to go on the toilet AGAIN????  Aren’t you still in diapers??????????”  And then I remember that he is officially 4.  So I follow him into the toilet and wipe his little bum after he goes number 2.

The last is like “NOOOOOOO!!!!!!  I do it!”  And if you enter her presence without her permission, she is like “THIS IS MY ROOM!!!!!!”  And if she was not so RIDICULOUSLY the cutest thing walking this earth, it would just not be so cute (smile smile wink wink)  Okay, okay…It’s pretty typical 2 and cute.

And then there are those that days that my little son brings me cookies and I ask, “Did you eat lunch?” And he’s like “No, my tummy is not hungry for food.”  So I open his cookies and send him on his way just so that I can have a spare moment alone to eat my own cookies.

Friends…I am SOOOOO 40!  Beyond, totally 40.

And while I mostly handle it fine—I realize that the babcia in me is starting to sneak out (grandma for those that don’t know what babcia means)…And then I realize that these are not my grandkids but my kid-kids.  I am suppose to be MONITORING their sugar intake —NOT increasing it 😉

Oh me oh my oh my oh me!!!!!

I am Brooke.  And I.AM.FORTY.

Can I take a nap, please?????