Tag Archives: Children

Ain’t Love Grand?

Be honest -- did YOU save the best valentine in the package for that special someone who made your hear skip a beat?

Be honest — did YOU save the best valentine in the package for that special someone who made your heart skip a beat?

Once again I’ve been shirking my blogging responsibilities, this time due to a massive migraine, which has left me bed-ridden and quite dizzy.  However, before my aching head sent me into a tailspin, the work week provided enough material for at least one good story.  It seems that ever since Valentines’ Day, even grade school children are not safe from Cupid’s arrow.  My third graders are particularly lovesick, but they haven’t quite figured out the economics of romance.  One boy seems to have cornered the market on the infatuations of female classmates.  Nearly a dozen little girls have set their designs on this one little boy!  He is nice enough: well dressed, good manners, athletic, and a scholar.  It would seem that he is the epitome of third grade boyhood, and because the girls have put him on a pedestal, they won’t even look at another boy, no matter how virtuous or adorable.

A couple of days ago during recess, I was approached by one of the lovesick admirers, who smooshed her face against my coat and began sobbing uncontrollably about how “someone” didn’t want to be her friend and it wasn’t fair because he was “friends” with “other people” but not her.  Oh the humanity!

“Is this about a boy?” I asked gently.

“Ye–e–e–e–s!” she wailed. “It’s not fair! I just want to be his frie–end!  But he said that he doesn’t want to be friends!  And he’s the nicest boy in third grade, so why wouldn’t he want to be friends with me? And pretty soon I’m moo–ooving!”

“Well if he doesn’t want to be your friend then he is missing out, and maybe he isn’t as nice as you think.  I say it’s his loss.” I tried to reassure her.  Most likely the poor boy was tired of all the girls stalking him and shooting eye daggers at each other, and he had told the more clingy ones that he couldn’t be “friends” to avoid any confusion of exactly what kind of friendship was happening.  I decided to prescribe my trademark pragmatic advice.

“You’ve heard of Facebook, right?” I asked as I smoothed her hair off of her tear stained cheeks.

“Uh–h–h–h–uh.” she stammered, still squashed up against me.  I felt like crying a little myself.  It was only the beginning of the week, and already a broken heart and snot on my new coat.

“Well, when I was in third grade I just absolutely loved a boy who I thought was so cool.  He was cute, and smart, and just the best at everything.  But he never liked me back, and I was sad, just like you are right now.”  I smiled at her.  “Then I grew up and forgot about him.  And a few weeks ago, I saw a picture of him on Facebook, and he is all grown up just like me.  And you know what?”

“Wha–what?” she sniffled.

“He’s terrible!”  I exclaimed.  “He’s bald, and has a big belly, and he has horrid taste in clothing.  He hasn’t gone anywhere fun in his whole life like I have.  And he doesn’t look at all as cute as he did in third grade.  Besides, I met and married a much nicer boy.  He’s my best friend.  We go everywhere together, and he is much more fun to hang out with.  Does any of this help?”  I looked at her expectantly.

“No,” she said emphatically, without even thinking about it.

“Really?”

“No,” and she started crying harder.

“Oh, come on now, don’t do that!  I know that it’s hard to trust what I’m saying because we can’t see the future.  In fact, forget what I said about the bald ugly guy on Facebook.  Just remember this.  I promise that the you ten years from now is going to be so awesome, and twenty years from now — even better!  And your life will be amazing.  I can’t guarantee that you won’t ever have rough days, but I do know that your life will be great.”

Somehow she stopped crying in time for the recess whistle, and walked ahead of me to get into her line.  As I was strolling toward the school, another student approached, a small sweet girl who also harbors a crush on our tiny Romeo.  She looked me straight in the eye and said in a dead serious tone, “There is no one else.  He is the only one,” and then she walked away.  Very helpful.  When I saw my love-struck student in the lunch room a few minutes later, she was talking and laughing with classmates.  She looked happy and at ease.  Good.  Maybe my advice didn’t hit the target, but as long as my kiddos have friends to turn to for support, they will survive their heartaches in the years to come.

