What the flute

I am exhausted, and not just the I’ve had a long day kind of tired but a feeling that part of my brain, the part that is supposed to have parental know how is completely stretched out.

I have listened to a four year old cry, plead, throw herself on the floor, and run out into the street  – all for a dollar plastic harmonica…

Today is Tuesday and as I stated before, we planned on doing something thoughtful for Too Kind Tuesdays.  Since we had leftover marshmallows from yesterday’s craft, we made purple, heart shaped rice krispie treats.  We were giving them to Gia’s best friend, who we were meeting with, along with her mom and baby sister at Dunkin Donuts.

Creatively decorating a Lorna doone cookie box

Gia wrote her a little note and then we used a cookie box, covered it in tin foil and decorated it with stickers.

Love note
Looks like Valentine’s Day came early

Gia’s friend got her special box and we were going to have a nice afternoon.

Coffee in hand, donuts on the table, we were happy as could be…that is…for five minutes until four sugar crazed girls were running amok, giggling and playing, actually more like screaming- they all have Italian in their blood- they’re loud!  

We grabbed our coffees and skedaddled out to the dollar store.  Another brilliant idea – taking little children into stores with tons of little, plastic toys – recipe for disaster.

Take a look around at Moms’ faces in stores- they are typically reprimanding their children, explaining to them why they can’t have something, or just tense and waiting – holding their breath and praying they can get out without a temper tantrum.

“I want three toys,” demanded Gia.

No, I said, “You only get one toy.”

“I make the rules and I get three,”said Gia.

“I’m sorry Gia but I said you get one toy for ten stickers from your teeth brushing chart,” I said.

“You’re the meanest mom ever,” Gia pouted, and then said, “I make the rules and I get three toys.”

“Gia, you won’t get any toys if you continue on this way,” I said, feeling slightly frustrated.

“Ok I want this flute and the princess castle,” she came up with.

“I said one toy!” My blood was beginning to boil as we went back and forth about this.

“Ok I’ll take the flute,” she finally consented.

“Thank goodness,” I thought to myself because I was about to lose it!

We make it to the register, pay for the flute, and I open the package for her.  She plays with it for no less than a minute says, “I don’t want the flute anymore. I don’t like it. I really wanted the harmonica.”

I feel myself go white and have a sinking feeling as I realize the worst is yet to come.

I take a deep breath and calmly say, “I’m sorry you don’t like the flute but you chose it, maybe next time we can get the harmonica.”

Tears, rage, and defiance fill this adorable little face of hers.  A sweet puppy transformed into a ferocious bull dog.

“I don’t want this anymore, I don’t like this flute. I want the harmonica!!! Please, please, please,” she is literally throwing herself at me now.

We manage to get outside and the fit of rage continues on the sidewalk.  She is pressed up against the store front, bright red, and crying. ( I am seeing activist in her future with her arms spread wide in front of a National Park trying to end destruction of trees…)

This goes on quite a while as visions of big glasses of delicious wine dance in my head, as well as a bubbly, hot pizza so I don’t have to make dinner, and Grandma taking them away for a sleepover…

Ok- focus Jill- “What should I do? Should I just go in and buy the damn harmonica or do I be the tough mommy, sticking to my guns…This could be over in seconds if I simply buy that little piece of plastic that costs one dollar and will most likely break anyway – but I can’t, no I can’t, “ I am in charge, I am the boss,” I say to myself like some desperate dodo practicing what they repeatedly listened to from a self-help audio book.

I choose not to buy the harmonica.  I pick that writhing, mad little bundle up, and force her into the car, strap her and her sister in, start the car, and do my best to ignore the screams and pleadings to “Please, please, please can we go back and get the harmonica!”

The rest of the evening wasn’t the most relaxing ever but G finally managed to move past this tragedy in her life.  And you know how, (don’t know why I didn’t think of this before- I told her that Daddy played the flute when he was little and I’m sure he would be so excited to hear her play).

And that is the conclusion of this Too Kind Tuesday… now I am going to be kind to myself and put my feet up, read, and relax…

“Moooomy, Moooomy, Mommy- help- Ari pooped in the bath and it is so so disgusting.”     Well, maybe not.

A Piece of Me

When my first daughter was born, I decided to make a scrapbook.  I went to Michaels, picked out sparkly paper, puffy stickers, and ridiculously expensive scrapbook decor with sayings like, “Precious,” “Darling,” and “Sent from Heaven.” 

