The Top 10 Reasons They Fight

Last week was a mind-numbing, eardrum shattering, nerve wracking week of keeping the little lovelies. The older ones were out of school three days. Instead of sleeping in, like, oh maybe until 8:00, they all wanted to make the most of every hour of every day. So they were wanting to shake it a little, or a lot, to Just Dance before breakfast. Before my second cup of coffee.Shaw Photography Group

My Granny Nanny daycare consists of two different age groups. Landon, Emma, Ava, and Paisley are in school. Aiden, Ivy, Casey, and Ireland are not. Some days the kids in the younger group fight enough to earn spots in the UFC. Some days the older kids have more drama than a high school prom. Some days, when both age groups are together, they dance together, play together, sing together…and some days they don’t.

The Sharks and the Jets. The Montagues and Capulets. The Hatfields and McCoys. They would all be envious of my grandkids’ abilities to make mountains out of molehills, lay blame, and scatter like rolling marbles when something gets broken. My grandkids are the champs. I need one of those bumper stickers to proudly display these abilities. Right along beside the ones that read “My kid can beat up your honor roll student.”

Just kidding about that last part. The school age kids are honor roll students.  The fact they can defend themselves too shouldn’t be held against them.

The good days, when they’re all getting along, or even just getting along in small groups, does outweigh the cat fight days. By a slim margin. 1374328_10203101440438798_5484075955927398661_n

I made a mental list last week of the things they fight over. Yes, these are actual reasons. They may not seem important to you (trust me, they’re really not but I have to at least act like they are) but they are life and death issues to a three, four, seven – take your pick on the age – year old. Here’s what I came up with:

1) Fruit snacks. It doesn’t matter if one is puking, or have just finished eating everything on their plate plus any of their siblings or cousins’ plates, if one kid gets a pack of fruit snacks, it’s a chain reaction. You might as well give in. You will not win that battle. Save the breath.

2) Vanilla wafers and/or animal cookies. The Jones’ have animal cookies, the Willis kids get vanilla wafers. Except the Jones kids eye the Willis’s vanilla wavers with watering mouths, while the Willis kids look lovingly at the Jones’ animal cookies. Switch them up, you say. That’s good until one of them gets fruit snacks. See above. 10701960_10203028462174387_6190323071891812217_n

3) Shopkins, My Little Pony, and Hot Wheels. These have been known to incite near riots. Hair pulling, pinching, ear-splitting screaming…but they’re sooooo much fun!

4) Just Dance. With me! No me! I want to do it! My turn! Okay, you’re on my team. How come I get stuck with Casey?

5) Minecraft. See above. Except add he burnt my house down! Stop following me! Press X…Press X! PRESS X!!!

6) The playground. Four slides. Three clubhouses. Six swings. And they all want to slide down this slide, not that slide. At the same time.

7) Reading time. Rarely do they choose the same book so rather than reading one story, we must read four. Except, most of the time we can get away with three because by the second story Casey’s wandered away and is stashing the shopkins in his backpack while no one is looking. 10671364_10202855696655357_587792342953513918_n

8) They all have to touch the book. See above. Each one has to be the one to open the flap, pull the tab, turn the page, etc…

9) Running time. Yes, I let them run in the house at a designated time when it’s too cold or wet outside. I give them ten laps to run off some energy. Works great until one of the faster ones gets behind one of the slower ones (Ireland, not to mention any names). The slower one will get pushed down, knocked aside, and ran over. 10730897_10203057513900662_7782004996232389269_n

10) Helping. Yes, they fight over this too. No one wants to help until one wants to help. When I asked one to hand me a diaper, I get five. When I tell one who has finished their lunch to clean their place at the table and put their dishes in the sink, I get fourteen forks in the garbage and a trail of spilled milk from the table to the sink. But they helped. And they were willing. Even if it was only because a sibling or a cousin did it first. But I’ll take it.

 

Playing favorites

I’ve been asked by different people on different occasions which of the nine grandkids is my favorite. Certainly you have a favorite, they say. It’s okay for grandparents to have favorites, they say. Well, the answer is rather simple. And may even be shocking to some. Yes I do have a favorite.