And I am SO glad I didn’t marry the boy I had a crush on in third grade!

— G

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Birthday Cake Makes My Kids Homicidal

Since Halloween is almost upon us, I wanted to bust out some scary stories from my life to shock and amaze.  Sadly, what I came up with will make me look like a bad person at worst, and at best be ridiculously funny.  So after some thought I chose to lead off with the story that makes me look like a bad parent and my children look like demon spawn.  At least you all will get some entertainment from this, but I am still traumatized so at least one of us has been adequately affected.

My daughters are for the most part sweet children, but they are a tad high strung.  I can actually hear my immediate relatives laughing right now from distant corners of the globe at this grievous understatement.  Okay, to be fair they are very high strung, and I do not give them any caffeine at all because they already act like addicts going through withdrawal.  Their sugar consumption is also strictly monitored because it doesn’t take much to send them into the atmosphere for hours.  They are actually quite wonderful, and they just have so much nervous energy (I blame this on my husband who is exactly like them) so as long as they are kept busy and not overstimulated, they act like relatively normal children.

I wonder if Disney Princesses have this problem...

I wonder if Disney Princesses have this problem…

So let’s introduce a far from normal scenario for my girls: a kids’ birthday party.  We walk into a house we’ve never been to before, and there are a dozen weird children running around screaming.  Something starts to slowly fray in my girls’ frontal lobes until they reach a point of no return when they are no longer able to make reasonable decisions or think anything through before trying to beat their peers senseless.   After so much cake, ice cream, wrapping paper flying through the air, and adrenaline soaked girl drama, my kids just lose their cool and go completely ballistic.  I am terrified of finding party invitations tucked into their school folders and try to dispose of them quickly before they remember that classmates had passed the invites around.  I cringe when neighbors casually invite us to an impromptu party because I just know my kids will probably beat up their kids or kill their cat or set their house on fire, and then there is a good chance we won’t be friends anymore.  I get the feeling that some of you readers (those who are not immediate family and close friends) don’t believe me, so I am going to present a list of evidence as to why I am so traumatized by my children’s behavior.

Birthday Party #1

Everything was fine until it was time to go.  In my defense, I let my daughters stay through the entire party, so they had plenty of time to play.  When I told them to put their shoes on they both went boneless and flopped around on the floor crying.  I had to drag them up the stairs to the front door.  This was at a house where I hardly knew the hosts or anyone else, so I was getting a lot of mixed looks of sympathy and judgment.  Once I had the front door open my girls both grabbed onto the door frame and held on for dear life, bawling like stuck pigs.  I had to pry them loose and drag them out to the car.  The whole time they were screaming “No Mommy! No!” as if I were beating their butts.  So embarrassing.

Birthday Party #2

Amazingly I allowed the girls to attend a second party the following weekend, thinking surely that last party was just a fluke and they would be on their best behavior.  I was so wrong.  This time we were at a recreation center and again I was with parents I didn’t know very well.  These were the parents of kids I work with at the school, and most were the bratty ones –that would be parents and kids.  I had a bad feeling when we walked in, and instinct told me to make up an excuse to leave early.  But no, I stayed and made polite conversation with some of the cattiest mothers I have ever met while their children started instigating trouble with mine.  And then I saw it coming: S-n-n-n-n-a-a-a-p!  Both Annie and Alexis (my girls) decided that they had been pushed around enough and tiny fists started flying.  I had to do the right thing, so I collected my screaming, red faced children, made apologies, scolded my girls and loaded them into the car.  But secretly I was proud of them.  I was sick of listening to their mothers but I couldn’t indulge in that behavior, no matter how much I wanted to slap their prissy faces.