I had my pictures ready to go, ideas in my head, and events I wanted to write but I didn’t know if I should type the captions or handwrite them.  I knew that my handwriting wasn’t the best and the pages would look more polished if I typed them. So I did, and it was good. My scrapbook came out cute.  All the “Sent from Heaven’s” were in the right place.  It was a scrapbook that I could put out on the coffee table, show friends and family and listen to all the oohs and aahs…

Because things like that seemed so important to me at the time. I was a new mom with a bouncing baby and I wanted to be perfect. Saying all the right things to friends who asked me how it was going, creating scrapbooks, and making my own baby food seemed…I don’t know the right word, not important, but elevating me I suppose.  Just like loosing all the baby weight so fast seemed so necessary for this Mommy experience that I was about to embark on.  I mean, all I had seen for the past nine months while thumbing through magazines in the OB/GYN waiting rooms were covers of magazines with celebrites who looked amazing and thin, jogging with their baby joggers, and touting the latest advice in organic foods.  It appeared that being a mommy was on par with what college were you accepted to? Like this new stage in life where you had to be more than you ever were. 

Well, fast forward to today and I seriously want to shake that girl. Raising my girls, running the house, keeping them busy, stimulated, and engaged while trying to keep TV to a minimum certainly has pushed out those mommy fantasies.  More importantly, just loving them and making sure they get everything they need to be happy and feel valued is ALL THAT MATTERS.

Back track to the scrapbooking days (post year one) when I was about to start my second fabulous brag book.  I again, remember being faced with the earth shattering dilemma of typing verses handwritng so I googled about this quandary.  

I came across this post entitled “Exercises in Handwriting,” by Gwyn Calvetti,


I once met a woman who told me that her most prized possession was a grocery list on a scrap of paper she’d found between the pages of one of her mother’s cookbooks. Why? Her mother had been a perfectionist who was unhappy with her penmanship, typing everything. After her death, the discovery of this scrap of handwritten paper, in her mother’s sloppy scrawl, gave this woman a tangible link to her that she could keep always. It was the only thing she had with her mother’s handwriting on it.

This story made me think so much about the relationship between mother and daughter.  This woman probably treasured this scrap of paper because it was something real from her mother. Not a perfectly kept baby book or perfectly organized photo albums- just something everyday.  I believe that this is what we as daughters crave from our mothers- just messy, imperfect love.  

So, I decided that I didn’t even want to make another scrapbook.  All I wanted to do was write in a journal about our lives together.  Document the silly stories, the awe inspiring moments, the outings we have with friends, the emergency hospital stories ( or low grade injuries), and just the basic day to day things that we do together.  

So that is what I do. And sometimes I forget to write in it for weeks…and then I see my journals and the guilt consumes me for a moment.  But then I fast forward to a day where I am reading the journal entries to my daughters and say- “Oops- that’s when we moved, or that’s when Mommy was baking 200 hundred cookies for your birthday party, or even just, you know what G, “Mommy was being a lazy bones that week.”


Belly Laughs

After lunch today, G, lifted up her shirt and showed me her belly. “Look Mommy how big it is,” she exclaimed with a big smile and excitement in her eyes…

“Wow,” I said. “That’s great,” I smiled and said…as a vision of me whipping out my stomach during dinner popped into my head.     

“Hey, guys, look at how big my stomach is!” I would have exclaimed.

Would the dinner company stare in awe and jealousy, murmuring to themselves…gee, How did she get that awesome body?…What diet is she on?…

Laughing to myself, picturing high fives all around the table- “Awesome – keep up the good work Jill- What’s your secret?”

Yea right- on what planet would that ever occur? It was a funny vision but it did make me think.

That would be amazing on two levels – one that being a little heavier was something to strive for.  No diets, scary scales, and endless books, commercials, and magazines devoted to losing weight.  No guilt when having the bread, finishing your plate, and ordering dessert – make that a la mode please!

One another level, the fact that a girl or woman could be so comfortable with her less than perfect body that she could just show it off with a giggle, or a smile, and then move on and have a fun day or night…  sounds so nice, cheerful, and easy breezy doesn’t it?

Unfortunately, that will probably never be the case, especially not here in America where people are obsessed with weight, dieting, and their appearance.  The environment that I will be raising my precious, beautiful girls will be a harsh one, with Victoria Secret commercials, fashion magazines, and television shows with girls with skinny minny bodies, big boobs, and cosmetically enhanced fakeness.  We as Moms know that this perfection doesn’t exist but young, impressionable girls don’t – and its up to us to raise confident, happy, goal driven children and by goals I do not mean a goal weight!

I am going to add a page to my blog entitled Sunshine and Strength where I can list ideas to help raise confident, happy, and smart girls.

As for now, the girls and I are going to munch on some leftover cookies, cuddle under a blanket (it’s a dreary, rainy day – perfect for reading books and relaxing), and enjoy the rest of the day.