And my favorite is the one who needs to be grandma’s favorite at that time.

I’ve always been a believer in the who-needs-what-the-most form of parenting, and in this case grandparenting. Some days it’s Jeana, some days it’s Landon, other days it’s Emma, or Ava or Paisley, or Aiden or Ivy, or Casey or Ireland.

Shaw Photography GroupJeana is a teenager. Sometimes she needs a sounding board. I don’t mind listening. She takes school seriously and makes terrific grades. She doesn’t mind walking away from stuff or even friends when she’s uncomfortable. When she needs someone to sound off to, she’s my favorite “what’s it all about” teenager.

 

 

 

Shaw Photography GroupLandon is ten which is the new thirteen which is mega confusing. He told me the other day he used stick deodorant that day but wasn’t sure he was supposed to – “I don’t even have hair under my arms yet,” he said. So that day, he was my favorite “I’m not sure I’m ready to grow up” kid. He kept me and Ava and Emma laughing with silly jokes on the way home from school that day.

 

 

 

Shaw Photography GroupEmma has a way with words and at eight, she’s at the awkward age where we have to tell her sometimes it’s best to say nothing rather than always tell the truth. Like grandma’s car stinks. So Emma’s my favorite “tell it like it is” kid. Sometimes she needs grandma to help her find alternative words that don’t carry as much stink, er, sting.

 

 

 

Shaw Photography GroupAva is my walking medical condition. She had a broke arm, you know. Every day when I pick them up from school, I ask how their day was. One day last week, Ava’s answer, in one breath, was, “I had a migraine in the morning, threw up at lunch, and now my leg hurts.” She’s seven. I asked if she told her teacher and she said no. She ran off to play with Emma as soon as we got home and I don’t think ever mentioned her suffering to her mom. She’s my favorite “I used to be the baby and now I have three younger siblings” kid. 

 

 

Shaw Photography GroupPaisley is my contradiction.  She’s the most stubborn, independent, my-way-or-the-highway kid you’ll ever meet. Yet, Emma and Ava are her idols. Stuck like glue to their every word. Copies every dance move they invent. Sings every song they sing. But she is her own person. Lay her clothes out for her and she’ll come out wearing what she wants to wear. She’s my favorite “I’m five and I do know best” kid. I usually let her wear what she wants to wear. As long as were not going out in public. 

 

 

Shaw Photography GroupAiden is my tender hearted kid and knows grandma’s got his number but tries anyway. If he’s sad or had his feelings hurt, he’ll turn away and cry. When it’s real, grandma grabs him up and hugs on him. When it’s not real, he’ll look over his shoulder to see if grandma’s watching. That’s when I ignore him. Grandma’s got his number. He’s my favorite “sometimes I just need a hug” kid.

 

 

Shaw Photography GroupIvy, who is the middle child of five, does not share middle child traits like normal middle children. In Ivy’s world, it’s all about Ivy. She just turned three so I’m not going to get too concerned just yet. She can go from being your best friend to your worst enemy in a matter of seconds. Ask Aiden. He knows. So Ivy is my favorite “I love you I hate you” kid. It’s a hard fall from that pedestal so grandma will be there to catch her. 

Shaw Photography GroupCasey is, like Paisley, a contradiction. He will take Ireland’s sippy cup to her, only to snatch it back and run with it. He will offer her one of his little fruity snacks only to cry when she takes it. He’ll run to you with arms wide open only to veer off in a different direction as soon as he reaches you. He and Ireland just turned two but sometimes it seems like he has the thought process of someone much older. And then he puts his chubby little hands over his eyes and cries and he’s a baby again. So Casey’s my favorite “can’t he just be a baby a little while longer” kid.

Shaw Photography GroupIreland is the baby baby who thinks she’s old enough to hang out with “the girls” – Ava, Emma, and Paisley. She doesn’t want to play cars with her brother Casey or cousin Aiden. She wants to sit beside Ava and watch her play on the ipad or wants to dance when the girls are dancing or make plastic bracelets with them. She’s only two but thinks she’s ten. And when the older girls won’t let her play, she gets her feelings hurt and crawls up in my lap to hold her while she pouts. So Ireland is my favorite “I’m just going to sit here and cry” kid. And yes, grandma sometimes holds her while she does. 