Birthday Party #3

Surprisingly we were invited to yet another party, this time by a sweet mom who had witnessed the behavior at Party #1, and she either didn’t judge me or didn’t care because Annie is close friends with her daughter.  I was really paranoid by this time, especially because the party was in an art center where I had done three months of teaching internship.  I really did not want to make a bad impression, and as we were driving to the art center, I kept envisioning horror scenarios of paint splattering like blood onto the expensive art for sale in the gallery.  I read my girls the riot act before we went inside, “Mommy used to work here, there is nice art on the walls, you absolutely have to be on your best behavior!  If you do one thing, if you hit someone, if you scream, if you do anything mean, we will leave and you will lose all privileges for a week!” I shrilled at them before we got out of the car.  Things went fine until Annie felt that she had been wronged by a toddler who took a cupcake topper that Annie had claimed.  Annie was 7 years old at the time, but she had snapped once again and there was no rationalizing that a 2 year old should be spared her wrath.  I intervened and discretely threatened the death penalty so Annie would calm down.  We somehow made it out of the art center with no casualties, but it took some very strategic thinking and fast moving on my part.

Birthday Party #4

This party was the most traumatic party of all, to date.  Some close friends invited me and the girls to their house for a small get together to celebrate their son’s first birthday.  They went all out: delicious meal, homemade cake, a piñata full of candy in the back yard.  My girls were so excited they could hardly contain their joy at the prospect of filling a little bag with goodies.  There were not many children at the party, and very little chance for drama, so I relaxed a bit, had a tiny glass of wine, and chatted with other guests.  I let my girls have a huge piece of the homemade cake as a courtesy to the hostess, since I could not eat gluten.  I swiped a finger of frosting off the cake and wished I could ignore my diet for a day.  I was starting to think that maybe those bad birthday parties were just anomalies, three bad coincidences in a row and nothing more.  Then my friends announced that it was time to break open the piñata.  Each child had a turn.  Apparently I had not been paying enough attention to my own children because I didn’t hear the sound of Annie snapping.  But everyone saw her take the two foot piñata bat when it was her turn and come after her little sister with a murderous glint in her eyes.  She actually managed to chase Alexis a few feet, swinging the bat viciously, before another adult grabbed her.  Oh, mortification, take me now!  I wanted to die.  We all cried in the car on the way home.  My friend sent two enormous pieces of cake along for “when the girls are feeling better”.  I ate them both for dinner that night with more wine and got very sick.  I didn’t care.  This party had confirmed my worst fears.  My children absolutely cannot tolerate birthday parties, not even a little bit.

Birthday Party #5

We abstained from birthday parties for a long time after that.  I was so traumatized that I couldn’t even consider the idea of sending my kids to a party.  The potential repercussions were too horrifying to imagine.  Then a neighbor up the street invited us to a casual little shindig and I thought, well maybe this will be a good opportunity to gauge their “progress”.  Oh why do I do this to myself?  My girls were horrible all day, screaming at each other, hitting each other, talking back to me, typical sisterly behavior.  They actually lost their privilege to go to the party, and I was going to make them take a nap.  Then miraculously, they stopped fighting, began to treat each other politely, picked up their toys, got dressed, and apologized to me.  So I basically fell for it, but told myself that they had earned enough redemption to go to the party.  The neighbor’s house was close enough to walk, so we strolled over, but the whole time I was reiterating my riot act.  I told them it would only take one act of violence or disrespect and we would leave immediately.  They made it exactly 30 minutes before Annie punched Alexis in the chest.  And I kept my word; we walked home immediately, me striding ahead angrily and the girls crying and yelling and stomping behind.  It was a tiny parade of rage for the whole neighborhood to watch.

So I have come to three possible conclusions and they are all scary.  Either 1) my children truly are demon spawn, 2) somehow I have failed as a disciplinarian, or 3)  birthday parties are just too intense for my children, AND other parents have this same problem but just aren’t talking.

So if anyone else has this problem, and more importantly some hilarious and scary stories of birthday party debacles, I would love to hear them!  You can share by commenting at this site, or if you are my friend of Facebook, you can join the conversation there.  Halloween parties are coming up next week, please pray for my family, and any families that may be directly impacted by my children!

—G