So do I have a favorite? Nah. But I do have nine.

All photos courtesy of Shaw Photography Group

Christmas Miracles & Buttflies

We took the kids to the Country Christmas Train in Denton, NC Friday night. Eight of them. The other one, Jeana, went shopping. Imagine that. A sixteen year old that would rather go shopping. It’s nice to know she’s normal.

But the eight that did go were…well…good. Maybe I should define “good” in our terms.

  • It was very crowded and we didn’t lose a kid. It happens, okay.
  • While we waited in line, they were very content to run in circles. Kept them busy and let them run off some energy. The other kids who were forced to quietly stand next to their parents in line were envious.
  • Only one public announcement of the need to “pee pee” — while the others showed zero interest in checking out the bathrooms in groups of twenty or more.  Because you know, when one needs to go they all need to go.
  • No wailing cries for I want! Can I have? It’s only ten dollars! Sometimes threats do work. Don’t judge.
  • Casey let Uncle Garey hold him the whole time we waited in line to see Santa. The fact Casey let anyone hold him for an extended period of time is a miracle unto itself.

None of the above applies to Ireland. She cried the entire time. Well, she did like the train ride.  She got super excited to see the lights shaped like flowers and yelled out “Buttflies! Buttflies!” We’re assuming she meant butterflies. We’ve made an art form out of smiling at strangers who look on with knitted brows.

Ireland wanted juish. She wanted ookie. She wanted ish — translation apple juice, butter cookie, and Goldfish. She wanted to get down. She wanted to go. She wanted to be held. She wanted to stay. She wanted to go. She wanted to be held.  She wanted down. She wanted juish.

And then it was time to see Santa. She went into the little log cabin okay and had stopped crying and was excited to see the warm fire in the fireplace. And  then she turned around and what to her wandering eyes did appear? The old man in the red suit sitting in a corner.  She may need therapy.

All the other kids were like “Santa! Cool!” Even Casey walked right up and gave Santa a high five. Ireland was screaming in the corner. Totally traumatized.

After the pictures, Santa asked the kids what they wanted him to bring. Ava says “fart putty”. Landon says a “unicorn”. Emma’s list went on so long Santa’s eyes glazed over.

I love those kids.

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The only way we could get Ireland in the picture was for Nina to hold her. And she’s still trying to escape. Back row: Ava and Landon, front row: Ireland, Nina, Casey and Ivy.

 

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Emma, Paisley and Aiden with Santa

 

The fantasy vs. the reality

I love my grandkids. Adore them even. They’re the cutest, smartest, talented, most amazing kids I’ve ever known. I love them to the moon and back a zillion times. I’m certain most grandparents share the same sentiments  about their own grandkids. But I wonder how many are brave enough to admit, although we love them with our entire being, we don’t always like them?

I’m not talking about the grandparents who live a good distance from the little ones. Those grandparents have an excuse for the longing to hold and cuddle and see a snaggle-toothed smile. I’m talking about the ones, like me, who see the little ones on a daily basis. You grow intimately aware of their little quirks. And sometimes, it pains me to say, those little quirks can be downright painful. Annoying. Irritating. Fingernails on a chalkboard.

Shaw Photography Group
Photo courtesy of Shaw Photography Group

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. It was supposed to resemble a Hallmark commercial or a Rockwell painting. All the little grandchildren gathered at Grandma’s feet while she reads The Night Before Christmas to them from her rocking chair. Their upturned gazes are loving; their smiles content as Grandma reads the story while, simultaneously,  lovingly showing the pictures.

Well, the reality is:

It’s hard to read upside down. And when you’re reading to as many different ages as I have to, one of them, if not two, will call you down if you miss a word or skip over a part because it’s impossible to read it from a weird angle. Once they start reading on their own, forget making up the story as you go.

The toddlers have the attention span of gnats. So they’re up and down, up and down, wanting to touch the picture, wandering off, wanting to turn the page before you’re finished with the current page (and remember, the ones who can read call you down if you skip a sentence, or page)

They don’t always get along. Like a lot of the timeForget holding hands and singing Kumbaya. It’s more like pleading “can’t y’all just get along for a minute?” The siblings fight with the siblings. The cousins fight with the cousins. They get huffy. Feelings get hurt. One or two, or three, will start crying and sometimes it gets physical. The good thing about that is my grandkids will know how to defend themselves. They don’t shy away from a fight.

They can screech at ear-damaging decibels. You know those monkeys in zoos? The ones that scream at you with such intensity it can stop your heart? They have nothing on my grandkids. They know not the meaning of “indoor voice.” Five of my nine are Scorpios. They have to have the last word. The screeching can go on until my eye starts twitching.

They don’t like the same food. Which makes lunch time a hit-n-miss. Paisley likes jelly, no peanut butter. Ivy wants cereal five times a day. We have to hide the bananas from Ireland (tummy reasons) or we experience the ear-shattering screeches – see above. Aiden doesn’t like Cheez-its. He likes fruit snacks. But Ivy likes the brand of fruit snacks Aiden has so she doesn’t want hers, she wants his. Back to the screeching. Casey likes to dump whatever is in his bowl (cereal, spaghetti, etc) on his head and wear the empty bowl as a hat. And then look at you as if he’s saying “What? You’re not supposed to wear it on your head?”

497 Barbies and they all want the same one. Back to the screeching. I do believe even if we had 497 of the same Barbie, they’d fight over it. Suck it up. And consider investing in a good set of earplugs.

Shaw Photography Group
Photo courtesy of Shaw Photography Group

They don’t always like one another… but, they do always love one another. They defend one another (when they’re not fighting), they cry to see one another (they love spending the night with one another), and they put their arms around one another when one needs a hug.

All in all, I guess the reality isn’t all that bad. It’s not bad at all.

 

Is it okay to teach sneakiness?

Although I think they’re perfect and would give my life for any one of them, I am centered enough in reality to know my grandkids may have a few flaws. Don’t even get me started on Ivy and her “the world revolves around me” thought process. She’s three so I’ll let her believe it for a while longer.

Shaw Photography Group
Emma, Ava, and Paisley. Photo by Shaw Photography Group

But the three middle girls, Emma 8, Ava 7, and Paisley 5, are starting to develop a trait that is driving me nuts. The girls are trying their hands at being sneaky. It’s a pet peeve of mine. It instills distrust. I’m not talking about planning a surprise birthday party. I’m talking the act of purposely hiding something in order to deceive. Probably way too serious a description for this post, but I had to throw that out there.

So the girls are trying to be sneaky every now and then and I’m now faced with a situation. Note the keyword trying.

The matronly grandmother in me should be happy they really aren’t very good at it. But the still young-enough to appreciate being a kid in me grandmother wonders if it would be so wrong to show them where they went wrong and got caught.

Example number one: Several weeks ago, Ava was grounded from her ipad for disobeying. A few days into the grounding, she was at home with the younger siblings and Aunt Debbie while mom, dad, and myself cheered on Landon at his baseball game. Sometime during the game, Allen gets a text from Ava’s ipad. Aunt Debbie doesn’t even know how to turn the thing on so the person sending the text had to be Ava. Of course Ava failed to tell Aunt Debbie she was grounded from her ipad.  Busted.

Teaching moment number one: If you’re grounded from your ipad, don’t text your parents!

Example number two: Emma’s one of those school kids who eat lunch at 10:45 because of school over crowding (another subject) so she’s pretty hungry when she gets home around 3:30. She gets her snack and all is well. Most of the time she, along with the others, sit at the kitchen table to eat their snacks. On this particular day Ava was too pooped to play so she curled up on the couch for a nap. Emma brought her cookies in the living room, which is a no-no. I told her to take them back in the kitchen and when she finished eating, then she could come back to the living room. A minute or two later, she comes back into the living room and quickly turns her back to me, like she’s suddenly interested in Max & Ruby showing on the tv. She stands there for a minute, her back still to me, and I notice her right arm bending at the elbow in, oh, about 60 second intervals. I told her to turn around for a second and when she does, her poor little cheeks looked like a squirrel storing nuts for the winter.

Teaching moment number two: Break the cookies in half before coming back into the living room so you don’t have to cram the whole thing in your mouth at once. Geez.

Example number three: Anytime sweet little Paisley’s hands are behind her back and she’s looking you square in the eye, chances are there’s something in those little hands she doesn’t want you to see. She will even do this funny little sideways walk so she can maintain eye contact, all the while those hands are behind her back.

Teaching moment number three: Mothers and Grandmothers are all knowing. We may not know what you have behind your back, but we know it’s something you’re not supposed to have. Give up.

Years ago when Garey and Nina (my kids) were young, Nina came running in the house and told me Garey was up in a tree at the edge of the woods, smoking. I casually walk out there and sure enough, there sat my twelve-year old son in a tree, smoking. I looked up, he looked down, the fear evident on his face. I calmly said, “Son, the first time you decide to drink beer and get drunk, which you probably will do sometime in the coming years, please don’t do it while you’re sitting in a tree.”

 

A day at the park

Friday was the last day of summer vacation around here. Kids start back to school tomorrow. So Friday, Nina and I loaded up all the young ones, packed snack bags and juice boxes and headed to the park. Yeah. It takes two vehicles. Five car seats.

But anyway, so we get to the park and unload everyone and the fun begins. Actually it wasn’t that bad with the older ones (Landon, his friend Tyler, Emma, Ava, Paisley) because they don’t need someone to push them on the swings. And even Aiden and Ivy played super well together. No fights. No pouting. A lot of “Iby! Ballo me!” from Aiden and “A – come hera naw!” We’re pretty sure Ivy gets that Cajun accent from her PawPaw David who spent part of his childhood in Cajun country. Of course David doesn’t speak with a Cajun accent and Ivy doesn’t watch Swamp People so who knows.

At one point Aiden grabs my hand and excitedly tells me to come watch. He leads me to the BIG slide. You know the one three stories high encased in a bending, twisting tube? Yeah, that one. Of course my natural thought is that he’s going to slide and I’m going to have a heart attack. But noooo. He climbs up on the end of it and climbs up the slide like a monkey, disappearing inside the tube thingy and then popping out at the top. Yeah. I might have clapped. I’m not sure. You lose thought processing ability after holding your breath so long.

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Fun for All playground at Hagan Stone Park

So, this playground is massive and steel grid-like walkways connect one play station to another. Of course because of the angle of the slides, the walkways angle upwards—slightly. Our poor little Ireland must have thought it was something like 180 degree angle because she was terrified to walk on them. She held onto the handrail until her pudgy little knuckles were white. Bright white. While holding on to the handrail with a death grip, she shuffled her little feet along at a pace similar to a snail’s. Only slower. She was, however, very happy grounded so her day at the park wasn’t a total traumatizing event.

Back to the grid-like walkways. Remember, this playground is massive. There are three walkways that intersect and the center actually forms a triangle. You’re not supposed to play in the triangle. I mean, I didn’t see a sign or anything saying “Stay Out” and apparently neither did Casey.

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Yes. You are seeing right. Casey going where no man has gone before.

So I’m trying to inch Ireland along on the walkway and look over and Casey’s in the center of the triangle. And won’t come out. Nina’s on the side trying to coax him over to the side where she can grab him. He’s having fun running in circles. Nina’s running alongside the outside yelling for him to come to her. He’s running around having fun. I think, I’m not sure, Nina may have dropped to her hands and knees and tried wedging herself under the walkway like her son did. I’m kinda laughing. Okay, I’m about to pee in my hands. And then…I think Nina and I spotted it at the same time…the empty, shriveled up CapriSun on the ground. With the straw sticking out. With random germs  all over it.

Imagine those old slow motion videos where people move at about the same pace as Ireland on an elevated walkway. The outstretched hand, mouth slowly opening shouting “NOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooo”

Casey had his mouth washed out with soap before he can even talk.

 

The big head and poopy diapers

The Rising was released Friday. I changed poopy diapers. It was an all day event. Not the diapers, the release. Well, ok, maybe the diapers, too.

I had a “cyber” release day party on Facebook and it was a blast. Lots of fun. Lots of cyber pats-on-the-back. Less humble authors may have gotten a big head with all the attention. But I know my place in the grand scheme of things. This week brought several reminders.

Like Paisley asking me where I was going to work when I grow up.

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My darling Emma. She calls it like she sees it.

Or this little conversation with Emma…

Emma: Grandma, how many more books are you going to write before I’m twenty? (she’ll be 8 in November)

Grandma (me):  I don’t know. I hope a bunch.

Emma:  Probably not a whole whole bunch because you may be real old by then and already dead.

Or this from Aiden (said with a sour look on his face): Poop.

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Nothing stands between Ava and snack time

Or from Ava…I was tickled to see a picture of my book in a shipping box on Facebook so I called to Ava to come look…her response was something along the line of, “Uh-huh. Can I have a snack now?”

Again from Aiden: Poop.

And Ivy: Me go poop.

Sigh. What can I say? They keep me humble.

What keeps you humble?

 

 

The Wonder Years

I’m a child of the 60’s and 70’s. I grew up in a neighborhood called Shannon Hills. The neighborhood was a newly developed plat of land that became home to many young families escaping the “city” and settling into suburbia.  Along with these young families came kids. Many kids.

The kids formed life-time friendships with the kids next door or across the street, or around the corner. I know I did. Our parents played Rummy together on Saturday nights while we kids chased lightning bugs and told ghost stories.

We had imaginations and were never afraid to use them. The slick, plastic mat of a Twister game became the backdrop of our pretend rock band’s concert. We were The Beatles. The Monkees. The Jackson 5.

Outside, we were  Hoss and Little Joe. Alias Smith and Jones, Lancer, and the guys from Laredo. And of course Buck, and Blue Boy, and Manolito.

We held seances and ran screaming out of the house when sirens wailed in the background. We practiced acrobatic routines in our backyards when we were all going to run away and join the circus – and one of us did.

We were board game experts. Masterpiece, Life, Clue…our parents should have bought stock in Milton Bradley.

We didn’t understand the significance of President Nixon’s resignation. Or the complexity of a war being fought in a jungle in a country far, far away. We were kids. We were going to live forever.

But we didn’t. Trish Godwin left us Saturday, June 8th. During the “wonder years” she was Patricia Morgan, oldest of the Morgan sisters – Susan, Germaine, and Linda.

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Patricia “Trish” Morgan Godwin, middle row, far right. RIP, Trish. It was a heckuva ride.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The reality of her death is so overshadowed by the reality of her life. A life so full of wonder. A childhood that defines us to this day.

Please enjoy the video. We’re still trying to find our way back. pooh

Ava the spider slayer

My daughter has sunk to the lowest form of low. I mean low. I mean so low it pains me to even talk about it. But I will.

It’s my own fault. I have Nina so high on a maternal pedestal that when she fell off the other day, I was devastated. Crushed. Yeah I know, I’m making it about me but I’ve earned that right. So anyway, we’ve known for years that Nina has this…thing…about animals. Not that she doesn’t like them, she does. Some of them anyway. Show her a picture of a baby seal and she’ll send money to save it. Favorite day trip is to the  NC Zoo. When she was a kid, she’d drag home puppies and/or kittens and say “it doesn’t have a home.” One time, the puppy lived three houses down. Sheez.

It could be my fault. I didn’t get her the help she needed when she needed it. Like in kindergarten. With her first report card, the signs were there. Her teacher told me, “Nina doesn’t know her farm animals.” Like any young mother, I was in denial. And pretty appalled at the gall of that teacher. “My daughter – MY daughter – knows her farm animals,” I said very firmly. On the way home from the parent/teacher conference, we passed a pasture full of horses. I slow down and point them out and say, “Look Nina! What does the horsey say?” She looks out the window and quietly says, “Moo.”

Flash forward about twenty years. She sure knew it was a cow when she ran it over. Actually that story could have been a tragedy – well, it sort of was for the cow – but I think we can trace the Nina-kills-animals-gene back to that rainy morning. Went something like this:

Setting: rural road with lots of S-curves, early a.m., rainy and dark. Nina’s on her way to my house to drop off Landon so she can go to work. Phone rings at my house. I grab it because at that time of morning, it’s never something good like hey mom – wake up I’m bringing you a sausage gravy biscuit! Noooooo…

Nina (screaming and crying): Mom I had a wreck!

Me (bolting upright in the bed): Are you hurt?  Is the baby okay? (at that time Landon was an only child)

Nina: We’re okay, but I think the cow’s dead.

When her brother Garey and I get to the scene of the accident, we find it’s worse than we thought. A local farmer’s fence had a hole in it. His herd of cows got out and were on a direct collision course with Nina’s Chevy Avalanche. A herd. Nina (with arms flaying in the air) cries, “It was horrible. They were flying in the air like bowling pins!”

I can’t remember the exact casualty/injury report but I think it was something like two dead at the scene, one had to be put down, and a few with minor injuries. And oh, the Avalanche was fixable. Had a couple clumps of hair embedded in the grill, but otherwise okay

A few weeks later, a dog ran out in front of her on a busy highway. Median to the left, traffic moving 65mph on the right. No where to go. Didn’t end well for the dog.

As time has gone by, there have been various species to fall victim. None on purpose. Except one. Duh duh duh…the spider. Doesn’t matter if it’s harmless, bringing her flowers, cooking dinner, or is affectionately called Charlotte. It is going to die. And it’s probably going to be painful. Want to see her do some funky dance moves? Tell her there’s a spider somewhere within 100 miles and she’ll leap up, start stomping and waving her arms around like Beyonce´.

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They don’t look like killers, do they?

But if there’s one thing she loves more than she hates spiders, it’s her kids. At least I thought so. She fell off that maternal pedestal last week when she yelled at six-year old Ava to, you guessed it – come kill a spider. We had all the kids out on the playground in her backyard when Nina spots it moving in the mulch. Rather than simply stepping up and stomping it, she yells for little Ava! Ava walks up and does the deed then runs back off to play. No thought to it.

Nina says Ava-the-spider-slayer didn’t start out that way. Nina says she saw a BIG spider in the garage and yelled at Ava to watch out. Instead of backing away, Ava-the-spider-slayer killed the killer spider. So now that’s how it’s done. Don’t judge.

The “you’re not my mother” issue

I’m funny about certain holidays. Like, for instance, Valentines Day. In my humble opinion, celebrations for that day should be reserved for adult couples. But I see nothing wrong with school kids exchanging valentines with their classmates. But it stops there. I don’t expect a Valentines Day card from my grandkids, or my kids, or from my aunt or cousin or sibling.

Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are other holidays I’m funny about. But not necessarily for the same reasons as above.

My ex-hubby and I have two kids together. Not once during our marriage did he acknowledge Mother’s Day for me. After years of no cards or even a forced “Happy Mother’s Day” statement, I finally asked why. Not that I expected anything grand – just a simple acknowledgement would do. His reply was, “you’re not my mother.”  Okay. I can give him that one. But I am the mother of two of his kids. Two kids, who at that time, were too young to drive themselves to the store and pick out a card. So heads up all you dads out there – buy it for them! Let them scribble their names on it with a crayon. Two things will come of this – you’ll make their mom so happy she’ll probably cry, and your kids will enjoy it. They’ll also learn the art of gift-giving. mothers-day-300x223

No, I’m not endorsing materialism. Or even Hallmark. But if children are never given the opportunity to give a gift – no matter how small – or a card someone else picked out or one that they made, they’ll grow up wondering what all the fuss is about. And many moms will not be able to claim a shoe box full of Mother’s Day cards as one of their most precious treasures.

And for anyone with a single mom in their live – offer to take the kids for an hour. And in that hour, run them up to the store if they’re old enough to pick something out for themselves, or spend an hour with them and crayons and a piece of construction paper. No one can put a price tag on the smile on that kid’s face when they present mom with her gift. 040513